Meta ran political ads in the days before the August 9 Kenyan election, despite a national ban on political ads, according to a new report from the Mozilla Foundation. The finding said the campaign facilitated the violation of local election laws by political candidates.
“Advertising platforms are considered to be the most powerful and most guarded environments. Money exchanges hands, and the liability that comes from that,” said Odanga Madung, a Nairobi-based researcher and Mozilla Fellow, per describes Meta’s failure to filter these ads. “It’s very sad. They are not following local election laws.”
Kenyan law states that political candidates cannot act within 48 hours before election day. Candidates for the two major political parties did the same, with paid promotions on Facebook and Instagram, both of which were owned by Meta. Meta also suggests that promoters live in these dark times. Some of the ads from the opposition group Azimio reached 50,000 views and only one gubernatorial candidate ran for some 17 violating the ads.
The finding is one of the Mozilla Foundation’s latest reports on moderation failures in the days before and after Kenya’s August presidential election. The porousness of the devolution negotiations this time involved what Madung called a “post-election constituency,” the report said. Despite public pledges to increase anti-virus resources before Kenyans go to the polls, Meta, Twitter and Tiktok all saw breaches in their operating systems, according to a report. .
In the days after the polls closed on August 9, election news intensified on social media with the release of the results of 43,000 polling stations by the Electoral Commission and the regions of the country (IEBC). Political parties and media companies released their own statistics of these elections, so the information about the winner is conflicting. Violations include the distribution of election statistics that contradict political parties and conspiracy to commit voter fraud.
Current president William Ruto, who leads the Kenya Kwanza coalition, declared the IEBC the winner on August 15. That decision was upheld by the Supreme Court on September 5.
Meta didn’t answer Rest of the WorldThe request for comment on the publication of this section.
The media violations occurred despite the creation of a “war room” run by Meta to tackle the challenges of the Kenyan election season. In July, the company announced its equalization resources for Kenya including a Swahili-speaking group. Meta did not clarify how many mediators were hired or if any mediators were hired for the widely spoken languages in Kenya, namely Dholuo and Kikuyu. In a statement to the Mozilla Foundation in a press release, an unnamed Meta spokesperson said, “We have been preparing for the Kenyan elections this past year and have implemented some measures to keep people safe and informed.” The spokesperson added that the company’s media library and third-party screening partners in the country, including AFP a African perspective.
In the coming days, these modest efforts will be put to the test in the US midterm elections. Meta has made an effort to ban ads on social, electoral and political issues for a whole week before the national election on November 8. An alert about this policy will appear on Meta’s media library, on top of the news media that broke Kenya’s black time.
In total, the Mozilla Foundation identified 52 ads on Meta platforms that violated “voting silence” or violated advertising content policies, by calling early Kenyan election results.
Tiktok and Twitter have banned political ads on their platforms since 2019. However, Meta accepts advertising dollars from political candidates but there are restrictions on the content of these ads. For one thing, Meta doesn’t release ads to quickly announce the winner of the election. But Madung found seven ads on Meta that violated this rule, without proper warning labels.
The Mozilla Foundation found that Meta’s weakness in regulating polling content is not limited to advertisements. At one point, Dennis Itumbi, a strategist for the Kenya Kwanza coalition, announced early that William Ruto had won the election on Facebook Live. The video reached 370,000 viewers without moderate intervention and content labeling from Facebook.
A number of prominent politicians and commentators posted misleading statements in the days following the election that were labeled a Twitter hoax. Those accounts continued to post other unlabeled fake posts. TikTok and Twitter said they were working hard to flag misinformation Twitter will also be launched a special warning label for misleading posts about the Kenyan election. But the Mozilla Foundation’s data set of polling data found a growing trend towards this strategy Rest of the World review it.
“The case where you have criminals who haven’t been treated equally despite giving the same information, especially the way it’s been understood about this election, that’s not a case of slipping through the cracks, ” said Madung.
He says the security measures implemented by the platforms in Kenya have not been fully tested by users and political parties. “Look, if you’re conducting tests on the effectiveness of interventions, you have to take into account that electoral environments are very unique in the country you’re working with,” he said.