Facebook Working to Improve Digital Literacy Ahead of Ontario Election

One of the main places people share their political opinions is enhancing transparency surrounding smaller elections in Canada now.

Facebook originally launched their Election Integrity Initiative to help with federal elections but the social media giant has now outlined steps they are taking to help keep the upcoming Ontario provincial election as clear as possible for users.

As Ontario’s election approaches on June 7, Facebook will take extra steps to assure all the candidates and page admins have two-factor authentication to protect their accounts, as well as access to the cyber threats crisis line. This will be done through special notifications appearing at the top of pages for the admins.

“At Facebook, we take our role in securing the integrity of elections very seriously,” said Kevin Chan, Head of Public Policy, Facebook Canada. “These are just some of the steps we are taking in Canada and around the world to ensure our platform is a place where authentic civic engagement thrives.”

A new reality check PSA (shown below) has also been launched in partnership with MediaSmarts, Facebook’s original partner for events and video productions for the federal initiative. The new PSA does not have a provincial twist to it but it does outline how voters can assess the validity of information during an electoral campaign.

Facebook is also taking steps to remind users that they can easily see what kinds of ads a company or political figure may be running by navigating to their page and selecting the “View Ads” button. Users will be directed to a page similar to the one below, that shows all currently sponsored posts. The image below outlines the “View Ads” section for Ontario PC Party leader Doug Ford. Note that Techvibes has no affiliation or ties to any political party.

Facebook View Ads
The “View Ads” function on Facebook showing PC Leader Doug Ford.

Facebook’s original Canadian Election Integrity Campaign launched in October 2017 and has since published several videos and posts outlining how to improve account security and how to spot misleading news.

That announcement also kicked off a two-year partnership between Facebook and MediaSmarts to publish videos like the one above.

Canadian’s general opinion of Facebook has been dropping ever since the Cambridge Analytica scandal broke and found that the social media giant had been scraping the data of many of its users.