Facebook confident before Indian national elections
Social media giant Facebook has made major improvements to its platform over the last couple of years that has improved its “election integrity”. That’s what the company wants you to know as national elections kick off in India this week. While Facebook acknowledges that there are still gaps in the system which could be exploited by potential bad actors, a range of technological advancements, along with more fact checkers and awareness of potential misuses, means that some of the problems which plagued it in the past won’t be a problem anymore.
Despite a negative news cycle, Facebook’s share price has soared consistently this year
Source: Yahoo Finance
This is a subject that matters to the company. For one thing, Facebook was dragged over hot coals for issues that interfered with the US’s 2016 Presidential Elections. That ire is still playing out in the public and occupies a position in a wider narrative over content that includes hate speech, fake news, and data privacy. And for another reason, India is a major market. It’s not only the country with the biggest number of Facebook users worldwide – but it’s also the country where Facebook could see the most growth. India is widely believed to be in the early stages of a growth story similar-to China’s, and (since Facebook isn’t censored in India) the company sees the possibility to capitalise.
Facebook, which has reiterated that its system isn’t flawless, and continues to push for “good” regulation, said that it has removed a page with two million followers which supports the country’s ruling party. It has also removed more than 500 accounts and 138 pages linked to India’s opposition. The reason behind this clean up? “Coordinated inauthentic behaviour” – Facebook’s term for the use of deceptive methods, such as fake accounts, in the promotion of a message.
Facebook has pulled out all the stops to correct widely recognised flaws in its platforms, including overhauling its political advertising system and employing seven fact-checking agencies in India alone. But the company is resolute that the problems facing it are more than any one company can deal with. Hammering home that message, the company’s public policy director for global elections, Katie Harbath, said: “This is a great example, we think, of where there needs to be more regulation.”
Dominion holds Facebook in its Global Trends Ecommerce Fund.
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