WHAT YOU NEED TO KNOW:
- Facebook COO Sheryl Sandberg says the social media platform is taking down huge numbers of fake accounts to avoid misinformation and to safeguard the 2020 presidential election.
- Sandberg said Facebook is blocking more than a million accounts each day before anyone can see them.
- She cited the 2016 presidential election where “all the things that went wrong last time were under fake accounts.”
Facebook is taking down huge numbers of fake accounts to protect against misinformation and to ensure the upcoming presidential election is protected, says the company COO Sheryl Sandberg.
She said in an interview: “We’re very focused on taking down fake accounts. We now take down over a million a day — blocked before anyone can see them — because of all the things that went wrong last time [during the 2016 presidential election] under fake accounts.”
Other executives of the social media platform know Facebook and Instagram will be scrutinized this election season because of what happened during the 2016 presidential election when it was manipulated by domestic and foreign entities including Russians trying to influence the result. Until now, the effect of fake accounts and misinformation had on the last election’s outcome remains undetermined.
Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg initially said that believing misinformation on the platform influenced the election was “a pretty crazy idea.”
Since the last election, Facebook has implemented multiple programs and employed thousands of people to fight fake news.
“Election integrity has been a huge, high, hugely high priority for us since 2016,” Sandberg said. “In 2016, we missed coordinated inauthentic behavior on our platforms. We didn’t know what it was. But now we do. And we’ve been working hard at it.”
Sandberg believes that Facebook had a very different track record in 2018 and they hope “for a very good track record in 2020.” Sandberg said.
When asked if the company will have to modify how it tracks “inauthentic behavior” if the coronavirus pandemic affects voting, Sanders acknowledges that the systems evolve.
“So to your point, if more voting is online, if more information is online, we need to stay ahead. We’re working very closely with the Department of Homeland Security, the FBI, governments around the world to make sure that as these things change, we’re not just protecting against what happened last time, but really fighting against what could happen this time. And it is a very top priority for us.”