By Pamela Roi – 22: 10: 2019
Facebook has blocked attempts by Russia and Iran to interfere in the 2020 elections, CEO Mark Zuckerberg said in an interview broadcast on NBC Monday night.
The interference campaigns show that the manipulation tactics are evolving, Zuckerberg said in “NBC Nightly News”, while the company continues to face the control of how it handles disinformation.
Facebook announced that it had removed four account networks, pages and groups for “a coordinated non-authentic behavior” last Monday. Three came from Iran and one from Russia, the company said in a blog post. The networks on Facebook and Instagram allegedly misrepresented themselves and their actions, affecting the United States, North Africa and Latin America.
“The fact that we were able to proactively identify and eliminate them is somehow a sign that our systems are much more advanced than they have been in the past,” Zuckerberg told NBC.
After heavy criticism by lawmakers for not identifying and eliminating electoral interference in 2016, Facebook has made election protection around the world one of its top priorities. The company published new plans this week to protect the 2020 electoral integrity, including plans to create a tracker that shows how much presidential candidates spend on advertising.
The plans do not update Facebook’s advertising policy, which allows politicians to present false or misleading information due to the belief that any statement by a political figure is important to the public interest.
The politicians skewed the fact-checking policy in the wake of Facebook that published a Trump ad campaign with no-evidence statements about the involvement of the former vice president Joe Biden with the Ukraine.
“I think it’s important that people are able to listen and see what politicians say,” Zuckerberg told NBC. “That speech will be heavily examined by journalists, by other people.”
For the upcoming elections, Zuckerberg added that the removal of foreign manipulation efforts on Monday indicates that authoritarian regimes will actively organize disinformation campaigns.
Last year, Facebook said it had thwarted political influence campaigns from Iran and Russia that targeted the US users ahead of the mid-term elections. The campaigns, which mimicked previous attempts at the Kremlin to stir up political discord around issues related to the shortcut buttons, also targeted users in the United Kingdom, the Middle East and Latin America in an attempt to influence world politics.
Iran and Russia have previously denied any involvement in Facebook’s disinformation campaigns.