Facebook failed to apply fact-check labels on some election misinformation related to Georgia, according to a report from activist group Avaaz.
Facebook has relied on fact-checking and contextual labels as a centerpiece of its strategy for combating misinformation about elections and voting, and it uses artificial intelligence to help determine what posts should get a label. Avaaz's report highlights some of the shortcomings of these systems as Georgia heads for a contentious Senate runoff on January 5.
Researchers at the non-profit analyzed 204 Facebook posts promoting 12 different disinformation claims that had been independently fact-checked and found that only 40% of them had a fact check label applied. Meanwhile, 30% of the posts had just a generic information label about the election and 30% had no label at all. The posts were found between November 18 and 20.
In addition to stating that information is false, fact-checking labels are vital because the spread of false posts is curtailed by Facebook’s algorithm.
“Georgia voters are just weeks away from deciding the direction of the US Senate - and the direction of the country - and their News Feeds are being overrun with misinformation that could further erode trust in the election process and suppress turnout,” Avaaz Campaign Director, Fadi Quran said in a press release.
From March 1 through Election Day, Facebook displayed warnings on more than 180 million pieces of content viewed on Facebook by people in the U.S that were debunked by third party fact checkers, the company has said.
“We remain the only company to partner with more than 80 fact-checking organizations, using AI to scale their fact-checks to millions of duplicate posts, and we are working to improve our ability to action on similar posts,” Facebook spokesperson Kevin McAllister told CNN in response to Avaaz’s report. “There is no playbook for a program like ours and we’re constantly working to improve it.”