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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.

Also Read: Update Alert! Google Features Voice-Enabled Driving Mode on Assistant

“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

Facebook Loses its Place Among the World’s 10 Most Valuable Brands

Only 28 per cent of Facebook users believed the company is committed to privacy, down from a high of 79 per cent

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Corporate, America, Climate Change
FILE - In this April 30, 2019, file photo, Facebook stickers are laid out on a table at F8, Facebook's developer conference in San Jose, Calif. The Boston-based renewable energy developer Longroad Energy announced in May that Facebook is building a… VOA

Hit by privacy scandals and year-round investigations, Facebook has lost its place among the world’s 10 most valuable brands in global brand consultancy Interbrand’s annual ranking of best top 100 brands.

Facebook fell to the 14th spot. Two years back, the social networking giant was at the eighth spot in the list, billed as a “rapidly appreciating” brand.

Apple led the top 100 best brands’ list, followed by Google and Amazon. Microsoft was the fourth, Coca Cola fifth and Samsung came sixth on the list.

The seventh spot was grabbed by Toyota, Mercedes was the eighth, McDonald’s ninth and Disney was at the 10th spot.

Pitching for breaking up Facebook, US-based software giant Salesforce CEO Marc Benioff has called the social networking platform “new cigarettes” which are making kids addictive. Benioff said that the company must be held accountable now.

Several US lawmakers like Senators Kamala Harris and Elizabeth Warren have also been pitching to break up Facebook.

Fake, News, WhatsApp, Facebook, India
The Facebook mobile app on an Android smartphone. Wikimedia Commons

Nearly 40 state attorneys general in the US have decided to join probe against Facebook’s anti-competitive business practices.

Facebook this year agreed to pay $5 billion as a settlement to the US Federal Trade Commission (FTC) over privacy violations.

According to a survey by independent research firm Ponemon Institute in 2018, users’ confidence in Facebook plunged by 66 per cent after Cambridge Analytica data scandal involving 87 million users.

Also Read: Apple Users can Now Report Accidents, Traffic on Google Maps

Only 28 per cent of Facebook users believed the company is committed to privacy, down from a high of 79 per cent.

“We found that people care deeply about their privacy and when there is a mega data breach, as in the case of Facebook, people will express their concern. And some people will actually vote with their feet and leave,” Ponemon said in a statement. (IANS)