Washington | Facebook will take exceptional measures to “contain the circulation” of certain information on its platform if the outcome of the US presidential election turns violent or chaos, a group leader said Tuesday in an interview with the Financial Times .
Nick Clegg, Facebook's vice president responsible for international affairs, said the social media group had made plans to manage the flow of information in the event of scenarios ranging from social tensions to political protests.
“We have emergency options if we face chaotic or worse, violent circumstances,” Clegg told the Financial Times , without giving details of what Facebook would do.
These preparations for the end of the November 3 vote come as the social media giant is under pressure to show that it is no longer a means of massive disinformation as in the 2016 polls or the British referendum on Brexit.
“We have already acted in other parts of the world where there was real social instability and we obviously have the tools”, added the leader, referring to “very exceptional measures to restrict the circulation of content” on the platform .
The newspaper recalls that during times of turmoil in Sri Lanka and Burma, Facebook reduced the amount of content that could be shared by those who repeatedly break the rules.
Facebook recently removed the accounts of the far-right American group Patriot Prayer, involved in violence against anti-racist protesters in Portland in the west of the country, and one of whose members had been killed.
Facebook removes Chinese accounts posting about US election
Facebook announced Tuesday that it had deleted fake accounts, groups and pages from China that published content related to the US presidential election in November.
“We have removed 155 accounts, 11 pages, 9 groups and 6 Instagram accounts for breaking our rules against interference by actors or foreign governments,” said Nathaniel Gleicher, head of security policy at Facebook.
The activity of this network, followed by a total of 133,000 accounts, was concentrated mainly in the Philippines and Southeast Asia, but also, to a lesser extent, in the United States.
Positive or negative messages about various political figures, including US President Donald Trump and his Democratic presidential opponent Joe Biden, have been broadcast.
But there was little content about US politics, and the accounts and pages were followed by only a small audience in the US, Facebook said.
The publications focused on Asian subjects, including Beijing's interests in the South China Sea and the activity of US military ships in this area, and the situation in Hong Kong.
They also included messages of support for Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte as well as praise and criticism from China.
Gleicher said Facebook's investigation revealed that the network was operated by individuals in southeast China's Fujian Province, but the Chinese government was not involved.
In total, the network spent only $ 60, paid in yuan, for its advertising campaign on the platform.
Facebook also claimed to have withdrawn another campaign of manipulation originating in the Philippines, mainly targeting a domestic audience.