San Jose, California: Facebook Inc. has begun overhauling how it handles political ads on its platform and may put some changes in place before US elections next year, Facebook’s chief technology officer said on Wednesday.
US congressional and state elections set for November 2018 present a deadline of sorts for Facebook and other social media companies to get better at halting the kind of election meddling that the US accuses Russia of.
“We are working on all of this stuff actively now, so there is a big focus in the company to improve all of this on a regular basis," Facebook CTO Mike Schroepfer said in an interview.
“You’re going to see a regular cadence of updates and changes," he said, speaking on the sidelines of a conference that the firm is hosting on virtual reality technology.
Chief executive Mark Zuckerberg said last month that the company would begin treating political ads differently from other ads, including by making it possible for anyone to see political ads, no matter whom they target. US lawmakers had begun calling for regulations.
Disclosures by Facebook, Twitter Inc. and Alphabet Inc.’s Google that their products were battlegrounds for Russian election meddling last year have turned into a crisis for Silicon Valley.
Facebook’s chief operating officer, Sheryl Sandberg, is in Washington this week meeting US lawmakers.
Moscow has denied allegations of meddling in last year’s US presidential election.
Implementing changes is tricky, Schroepfer said, because Facebook does not want to stifle legitimate speech and because of the volume of material on Facebook, the world’s largest social network with 2 billion users and 5 million advertisers.