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Facebook ramping up security efforts ahead of midterm elections

Facebook is looking to improve transparency and trust ahead of the midterm elections. (KOKH/File)

Facebook is ramping up its efforts to prevent foreign meddling ahead of the U.S. midterm elections.

The social media giant has rolled out new tools to give users more information about the political ads they see on their feeds. Ads that reference elections, issues of public importance, or are by an elected official or campaign can now only be run by people who have completed Facebook's authorization process, which includes confirming your identity and location.

"They send something to your physical location, to verify you’re here," said Patrick Allmond with Focus Marketing. "So that if you see an ad for Joe Blow for Congress, that Joe Blow is really in Oklahoma, he’s really running for Congress, and you can really find him at 1234 Main Street."

Social media played a big role in the 2016 election with Russian-bought political ads and fake accounts that spread misinformation.

"This new validation process of verifying these political organizations are legitimately here in the country is definitely going to help with that," Allmond said.

It could also help increase consumer confidence in the social media platform. Facebook is trying to improve security and transparency.

"Facebook wants to be trusted," he said.

The company is still recovering from the Cambridge Analytica scandal, when news broke the political research firm obtained data for as many as 87 million Facebook users.

Facebook sent an email to users this week, warning people their accounts may be targeted ahead of the midterm elections to gain access to sensitive information.

To protect yourself, the company recommends taking these three steps:

  • Turn on two-factor authentication, so you're alerted when someone tries to log into your account
  • Review and update and the email addresses on your account
  • Take the company's privacy and security check-up for an added layer of protection

Facebook is offering online workshops this election season, covering a variety of topics related to best practices for government, politics, and advocacy on Facebook. The first one will be on Wednesday, Sept. 12 at 2 p.m. CT on "Fundraising on Facebook."

HOW TO JOIN:

  • Visit Facebook's Government & Politics on Facebook Group and click “Join Group”
  • Answer the questions to the best of your ability
  • Review the group rules
  • Click “Send to Admins"
  • Facebook will go Live within the Group and take questions in real-time


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