With Elections over the Head and Facebook’s Message Encryption and Election Security – Many Questions are raised

The U.S. Presidential elections of 2020 are just around the corner and regulatory and government bodies are all over the tech giants. Facebook, is the special concern of everyone due to the ongoing challenges it is facing related to message encryption, political ads and more.

Facebook’s only concern right now is to enhance security on the platform to avoid the claws of the officials. It’s hard to say that Facebook might come out of it, but there are chances if they act right.

The officials are trying to put Facebook on the back foot to avoid any mishaps from happening. Here are the top concerns that are becoming a nightmare for Zuckerberg.

Full Chat Encryptions

It is old news now that Facebook will be encrypting all the chats on messenger to give free access to people without anyone peeking into their messages. It’s a good initiative, but to what extent?

For me or you, it’s normal. What about drug suppliers, child abusers, child traffickers and more? It might turn into a Christmas gift for them.

In October, UK Home Secretary Priti Patel, US Attorney General Bill Barr, acting US Homeland Security Secretary Kevin McAleenan, and Australian Minister for Home Affairs Peter Dutton published a letter in which they demanded Facebook abandon their project of full encryption.

Legally speaking, they are concerned about the well-being of people. End-to-end encryption feature will turn into a hub for terrorists, child sexual exploiters, abusers and more a place to carry on their secret conversations.

The government officials are demanding this to reduce the risk of serious harms that can affect countries. If not abandon the idea, then officials asked Facebook to provide a back door or an access point to law enforcement to maintain some transparency.

Facebook has commented that they will not be abandoning the idea of encryption nor will they provide any access point. As expected, Facebook responded that giving access point to one means opening doors for others as well. It is for sure that other actors will try to take advantage of this access point that can also bring major harm.

By rejecting this idea, Facebook is well aware that it has attracted more eyes to hawk on it. The scrutiny will increase and the criticism against Facebook will only touch new heights. However, Facebook’s fully encrypted chat will bring more privacy-savvy users to the platform.

Even though Facebook might be right in their decision, but the current situation with the government does not support their stance on full message encryption.

No Fact-Checking for Political Ads

Don’t forget the ads scandal that Facebook is continuously facing. Right now, there has been news that lack of fact-checking of ads has led to the spread of major misinformation through Facebook.

Many saw Islamophobic posts and more on the Facebook, but Facebook requested that it is as per their Community Standards – Hey Facebook, I surely wanna know about this community!

With so many users on Facebook, it is certainly impossible to regulate everything as per standards. Facebook is one of its kind when it comes to having a social impact and millions of users. Believe it or not, Facebook actually has a social impact on people.

More than 74% of US adults use Facebook daily with at least some news on their news feed. So, given the size of the company it becomes impossible to identify every potential harmful content on the internet.

People do get influenced by Facebook and such posts only feed into their thoughts. With Presidential Elections coming, that is the least that Facebook would want!

Group Manipulation

Local newsgroups reported that political activists are infiltrating their discussions on the platform. Since the admins are untrained and don’t know how to deal with the situation – it leads to the spread of misinformation pretty easily.

Marc Owen Jones, a Professor has identified that the political activists are using bots to flood misinformation. Using such tactics only leads to fueled counter-movements and arguments that could cause bias pretty easily.

It only takes one false tweet to enter into these groups, and the next thing you see is intense debates on the topic – Target achieved!

Targeting influential local groups is a note-worthy strategy to reach to major national ones. First, leave the bacteria in one place and the disease will travel everywhere. These posts get a lot of engagement, which can make the word travel faster among other groups.

In the end, even some high profiles engage in such false and fake content, which is beyond Facebook’s control!

On such a large scale, even Facebook might be unable to control the content flowing on the internet. If Facebook stops people, they will move to another social media platform. You see, it’s the people, not the Facebook!

Photo: JasonDoiy via Getty Images

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