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New Facebook initiative to insulate upcoming elections

 San Francisco, April 9: In yet another bid to prevent fake news and foreign interference in upcoming elections globally including in India, Facebook on Monday announced a new initiative to help provide credible research about the role of social media in elections. At the heart of this initiative will be a group of scholars who will define the research agenda; solicit proposals for independent research on a range of different topics; and mage a peer-review process to select scholars who will receive funding for their research — as well as access to privacy-protected datasets from Facebook which they can alyse. “Our goals are to understand Facebook’s impact on upcoming elections — like Brazil, India, Mexico and the US midterms — and to inform our future product and policy decisions,” Elliot Schrage, Vice President of Communications and Public Policy, and David Ginsberg, Director of Research at Facebook, said in a blog post. 

Facebook claimed it has made real progress since Brexit and the 2016 US presidential election in fighting fake news, as well as combating foreign interference, in elections in France, Germany, Alabama and Italy. 
“Facebook and our funding partners recognise the threat presented by the recent misuse of Facebook data, including by an academic associated with Cambridge Alytica,” the blog post noted. “When Facebook data is requested, proposals will be subject to additiol review by Facebook’s privacy and research review teams — as well as exterl privacy experts that the commission identifies,” the post said. (IANS)