Facebook pushes ad overhaul before 2018 US election

Facebook said this month it would hire 1,000 more people to review ads and ensure they meet its terms. (Reuters)
Updated 12 October 2017

Facebook pushes ad overhaul before 2018 US election

SAN JOSE, California: Facebook has begun overhauling how it handles political ads on its platform and may put some changes in place before US elections next year, Facebook’s chief technology officer said on Wednesday.
US congressional and state elections set for November 2018 present a deadline of sorts for Facebook and other social media companies to get better at halting the kind of election meddling that the US accuses Russia of.
“We are working on all of this stuff actively now, so there is a big focus in the company to improve all of this on a regular basis,” Facebook CTO Mike Schroepfer said in an interview.
“You’re going to see a regular cadence of updates and changes,” he said, speaking on the sidelines of a conference that Facebook is hosting about virtual reality technology.
Chief Executive Mark Zuckerberg said last month that the company would begin treating political ads differently from other ads, including by making it possible for anyone to see political ads, no matter whom they target. US lawmakers had begun calling for regulations.
Disclosures by Facebook, Twitter and Alphabet’s Google that their products were battlegrounds for Russian election meddling last year have turned into a crisis for Silicon Valley.
Facebook’s chief operating officer, Sheryl Sandberg, is in Washington this week meeting US lawmakers.
Moscow has denied allegations of meddling in last year’s US presidential election.
Implementing changes is tricky, Schroepfer said, because Facebook does not want to stifle legitimate speech and because of the volume of material on Facebook, the world’s largest social network with 2 billion users and 5 million advertisers.
“We’re investing very heavily in technical solutions, because we’re operating at an unprecedented scale,” he said.
Facebook is also using humans. The company said this month it would hire 1,000 more people to review ads and ensure they meet its terms.
Schroepfer, 42, has been Facebook’s CTO since 2013 and previously was director of engineering. He also sits on Facebook’s board of directors.
Facebook has dealt with problematic user-generated content in the past, he said.
“We don’t want misuse of the platform, whether that’s a foreign government trying to intercede in a democracy — that’s obviously not OK — or whether it’s an individual spewing hate or uploading pornography,” he said.


Twitter ties 130 accounts trying to disrupt first Trump-Biden debate to Iran

Updated 10 min 48 sec ago

Twitter ties 130 accounts trying to disrupt first Trump-Biden debate to Iran

  • Says it was able to identify the threats based on information from the FBI

RIYADH: Twitter on Thursday said it has expunged more than a hundred accounts that tried to interfere with the public debate between US President Donald Trump and his Democratic challenger Joe Biden on Tuesday night.

"Based on intel provided by the @FBI, last night we removed approximately 130 accounts that appeared to originate in Iran. They were attempting to disrupt the public conversation during the first 2020 US Presidential Debate," the American social networking service said in a statement.

 

"We identified these accounts quickly, removed them from Twitter, and shared full details with our peers, as standard. They had very low engagement and did not make an impact on the public conversation. Our capacity and speed continue to grow, and we'll remain vigilant," it said.

"As standard, the accounts and their content will be published in full once our investigation is complete. We’re providing this notice to keep people updated in real time about our actions. We wish to thank the @FBI for their assistance," Twitter said.

Iran and China are suspected of trying to interfere in the forthcoming US election to help Biden win, while Russia is said to have continued supporting Trump.

 

Weighing in, Twitter users took sides, with some slamming Iran and others blaming the social networking site for favoring the US president.

 

"Those activities against the American people were directed by (Iranian supreme leader) Ali Khamenei who has multiple accounts on Twitter. Perhaps Khamenei shouldn't have Twitter accounts to promote his malicious activities," tweeted Sam Kermani. @CTGR8

"Iran must be a lot worse then China, Russia, lots of other country's and even a ton of organizations in the United States with not getting caught doing that sort of stuff," added @mike10dude.

Opinion

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Alfredo Montanez (@Deadpool650) said Twitter should also "remove Trump's tweets when he posts fake information about voting information and Covid19 instead of just putting a label on it."

"Thank you. Would you mind banning the account of our biggest threat to democracy, Donald Trump?" chimed in Helen Armstrong (@HelenArmstrong5).