Facebook hosts election security meeting between tech companies, intel officials

News by Bradley Barth

Facebook has hosted executives from leading technology and social media firms and US intelligence representatives to discuss ongoing efforts to shield their platforms and users from election interference campaigns

Executives from leading technology and social media firms convened with US intelligence representatives yesterday to discuss ongoing efforts to shield their platforms and users from election interference campaigns.

According to Bloomberg and additional news outlets, Facebook used its California headquarters to host the meeting, which was attended by Google, Microsoft, Twitter and members of the Department of Homeland Security, FBI and the Office of the Director of National Intelligence.

Specifically, the meetings’ attendees addresses strategies for neutralising disinformation operations, such as those executed by Russia to sow discord and disparage former presidential candidate Hilary Clinton during the run-up to the 2016 elections.

Facebook’s Nathaniel Gleicher acknowledged the meeting in a statement. "The purpose was to build on previous discussions and further strengthen strategic collaboration regarding the security of the 2020 US state, federal, and presidential elections," Gleicher reportedly stated. "Improving election security and countering information operations are complex challenges that no organisation can solve alone."

Microsoft and Twitter also reportedly confirmed their presence at the meeting.

"We always welcome the opportunity to spend time with our peer companies and the government agencies tasked with protecting the integrity of the 2020 election," a Twitter spokesperson told CNBC. "This is a joint effort in response to a shared threat, and we are committed to doing our part."

In an company blog post on 28 August, Facebook public policy director - global elections, Katie Harbath, and product manager Sarah Schiff provided an update on recent steps taken to prepare for the 2020 election. Such efforts include stricter requirements for organisations seeking official authorisation to run political ads, and updating Facebook’s list of divisive US social issues that are often exploited by foreign influence campaigns.

Facebook said future steps will also include enhancements to its Ad Library and expanding its policy to ban ads that discourage voting. The blog post states that Facebook also plans to institute a policy mandating that "all Pages for national candidates or elected officials to go through Page Publishing Authorisation, which requires that Page administrators turn on two-factor authentication and verify their primary country location so that we can confirm these Pages are using real accounts and are located in the US."

This article was originally published on SC Media US.

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