After announcing new rules around the use of memes by political candidates last week, Facebook has now sought to add an extra level of transparency to such usage by providing a real-time list of political branded content on Facebook and Instagram, which anybody can view in CrowdTangle at any time.
Facebook was forced to take action on the use of memes after US Democratic Presidential hopeful Michael Bloomberg partnered with a group called ‘Meme 2020’ in order to commission the creation of memes by various Instagram influencers to help boost his messaging.
But while Facebook did implement new rules around the usage of memes by candidates, it also refused to add these influencer posts into its Ad Library, where all other political candidate ads are listed. Why Facebook has opted not to also include political memes is unclear, but depending on how much they’re used, that could leave a significant gap in Facebook’s transparency tools, limiting the capacity to scrutinize the tactics used by each candidate.
Which is where this new listing comes in. Announced by Facebook’s Director of Product Rob Leathern, the new columns for political branded content will enable anyone to see, at any time, what types of posts each candidate is using to connect on Instagram and Facebook.
But the issue itself does highlight yet another complication for the platforms in facilitating transparency.
A key challenge here is in tracking down paid political sponsorships by influencers, and ensuring that they stay within the newly implemented rules. Some people may simply be posting their personal support of a candidate, while others are paid. So how do you identify which is which, if they don’t?
The potential gap underlines the need for more uniform regulations around political ad content and disclosure, and the need for penalties for those that break the rules, in order to discourage misleading endorsements and messaging.
Yet, at the same time, most of the Bloomberg memes, you’d think, have been pretty ineffective thus far.
I mean, no disrespect to the creators, but I’m not sure this type of content is going to swing the vote in any significant way.
But then again, maybe I’m missing the point – maybe, simply be engaging popular creators, and getting more exposure to their fans, the Bloomberg campaign is making progress, and solidifying a level of support.
Either way, if you want to see exactly how they’re looking to do this, you now can via this CrowdTangle dashboard.
Twitter adds warning labels to false Ukraine war posts
Misleading tweets about Russia’s war on Ukraine will be hidden behind messages warning they could cause real world harm under a new Twitter policy. – Copyright AFP Asif HASSAN
Twitter on Thursday said it will put warning labels on demonstrably false posts about Russia’s war in Ukraine under a new “crisis misinformation policy.”
Tweets violating the new rule will be hidden behind messages saying that misleading information in the posts could cause real-world harm, said Twitter head of safety and integrity Yoel Roth.
Twitter users will then have to click on a link to see an offending post.
“While this first iteration is focused on international armed conflict, starting with the war in Ukraine, we plan to update and expand the policy to include additional forms of crisis,” Roth said in a blog post.
Examples of the kinds of posts that would merit warning labels included false reports about what is happening on the ground and how the international community is responding.
Twitter said it will make a priority of adding warning labels to tweets from high-profile accounts such as state-affiliated media outlets, governments, and users whose identities have been verified.
“Conversation moves quickly during periods of crisis, and content from accounts with wide reach are most likely to rack up views and engagement,” Roth said.
He added that the new policy will guide Twitter’s efforts “to elevate credible, authoritative information, and will help to ensure viral misinformation isn’t amplified or recommended by us during crises.”
The content moderation move comes as Twitter faces the prospect of being bought by billionaire Elon Musk.
The controversial Tesla chief openly advocates for anyone to be able to say whatever they want on Twitter, no matter how untrue, as long as it doesn’t break the law.
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