Facebook’s parent company Meta plans to hire independent fact-checkers who will review all relevant information and posts to avoid the publication or spread of any content of misleading or harmful content towards both the voters and the politicians.
The tech giant Facebook has revealed its plans to monitor all content during the upcoming federal election later this year via a number of different measures, such as multilingual education campaigns and by preventing hackers in meddling with the profiles of political candidates.
According to the Australian Federal Police Commissioner, the number of complaints by members of parliament for online abuse and harassment are expected to double, which is why parent company Meta (who also owns Instagram) has decided to take action and create an independent body which will work to keep this number to a minimum.
Meta pointed out that they’ll be utilizing their experiences from previous elections from other nations around the world. In fact, the company’s head of public policy in Australia Josh Machin added that the firm has “been preparing for this year’s Australian election for a long time”.
Meta will be employing RMIT FactLab, who will work with the Australian Associated Press and the Agence France Presse in order to fact-check all the influx of daily information during the highly stressful election period. Any potentially harmful or misleading posts will be reviewed and flagged by this group, depending on how damaging they could be. It will be on their discretion to investigate further on any potentially harmful comments or leave it at that.
Meta Australia’s Head of Public Policy Josh Machin
“We’re particularly talking about misinformation, but we’ll have experts who can cover hate speech and violent organisations, and the full gamut of potential community standards violations that we might see in a really critical important time,” Josh Machin said.
Additionally, the company will also have all election material, such as campaigns, translated in Chinese, Vietnamese and Arabic, covering the largest non-English speaking communities in the country.
“We are conscious of some research, particularly in relation to misinformation in the Chinese language-speaking diaspora,” Mr Machin said.
“We’re helping equip the Australian community with media literacy skills that can cover misinformation wherever they encounter that — whether that’s online, if it’s potentially on our services, or potentially on other online services, but also offline.
“And we know misinformation can be spread in conversations with family and friends.”
Mr Machin stood up for the company during a Senate hearing, after a recent experiment by Reset Australia saw five ads which included misinformation be approved by Facebook, pointing out that they “did not go live”.
The upcoming federal elections in Australia will be held no later than May 21st, 2022.