Facebook, Twitter and Google routinely squabble for users, engineers and advertising money. Yet it makes sense for these tech giants to work together on security threats, elections meddling and other common ills.
Such cooperation was evident Tuesday when Facebook announced that it had removed 652 suspicious pages, groups and accounts linked to Russia and Iran. This was followed by similar news from Twitter. On Monday, meanwhile, Microsoft reported a new Russian effort to impersonate conservative U.S. websites, potentially as part of an espionage campaign.
Cooperation makes it easier for tech companies to combat fraudulent use of their services. It also makes them look good in the eyes of their users and regulators by showing that they take the threats seriously enough to set aside competitive differences.
They have little other choice if they want to avoid regulation and stay ahead of — or just keep up with — the malicious actors, who are getting smarter and smarter at evading the tech companies’ controls.
Case in point: While Facebook said there was no evidence that Russian and Iranian actors cooperated with each other in the latest efforts to create fake accounts to mislead users, the company said their tactics were similar. In other words, if the bad guys are learning from each other, the companies fighting them would need to do the same.