Facebook is constantly in the middle of controversies these days. The big tech giant is currently being scrutinised after more than 500 million of its users had their personal information leaked. It has been facing an antitrust suit endorsed by more than 40 US states since last year, with reports alleging that CEO Zuckerberg will intimidate potential competitors. Let’s dig more into the role of Facebook in global politics.
Crux of the Matter
Ex-FB Employee’s Account
After working for 6 months at Facebook, Sophie Zhang realized that Juan Orlando Hernández had received likes from 59,100 users during June to July 2018. 78% of these users were not real.
Who Is Hernández?
A supporter of Honduras’s 2009 military coup, Hernández was elected president in 2013. His re-election in 2017 is viewed as fraudulent and marked by allegations of human rights abuses and corruption.
Similar To 2016 US Elections
For these elections, Russia’s Internet Research Agency had allegedly set up Facebook accounts claiming to be Americans and used them to influence political debates on the platform. Later Facebook called it “coordinated inauthentic behaviour” (CIB).
Avaaz v/s FB
A report by advocacy group Avaaz says that Facebook altered its algorithm earlier, it could have stopped 10.1 billion views from accumulating on 100 pages. These pages had spread misinformation 8 months prior to the 2020 election.
FB Denies Such Reports
Facebook spokesperson Andy Stone told Time Magazine:
“Avaaz uses a flawed methodology to make people think that just because a Page shares a piece of fact-checked content, all the content on that Page is problematic.“
Making Changes For Good?
Facebook recently said it removed 14 networks representing more than 1,000 accounts seeking to sway global politics, including in Iran and El Salvador. It is also lifting its ban on political and social-issue ads put in place after the 2020 US elections.
Users Can Appeal Editorial Decisions?
Facebook’s Oversight Board will begin reviewing content that has been allowed to remain on the platform despite requests to remove it. Content eligible for appeal includes status updates, comments, videos and shares, on either Instagram or Facebook.
- The Facebook–Cambridge Analytica data scandal concerned the obtaining of the personal data of millions of Facebook users without their consent by British consulting firm Cambridge Analytica, predominantly to be used for political advertising. The app harvested the data of up to 87 million Facebook profiles. The scandal sparked an increased public interest in privacy and social media’s influence on politics.
- In politics, campaign advertising is the use of an advertising campaign through the media to influence a political debate, and ultimately, voters. These ads are designed by political consultants and political campaign staff. Many countries restrict the use of broadcast media to broadcast political messaging.
- On December 8, 2020, the Federal Trade Commission, along with 46 US states launched an antitrust lawsuit against Facebook. The lawsuit concerns Facebook’s acquisition of two competitors – Instagram and WhatsApp – and the ensuing monopolistic situation.