Social media platforms Meta Platforms Inc META Facebook, TikTok, and Tesla Inc TSLA CEO Elon Musk-owned Twitter failed to live up to their election integrity pledges during Kenya’s August elections, a new study found.
The Mozilla Foundation report said content labeling failed to stop misinformation, as political advertising served to amplify propaganda.
The study found that hours after voting ended in Kenya, these social media platforms overflowed with misinformation and disinformation on candidates purported to have won the elections and that labeling by Twitter and Tiktok was spotty and failed to stop the spread of these falsehoods.
It said that the spotty labeling of posts calling the elections ahead of the official announcement affected some parties more than others, which made the platforms seem partisan.
Facebook failed majorly on this front by failing to provide “any visible labels” during the elections, allowing the spread of propaganda like claims of the kidnapping and arrest of a prominent politician.
Facebook recently put a label on the original post claiming the abduction and detention of the famous politician.
Before the elections, these platforms had issued statements on measures they were taking in the lead-up to Kenya’s elections, including partnerships with fact-checking organizations.
The report highlighted that in markets like Kenya, where the trust level of institutions is low and challenged, there was the need to study how they could have applied labeling as the solution in these markets.
Kenya’s general election this year was unlike any other as the country’s electoral body, the Independent Electoral and Boundaries Commission (IEBC), released all results data to the public in its quest for transparency.
The platforms implemented interventions when it was too late and ended soon after the elections.
The study also found that Facebook allowed politicians to advertise 48 hours before election day, breaking Kenya’s law. It found that individuals could still purchase ads and that Meta applied less stringent rules in Kenya.
The study also identified several ads containing premature election results and announcements, something Meta said it did not allow, raising the question of safety.
Meta told TechCrunch that it “relies on advertisers to ensure they comply with the relevant electoral laws” but has set measures to ensure compliance and transparency, including verifying persons posting ads.
Price Action: META shares traded higher by 0.32% at $111.51 in the premarket on the last check Friday.
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