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Facebook tackles foreign election meddling with Atlantic Council partnership

The social network admits it needs more "eyes and ears" to prevent the spread of misinformation campaigns.

Social Media on Portable Devices

Facebook is cracking down on election meddling.

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Facebook launched a partnership with the Atlantic Council on Thursday that will help prevent malicious actors from using the social network to interfere with elections.

The think tank's Digital Forensic Research Lab will help Facebook monitor specific regions to prevent the spread of misinformation on the platform and educate citizens about the risks, according to a press release. The partnership is designed to assist Facebook "in its efforts to strengthen democracy," said Atlantic Council President and CEO Fred Kempe.

Earlier this year Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg acknowledged that Facebook could be bad for democracy, and promised to work on fixing the issue. The majority of Facebook's 2.2 billion monthly users are based outside of the US, meaning its potential impact on elections is a global issue -- something Zuckerberg noted in his earnings call last month. It's also something he'll be talking about with EU officials and politicians when he visits the European Parliament in Brussels next week.

The company is now investing heavily to prevent its service from being abused during elections, including by partnering with outside experts, said Katie Harbath, Facebook's global politics and government director, in a statement.

The partnership will "increase the number of 'eyes and ears' we have working to spot potential abuse on our service -- enabling us to more effectively identify gaps in our systems, preempt obstacles, and ensure that Facebook plays a positive role during elections all around the world," she said.

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