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Zuckerberg says Facebook is 'better prepared' for the next election

Meanwhile, as midterm elections loom, President Trump issues an executive order about fighting foreign interference.

CEO of Facebook Mark Zuckerberg testifies before the House of Representatives House Energy and Commerce Committee

Mark Zuckerberg testifies before the House Energy and Commerce Committee in the Rayburn House Office Building on Capitol Hill.

Yasin Ozturk/Anadolu Agency/Getty Images

US midterm elections, on Nov. 6, are less than two months away. While former Facebook security chief Alex Stamos has warned it's "too late" to protect this year's elections, Mark Zuckerberg says Facebook is "better prepared" to protect them from interference.

The CEO detailed the steps Facebook has taken to prevent election interference in a lengthy Facebook post Wednesday.

In it, he said that fake accounts will be identified and removed from the platform while the spread of "viral misinformation" will either be contained or taken down. 

Also on Wednesday, President Donald Trump issued an executive order describing foreign interference in a US election -- "including through the unauthorized accessing of election and campaign infrastructure or the covert distribution of propaganda and disinformation" -- as a national security threat. The order also lists the steps the US would take in response, including potentially imposing sanctions.

"In recent years," the order reads in part, "the proliferation of digital devices and internet-based communications has created significant vulnerabilities and magnified the scope and intensity of the threat of foreign interference."

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Foreign interference in elections around the world came into the spotlight after revelations of Russian hackers meddling in the US presidential contest two years ago. In July, Facebook -- proven to be a popular tool among the hackers to shape political views -- said it found a new campaign of "inauthentic behavior" on its platform and consequently removed 32 accounts and pages. COO Sheryl Sandberg said the company is still in the "very early stages of the investigation."

Just last week, Sandberg also made an appearance with Twitter CEO Jack Dorsey at a Senate hearing as Congress trained its eye on the internet's failings.

In his post Wednesday, Zuckerberg said Facebook will make information about ads and their advertisers more transparent to users to improve accountability, while anyone running "political or issue ads" in the US will now be required to verify their identity and location.

Zuckerberg also mentioned the independent election research commission Facebook established earlier this year and addressed how the company has significantly strengthened its coordination with US governments and organizations.

"In 2016, we were not prepared for the coordinated information operations we now regularly face," wrote Zuckerberg.

"But we have learned a lot since then," he added, "and have developed sophisticated systems that combine technology and people to prevent election interference on our services."

First published Sept. 13, 12:48 a.m. PT.
Update, 7:37 a.m. PT: Added information about Trump's executive order.

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