Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg went live in front of his two billion followers in his office a few hours back and shared the concerns over Russian interference in 2016 U.S. Presidential Campaign and the role of Facebook in it. Coming out in the clean, he shared how Facebook will handover more than 3000 Russian Ads from U.S. Presidential Campaign. These ads have been traced back to fake Russian accounts.

Russia Spent About $100,000 on 3000 Ads to Meddle in the 2016 Presidential Campaign

The Federal Election Commission in U.S. and a special investigation team investigation the role of Russia in 2016 elections had earlier approached Facebook for disclosing the information on these ads. However, Facebook declined on grounds of privacy and disclosure terms of user accounts. These ads also come under the personal information of the user.

What changed the viewpoint of the Facebook team is perhaps the vast amount of scrutiny and criticism it received from the public for lack of cooperation on such a sensitive matter that questions the integrity of U.S. elections itself.

Mark Zuckerberg Announces his 9-point Plan to Protect Election Integrity and Use Facebook For Good

After stating how deeply he cares for democracy and would be taking all the necessary steps to make it difficult for people and govts to stop interference like the Russian interference in U.S. presidential elections 2016.

After discovering around 3000 ads from Russian accounts Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg announced Facebook to handover Russian Ads from U.S. Presidential Campaign to Congress and the Special Investigation team.

Also, he has shared a 9-point step strategy that he and his team have devised to make Facebook more powerful and improve the election ads transparency around the world.

The 9-point strategy involves “actively working with the US government on its ongoing investigations into Russian interference.” While actively working with the U.S. authorities, Facebook also plans on continuing its own investigation further by looking for foreign actors, Soviet Groups and review how they used Facebook tools to manipulate the 2016 elections in favor of the current President Donald Trump.

Facebook Makes Political Advertising More Transparent

One of the major reasons why this interference came out later is because most users who post ads on Facebook using Self-Service tools. Generally speaking, advertisers just have to create a Facebook page, add their credit card and then submit their ad, which after a review is approved and run for the designated period.

“In some situations, Facebook employees work directly with our larger advertisers. In the case of the Russian ads, none of those we found involved in-person relationships.” –Facebook

To avert the problematic situation that hampers the national integrity of an election because of international or foreign elements, Facebook CEO has announced to make public advertising more transparent.

“When someone buys political ads on TV or other media, they’re required by law to disclose who paid for them. But you still don’t know if you’re seeing the same messages as everyone else. So 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.” – Mark Zuckerberg

Meanwhile, he also stated in his Facebook post how he will invest more in security and specifically, election integrity. Facebook plans on doubling their manpower involved in election integrity. In total, they will be adding 250 more people to their existing team for contributing more towards the security and safety of the online community.

Facebook Collaborates with Tech Companies like Threat Exchange in their 9-point Strategy

“We will increase sharing of threat information with other tech and security companies. We already share information on bad actors on the internet through programs like ThreatExchange, and now we’re exploring ways we can share more information about anyone attempting to interfere with elections. 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.”

Mark Zuckerberg has initiated the 9-Step strategy starting out with the German Elections this weekend. It’ll be an interesting watch to observe how Facebook implements the above said strategies to ensure the election integrity is maintained and not compromised by any third-party authorities for their own benefits or grudges per se.

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