Facebook Launches New Security Program For Political Campaigns Ahead Of 2018 Midterms

Facebook's new pilot program is meant to help more quickly identify malicious behavior.

As the 2018 midterms quickly approach, Facebook is ramping up its security tools to protect U.S. political campaigns from cyber threats. On Monday, the company announced the launch of a pilot program that offers additional security measures for the Facebook pages of any user associated with state or federal campaigns.

As outlined in a blog post on the company's site, candidates for federal or statewide office, as well as staff members from campaign committees, will be able to enroll in the program for help adopting stronger account protection, like two-factor authentication and a proactive monitoring of potential hacking threats. If unusual behavior is detected, the program will also allow Facebook to detect it or participants to report it quickly.

The new initiative also isn't limited to a candidate's public Facebook account. The program gives individuals associated with campaigns the ability to enroll their personal accounts, so that all affiliated accounts will be scrutinized for suspicious behavior.

"If we discover an attack against one campaign official, we can review and protect other accounts that are enrolled in our program and affiliated with that same campaign," the company wrote in its post on Monday. "As we detect abuse, we will continue to share relevant information with law enforcement and other companies so we can maximize our effectiveness."


The new program is meant to speed up Facebook's identification of malicious behavior on politically driven pages or accounts, particularly in the lead-up to November's elections. The company, along with fellow tech giants like Twitter and Google, have faced increased backlash in recent months for not preventing foreign actors from utilizing their platforms to spread misinformation in the run-up to the 2016 U.S. presidential elections and other major races.

For Facebook, the new program marks only the latest security-enhancing effort, following public acknowledgment of its privacy issues from founder Mark Zuckerberg. Just weeks ago,  the social network banned hundreds of fake accounts of pages linked to Iran and dozens more linked to Myanmar military.

"As we've said before, security is never finished, and we're constantly looking for ways to stay one step ahead of bad actors," Facebook's statement reads. "Although this is a pilot program, it's one of several steps we're taking ahead of the US midterm elections to better secure Facebook, including detecting and removing fake accounts, working to prevent the spread of false news, and setting a new standard for political and issue ads transparency."


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