Facebook to establish 'war room' in Taipei ahead of elections

12/30/2019 10:08 PM
Photo from Unsplash
Photo from Unsplash

Taipei, Dec. 30 (CNA) Social media giant Facebook is scheduled to open a 'war room' in its Taipei office "sometime after" Jan. 1 ahead of Taiwan's Jan. 11 presidential and legislative elections as part of the company's ongoing efforts to fight disinformation, a source familiar with the business told CNA Monday.

The war room will bring together representatives from Facebook's policy, legal, security teams and content moderators as political campaigning ramps up in the final weeks of the election, according to the source.

The war room will allow its members to discuss matters face-to-face, speeding up decisions to crack down on fake accounts and combat the spread of fake news on its platforms, the source said.

The war room will also stay in close contact with Taiwan's Central Election Commission, related law enforcement authorities and the campaign headquarters of all three teams of presidential and vice presidential candidates, it added.

A similar war room will be opened in Facebook's Asia-Pacific headquarters in Singapore soon. Facebook's office in Ireland and its California headquarters will also support the Taipei war room's operations to ensure Taiwan Facebook is monitored 24/7, the source added.

This is the first time the company has opened such a war room in Taiwan ahead of elections.

Facebook previously established a "war room" before the 2018 midterm election in the U.S. to avoid a repeat of the 2016 presidential election, when misinformation was rampant on the platform.

The source told CNA that Facebook did not do so in Taiwan for the 2016 presidential election or the 9-in-1 elections in November 2018 because the spread of disinformation on the the platform was not as widespread as it is now.

George Chen (陳澍), Head of Public Policy for Hong Kong, Taiwan, and Mongolia Facebook, will also stay in the Taipei war room to monitor the situation, it added.

The office will continue to run for a period of time after the Jan. 11 elections in case of "unforeseen circumstances," the source said, without any further elaboration.

(By Jeffery Wu and Joseph Yeh)

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