Facebook’s new effort not good enough

Everyone likes to be seen as doing something about major problems. Never mind whether that “something” actually helps. It seems appearances count more than reality.

On Saturday, members of the National Association of Secretaries of State were assured by a Facebook representative that the social media leviathan is doing something about Russian agents attempting to buy Facebook advertising to sway U.S. elections. They got away with it in 2016.

In the future, Facebook’s Katie Harbath told the state election officers, Facebook will mail postcards to potential buyers of political advertising, to confirm they reside in the United States.

That will give Russian officials a chuckle. Then, before launching a new campaign to influence U.S. elections, they will send agents here or hire them in the United States, rent a few mailboxes and proceed as if nothing had happened.

Perhaps Facebook deserves credit for trying. But surely company officials are not naive enough to believe their strategy can work. Not to worry. Facebook spokesman Andy Stone told The Associated Press the postcard trick is just “one piece of a much larger effort …”

A less ridiculous effort, we hope.

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