Mark Zuckerberg says he is “sure someone’s trying” to use Facebook to meddle with the US mid-term polls in November, amidst allegation of Russian interference in the 2016 election that rattled Americans and spawned government inquiries. “I’m sure someone’s trying,” the Facebook CEO told CNN when asked about the possibility of meddling happening right now.
“I’m sure that there’s v2, version two, of whatever the Russian effort was in 2016, I’m sure they’re working on that,” he said. “And there are going to be some new tactics that we need to make sure that we observe and get in front of.”
His comments came amidst the Cambridge Analytica scandal in which the British data firm, which has ties to President Donald Trump’s campaign, reportedly accessed information from about 50 million Facebook users without their knowledge.
Zuckerberg said Facebook executives “have some sense of the different things that we need to get in front of.” He said staffers are “building technology” and hiring human reviewers to stamp out propaganda and other attacks. “One of the big commitments that we’ve made this year is to double the number of people working on security at the company. We’re going to have 20,000 people working on security and content review in this company by the end of this year,” he said.
Zuckerberg added: “Now the reality is, with a community of two billion people, I can’t promise that we’re going to find everything. But what I can commit to is that we’re going to make it as hard as possible for these adversaries to do that and I think that we’re going to do a much better job.” He also indicated that he was willing to testifying before Congress.
Politicians on both sides of the Atlantic have called for Zuckerberg to testify before their legislative bodies in the five days since the Cambridge Analytica scandal erupted. “The short answer is I’m happy to if it’s the right thing to do,” he said.
“What we try to do is send the person at Facebook who will have the most knowledge,” Zuckerberg said. “If that’s me, then I am happy to go.”
When asked about the looming midterms, and the potential for viral misinformation, Facebook head of news product Alex Hardiman said earlier this month that “we’ve got our work cut out for us,” but “we’re making good progress.”