Application security, Critical Infrastructure Security, Critical Infrastructure Security

Facebook hosts election security meeting between tech companies, intel officials


Executives from leading technology and social media firms convened with U.S. intelligence representatives yesterday to discuss ongoing efforts to shield their platforms and users from election interference campaigns.

According to Bloomberg and additional news outlets, Facebook used its Menlo Park, Calif. headquarters to host the meeting, which was attended by Google, Microsoft, Twitter and members of the Department of Homeland Security, FBI and the Office of the Director of National Intelligence.

Specifically, the meetings' attendees addresses strategies for neutralizing disinformation operations, such as those executed by Russia to sow discord and disparage former presidential candidate Hilary Clinton during the run-up to the 2016 elections.

Facebook's Nathaniel Gleicher acknowledged the meeting in a statement. "The purpose was to build on previous discussions and further strengthen strategic collaboration regarding the security of the 2020 U.S. state, federal, and presidential elections," Gleicher reportedly stated. "Improving election security and countering information operations are complex challenges that no organization can solve alone."

Microsoft and Twitter also reportedly confirmed their presence at the meeting.

"We always welcome the opportunity to spend time with our peer companies and the government agencies tasked with protecting the integrity of the 2020 election," a Twitter spokesperson told CNBC. "This is a joint effort in response to a shared threat, and we are committed to doing our part."

In an Aug. 28 company blog post, Facebook Public Policy Director, Global Elections, Katie Harbath and Product Manager Sarah Schiff provided an update on recent steps taken to prepare for the 2020 election. Such efforts include stricter requirements for organizations seeking official authorization to run political ads, and updating Facebook's list of divisive U.S. social issues that are often exploited by foreign influence campaigns.

Facebook said future steps will also include enhancements to its Ad Library and expanding its policy to ban ads that discourage voting. The blog post states that Facebook also plans to institute a policy mandating that "all Pages for national candidates or elected officials to go through Page Publishing Authorization, which requires that Page administrators turn on two-factor authentication and verify their primary country location so that we can confirm these Pages are using real accounts and are located in the U.S."

Bradley Barth

As director of multimedia content strategy at CyberRisk Alliance, Bradley Barth develops content for online conferences, webcasts, podcasts video/multimedia projects — often serving as moderator or host. For nearly six years, he wrote and reported for SC Media as deputy editor and, before that, senior reporter. He was previously a program executive with the tech-focused PR firm Voxus. Past journalistic experience includes stints as business editor at Executive Technology, a staff writer at New York Sportscene and a freelance journalist covering travel and entertainment. In his spare time, Bradley also writes screenplays.

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