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Mark Zuckerberg posts 3,200-word battle plan to fight election meddling

Mark Zuckerberg posts 3,200-word battle plan to fight election meddling
[Photo: Flickr user Anthony Quintano]

The midterms are less than two months away, and everyone seems to be (rightly) terrified that our democracy is on the verge of being hijacked by foreign actors using Facebook to spread disinformation and propaganda. And while that would be bad for democracy, it would be horrible for Facebook’s reputation–and Zuck knows it. That’s why he’s written a 3,260-word post outlining how the company is working to fight election interference. A few takeaways:

Facebook is acting more like traditional spies to surveil threats:

“While we want to move quickly when we identify a threat, it’s also important to wait until we uncover as much of the network as we can before we take accounts down to avoid tipping off our adversaries, who would otherwise take extra steps to cover their remaining tracks. And ideally, we time these takedowns to cause the maximum disruption to their operations.”

Zuck seems to think other online services shouldn’t let people be anonymous:

“One advantage Facebook has is that we have a principle that you must use your real identity. This means we have a clear notion of what’s an authentic account. This is harder with services like Instagram, WhatsApp, Twitter, YouTube, iMessage, or any other service where you don’t need to provide your real identity.”

Facebook shouldn’t be the only one tackling this problem:

“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.”

Zuck concludes:

“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.”

We’ll only need to wait a few more months to see if that is, in fact, the case.

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