Will the upcoming national election in Pakistan be the first instance after social media giant Facebook takes strong reform measures after the Cambridge Analytica (CA) data breach scandal?
Political ads on Facebook will have to specify the person/entity paying for the message, its CEO Mark Zuckerburg said in a post on Friday, April 6, to curb the menace of interference in outside elections. It said the payer's identity would be verified as well. Zuckerburg had made a similar talk in September 2017 when he said that his company would share the results of its investigation into the alleged Russian meddling in the 2016 presidential election in the US with the Congress.
Besides the US, the Brexit referendum in the UK; elections in India and even countries like Nigeria were said to be affected by the CA data leak and now with the election in Pakistan - a country not known to have a strong democratic record - around the corner, the Facebook management seems to be apprehensive about more such incidents occurring in future.
Zuckerburg said it was among his top priorities to ensure prevention of interference especially with key elections coming up in a number of countries including US, Mexico, Pakistan, Brazil, India and others in the near future.
Facebook has come under harsh criticism for allowing itself to be manipulated in for important elections and said its new policy would make it necessary for candidates or public issues to feature the label of "political ad" with the name of the person or entity which pays for it.
Facebook has said that 87 million users have been hit by the data leak.
Pakistan will go to the polls in a month or so as its second elected government since independence is set to complete its tenure - the first being the Pakistan People's Party government which served between 2008 and 2013. The election has been deemed significant in the wake of the ouster of Nawaz Sharif from the prime minister's seat last year on charges of corruption.
Both the main parties of the country have struggled to come up with a solid leadership at the helm while Pakistan Tehreek-i-Insaaf of cricketer-turned-politician Imran Khan has been generating a lot of interests.