Date
19 November 2017
Facebook has pledged to beef up its security systems after facing scrutiny over Russia-linked political ads during the 2016 US presidential election. Photo: Bloomberg
Facebook has pledged to beef up its security systems after facing scrutiny over Russia-linked political ads during the 2016 US presidential election. Photo: Bloomberg

Facebook vows to double its cyber safety and security staff

Social media giant Facebook said it plans to double its staff involved in platform safety and security work to 20,000, including contract workers, by the end of next year.

The pledge came on Tuesday from a top company official as he appeared before a US congressional panel that is looking into alleged Russian interference in the 2016 American presidential election and the role of online platforms, Bloomberg reports.

Colin Stretch, vice-president and general counsel of Facebook, was quoted as saying that new hires would “help track behavior of extremists” on the company’s online platforms.

“We need to understand the behavior and we need to have the capacity both as a company and as an industry to be able to track it and eradicate it,” the executive said.

The planned doubling of safety and security staff marks a huge commitment for Facebook, given that the company’s total workforce stood at just over 20,000 at the end of June.

“Today, across our safety, security, and product and community operation teams, we have about 10,000 people who are working on safety and security generally,” Stretch said during a Senate Judiciary subcommittee hearing, according to CNBC.

“We’re committed to investing more and doubling that number by the end of 2018.”

The comments came as Stretch was questioned by lawmakers as to why Facebook failed to flag some 2016 election advertisements that were paid for by Russia-linked entities.

Facebook will unveil its quarterly earnings report on Wednesday.

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JC/RC

EJ Insight writer

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