Ah, Facebook and politics. It’s a fine web that’s been woven by the social media giant. Every time there is a modern election or referendum, the other side makes claims of ‘social media mind games’ – with Facebook normally the one getting it in the neck.
Well, it looks like the company might be acting on the bad PR that such constant rumors generate, with talk of the company restricting foreign political advertisements.
This comes ahead of the presidential poll about to be held in Indonesia. With the company often stood accused of not doing enough to stop people playing games with elections, the move to bad political advertisements from outside of Indonesia is interesting indeed.
This means that paid materials from outside of Indonesia with a political tinge won’t be put through. It’s also looking to try and avoid what is known as ‘voter suppression’ with the move, which can only be a good thing for the countries upcoming political decision.
In a recent statement, Facebook stated: “We want to make it harder to interfere with elections on the platform, and easier for people to make their voices legitimately heard in the political process,”
Indeed, this comes not too long after Facebook was rounded on by major political heavyweights, including the European Union. It was stood accused of not doing enough to stop people from being given the wrong impression, so they brought in a series of new tools and regulations which would make it easier to know where the funding comes from for political ads.
By using a team of human admins as well as software, they would look to try and avoid any outside interference on their platform within Indonesia. With Indonesia battling its own social media problems presently, this can only be a good thing.
Why is Indonesia being given the green light for Facebook’s new policy?
For one, it’s probably one of the largest elections to take place in the world. As the largest Muslim-majority nation, the power that Indonesia holds is immense. Therefore, it’s important that the nation isn’t going to fall prey to the election problems faced in other parts of the world.
While often accused of not acting fast enough on these kinds of problems, Facebook has proven it has the will and desire to act quicker in the future.
Indeed, they even shut down a host of stories produced by Saracen, the online group in Indonesia accused of spreading ‘fake news’ and hateful content online. While some may be wondering where this kind of movement and action from the social media giants was some time in 2016, it’s safe to say that this can only be a good thing.
Yes, it would be nice if this had happened sooner. It feels churlish to criticize Facebook, though, for finally taking the action that we all wanted them to take in the first place.