Facebook unveils new plans to protect 2020 elections

Facebook. Image: Pixabay

Oct. 22 (UPI) — Facebook unveiled plans Monday to stop 2020 election interference, and CEO Mark Zuckerberg said the company uncovered new efforts by Russia and Iran to meddle in U.S. elections.

Russia’s Internet Research Agency, often coined a “troll factory,” used social media platforms, such as Twitter and Facebook to spread misinformation leading up to the 2016 election, which the U.S. intelligence community said favored then-candidate Donald Trump.

Facebook introduced “several new measures” to combat foreign interference, increase transparency and reduce misinformation in the 2020 election.

Fighting foreign interference includes removing “inauthentic behavior” across its apps, which it has already done during the past three years, including removing three accounts in Iran and Russia.

Zuckerberg told NBC News it thwarted new interference campaigns from Russia and Iran.

“We continue to see their tactics are evolving,” Zuckerberg said in the interview with Lester Holt, which aired Monday evening on NBC Nightly News. “Today, what we’re basically announcing is that we found a set of campaigns. They are highly sophisticated. They signal that these nation-states intend to be active in the upcoming elections.”

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Facebook said it will also reduce “inauthentic behavior,” by protecting accounts of candidates, their staff and their teams, and updating its policy to clarify how to deal with deceptive practices.

The measure to increase transparency includes making Facebook Pages “more transparent by showing people the Page’s primary country location and whether the Page has merged with other Pages,” the Facebook statement said. “This gives people more context on the Page and makes it easier to understand who’s behind it.”

It also includes labeling state-controlled media, which is under control of a government, and updating the Ad Library to help people understand more about the ads they view.

The measure to reduce information will mean reducing the distribution of such information in News Feed, and labeling information that has been rated false by third-party fact-checkers as such.

Zuckerberg defended the decision to allow political campaigns to run advertisements containing falsehoods.

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