Facebook is reportedly looking to hire people who have national security clearances to help prevent foreign governments from using its service to influence future elections. The decision, first reported by Bloomberg, comes as the social media giant faces intense scrutiny and backlash over the role it advertently played in Russia's influence campaign during the 2016 election.

Facebook apparently plans to use employees which such clearance - who can access information classified by the US government - to receive government information about any potential threats and "search more proactively for questionable social media campaigns ahead of elections," an anonymous source told Bloomberg.

Candidates who do have national security clearance are often former government and intelligence officials, consultants or contractors.

Earlier, security clearances were deactivated once an official or intelligence worker left their government job. Now, they can be carried over to private sector jobs so long as the position still requires access to classified information.

The source said Facebook can request for their clearance statuses to be reactivated.

Alan Edmunds, a national security lawyer, told Bloomberg that Facebook would also have to acquire government approval as well in order to receive and access classified information.

"You can't just get a person with a security clearance out of the clear blue and tell them to access classified information for a business without a business itself having a clearance," Edmunds said.

Shortly after the election, Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg dismissed allegations that the spread of fake news and misinformation on the platform may have influenced the 2016 presidential election as a "pretty crazy idea." Last month, the tech executive said he regretted making that statement.

Facebook has come under fire after revealing it sold $100,000 (£74,744) worth of politically divisive ads to inauthentic accounts possibly linked to Russia. It later handed over 3,000 Russia-linked ads to congressional committees investigating Russian meddling in the November election.

The social media network said around 10 million people in the US saw the Russia-linked ads.

It was also reported that Russian operatives used Facebook to remotely organise anti-immigrant protests and pro-Trump rallies on US soil in the months leading up to the election.

The company vowed to make its advertisement policies more transparent, particularly its political ads and announced a slew of measures to safeguard election integrity. Earlier this month, Facebook said it will hire 1000 more employees to review and remove any malicious or fake ads on its site.

US lawmakers are set to grill Facebook, Twitter and Google executives at a hearing before the Senate Intelligence Committee on 1 November.