By Diego Bassante, Manager for Politics and Government, Latin America
The election in Mexico is a priority for Facebook, and we are working hard to protect the vote from abuse and exploitation. In the last year we have built tools to reduce the spread of false news and new products to help create an informed community. We’ve also made important changes to prevent bad actors from using misinformation to undermine the democratic process.
Here is a look at the specific steps we’ve taken in Mexico ahead of the July 1 election.
One of the ways we are fighting misinformation in Mexico is by partnering with well-respected fact-checkers like Verificado 2018 and Agence France-Presse (AFP).
- Verificado 2018, a fact-checking project led by Animal Politico, has been reviewing, verifying and classifying the accuracy of dozens of news stories published on Facebook since March. And we recently announced that AFP will join our fact-checking network in June. Both organizations are part of Poynter’s International Fact-Checking Network.
- In addition to verifying text, Verificado and AFP have also started testing fact checking native photos and videos.
- Here’s how we work with our fact-checking partners using a combination of technology and human review to detect and demote false news on Facebook:
- We use signals, including feedback from people on Facebook, to predict potentially false stories for fact-checkers like Verificado to review.
- When fact-checkers rate a story as false, we significantly reduce its distribution in News Feed — dropping future views on average by more than 80%. Pages and domains that repeatedly share false news will also see their distribution reduced and their ability to monetize and advertise removed.
- We also want to empower people to decide for themselves what to read, trust, and share. When third-party fact-checkers write articles about the veracity of a news story, we show them in Related Articles immediately below the story in News Feed. We also send notifications to people and Page admins if they try to share a story or have shared one in the past that’s been determined to be false.
We are working hard to strengthen the integrity of the election in Mexico, and while there is always room for improvement, we feel our recent efforts put us in a much better place ahead of the July 1 vote. (Updated on June 22, 2018 to describe the scope of our work.)
- Inauthentic accounts – In recent months, we have removed inauthentic accounts that violate our policies and are often used by bad actors to conceal illicit activity.
- Likes – Additionally, we have identified and removed fake likes, which can be used to artificially inflate a Page’s popularity and boost its credibility, from the Pages of Mexican candidates. (Updated on July 10, 2018 to remove inaccurate data.)
- Impersonation – We have also removed dozens of accounts that impersonated politicians running for office.
- Security Megaphone – This week we invited administrators of political Pages in Mexico to activate two-factor authentication in order to protect their Pages from abuse.
Cooperation With the Electoral Authority
We have been working proactively with Mexico’s National Electoral Institute to help guarantee the integrity of the election. We recognize the importance of working closely with local authorities to encourage civic participation in local elections. With this in mind we signed a memorandum of understanding that includes:
- Activation of Facebook’s civic products
- Support in broadcasting all presidential debates via Facebook Live
- Share news integrity materials to be distributed by the institute
Since 2018 Facebook has also been training National Electoral Institute and Federal Electoral Tribunal officials on how our platform works with the goal of increasing transparency, improving security, and helping the authorities conduct their investigations.
We also respond to information requests from the electoral authorities.
Promoting Civic Engagement
As part of our ongoing work to help build an informed and civically engaged community, we’re also launching products that make it easier for people to get the information they need to be informed voters before the election.
- Issues Tab – Last week we partnered with UNAM to launch the Issues Tab in candidates’ Pages, so people can learn more about the politicians perspective on issues like corruption, employment, security or the economy.
- Perspectives – In the lead up to the elections we will also launch Ballot, a voter information center for people who want to engage in the election on Facebook and learn more about the candidates. Ballot will allow people to see who’s running for office at different levels of government, visit the candidates’ Facebook Pages to learn more about them, and compare the candidate’s perspectives on important issues.
- Informed Voter Button – Before the election people will also see the Informed Voter Button, that redirects people to the electoral authorities’ landing page with useful information for voters.
- Election Megaphone – On election day, people will see a message in News Feed reminding them to vote and linking to additional information on voting stations.