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The Silicon Review Asia

Facebook fight against fake news in Indian elections

Facebook fight against fake news in Indian elections

India, the world’s largest democracy is all set to carry out general elections to elect a Prime Minister. With a population of over 1.3 billion people, of whom about 900 million are eligible to vote, the general elections in India are rightly called the largest democratic process in the world. However, having so many eligible voters, hundreds of millions of whom have smartphones and internet access comes with its own challenges. Following the Cambridge Analytica scandal that influenced the American Presidential elections in 2016, internet companies are now ever watchful of the spread of fake news and propaganda on their platforms. At the very center of the brewing Indian storm is none other than Facebook.

Facebook has set up 7 fact checking firms in India headed by contractors in an effort to combat the rampant spread of misinformation. In a country consisting of dozens of ethnic groups and languages, a vast majority of people rely on local as well as community news, allowing bad agents ample opportunity to disseminate lies and propaganda. Moreover, Facebook has also opened a “war room” New Delhi in an effort to optimize and consolidate its efforts.

While this effort is appreciated, a closer look into it reveals something else entirely. Each of the fact-checking centers has about a dozen or so employees to moderate and filter the trash. But in a country with over 300 million users of Facebook and WhatsApp, the efforts taken by the social media giant seem totally lacking. Facebook clarified that it will bolster its efforts to combat misinformation on its platforms.

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