Facebook has withdrawn over 22 lakh advertisements and 120,000 posts on Facebook and Instagram that attempted to obstruct the November 3 US presidential election, Facebook’s head of global affairs Nick Clegg revealed on Sunday.
In an interview to French media outlet Journal du Dimanche, Clegg informed that the company posted warnings on 150 million fake news verified by the third-party independent media.
“We are not foolproof, and we will never remove or identify all false information or hateful content. But our election strategy, our teams and our technologies are continually improving,” he said in the interview.
“What we have put in place for this election is unprecedented. Facebook is much better prepared today than in 2016,” Clegg added.
Last month, he said that Facebook was bracing for tough measures to restrict content in case the November elections in the US descend into chaos or violent protests.
“There are some break-glass options available to us if there really is an extremely chaotic and, worse still, violent set of circumstances,” Clegg was quoted as saying in a Financial Times report.
Clegg told the French weekly that 35,000 employees take care of the security of Facebook platforms and contribute to the elections.
“We have established partnerships with 70 specialized media, including five in France, in the verification of information. Finally, collaborations have been established with other social networks such as Twitter or YouTube and authorities such as the FBI to identify threats. All this did not exist in 2016,” Clegg noted.
In 2016 US presidential election, the threats clearly came from outside.
“In 2020, the increase in misuse of our platform comes from inside, from the United States. This is the biggest change. Here too, we are adapting and taking action: we have just suppressed all the accounts, pages and groups linked to the QAnon movement,” the Facebook executive informed.
Facebook is under pressure to help maintain the integrity of the elections as it has faced criticism for failing to contain the spread of disinformation and hate speech on the platform.
It was even accused of failing to prevent attempts to create divisions in American society through disinformation campaigns by foreign players during the 2016 presidential election.
The stakes appear to be even higher this time with reports of similar attempts to influence the US presidential elections by groups operating from Russia, China and Iran.
Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg last month announced additional steps the company was taking to help secure the integrity of the US elections by encouraging voting, connecting people to authoritative information, and reducing the risks of post-election confusion.
These include measures to attach an informational label to content that seeks to delegitimise the outcome of the election or discuss the legitimacy of voting methods, for example, by claiming that lawful methods of voting will lead to fraud.
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