On the heels of Facebook representatives testifying on Capitol Hill — along with banner Q3 earnings from the social media giant — CEO Mark Zuckerberg said Wednesday that he’s “dead serious” when it comes to dealing with Russian meddling in the 2016 U.S. election.
Zuckerberg kicked off his company’s third quarter earnings conference call Wednesday with tough talk about preventing the spread of pro-Kremlin misinformation, saying it’s of paramount importance for his company to root out Russian trolls.
“Protecting our community is more important than maximizing profits,” he said.
The exec reiterated what Facebook had told congressional investigators earlier in the week — that the company would be doubling its ad review team from 10,000 to 20,000. Zuckerberg added the company would be implementing artificial intelligence and machine learning to fight the spread of fake news.
“I am dead serious about this,” said Zuckerberg.
After the social network posted another earnings beat — including a whopping $10.33 billion in revenue during the third quarter — Zuckerberg emphasized the company’s efforts in a statement. “We’re investing so much in security that it will impact our profitability,” he said.
Still, the investment in security could easily be seen as a way for Facebook to protect its most valuable asset — its users. Scaring away a healthy slice of its 2.07 billion monthly users due to the specter of fake Russian content would be a body blow to a company raking in advertising dollars.
On Tuesday, Facebook’s General Counsel Colin Stretch told the Senate Intelligence Committee 126 million users had been exposed to Russian troll content before and after the 2016 election. This number ballooned another 20 million on Wednesday when Stretch added in the number of accounts hit on Instagram, the company’s popular photo-sharing app.
Moving forward, Facebook said it’ll be adding a “paid for by” tag to its political ads, giving users insight into the source behind ads on its platform.