Facebook has shuttered its so-called war room that was created to stop foreign interference in elections, according to a Bloomberg report.
The “room” is a metaphor. The project was comprised of 24 teams totaling 24,000 people, and was originally set up to review activity by foreign entities that tried to distribute misinformation ahead of this year’s U.S. midterm, and also in Brazil during their election seasons. The company maintains that the war room was temporary, but that it could be brought together again for other election seasons, and that it will continue to deploy similar war rooms in the future.
Facebook heavily publicized its efforts during the lead-up to the midterm elections, which it did at least in part to reassure users, government, and investors that it wanted to avoid a repeat of the Russian “troll farms” during the 2016 elections.
Critics of the company maintained that both its war room and its efforts to add transparency to political advertisements were more theatre than solution; Vice News submitted ads pretending to be on behalf of all 100 U.S. Senators, all of which were approved, as well as several from Vice President Mike Pence, and perhaps most mind-bogglingly, ISIS.
Faceook’s announcement that it had blocked a relatively paltry 115 Russia-affiliated accounts the day before the U.S. elections ultimately did little to adjust the impression that its efforts weren’t as strenuous as the company insisted.
The announcement comes during a week of negative publicity for the scandal-ridden social media giant, including a revelation that they considered selling user data, a seizure of internal documents from the U.K. Parliament, news that Sharyl Sandberg is obsessed with George Soros, and a grilling from 7 nations in a panel over its many data scandals.