Facebook expands security measures for political campaign staff

The pilot program comes just in time for the US midterm elections.

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Reuters/Brendan McDermid
Reuters/Brendan McDermid

The US midterm elections are just weeks away, and Facebook is still scrambling to prevent election meddling with every means at its disposal. It's launching a pilot program that will expand its protections for American political campaigns. Candidates at the federal or state levels, as well as their staff and party committees, can apply to receive extra protection for their Pages and individual accounts. Facebook will help activate two-factor authentication, proactively monitor accounts (through both automation and human staff), and prioritize reports of suspicious activity from campaign members. If there's an attack against one person, Facebook will check other related accounts.

The company might spread the pilot to other elections and other high-profile users, including existing government staff.

There's no mystery as to why Facebook is making this available, even as late as it is in the campaign season: it's trying to prevent John Podesta-style account breaches from Russia and other actors that might try to meddle in the election. Facebook has admitted that it was too slow to act on election threats in the 2016 presidential election, and it doesn't want to be accused of a similar shortcoming this year. While these and other measures won't guarantee a hack-free election (especially not when they're optional), Facebook could at least say that it offered help.

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