Washington DC, Oct 21 (EFE).- American tech giant Facebook on Monday announced it was introducing a series of changes to its network to prevent the spread of misinformation and foreign interference on the social network ahead of the November 2020 presidential elections.
The California-based company said that the new measures would help protect the democratic process and provide an update to initiatives already underway as the platform faces public scrutiny over the role it played in the 2016 race to the White House, which saw an unprecedented amount of so-called "fake news."
"We have a responsibility to stop abuse and election interference on our platform," Facebook said in a post on its official blog. "That's why we've made significant investments since 2016 to better identify new threats, close vulnerabilities and reduce the spread of viral misinformation and fake accounts."
The changes include new requirements for the owners of Facebook pages and clearer labels identifying the organizations that run the pages, as well as whether they are linked to a state-controlled media or not.
They will also feature a tool to facilitate the understanding of political ads and a new United States presidential candidate spending tracker.
In addition, the platform will try to combat foreign interference by protecting the accounts of candidates, elected officials and their teams with state-of-the-art mechanisms.
Facebook said it would also add "clearer" fact-checking labels to prevent the spread of misinformation, although the company did not elaborate on details.
Finally, it will ban certain ads that suggest that voting is useless or advise people not to vote.
The company also announced Monday that it had taken down four networks of fake accounts that engaged on both Facebook and Instagram in a coordinated and inauthentic manner.
According to Facebook, these networks allegedly originated in Iran and Russia.
In the case of the network allegedly linked to Russia, Facebook closed 50 Instagram accounts managed by people who pretended to be Americans in key states and shared political content.
One of the networks managed from Iran, according to Facebook, focused on Latin American countries such as Venezuela, Brazil, Argentina, Bolivia, Peru, Ecuador and Mexico.
These Facebook announcements came two days before CEO Mark Zuckerberg is scheduled to testify before the US House of Representatives'Financial Services Committee about the company's plans to launch a cryptocurrency.
Lawmakers are expected to pressure the chief executive on Facebook's efforts to protect US elections from foreign manipulation after the 2016 presidential campaign saw extensive proliferation of "fake news" in what US intelligence officials said was a deliberate bid by Russia to meddle in favor of now-President Donald Trump and damage the Democratic candidate, former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton. EFE
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