As Indians prepare to vote in the General Election for the 17th Lok Sabha, Facebook is blocking or removing about one million accounts a day using artificial intelligence and machine learning, Facebook India’s Managing Director and Vice President Ajit Mohan said in a blogpost on Monday.
He said Facebook and its family of apps are making sure the elections are fair and free from interference, both foreign and domestic.
Facebook will activate new regional operations centres, focused on election integrity, in Singapore and Dublin. These teams include engineers, operations specialists and data scientists, and will work closely with staff in our Menlo Park, CA headquarters, as well as with local experts in Delhi.
“This structure helps strengthen our global coordination and speed our response times, adding another layer of defence against false news, misinformation, hate speech and voter suppression,” wrote Mohan, who took charge as Facebook’s India head earlier this year.
He said Facebook has gotten better at using artificial intelligence and machine learning to fight interference, and tools such as artificial intelligence and machine learning helps the company, at a large scale, identify abusive or violating content, quickly locate it across the platform and remove it in bulk, dramatically reducing its ability to spread.
“This dramatically reduces its ability to spread. We continue to expand on this initiative, adding 24 new languages — including 16 for India — to our automatic translation system,” Mohan wrote.
Mohan wrote said the work on securing Indian elections is done across dozens of teams, both in India and around the globe, and began more than 18 months ago with a detailed planning and risk assessment across our platforms.
“The findings allowed us to concentrate our work on key areas, including blocking and removing fake accounts; fighting the spread of misinformation; stopping abuse by domestic actors; spotting attempts at foreign meddling; and taking action against inauthentic coordinated campaigns,” he wrote in the post.
As Facebook continues to play a larger role in civic discussions and debate, Mohan said, that the social media giant is committed to working hard to prevent abuse on its services, especially during elections.
He said one of the most important new product changes Facebook has launched in this effort is its political ad transparency tools, giving people a clearer picture of who is placing the ads they see.
He said Facebook expanded its partnerships with third-party fact-checkers to seven accredited organizations in India. These groups cover eight of the most spoken languages — English, Hindi, Bengali, Marathi, Telugu, Tamil, Malayalam and Gujarati — and Facebook is looking to add more.
“In a country largely driven by local and community news, we knew it was critical to have fact-checking partners who could review content across regions and languages,” he wrote.
He said promoting election integrity in India isn’t something Facebook can do alone, and it recently joined other social media companies in a voluntary code of ethics for the general elections with the Election Commission of India (ECI).
It includes measures like a dedicated communications channel for notice and take down after receiving valid legal order, processing of valid requests in the blackout period ahead of voting and voter education efforts.
He said Facebook also created a training process to help policymakers, candidates and their staff improve their cybersecurity and awareness for how their accounts could be hacked or abused.
“During elections, times of conflict or political turmoil, these accounts can be at higher risk of threats and abuse, so we help them learn how to be proactive and look for signals that their accounts could be harmed.” he wrote.