With the start of US presidential campaigns, Facebook has also started testing improved election security rules. This week the social media giant has announced that it will be providing funds for research into one of the biggest concerns during the election, i.e. misinformation.
Facebook will be providing about $2 million for research into false information and polarization, and how it is being spread via social communication technologies.
According to Facebook:
"We will provide a total of $2,000,000 in funding for research proposals that aim to enrich our understanding of challenges related to misinformation, polarization, information quality, and conflict on social media and social technology platforms. Our goal for these awards is to support the growth of the scientific community in these spaces and to contribute to a shared understanding across the broader industry on how social technology companies can better address social issues on their platforms."
The funding will facilitate studies to find more ways to detect misinformation and its effects in campaigns, as well as highlight how campaigns are carried out in various non-Western regions.
This will help provide in-depth information about different strategies in different markets, which could help Facebook tackle any threats in the growing markets where misinformation is not a huge concern compared to other regions.
It is important to note that Facebook has also said that it will not give out any data and any data being used in the research must adhere to the platform’s terms and conditions.
The effects of misinformation online are still unclear during campaigns. And while political division has grown with the rise of social media it is still unknown what the maximum case and effect are. This is hard to detect mainly because there is no direct connection between what a person views online and how they respond. But we do know that people are transparent about their political opinions since they share their opinions online and there’s a growing number of people that use social media for news.
Having more insight into misinformation is important to know w its spread and its impact so it can be known how to handle it better.
The new project together with Facebook’s funding can bear fruit in this regard.