Friday 15 February 2019

Facebook uses Irish base in bid to stop 'interference' in European elections

Facebook will prioritise efforts to tackle murky political ads. Stock picture
Facebook will prioritise efforts to tackle murky political ads. Stock picture
Adrian Weckler

Adrian Weckler

Facebook is promising a crackdown on election interference in this year's European Parliament polls, using its Dublin office as a base.

The social network giant says it will prioritise its efforts on tackling murky, unaccountable political ads, especially those coming from "foreign" sources.

Ireland was used as a test case by Facebook last year when it introduced a new system to cut out fake ads with ad-transparency tools.

"We are planning to set up two new regional operations centres, focused on election integrity, located in our Dublin and Singapore offices," said Katie Harbath and Samidh Chakrabarti, of Facebook.

"These teams will add a layer of defence against fake news, hate speech and voter suppression, and will work cross-functionally with our threat intelligence, data science, engineering, research, community operations, legal and other teams."

Facebook has faced fierce criticism over how its platform, which has three million Irish users and more than two billion global users, has been manipulated to help sway elections. A series of investigations has established there was significant Russian interference in the 2016 US presidential election.

"In late March, we will launch new tools to help prevent foreign interference in the upcoming [European] elections and make political advertising on Facebook more transparent," said the Facebook bosses.

"Advertisers will need to be authorised before purchasing political ads and far more information about the ads themselves will be made available for people to see."

Irish Independent

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