Facebook Goes Into High Gear to Fight Election Meddling, Fake News

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Defending against foreign interference in American elections is one of the priorities Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg has been focusing on this year, he said in a post Wednesday.

The issue is highly sensitive, and it is one that has garnered a great deal of discussion in media reports and on the Web. Special counsel Robert Mueller warned in a court filing this spring that foreign interference efforts were still going on, and President Trump earlier this week signed an executive order that would punish such interference with sanctions.

To date, Facebook has taken the following steps:

  • Identified and removed fake accounts ahead of elections in various countries;
  • Taken down foreign influence campaigns from Russia, Iran, Mexico and Brazil trying to influence elections abroad;
  • Attacked economic incentives to spread misinformation;
  • Worked more closely with governments — including in Germany, the United States and Mexico — to improve security during elections; and
  • Set a new standard for transparency in the advertising industry that makes advertisers more accountable for the ads they run.

Using machine learning, Facebook identified and removed more than 1 billion fake accounts between October and March. It has doubled its safety and security workforce over the past year, from 10,000 to more than 20,000. It has been identifying and removing accounts associated with networks of people launching coordinated campaigns to distribute fake information.

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