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Facebook misjudges thousands of political ads: study

Facebook began labelling political posts and ads on the platform on several occasions, most recently during the 2020 U.S. Presidential Elections.

Facebook began labelling political posts and ads on the platform on several occasions, most recently during the 2020 U.S. Presidential Elections.

A joint study conducted by researchers at New York University and KU Leuven University has found that Facebook misidentifies thousands of political ads, a practice that could lead to manipulation of users on the platform.

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Facebook, now Meta Platforms Inc, misjudged up to 83% of ads that the company or the researchers deemed political. In some cases, the social network did not recognise political ads, while they often wrongfully label non-political ads as political, the researchers noted in a statement.

The team conducted surveys in 58 countries and found that Facebook achieved the least success in filtering ads accurately in Malaysia, where 45% of ads remain under the radar. On the hand, the social network scored the best in the U.S. and New Zealand, where only 1% of ads slipped through the net.

Facebook began labelling political posts and ads on the platform on several occasions, most recently during the 2020 U.S. Presidential Elections. This came after several critics called out the world’s largest social network for allowing biased and erroneous information to run rampant on the platform.

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Facebook’s failure to accurately treat political ads can harm on two levels — the underreporting of political ads could hurt the company’s trustworthiness, while the incorrect categorisation of political ads could limit the reach of vital information to the public, according to the researchers.

“Facebook could take some simple measures to improve its detection of political ads, but it has already indicated that it doesn't feel particularly inclined to do so,” said the researcher heading the study.


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Printable version | May 14, 2022 9:06:06 pm | https://www.thehindu.com/sci-tech/technology/internet/facebook-misjudges-thousands-of-political-ads/article37925793.ece