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.

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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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How Entrepreneurs Can Use Data Aggregation to Grow Their Business

One of the rising tech sectors today is data aggregation with many millennials coming to the forefront of the industry to bundle information and convey it in a summary form.

Aggregating is all around us

To fully understand what data aggregation is, let’s look at this example: Data-collecting companies, like Facebook, gather intelligence such as likes or page-visits users consume. This information is carefully organized to promote ads or document what users see in their feeds. In business using behavior metrics such as the number of transactions, or average age of the consumer, helps the company focus on bestsellers. 

Related: Opportunity For Startups in Manufacturing, Logistics and Supply Chain

What does this mean to the average entrepreneur? Using these kinds of systems can pinpoint and increase productivity to boost sales and growth

Related: [Funding Alert] Healthtech Start-Up Innovate Raises $70 Million

Dollars for data

Vasiliy Fomin is an excellent example of someone currently cashing in by way of running a data aggregator, bundling information from various sources into a single API, and allowing all types of businesses to power their offerings to consumers. He’s been able to build a thriving business earning millions in revenue by selling aggregated vehicle data, arrest record data, and more to a network of qualified resellers. 

For entrepreneurs, research and development are essential in understanding the market behavior so as to provide the best services to their customers. Data aggregators embrace innovations, new ideas and critical questioning by syncing with the industry’s changing trends in various aspects like leading, hiring, retaining and technology.

Related: 4 Ways Businesses and Consumers Can Take Back Their Data

By: Luis Jorge Rios Entrepreneur Leadership Network Contributor

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