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From WhatsApp to YouTube: new functions and changes in platform transparency challenge municipal elections

O Globo - January 28, 2024

In addition to serving as a laboratory for artificial intelligence technologies, October's municipal elections will be the first with resources recently implemented by large platforms, such as WhatsApp and X, whose effects on the circulation of misinformation, although still uncertain, worry experts and Electoral Justice.

The dispute also occurs after decisions by YouTube and the former Twitter make it difficult for researchers to access their data, a bottleneck that adds to the already familiar resistance of companies in the sector to transparency regarding content moderation and political ads.

Researcher at NetLab UFRJ, Débora Salles states that the main bottleneck in the courst is the guarantee of monitoring mechanisms for platforms. She explains that Meta, owner of Facebook and Instagram, and Google are the only ones to offer advertising transparency tools in the Brazil. "When we talk about platforms where access to data is very difficult, it becomes hard to find out if someone is using it inappropriately," said Salles.

While the project to regulate the platforms, the Fake News Bill, awaits analysis in the Chamber, the resolutions being debated in the Superior Electoral Court (TSE) will come into force in the next election. The bill is under debate and should include measures such as requiring transparency when promoting posts.

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