WASHINGTON : Facebook to fund research on  social media impact on elections.

Facebook announced Monday its first research grants to academics studying the impact of social media and elections, part of an effort to prevent manipulations of  social platforms.

The researchers will be granted access to Facebook's internal data through a ''first-of-ts-kind data sharing infrastructure to provide researchers access to Facebook data in a secure manner that protects people's privacy,'' said a blog post by Facebook's executives Elliot Schrage and Chaya Nayak.

''Some of these steps include building a process to remove personally identifiable information from the data set and only allowing researchers access to the data set through a secure portal.''

Gary King and Nathaniel Persily of Social Science One said in a statement the researchers will seek to move swiftly to help social networks improve their security and integrity.

''The urgency of this research cannot be overstated,'' they wrote.

''Elections in India are already underway, the European Parliamentary will take place in short order, and the US presidential primary campaigns have begun in earnest.

Concerns about disinformation, polarization, political advertising, and the role of platforms in the  information ecosystem  have not diminished if anything, they have heightened.

Some of the research groups  sighted are based at  Northeastern University, Ohio State University, and New York State University and Virginia Tech University in the United States-

France's Institute of Political Studies, National Chengchi University in Taiwan, Italy's University di Urbino Carlo Bo, University of Sao Paulo in Brazil-

Germany's Technical University of Munich, the University of Amsterdam in the Netherlands and Pontificia Universidad Catolica de Chile. [AFP]


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