In light of growing concerns about Russian interference in the American elections, Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg said Wednesday that the company is “dead serious” about improving its security across the board.
Zuckerberg told investors that the company was going to tackle security concerns regardless of the effect it would have on profit. “It will significantly impact our profitability going forward, and I wanted our investors to hear that directly from me,” he said, according to ABC. “We’re bringing the same intensity to these security issues that we’ve brought to any adversary or challenge we’ve faced.”
Despite his warning statements about Facebook’s future profitability, he presented his statements to investors after Facebook posted its best quarter to date. The company reported more than $10.4 billion in revenue, as well as $1.59 per share profit. Monthly users also rose 16 percent – the site now sees more than 2 billion visitors per month.
The vast majority of the company’s revenue, approximately $10.1 billion, came from advertising, the subject at the heart of concerns that Russia meddled in American elections. The company recently turned over all advertisements on Facebook purchased by Russian operatives to legislators in order to aid investigations into allegations that Russia interfered in the elections.
More than 3,000 advertisements were purchased by a Russian troll farm specifically targeting Americans through political discourse, earning Facebook more than $100,000, according to USA Today. The advertising reached more than 140 million Americans, according to Facebook representatives.
“I’ve expressed how upset I am that the Russians used our tools to sow (distrust) and undermine our values. What they did is wrong and we’re not going to stand for it,” Zuckerberg said, according to Engadget.
COO Sheryl Sandberg said the company would develop higher standards of transparency for advertising and its source so that viewers are better prepared to understand the intentions behind the advertisement. However, she also said the company would not stop allowing inspirational quotes or political advertisements on the site.
Zuckerberg said the company would double its workforce of employees working on security to 20,000, although some of the employees would be contractors rather than full-time staff. The company also raised its estimate of the percent of duplicate accounts on Facebook from 6 percent to 10 percent, and the percent of bot accounts from 1 percent to 3 percent.