Facebook Held A Meeting With FBI, DHS Officials To Talk About Election Interference

Eric Lieberman | Tech and Law Reporter

Facebook reportedly hosted a meeting in May to discuss exploitation of the platform for election interference purposes, inviting top intelligence officials and leaders in the tech industry.

Taken place at its headquarters in Menlo Park, Calif., the assembly of key people in the private and public sector shows further collaboration in trying to stop malicious actors, both foreign and domestic, from manipulating the features afforded on such sites like Facebook. The meeting was titled “election-protection” and was centered around establishing ways for law enforcement — like the Department of Homeland Security and the FBI — and Silicon Valley to better cooperate in times of need, according to The Washington Post, which obtained a copy of an invitation and spoke to several unnamed sources.

While it’s not clear if the meddling alleged against Russian operatives tipped the scale in one direction for the 2016 election, or rather if it drove a further rift into an already schismatic population, both the government and Facebook are worried about the prospect of online menaces using social media services to divide the country, especially since the tech giant’s oft-proclaimed goal is “building a global community.” (RELATED: Report: Facebook’s Election Team Gave Advertisers A Breakdown On America’s Ideologies)

But it’s now becoming more and more evident that this is a relatively new area of concern for the tech industry, which usually coordinates with law enforcement on issues related to terrorism and child pornography.

As they were receiving a large portion, if not almost all of the blame, executives at Facebook said they were irritated that they didn’t receive much help in preparing for a foreign threat ahead of the 2016 election, according to WaPo. Law enforcement says there were free speech concerns, and they couldn’t shut down accounts just because accounts were posting content that it didn’t like or found offensive.

This meeting — which also included representatives from companies like Google, Twitter, Apple, Microsoft — comes before another convened by Facebook. COO Sheryl Sandberg attended the National Association of Attorneys General gathering June 21st in Portland Oregon and reportedly answered questions about data privacy and liability behind closed doors. (RELATED: Facebook Looks To Ramp Up Outreach With Conservatives And Libertarians To Help Combat Privacy Rules)

Facebook did not offer comment to The Daily Caller News Foundation, but confirmed that the meeting happened.

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