Facebook Provides Its Latest Update on Efforts to Safeguard the 2020 U.S. Presidential Election

The social network added a tool to protect the accounts of elected officials, candidates and their staff

Content rated false by third-party fact-checkers will be more prominently labeled on Facebook and Instagram
Facebook

Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg said during a press call Monday updating the social network’s efforts to protect the 2020 U.S. presidential election from interference via its platform that some 35,000 people are now working on security, with an overall budget in the billions of dollars.

“We have a long way to go before Election Day,” he said during the call. “We have a big responsibility to secure our platforms. Personally, this is one of my top priorities for the company. Elections have changed. Facebook has, too. After 2016, there’s just much broader awareness that this is an issue.”

Zuckerberg, vice president of integrity Guy Rosen, head of cybersecurity policy Nathaniel Gleicher, director of product management Rob Leathern and public policy director for global elections Katie Harbath detailed several product and policy updates during the call and in a Newsroom post.

The social network rolled out Facebook Protect as a way to further secure the accounts of elected officials, candidates, their staff and other people who may be frequent targets of hacking or other attacks by foreign adversaries.

Administrators of pages fitting that description can enroll here and invite other members of their organizations to do so, as well.

Participants in Facebook Protect must enable two-factor authentication, and their accounts will be monitored for suspicious activity that could indicate hacking attempts, such as login attempts from unusual locations or unverified devices.

Facebook said that if an attack is discovered against one account, all other accounts affiliated with that organization will be reviewed and protected, as well.

Facebook

More information is being added to provide transparency over the people or organizations behind pages.

A new tab, “Organizations That Manage This Page,” will provide information such as the confirmed page owner, legal name, verified city, phone number and website.

The tab will initially appear only on pages with large U.S. audiences that have gone through the social network’s business verification process, as well as pages that have completed the authorization process to run ads about social issues, elections or politics in the U.S. Confirmed page owners must be displayed on those pages starting in January.

Facebook said in its Newsroom post, “If we find that a page is concealing its ownership in order to mislead people, we will require it to successfully complete the verification process and show more information in order for the page to stay up.”

Starting in November, Facebook will label media outlets that are entirely or partially under the editorial control of their governments as state-controlled media, with those labels appearing both on the media outlets’ pages and in its Ad Library.

The social network said it developed its own definition and standards for state-controlled media organizations with input from over 40 experts globally who specialize in media, governance, human rights and development, including: Reporters Without Borders; the Center for International Media Assistance; the European Journalism Centre; Oxford Internet Institute‘s Project on Computational Propaganda; the Center for Media, Data and Society at the Central European University; the Council of Europe; and UNESCO.

The company also emphasized the difference between state-controlled media and public media, defining the latter as “any entity that is publicly financed, retains a public service mission and can demonstrate its independent editorial control.”

Facebook said it will update its list of state-controlled media on a rolling basis starting next month, with plans to expand its labeling to specific posts and to Instagram in 2020, adding, “We will hold these pages to a higher standard of transparency because they combine the opinion-making influence of a media organization with the strategic backing of a state.”

Over the next month, content that was rated false or partially false by third-party fact-checkers will be more prominently labeled on both Facebook and Instagram, enabling people to make better decisions on what to read, trust and share.

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