As of now, Facebook and similar companies are reviewing content through largely self-regulation rather than U.S. government mandates—so it follows that those filling these new positions will likely need general analytical skills, Curt Levey, president of the Committee for Justice, told Legaltech News.
“If the solution focuses on self-regulation rather than government mandates, then general analytical skills will remain most important,” he explained. “There are enough Americans with such general skills to meet the need.”
Levey confirmed that some degree of technical skills will be necessary for most of the additional staff positions. But “arguably,” he said, the “most important skills concern the ability to intelligently, analytically, and objectively assess the content of advertisements and related items on the company’s site.”
“Particularly important for the new staff, given the political nature of most of the content in question, will be the ability to put one’s opinions aside when assessing the veracity, intent, and source of the content,” he added.
Moreover, he called knowledge of hacking techniques “useful,” but not the most important skills for the positions.
Levey noted that Facebook will be adding the additional staff for, among other reasons, monitoring any fake social media accounts by foreign actors to interfere in American politics.
“The problem faced by Facebook and Twitter was primarily the use of fake accounts rather than any sort of traditional hacking by Russians or other foreign actors,” Levey said. “The former is also a more challenging problem in that it cannot be easily detected even after the fact. Thus, while knowledge of hacking techniques and related cybersecurity skills would be useful, they are not the most relevant hiring criteria for most of the additional staff.”
In his opinion, the new staff does not need “an extensive compliance/legal background at this point.” However, he added, “if the Honest Ads Act or similar legislation is enacted, along with a thicket of FEC [Federal Election Commission] regulations interpreting the legislation, then a compliance/legal background will become more important.”
...Yet, if Facebook and similar companies want new employees to have cybersecurity-specific skills, “then there is somewhat of a shortage of people with the necessary skills, particularly if employers want people with a specific cybersecurity background or education rather than just more general computer-related technical training,” Levey said.
“However, this may be a temporary shortage, given that the number of people seeking degrees or training in cybersecurity is rapidly growing now that it has become a hot field,” he added.
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