One of the most unexpected presidential elections in history (that one experienced by the US in 2016) could have been influenced by Facebook and targeted ads by Russian bots. People do go on about it and Facebook has said that it’s very, very sorry. Facebook also really doesn’t want a similar catastrophe to take place in South Africa in 2019’s elections.
To improve transparency and combat the influence fake news can have on a democratic election, Facebook is implementing a new strategy for SA. Yesterday, Facebook Page managers received an email explaining that Facebook will now display the location of Page managers. Those pesky Russians won’t be able to stay under the radar this time!
“We’ll show the primary country locations of people in all existing Page roles. This may include agencies, advertisers, social media marketers or anyone your Page may work with, regardless of the person’s level of activity on the Page,” Facebook says in the email.
The change should make it easier to know where the information you’re receiving on Facebook is coming from. You could probably be skeptical about news concerning Bloemfontein (or wherever) if it originates in Eastern Europe, is what we’re saying.
The transparency strategy
In 2018, Facebook teamed up with local fact-checking body, Africa Check, who will help filter through troubling and fake news sources on the platform.
Ideally, they plan to highlight and report potentially fake news articles. To make the platform even more ‘safe’, Facebook plans to remove hundreds of fake accounts, provide online safety training to journalists, and make political ads more transparent by removing foreign ads.
We don’t know when these new changes will be implemented yet, but we sincerely hope that we don’t have another Trump on our hands after the elections on 8 May 2019.