Video: Fighting disinformation on Facebook in Ukraine

 

In April 2019 Ukraine held presidential elections. We were in Kyiv to hear about people's experience monitoring online disinformation – a big issue in this election. Activists in Ukraine have long experience navigating the noisy and chaotic environment that disinformation creates – which comes not only from Russia, but also from domestic politicians and others with money and power.

At PI, we’re working to make sure that the way data is used by political actors and advertisers does not facilitate the breakdown of democratic structures – and social platforms are an important player in this work.

Facebook is Ukraine’s most popular social media platform and political candidates are increasingly using it to reach new voters. The company took some actions to increase political ad transparency in the weeks leading to the presidential election, but those we spoke with expressed frustration at these steps, including how last minute the steps were implemented. To many we spoke with, it seemed that some of what were meant to be protections, are instead hinderances to civil society.

Increased transparency of ads and targeting on social media platforms is good, but the elephant in the room is that these companies' business models, which exploit user data, may be on shaky ground. Check out our piece to learn more about how civil society in Ukraine is fighting against disinformation.

Music: Storm Horizon by Lee Rosevere (licensed under Creative Commons)