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

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

The leading social network said some 60 researchers from 30 academic institutions across 11 countries were selected under a review process by the Social Science Research Council and the independent group Social Science One.

Facebook began the research initiative last year after revelations of foreign influence campaigns on the 2016 US election and the Brexit  vote in Britain.

It began soliciting proposals  last year and on Monday unveiled the first research grants.

''To assure the independence of the research and the researchers, Facebook did not play any role in the selection of the individuals or their projects and will have no role in directing the findings or conclusions of the research,'' said a blog post by Facebook executives Elliot Schrage and Chaya Nayak.

The researchers will be granted access to Facebook's internal data through a ''first-of-its-kind data sharing infrastructure to provide access to Facebook data in a secure manner that protect's people's privacy,'' Schrage and Nayak wrote.

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

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

The honor and serving of the latest operational research on Facebook and Future plans, continues. [AFP]


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