Facebook's recent statements blocking suspicious accounts show that the company's efforts to stop the electoral murder work to some extent.
What is not known is how much the company does not catch and whether this "whack-a-mole war will ever end, because those who want to influence the US and other elections may easily substitute Facebook Create pages, groups, and accounts.
Facebook said it is blocking unspecified number of additional accounts on election day for alleged links to foreign efforts to intervene in voting through disinformation on social media. That's up on the 1
Facebook said the additional accounts have been identified after a website The company claimed to be in contact with the Russia-based Internet Research Agency, published a list of Instagram accounts it created. Facebook said it had already blocked most of the listed accounts and blocked the rest now.
"This is a timely reminder that these bad actors are not giving up," said Nathaniel Gleicher, Head of Cybersecurity Policy of Facebook Statement.
US technology companies have intensified their efforts to combat disinformation campaigns by Russian groups accused by the authorities of having influenced the presidential elections of 2016. The companies were then caught awkwardly unprepared. This time, there are clear signs that they are making progress.
Sam Gill of the nonprofit organization John S. and James L. Knight, who recently commissioned a study on social media disinformation, said technology companies can not yet explain the victory "Business leaders Do not talk anymore than it is not a problem – they talk about how important it is to get it right. "
This is in contrast to Facebook boss Mark Zuckerberg, the now infamous mockery In November 2016, the idea that fake messages were faked on Facebook, called "pretty crazy".
But social media companies still have a lot to do. Some measures have reduced the spread of fake news on Facebook since 2016, but the same can not always be said for Twitter.
The Knight study on disinformation highlights a key issue that has emerged since 2016: it's not & # 39; Only Russian agents spread misinformation. There are also many local websites.
The study found that fake messages are still being spread on Twitter, the vast majority coming from just a few sources.
Gill said that at this point we simply "Don I do not know enough" to say how the distribution of misinformation has changed since 2016. This is despite a wealth of scientific studies trying to measure the spread and consumption of fake news in these services.
"We need a lot more basic research. He explored the relationship between social media and democracy," he said. "We have to see more and understand more of the companies. We need access to more information.
For a long time was criticized because academic researchers were denied access to his data. Facebook launched a program in April to address this issue – but only in elections. The initiative calls proposals from external researchers and works with Facebook to give researchers access to Facebook data. Facebook can not pre-approve the research and does not provide funding.
But until further research, social media companies have to deal with today's problems around disinformation, hatred and propaganda, playing Whats-a-Mole like new fakes and trolls appear to abuse their services.
After all, the presidential elections of 2020 are less than two years away – and competition is starting now.