New Facebook Program To Protect Political Campaign Staff From Hackers

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In short: Facebook is introducing a new pilot program designed to protect political campaign staffers from hackers and avoid a repeat of the 2016 presidential election that saw both the DNC and GOP compromised by foreign actors. Any candidate for state or federal office or a member of their staff can now place additional protections on their personal Facebook profiles, in addition to the pages they're managing. Page administrators can sign up to participate in the initiative as of today and add their colleagues to the pilot program after enrolling themselves. The Menlo Park, California-based social media giant said that while some security measures such as two-factor authentication will be recommended automatically, its experts will also help campaign staffers in other ways and monitor the network for potential security threats with the help of the company's automated systems.

Background: Earlier this summer, Facebook reported a successful attempt at cracking down on coordinated misinformation campaigns originating from Russia and Iran. During the 2016 presidential election, the world's most popular social media network was used by foreign actors for launching ads and running a variety of groups and pages dedicated to misleading and polarizing the American public. The company acknowledged its failure to prevent the abuse from happening, vowing to do better at combating fake news and other coordinated misinformation efforts moving forward. Since then, Facebook hired hundreds of new content reviewers, invested in new artificial intelligence technologies designed to flag suspicious stories, and doubled down on its page monitoring practices.

Impact: The fight against misinformation and hacking attacks is an ongoing effort and while Facebook already dedicated significant resources to its own defenses, minimizing the chance that its users will need the newly introduced protections, the pilot program should allow it to detect and identify any attack attempts in a timely manner. The Internet juggernaut is expected to introduce more similar initiatives as the November mid-terms draw closer.

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