By Jen Weedon, William Nuland and Alex Stamos
April 27, 2017 Version 1.0
Civic engagement today takes place in a rapidly evolving information ecosystem. More and more, traditional forums for discussion, the exchange of ideas, and debate are mirrored online on platforms like Facebook – leading to an increase in individual access and agency in political dialogue, the scale and speed of information consumption, as well as the diversity of influences on any given conversation. These new dynamics present us with enormous opportunities, but also introduce novel challenges.
In this context, Facebook sits at a critical juncture. Our mission is to give people the power to share and make the world more open and connected. Yet it is important that we acknowledge and take steps to guard against the risks that can arise in online communities like ours. The reality is that not everyone shares our vision, and some will seek to undermine it — but we are in a position to help constructively shape the emerging information ecosystem by ensuring our platform remains a safe and secure environment for authentic civic engagement.
As our CEO, Mark Zuckerberg, wrote in February 2017:1
“It is our responsibility to amplify the good effects and mitigate the bad — to continue increasing diversity while strengthening our common understanding so our community can create the greatest positive impact on the world.”
We believe civic engagement is about more than just voting — it’s about people connecting with their representatives, getting involved, sharing their voice, and holding their governments accountable.Given the increasing role that Facebook is playing in facilitating civic discourse, we wanted to publicly share what we are doing to help ensure Facebook remains a safe and secure forum for authentic dialogue.
In brief, we have had to expand our security focus from traditional abusive behavior, such as account hacking, malware, spam and financial scams, to include more subtle and insidious forms of misuse, including attempts to manipulate civic discourse and deceive people. These are complicated issues and our responses will constantly evolve, but we wanted to be transparent about our approach. The following sections explain our understanding of these threats and challenges and what we are doing about them.