The Dutch digital burgerrechtenorganisatie Bits of Freedom, concludes that the elections via Facebook still easy to manipulate, despite the promise of the company to counter this.
Facebook promised in march a better protection against nepnieuws and verkiezingsmanipulatie. According to the rules should political ads on Facebook will only be placed in the country where the advertiser resides. In the framework of the European Parliamentary elections was an exception made for specific European parties.
It is easy to be outside the boundaries of politics to advertising, showed a Bit of Freedom with a sample. From Germany published the organization a political meme on Facebook. Bit for Freedom paid through a German account to that image among Dutch voters to spread.
The organization was not hampered, despite promises that Facebook is also the Second Room did. The sample was also vice versa without obstacles carried out by the Netherlands with a Dutch account and account number with a political message in Germany to advertise.
“Facebook is not a reliable partner proven. This time they did even the promises in the Second room. Thus, Members of parliament lied to,” says Evelyn Austin of Bits of Freedom against Nieuwsuur. “They said: it is now impossible to get from one country in another country to advertise. That is not true. There are no barriers to do that, despite what Facebook said last week.”
D66 wants action from the minister
D66 Mp Kees Verhoeven calls on minister Kajsa Ollongren of Home Affairs for action. “What concerns me is the time now that we take the step of self-regulation and confidence in the promise of companies, exchange law,” says Verhoeven. “The minister absolutely has an important role to play, so I call her to action. How they fill out, should they themselves know. But now what needs to be done – more than just relying on the promise of Facebook – that seems clear to me.”
Labour party leader Lodewijk Asscher says that the democracy is at risk if people are manipulated to be from abroad, with ads that are only pointed at them. “I have the cabinet already previously asked to avoid that this happens in the Netherlands. The government relies on self-regulation, on the beautiful words of Facebook. They have better than promised and time and time again shows that this still is worth nothing. Facebook speaks beautiful words and is now a threat to democracy”, says Asscher.
Facebook again promises a speedy recovery
Facebook says that it is good that Bits of Freedom, the problem. “We will abuse not entirely able to avoid,” says Facebook in a comment. “But we are convinced that these measures interference in elections on Facebook in the future, will help prevent and that is why they are so important,” says the company.
“We invest a lot in additional people and better technology to exploit proactively identify. But if you see an ad which you think it is related to politics or political themes, and which are not, as such, is labeled, please report this.”
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