Facebook Ramps Up Security Measures Ahead of Indian Elections

Facebook FB is taking a lot of initiatives to curb data breaches and proliferation of fake news on its platform, which were the major factors negatively impacting its growth in 2018.

To curb the misuse of its platform, the social-media giant is not only ramping up its security measures but also collaborating with governments and public agencies. These initiatives are expected to help the company regain user confidence.

Notably, Facebook is working closely with the Election Commission of India to enhance transparency ahead of elections in India. The country has the largest number of Facebook users globally.

Along with Facebook, India is trying to bring in other social media giants including Twitter TWTR and Alphabet GOOGL to protect user data ahead of elections. Facebook’s involvement in the process is likely to improve its trustworthiness among Indians and will boost ad revenues.

Facebook’s India-Related Initiatives

In advance of Indian elections, Facebook has employed third-party fact-checking organizations that are responsible for checking stories and flagging them if they are false, in diverse languages. After the story gets flagged, Facebook reduces its appearance on the users’ feed by 80%.

The company also introduced new tools on its platform to benefit the voters. While 'Candidate Connect' will enlighten voters about the candidates contesting in the Lok Sabha Election, ‘Share You Voted' can enable users to announce that they have voted.

Earlier, Facebook announced that advertisers who want to place political ads on its platform will need to confirm their identity and location. Further, in July 2018, the company restricted forwarding of messages on its platform in India, after fake news resulted in killings and lynching attempts in the country.

Notably, such initiatives by Facebook are aimed at preventing any foreign interference and curbing the circulation of fake news that can potentially affect voters in the upcoming elections.

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Facebook’s Global Security Initiatives

Facebook is making significant efforts to curb the misuse of its platform. Per reports, the company has pulled down 2,362 bogus accounts and pages that were found engaging in “coordinated inauthentic behavior" across Facebook and Instagram.

Notably, the accounts that were removed were connected to Iran, Russia, Macedonia and Kosovo. Among the removed accounts, 513 were linked to Iran, which were found impersonating political groups and organizations. Further, 1,907 accounts were linked to Russia that were posting spam content.

Facebook’s inability to control security measures on its platform was reflected when it allowed the streaming of Christchurch attack footage. Nevertheless, its recent steps of pulling down accounts and third-party checkers can provide temporary relief to the company.

Apart from strengthening efforts in India, Facebook also removed pages and accounts that were found spreading misinformation, ahead of elections in Bangladesh, Brazil and the United States.

The company’s current endeavors to regain users’ confidence are hard to ignore. This will aid in attracting ad dollars, which contribute significantly to the top line (98.4% of fourth-quarter 2018 revenues).

Zacks Rank & Another Stock to Consider

Currently, Facebook carries a Zacks Rank #2 (Buy).

Another top-ranked stock in the broader computer technology sector is Symantec Corporation SYMC, which currently sports a Zacks Rank #1 (Strong Buy). You can see the complete list of today’s Zacks #1 Rank stocks here.

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