Facebook having issues with algorithms and advertisement is not unfamiliar territory. Over the past few years there have been complaints from avid Facebook users in regard to the spread of false information and over population of one-sided political ads. Now, during the 2020 political campaign, Facebook is receiving backlash as advertisements and political messages have shared false voting information with an overload of one-sided political views.
Due to overwhelming critics, Facebook has decided to make drastic changes to their algorithm to cater toward users and their personal interest while limiting the spread of misinformation. Some advertisements and campaigns listed deceived users on their rights to vote, the deadline to cast their ballot, and proper steps to ensure their vote is counted. With the increase of technology and social media platforms being the main source for many to receive political updates and facts, this can be detrimental for forming opinions and making decisions.
The social media conglomerate says they are doing everything to safeguard the platform as they are banning new political ads now that election day is over. Although there will be a halt to newer ads for a period of time, previous approved campaigns and advertisements will still circulate through the timelines of all Facebook users. Founder and chief operating officer, Mark Zuckerberg, shared that no further changes will occur until an official election result is announced.
“In today’s society many utilize social media platforms as their sole or primary source for information,” said NarResha Peterson, a keen Facebook user. “I’m glad to see Facebook identifying the issue at hand and addressing it but there is no telling what damage is already done.”
Accounts on both Instagram and Facebook platforms openly affiliated with hate groups, specifically QAnon, a pro-Trump conspiracy movement, will be removed. In efforts to minimize the already formed division within political stances, Facebook will not overseeremarks from politicians and leading figures for veracitybut are targeting direct forms of abhor and deceit. In a Facebook blog post it was shared that the changes are an effort to “protect the integrity” of the entire political campaign and election process as the company is “fighting foreign interference, misinformation and voter suppression.”
Elizabeth Warren, a senator from Massachusetts, took to Twitter to share, “Facebook is again making performative changes to try to avoid blame for misinformation on its platform. The problem isn’t the ads themselves. The problem is Facebook’s refusal to regulate its ads, change its broken algorithm, or take responsibility for the power it’s amassed.”
Twitter and Google are among the platforms that have also banned and limited political advertisements for similar reasons. In contrast, there are also critiques arising suggesting that the shift of the algorithm limits awareness of past and future candidates that may need the advertisement to increase awareness of their campaigns. It has even been suggested that this change could have impacted President Trump’s campaign negatively as individuals felt as if the company aimed to silence him.
Regardless of political views Facebook aims to decrease the amount of misinformation for the present and future elections. As a large social media platform they are aware of the power they hold over society and shaping minds of individuals among many generations. As this is not the first time Facebook has come across this issue, Facebook users hope that it will be the last.