Face­book and Har­vard Join Hands Against Hack­ers and Fake News


During the last US Elections, Facebook was subjected to a lot of criticism for facilitating the spreading of fake news and rumours and in a bid to counter that, the company will be working with Harvard University on a project against hackers and the spread of fake news.

Mark Zuck

Belfer Center at the John F. Kennedy School of Government at Harvard, who launched the Defending Digital Democracy (DDD) project on July 18, stated, ” the project aims to identify and recommend strategies, tools, and technology to protect democratic processes and systems from cyber and information attacks.”

DDD will be co-led by experts from the national security and technology communities, including Facebook and Google, and former campaign managers for Hillary Clinton (2016) and Mitt Romney (2012).

According to an announcement made by Facebook’s Chief Security Officer, Alex Stamos, at the Black Hat security conference in Las Vegas on Wednesday, the company will be funding the project too.

The project will receive an initial funding of $500,000 from Facebook.

The project is being headed by Eric Rosenbach, Co-Director of the Belfer Center and former Assistant Secretary of Defense for Homeland Defense and Global Security.

“Cyber deterrence starts with strong cyber defence — and this project brings together key partners in politics, national security, and technology to generate innovative ideas to safeguard our key democratic institutions,” Rosenbach said.

The Defending Digital Democracy programme will aid institutions in their fight against the spread of fake/propaganda news and hackers in the following five ways:

  • The project will work on developing solutions that can share threat information with technology providers, governments and political organisations.
  • It will provide guidelines on improving cyber security to election administrators, election infrastructure providers, and campaign organisations.
  • They will also work on developing a strategy to foil the efforts of hackers and other people with malicious intent from engaging in cyber and information operations.
  • They’ll assess the role that emerging technologies such as Blockchain can play in enhancing the security framework of government systems.
  • The project will collaborate with several civic, technology, and media leaders to develop a strategy to shield public discourse from the spread of fake or propaganda-based news.

“Americans across the political spectrum agree that political contests should be decided by the power of ideas, not the skill of foreign hackers,” Rosenbach added.

Earlier this week, Facebook acquired a US-based startup named Source3 to help the company stop users from sharing copyright content without express permission.

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