Facebook Announces Plans To Fight Election Interference
Facebook Inc. (NASDAQ: FB) has been promising to make its platform safer from election interference around the world. Now, it seems like there are some concrete plans in place to make this happen. Facebook’s chief executive, Mark Zuckerberg, outlined the plans in a roughly 3,300-word blog post.
The November midterm elections in the United States are fast approaching and Facebook is working hard to avoid the issues that plagued the platform in the run-up to the 2016 presidential election. Prior to that election, Russian operatives bought hundreds of Facebook ads to spread inflammatory messages and disinformation among the American electorate. Facebook is still facing criticism over whether its lack of oversight during the period impacted the federal election.
In the post, Zuckerberg wrote: “In 2016, we were not prepared for the coordinated information operations we now regularly face. But we have learned a lot since then and have developed sophisticated systems that combine technology and people to prevent election interference on our services. Today, Facebook is better prepared for these kinds of attacks.”
One effort the company is undertaking is hiring 10,000 additional people to work on safety and security issues. Another prong of the plan is creating automated programs that are able to find and remove fake accounts. The company will begin publishing a transparency report twice a year that will document the number of false accounts removed by Facebook. Facebook has also implemented a new requirement that buyers of political ads on its network be verified as United States citizens or permanent residents.
In his post, Zuckerberg acknowledged that Facebook can’t stop election interference on its own. He wrote: “Preventing election interference is bigger than any single organization. It’s now clear that everyone — governments, tech companies, and independent experts such as the Atlantic Council — need to do a better job sharing the signals and information they have to prevent abuse.” He has called on journalists, governments, and non-profits to help the platform fight misinformation campaigns.