Protecting Democracy Is An Arms Race

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When you assemble services which join countless people across cultures and countries, you are likely to find all the good that humankind can do, and you are going to find people attempt to abuse these services in every manner possible. Mitigate the poor and our duty at Facebook would be to amplify the great.

This is particularly true in regards to elections. Honest and free elections will be the center of every democracy. What we did not discover until later were overseas actors conducting coordinated efforts to interfere with America’s democratic procedure. Ever since that time, we have focused on enhancing our defenses and making it a lot more difficult for anybody to intervene in elections.

Crucial to our efforts was finding and eliminating bogus accounts – the origin of a lot of the misuse, such as misinformation. Bad actors may use computers to create them in bulk. But with improvements in artificial intelligence, we currently block countless fake accounts daily since they are being generated in order that they can not be used to distribute spam, bogus news or inauthentic advertisements.

Improved transparency in our marketing systems is another place where we also have made progress. Now you can view all the advertisements that an advertiser is operating – even when they are not targeted to you. Anyone who would like to conduct issue or political ads in the USA on Facebook have to confirm their identity. But we have gone even farther by placing all those advertisements in a public record, which anyone can look to determine how much was spent on each ad and the crowd it attained. This increased transparency increases responsibility and liability for advertisers.

As we have seen from prior elections, misinformation is really a challenge. A huge part of the solution is getting rid of accounts. And where articles have been flagged as potentially untrue, we pass them into separate fact-checkers – like the Associated Press and the Weekly Standard – to critique, and we demote articles rated as untrue, so that they lose 80% of prospective traffic.

We are not operating alone. After 2016, it became evident that all governments, technology businesses and independent specialists – wants to do a much better job of sharing the signs and information that they must protect against this sort of abuse. These bad actors do not confine themselves to a single service, and also we should not approach the issue in silos, either. That is why we’re working more closely with other tech businesses on the cybersecurity dangers all of us face, and we have worked together with law enforcement to carry down reports in Russia.

Among the biggest changes we have made over the last year isn’t to await reports of suspicious activity. Rather, we seem proactively for possibly detrimental election-related content, like pages enrolled to a foreign thing that article divisive articles to sow mistrust and push people apart. As soon as we see them, our safety staff reviews the accounts to find out if they violate our policies. By way of instance, we recently took down a community of accounts from Brazil which was concealing its individuality and spreading misinformation before the nation’s presidential elections in October. This allowed us to locate and eliminate foreign political leaders who had formerly flown beneath the radar. And last month, we took hundreds of pages, accounts and groups for producing networks which were intentionally misleading people regarding their identities and goals. Some originated from Iran and many others in Russia. In every instance, we identified and eliminated bogus accounts and poor information leading to the elections, and also in Germany we worked right with the authorities to share information regarding possible threats. The investments we continue to create in technologies and people can help us enhance. But firms like Facebook face complicated, well-funded adversaries that are becoming smarter over the years, also. It is an arms race, and it’ll require the combined forces of the U.S. public and private sectors to safeguard America’s flames from external interference.

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