Technology

Stop calling Facebook’s effort to fix itself an “arms race”

Since the aftermath of the 2016 election, Facebook has invested millions of dollars in an effort to shore up the platform against future attacks. Late Wednesday night, Mark Zuckerberg published a 3,300-word progress report on how the company has been doing.

The report contained little in the way of news. The steps that Zuckerberg outlined have been announced publicly every step of the way. They include:

  • Removing fake accounts.
  • Removing posts that use hoaxes to incite violence.
  • Preventing publishers of hoaxes from selling ads against their content.
  • Forming partnerships with nonpartisan fact checkers to rate disputed posts.
  • Requiring advertisers to verify their identities and allowing the public to see relevant information about all ad campaigns on Facebook.
  • Setting up an independent election research commission to let outside academics examine the influence of social networks on democracy.
  • Coordinating with other social platforms and the government to identify and remove influence campaigns.

Zuckerberg concludes:

In 2016, we were not prepared for the coordinated information operations we now regularly face. But we have learned a lot since then and have developed sophisticated systems that combine technology and people to prevent election interference on our services.

This effort is part of a broader challenge to rework much of how Facebook operates to be more proactive about protecting our community from harm and taking a broader view of our responsibility overall.

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