DUBLIN – Inside a large room in Facebook's European headquarters in Ireland's capital, about 40 employees sit at rows of desks, many with two computer screens and a sign representing a country in the European Union.
Large screens at the front show display charts and other information about trends on the social network's services, including Instagram and the messaging app WhatsApp. In the back, muted televisions broadcast news stations.
The cramped space is home to Facebook's newly opened operations center to oversee the European Union's parliamentary election, which will be May 23 to May 26 in 28 countries.
Modeled after the "war room" that the Silicon Valley company created before last year's midterm elections in the United States, the people inside are tasked with washing Facebook of misinformation, fake accounts and meddling that could sway voters. A similar post was set up in Singapore for elections in India.
Eager to show it is taking threats seriously as it faces pressure from governments to protect the integrity of the election, Facebook invited about two dozen journalists to visit its hub last week.
"We are fundamentally dealing with a security challenge," said Nathaniel Gleicher, Facebook's head of cybersecurity policy. "There are a set of actors that want to manipulate public debate."
Facebook has good reason to be proactive after Russians used the platform to influence American voters in the 2016 presidential election.
The European election will determine who controls the European Parliament and sets the agenda of the European Union for the next five years.
The election center in Dublin will be open through May's vote. Data analysts, content moderators, engineers and attorneys from across Facebook were flown in from around the world. All 24 of the E.U.'s official languages are represented.
New York Times