- Facebook is creating a physical war room to snuff out interference in the US midterm elections.
- It will contain screens monitoring important Facebook metrics for unusual activity. It will be staffed by some of Facebook’s best brains, from areas including engineering and public policy.
- Facebook’s Samidh Chakrabarti said the company is in an “arms race,” but is much better prepared than it was in 2016 during the presidential election.
Facebook is in the process of building a physical war room at its Menlo Park headquarters in a bid to seek out and destroy any attempt to interfere in the US midterm elections.
With the midterms set to take place on November 6, Facebook is creating what is effectively a computer lab which will be operated by some of the best brains from across the business.
Samidh Chakrabarti, Facebook’s head of civic engagement, told NBC News that the company has to be ready for anything following the controversy over its sluggish response to Russian interference in the 2016 presidential election.
“We’ve been building this war room, a physical war room [with] people across the company, of all different disciplines, who are there. So, as we discover problems that may come up in the hours leading up to the election, we can take quick and decisive action,” he told NBC Business Correspondent Jo Ling Kent.
Speaking to Recode last month, Chakrabarti said the situation room will contain a number of screens, monitoring important Facebook metrics for unusual activity. Some will be fitted with alarms to warn about unexpected spikes or dips in activity.
The room will be staffed with Facebook employees from engineering, data science, public policy, and other areas of the business, according to Recode.
“The war room isn’t so much about the technology that’s there as it is about the process of having people across different functions… be able to diagnose and fix any sort of acute issues that we see,” Chakrabarti told the website.
In his NBC interview, he said Facebook is in an “arms race,” but is much better equipped than it was in 2016. The firm has introduced ad transparency tools, showing users who is paying to advertise on the platform, while it has also detected, blocked, and removed more than a billion fake accounts over the past six months.
“We’re remaining ever vigilant, laser-focused to make sure that we can stay ahead of new problems that emerge. This is going to be a never-ending process,” Chakrabarti said.
The interview comes as Facebook’s COO Sherly Sandberg prepares to give evidence to the Senate Intelligence Committee this week on foreign influence operations.
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