Facebook, the largest social media platform is closely working with the Election Commission of Pakistan (ECP) to ensure transparency in General Election 2018 in the country by preventing malicious actors and abuse on all of its platforms including WhatsApp, Instagram and Facebook itself.
Facebook has stated quite recently that it has started the pilot project of its Third Party Fact Checking for the community in Pakistan in order to “detect and demote false news on Facebook”.
A Facebook’s statement reads:
We have been working proactively with Election Commission of Pakistan to help support their effort to maintain the integrity of the election. Facebook has helped educate Election Commission officials on how our platform works with the goal of increasing transparency, improving security, and promoting civic engagement. We are also exploring new ways of working with the Election Commission of Pakistan to share a reminder about the ECP’s 8300 Voter SMS service, which is designed to give Pakistanis easy access to their voter record and polling station.
Third Party Fact Checking
As of this week, Facebook starts a pilot of Third Party Fact Checking in Pakistan, in partnership with AFP. The mechanism is derived to curb misinformation on Facebook and its associated platforms.
Facebook believes that they’ll be able to monitor content on their platforms more easily. Facebook will “use signals, including feedback from people on Facebook and clickbait sensationalist headlines” in order to mark “potentially false stories” so that fact-checkers like AFP could review them. Facebook states:
When fact-checkers rate a story as false, we significantly reduce its distribution in News Feed — dropping future views on average by more than 80%. Pages and domains that repeatedly share false news will also see their distribution reduced and their ability to monetize and advertise removed.
Facebook has partnered with Media Matters for Democracy to develop and distribute localized versions of our false news tips in Pakistan, with the aim of helping our community here learn how to recognise and avoid false news and misinformation.
This week, Facebook users will see a Public Service Announcement at the top of the News Feed – visible to entire Facebook community in Pakistan – with a link to these false news tips.
Asad Baig, Executive Director at Media Matters for Democracy, said:
We’re committed to defending freedom of expression, media and the internet in Pakistan. With Facebook’s role in giving people in Pakistan a voice, the ability to connect and access to vital information, they are a natural and important partner as we look to ensure that Pakistanis have the opportunity to participate in free and fair elections.
Website to Help Political Parties
Facebook has also launched a website under the title of Pakistan Election Integrity Initiative for candidates and parties in Pakistan. The major motive behind this website is to “offer tips and best practices in English and Urdu for politicians and political parties” so that they may engage their followers and their Facebook Pages and accounts remain protected. With the help of this initiative, Facebook will “secure candidate and party Pages to protect them from hacking and impersonation”.
We also know that misinformation is harmful to our community and makes the world less informed, particularly in the context of elections. We can’t combat false news alone – we believe it requires a concerted effort across industry, academics, civil society and government, but we are absolutely committed to playing our part. That’s why we are working hard to fight the spread of false news on Facebook through a combination of technology and human review, and through arming our community with ability to recognise what might be false.
Protecting elections from abuse on our platform is one of the most important things we’re working on at Facebook at the moment. We know there’s more to do, and we will continue to work hard to ensure that Facebook can play a positive and constructive role in Pakistan’s democratic process, both in 2018 and in the long-term.
Moreover, ahead of Election Day, Facebook will serve the community with a vote reminder that will appear as a megaphone at the top of their News Feed in Pakistan.