Facebook Creates Team To Stop AI Disinformation In Elections

Ever since the controversial 2016 US presidential election, Facebook has been heavily criticized for not doing enough to stop the spread of damaging political misinformation. While the company has introduced new measures in the intervening years to crack down on these bad actors, there was still undoubtedly room for improvement. And this week, the social media giant took another step forward, forming a team to tackle deceptive AI content about upcoming elections in the European Union.

While Facebook has touted its record on investing in these measures, some experts questioned whether the company even has the capacity to do the job. For instance, how can Facebook’s algorithm or moderators even prove if a realistic-looking photo is fake?

“Most of its planned strategy could be observed to lack teeth in substantive ways,” said Deepak Padmanabhan, the author of a study on elections and AI. As an example, Padmanabhan cited a hypothetical AI-generated photo of police attacking protestors.

“Proving it to be fake requires that we are sure that there was no such attack… this may be infeasible both for technology or for human experts,” he continued. “How can any technology label this as fake or real? Thus, it is not very clear as to how effective Meta’s generative AI strategy could be — at the very least, there are serious limitations.”

Facebook didn’t clarify if it’s rolling out similar teams for upcoming UK and US elections, so perhaps this first one is a trial run. And while it may be flawed, hopefully it works well enough to see that kind of global use.

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