Hindsight is 2016.
Representatives of Facebook, Google and Twitter, who testified at a Senate committee hearing on Wednesday, said they learned important lessons about how fake news and Russian propaganda spread through their sites. during the 2016 presidential election in the United States. And they are working to make sure that it does not happen again in 2018.
The three companies presented plans that promise more transparency and proactive measures to avoid propaganda.
Experts say that the mid-term elections of 2018 have the potential to change the political landscape before the next presidential election. That only reinforces the interest of lawmakers in getting answers from the technological giants, whose platforms are disseminating electoral information leaders, on how they are going to prevent a repetition of 2016. Senators questioned the same three companies last November after they failed to Stop the Russian Disinformation Campaign in 2016.
Carlos Monje, director of public policy and philanthropy at Twitter, said the company created a "multifunctional election working group" for the interim periods with plans to:
- Verify party candidates to avoid imitation accounts
- Work with federal and state election officials to manage any problems
- Improve their algorithm to eliminate robot accounts that point to content related to elections
- Monitor current issues and conversations related to the 2018 elections for any news to fake
- Use your Ad Transparency Center for political ads
Juniper Downs, head of public policy and government relations for YouTube, described Goog's actions as a four-step plan:
- Require that advertisers identify who they are and where they come from
- Provide disclosures of political notices telling viewers that they paid for them
- They release a transparency report on election announcements  Publication of a "creative library" "where all the acquired announcements are made public
Facebook said that it would increase the transparency of its political announcements and highlighted the tools it added to combat false news, such as machine learning and the addition of" Related Articles "section in articles for the context.
The hearing took place when Facebook announced in a letter to the Parliament of the United Kingdom that it is reopening its investigation on the Russian interference with Brexit.
"The political announcements are a bit more complicated, but certainly an area where we believe that increased transparency is important," Monika Bickert, director of global policy management at Facebook, said in the audience.
Clinton Watts, a member of the Foreign Institute Research Institute, criticized the companies during the hearing, stating that what they are doing would not be enough, since propaganda always tends to be one step ahead of the watchful eye of the website.
"They understand the terms of the services, they have the capabilities to really beat those systems, they play within the rules," Watts said.
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