The “fake” agreement of the INE and Facebook

The National Electoral Institute announced they were working on an agreement with Facebook to fight fake news regarding the 2018 General Election, yet the actual document contains no clause on this regard but does grant Facebook access to real time information on the results of the election
File photo by Dado Ruvic/REUTERS
13/02/2018
11:08
Misael Zavala
Mexico City
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The president of the National Electoral Institute (INE), Lorenzo Córdova – and other INE councilors – announced days ago, through different media, that the Institute was working on an agreement with the popular social network Facebook to identify and eliminate fake news.

In a statement released on February 5, the INE claimed they would provide material developed by Facebook to detect “low-quality content” so that Mexican citizens could make informed decisions for the upcoming 2018 General Election.

For this purpose, allegedly, the INE and Facebook executed a memorandum of cooperation – of which EL UNIVERSAL has a copy – nevertheless, the legal document doesn't mention how Facebook will strive to keep fake news out of their feed. It does, however, talk about how the social network will be granted access to the INE's offices and to the Preliminary Results Program on July 1.

The memorandum, in English and Spanish, entered into force and effect on February 3 and is a confidential agreement with a total of seven clauses – none of which talk about Facebook's commitment to fighting fake news.

The Facebook-INE memorandum, signed by Shane Crehan and Edmundo Jacobo Molina, executive secretary of the INE, details that during the election period (March 30 to July 1, 2018) Facebook has the intention yet not the obligation, of making available some of their citizen participation products in their platform for Mexican users.

Moreover, among the advantages for Facebook on election day, the document sets forth that the INE shall provide the social network with real-time information on the results of the election, which shall also be disclosed to the general public through the website of the INE and media partners.

“On election day, the Institute shall provide a physical space at the Institute's Offices, where the company [Facebook] shall be able to perform activities related to the elections, such as publishing in their platforms live videos of the day-to-day activities of the elections, on Facebook or on partner sites,” states the agreement.

The confidentiality clause states that neither party shall allow the disclosure, or cause any of its employees, representatives, or agents to disclose, information related to the memorandum.

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