From Checking Real-Time ‘Threats’ to 'Celebrate Each Vote' Campaign, Meta Says It’s Ready for Indian Electi – News18

Reported By: Bhaswati Guha Majumder
Edited By: Nitya Thirumalai
Last Updated: March 26, 2024, 12:35 IST
New Delhi, India
Beyond combating misinformation, Meta said it is actively engaged in consumer education initiatives to empower users in identifying and addressing falsehoods.
As India gears up for Lok Sabha elections 2024, Meta, the parent company of social media giants like Facebook and Instagram, has announced its strategy to combat misinformation, ensure election integrity, and promote transparency on its platforms.
Misinformation, in the form of audio or video or image or text, on social media poses a significant challenge during elections due to its ability to rapidly spread and influence public opinion. With the proliferation of digital platforms, misinformation can easily reach a wide audience, often exploiting echo chambers and confirmation biases. False narratives, manipulated content, and fake news can sway voter perceptions, undermine trust in electoral processes, and even incite violence.
Moreover, the anonymity afforded by social media allows malicious actors to disseminate misinformation unchecked, making it difficult to discern fact from fiction. As a result, combating misinformation on social media has become imperative to safeguard the integrity of elections and ensure informed decision-making among voters.
The Ministry of Electronics and IT has frequently dispatched advisories to social media platforms, emphasizing adherence to IT rules and underscoring the paramount importance of prioritising the safety of ‘Digital Nagariks’ (digital citizens) from misinformation and deepfakes.
“It is a legal obligation for online platforms to prevent the spread of misinformation by any user under the IT Rules, 2021. They are further mandated to remove such content within 36 hours upon receiving a report from either a user or government authority. Failure to comply with this requirement invokes Rule 7, which empowers aggrieved individuals to take platforms to court under the provisions of the Indian Penal Code (IPC). Platforms must take proactive measures to combat this threat,” MoS Rajeev Chandrasekhar had stated.
In a recent blog post, Meta outlined its multifaceted approach to supporting free and fair elections, drawing on its extensive resources and global expertise in safeguarding democratic processes.
It stated that with a workforce of approximately 40,000 individuals dedicated to safety and security globally, Meta has invested over $20 billion in teams and technology since 2016. This includes 15,000 content reviewers proficient in more than 70 languages, including 20 Indian languages, who scrutinise content across its platforms.
Meta has developed industry-leading transparency tools for ads related to social issues, elections, or politics, along with robust policies to prevent election interference and voter fraud. Additionally, it boasts the largest third-party fact-checking program among social media platforms, collaborating with 11 partners across India covering 16 languages.
To address the evolving threat landscape, Meta will establish an India-specific Elections Operations Center, comprising experts from various domains within the company. This centre will monitor and mitigate potential threats in real time across Meta’s apps and technologies.
In collaboration with the Election Commission of India through the Voluntary Code of Ethics, Meta aims to swiftly respond to unlawful content flagged by the commission. The platform will intensify efforts to remove misinformation that could suppress voting or incite violence, especially false claims targeting religious communities.
Moreover, acknowledging the risks associated with the misuse of AI-generated content, Meta has committed to monitoring emerging trends and updating its policies accordingly. It stated that the platform enforces stringent Community Standards and Guidelines governing all content, whether generated by AI or individuals. Moreover, AI-generated content undergoes scrutiny by independent fact-checkers, with altered content experiencing reduced distribution.
In a bid to enhance transparency, Meta mandates advertisers globally to disclose the use of AI or digital methods in creating or altering political or social issue ads in certain cases. Advertisers must complete an authorization process and include a “paid for by” disclaimer, with all relevant information stored in the publicly accessible Ad Library for seven years.
Beyond combating misinformation, Meta is actively engaged in consumer education initiatives to empower users in identifying and addressing falsehoods. Collaborating with the Misinformation Combat Alliance, Meta has introduced a WhatsApp helpline to tackle AI-generated misinformation, complemented by training sessions for law enforcement officials.
Meta said that WhatsApp continues to implement measures to curb virality, limiting message forwarding and providing users with greater control over their privacy settings.
As the countdown to the elections begins, in late March, Meta will launch the ‘Celebrate Each Vote’ campaign in collaboration with national and regional creators to foster voter awareness and combat voter apathy. Through these initiatives, Meta aims to uphold the integrity of democratic processes and foster informed civic participation in India’s upcoming elections.


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