Facebook tightens misinformation policies ahead of Halalan 2022

Jessica Fenol, ABS-CBN News

Posted at Jan 27 2022 04:49 PM

 A woman holds smartphone with Facebook logo in front of a displayed Facebook's new rebrand logo Meta in this illustration picture taken October 28, 2021. Dado Ruvic, Reuters/Illustration/File Photo
A woman holds smartphone with Facebook logo in front of a displayed Facebook's new rebrand logo Meta in this illustration picture taken October 28, 2021. Dado Ruvic, Reuters/Illustration/File Photo


MANILA - Vote-buying and selling as well as inciting illegal participation in the coming elections are not allowed on Facebook, an official of its parent Meta said Thursday, as it boosts its drive against misinformation.

Social media has been a preferred venue for election conversations especially in the Philippines where the majority of the population has access to mobile devices. 

In a virtual briefing, Meta's head of APAC Misinformation Policy Alice Budisatrijo told reporters that the platform removes election-related misinformation based on its voter interference policy. 

Under the policy, the following types of misinformation are removed on Facebook:

• Buying and selling of votes
• Statements that advocate or provide instructions or show explicit intent to illegally participate or provide instructions on how to illegally participate in the voting process - such as instructions on how to vote twice
• Claims that participation in the election could result in getting COVID-19
• Misinformation about crucial facts such as dates, location, time, method of voting, registration, who is qualified to vote, whether a vote will be counted and what information and materials must be provided in order to vote as well as whether or not a candidate is running

"These are the things that we can check with the proper authorities and we will remove when someone tries to mislead other people using these," Budisatrijo said. 

Other misinformation can also be removed when backed with more data, she added.

These include:
• calls for coordinated interference that could affect someone's ability to participate in the election
• content stating that voting participation may or will result in law enforcement consequences 
• calls to monitor election activity when combined with signals of violence

"We require additional context, because in cases that there are some threats in a polling station, and someone is trying to warn others, then that may be allowed, so we need more information," she said. 

To deter people from following pages that post misinformation, a new notification feature has been applied. A "warning" appears when a user clicks the follow button, the platform said. 

This is also implemented on Instagram for accounts that repeatedly share misinformation. 

Even prior to the local election season, the social media giant said it has been pushing back against misinformation on its platform.

The most recent is the surge of false information related to the COVID-19 pandemic. Facebook said it has removed some 24 million pieces of false content since the pandemic started.

Before the pandemic, several pages and accounts in the Philippines were also removed for violating policies including coordinated inauthentic behavior

Some of the pages are supporters of prominent individuals and government officials, while some are linked to the military and the police.

 MISINFORMATION ON THE INTERNET

One major problem faced by most online platforms today is misinformation, some experts have said. 

Twitter, for its part, has also been fighting false claims and other forms of abuse on its platform.

In early January, the platform said users in the Philippines could now use a safety tool where they can flag a Tweet and mark it as "misleading."

Several hundred followers promoting presidential aspirant Ferdinand Marcos Jr were recently removed by Twitter, citing spam and manipulation, according to a Reuters report.

Social media personality Jam Magno announced on Facebook that her Twitter account has been suspended for breaking its policies. 

Under its rules, Twitter suspends accounts based on a strike system or the number of times a user committed violations.

The strike system is as follows:

• 1 strike: no account-level suspension
• 2 strikes: 12-hour account lock
• 3 strikes: 12-hour account lock
• 4 strikes: 7-day account lock
• 5 strikes: permanent suspension

Meanwhile, Facebook in May announced it would impose "stronger" actions against users spreading misinformation on its platform by reducing the content reach of pages previously flagged as sharing false information. 
 

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