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The Hill: Facebook Teams with IRI to Fight Fake Election News

September 19, 2018

Facebook teaming with nonprofits to fight fake election news

The Hill

By Michael Burke

Facebook said Wednesday that it's teaming with two U.S. nonprofits to fight the spread of disinformation that could impact elections.

The social media giant will work with the International Republican Institute and the National Democratic Institute to help Facebook understand integrity risks on its platform ahead of international elections, company executives said on a call Wednesday with reporters.

The institutes will help Facebook understand "the risks that people may face and what we might be able to do to mitigate those" around elections, Facebook executive Katie Harbath said on the call.

"We know that we have more to do and that misinformation like many of the other areas we work on is constantly going to be an arms race," Facebook News Feed manager Greg Marra said when asked about fake news that has spread recently in Brazil.

Julia Sibley, a spokeswoman for the International Republican Institute, told The Hill that the institute is "still working out the details" of its partnership with Facebook.  

Facebook has faced significant scrutiny over disinformation since the 2016 election, with critics blaming it for failing to police information on its site leading up to the election.

Disinformation campaigns on Facebook have continued ahead of November's midterms. 

In July, Facebook announced that it had uncovered a new coordinated disinformation campaign ahead of November's elections that used dozens of fake accounts and pages on its platform.

Facebook then announced last month that it had identified more campaigns and deleted more than 650 pages, groups and accounts linked to Russia and Iran for spreading disinformation. 

Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg said last week that the company is better equipped this time around to fight potential interference efforts than it was in 2016.

“In 2016, our election security efforts prepared us for traditional cyberattacks like phishing, malware, and hacking,” he wrote in a blog post. “We identified those and notified the government and those affected. What we didn't expect were foreign actors launching coordinated information operations with networks of fake accounts spreading division and misinformation."

“Today, Facebook is better prepared for these kinds of attacks,” he added.