Facebook Wants Us To Fix Its Misinformation Problem

Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg And News Corp CEO Robert Thomson Debut Facebook News

Facebook is increasingly willing to admit it has a problem: There’s a lot of misinformation on its site. But the company remains much less willing to do anything about it itself. Instead, it would rather leave the heaviest lifting to other people: its users, its new Oversight Board, its would-be regulators in Washington, D.C.

Over the past week, Facebook has rolled out a number of new tools meant to curb bad content. Moderators of Facebook Groups, for example, can now slow down commenting on posts, making it so someone can only comment once every five minutes. Posts containing misinformation tend to draw lots of comments—from supporters and opponents alike—and the decision to add an emergency brake for comments could theoretically reduce how much attention these types of posts get, stalling the information’s spread.

Then on Tuesday, the company announced a slew of new features for regular users meant further tamp down on problematic speech. There’s now an ability to restrict comments on posts and a new Feed Filter Bar, a navigation tool for changing what appears on a user’s timeline. You can now display posts based on chronology, friends or Facebook’s proprietary algorithm.

The algorithm is the default choice right now and can be a superspreader of misinformation. Giving people the ability to switch off the algorithmically centered feed could help limit the spread of misinformation—as long as everyone knows where to find the Feed Filter Bar and then also remembers how to use it.

Facebook may be a company worth $851 billion with nearly 60,000 employees that pulls in $29.1 billion in annual profit. But the addition of these new tools suggests the firm thinks its average users—not any person or team at Facebook HQ—are the best weapons in fighting disinformation. That’s a lot of responsibility to place on the shoulders of its users, the vast majority of whom lack any of the specialized expertise needed to fight back misinformation.

Zuckerberg has long tried to avoid assuming much oversight over what’s published on Facebook, citing concerns over possibly limiting free speech, and once famously said in 2018 he wouldn’t even boot off Holocaust deniers. He and Facebook then caved a little at the end of the Trump Era and took up some basic policing measures. Holocaust conspiracy theoristists, for instance, were (finally) banned last October.

It has tried to reduce false information about the coronavirus and made a temporary change to its main feed during the election to prioritize information from reputable news sources. And then, of course, it banned President Trump, too, after the Jan. 6 insurrection.

But even with something like Trump’s exiling, Facebook isn’t willing to take ultimate responsibility for the decision. No, the buck doesn’t stop with Zuck. Instead, it stops with Facebook’s fledgling Oversight Board. The 20-person indepedent group of social media experts will review the expulsion and make a final determination about whether it was justified, the board’s first major ruling since its formation last summer. If it decides Facebook erred, the board could allow Trump to rejoin the platform.

“Here, you try” was pretty much the underlying message from CEO Mark Zuckerberg’s in his latest Congressional testimony, too. In prepared remarks, Zuckerberg asked Congress to offer a better definition on “unlawful content,” the type of posts lawmakers would expect Facebook to monitor and remove from its site.

But Congress is unlikely to agree on something like that anytime soon, and Zuckerberg surely knows it. For now, Facebook won’t have to change anything, and it’ll have a plausible justification for doing so: It’s waiting on Congress to figure out solutions to the problem. Just as it hopes its users figure out some, too.

Follow me on Twitter. Send me a secure tip.

I’m a senior editor at Forbes, where I cover social media, creators and internet culture. In the past, I’ve edited across Forbes magazine and Forbes.com.

Source: Facebook Wants Us To Fix Its Misinformation Problem

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For Facebook Moderators, The Soul-Crushing Job Must Go On

What in some cases can be truly disturbing content, moderators are the invisible, human grease that keep the social media machine running. It’s grueling but essential work that happens behind the scenes.

 

The message was for Mark Zuckerberg. “Without our work, Facebook would be unusable. Its empire collapses,” the founder of the social media titan was told in a letter sent last year and signed by more than 200 people.

“Your algorithms cannot spot satire. They cannot sift journalism from disinformation. They cannot respond quickly enough to self-harm or child abuse,” the missive went on to say. “We can.”

The we, in this case, are social media content moderators. Employed not only by Facebook, but also Twitter, TikTok, YouTube and all the other major digital platforms, they are the clandestine guardians of what a contemporary network puts out. It’s a crucial profession, but one that’s also goes largely unseen.

Moderators are sacrificed in the chase of the illusion of complete editorial automation.

“I believe that the most difficult aspect is the condition of total invisibility in which they are forced to work — for safety reasons, but also to minimize the importance of human work,” says Jacopo Franchi, author of the book Obsolete. “Today, it is impossible to establish with certainty whether a moderation decision depends on the intervention of a man or a machine. Moderators are sacrificed in the chase of the illusion of complete editorial automation.”

Speed is of the essence, silence is golden

Because technology fails to grasp the way we mean some of our words — and who knows if it will ever understand them — platforms still need someone to hide the dirt under the carpet in the eyes of the billions of subscribers and advertisers. Someone, in other words, needs to take that stuff down before it infects too many monitors and smartphones.

Digital moderators are men and women without specific skills or specializations, and of any ethnicity and background. They’re absolutely interchangeable workforce. To be hired, you just need to be immediately available, have a stable connection and some nerve.

They sift through and possibly delete the millions of anonymous daily posts, videos and stories reported by users. Such content includes child pornography, hate messages, fake accounts, hoaxes, revenge porn, cyberbullying, torture, rape, murder, suicide, local wars and live massacres. These rivers of mud escape the fallible dam of algorithms, and can end up making unspeakable horrors viral. These are the people that resolve machine selection errors, even if everything must appear, to the end user, to be a uniform and indistinct projection of artificial intelligence.

It’s essential and misunderstood work. It’s also, in many ways, barbaric. “I was paid 10 cents per piece of content,” writes Tarleton Gillespie in his Custodians of the Internet. “For this amount I had to catalog the video, published by ISIS, of a boy who had been set on fire.”

A former moderator said that Facebook even keeps track of their bathroom breaks.

The custodians work at a frenzied pace, deleting up to 1,500 pieces of content per shift. This happens one at a time, following the guidelines provided by the companies, the changing Community Standards (which the moderators refer to as the Bible).

If a post is in a language they don’t know, they use an online translator. The important thing is to be fast: They have a few seconds to determine what needs to be removed from our feeds. Valera Zaicev, a former moderator and one of the major activists in the battle for rights in this category, said that Facebook even keeps track of their bathroom breaks. Nobody knows anything about their mandate, forced as they are to silence by martial confidentiality agreements.

“Content moderators are an example, perhaps the most extreme, of the new forms of precarious work generated and directed by algorithms,” says Franchi. “Nobody can say how many there are: We are talking about 100,000 to 150,000 moderators, but it has never been clarified how many of these are hired full time by companies, how many are hired with temporary contracts by subcontracted agencies and how many instead are paid piecemeal on the ‘gig working’ platforms.”

Always answering to the algorithm

At Facebook, the most protected moderators in the United States have a stable contract paying about $15 per hour. But there are also roughly 1,600 moderators employed by the contractor Genpact in Hyderabad, India, where they are paid $6 dollars per day, according to Reuters.

The latter are part of a reserve neo-industrial army that responds at the platform’s disposal, thanks to outsourcing companies like TaskUs — people in unspecified corners of the globe, paid peanuts for one gig after another.

They face immense body and mind fatigue, commanded by an algorithm, a mathematical-metaphysical entity that never stops, and makes for an authoritarian leader.

“It is an algorithm that selects them on LinkedIn or Indeed through deliberately generic job offers,” says Iacopo Franchi. “It is an algorithm that organizes social content that can be reported by users. It is an algorithm that plans review queues and it is often an algorithm that determines their score on the basis of their ‘mistakes’ and decides on their possible dismissal.”

Yes, if they are wrong in more than 5% of cases, they risk getting the boot.

For those who manage to keep their jobs, it’s essential to disconnect completely in their free time. “There are thousands of moderators in the European Union and all of them are working in critical conditions for their mental health,” says Cori Crider, director of Foxglove, a pressure group that assists them in lawsuits.

In 2020, Facebook paid $52 million to thousands of moderators who had developed psychological problems due to their work.

Few last more than a few months on the job before being fired for disappointing performances or leaving by their own volition because they are no longer able to observe the evil of the world without being able to do anything other than hide it.

For those who manage to keep their jobs, it’s essential to disconnect completely in their free time.

The aftermath can be heavy. The accumulation of bloody visions traces a deep furrow. Who else has ever plunged so deeply into the abysses of human nature?

“Exposure to complex and potentially traumatic contents, as well as information overload, is certainly a relevant aspect of their daily professional experience, but we must also not forget the high repetitiveness of their tasks,” says Massimiliano Barattucci, work psychologist and professor of organizational psychology.

“Unlike another new job, that of delivery couriers, content moderators are exposed to all sources of technology-fueled stress,” he adds. “And this helps to understand their high turnover and burnout rates, and their general job dissatisfaction.”

Alienation and emotional addiction to horror could be just around the corner. “A progressive cynicism can arise, a habit that allows you to maintain detachment from the shocking content they see in their work,” says Barattucci. “They may develop disorders such as insomnia, nightmares, intrusive thoughts or memories, anxiety reactions, and in several cases, PTSD.”

One day, in the Facebook center of Phoenix, Arizona, everyone’s attention was caught by a man who threatened to jump from the roof of a nearby building, a former moderator tells The Verge. Eventually, they discovered he was a moderator, a colleague of theirs: He had walked away during one his two allowed breaks. He wanted to log off the horror.

Source: For Facebook Moderators, The Soul-Crushing Job Must Go On – Worldcrunch

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Apple Vs Facebook Who Will Win The Data Privacy War?

Apple Vs. Facebook – Who Will Win The Data Privacy War?

Did you know the average app includes six third-party trackers that collect and share your online data?

The war over data privacy continues to heat up in the tech world. Two of the world’s biggest technology companies, Apple and Facebook, are taking very different approaches to user privacy, and their decisions are having ripple effects throughout the tech community.

Apple’s New Transparency Requirement

Apple’s new App Tracking Transparency feature, which will automatically be enabled on iOS in early spring, forces app developers to explicitly ask for permission from users to track and share information for cross-platform ad targeting.

With App Tracking Transparency, Apple requires every iOS app to ask you upfront if they’re allowed to share your information with data brokers and other networks, so they can serve mobile ads to you and measure your response to those ads.

After this change is in place, you’ll see a notification the first time you launch any new app on your phone, explaining what the proposed third-party tracker is used for, and whether you want to approve or reject the tracking and sharing of your data.

Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg criticized Apple’s new changes publicly, saying they were specifically put in place to put Facebook at a disadvantage. Zuckerberg says Apple is Facebook’s biggest competitor.

But while Apple is adding more privacy features to give its users more control, Facebook is moving in the other direction.

The Thin Line Between WhatsApp and Facebook

Facebook recently announced changes to the WhatsApp Privacy Policy that have some users outraged.

Right now, WhatsApp has some features that allow users to communicate with businesses through WhatsApp chat—and some of those businesses are hosted by Facebook. According to the new policy, messages between the prospect or customer and the business they’re communicating with could be collected and shared with the larger Facebook ecosystem.

That means Facebook and its advertisers could potentially use customer service chats or transaction receipts for marketing and advertising purposes.

The content of users’ individual chats will continue to be encrypted, so they cannot be seen by the company. The data within those chats will not be harvested or shared with third parties. Nonetheless, Facebook faced a huge backlash against the new rules after the announcement, prompting them to publish an FAQ page to clarify the policy and reassure upset WhatsApp users.

The pushback was big enough that Facebook decided to delay the rollout of the new rules (originally slated for February) to May 15th. In mid-May, WhatsApp users will need to accept the new Privacy Policy terms, or lose access to their accounts.

For many WhatsApp users, this announcement was a distinct reminder that WhatsApp users are now Facebook customers, and over time, Facebook will be moving information between the two platforms more often, in the name of “interoperability.”

Transparency: Winning Hearts and Minds in the Tech World

Apple and Facebook often take different approaches to user privacy. More and more, Apple seems to be taking steps to be more transparent and to protect user data, including regulating app developers in their ecosystem.

Meanwhile, Facebook has trouble gaining the trust of many of its users, and the common assumption is that the company prioritizes the needs of its advertisers over the privacy of its users.

Clearly, the market is sensitive to privacy issues, and they want companies to be more transparent – as evidenced by the backlash to Facebook’s recent WhatsApp announcement.

In the long run, I believe the companies that are more transparent with their users and take a stand to protect data privacy will be the ones who succeed – but only time will tell.

Follow me on Twitter or LinkedIn. Check out my website.

Bernard Marr is an internationally best-selling author, popular keynote speaker, futurist, and a strategic business & technology advisor to governments and companies. He helps organisations improve their business performance, use data more intelligently, and understand the implications of new technologies such as artificial intelligence, big data, blockchains, and the Internet of Things. Why don’t you connect with Bernard on Twitter (@bernardmarr), LinkedIn (https://uk.linkedin.com/in/bernardmarr) or instagram (bernard.marr)?

Source: Apple Vs. Facebook – Who Will Win The Data Privacy War?

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Only on “CBS This Morning,” Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg and his wife, philanthropist Priscilla Chan, invited us into their home. They have never allowed a TV camera crew inside before. Gayle King was able to see first-hand who this couple is outside their Facebook lives. They discussed raising their two young daughters and how family inspires the work they do. Watch “CBS This Morning” HERE: http://bit.ly/1T88yAR Download the CBS News app on iOS HERE: https://apple.co/1tRNnUy Download the CBS News app on Android HERE: https://bit.ly/1IcphuX Like “CBS This Morning” on Facebook HERE: http://on.fb.me/1LhtdvI Follow “CBS This Morning” on Twitter HERE: http://bit.ly/1Xj5W3p Follow “CBS This Morning” on Instagram HERE: http://bit.ly/1Q7NGnY
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Facebook Launches a Free Online Course For SMEs Throughout Latin America

Do you need to take your business to the next level? Facebook presents Connection: Reinventing Business , a digital training event for entrepreneurs and owners of Small and Medium Enterprises ( SMEs ).

This event in collaboration with the Association of Entrepreneurs of Mexico (ASEM) and Victoria 147 will be held on October 28 and 29 . You can find workshops and content to reinvent the way they do business and find and satisfy their customers in the digital space.

Likewise, Facebook partnered with Endeavor in Colombia and with the Association of Entrepreneurs of Argentina (ASEA) in that country, making Conexion a regional effort.

According to figures from the most recent Global Report on the State of Small Businesses , carried out by Facebook in collaboration with the OECD and the World Bank, 51% of the Mexican businesses surveyed said that 25% or more of their sales originated on digital platforms. during the last month, which highlights the importance that businesses, on their way to reopening, recovery and to meet new consumer habits, acquire or reinforce their digital skills.

Digital tools have helped small and medium-sized businesses face the challenges of the unprecedented business disruption facing Mexico and the world. Businesses that manage to build a strong presence and digital services could emerge stronger from the crisis.

In this way, Facebook wants to support SMEs to maintain contact with their customers through online resources at no cost, easy to implement and use, and that can become the tools that local businesses need.

The trainings will provide SMEs with inspiration through other success stories and knowledge to grow their business and adapt their use of the different tools according to what is best for their type of business. The modules will be presented by Priscila Arias , entrepreneur, activist and influencer, who will help participants navigate through the content.

Sessions will be led by program partners to provide training on leadership and gender inclusion (Victoria 147), sales and business model (ASEM), innovation during crises (ASEA) and how to present the business to investors (Endeavor).

Market experts and entrepreneurs will be invited to help participants learn from real life experiences. Each one in a different specialty:

  • Basic Concepts of Finance , by Angélica Castellanos, Konfío Chief Operating Officer
  • Human Resources and Payroll , by Courtney McColgan, Founder of Runa
  • Negotiation skills , Victor Kong, CEO of Cisneros Interactive

To participate for free you just have to register on the site of Connection: Reinventing Business or the Facebook Page for Companies .

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Delivering an online course doesn’t have to require expensive or complicated software and services. You can quickly deliver your online course using the Social Learning type of Facebook Group. It’s easy to organize content into Units, add in a variety of media, livestream, run interactive discussions, and more. This video walks you through the basics and you can read and see screenshots in the following blog post: https://contentsparks.com/80875/ You don’t even need to create your own content for your course from scratch! We have a wide selection of brandable, ready-to-teach courses at Content Sparks. They’re easy to edit, repurpose into different media, rebrand, and deliver as your own. Check out all the topics currently available here: https://links.contentsparks.com/shop

Facebook Unveils Section Dedicated To Debunking Coronavirus Misinformation

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Facebook announced Wednesday it would launch a section that will be devoted to debunking common myths about coronavirus, as it aims to combat criticism that its been too lax about misinformation on its platform.

KEY FACTS

Called “Facts About Covid-19,” the new section will appear under the Covid Information Center part of the site that features local and national updates about the pandemic as well as suggestions of pages to follow for more information.

In an example of what the section will look like that was posted to Twitter on Wednesday, tabs appeared to show information to dispute common myths repeated throughout the pandemic, like how hydroxychloroquine is not generally recommended as a preventative or treatment for the virus, along with consuming bleach or disinfectants.

The aim of the section is “to further limit the spread of misinformation,” the social media giant said in a tweet Wednesday.

The company also announced that both Facebook and Instagram will feature new alerts to remind users to wear face masks.

On Thursday, CEO Mark Zuckerberg will interview Dr. Anthony Fauci, the nation’s leading infectious disease official, including about the country’s efforts to slow the pandemic, how close a vaccine could be and what everyday people can do to pitch in—all to be livestreamed on Facebook, of course.

Zuckerberg has invited Facebook users to submit questions they would like to see Fauci answer.

KEY BACKGROUND

Facebook has recently taken steps to curb misinformation on the platform in a change of course for Zuckerberg, who just months ago criticized Twitter for its decision to fact check President Donald Trump’s tweets. “Facebook shouldn’t be the arbiter of truth of everything that people say online,” Zuckerberg said to Fox News anchor Dana Perino in a May interview. However, by April, Facebook announced that users who engaged with posts flagged as containing misinformation about coronavirus would get a notification to direct them to the World Health Organization’s information about the virus.

Last month, Zuckerberg finally followed Twitter’s lead to flag political figures’ posts that violate Facebook policies but are considered newsworthy. Last week, Facebook chief operating officer Sheryl Sandberg said the firm “has to get better at finding and removing hateful content,” after a campaign called Stop Hate For Profit called on companies to boycott advertising on the site until Facebook addresses the “hate and disinformation being spread” on the platform.

Full coverage and live updates on the Coronavirus

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I am a Texas native covering breaking news out of New York City. Previously, I was a Forbes intern in London. I am an alum of City, University of London and Texas State University.

Source: https://www.forbes.com/

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Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg’s Power Move May Be The Biggest Game Changer For The Job Market

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Facebook has a history of either copying or acquiring their competitors. This isn’t meant to be a slight; it’s smart. Facebook has the war chest, talent and billions of global visitors to its platforms. There’s no need for them to keep reinventing the wheel.

It didn’t come as a surprise when Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg copied Jack Dorsey, the dual CEO of Twitter and Square. Dorsey previously announced that he’d allow his employees to continue working from home “forever.” Dorsey said, “We want employees to be able to work where they feel most creative and productive.”

On the heels of Dorsey’s announcement, Facebook said this week that it would permit its employees to work remotely too. Zuckerberg isn’t known for being warm and cuddly. He’s viewed as a brilliant and tough business person. He clearly sees the trend and benefits of allowing employees to work from home and jumped on the bandwagon. The massive, forced remote-work experiment made by major corporations, during the pandemic, proved a great success. The workers didn’t have to be subjected to long, time-wasting commutes. They were able to take care of and teach their children, as their schools closed, and available to help sick or needy family members.

Companies recognize that their costs will appreciably drop if they’re no longer required to lease pricy real estate in big, overcrowded cities that have high tax rates. They also understand, from a public relations standpoint, that less people driving or taking busses to and from work cuts down on pollution and saves the environment. We’ve all seen by now the before Covid-19 and after photos of cities showing the improvement of the air quality.

Zuckerberg anticipates that a large percentage of his people will work remotely and said, “We’re going to be the most forward-leaning company on remote work at our scale.” While this sounds noble and magnanimous, there’s an underlying threat to workers.

At first blush, Facebook, Twitter, Square and other employees who’ve been offered the chance to work remotely will be delighted that they don’t have to commute, deal with annoying co-workers, endless in-person meetings and their bosses glaring at them.

Some will say that it’s not worthwhile to live in San Francisco, Silicon Valley or other cities where rentals and houses cost a fortune. The taxes and cost of living are also too high. Many will leave the cities and move to places that offer more affordable housing, along with a better quality and higher standard of living. This can be boom for many suburbs and warm, sunny low-tax states and a detriment to the cities that throngs of people escape from.

Here’s the Facebook catch: employees will have to tell their boss if they move to a different location. According to Zuckerberg, those who flee to lower-cost cities “may have their compensation adjusted based on their new locations.” He ominously added, “We’ll adjust salary to your location at that point. There’ll be severe ramifications for people who are not honest about this.”

It’s becoming clear that the “gift” of remote work may be a wolf in sheep’s clothing. Let’s face facts, Zuckerburg and Dorsey didn’t become multimillionaires because they’re nice. They are sharp, aggressive, genius wolves dressed in T-shirts, jeans and hoodies. They know that a person can work from home in San Francisco, North Dakota, Iowa, Utah, England or India. It’s been proven that the available technology, such as Zoom videos, Slack and other products, make it easy to work from anywhere in the world and seamlessly connect with co-workers and managers.

Zuckerberg can now scout for talent all over the country and world. This could be the worst trend for workers, as CEOs arbitrage the best, cheapest job seekers globally. Facebook will source job applicants who possess all of the right skills and experience and live in lower-cost places and pay them less money then they’d receive working in San Francisco. Dorsey was upfront about this stating, “We can get talent anywhere. There’s a lot of folks out there that do not want to move to San Francisco. They feel comfortable working in a much smaller office or just home.”

This will cause a ripple of serious repercussions. Salaries for workers in San Francisco and other large cities may fall due to the introduction of job seekers that weren’t previously considered. Compensation may also be suppressed due to the overhang of over 39 million Americans who are out of work.

It’s also telling that Facebook just launched a new group video chat product, Messenger Rooms.This looks like it’s specifically designed to compete against Zoom, Skype, Google Meet and Microsoft Teams. Conveniently, Facebook’s own employees can create a video chat room and invite up to 50 people to join a video call. It will make it easier for their remote workers and also steal market share from Zoom, which has become the Covid-19 breakout success story.

A large number of companies, including Morgan Stanley, JPMorgan, Capital One, Amazon, Microsoft, Zillow and others have all announced that they’ll extend their work-from-home programs. They most likely will follow Zuckerberg and Dorsey’s lead by seeking out talent that live in lower-cost places, so they can bring down their costs. In light of the economic hit companies have taken due to the effects of Covid-19, saving money has become a top priority.

On the flip side, there is some positive news. Job seekers will have more opportunities—albeit along with greater competition—as they can apply to jobs anywhere in the United States. If you see a job advertisement for a position outside of where you reside, feel free to submit your résumé. The odds are that most companies will adopt this remote-work strategy and consider candidates from various locations. This trend will free you from being relegated to only applying to jobs within commuting distance.

This power move by Zuckerberg could be the biggest game changer for the job market coming out of the Covid-19 pandemic.

Follow me on Twitter or LinkedIn. Check out my website or some of my other work here.

I am a CEO, founder, and executive recruiter at one of the oldest and largest global search firms in my area of expertise, and have personally placed thousands of professionals with top-tier companies over the last 20-plus years. I am passionate about advocating for job seekers. In doing so, I have founded a start-up company, WeCruitr, where our mission is to make the job search more humane and enjoyable. As a proponent of career growth, I am excited to share my insider interviewing tips and career advancement secrets with you in an honest, straightforward, no-nonsense and entertaining manner. My career advice will cover everything you need to know, including helping you decide if you really should seek out a new opportunity, whether you are leaving for the wrong reasons, proven successful interviewing techniques, negotiating a salary and accepting an offer and a real-world understanding of how the hiring process actually works. My articles come from an experienced recruiter’s insider perspective.

Source: https://www.forbes.com

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Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg says he expects 50% of the company’s employees to work from home over the next five to 10 years. The social media giant will embrace remote work, even after coronavirus restrictions end, with Facebook limiting offices to 25% capacity when workers return in July. The company has 48,000 employees in 70 offices around the world Subscribe to The Guardian on YouTube ► http://is.gd/subscribeguardian Facebook expects half of employees to work remotely over next five to 10 years ► https://www.theguardian.com/technolog… Support the Guardian ► https://support.theguardian.com/contr… Today in Focus podcast ► https://www.theguardian.com/news/seri…

Facebook Deleting Coronavirus Posts, Leading To Charges Of Censorship

Updated 9PM PST March 17: Facebook says it has fixed the bug and all posts are restored. That may not be completely accurate, however, according to one source.

Facebook and other tech companies are working hard to curb misinformation on their platforms about the emerging COVID-19 or Coronavirus pandemic.

Maybe too hard.

“Facebook is blocking COVID-19 posts from fact based sources,” a Facebook friend who noticed it told me. “Facebook is hiding these posts. At the time of viral pandemic this shouldn’t be happening.”

A screenshot of Facebook's message to banned posts.

Multiple others have experienced the same thing, and it’s the day after Facebook, along with Google, Twitter, Microsoft, LinkedIn, and Reddit issued a joint statement on combatting misinformation on their platforms. That’s a good thing, as long as what they’re targeting actually is incorrect or spammy information, and not quality reporting from generally-recognized sites.

Apparently, those sites include Medium, Buzzfeed, and USA Today.

Others that I’ve personally seen via screenshotted block notices include Stuff, The Independent, and the NY Post. The Dallas Morning News was also impacted.

Given that Facebook is a key source of news and information for many, this has resulted in more than a few conspiracy theories. “Facebook is going hard on information control, I guess Facebook wants us all to be misinformed and die,” one friend opined.

The reality, according to a Facebook executive posting on Twitter, is that there was a bug in a system designed to stop spam:

We’re on this – this is a bug in an anti-spam system, unrelated to any changes in our content moderator workforce. We’re in the process of fixing and bringing all these posts back. More soon.

Guy Rosen, VP Integrity, Facebook

That’s resulted in potentially thousands of posts and links being wrongly attributed as spam and blocked from public view. And not all of them are news posts about Coronavirus or COVID-19.

“It’s not just news articles,” according to one response to Rosen’s tweet. “A community flier asking for emergency donations of food to the needy in our community was blocked. A friend in Canada had posts from Royal Canadian Mounted Police blocked. It’s very widespread.”

As you often find with issues like this, conspiracy theories abound.

“[Facebook is] doing what it was designed to do,” said another response to Rosen. “Silencing facts.”

That theory should be easy enough for Facebook to clear up, if the company can fix the bug and get the anti-spam system back on track. Rosen said this afternoon that Facebook was working on it, and should have a fix soon.

A few hours later on March 17, at 6:31 PM PST, Rosen tweeted that the problem was fixed:

“We’ve restored all the posts that were incorrectly removed, which included posts on all topics – not just those related to COVID-19. This was an issue with an automated system that removes links to abusive websites, but incorrectly removed a lot of other posts too.”

That may not be entirely correct, however. Or there may be a lag time in restoring all flagged and deleted posts.

The same Facebook friend who alerted me to the problem in the first place checked her deleted posts at 9:02 PM PST, and was still getting messages about deleted posts. Here’s a video screen grab that illustrates the problem, which she provided.

I’ve asked Facebook for an update or explanation, and will add that when they respond.

Follow me on Twitter or LinkedIn. Check out my website or some of my other work here.

I forecast and analyze trends affecting the mobile ecosystem. I’ve been a journalist, analyst, and corporate executive, and have chronicled the rise of the mobile economy. I built the VB Insight research team at VentureBeat and managed teams creating software for partners like Intel and Disney. In addition, I’ve led technical teams, built social sites and mobile apps, and consulted on mobile, social, and IoT. In 2014, I was named to Folio’s top 100 of the media industry’s “most innovative entrepreneurs and market shaker-uppers.” I live in Vancouver, Canada with my family, where I coach baseball and hockey, though not at the same time.

Source: Facebook Deleting Coronavirus Posts, Leading To Charges Of Censorship

​The company said it’s working on limiting “the spread of misinformation and harmful content about the virus.” Learn more about this story at https://www.newsy.com/97530/ Find more videos like this at https://www.newsy.com Follow Newsy on Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/newsyvideos Follow Newsy on Twitter: https://www.twitter.com/newsy

Facebook Used to Be an Essential Marketing Tool. These CEOs Are Doing Just Fine Without It

In 2013, AHS Consulting founder Amna Shah started boosting her business’s presence on Facebook. She and her employees worked to build out a page with information about the Chattanooga, Tennessee-based company, and posted new content multiple times a week. To attract potential customers, staffers crafted ads and paid to boost exposure of posts.

Shah knew consumer-facing brands may be better suited for Facebook’s advertising and paid marketing, but assumed hers, too, could find an audience. Some existing customers interacted with the brand, and likes piled up. But Shah says no one new from Chattanooga or the nearby Atlanta region seemed to be finding her consulting firm through the platform–only some individuals from India and China.

https://tpc.googlesyndication.com/simgad/16268205965370515636“Over time, we started to think these were fake profiles,” she says. “We got no new business out of Facebook, ever.” Halfway through 2018, the company stopped putting effort into Facebook marketing.  Shah is far from alone. In a November survey, Inc. asked CEOs and other high-ranking executives from fast-growing companies what they think about Facebook from a business perspective. Thirty-two percent said they are now getting less for their marketing dollars with Facebook than they used to, while 27 percent said they mistrust Facebook’s use of their business data. In follow-up interviews, several of the survey takers said they have slowed their use of Facebook marketing and advertising. A few, meanwhile, have pulled the plug altogether.

  • Shannon Hulbert, the CEO of Opus Interactive, a cloud-services provider in Hillsboro, Oregon, had been spending hundreds of dollars a month on Facebook advertising, but said her company cut back dramatically in 2018. The following year Opus removed Facebook from its marketing budget entirely. The social network had stopped driving business, Hulbert says, as Opus had itself grown to cater to much larger businesses.
  • Moira Vetter, the founder and CEO of Modo Modo Agency in Atlanta, says a decade ago it felt like every business needed to be on Facebook and Twitter. Recently though, her creative agency–an Inc. 5000 honoree the past three years–has shifted its focus to producing content and promoting its work on Instagram and LinkedIn. “I feel that Facebook has run its course,” she says. “It’s not somewhere people in our industry are spending time. In fact, it’s become less and less of something I even think or talk about.”
  • Bubba Grimsley says he’d just cut off his Fairhope, Alabama-based company Liberty Rent’s Facebook presence in November, due to concerns about data privacy within his industry, which works with real-estate rentals and financing. “I don’t even know why we were doing it,” he says of the company’s Facebook efforts, which included paying to boost exposure of its content. “I don’t think I was finding any customers.”

For years Facebook has poured energy into targeting and educating small businesses, growing a team of publicists and outreach employees. As of 2018, more than 140 million businesses globally used Facebook, at least 90 million of which were small and midsize businesses, according to the company. Veronica Twombly, the head of communications for Facebook Small Business, says SMBs are a “top priority” for the platform.

“We are trying to elevate our free and paid solutions to make sure these small- and medium-size businesses know all of the tools at their disposal to help grow their customers,” Twombly tells Inc. The company offers digital training for businesses, and held more than 100 in-person training sessions in the United States in 2019.

Facebook in the past has acknowledged the growing cost of its advertising for business, even as user growth has slowed. Finance chief David Wehner said in an investor conference call that in the fourth quarter of 2017 alone, the average price per ad climbed 43 percent, while the number of ad impressions served increased just 4 percent. Still, Twombly says the company is continuing to see growth in monthly active advertisers.

Several of the executives who told Inc. they have stopped advertising on Facebook over the past year were from business-to-business companies, which often can find customers more reliably on LinkedIn or through other marketing channels. But others outside of the B2B realm have followed suit. One example is Jack Wight, the founder of an electronics reseller that advertised aggressively to individuals on Facebook in 2018 but pulled the plug on the effort the following year.

“We weren’t making any money on those people by the time we paid for the advertising,” says Wight, the chief executive of Buyback Boss, which is based in Tempe, Arizona. “The marketing cost was just higher than other channels.”

Wight estimates his company spent about $20,000 on Facebook ads over the course of a year, before giving up on Facebook about seven months ago. For 2020, his company is using a strategy of SEO and Adwords to find people who type in, for example, “sell my iPhone 10” on Google.

A Buyback Boss employee who had been handling the company’s Facebook presence and advertising now focuses on search marketing. Wight says he’s open to resuming ad spending on Facebook–but only after he’s scaled the other marketing channels he’s found more effective.

“We put some money into it, we risked some money to experiment,” he says, “and it just didn’t work.”

By Christine Lagorio-Chafkin Senior writer, Inc. @Lagorio

 

Source: Facebook Used to Be an Essential Marketing Tool. These CEOs Are Doing Just Fine Without It

Mark Zuckerberg’s Answer To An Anti-Vaxxer Question Highlights Facebook’s Problematic Response To Misinformation

Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg returned to Capitol Hill on Wednesday for the first time since April 2018, answering a litany of questions about Facebook’s digital currency project and how it balances freedom of expression with demands it prevent the spread of false information. One exchange, on its approach to the controversial anti-vaccination movement, underlined the many ways its strategy can get muddled.

The hearing, held by the U.S. House Committee on Financial Services, was billed as an opportunity for lawmakers to probe the company’s plan to launch a global digital currency, called libra. The agenda for the meeting quickly derailed in the opening minutes when chairwoman Maxine Waters (D-California) ripped into Zuckerberg for what she called an inability to adequately govern the platform he created.

“As I have examined Facebook’s various problems, I have come to the conclusion that it would be beneficial for all if Facebook concentrates on addressing its many existing deficiencies and failures before proceeding any further on the Libra project,” she said. Zuckerberg’s response: “While we debate these issues, the rest of the world isn’t waiting. China is moving quickly to launch similar ideas in the coming months.”

Today In: Innovation

Waters’ opening remarks set the tone for what took place during the remaining four-hours-plus of testimony. Legislators questioned Facebook’s decision to continue to run political ads with false information and failure to stop foreign governments from interfering on the platform. One revealing moment came from an outspoken anti-vaccination supporter, Congressman Bill Posey (R-FL), who wanted assurance Facebook would “support users’ fair and open discussions and communications related to the risk as well as the benefits of vaccinations.”

“We do care deeply about giving people a voice and freedom of expression,” Zuckerberg said. “At the same time, we also hear consistently from our community that people want us to stop the spread of misinformation. So we try to focus on misinformation that has the potential to lead to physical or imminent harm, and that can include misleading health advice.”

Facebook’s has tried to tackle the spread of misinformation by lowering its value in News Feed and making it easier for users to report false posts. Independent third-party fact-checking organization review them—if they determine a story is false, it will be flagged as disputed and there will be a link to a corresponding article explaining why. But Facebook fact-checkers have described the process like “playing a doomed game of a wack-a-mole.” These various approaches have been widely criticized for not doing enough to stomp out the spread of false information across the platform.

In 2014, the Centers for Disease Control estimated that vaccinations have prevented more than 21 million hospitalizations and 732,000 deaths among children born in the last 20 years. Scientists have yet to find any evidence for claims that vaccines can cause illnesses like autism. But anti-vaccine sentiment, which has flourished on Facebook and other social platforms, has led some parents to forgo vaccinations, leading to the rebound of some childhood diseases like measles. In March, Facebook rolled out a new policy on anti-vaccination content, including the decision to reject ads with false information.

Zuckerberg, who told Congressman that his “understanding of the scientific consensus” is that people should get their vaccines, said Facebook won’t stop its users from posting information that’s wrong.

“If someone wants to post anti-vaccination content, or if they want to join a group where people are discussing that content, we don’t prevent them from doing that. But we don’t go out of our way to make sure our group recommendation systems try to encourage people to join those groups.”

In other words, Facebook won’t prevent one of its 2 billion users from posting false information—it may not even flag it as wrong. The Facebook algorithm just won’t help it gain traction. If the user can spread that information on his own, then in Zuckerberg’s words, that’s “freedom of expression.”

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I’m an associate editor at Forbes covering Facebook and social media. I previously worked as an editor for Popular Science, Gizmodo, and Mashable leading investigations and spotting emerging trends. In 2016, I authored an investigative series that pried open the inner workings of Facebook’s Trending Topics and news operation, causing a global referendum on how the social network curated the news for its readers. Follow me on Twitter at @MichaelFNunez and email me at mnunez@forbes.com. Securely share tips at https://www.forbes.com/tips/

Source: Mark Zuckerberg’s Answer To An Anti-Vaxxer Question Highlights Facebook’s Problematic Response To Misinformation

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Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg faced aggressive questions in a day-long Congressional hearing on election interference, free speech, hate groups and fake news from members of the U.S. House of Representatives Financial Services Committee on Wednesday. Zuckerberg was quizzed on Facebook’s steps to combat misinformation and voter suppression ahead of the November 2020 U.S. presidential election, to being asked how he feels about being compared to Trump. The CEO said Facebook would insist on U.S. regulatory approval before launching Libra, which is being established by a Switzerland-based consortium including venture capital firms and nonprofits. Zuckerberg navigated the hostile room without major slip-ups, and managed to crack a smile when he was jokingly asked about the betrayal he felt in his portrayal in the movie, “The Social Network.” For more info, please go to http://www.globalnews.ca Subscribe to Global News Channel HERE: http://bit.ly/20fcXDc Like Global News on Facebook HERE: http://bit.ly/255GMJQ Follow Global News on Twitter HERE: http://bit.ly/1Toz8mt Follow Global News on Instagram HERE: https://bit.ly/2QZaZIB #GlobalNews
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