By Nathaniel Gleicher, Head of Cybersecurity Policy
Over the past year, we have invested in new technology and more people to stay ahead of bad actors who are determined to use Facebook to disrupt elections. Today we’re introducing additional tools to further secure candidates and campaign staff who may be particularly vulnerable to targeting by hackers and foreign adversaries. This pilot program is an addition to our existing security tools and procedures, and we will apply what we learn to other elections in the US and around the world.
As we have seen in past elections, candidates and elected officials, as well as their staff, can be targeted by hackers and foreign adversaries across platforms, including Facebook. However, due to the short-term nature of campaigns, we do not always know who these campaign-affiliated users are, making it harder to help protect them.
That is why, today, as part of our broader efforts to better secure Facebook, we are launching a pilot program to expand our existing protections for users associated with US political campaigns ahead of the 2018 midterm elections. Candidates for federal or statewide office, as well as staff members and representatives from federal and state political party committees, can add additional security protections to their Pages and accounts. Page admins can apply for the program at politics.fb.com/campaignsecurity and, once enrolled, they can add others from their campaign or committee. We’ll help officials adopt our strongest account security protections, like two-factor authentication, and monitor for potential hacking threats.
We are working to bolster our defenses so that participants in this pilot will hopefully not need these expanded protections. In the event that they do, however, this program will help us quickly detect, and participants quickly report, any targeting that does happen. If we discover an attack against one campaign official, we can review and protect other accounts that are enrolled in our program and affiliated with that same campaign. As we detect abuse, we will continue to share relevant information with law enforcement and other companies so we can maximize our effectiveness. And, we are continually assessing how this pilot and our other security programs might be expanded to future elections and other users, such as government officials.
As we’ve said before, security is never finished, and we’re constantly looking for ways to stay one step ahead of bad actors. Although this is a pilot program, it’s one of several steps we’re taking ahead of the US midterm elections to better secure Facebook, including detecting and removing fake accounts, working to prevent the spread of false news, and setting a new standard for political and issue ads transparency.