How Tech Companies Are Tackling Misinformation Around The Election
Misinformation and false news has become a prevalent topic in recent votes and elections, but what exactly are the social networking sites that facilitate the spread of this information doing about the issue for the 2020 US Election?
Seven days before the US Election, Facebook, Google and Twitter froze the promotion of political adverts, but it seems that politically funded adverts are not the only challenge in ensuring a fair race based on facts.
Before the election began, YouTube began sharing information on mail-in voting through its videos in an attempt to inform the public among attempts to discredit the voting method. The platform also labelled videos that were funded or created by political parties in an attempt to obtain greater transparency about the purpose of videos.
The attempts to inform and avoid misinformation has continued right through to the election day. YouTube is currently cracking down on fake election results that are taking the form of live streams. These videos, which can misinform for financial gain, are being monitored and taken down while YouTube’s parent company, Google, also froze political adverts.
Facebook followed similar practices to Google in terms of stopping adverts, and provided information through an online hub that was intended to provide clear and unbiased information. The platform also suspended recommending political pages in the build-up to the election and limited message forwarding on its social application WhatsApp.
Interestingly, Twitter and Facebook have taken action against videos released by politicians who share misinformation. Most notably, Trump released a video that claimed he had won the election and purported that the opposition was ‘trying to steal’ it. This particular video now has a warning on Twitter, while similar content has been deleted. With this kind of content, Twitter is also double-checking that users want to share the information.
Social media platforms are evidently trying to address previous criticism and create a more transparent election process. However, the fact that the platforms are tackling misinformation from politicians, as well as the public, marks a considerable challenge. With that in mind, it’ll be interesting to see what impact people consider the platforms to have had when a new US President is announced.
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