Tech companies rush to fight misinformation ahead of UK vote

FILE - In this Sept. 3, 2019, file photo, leave and remain supporters try to block each others' banners as they protest opposite Parliament Square in London. Internet companies say they’re working to fight misinformation ahead of next month’s general election in the United Kingdom, but bogus online claims and misleading political ads remain a threat due to government inaction.

LONDON (AP) — Social media companies are under pressure to combat political misinformation ahead of next month's general election in the United Kingdom.

The Dec. 12 election will be among the first since Twitter announced a ban on political ads to stem the flow of election-related misinformation.

Facebook has been criticized for its policy of not fact checking or removing false political ads, but the company insists it's taking other steps to safeguard Britain's election. They include the creation of an operations center to quickly identify online election hoaxes.

Despite those efforts, Britain remains vulnerable because government officials have yet to act on recommendations for preventing the spread of misleading political ads and content.

Misinformation played a significant role in Britain's 2016 Brexit vote as well as in the U.S. election in 2016.

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Associated Press writer Amanda Seitz contributed to this report from Chicago. Klepper reported from Providence, Rhode Island.

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