Facebook Details Plans To Counteract Election Meddling

Facebook Inc. (NASDAQ:FB) has made an announcement about its plans to ensure election integrity moving forward. CEO Mark Zuckerberg detailed the steps the company would be taking in a Facebook Live post. In the video, Zuckerberg said, “I don’t want anyone to use our tools to undermine democracy. That’s not what we stand for. The integrity of our elections is fundamental to democracy around the world.”

Facebook initially said that it found no evidence of fake accounts linked to Russia running ads during the election season. However, an internal investigation conducted by Facebook recently found about $100,000 in Russia-linked ad spending from June 2015 through May 2017. The ads came from about 470 Russia-linked accounts.

The company disclosed on Sept. 6 that Facebook ads were bought by Russian agents during the campaign. After uncovering the activity, the company turned the information over to special counsel investigators and briefed Congress on the matter. On Thursday, the company released 3,000 Russia-linked ads to congressional committees investigating meddling during the 2016 presidential election. Many of the ads attacked Hillary Clinton or praised Donald Trump.

In the video, Zuckerberg outlined a plan for bringing Facebook’s political ads to “an even higher standard of transparency.” In addition to disclosing which Facebook page paid for a particular ad, users will also be able to see the other ads that account is currently running on the site. The CEO also said the company will bolster its review process for political ads, though specifics were not provided.

Facebook also plans to more than double the team working on election integrity. It is unclear how many people at the company are currently working on election integrity. The company is currently looking at adapting its anti-bullying systems to protect against political harassment and exploring ways to alert its peers about election interference.

The company says that it is actively working with the US government on its ongoing investigations into Russian interference. Zuckerberg also said the company will establish a new channel for informing election commissions of the online risks the social network has identified in specific elections. Facebook already takes part in registering people to vote and informing them about local issues. Facebook shares are up 48.7 percent this year, nearly five times the S&P 500 index gains of 11.7 percent.