Mark Zuckerberg wants to protect elections worldwide from the Nation States like Russia from manipulating results.
Facebook has about five million advertisers who can set up campaigns without ever having to interact with another person on the receiving end.
The Russians buying up Facebook advertising, that is believed to have manipulated the outcome of the 2016 Presidential election, in the United States worked the same way.
“Most ads are bought programmatically through our apps and website without the advertiser ever speaking to anyone at Facebook. That’s what happened here,” Zuckerberg said. “But even without our employees involved in the sales, we can do better.”
To help stop foreign interference in US elections, Zuckerberg is planning to turn over $100,000-worth of Russia-linked ads to investigators. The nearly 3,000 ads will be given to a Congressional committee to determine how much the Kremlin’s propaganda impacted the 2016 presidential election.
“I care deeply about the democratic process and protecting its integrity,” Zuckerberg said during a live broadcast. “I don’t want anyone to use our tools to undermine our democracy.”
The US Senate Intelligence Committee vice chairman, Mark Warner said yesterday there are likely “a lot more” fake Russian accounts on Facebook that have yet to be uncovered. The committee’s job, which Warner is part of, must determine any Russian interference with US elections. He plans to call Facebook executives to testify on Capitol Hill this October.
Zuckerberg outlined 9 things Facebook will be working on over the next months to help mitigate any future manipulations by foreign entities on elections:
1. Actively work with US government
“When we recently uncovered this activity, we provided that information to the special counsel. We also briefed Congress — and this morning I directed our team to provide the ads we’ve found to Congress as well… we expect the government to publish its findings when their investigation is complete.”
2. Continue our investigation into what happened
We may find more, and if we do, we will continue to work with the government. We are looking into foreign actors, including additional Russian groups and other former Soviet states, as well as organizations like the campaigns, to further our understanding of how they used our tools.
3. Transparency on Political Advertising
Not only will you have to disclose which page paid for an ad, but we will also make it so you can visit an advertiser’s page and see the ads they’re currently running to any audience on Facebook.
4. Strengthen our ad review process for political ads
But even without our employees involved in the sales, we can do better… We won’t catch everyone immediately, but we can make it harder to try to interfere.
5. Double the team working on election integrity
In total, we’ll add more than 250 people across all our teams focused on security and safety for our community.
6. Expand our partnerships with election commissions around the world
We’ll keep doing that, and now we’re also going to establish a channel to inform election commissions of the online risks we’ve identified in their specific elections.
7. Increase sharing of threat information with other tech and security companies
It is important that tech companies collaborate on this because it’s almost certain that any actor trying to misuse Facebook will also be trying to abuse other internet platforms too.
8. Strengthen the democratic process
…we will also create more services to protect our community while engaging in political discourse. For example, we’re looking at adapting our anti-bullying systems to protect against political harassment as well, and we’re scaling our ballot information tools to help more people understand the issues.
9. Ensure the integrity of the German elections
With the coming German elections, Facebook has removed thousands of accounts and continue to monitor to see if any similarities to the US election.
“Our sophistication in handling these threats is growing and improving quickly,” he said. “We will continue working with the government to understand the full extent of Russian interference, and we will do our part not only to ensure the integrity of free and fair elections around the world, but also to give everyone a voice and to be a force for good in democracy everywhere.”
In 2016 there were billions of discussions on Facebook about the presidential election. Candidates also had direct channels to send their messages to tens of millions of voters.
Congressional Democrats asked the Federal Election Commission this week to advise on ways to prevent foreign influence on American elections, including possible new laws or regulations.
Until the entire truth is uncovered it is difficult to know what impact Russia had on the 2016 Presidential election.