Facebook’s response to Russian election interference: ‘Bad things happen’

Facebook has come under fire for its role in influencing the U.S. presidential election, particularly when it comes to “fake news” and Russian-sponsored ads. 

When asked about this at WSJ D.Live in Laguna Beach on Wednesday, Facebook VP David Marcus at first deflected, talking at length about all the positive impacts that the social media giant has had on the world. “When you design a platform that reaches 2 billion people every month…sometimes bad things happen,” he concluded.

Marcus said that Facebook is “collaborating with special counsel and Congress” to help evaluate Russia’s use of the platform for U.S. politics. He says it’s a priority of the company to “make sure that we build systems to prevent what happened from happening again.”

Marcus oversees the Facebook Messenger platform and acknowledged that a “small number” of Russian-related incidents happened on the messenger service, but did not elaborate.

He says that going forward, “we’re going to hire thousands of people to review ads and review all activities around notable elections around the world.”

Marcus added that while “there’s no such thing as perfection,” he’s “absolutely confident that we have the right plan.”