Facebook outlines the threats its bracing for ahead of 2020 U.S. election

Mark Zuckerberg, Chairman of Facebook, speaks on the second day of the 56th Munich Security Conference. The fight against propaganda campaigns and other attempts at manipulation costs Facebook billions every year.

Tobias Hase | picture alliance | Getty Images

Facebook on Thursday outlined the threats that the company is working to counter ahead of the 2020 U.S. presidential election. 

These threats by foreign and domestic actors include:

  • Attempts to use social media to suppress voter turnout by spreading false information about how voting works in the midst of a pandemic. 
  • Attempts to corrupt public debate during vote counting. 
  • Hack and leak operations where a bad actor steals information and releases it to influence public debate. 

The threats were outlined by Nathaniel Gleicher, Facebook’s head of security policy, in conjunction with the Thursday launch of Facebook’s Voting Information Center, which will provide information to Facebook and Instagram users about how and when to vote, how to register, how to vote by mail and how to vote early.

“We want to make sure people have access to the latest, authoritative information about preliminary results on and after election night,” Gleicher said. 

Asked about how Facebook is preparing to handle attempts by President Trump to discredit mail-in voting, Gleicher said this is something the company is focused on. 

“In particular because it looks increasingly like we may not have results on election night,” said Gleicher, adding that Facebook is prepared to provide users with accurate information about the vote counts on election night and the following days. 

“It’s particularly important that people know not just where the vote is, what’s happening, what’s going to happen next and that there is a process in place that is working to get to an accurate and fair result,” he said.

Gleicher added the company is prepared to take action against posts from any Facebook users that incite violence or clearly violate the social network’s community standards.

“We will continue to evolve our response to stay ahead of our adversaries and ensure the integrity of the U.S. elections,” Gleicher said. 

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