Facebook Protect Program Adds Security To Political Accounts

As part of a broader effort to deter bad actors from interfering in the 2020 U.S. presidential election, Facebook just debuted Facebook Protect. The program will further secure the accounts of candidates, elected officials, federal and state departments and agencies, and party committees in the U.S., as well as their staff.

In the past, Facebook says it was hard to offer additional security to these accounts, because, apart from candidates, it didn’t know these people were affiliated with a political campaign.

As part of the Protect program, Facebook is encouraging Page admins to enroll their organization’s Facebook and Instagram accounts, and invite members of their organization to participate in the program, too.

Participants will be required to turn on two-factor authentication. Their accounts will be monitored for hacking, such as login attempts from unusual locations or unverified devices.

If and when Facebook detects an attack against an account, it plans to review and protect other accounts affiliated with that same organization enrolled in the program.



Facebook is also adding more information about who is behind a particular Page, including a new “Organizations That Manage This Page” tab, which will feature the Page’s “Confirmed Page Owner,” the organization’s legal name and verified city, phone number or website.

Initially, this information will only appear on Pages with large U.S. audiences that have gone through Facebook’s business verification.

In addition, Pages that have gone through the new authorization process to run ads about social issues, elections or politics in the U.S. will also have this tab. Then, beginning in January, these advertisers will be required to show their Confirmed Page Owner.

If Facebook finds a Page is concealing its ownership in order to mislead people, it will require it to successfully complete the verification process, and show more information in order for the Page to remain on the platform.

Additionally, Facebook will soon begin labeling media outlets that are wholly or partially under the editorial control of their government as “state-controlled media.” This label will be on both their Page and in Facebook’s Ad Library.

The social giant says it will hold these Pages to a higher standard of transparency, since they combine the opinion-making influence of a media organization with the strategic backing of a state.

To increase political transparency, Facebook is also adding several new features to its Ad Library, Ad Library Report and Ad Library API. They include a new U.S. presidential candidate spend tracker and additional spend details at the state or regional level to help people analyze advertiser and candidate efforts to reach voters geographically.

Despite its best efforts, Facebook acknowledges that bad actors remain determined to interfere in the next U.S. presidential election.

Just this week, the company said it removed four separate networks of accounts, Pages and Groups on Facebook and Instagram for engaging in coordinated inauthentic behavior, and targeting the United States, North Africa and Latin America.

Three of the accounts originated in Iran and one in Russia, according to Facebook.


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