Facebook's Mark Zuckerberg vows to combat election interference

Angelica Greene
September 22, 2017

"I'm not going to sit here and tell you we're going to catch all bad content in our system".

Zuckerberg also said Facebook's own investigation is ongoing, that it will increase security focused on election integrity, and a new policy is being implemented for political ads to create "an even higher standard for transparency" in which users can see what Page paid for an ad and have the ability to click on the advertiser's website to see what ads are being serviced elsewhere on Facebook.

But the 33-year-old billionaire wunderkind, who has faced rumors of his own political ambitions, unveiled nine steps he is going to take to "protect election integrity" on Thursday.

Meanwhile, Facebook has agreed to release the 3,000 ads it had identified as having been purchased by accounts associated with a Russian organization called the Internet Research Agency (and which might have played a role in shaping results of the election).

"It is important that tech companies collaborate on this because it's nearly certain that any actor trying to misuse Facebook will also be trying to abuse other internet platforms too", said Zuckerberg.

The nonpartisan Campaign Legal Center stressed again on Thursday that the company should make the ads public, "so that everyone can see the nature and extent of the use of Facebook accounts by Russian Federation".

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"I don't want anyone to use out tools to undermine our democracy", said Zuckerberg in a live feed.

He said that if people break Facebook's code of conduct or the law "there will be consequences".

The leaders of the Senate Intelligence Committee have been seeking to bring Facebook executives before their committee since the company first revealed the existence of the ads two weeks ago.

"We support Congress in deciding how to best use this information to inform the public, and we expect the government to publish its findings when their investigation is complete", Zuckerberg wrote. But critics say Facebook should go further. He added that Facebook cannot stop all interference, but that it can try to reduce election interference.

Zuckerberg's move came a day after Twitter confirmed that it will meet next week with staff of the Senate Intelligence Committee, which has been scrutinizing the spread of false news stories and propaganda on social media during the election. While the ads didn't specifically reference the election, a candidate or voting, they nevertheless allowed "divisive messages" to be amplified via the social media platform, the company's chief security officer, Alex Stamos, said in a statement September 7.

Other reports by GizPress

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