Facebook Pledges Tighter Scrutiny for Next U.K. Election

Robert Hutton

(Bloomberg) -- Facebook Inc. said it will set up a dedicated U.K. operations center during the next election, to counter misinformation networks, fake news stories and outside interference from other countries.

Britain has consistently criticized Russia for attempting to manipulate elections around the world, while insisting there’s no evidence of interference in U.K. votes such as the 2016 Brexit referendum. But Facebook has been accused of hosting misinformation and advertisements seen only by narrowly targeted audiences.

Writing in the Telegraph newspaper, after the company announced it had discovered four separate misinformation networks tied to Iran and Russia, Facebook executive Richard Allan said the company knows that “social media can bring significant new risks to the political process.”

“People who want to interfere unlawfully with the outcome of an election will use every available means to try and do so, including platforms like ours,” wrote Allan, vice president for public policy in Europe. “We’ve built stronger defenses to prevent people using our platforms to interfere with elections and we’re continuing to make improvements in several key areas.”

Facebook has pledged to label content as “false” or “partly false,” using an independent fact-checker, and to expand scrutiny of ads that have political content.

To contact the reporter on this story: Robert Hutton in London at rhutton1@bloomberg.net

To contact the editors responsible for this story: Tim Ross at tross54@bloomberg.net, Andrew Pollack

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