Facebook plans election war room to fight fake news in India


Even as the Lok Sabha Elections 2019 schedule was announced by the Election Commission of India yesterday, Facebook has been planning to start 24×7 operations centre in Delhi to fight the menace of fake news and misinformation on its platform.

The centre will coordinate with the social media company’s offices in California, Singapore, and Dublin to keep an eye on election content, Shivnath Thukral, Director, public policy, India and South Asia, Facebook was quoted as saying in media reports.

The social media giant has put a mechanism in place to engage continually with the Election Commission of India (ECI) to ensure transparency and election integrity safe from abuse and misinformation on its platform.

The US-based company, which had come in for severe criticism of late for its inability to curb fake content and propaganda on its platform. However, share definite information regarding the centre’s launch date and actual working.

It is expected to be modelled after the operation centre launched during the US elections. The centre will have multiple cross-functional teams that will take care of different aspects of the platform such as content, policy, legal, while some teams will engage closely with the ECI.

The process has been going for some months now. Facebook, in its bid to fight misinformation, had earlier claimed to have removed two billion fake profiles between September 2017 and October 2018 using a combination of machine learning technology and human reviews.

The company has also said it has brought in independent fact checkers to help it spot and assess fake news. Facebook last month had announced that it had expanded its third-party fact-checking programme in India by partnering with seven companies across languages, for fact-checking and reviewing articles, photos and videos.

Last month, it announced further steps relating to ad transparency, introducing two disclaimer categories and labels for political advertisers, with policy enforcement beginning on February 21.

In an effort to create transparency and credibility for political advertising on Facebook, the company has introduced the ads transparency tool in India, following its success in the US, Brazil, and the UK.

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