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Facebook Creating ‘Inequalities’ Through Political Advertisements

"We need to recognise these limitations to think about whether and how existing reporting requirements need to change," Power added.

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Canada's Chief Public Health Officer Theresa Tam said health authorities needed to "up our game," adding that she was working with Twitter, Facebook, Google and other tech companies. Pixabay

As more and more political parties advertise on Facebook to reach out to maximum number of voters, the practice is creating new types of inequalities for campaigners and, in turn, posing new set of challenges for the regulators, warn researchers.

Traditional campaigning regulations are based on the theory that spending by each political party leads to a similar result.

For example, if political parties spent the same amount on leaflets, the literature would reach a similar number of people.

However, this cannot apply to Facebook advertising where the impact is dependent on the audience the advertiser wants to reach, argues Katharine Dommett from the University of Sheffield and Sam Power from the University of Exeter.

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The findings showed that regulation must also take into account how Facebook algorithms mean the same advertising spend has different results.
VOA

“This means different spend will have different results. Adverts in a marginal constituency will be more expensive, as will adverts that are directed at an audience that is in high demand from advertisers,” the researchers said in a paper published in the journal Political Quarterly.

For example, in India, even before elections were announced, in February itself, Facebook had run over 51,000 political ads in India worth more than Rs 10 crore and Google declared 800 ads bought for Rs 3.6 crore.

“As digital political campaigning grows, it is now increasingly difficult for existing regulators to capture the true extent of what is happening online, let alone whether these practices violate democratic norms,” suggested Dommett.

The unreliability of existing data on the use of Facebook needs to be acknowledged by regulators if campaigning spending is to be effectively interpreted and understood.

The findings showed that regulation must also take into account how Facebook algorithms mean the same advertising spend has different results.

facebook

However, this cannot apply to Facebook advertising where the impact is dependent on the audience the advertiser wants to reach, argues Katharine Dommett from the University of Sheffield and Sam Power from the University of Exeter. Pixabay

“Although Facebook has introduced some new transparency measures, nobody can fully monitor both how it is being used by political parties and the inequalities of access they can face,” said Power.

It is also not Facebook’s role to regulate elections.

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“We need to recognise these limitations to think about whether and how existing reporting requirements need to change,” Power added.

Regulators around the world need to think about how to monitor and respond to spending principles that are creating inequalities in the electoral market place. (IANS)

Next Story

Famous Fitness Programme CrossFit Quits Facebook, Instagram Citing Security Concerns

The company has also accused the social networking giant of deleting the accounts of communities that have identified the corrupted nutritional science responsible for unchecked global chronic disease

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This photograph taken on May 16, 2018, shows a figurine standing in front of the logo of social network Facebook on a cracked screen of a smartphone in Paris. VOA

Citing security concerns, famous fitness and lifestyle programme CrossFit has quit Facebook and Instagram.

Recently, Facebook deleted Crossfit’s “Banting7DayMealPlan” user group with 1.65 million followers without any warning or explanation that triggered the US-based fitness company to take the decision, which was further fuelled by public security complaints against the platform.

“All activities on CrossFit, Inc.’s Facebook and Instagram accounts were suspended as of May 22, as CrossFit investigates the circumstances pertaining to Facebook’s deletion of the ‘Banting7DayMealPlan’ and other public complaints about the social-media company that may adversely impact the security and privacy of our global CrossFit community,” CrossFit, Inc. wrote in a blog-post on Friday.

According to the post, complaints against Facebook and Instagram include collection and sharing of user-information and Facebook’s government collaboration for citizen surveillance programmes.

facebook privacy
FILE – The Instagram icon is displayed on a mobile screen in Los Angeles. VOA

Facebook selling user information, censoring news feeds, maintaining weak intellectual property (IP) protections and poor security protocols have also been listed as reasons why CrossFit decided to remove its presence from Facebook and its photo-messaging app Instagram.

“For these reasons, CrossFit, Inc. has placed Facebook and its associated properties under review and will no longer support or use Facebook’s services until further notice,” the post noted.

Also Read- Researchers Develop Way to Fight against Bacterial Infections using Electricity

The company has also accused the social networking giant of deleting the accounts of communities that have identified the corrupted nutritional science responsible for unchecked global chronic disease. (IANS)