Mark Zuckerberg to regulators: We need your help to protect elections | 5/24/2019 | Staff
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As public trust in Facebook's ability to wield its power responsibly has fractured in the face of a series of privacy breaches and other scandals, the company has been facing fresh calls for regulation from numerous quarters of the federal government.

But on one of the biggest issues leading to that breakdown of trust, its response to foreign election interference, Facebook has made significant progress, according to Chief Executive Mark Zuckerberg, who made a rare public appearance at the Aspen Ideas Festival on Wednesday.

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In a discussion with Harvard Law School professor Cass Sunstein, Zuckerberg invited regulators to set industrywide privacy standards and take a harder line with foreign interference in elections while pushing back against calls to break up Facebook.

"Results in elections have been a lot cleaner online due to a lot of the work we and others have done in partnership," Zuckerberg said. Still, he said, there are decisions about what constitutes acceptable political speech and advertising that Facebook, as a private company, should not be making by itself.

Regulation - Form - Process - Legislation - Industry

"Whether regulation comes in the form of democratic process, legislation or industry self-regulation, we're past the point where it makes sense for Facebook to unilaterally make these decisions," he said.

To combat misinformation, the company has hired 30,000 people whose jobs include reviewing content for accuracy. Rather than take down content determined to be false, moderators mark it as inaccurate, disable any significant distribution of that post and offer users more accurate alternative sources as context.

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But these tactics, even paired with "sophisticated AI systems" the company has built to detect misinformation campaigns, aren't sufficient to combat foreign interference akin to what was seen during the 2016 presidential election, according to Zuckerberg.

"It's an arms race," Zuckerberg said. "Russia and other folks have also gotten much more sophisticated.... We've seen new tactics.

"We can defend as...
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