Kuala Lumpur, Oct 20: The announcement is out and with only a month away until Malaysia’s 15th general election on Nov 19, Meta is already gearing resources on how they are going to fight misinformation on their social media platforms.
In a virtual media briefing today, the company shared its plans to help protect the integrity of the upcoming general election, and its ongoing work to combat misinformation, hate speech and investments in digital literacy in Malaysia.
“At Meta, our goal is to make it harder to interfere with elections on our platforms, and easier for people to make their voices heard in the political process,” Roy Tan, Head of Politics and Government Outreach, APAC at Meta said.
“We are committed to tackling harmful content on our platform – which we know may intensify during elections – from misinformation, misrepresentation and interference, to hate speech.
“We have dedicated teams working on every upcoming election around the world, as it’s incredibly important to us as a company that we get this right ahead of Malaysia’s 15th general election.”
Supporting an informed electorate
Meta shares best practices with election authorities and stakeholders, including various government agencies, media organizations, election watchdogs, NGOs and political candidates on how to use our apps effectively and responsibly. Additionally, it also supports news publishers on creating responsible and quality content. Meta will also launch a vote reminder that directs people to official information from the Election Commission of Malaysia.
In recent years, Meta has increased efforts to combat misinformation by investing in teams, technology and partnerships to ensure the safety of people using Meta’s platforms. This includes removing content on Facebook and Instagram that discourages voting or interferes with voting, such as incorrect information about the election date or candidates’ numbers.
Meta also works with independent fact-checking organizations to verify the veracity of reported posts that don’t violate our Community Standards – in Malaysia, Meta works with Agence France-Presse (AFP).
When fact-checkers rate a piece of content as False, Altered or Partly false, its reach and distribution are reduced on Facebook.
On Instagram, this kind of content gets filtered out of Explore and is featured less prominently in feed and stories. People who still see this content in their feeds will see it with a label and a link directing them to more information from the fact-checker.
On WhatsApp, since messages are protected with end-to-end encryption, meaning no one but the sender and the recipient can read them, it has introduced measures to reduce message virality. There is a limit on forwarding messages on WhatsApp and if a message has already been forwarded, you can further forward it to just five chats at once, including a maximum of one group chat, making WhatsApp one of the few technology companies to intentionally constrain sharing.
This reduces the amount of forwarded messages on WhatsApp by over 25 per cent.
Messages with five or more forwards (labeled with double arrows) can be resent to just one chat, which has led to a 70 per cent global reduction in the number of frequently forwarded messages.
Supporting digital literacy
Meta launched We Think Digital (WTD), a digital literacy and citizenship program, to help equip people with skills to think critically about information they find online, spot false news, and be responsible digital citizens. Through Meta’s partnership with Teach for Malaysia (TFM), the program has trained over 2640 students nationwide since 2020, from over 200 schools nationwide including completing the recently introduced We Think Digital modules on how to identify and report online scams. This year, TFM also held the nationwide student competition which challenged students to put their digital literacy knowledge into creating awareness campaigns related to online safety, and reached over 800 students. Meta also expanded its WTD partnership with University Malaya to equip about 300 student ambassadors on digital citizenship.
Increasing political ads transparency
Meta said that they aim to let people know who is behind the ads they see across their apps, so that they can make informed decisions on polling day.
Advertisers in Malaysia are required to complete an authorization process and include “paid for by” disclaimers on these ads.
Ads about elections or politics that run in Malaysia will also appear in the Ads Library so that people can see what ads are running, who saw them and how much was spent. This fully searchable archive stores ads for seven years.
“Our work to help protect the integrity of the upcoming Malaysia election builds on our ongoing efforts and investments to increase ads transparency, improve our enforcement on violating content and support digital literacy in Malaysia,” Noudhy Valdryno, Head of Public Policy, Malaysia at Meta added.
“We are committed to continue this work in the lead up to, during and after voting day.”
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