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To Protect Elections, Zuckerberg Says Facebook Will Give Researchers More Data to Study Meddling

Zuckerberg said that his main priority in 2018 is to ensure that “elections stay safe from interference on the social network”.

News18.com

Updated:April 9, 2018, 8:39 PM IST
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To Protect Elections, Zuckerberg Says Facebook Will Give Researchers More Data to Study Meddling
Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg is to appear before the US Congress to testify on the Cambridge-Analytica scandal.
Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg, caught in a firestorm over the data privacy scandal, said on Monday he wants to update the status of the relationship between elections and the social media giant.

For this, Facebook has launched a new initiative to help scholars research the impact of social media on elections, he wrote in a post.

Zuckerberg said that his main priority in 2018 is to ensure that “elections stay safe from interference on the social network”. He said that Facebook is establishing an independent election research commission that will solicit research on the effects of social media on elections and democracy.

The announcement comes just a day before Zuckerberg is scheduled to testify before US lawmakers on data misused by data analytics firm Cambridge Analytica during the 2016 US presidential election campaign.

Cambridge Analytica also had operations in India, and the BJP and Congress have accused each other of employing the services of the tainted UK firm to formulate election strategy. On Friday, it was revealed that data of 5.62 lakh Indians had been compromised by Cambridge Analytica.

Zuckerberg said that the goal of the new commission would be to get the ideas of leading academicians on how to address these issues so that Facebook can be accountable and ensure the integrity of elections on its platform.

He said that the researchers will have access to Facebook's resources and can share the work publicly without approval from Facebook.

As part of the research effort, Facebook will partner with seven prominent nonprofit foundations. Social science researchers will propose research projects for peer review based on a set of general research goals. If a proposal is approved, the researchers will receive the anonymized data from Facebook and accompanying funding from the foundations.

“Looking back, it's clear we were too slow identifying election interference in 2016, and we need to do better in future elections," the Facebook CEO and founder said.

Zuckerberg has assured previously too that Facebook has deployed technology tools like artificial intelligence and thousands of people to work on security as the company's "major focus" this year is to protect the integrity of upcoming elections in several countries, including India, on its platform.

Several Indian states like Karnataka, Madhya Pradesh, Rajasthan and Chhattisgarh are scheduled to go for polls this year and the general elections are due in a little over a year from now.

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| Edited by: Aakarshuk Sarna
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