Facebook’s New Misinformation Policy Doesn’t Suffice

Lauren Johnson, Staff Writer

From banning hate speech to nudity, it is evident that Facebook has thrown efforts into limiting the information we see on a daily basis. But how much has it really done to limit manipulation of its users, especially recent political manipulation?

The trickiest part about combating media manipulation is pinpointing the source or intent behind it. When Facebook posted a policy update on Monday addressing “unauthentic behavior” on its platform, it was clear to say that it would focus on the appearance of suspicious trends, rather than the individuals who created it.

“When we take down information operations, we are taking action based on the behavior we see on our platform—not based on who the actors are or what they say.”

So…what you’re saying is that there is no punishment for said “bad actors” whatsoever? If all Facebook does is delete the accounts, don’t you think they’re just going to find a way to make more?

Instances of coordinated inauthentic behavior (CIB), however, will be handled with a “larger hammer.” Facebook said it plans to put all forces into finding the organization.

“If we see any instances of CIB conducted on behalf of a government entity or by a foreign actor, we will apply the broadest enforcement measures including the removal of every on-platform property connected to the operation itself and the people and organizations behind it. We will also announce the removal of this activity at the time of enforcement.”

No doubt, this nuanced policy is in response to speculation that Russian bots will once again interfere in our presidential elections. What Facebook fails to mention is how it will prove that certain suspicious activity is coordinated. How can it?

According to the New York Times, Facebook has already removed CIB accounts following its policy update—with one of the three cases originating from Russia and the others from Iran. 

In an investigation by Graphika, a media-auditing firm, the Russian “conspiracy,” if you will,  was found to create campaigns against presidential candidates Joe Biden, Bernie Sanders, and Elizabeth Warren. Facebook later reported that all fifty accounts related to the incident were shut down. 

Lord knows we can’t handle another 2016, so Facebook had better stick to its word in bringing an end to apparent media manipulation.