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DHS and Facebook Update Election Officials on Foreign Interference Operations

Release Date: 
August 6, 2018

DHS Continues to Strengthen Election Security Efforts by Hosting Facebook Briefing on Malign Activity on Social Media Platforms

Washington, D.C. – Today, the Department of Homeland Security hosted a conference call with the National Association of Secretaries of State (NASS) and the National Association of State Election Directors (NASED) – the nation’s lead election security officials – featuring a briefing by Facebook on the company’s actions last week to remove inauthentic behavior by malicious actors who seek to undermine our democratic institutions. DHS officials and Facebook’s security team spoke with election officials to provide an update on recent actions taken by Facebook, including tactics used by adversaries. This briefing provided elections officials a broader understanding of the threat environment as they develop plans to bolster the resilience of election systems. This call is also a clear example of how the federal government is partnering with social media companies and state and local officials to share information and collaborate on combatting threats to elections. 

“Strengthening collaboration between social media companies and federal, state, and local governments is critical to preventing foreign interference in our democratic processes, including elections. Today’s briefing is an excellent example of this growing partnership across industry and government,” said Christopher C. Krebs, Under Secretary for the National Protection and Programs Directorate. “While recent operations identified by Facebook were not directly targeting elections or political campaigns, it is important for election officials to have an understanding of the techniques and tactics malign actors use, as well as countermeasures used to defeat those operations. This broader understanding will help elections officials develop response and communications plans to bolster resilience of our nation’s election systems.”

“Facebook is investing heavily in security so that we can find and address the threats posed by inauthentic actors, including by expanding our security teams and improving our artificial intelligence tools to detect and block fake accounts. Facebook is also working more closely with law enforcement and elections officials as well as other tech companies and research organizations so that we can share information and together address the challenges posed by determined adversaries. The call DHS hosted today with state election officials was a meaningful step and we look forward to even greater cooperation in the future,” said Kevin Martin, Facebook VP of Public Policy.

"We appreciate the efforts made by DHS to provide a more comprehensive picture of the lengths foreign adversaries will go to attack our democratic process. Learning about Facebook’s response to continued influence operations was extremely valuable for Secretaries of State and other state election officials. Election cybersecurity is a team sport. As we prepare for the 2018 midterm elections this increased information sharing and partnership between states, the federal government and the private sector will be critical to our success defending our elections from foreign threats,” said Jim Condos, President of the National Association of Secretaries of State and Vermont Secretary of State.

“Today’s call with Facebook is yet another example of the increasingly strong relationship between DHS and election officials. Even though it is not directly related to the administration of elections, NASED values the opportunity to better understand the tactics foreign adversaries use to attempt to influence American elections so that we can respond more effectively to maintain the integrity of our systems and ensure voters can have confidence in the outcomes. Responding to the cyber threats we face requires regular sharing of information across all levels of government, and, as today’s very informative call between Facebook, Secretaries of State, and Election Directors indicates, our partnership with DHS puts us in a more secure position than before,” said Keith Ingram, Director of Elections from Texas and President Elect, National Association of State Election Directors.

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Last Published Date: August 7, 2018
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