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Facebook denies report that election war room was disbanded


Facebook’s election war room monitors and dashboards remain, since so does the threat of election interference. Facebook has confirmed to TechCrunch that its election war room that it paraded reporters through in October has not been disbanded and will be used again for future elections. That directly contradicts a report from Bloomberg today about the war room that claimed “it’s been disbanded”, citing confirmation from a Facebook spokesperson. That article has not received a formal correction or update despite the Facebook’s VP of product for election security Guy Rosen tweeting to Bloomberg’s Sarah Friar that “The war room was effective and we’re not disbanding it, we’re going to do more things like this.”

“Our war room effort is focused specifically on elections-related issues and is designed to rapidly respond to threats such as voter suppression efforts and civic-related misinformation. It was an effective effort during the recent U.S. and Brazil elections, and we are planning to expand the effort going forward for elections around the globe” a Facebook spokesperson tells TechCrunch. It seems there was a miscommunication between Facebook PR and Bloomberg.

Facebook created the war room at its Menlo Park HQ to monitor for election-related violations of its policies ahead of the Brazilian Presidential race and the US midterms. The room features screens visualizing the volume of foreign political content and voter suppressions efforts to a team of high-ranking teammates from Facebook as well as Instagram and WhatsApp. The goal was to speed up response times to sudden spikes in misinformation about candidates or how to vote to prevent the company from being caught flat-footed as it was in the 2016 presidential election when Russian agents pumped propaganda into the social network.