Facebook Canada announced its election integrity plan to provide protection from cyberhacks and the spread of misinformation during the 2019 election.
The initiative puts the onus on citizens, politicians, staffers, parties, and candidates to be prepared for threats online. It will give key players access to a crisis email line linked to Facebook’s security team in case their page is compromised.
“We know that Facebook plays an important role in facilitating public dialogue,” said Kevin Chan, head of public policy for Facebook Canada. “That’s why we take the threats identified by the CSE very seriously and why we’re starting now to proactively address them.”
The Canadian Election Integrity Initiative includes a cyber hygiene guide that outlines how hackers gain control of accounts, and outlines specific ways MPs and political parties can guard against them. The company will also launch the Facebook Cyber Hygiene Training Program open to all federal political parties.
During the 2016 US election, the social media network was used to place ads for Russian-linked groups to spur discord. This is why the platform is developing a system to prevent the dissemination of misinformation from occurring in Canada’s 2019 election.
MediaSmarts, a digital news literacy campaign led by a non-profit agency in Ottawa, will be heading this initiative through a two-year partnership.
“Media literacy – including the ability to evaluate information – is essential in today’s digital world,” said Matthew Johnson, director of education at MediaSmarts. “More than ever we rely on online sources to be informed, engaged citizens. Knowing how to verify information effectively and share it responsibly is now not just a life skill, but a cornerstone of our democracy.”
The company first announced its intention to launch an integrity initiative in September.
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