Facebook has recently responded to heavy criticism of its role in Russia meddling in our election by announcing it would send postcards via snail mail to the physical address of potential buyers of political ads to confirm they reside in the US. The recipient of the postcard would would have to enter a code, listed on the back of the postcard, to continue buying the ad.
Facebook’s postcard identification system will only apply to ads related to elections for federal offices, including the U.S. Senate and House of Representatives. Facebook has previously said that once ad buyers’ identities are confirmed, all political ads on the site will contain a notice disclosing who paid for them.
Adam Levin Founder of CyberScout and author of “Swiped,” says “Facebook postcards could be a step in the right direction to protect our electoral process and our democracy from cyber attacks by foreign bad actors, but it is not the silver bullet. The issue is not just who is buying the ad, but how the misinformation is being spread through automated bots.”
Adams says Russia’s misinformation campaign was “organic.”
The campaign involved “creating and sharing memes, like farming and boosting followers, while using unwitting Americans to spread their misinformation. [As] the Cyber War has replaced the Cold War, social media companies like Facebook and Twitter need to work with the government and the business community not only to clamp down on the ad buys by nation or state backed cybercriminals, but to more importantly control the spread of these bots by shoring up our cyber defenses and investing in campaigns that identify and stop the spread of fake news.”