DNC raises concerns about Facebook's ability to catch trolls

Posted Tuesday, 03 December 2019 ‐ CNN

New York (CNN)The Democratic National Committee wrote to Facebook COO Sheryl Sandberg before Thanksgiving to raise concerns about the company's ability to catch online trolls and to that it change its political ad policy, according to a copy of the letter obtained by CNN. The letter detailing concerns about Facebook's detection of nefarious campaigns on its platform comes just two months before the Iowa caucuses. After Russia targeted the 2016 presidential election using Facebook, the company hired a team, which includes former intelligence officials, to root out misinformation campaigns and coordinated online troll groups. Seema Nanda, the DNC's CEO, wrote in the November 21 letter that a small in-house team the DNC has monitoring online misinformation had uncovered and reported to Facebook "at least nine foreign, inauthentic account networks targeting Americans with anti-Democratic false news content."The DNC said all of the campaigns appear to be commercially -- rather than politically -- motivated, but still "have the effect of warping the political perceptions of American voters and hurting Democratic candidates' electoral chances.""It's concerning that we're able to uncover these terms-of-service-violating operations on a fairly regular basis, with a team far smaller than Facebook's. Considering Facebook's enormous financial resources and the stakes of the upcoming elections, we'd ask that you dedicate additional capacity to enforce your terms of service against these types of malicious actors," Nanda wrote. Facebook had no immediate comment on the specifics of the letter Tuesday, but the company has previously confirmed to CNN that it has investigated and taken action on accounts as a result of tips from the DNC. Earlier this year, Facebook and Twitter took part in a training session organized by the DNC for presidential campaign staff about how campaigns could share details of suspicious activity with the companies. Facebook's team searching for what suspicious behavior on its platform has had a number of successes over the past year, including recently thwarting a network of accounts that appeared to be linked to the same Russian troll group that meddled in the 2016 US presidential election. The accounts appeared to be laying the groundwork for 2020. The DNC led its letter to Sandberg with Facebook's controversial political ad policy. The company does not fact-check ads from politicians. "Current Facebook policy allows politicians to place demonstrable lies in front of voters via paid ads. This type of elite disinformation, from politicians many voters trust, is one of the most insidious and damaging forms of disinformation. Facebook's advanced analytics and targeting capabilities, furthermore, allow candidates to direct disinformation at the populations most susceptible to it," Nanda wrote. Nanda said Facebook should fact-check ads, but it should not go as far as banning political ads entirely -- a policy Twitter adopted amid increased scrutiny of how Silicon Valley handles political speech. "Banning political ads or severely inhibiting targeting capabilities on Facebook would not be in our party's best interest nor in the best interest of promoting voter participation," she wrote. Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg has defended the company's decision not to fact-check political ads.

Other articles published by CNN

Posted Saturday, 14 December 2019 ‐ CNN

(CNN)North Korean state media has reported that "another crucial test" was successfully conducted at the country's Sohae Satellite Launching Ground late Friday. It was not immediately clear what was tested, but the Korean Central News Agency (KCNA)...

Posted Saturday, 14 December 2019 ‐ CNN

(CNN)California Gov. Gavin Newsom has rejected the bankruptcy reorganization plan proposed by utility giant Pacific Gas and Electric, saying that the proposal would not result in a "company positioned to provide safe, reliable and affordable service to...

Posted Saturday, 14 December 2019 ‐ CNN

(CNN)The most outstanding player in college football will be awarded the 2019 Heisman Trophy on Saturday night.The four finalists for the trophy are LSU quarterback Joe Burrow, Ohio State quarterback Justin Fields, Oklahoma quarterback Jalen Hurts and...

Posted Saturday, 14 December 2019 ‐ CNN

(CNN)When Mario Arreola-Botello was pulled over, he didn't understand much of what the Oregon police officer was telling him. Botello, a Latino, non-native English speaker, was stopped for failing to signal a turn and a lane change, his attorney, Josh...

Posted Saturday, 14 December 2019 ‐ CNN

New Delhi (CNN)Fears are growing among India's 200 million Muslims that they could soon be classified as illegal immigrants under new, far-reaching government proposals. Earlier this year, authorities released an updated count of Indian nationals in the ...

Posted Saturday, 14 December 2019 ‐ CNN

(CNN)It's the season of family, friends and fellowship; of big homemade dinners and road trips and cookie swaps and holiday pageants and festive get-togethers and (shudder) office holiday parties. With all of that socializing, when's the last time you...

Posted Saturday, 14 December 2019 ‐ CNN

A version of this story appears in CNN's Impeachment Watch newsletter. To get it in your inbox, sign up for free here. (CNN)President Donald Trump's senior aides have further restricted the number of administration officials allowed to listen to the...

Posted Saturday, 14 December 2019 ‐ CNN

(CNN)Myron Gardner and Galen Alexander, two of the Georgetown University basketball players accused of burglary earlier this month, are transferring from the school, according to statements by the school, Gardner's attorney and Alexander himself via...

Posted Saturday, 14 December 2019 ‐ CNN

Washington (CNN)Roughly 234,000 voters are to be removed from Wisconsin's rolls because they may have moved recently, a county judge ruled Friday.Ozaukee County Judge Paul Malloy instructed the Wisconsin Elections Commission to "abide by state law" in...

Posted Saturday, 14 December 2019 ‐ CNN

(CNN)Clifton "Pop" Herring, who coached basketball superstar Michael Jordan in high school, died this week, according to his daughter Paquita Yarborough. Herring was 67, his daughter said. Herring was the men's basketball coach at Emsley A. Laney High...

Posted Saturday, 14 December 2019 ‐ CNN

(CNN)Arizona authorities said Friday they believe they have found the third child who went missing during a flash flood two weeks ago. Three children went missing November 29 when a car crossing Tonto Creek, about 60 miles west of the New Mexico border,...

Posted Saturday, 14 December 2019 ‐ CNN

Pittsburgh (CNN)Pete Buttigieg's presidential campaign on Friday released a list of its bundlers following weeks of trading barbs with Massachusetts Sen. Elizabeth Warren over campaign transparency. The South Bend, Indiana, mayor has recently faced...

Posted Saturday, 14 December 2019 ‐ CNN

Washington (CNN)The Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals struck down Mississippi's 15-week abortion ban on Friday, the latest legal blow to an effort by a conservative-leaning state looking to restrict abortion.None of the bans passed by Mississippi and eight...

Posted Saturday, 14 December 2019 ‐ CNN

(CNN)New Orleans Mayor LaToya Cantrell declared a state of emergency Friday after the city was hit by a cyberattack. Phishing attempts and suspicious activity were detected on the city's network around 5 a.m., New Orleans chief information officer Kim...

Posted Saturday, 14 December 2019 ‐ CNN

(CNN)She was already a racist when she took a publishing job in Washington, DC. But when she became a reporter for Breitbart News, Katie McHugh says she was taken to new depths of hate with the help of Stephen Miller.Emails show the two were in frequent...