Facebook cybersecurity executive on election "war room", tactics of bad actors

Lester Mason
October 20, 2018

"The work we are doing in the War Room builds on nearly two years of hard work and significant investments, in both people and technology, to improve security on Facebook, including during elections", Chakrabarti said.

More than 20 different teams now coordinate the efforts of more than 20,000 people mostly contractors devoted to blocking fake accounts and fictional news and stopping other abuses on Facebook and its other services.

"The War Room has over two dozen experts from across the company - including from our threat intelligence, data science, software engineering, research, community operations and legal teams", Samidh Chakrabarti, Facebook's Director of Product Management, Civic Engagement, said in a statement on Thursday.

"Our dashboards offer real-time monitoring on key elections issues, such as efforts to prevent people from voting, increases in spam, potential foreign interference, or reports of content that violates our policies", the company said in a statement.

Inside a bland conference room-equipped with video screens, a whiteboard, and an American flag-a small squad of Facebook employees is trying to prevent disinformation campaigns from tilting the upcoming midterm elections.

Facebook, Inc. (NASDAQ: FB) briefed reporters Wednesday on its latest efforts to prevent election interference, identify and remove fake news and prevent malicious activity.

Some Facebook investors filed a shareholder proposal to take CEO Mark Zuckerberg out of his role as chairman of the company, accusing him of mishandling various scandals that have plagued the social media platform, according to Business Insider. It has also introduced a public database of political ads that have been published on Facebook and that is meant to identify who paid for them. This is Facebook's War Room, and it's the thin line standing between us and chaos.

But occasionally, even those efforts stumble.

He added that Facebook has "really been going after the financial incentives for people to produce fake news in the first place". Facebook told the newspaper that it would fix the problem.

Now, CNN has been given access to the Facebook War Room, providing an insight into how the company is preparing for the next round of elections.

"For example, our technology detected a false post claiming that Brazil's Election Day had been moved from October 7 to October 8 due to national protests. And also we work with our outside partners, whether you're talking about people from government, state elections officials, other companies who might see things, see threats and provide information to us".

"These employees represent and are supported by the more than 20,000 people working on safety and security across Facebook".

Still, Brazil's electoral court complained about the amount of misinformation on Facebook and WhatsApp during the elections, and ordered Facebook to remove over thirty links to fake news reports meant to smear a Brazilian politician, the Guardian reported last week.

"And so, behind me is our war room for the upcoming USA midterm elections and it's actually the culmination of two years of hard work we've put in all across the company", said Samidh Chakrabarti, Facebook's director of product management. Facebook calls this "the War Room". During the USA presidential election, Russian government trolls and profit-driven fake news outlets polluted the social network with polarizing propaganda. Although Facebook works with others, it's easier to communicate with them "virtually" than physically, said Facebook head of cybersecurity policy Nathaniel Gleicher.

Other reports by Iphone Fresh

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