We’re fast approaching nearly certain the most significant election in American history. Therefore, now more than ever social media responsibility is needed. Social media has been associated with a lot of negative effects including a rise in depression and anxiety among teens, plenty of misinformation, lack of privacy, and worst of all the polarization of civil discourse as we get closer to the election. People have become addicted to social media. This can be attributed to the fact that social media operates on a business model. It’s actually a business whereby certain targeted ads are presented to users to alter their behavior and thus become addicted to social media. This global addiction is what has become a major issue in our society.
Further has become a huge threat to our democracy. As we get closer to the elections, it’s of ultimate importance that tech giants step up and embrace social media responsibility to ensure election integrity. This calls for regulation of election advertising across various social media platforms.
Facebook made announcements on the measures it’s going to implement to ensure the integrity of the coming elections in that it will encourage people to vote, connect people to authoritative information and ensure there are minimum risks of post-election confusion. The key takeaway is that the platform will ban all new political ads a week before the elections in November.
According to Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg, the new changes that they want to implement on the platform are based on what they have learned from previous elections work over the past four years as well as what they have been deliberating about with voting rights experts and civil rights auditors.
This announcement looks promising, especially because Facebook has been accused of facilitating the spread of misinformation that has extremely affected elections. Many people allege that the fake news spread all over Facebook, and other platforms swayed the results of the 2016 election.
What Social Media Companies Can Do For Election Integrity
Social media companies should now endeavor to follow an Election Integrity Roadmap that was recently created by Accountable Tech, a tech watchdog. Social media companies should begin by implementing an Election Integrity Strike System which will come in handy in limiting the reach of disinformers and also provide context that will educate or inform users. By doing that platforms will weaken the disinformers and misinformers before the most critical period of the elections.
Further, the roadmap suggests expanding context about posts related to politics and encourage users to think critically about the information. This will therefore go a long way in educating voters and limit the spread of misinformation whilst at the same time allowing freedom of speech.
According to Accountable Tech’s Roadmap, social media companies should implement a program called Platform Poll Watchers program which helps ensure the integrity of information on social media while utilizing voting rights experts and civil society groups to ensure the spread of credible information concerning voting rights, election law, and social media disinformation. Also, with this program, social media platforms can flag and counter false information in real-time.
Finally, the Roadmap suggests that social media companies should implement strategies to prevent users from provoking violence after elections. Real-world violence can be exacerbated by the spread of misinformation and when communities doubt the validity of the election results.
Everything suggested in the roadmap is possible and can help attain social media responsibility for election integrity. We still need policy and regulations to ensure social media companies adhere to the standards and effective strategies