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Facebook Withdraws Direct Promotion of Political Campaigns

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Facebook (FB - Free Report) recently announced that the company will restrain from physically sending its employees to promote the use of the platform for political campaigns.

Facebook had offered personalized services before the 2016 elections, detailing how candidates and political parties can use the social media platform to better reach voters.

The company now intends to provide free and common information online globally to all the people and parties interested in creating awareness about their political campaigns.

This comes after Facebook along with Alphabet’s (GOOGL - Free Report) Google and Twitter (TWTR - Free Report) were accused of misguiding people before the elections.

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Facebook’s Efforts to Curb Bad Practices

Facebook is under severe scrutiny for its repeated failures to secure the platform.

Recently, COO Sheryl Sandberg testified in front of members of Congress about the company’s role in the proliferation of fake news and the company’s efforts to stop the spread of misinformation on its platforms ahead of elections in Brazil and the mid-term election in the United States.

Facebook is making significant investments to strengthen security on its platform. The company is increasingly working with third-party partners to detect any form of misinformation with the help of artificial intelligence (AI).

Facebook currently has 15K people working on security and content review and expects to expand it to more than 20K by this year end. Additionally, Facebook is improving transparency and security in both its ads and pages. It recently announced a pilot program to help secure U.S. candidates and campaign staff from “hackers and foreign adversaries.”

Moreover, Facebook also collaborated with Atlantic Council and the Digital Forensic Research Labfor better monitoring of dis-informative campaigns on the platform.

Facebook also removed 18 Facebook accounts, 52 Facebook pages and one Instagram account related to Myanmar military officials responsible for spreading false information about the minority Muslim community.  

Using machine learning technology, Facebook is cross checking information, including photos, articles and videos, shared by its 2.2 billion monthly active users to detect any false information.

Moreover, Facebook will allow users to flag content, which they think is inappropriate. Third-party partners, with their expertise, will then decide if the content is accurate or not.

We believe Facebook’s efforts to plug security loopholes as well as limit fake news will eventually boost trustworthiness.

However, aggressive investments for the initiatives related to improving ad transparency, removal of fake accounts and curbing fake news is expected to hurt profitability in the near term.

Facebook currently carries a Zacks Rank #4 (Sell).

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