Moburst

Facebook pledges tougher election security in face of critical memo

Tim Maytom

Facebook is taking steps to improve its security ahead of the US mid-term elections, including the use of artificial intelligence, in an effort to fight back against misinformation and fake news being spread on the platform. However, the announcements comes as an internal memo comes to light, featuring the former chief security officer criticising many of the firm's practices.

Facebook officials told reporters that they expected to uncover operations by the Russian government and others using the new techniques, but declined to confirm if they had already found evidence of such meddling.

The upgraded security comes as the latest step in efforts the social network has taken to improve its approach to political advertising in the wake of the 2016 Presidential elections and the Cambridge Analytica scandal.

However, an internal staff message from Facebook's outgoing chief security officer, Alex Stamos, suggests that the firm could be doing more. The memo, written in March just after Stamos announced his departure, urged his colleagues to heed user feedback about "creepy" features, to collect less data and to "deprioritise short-term growth and revenue" in order to focus on regaining user trust.

Stamos also urged the firm's leaders to "pick sides where there are clear moral or humanitarian issues", a request that was clearly not heeded by CEO Mark Zuckerberg, who was criticised last week for saying that false statements such as Holocaust denials would not be removed from the platform if they were sincerely voiced.