Facebook initiative to Protect Canadian Politics

There is a Facebook initiative to help Canadians politicians to protect their accounts in preparation for the next Canadian federal elections.

The company acknowledges the difficulty of controlling fake news on manipulative on its platform.

The social-media company will launch a Canadian “election integrity initiative” on Thursday, Kevin Chan, Facebook Canada’s head of public policy, said in an interview. The changes will include an emergency e-mail address politicians and parties can contact to have Facebook staff shut down and restore accounts that have been hacked, the Globe and Mail reported

Mr. Chan also said that the Facebook initiative will include a cyber-hygiene guide that can help politicians protect their pages. The company is also launching a partnership with with MediaSmarts, a non-profit that would educate voters of the dangers of fake news.

On the governmental side, the minister of Democratic Institutions, Karina Gould, received a new mandate to instruct the Canadian Security Establishment to assess the risk of hacking Canadian elections. Jones said that electoral process is pretty robust, but the agency is still looking at the whole system, CBC reported.

“There are things that we just don’t know about yet for the cyber side of things that we need to start exploring to prepare for the future. I think this is a domain that is going to change over the next few years. It’s not necessarily what happened in the last two, it’s where is it going in the next 10,” said Jones.

That said, the security assessment, which is not complete yet, would be made public when ready.

Back to the Facebook topic, the company has been under pressure in the U.S. since it gave 3000 ads earlier this month to congressional committees investigating the security news of Russian interference in the 2016 election.

“You’re never 100-per-cent sure that nothing is going to get through, but we are certainly putting all efforts into ensuring that we are making the platform as inhospitable as possible for the bad actors or malicious content,” Mr. Chan said.

Facebook insists that they have learned from the 2016 U.S. elections, citing good job closing thousands of misleading pages in France and Germany elections, in addition to adding staff dedicated to respond to complaints and reports on such pages.

“We’re lucky in many ways in Canada in the sense that we are starting this proactively now, with two years or so of runway, which is great. This allows us to work on foundational pieces, like digital literacy and upping people’s general awareness, and also addressing the cybersecurity and cyber-hygiene piece well in advance,” he said.

The Facebook initiative isn’t the only one we are reporting on Security News. Google is also taking a part in the war against fake news as the company, through its philanthropic arm, Google.org , is providing the Canadian Journalism Foundation (CJF) and CIVIX, a charitable organization focused on youth civic engagement, with a $500,000 grant to develop and deliver NewsWise — a program that will teach students how to suss out and filter so-called fake news and misinformation online.

 

Mohamad El Hout, MBA, M.Eng., CISSP

Mohamad is an entrepreneur and a Senior Security Consultant dealing with the design and delivery of standard and complex security gateway solutions, covering a wide range of cutting edge technologies. His interests include business, technology, leadership, sports, and the continuous pursuit of knowledge.

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