Zuckerberg on Russian Meddling in U.S. Elections: ‘This Is An Arms Race’

During the start of his testimony before Congress Tuesday, Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg called Russian interference in U.S. elections “an arms race.” He made the remarks to the Senate Judiciary Committee’s Sen. Dianne Feinstein, discussing Facebook’s efforts to deal with foreign meddling in U.S. elections. Zuckerberg called that one of his “top priorities in 2018.” “On of my greatest regrets in running the company is that we were slow in identifying the Russian information operations in 2016,” Zuckerberg said. “We expected them to do a number of more traditional cyber attacks which we did identify and notify the campaigns that they were trying to hack into them, but we were slow at identifying the type of new information operations.” Those new operations were recognized “right around the time of the 2016 election itself,” he said. Zuckerberg noted 2018 wasn’t just a significant time for .S. elections, but international elections as well, from India to Pakistan, Hungary, Brazil and others. Since the U.S. presidential election, he noted his company has beefed up security, with “new AI tools that do a better job of identifying fake accounts that may be trying to interfere in elections or spread misinformation.” During elections in France, Germany and the U.S. Senate election in Alabama, Zuckerberg said “we were able to proactively remove tens of thousands of accounts before they could contribute significant harm.” “The nature of these attacks though is that there are people in Russia whose job it is is to try to and exploit our systems and other internet systems and other systems as well, so this is an arms race,” he added. The CEO said the way to protect users going forward was to keep improving. “They’re going to keep on getting better at this and we need to invest in…getting better at this too,” he said. Zuckerberg is testifying Tuesday and Wednesday before the Senate and the House, respectively, to explain how Facebook handles user privacy and information following the Cambridge Analytica scandal in which roughly 87 million accounts are believed to have been accessed. The information gathered was reportedly used to influence voters in the 2016 presidential election. Watch the clip above via CNN. [Image via screengrab] Follow Amy Russo on Twitter: @amymrusso

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