Facebook is working very hard right now to prove it can be trusted to protect users from malicious fake news, political disinformation, and cyberattacks intended to throw the 2018 midterms. What Facebook is not doing: providing details.
The social media giant invited reporters yesterday into what they're calling their “war room” (ugh), a new workspace at Facebook's Menlo Park headquarters in which data scientists, threat investigators, and other experts from 20 Facebook teams are apparently very hard at work protecting America.
Why so few specifics on what, if anything, they're doing to address the fact that their platform has been successfully weaponized against elections, again and again?
Why so few details, and so much emphasis on the optics?
Oh right. Because Facebook.
From the Guardian's Sam Levin:
The press briefing provided minimal new information about Facebook’s specific strategies and impacts when it comes to combating foreign interference and false news. The corporation has been eager to publicly demonstrate that it is taking abuses on its platforms seriously amid an avalanche of scandals. That includes a vast data breach, government inquiries across the globe, new ad fraud allegations, and the continuing stream of viral fake content and hate speech.
The stakes are high as the US approaches critical midterm elections in November and the 2020 presidential race. WhatsApp, the Facebook-owned messaging service, has also been linked to widespread false news stories that have led to violence and mob lynchings in India. The platform has further struggled to mitigate harms it is causing in Myanmar, where an explosion of social media hate speech has contributed to violence and genocide. American hate groups and far-right activists have also weaponized the site.
On Wednesday morning, a group of journalists crowded outside a windowless room, snapping iPhone photos of a closed door with a small sign stuck to it that said “WAR ROOM” in red letters. Inside, digital dashboards displayed real-time information about activity on the platform. CNN played in the background, and the wall displayed a large American flag and motivational posters saying “Focus on impact” and “Bring the world closer together”.
Some screens were “off the record” and could not be photographed, Facebook communications representatives said. The names of employees inside the room could not be published.
The article has a snapshot of the “war room.” I want a photo of the motivational posters saying “Focus on impact” and “Bring the world closer together”.