Google launches election ads library; Facebook ups efforts against Myanmar hate speech

Google launches election ads library; Facebook ups efforts against Myanmar hate speech
Photo Credit: Photo Credit: Reuters
16 Aug, 2018

In a bid to fight fake news and bring transparency in political campaigns, tech giant Google has introduced a new database, which lists all the political ads that run on its platform.

Google released the library ahead of the mid-term US elections, which will be held in November this year.

Called the Ad Library, which opens in a separate landing page, the database contains archives of US political ads and a report showing the ad expenditure in each state in the US and who the top advertisers are, Google said in a blog post on Wednesday.

The aim behind implementing the library is to ensure transparency when advertisers purchase election ads on Google. Under this system, advertisers have to provide information that identified them as US citizens or as permanent residents of the country. Besides, the ads will also contain a disclosure stating that they are paid, the blog post added.

The Ad Library also shows information like which ads have the highest views, the latest election ad running, and deep dives into specific advertisers’ campaigns. The data from the report and the Ad Library are publicly available on Google Cloud’s BigQuery, a report by Indo Asian News Service stated.

Researchers, political watchdog groups and private citizens can use the data set to develop charts, graphs, tables or other visualisations of political advertising on Google Ads services, IANS quoted Michee Smith, the product lead on the company's transparency report, as saying.

It’s not just Google, but also Facebook that has been in the news over fake news, again. The social networking site has come under criticism, this time for failing to review and prevent misinformation and hate speech being spread on its platform in Myanmar. A Reuters investigation found that Facebook was being used to incite violence against the Muslim minority group, The Rohingyas, in the country.

In a blog post published on Wednesday, Facebook said it had instituted a separate team of engineers, product developers and policy makers to deal with the crisis in Myanmar earlier this year. In a report on its investment into the country, Sara Su, a product manager at the social networking site, stated in the blog post that the company has invested heavily into artificial intelligence to highlight posts that break its rules.

In the second quarter of 2018, the company said it identified about 52% of hate speech content in Myanmar, which it removed. This is up from 13% in the last quarter of 2017. “[This] is the result of the investments we’ve made both in detection technology and people, the combination of which help find potentially violating content and accounts and flag them for review,” Su wrote in the blog post.