Fake news, automated accounts, and targeted advertising of spurious content to Facebook users have been some of the biggest problems that have affected elections in many democracies across the world, over the past few years. The internet was weaponized in a devastating fashion as the flow of wrong information deluged voters and struck at the very basis of the democratic. Needless to say, the Canadian authorities are also bracing for such attacks as they gear up for the election in the country in October this year. However, in a new development, tech giants Microsoft and Facebook have decided to help the Canadian elections in maintaining its integrity by taking action against dodgy accounts. According to one of the Canadian officials, the companies are going to identify and remove fake accounts as well as the automated accounts, which are known as bots.
Over the past few years, political leaders from all over the world have urged companies like Facebook to regulate their platform better in order to avoid such crises. In April this year, Justin Trudeau, the current Prime Minister of Canada had also stated that the leading social media companies in the world had been found wanting in their efforts to curb foreign influence in these platforms. In fact, he had gone on to state that he would be left with no other option but to regulate them if it continues to be the case. The case of Russian social media meddling in the 2016 US Presidential elections is still fresh in the memory of most politicians.
Karina Gould, the Democratic Institutions Minister, stated,
The Wild West online era cannot continue – inaction is not an option. Disinformation must not stand. The malicious, multi-faceted, and ever-evolving tactics constitute a serious strategic threat.
However, she went on to add that Facebook and Microsoft have stepped up their efforts to heighten cybersecurity measure in their platforms and also ensure that they can control the inevitable flow of disinformation from some accounts. However, Gould also went on to urge other platforms to follow in the footsteps of these two giants, and it was not hard to figure out that the comment was aimed at Google and Twitter.