With nearly half of users under 30 having deleted Facebook at some point over the last 12 months, the social media giant has been scrutinised for becoming too “negative”, especially during the elections. In order to curb mudslinging and hate speech during the upcoming assembly elections, Facebook has announced that it will deploy around 20,000 people who will ensure that the platform doesn’t allow abusive content to be shared, as it did during the 2016 US elections. The “task force” will work across different aspect of building the automation tools, security and content review.
Richard Allan, Vice President of Policy for Europe, the Middle East and Africa (EMEA), told IANS,
“When we see elections coming up, obviously India is top of mind, biggest democracy in the world, so we have a task force working on that -security specialist, content specialist. We trying to understand what is possible form of abuse in India versus UK versus any other country.”
“We want our platform to support free and fair election and positive civic engagement. We welcome people to engage with their political leaders but we don’t want people to abuse that.”
Facebook also became widely distrusted after it was revealed in 2018 that Cambridge Analytica, a political consulting firm used to sway elections, had harvested personal data of millions of Facebook profiles without the consent of their users and used it for political purposes. Allan added that the company’s policy was against “excessive use of violence and hate speech” and it was going to employ the “task force” who would ensure the same:
“Trust is very clear distinction between no liking a concept, not liking an idea. Some people find that controversial. They feel attacking religion is same as attacking the same as followers.”
Facebook now blocks content using automation as well as with the help of social media moderators.
Assembly elections will take place in five states — Rajasthan, Madhya Pradesh, Chhattisgarh, Telangana and Mizoram — from November 12 to December 7, with the counting for all 5 states to be held on December 11.