2020 is the year of municipal elections in Brazil. Because of this, the Superior Electoral Court (TSE) received representatives from Google, Facebook, Whatsapp and Twitter to discuss strategies to combat false information and news during the election period.
The meetings were not mere formalities. In October, the four platforms joined the TSE’s Program to Combat Disinformation, which aims precisely to prevent social networks and instant messaging services from being used to disseminate false information for political purposes.
According to TSE, Google, Facebook (also representing WhatsApp) and Twitter “have committed themselves to actively act to discourage actions of proliferation of false information and to improve tools to verify possible practices of dissemination of disinformation”.
The agency also explains that the meetings – all held on Monday (11) – were a way for the TSE to better understand the functioning of each platform and, thus, to know what can or cannot be done to combat disinformation.
It is also expected that the TSE will be able to communicate with these companies more quickly whenever the situation demands.
At the meetings, each company described the measures that are already or will be adopted to combat fake news and misuse of its platforms in the electoral period. Briefly, these are:
Google: the company talks about implementing algorithms that prioritize information published on the official pages of the Electoral Justice or in reliable press vehicles, in addition to the possibility of creating a specific area on the results pages with electoral information;
Facebook: the company highlighted actions that have already been taken or are in progress, such as removing fake accounts, partnering with news checking agencies and adopting an automated system for removing irregular content;
Whatsapp: through its director of public policies, Pablo Bello, WhatsApp explained that it cannot moderate content because it is a service with end-to-end encryption, but highlighted measures such as the one that blocks mass forwarding of messages and the function that prevents users from being included in groups without prior authorization;
Twitter: the social network also pointed out that it has established partnerships with news checking agencies and is committed to providing training to Electoral Justice Communication advisors on the functioning of its platform.
With information: TSE.