Facebook reveals elections ‘war room’ at California headquarters

Facebook's war room

San Francisco: In line with its efforts to prevent misuse of its platform during elections, Facebook has set up a War Room to reduce the spread of potentially harmful content.

The social media platform chose to assemble one team of experts and have them all work from the same conference room to improve decision-making, according to The Verge. Although they could work remotely, having everyone in the same room let the team make quick decisions and talk "face-to-face", he said. The facility resembled a conventional office room, with young employees working side-by-side, some situated in front of standing desks adorned with multiple screens.

Employees gazed at constantly updating charts on several large video screens to monitor things like potential "voter suppression" campaigns or spam operations meant to mislead USA users.

An American flag was placed on one wall, while a Brazilian flag was on another, indicating the team's work monitoring the polarized elections in the South American country.

Facebook, which has been blamed for doing too little to prevent misinformation efforts by Russian Federation and others in the 2016 U.S. election, now wants the world to know it is taking aggressive steps with initiatives like the war room.

Some Facebook investors filed a shareholder proposal to take CEO Mark Zuckerberg out of his role as chairman of the company, accusing him of mishandling various scandals that have plagued the social media platform, according to Business Insider.

Rob Price/Business InsiderFacebook has pinned up fancy posters for the "WAR ROOM" inside and outside the room.

"We made massive investments both in people and technology to make sure that our platforms are safe and secure for elections".

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"What we've found is that there are certain tactics that bad actors use again and again, for instance using fake accounts, using what we call fake engagement - that is, trying to make posts look for popular than they really are - and trying hide their identity". It has also introduced a public database of political ads that have been published on Facebook and that is meant to identify who paid for them. "But we know we have to be ready for anything that happens", stated Chakrabarti. Last week alone, Facebook removed more than 550 pages and more than 250 accounts from the USA for using fake profiles and coordinating political information campaigns.

"These employees represent and are supported by the more than 20,000 people working on safety and security across Facebook", Chakrabarti added.

Rob Price/Business InsiderThe room the "War Room" is in is booked up until November 8, two days after the USA midterms.

Facebook's "war room" at its Menlo Park headquarters.

The War Room team also monitors news coverage and election-related activity across other social networks and traditional media in order to identify what type of content may go viral.

The risk of fake news spread via WhatsApp is less acute in the midterm elections in America, where relatively few people use the app as their primary communication service.

"Our job is to detect. anyone trying to manipulate the public debate", said Nathaniel Gleicher, a former White House cybersecurity policy director for the National Security Council who is now heading Facebook's cybersecurity policy.

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