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Facebook (FB) Expands Policies to Prevent Voter Suppression

Facebook FB is increasing its security measures ahead of the United States mid-term elections. The company recently announced additional security measures to prevent voter suppression on its platform.

Before 2016 U.S. elections, the company had introduced measures to prevent misinformation about “dates, locations, times and qualifications for casting a ballot.” Facebook is now introducing additional measures as new type of abuses are surfacing online to tamper with election results.

Now the company has extended a ban on posts describing incorrect voting methods and “statements about whether a vote will be counted” or not. Additionally, Facebook’s new reporting option will help users report any false voting information.

Authenticity of the reported information will further be checked by the company’s third-party fact checkers. All the false posts will not be completely eliminated but will be ranked lower in the News Feed section, per Facebook.

Notably, Facebook issued additional security measures after Senator Ron Wyden questioned Sheryl Sandberg about the company’s measures to secure its platform from voter suppression techniques, per Reuters.

Measures Taken by Facebook to Secure Platform

Using machine learning technology, Facebook cross checks information, including photos, articles and videos, shared by its 2.2 billion monthly active users to detect any false information.

The company also added more lucidity to political advertisement in order to prevent any interference in the upcoming elections to be held across multiple countries. All ads related to elections and other political issues on either Facebook or its photo sharing application Instagram will have to be labelled with the name of the payer in the disclaimer section.

Additionally, Facebook announced a pilot program to help secure U.S. candidates and campaign staff from “hackers and foreign adversaries.”

In order to curb fake news, Facebook has been removing accounts allegedly spreading false information. The company removed 18 Facebook accounts, 52 Facebook pages and one Instagram account related to Myanmar military officials who were responsible for spreading false information related to the minority Muslim community.

Moreover, the social media giant removed more than 270 accounts and pages operated by the Russian organization, Internet Research Agency (IRA), which were aimed at influencing the 2016 U.S. presidential election.

Facebook’s efforts to plug security loopholes as well as limit fake news will eventually boost trustworthiness. Although the company’s focus on building a strong “community” can hurt engagement over the next few quarters, the steps will expand its user base over the long run.

Facebook is strengthening its security initiatives after the company came under repeated pressure from the U.S. government. Other tech giants like Alphabet’s GOOGL Google and Twitter TWTR are also under constant scrutiny for their repeated failures to tackle user data safety.

However, Apple AAPL is taking fairly good measures to prevent any data misuse.

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