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Facebook Introduces New Tools to Protect EU Polls

The EU officials had criticised Facebook in January for not rolling out proper systems to tackle disinformation fast on its platform

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A television photographer shoots the sign outside of Facebook headquarters in Menlo Park, Calif. VOA

Facebook has introduced new tools to protect the integrity of the European Parliament elections in May.

Richard Allan, Vice President, Global Policy Solutions at Facebook, said in a blog post on Thursday that the aim was to prevent online advertising from being used for foreign interference and increase transparency around all forms of political and issue advertising.

“To help prevent abuse and interference, all the European Union (EU) advertisers will need to be authorised in their country to run ads related to the European Parliament elections,” said Allan.

Facebook will ask them to submit documents and use technical checks to confirm their identity and location.

“Importantly, this means that all the people who are reaching you with ads identified as related to politics or issues have been authorized as being in your country and will be required to provide accurate information about who they are,” Facebook emphasised.

The social media giant said to increase transparency, all ads related to politics and issues on Facebook and Instagram in the EU must be clearly labelled — including a “Paid for by” disclosure from the advertiser at the top of the ad.

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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

“We are inviting all political campaigns to start the ads authorization process now and we will start to block political or issue ads that have not been properly registered from mid-April,” Allan said.

Facebook has built an Ad Library to make it easy for everyone to find out about political or issue ads on its platforms.

“Here you will see all the ads that have been classified as relating to politics or issues and we will keep them in the library for seven years,” said the company.

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Facebook said it is expanding access to its API so that news organisations, regulators, watchdog groups and people can hold advertisers and the social media giant more accountable.

“We’re also making transparency information more visible on Pages, expanding access to our API to help more people analyze political or issue ads, and exempting news publishers from labelling their ads as related to politics or issues in the US,” added Satwik Shukla, Product Manager at Facebook.

The EU officials had criticised Facebook in January for not rolling out proper systems to tackle disinformation fast on its platform. (IANS)

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Vodafone Quits Facebook’s Libra Cryptocurrency Project: Report

The Libra project, which is still in development, aims for the launch of its first version this year

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Vodafone logo. Pixabay

Vodafone has become the latest big player who have decided to quit Facebook’s controversial Libra cryptocurrency project.

Vodafone joins PayPal, Mastercard, Visa, Mercado Pago, eBay, Stripe and Booking Holdings in withdrawing from the controversial project — and is the first company to exit after the Libra Association was formed in October last year, coindesk reported on Tuesday.

The companies left owing to concerns about heightened regulatory scrutiny.

“We can confirm that Vodafone is no longer a member of the Libra Association. Although the makeup of the Association members may change over time, the design of Libra’s governance and technology ensures the Libra payment system will remain resilient,” the Libra Association said in a statement.

“The Association is continuing the work to achieve a safe, transparent, and consumer-friendly implementation of the Libra payment system.”

Despite top-notch firms pulling out, Facebook and 20 partner organisations formally joined the digital currency Libra project in Geneva in October.

The Libra Association said that more than 1,500 entities have expressed an interest in joining the digital currency project.

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Representations of virtual currency are displayed in front of the Libra logo in this illustration picture. VOA

Several US senators have opposed Facebook’s digital coin, arguing that the social networking giant has been irresponsible with user data privacy. They have even called the digital cryptocurrency Libra “delusional” and “dangerous”.

Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg testified before Congress in October about Libra, defending the idea, but acknowledging the struggles left to overcome.

Libra has failed in its current form, according to the President of Switzerland.

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In a media interview, Swiss President and Finance Minister Ueli Maurer stated that Libra does not have a chance of being successful “because the basket of currencies that is deposited in this currency is not accepted by the national (central) banks”.

“The project in this form has actually failed,” Maurer was quoted as saying.

The Libra project, which is still in development, aims for the launch of its first version this year. (IANS)