Facebook isn’t simply limiting its anti-interference efforts to elections. The social network has revealed a second updated on its civil rights audit, and with it news that the corporate plans to treat the 2020 U.S.A. census as if it were a vote. It’ll have a team dedicated to fighting misinformation surrounding the census, a policy to crack down on fake census-related stories and partnerships with non-partisan teams to foster participation. AI will facilitate enforce the policy, Facebook said.
The audit additionally signals changes in other areas, as well as how it studies civil rights problems once the audit is over. The civil rights task force created in December will be formalized and take on further “expertise” across a variety of problems, as well as voting rights specialists who’ll acknowledge trends in voter suppression. Every senior leader in the task force will receive rights training, too, to be sure that these ideas form an important part of Facebook’s product decisions.
You can expect a wider crackdown on white supremacists. The audit recommends taking action against white nationalism and separatism even when those terms aren’t referenced by name, and Facebook will follow suit by spotting “slogans and symbols” connected to those hate movements. The firm already has a pilot program in place that devotes some reviewers to focusing on hate speech.
It’s too soon to know how well any of those changes will work. The approach to the census, however, indicates that Facebook is taking a more proactive approach to fighting misinformation. It knows that social media manipulators are targeting many politically sensitive problems, not simply elections, and clearly doesn’t want to risk being asleep whereas hostile actors skew vital political moments.