By Samidh Chakrabarti, Director of Product Management, Civic Engagement
Over the past two years, we’ve made steady progress preventing election interference on Facebook. But as our teams have gotten smarter, so have the adversaries seeking to misuse our services. So in September, ahead of the Brazilian and US elections, we opened our first physical elections war room in Menlo Park, California. Our goal: to get the right subject-matter experts from across the company in one place so they can address potential problems identified by our technology in real time and respond quickly.
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. These employees represent and are supported by the more than 20,000 people working on safety and security across Facebook. When everyone is in the same place, the teams can make decisions more quickly, reacting immediately to any threats identified by our systems, which can reduce the spread of potentially harmful content. 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 team also monitors news coverage and election-related activity across other social networks and traditional media. These efforts give us a collective view and help track what type of content may go viral. To prepare, our team has also done extensive scenario-planning to game out potential threats – from harassment to voter suppression – and developed systems and procedures in advance to respond effectively.
These preparations helped a lot during the first round of Brazil’s presidential 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. While untrue, that message began to go viral. We quickly detected the problem, determined that the post violated our policies, and removed it in under an hour. And within two hours, we’d removed other versions of the same fake news post.
In another example, after the first round of election results were called, our systems detected a spike in hate speech. After investigating, we found hateful content that appeared designed to whip up violence against people from Northeast Brazil. Our community operations team was able to remove these posts within two hours of our technology sending alerts to the team in the war room.
The work we are doing in the war room builds on almost two years of hard work and significant investments, in both people and technology, to improve security on Facebook, including during elections. Our machine learning and artificial intelligence technology is now able to block or disable fake accounts more effectively – the root cause of so many issues. We’ve increased transparency and accountability in our advertising. And we continue to make progress in fighting false news and misinformation. That said, security remains an arms race and staying ahead of these adversaries will take continued improvement over time. We’re committed to the challenge.
November 16, 2018
November 15, 2018
November 15, 2018
November 15, 2018
Receive the latest tech news straight to your email inbox.
As a sponsor of Glamour’s 2017 Women of the Year Summit, we launched a new mentor program in partnership with The Girl Project—Glamour Magazine’s philanthropic initiative. The Girl Project aims to unleash the vast economic and social power of girls through education to ensure that girls everywhere have access to quality secondary education. This mentorship…
In any sport, athletes and amateurs alike are concerned about how their equipment might impact their performance. For gamers, the capabilities of their hardware are fundamental to their experiences. It can be particularly frustrating when the viewing field of the game is interrupted by the bezels of three monitors, or by the slow response of…