Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg has said the company is involved in an “arms race” as it seeks to snuff out election interference on its platform.
Writing in The Washington Post before his second-in-command, COO Sheryl Sandberg, gives evidence to the Senate Intelligence Committee on Wednesday, Zuckerberg said it will take the “combined forces of the US private and public sectors” to protect American democracy from increasingly sophisticated and well-funded bad actors.
The Facebook founder used the piece to cover well-trodden ground about the firm’s efforts to stamp out election interference, including removing more than a billion fake accounts and increasing transparency about who’s running political adverts on the social network.
But it was Zuckerberg’s view that it will take cooperation between tech firms and the government to protect elections that caught the eye. In an opinion piece on Zuckerberg’s Washington Post op-ed, Business Insider’s Tech Editor Alexei Oreskovic compared the conundrum to banking bailouts during the financial crisis a decade ago.
“Facebook, along with Twitter and Google, are scrambling to contain a problem that happened on their turf, thanks to a system they created and which has been immensely profitable for them,” he said. “Unlike the banks, the internet companies did not consciously create a toxic product with a purely financial motive. But the system they created allowed a toxic byproduct to spread, while they largely looked the other way.”
Zuckerberg said Facebook’s job is to “amplify the good and mitigate the bad” on its platform. He added that the firm has made progress ahead of the US midterms in November, and “investments we continue to make in people and technology will help us improve even further.”
His comment piece is the culmination of a PR blitz ahead of the Congressional hearing. Facebook spoke to NBC News about its midterm election “war room” earlier this week, while Head of Cybersecurity Policy, Nathaniel Gleicher, told CNN about his role as Facebook’s “top troll hunter.”