Facebook misses election misinfo in Brazil ads
Facebook failed to detect blatant election-related misinformation in ads ahead of Brazil’s 2022 election, a new report from Global Witness has found, continuing a pattern of not catching material that violates its policies the group describes as “alarming.”
The advertisements contained false information about the country’s upcoming election, such as promoting the wrong election date, incorrect voting methods and questioning the integrity of the election, including Brazil’s electronic voting system.
This is the fourth time that the London-based nonprofit has tested Meta’s ability to catch blatant violations of the rules of its most popular social media platform, and the fourth such test Facebook has flubbed.
In the three prior instances, Global Witness submitted advertisements containing violent hate speech to see if Facebook’s controls -either human reviewers or artificial intelligence- would catch them. They did not.
“Facebook has identified Brazil as one of its priority countries where it’s investing special resources specifically to tackle election related disinformation,’’ said Jon Lloyd, senior advisor at Global Witness. “So we wanted to really test out their systems with enough time for them to act. And with the U.S. midterms around the corner, Meta simply has to get this right and right now.’’
Brazil’s national elections will be held on Oct. 2 amid high tensions and disinformation threatening to discredit the electoral process. Facebook is the most popular social media platform in the country.
In 2020 Facebook began requiring advertisers who wish to run ads about elections or politics to complete an authorization process and include “paid for by’’ disclaimers on them, similar to what it does in the U.S. The increased safeguards follow the 2016 U.S. presidential elections, when Russia used rubles to pay for political ads designed to stoke divisions and unrest among Americans.