Facebook is offering a ‘cyber threat crisis’ hotline to Indian politicians

  • The company is also working on an “election integrity” microsite for the country.
  • Politicians and political parties in India will have an email hotline to report security breaches.
  • Facebook submitted its responses over the Cambridge Analytica scandal to the Indian government one day before announcing these efforts.
Facebook, on Friday, introduced a “cyber threat crisis” email hotline for politicians and political parties in India. A top company official told TOI that the company is also working on an “election integrity” microsite for the country.

With the new hotline, the compromised account and even the Computer Emergency Response Team (CERT), can write to “indiacyberthreats@fb.com”. A cybersecurity guide with basic security do’s and don’ts has also been released by the company. Facebook announced the efforts a day after submitting its responses to the Indian government over the Cambridge Analytica debacle.

The guide strives to provide best practices for Indian politicians and political parties on how to keep their Facebook pages and accounts secured. These are a part of Facebook’s broader Indian Election Integrity Initiative.

The company, in October 2017, had announced a feature where political and issue-based ads would be marked as such and would carry a disclosure on sponsorship. The feature is expected to roll out before the 2019 general elections.

The social network site was recently involved in a major controversy ( Cambridge Analytica) over the misuse of users’ private data. Facebook was asked to detail a proposed security architecture "so that data concerning Indians is not manipulated again for extraneous purposes including to influence the elections”. According to the company, 5.62 lakh Indian Facebook users were “potentially affected” by the Cambridge Analytica breach.

The union government had set a deadline of 10 May for responses, even as it sent a parallel questionnaire to Cambridge Analytica. While the submission by Facebook wasn't shared publicly, the company said it is focusing on changes in data access policy by third-party apps and is also gearing towards “election integrity” and towards preventing the spread of misinformation.