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Facebook's 2020 Election Interference Effort...

The company also banned new networks of fake accounts from Russia and Iran

Facebook today released a new set of tools and policy changes intended to fight the spread of misinformation on the platform, moving to more clearly label false posts and content created by state media. Separately, the company removed four networks of accounts based in Iran and Russia that Facebook said misled users about their identities and posted inflammatory political news.

The moves come at a time when Facebook has been pilloried for a decision not to send political ads to fact-checkers. The company stood by that decision today, but acted to label non-advertising content that has been rated false more prominently.

Changes today include:

  • The launch of Facebook Protect, a set of features designed to secure candidates’ accounts. “Participants will be required to turn on two-factor authentication, and their accounts will be monitored for hacking, such as login attempts from unusual locations or unverified devices,” the company said.

  • Adding information about the owner of a Facebook page, through a new tab labeled “Organizations That Manage This Page” that includes the organization’s legal name, city, phone number, or website.

  • Starting next month, publishers “that are wholly or partially under the editorial control of their government” will be labeled as “state-controlled media.” This will include publishers such as Russia Today, which closely covers US news.

  • Introducing a tracking tool to let users see how much US presidential candidates are spending on Facebook, including new details such as state and regional spending. The company is also adding API tools to help researchers sort through advertising data.

  • Adding labels to the top of false and partially false photos and videos, including on Instagram stories, along with a link to the explanation from the fact-checker. If people attempt to share posts on Instagram that have been rated false, Facebook will now show a pop-up indicating the rating.

  • Changing advertiser guidelines to ban ads that suggest voting is useless or tells people not to vote.

  • Spending $2 million on media literacy efforts. “These projects range from training programs to help ensure the largest Instagram accounts have the resources they need to reduce the spread of misinformation, to expanding a pilot program that brings together senior citizens and high school students to learn about online safety and media literacy, to public events in local venues like bookstores, community centers and libraries in cities across the country,” the company said.

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