Facebook vows to do its part in Thai poll

Silhouettes of mobile users are seen next to a screen projection of Facebook logo in this picture illustration taken March 28, 2018. (Reuters photo)

Facebook has stepped up efforts to mitigate false news and hate speech ahead of Thailand’s March 24 general election.

The company posted on its website on Friday it has stepped up efforts to take down fake accounts, reduce false news and ban electoral ads originated from abroad.

A user who sees a suspicious page can look for more information in the “Info and Ads” section of that page. He can then check when it was created and its previous names.

If a suspicious ad is detected, a user can also “Report Ad” by tapping three dots in the top right corner of the page, it said.

As well, the social media giant will temporarily ban electoral ads from abroad ahead of the poll, apparently due to the lessons it learned from the Cambridge Analytica scandal and Russian interference involving unauthorised harvesting of user data and foreign intervention through social media in elections in the US and other countries.

“This restriction is expected to take effect mid-February and will apply to electoral ads if they are being run by advertisers based outside of Thailand,” read the statement.

New regional operations centres focused on election integrity will be set up, including one in Singapore, to act promptly to stop false news, misinformation, hate speech, voter suppression and election interference.

It also said it is working closely with lawmakers, election commissions, fact-checkers, researchers, academics and civil society groups.

At the same time, Facebook vows to protect candidates and party Pages from hacking and impersonation. 

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