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Facebook To Monitor India’s Election, Launches Transparency Tools

Facebook last month said that it will start to show a disclaimer on all political ads in India that provides more information about who's placing the ad

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Facebook, India, Fake News, Hate Speech, Russia, digital
A Facebook panel is seen during the Cannes Lions International Festival of Creativity, in Cannes, France. VOA

As India faces elections in a couple of months, Facebook said it will launch transparency tools for electoral ads next month in the country to help prevent foreign interference and make political and issue advertising on its platform more transparent.

According to a report in Quartz on Tuesday, the social media giant will work to monitor threats to the upcoming India elections from an operations centre in Singapore.

“The Singapore office will be a hub for the team managing threats to the Indian election,” a senior employee of Facebook India was quoted as saying.

Facebook, social media
Facebook also kills over 300 Russia-linked fake accounts, Pages, (VOA)

Earlier, in a blog post last Monday, Facebook said that advertisers will need to be authorised to purchase political ads and the social networking giant will give people more information about ads related to politics and issues.

“We will create a publicly searchable library of these ads for up to seven years. The library will include information on the range of the ads’ budget, number of people they reached and demographics of who saw the ad, including age, gender and location,” Samidh Chakrabarti, Director of Product Management, Civic Engagement at Facebook, said in the blog post.

Facebook said it is planning to set up two new regional operations centres, focused on election integrity, located in its Dublin and Singapore offices.

Facebook, data
Facebook staring at bigger problems this year, warns analyst. VOA

“This will allow our global teams to better work across regions in the run-up to elections.

“These teams will add a layer of defence against fake news, hate speech and voter suppression, and will work cross-functionally with our threat intelligence, data science, engineering, research, community operations, legal and other teams,” explained Katie Harbath, Global Politics and Government Outreach Director at Facebook.

The company said it will continue to expand its third-party fact-checking programme which covers content in 16 languages.

“We have rolled out the ability for fact-checkers to review photos and videos in addition to article links, because we know multimedia-based misinformation is making up a greater share of false news,” said Facebook.

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

The company said it will organise a series of workshops over the next six months in Singapore, Delhi, Nairobi, Berlin, New York, Mexico City and others, inviting experts and organisations who work issues such as free expression, technology and democracy, procedural fairness and human rights.

Also Read: Facebook Tightens Rules For Paid Ads, Creates Oversight Board

Facebook last month said that it will start to show a disclaimer on all political ads in India that provides more information about who’s placing the ad, and an online searchable Ad Library for anyone to access.

“Now anyone who wants to run an ad in India related to politics will need to first confirm their identity and location, and give more details about who placed the ad,” said Sarah Clark Schiff, Product Manager at Facebook. (IANS)

Next Story

Physicians Happy While Traders in Shock on Ban on E-Cigarettes in India

With the Union Cabinet directing a blanket ban on e-cigarettes in the country, physicians welcomed the step while e-cigarette traders expressed shock and anger

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e-cigarettes, health, union, ban, india
A man exhales while smoking an e-cigarette, Aug. 28, 2019. VOA

With the Union Cabinet directing a blanket ban on e-cigarettes in the country with complete suspension of their manufacturing, import, export, distribution and storage, physicians welcomed the step while e-cigarette traders expressed shock and anger over the decision.

“Although, e-cigarettes are little less lethal then the conventional cigarettes, we cannot shun away the fact that it contains harmful ingredients. These chemicals can potentially affect the lungs and overall health of the individual in the long run,” Rajesh Chawla, Senior Pulmonologist at Indraprastha Apollo Hospital in New Delhi, told IANS.

Industry body TRENDS which represents importers, distributors and marketers of ENDS, or Electronic Nicotine Delivery Systems in India, termed the decision to ban e-cigarettes “ironic and erratic”.

“This ban on e-cigarettes on the basis of ‘selective sourcing of scientific and medical opinion’ and without holding a single stakeholder meeting is nothing short of a complete murder of democratic norms,” said Praveen Rikhy, Convenor, TRENDS (Trade Representatives of ENDS).

“All our representations sharing best practices from other countries – 70 developed countries have allowed regulated sale of e-cigarettes, have been completely ignored. We will now initiate a formal campaign to help MPs understand the issue, clarify misapprehensions and misinformation spread by lobby groups and support the farmer groups who see the growth of the e-cigarette sector as a global market opportunity for nicotine,” Rikhy said.

e-cigarettes, health, union, ban, india
The Donald Trump administration on September 12 said that it plans to ban the sale of non-tobacco-flavoured e-cigarettes in the US following six deaths. Pixabay

While e-cigarettes have been marketed as a way for adults to quit conventional smoking, a recent outbreak of lung illness associated with use of vaping products in the US has raised concerns about the safety of these products.

The Donald Trump administration on September 12 said that it plans to ban the sale of non-tobacco-flavoured e-cigarettes in the US following six deaths linked to vaping.

Health authorities have documented a total of 450 cases involving e-cigarettes, according to the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), which issued a health warning against vaping.

ALSO READ: Girls Who Sleep Late At Night Are More Likely To Gain Weight

“I entirely support the idea of a ban on e-cigarettes; it is a step in the right direction,” Manoj Luthra, CEO, Jaypee Hospital in Noida, told IANS.

“E-cigarettes have been projected as a means to help people to quit smoking tobacco and also being non-polluting. However, these have their own health hazards and are addictive as well. These contain nicotine and other chemical vapours which will certainly have ill effects on the heart and lung and other organs as well,” he said. (IANS)