Facebook Shutters 'War Room,' Tracked False News Claims

With the 2018 midterms elections in the rear-view mirror, Facebook is shuttering its so-called “war room.”

Opened last September, the physical room has been located in Facebook’s Menlo Park, California, headquarters. On any given day, it brought together between 20 to 30 experts from the company’s threat intelligence, data science, software engineering, research, community operations and legal teams.

First reported by Bloomberg on Monday, a Facebook spokesperson has since confirmed the war room’s fate.

Although Facebook has not confirmed plans for future war rooms, the approach did appear to produce positive results in the run-up to the midterm elections.

Tasked with tackling various safety and security issues, the war room team oversaw a broader staff of roughly 20,000, according to Samidh Chakrabarti, director of product management-civic engagement, Facebook

In October, the team was tested during the first round of Brazil’s presidential elections, during which it detected a false post claiming that Brazil’s Election Day had been moved from October 7 to October 8.

When the false claim began to trend, Facebook’s team took notice and removed it within an hour of its original posting.

To track such abuses, Facebook also relies heavily on its machine learning and artificial intelligence technology, which is getting better at blocking and disabling fake accounts.

Beyond Facebook’s flagship property, that technology has helped WhatsApp remove hundreds of thousands of spam accounts leading up the final round of Brazil’s presidential elections.

Facebook is also increasingly aligning with law enforcement in countries where platform abuse is rampant.

Those partnerships appeared to pay off in November when U.S. law enforcement alerted Facebook to some suspicious activity on its platform, which they believed was linked to foreign entities.

As a result of the tip, Facebook said it identified around 30 Facebook accounts and 85 Instagram accounts that may have been engaged in coordinated inauthentic behavior.
Next story loading loading..