Facebook to use US mail to try and prevent future election meddling

Can snail mail thwart Russian interference in the US midterms?

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Last week, Special Counsel Robert Mueller filed the first indictments against Russian nationals and organizations for interference in the 2016 US presidential election. Among the findings were that fake social media accounts, groups and stolen American identities were instrumental in the coordinated campaign to influence the outcome.

Coming under intensifying criticism, Facebook said on Friday that it would double the number of people working on security from 10,000 to 20,000 later this year. It has also developed a plan to use postcards sent via US mail to verify the locations and identities of individuals seeking to buy some types of political advertising.

Any ad that uses a candidate’s name will require a code that will be mailed to buyers on physical postcards. However, the rule will not extend to “issue ads” that don’t mention specific candidates by name. The fact that Russians recruited unwitting Americans (and could set up US-based front groups) to aid in their interference does not make this a foolproof plan.

The postcard procedure will go into effect some time before the 2018 mid-term elections. US intelligence officials have said they’ve already seen evidence that Russians are seeking to interfere in the 2018 mid-terms.

The idea of one of the most sophisticated technology companies on the planet turning to “snail mail” to prevent the exploitation of its platform by hostile foreign nationals is ironic, to say the least.

Opinions expressed in this article are those of the guest author and not necessarily MarTech. Staff authors are listed here.

About the author

Greg Sterling
Greg Sterling is a Contributing Editor to Search Engine Land, a member of the programming team for SMX events and the VP, Market Insights at Uberall.

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