The French presidential election is around the corner, and Facebook is not taking things for granted towards making the poll a success. In a bid to guard against fake news, the social media giant has clamped down on 30,000 accounts—suspending them for spreading fake news, spam and misinformation, reports The News Week.
The election, which comes up ten days from today, will be one of the most contested in the history of the European country. So, it shouldn’t come as a surprise to hear that Facebook is taking severe steps to guard against fake news and misinformation. This is not just about responding to complaints or petition, suspending accounts that violate the company’s policy will go a long way to address the menace of fake news on the social media platform.
Most accounts removed or suspended by Facebook belong to extremists or content violators, and will go a long way in placating authorities in France in particular and Europe as a whole. Facebook in recent times have been under immense pressure in Europe as governments threaten to throw the books at the social media behemoth unless moves are made to deal with fake news and extremism.
Suspending accounts that violates its policy should be one of many steps to deal with fake news, but shouldn’t be the only one. Facebook knows this, and have promised more drastic steps to deal with the menace. In a blog post on Thursday, Shabnam Shaik, a Technical Program Manager on the Protect and Care Team said:
“Protecting authenticity is an ongoing challenge – one that requires vigilance and commitment. Staying ahead of those who try to misuse our service is a constant effort led by our security and integrity teams, and we know this work will never be done. We build and update technical systems every day to make it easier to respond to reports of abuse, detect and remove spam, identify and eliminate fake accounts, and prevent accounts from being compromised. This work also reduces the distribution of content that violates our policies as well as other deceptive material, such as false news, hoaxes, and misinformation.”
Ahead of the French election, Facebook in February, rolled out fake news filter to deal with the menace. Facebook, however, is not in this alone, Google too is pulling resources together to ensure a hitch-free election [regards the quality of news] is held in the European country. The Facebook and Google initiatives were rolled out in form of tools aimed at curbing or slowing down the spread of online misinformation. With the tools, both tech giants will be able to flag false news articles for readers.
A nonprofit group being financed by Google, First Draft News, said that it had engaged the services of 15 French news outlets, including Le Monde and Agence France-Presse to help verify content circulating online in the run up to the presidential election scheduled to hold in ten days’ time.
Got something to add to this story? What’s your take on Facebook’s action? Do you think it will help to slow down the spread of fake news?