On Thursday afternoon, Mark Zuckerberg went live on Facebook to discuss Facebook’s role in maintaining election integrity. Zuckerberg, who had just returned to work from paternity leave, said that he hoped that Facebook would be a force for good democracy.
The company is currently working with the US Government regarding the Russian interference in the 2016 elections. Although they did not find much evidence of facebook being used by Russian groups in the beginning, they did uncover a lot later. He added that whatever evidence was found was handed over to congress. “We will continue our investigation into what happened on Facebook in this election. 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. These investigations will take some time, but we will continue our thorough review.”
Facebook will also be making political advertising more transparent, in order to stop interference wherever possible. “We’re going to bring Facebook to an even higher standard of transparency. 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. We will roll this out over the coming months, and we will work with others to create a new standard for transparency in online political ads,” said Zuckerberg. Facebook will also strengthen the review process for these ads.
They also plan to increase investment in security and election integrity, and partner with election commissions across to the world and inform them of online risks in their elections. They are currently working with Germany on their upcoming elections this weekend. “In 2016, people had billions of interactions and open discussions on Facebook that may never have happened offline. Candidates had direct channels to communicate with tens of millions of citizens. Campaigns spent tens of millions organizing and advertising online to get their messages out further. And we organized “get out the vote” efforts that helped as many as 2 million people register to vote who might not have voted otherwise. Many of these dynamics were new in this election, or at much larger scale than ever before in history, and at much larger scale than the interference we’ve found,” Mark reiterated.
But he admits that it is “a new challenge for internet communities to deal with nation states attempting to subvert elections” and stressed on Facebook’s commitment to democracy.