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Meta Launches Real-Time Content Censorship Unit for 2024 Elections

If you’re tired of censorship and surveillance, subscribe to Reclaim The Net.

When Facebook (Meta) wants to safeguard its “right to censor,” the company presents itself as basically just another private company out there minding its own business.

But when election campaigns get in full swing, especially in the US, but also the EU, the way Meta reacts, announcing all sorts of yet new policies and new units to deal with information related to elections, shows that it could have a massive influence on their outcome.

And while it’s repeatedly said that (mostly arbitrarily “defined”) misinformation is the scourge of democracy, there is another, this time, no doubt about it: censorship, sometimes based on such flimsy excuses as basically somebody’s subjective opinion – for example, “potential threats.”

Related: Questions are raised over impartiality of Facebook fact-checking certifier

None of this seems to be important to Meta, who have just announced how they are “preparing” for the elections in the EU this summer.

There’s a slew of news on this front: Meta will have what it calls an Elections Operations Center whose job will be identifying “potential threats.” And then real-time “mitigation” (i.e., censorship) will follow.

Oh happy news: despite all the controversies around “fact-checker,” Meta has announced it is continuing to rely on them, and even boasts about having “the largest fact-checking network of any platform.”

Then we move to the “frightening” AI – Meta has joined a “tech accord” against whatever is branded as deceptive AI content related to elections, and is “taking a responsible approach to new technologies like GenAI” – whatever “responsible” here means.

Just how “humble and ordinary” of a private company Meta is, becomes clear from some figures: on one hand, reports say that it has been “learning” from 200 elections across the globe (that could be, in how many it has meddled with “moderation”).

On the other, $20 billion have been spent by the giant – since 2016, no doubt coincidentally – on what it calls “safety and security,” while the number of people it employs to work on this has ballooned to some 40,000.

And no doubt, whatever Meta “learns” from how its censorship system works during the EU elections, can come in handy leading up to the November presidential vote in the US.

If you’re tired of censorship and surveillance, subscribe to Reclaim The Net.

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