The influence of social networks on elections is a hotly debated topic worldwide. Facebook apparently wants to take countermeasures and set up an election commission with scientists and political experts.
Facebook does not have a good reputation when it comes to elections. Now the tech company apparently wants to do something about it. As the New York Times reports, Facebook intends to establish an election commission.
The tech company has already contacted scientists and political experts, as the NYT quotes insiders. They are to advise the social network worldwide on “sensitive election decisions.
The focus here is, of course, primarily on political ads and fake news spread in the context of elections.
Experts believe that Facebook will announce the Electoral Commission this fall in preparation for the 2022 US midterm elections. However, the company would not comment on the plans.
An election commission could spare Facebook from criticism
Facebook has repeatedly faced criticism in recent years that it does not do enough on its platform to combat election interference.
In particular, the influence exerted by Russia during the 2016 U.S. presidential election did not give the network a good reputation when it came to elections.
Voices were also repeatedly raised that the social network was suppressing too much information. Of course, Facebook could circumvent these accusations with an external election commission.
Facebook election commission could be used worldwide
In the coming years, the Facebook Election Commission could be used in numerous elections. Elections will then be held in Hungary, Brazil and the Philippines, among other places.
In the run-up to the federal election in Germany this year, fake news about election fraud had already spread on Facebook. In preparation for the elections in the Philippines, Facebook has already removed networks of fake accounts.
“There is already a perception that Facebook, as a U.S. social media company, is influencing elections in other countries through its platform,” the NYT quotes law professor Nathaniel Persily.
Any decisions Facebook makes have global implications.
With an election commission, Facebook could take itself out of the line of fire. Because the commission would proactively offer guidance and not just react after Facebook has deleted accounts or posts.