Meta’s strategy to combat misinformation for 2022 Federal Election

Meta has announced the measures they will be taking to combat misinformation and election interference in the leadup to the Australian Federal Election, tipped for May this year.

Head of public policy for Meta Australia, Josh Machin, outlined Meta’s comprehensive strategy for ‘promoting safety and integrity’ across the company’s platforms, which include Facebook, Messenger, WhatsApp and Instagram, ahead of the election.


“With the Australian Election set to take place in the coming months, Meta has been preparing for them for a long time. We’ve been involved in more than 200 elections around the world since 2017, and we’ve learned key lessons from each one about where to focus our teams, technologies, and investments so they will have the greatest impact,” said Machin.

The measures include the expansion of Meta’s Australian third party fact-checking program, with RMIT Fact Lab set to commence work for the program alongside Agence-France Presse and the Australian Associated Press, from the 21st of March. Meta will also provide one-off grants to their fact checkers, allowing them to increase their capacity in the lead up to the election.

“We see this as a really important public service. If we can play a role in preventing the dissemination of misinformation on social media that has the potential to mislead or harm, then we see that as providing a really critical service,” said Russell Skelton, director of RMIT Fact Lab.

Meta will also work with the Australian Associated Press tore-run their education and awareness campaign ‘check the facts’, empowering users to recognise misinformation. The campaign will go live in April and will be translated into Vietnamese, Simplified Chinese and Arabic.

The company has also made a number of changes to its policies for political ads since the the 2019 election.

“Advertisers are now required to go through an authorisation process using government-issued photo ID, and place a “paid for by” disclaimers on their ads,” said Machin.

“This includes any person creating, modifying, publishing or pausing ads that reference political figures, political parties or elections. It also includes social issue ads that seek to influence public opinion through discussion, debate or advocacy for or against important topics, such as civil and social rights, crime, environmental politics, education or immigration.”

Meta will employ newsfeed notifications to encourage users to vote in the leadup to the 2022 election.

In addition to these changes, Meta will be running notifications for users over 18, encouraging people to vote and directing them to reliable information about the voting process, alongside the launch of Instagram story election stickers targeting younger voters.

“As we get closer to the Australian election, we’ll stay vigilant to emerging threats and take additional steps if necessary to prevent abuse on our platform while also empowering people in Australia to use their voice by voting,” concluded Machin.

Earlier this month, Meta was the subject of heavy criticism from independent publishers who felt they had been unfairly excluded from the first round of grant’s from Meta and The Walkley Foundation’s $15 million Facebook News Fund.


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