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Democrats to Release Russian-Linked Facebook Ads That Influenced 2016 US Presidential Elections

According to a report in The Wall Street Journal, the Democrats might release more than 3,000 such ads.

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Tweeters unable to automatically save tweets to facebook. Pixabay
Tweeters unable to automatically save tweets to facebook. Pixabay
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In what is seen as an attempt to offer the public a clearer picture of how Facebook was manipulated during the 2016 US presidential election, Democrats on the House Intelligence Committee are reportedly planning to release thousands of Russia-linked ads on the social network.

According to a report in The Wall Street Journal, the Democrats might release more than 3,000 such ads.

“We have been in ongoing discussions with Facebook and hope to have the final redacted ads in our possession within a matter of days. As soon as we receive them, it is our intention to share them with the public,” The Hill quoted California Democratic Representative Adam Schiff as saying on Sunday.

The ads could be released early this week depending on whether the panel's Democrats can reach an agreement with Facebook over how much to redact, according to the Journal.
Donald Trump . VOA

The ads could be released early this week depending on whether the panel’s Democrats can reach an agreement with Facebook over how much to redact, according to the Journal.

Facebook said the ads were purchased by Russia-linked Internet Research Agency.

While the Republican-majority committee released their final report last month detailing Russian election meddling, Democrats on the committee said the probe had not yet concluded.

The report found no evidence of collusion between President Donald Trump and Russian authorities.

Also Read: Haspel, Trump’s Choice For CIA Director, Withdraws Her Name

Facebook came under the scanner after it was revealed that Russia-linked ads tried to influence the 2016 election.

The social network earlier admitted it had identified 470 accounts connected to the Internet Research Agency.

Facebook is also facing scrutiny for the misuse of its data by Cambridge Analytica.

The social networking giant admitted that the data of up to 87 million users was passed on illegally to the British research firm. (IANS)

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Facebook Set up a War Room to Fight Election Interference

With the new ad architecture in place, people would be able to see who paid for a particular political ad

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Facebook now has a War Room to fight election interference. Pixabay

In line with its efforts to prevent misuse of its platform during elections, Facebook has set up a War Room to reduce the spread of potentially harmful content.

Facebook faced flak for not doing enough to prevent spread of misinformation by Russia-linked accounts during the 2016 US presidential election. The social networking giant has rolled out several initiatives to fight fake news and bring more transparency and accountability in its advertising since then.

The launch of the first War Room at its headquarters in Menlo Park, California, is part of the social network’s new initiatives to fight election interference on its platform.

Although Facebook opened the doors of the War Room ahead of the general elections in Brazil and mid-term elections in the US, it revealed the details only this week.

The goal behind setting up the War Room was to get the right subject-matter experts from across the company in one place so they can address potential problems identified by its technology in real time and respond quickly.

Facebook
Facebook, social media. Pixabay

“The War Room has over two dozen experts from across the company – including from our threat intelligence, data science, software engineering, research, community operations and legal teams,” Samidh Chakrabarti, Facebook’s Director of Product Management, Civic Engagement, said in a statement on Thursday.

“These employees represent and are supported by the more than 20,000 people working on safety and security across Facebook,” Chakrabarti added.

Facebook said its dashboards offer real-time monitoring on key elections issues, such as efforts to prevent people from voting, increases in spam, potential foreign interference, or reports of content that violates our policies.

The War Room team also monitors news coverage and election-related activity across other social networks and traditional media in order to identify what type of content may go viral.

These preparations helped a lot during the first round of Brazil’s presidential elections, Facebook claimed.

The social networking giant said its technology detected a false post claiming that Brazil’s Election Day had been moved from October 7 to October 8 due to national protests.

While untrue, that message began to go viral. But the team quickly detected the problem, determined that the post violated Facebook’s policies, and removed it in under an hour.

“And within two hours, we’d removed other versions of the same fake news post,” Chakrabarti said.

Facebook
Facebook App on a smartphone device. (VOA)

The team in the War Room, Facebook said, also helped quickly remove hate speech posts that were designed to whip up violence against people from northeast Brazil after the first round of election results were called.

“The work we are doing in the War Room builds on almost two years of hard work and significant investments, in both people and technology, to improve security on Facebook, including during elections,” Chakrabarti said.

Earlier this month Facebook said that it was planning to set up a task force comprising “hundreds of people” ahead of the 2019 general elections in India.

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“With the 2019 elections coming, we are pulling together a group of specialists to work together with political parties,” Richard Allan, Facebook’s Vice President for Global Policy Solutions, told the media in New Delhi.

Facebook has also set a goal of bringing a transparency feature for political ads — now available in the US and Brazil — to India by March next year, Allan informed.

With the new ad architecture in place, people would be able to see who paid for a particular political ad. (IANS)