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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.”

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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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Facebook Defends Libra Cryptocurrency in Sometimes Hostile Senate Hearing

Ahead of the launch of its new global cryptocurrency, Facebook (FBGet Report) sent its crypto chief David Marcus to the Senate Tuesday to face questioning from the U.S. Senate Committee on Banking, Housing, and Urban Affairs.

The mixed reaction Marcus received among senators was mostly divided along party lines, with some of the toughest questioning coming from Democratic Senators still skeptical of the company in the wake of the Russian election hacking scandal that Democrats blame for their candidate’s loss in the 2016 presidential election.

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Senator Mark Warren (D-VA) stated that “Facebook has a history of buying or copying competing technologies,” before demanding that Marcus assure the panel that competing digital wallets wouldn’t be hindered on WhatsApp and Messenger, two of Facebook’s most popular products.

Marcus went back and forth with Warner before assuring Warner that users would be able to send and receive non-Libra digital currencies on Facebook’s networks. But Marcus would not commit to embedding those competing currencies on its platforms.

Senator Sherrod Brown (D-OH) baldly stated that “Facebook is dangerous,” saying that the company has continued to misuse customer data while continually referring to each instance as a “learning experience.”

Brown concluded his remarks by saying that “it takes a breathtaking amount of arrogance to look at that record” and believe that the next move for the company should be to create a digital currency.

Republican Senators were more forgiving for the most part, with Committee Chairman Mike Crapo (R-ID) applauding the company’s efforts to provide financial services for the under-banked.

“I want to make clear that we are only at the beginning of this journey,” Marcus said. “We expect the review of Libra to be one of the most extensive ever. Facebook will not offer the Libra currency until we have addressed the concerns and receive appropriate approvals.”

Marcus also stated the Calibra network will have the “highest standards” when it comes to privacy and that the social and financial data will be completely separated.

Users will have to provide an authentic government ID so sign up for Calibra and will not be able to register by simply using their existing Facebook profiles.

Marcus stressed Calibra’s independence from Facebook, stating that the company has taken the lead in developing the technology but that it would give up the lead once the digital currency is launched.

“We will not control Libra and will be one of over 100 participants that will govern over the currency,” Marcus said. ” We will have to gain people’s trust if we want people to use our network over the hundreds of competing companies.”

Facebook shares were up 0.18% to $204.27 on Tuesday early afternoon and are up more than 55% this year.

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Source: Facebook Defends Libra Cryptocurrency in Sometimes-Hostile Senate Hearing

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Facebook, Facing Backlash, Fires PR Firm It Hired To Discredit Soros, Other Critics – Lauren Aratani

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Facebook terminated its contract with Definers Public Affairs following a bombshell New York Times investigation that detailed how Facebook hired the Republican opposition researcher to counter criticism of its role in spreading Russian misinformation and exposed its users to political ad targeting firm Cambridge Analytica. The Times says Facebook staff were aware in spring 2016, more than a year before making the disclosures public, that Russian hackers used the platform to interfere with the 2016 presidential election and that CEO Mark Zuckerberg and COO Sheryl Sandberg decided to publicly downplay concerns about interference even as Facebook staff uncovered the extent of the operation……………..

Read more :https://www.forbes.com/sites/laurenaratani/2018/11/15/facebook-facing-backlash-fires-pr-firm-it-hired-to-attack-soros-other-critics/#3f2154362cf1

 

 

 

 

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You Gave Facebook Your Number For Security. They Used It For Ads — peoples trust toronto

By Gennie Gebhart, Associate Director of Research, Electronic Frontier Foundation Add “a phone number I never gave Facebook for targeted advertising” to the list of deceptive and invasive ways Facebook makes money off your personal information. Contrary to user expectations and Facebook representatives’ own previous statements, the company has been using contact information that users […]

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Beware! Facebook Is Satan’s Tool!  — The Little Mermaid

In this current age of an inordinately dangerous swell of anti-intellectualism and information warfare, Facebook is, in great measure, accountable for the demise of culture, stability and privacy in our lives. I’m not the least bit sorry to aver, esteemed tech mogul-Mr Mark Zukerberg, aka The Android, that your creation has brought about a widespread […]

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Why Do We Stay On Facebook? It’s Complicated

As a researcher who focuses on online communities, I’m accustomed to this running meta-narrative about what it is I’m actually doing online — but usually, that narrative plays inside my head, not all the way down the feed I’m scrolling through. It’s like my research questions have sprung to life these days: What’s Facebook all about, anyway? Is this even fun? If it’s not fun … what is it, exactly?

This is an exciting time in the very short history of social media use.

Facebook’s users are becoming critical of the systems into which they’ve been conscripted. This is an important moment: Will public opinion follow the same well-worn cycle of outrage and acceptance, or will it jump the tracks and begin engaging Facebook on new, more challenging terms?

Researchers have been asking tough questions about Facebook for the past decade, but even armed with the most prestigious credentials, they pose a much smaller threat than educated consumers. And without consumer outrage, government regulation seems unlikely to move forward.


Read more: Why not nationalize Facebook?


‘Sound and fury’

So far, at least in my own feed, the same old script is being followed to the letter. The soul-searching is punctuated by passionate cris-de-coeur from the feed’s more opinionated characters: Wake up, sheeple! If you’re not paying for the product, you are the product — remember? Quit Facebook! Encrypt your data! Smash your phone under the heel of your steel-toed boots!

Next, right on cue, the incisive social commentators swoop in to remind us that these calls are coming from inside the house. “Pretty ironic that you’re posting all this stuff on Facebook!” To which everyone silently rolls their eyes in resignation. Cue the gallows humor about how we’re all under constant surveillance, rinse and repeat. The human condition’s same old two-step. Sound and fury, signifying nothing.

That this discursive cycle was triggered by the revelations earlier this year that voter profiling company Cambridge Analytica obtained the Facebook data of 50 million American accounts is beside the point.

This is only the latest in a long series of such leaks about data mining. In 2017, approximately 200 million registered voters’ personal data stored by voter profiling company Deep Root Analytics was accidentally made public. The previous year, Russian hackers accessed a large cache of voter information owned by the Democratic National Committee.

Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg testifies on Capitol Hill on April 11, 2018 about the use of Facebook data to target American voters in the 2016 election and data privacy. (AP Photo/Andrew Harnik)

What this latest go-round is revealing is that these are industry practices that will carry on undisturbed, regardless of what Mark Zuckerberg says or does. This is not a Zuckerberg problem anymore; it’s a problem with an advertising model that is the industry standard.

Most of us Facebook users have been on the platform for about a decade, and perhaps our outrage is our growing pains.

We’ve gained some critical distance through time spent on the platform. We are less easily distracted by the ostensible fun the platform offers. And we appear to be compelled to ask questions about Facebook we’ve never asked before.


Read more: It’s time we demanded the protection of our personal data


Must ask different questions

Fenwick McKelvey, co-director of the Media History Research Centre at Concordia University’s Milieux Institute for Art, Culture and Technology, wishes that the media would start asking different questions about how data is being used by platforms like Facebook.

“The media narrative still assumes that the goal of these platforms (like Facebook) is to expose people to information,” McKelvey told me. “But it’s less and less about that — the goal is to manage and control people’s behaviour.”

Among the urgent questions media commentators should be asking, McKelvey believes, is how online advertisers are deploying user data to subtly nudge people. He provides the illustrative example of SnapChat — a company with relatively strong privacy settings in place — that leaks data to advertisers with dizzying granularity that reflects the industry standard.

Through SnapChat’s protocols, your phone informs advertisers how much time passes between the moment you’re served one of their ads and the moment you make a purchase at their business, either online or in person.

Every time you walk into a retailer with your phone’s location services on, you are leaking data about your consumption habits.

Perhaps we should be burrowing even deeper into Facebook’s business practices.

Facebook tends to rely on the fact that most of its data collection practices are laid bare in its terms of service. But according to Martin French, an assistant professor of sociology at Concordia, Facebook’s notion of “consent” is flimsy at best.

Most unaware of how their data is being used

“Facebook reportedly changed its policies after 2015 to stop app developers accessing information on app users’ network. But for me the question is: Are Facebook users, in the real world, actually aware of the changing ways their data is being used, and the policies that purportedly govern these uses?” wonders French.

French posits that based on research that has been done on who reads and understands social media privacy policies, most users are unaware of how their data is actually being used. The “consent” that Facebook is talking about when they refer to an agreement with their users is not really a kind of consent that conforms to any dictionary definition of that term.

The consensus among social scientists who study life online is that whatever dynamics play out online have offline analogs.

We’ve had a decade to incorporate Facebook into our lives, and like any learning process, our success with it has been uneven.

We’re at a critical moment as users of Facebook. It’s our responsibility to educate ourselves about the implications of our participation. Deactivating our accounts won’t change how our personal data is valued to advertisers.

But perhaps, as we become mature users of social media, we can begin to demand that limits be set on how and when our data is bought and sold.

Doctoral student , Concordia University

Facebook Helps You Find Wi-Fi — TechCrunch

Today’s Stories Facebook is rolling out its ‘Find Wi-Fi’ feature worldwide Delivery Hero’s valuation surpasses $5B following successful IPO Chat app Kakao raises $437M for its Korean ride-hailing service Cabin secures $3.3M for its ‘moving hotel’ Credits Written and Hosted by: Anthony Ha Filmed by: Matthew Mauro Edited by: Chris Gates Notes: Tito… Read More

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