Comment on Facebook General Election action plan

Nov. 8, 2019

NEWS FROM THE OPEN KNOWLEDGE FOUNDATION

EMBARGO: IMMEDIATE

COMMENT ON FACEBOOK’S GENERAL ELECTION ACTION PLAN

Facebook has today set out the actions it is taking during the UK General Election campaign.

The move comes amid widespread concern about disinformation on social media sites, and follows a political ad ban on Twitter.

Facebook said it has tightened its rules to ‘make political ads much more transparent, so people can see who is trying to influence their vote and what they are saying’.

It said it has ‘built stronger defenses to prevent things like foreign interference’ and has ‘invested in both people and technology to ensure these new policies are effective’.

The announcements have been welcomed by the Open Knowledge Foundation.

However, Facebook is still accepting payment to promote ads which contain disinformation – even though it claims that political ads account for only 0.5 per cent of its revenue.

That is why the Open Knowledge Foundation has called for a temporary halt on political adverts for the duration of the election campaign.

Ultimately, the only way to provide true openness and transparency is to update UK electoral law for the digital age.

Catherine Stihler, chief executive of the Open Knowledge Foundation, said:

“This is a welcome first step by Facebook, which is clearly listening to widespread concerns about disinformation on its site during this General Election campaign.

“Any attempts at delivering greater openness and transparency are encouraging.

“However, it remains the case that Facebook is still accepting money for political ads which can contain disinformation, which is why we have called for a moratorium on political ads for the duration of the campaign.

“Ultimately, the solution to this does not involve self-regulation. The only way to build a fair, free and open digital future in the UK is to update our analogue electoral laws for the digital age.”

ENDS

NOTES TO EDITORS

https://newsroom.fb.com/news/2019/11/how-facebook-has-prepared-for-the-2019-uk-general-election/

Contact: Alan Roden at alan.roden@okfn.org or +44 (0)7753 904 531

ABOUT OPEN KNOWLEDGE FOUNDATION

Our vision is for a future that is fair, free and open. Our mission is to create a more open world – a world where all non-personal information is open, free for everyone to use, build on and share; and creators and innovators are fairly recognised and rewarded.

Open knowledge is any content, information or data that people are free to use, re-use and redistribute without any legal, technological or social restriction.

The Open Knowledge Foundation helps governments, universities, and civil society organisations by providing them with skills and tools to publish, use, and understand data.

Read more here: https://okfn.org

The Open Knowledge Foundation is a not-for-profit organisation. It is incorporated in England & Wales as a company limited by guarantee, with company number 05133759. Registered office address: 86 - 90 Paul Street, London EC2A 4NE, UK.

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