A Trifecta for Meta, TikTok, and Twitter in Kenya

November 23, 2022

Once again, social media companies show their disdain for local laws and information integrity. Rest of World reports, “Facebook and Instagram Ran Ads Violating Kenyan Election Law, New Report Reveals.” Furthermore, according to the Mozilla Foundation report, Meta, Twitter, and TikTok failed to moderate harmful posts amid the Kenyan general election in August. Journalist Andrew Deck writes:

“Kenyan law states political candidates cannot campaign in the 48 hours before an election day. Candidates for both major political parties did just that, with paid promotions on Facebook and Instagram, which are both owned by Meta. Meta itself requires advertisers to abide by these blackout periods. Some ads from the opposition Azimio la Umoja party reached as many as 50,000 impressions and one gubernatorial candidate alone ran some 17 violating ads. … The porousness of moderation filters during this time contributed to what [Mozilla researcher Odanga Madung] calls a ‘post-election twilight zone,’ the report said. Despite public commitments to ramp up moderation resources before Kenyans headed to the polls, Meta, Twitter, and TikTok all saw breaches in their moderation systems, according to the report. In the days after the polls closed on August 9, election rumors on social media were exacerbated by the release of 43,000 polling station results publicly by the country’s Independent Electoral and Boundaries Commission (IEBC). Political parties and media companies released their own tallies of these votes, leading to conflicting declarations of the winner. Breaches included the circulation of misleading electoral tallies by opposing political parties and conspiracy theories about election fraud.”

What an interesting matter. See the article for more election chicanery that made it unchallenged onto social media. Meta, TikTok, and Twitter all insist they did their best to uphold regulations and label misinformation. Madung, however, believes they did not adequately test their procedures within Kenya. That seems like a sound conclusion. Just how long will these companies’ negligence contribute to election turmoil in countries around the globe?

Cynthia Murrell, November 23, 2022

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