Facebook accelerates fight against fake news ahead of Australian elections

By Michael Grothaus

Facebook has announced that it is implementing new measures to stop fake news being spread on its platform ahead of the Australian elections, assumed to be taking place in a few weeks’ times.

Australia has not called a national election yet, but it is expected to announce one within days, with the election to be held within weeks. As soon as an election is called, Facebook will activate two measures aimed at stopping outside influences on the elections, reports Reuters.

First, the social media giant will briefly block foreigners from buying political advertisements in the run-up to the election. Facebook says foreigners would be forbidden from buying ads mentioning political parties, slogans, and logos.

Second, Facebook will team up with French news agency Agence France-Presse to launch a fact-checking service in Australia to identify fake news being spread on the platform in the run-up to the election. Facebook also says it will make sensational stories less prominent in news feeds and remove fake accounts.

Though not directly related, Facebook’s announcement comes just a day after Australia announced tough new laws for social media companies that host violent content on their platform. Facebook especially has faced increased scrutiny in Australia after the alleged Christchurch, New Zealand, shooter live-streamed his mass shooting on the site last month.


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