Archive for the ‘Facebook’ Category

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Facebook logoFacebook has unveiled more changes to the News Feed of its 2 billion users, announcing it will rank news organizations by credibility based on user feedback and diminish its role as an arbiter of the news people see.

In a blog post accompanying the announcement, chief executive Mark Zuckerberg wrote:

Facebook is not comfortable deciding which news sources are the most trustworthy in a world with so much division. We decided that having the community determine which sources are broadly trusted would be most objective.

The new trust rankings will emerge from surveys the company is conducting. Broadly trusted outlets that are affirmed by a significant cross-section of users may see a boost in readership, while less known organizations or start-ups receiving poor ratings could see their web traffic decline significantly on the social network.

The company’s changes also include an effort to boost the content of local news outlets, which have suffered sizable subscription and readership declines as news consumption migrated online.

On Friday, Google announced it would cancel a two-month-old experiment, called Knowledge Panel, that informed its users that a news article had been disputed by independent fact-checking organizations. Conservatives had complained the feature unfairly targeted a right-leaning outlet.

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facebook fake news advertFacebook says it is changing how it identifies ‘fake news’ stories on its platform to a more effective system.Facebook had originally put red warning signs on disputed stories that fact-checkers found false.

Instead, now it will bring up related articles next to the false stories that give context from fact-checkers on the stories’

Facebook said that in its tests, fewer hoax articles were shared when they had fact-checkers’ articles spooled up next to them than when they were labeled with disputed flags.

Facebook have also changed the criteria for identification as ‘fake news’ Previously it required 2 fact checkers to concur but under the new system related articles can be attached under the authority of just one fact checker.

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Facebook logo Facebook’s VPs Joel Kaplan and Justin Osofsky wrote in a blog:

In recent weeks, we have gotten continued feedback from our community and partners about our Community Standards and the kinds of images and stories permitted on Facebook. We are grateful for the input, and want to share an update on our approach.

Observing global standards for our community is complex. Whether an image is newsworthy or historically significant is highly subjective. Images of nudity or violence that are acceptable in one part of the world may be offensive — or even illegal — in another. Respecting local norms and upholding global practices often come into conflict. And people often disagree about what standards should be in place to ensure a community that is both safe and open to expression.

In the weeks ahead, we’re going to begin allowing more items that people find newsworthy, significant, or important to the public interest — even if they might otherwise violate our standards. We will work with our community and partners to explore exactly how to do this, both through new tools and approaches to enforcement. Our intent is to allow more images and stories without posing safety risks or showing graphic images to minors and others who do not want to see them.

As always, our goal is to channel our community’s values, and to make sure our policies reflect our community’s interests. We’re looking forward to working closely with experts, publishers, journalists, photographers, law enforcement officials and safety advocates about how to do better when it comes to the kinds of items we allow. And we’re grateful for the counsel of so many people who are helping us try to get this right.

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Facebook logo Germanpulse has published an interesting piece about German politicians expecting social media websites to pre-censors posts that the government doesn’t like:

We have reported on the German government’s war against social media giants Facebook, Twitter and Google many times over the last year as the country tries to rid the popular sites of any signs of hate speech. While the companies have made attempts to appease government officials with stricter enforcement, each move is said to still not be enough. The question is: is Germany taking the fight too far?

Volker Kauder, a member of the CDU, spoke with Der Spiegel this week to say the time for roundtables is over. I’ve run out of patience, and argues that Facebook, Twitter and Google have failed and should pay 50,000 euro ($54,865) fines for not providing a strict level of censorship.

All major social media sites do provide tools to report hate speech offenders, but Kauder isn’t the only one to argue that the tool is ineffective.

Justice Minister Heiko Maas made a statement that only 46 percent of the comments were erased by Facebook, while a mere one percent were taken care of by Twitter.

Maas’ solution is not much different from Kauder’s, as he told Handelsblatt that the companies should face legal consequences.

…Read the full article from germanpulse.com

Der Spiegel has also published an opinion piece showing a little exasperation with trying to get comments censored by Facebook.

In June, the national body made up of justice ministers from the 16 federal states in Germany launched a legislative initiative to introduce a law which, if passed, would require operators of Internet platforms to immediately disclose the identity of users whose online actions are the subject of criminal proceedings. The law explicitly covers companies that are not based in Germany, but in fact do business here.

Justice Minister Maas must now introduce the draft law to Chancellor Merkel’s cabinet, but he’s hesitant out of fear of a backlash among a net community that still views Facebook as a symbol of Internet freedom. So far, he has done little that goes beyond appeals. If he wanted too, however, Maas could push for a further tightening of the country’s telecommunications law. All that would be needed is a clause stipulating that every Internet company that does business in Germany would be required to name one person within the firm who is a resident in the country who could be held liable under German law.

…Read the full article from spiegel.de

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Germany flag Thomas de Maiziere, Germany’s interior minister has said that Facebook should be more proactive in removing racist and violent content from its sites:

Facebook has an immensely important economic position and just like every other large enterprise it has a immensely important social responsibility.

Facebook should take down racist content or calls for violence from its pages on its own initiative even if it hasn’t yet received a complaint.

The German government has been critical of Facebook in the past as it is the main medium for people to express their discontent about the government’s refugee policies.

De Maiziere said he recognized Facebook’s efforts to develop software that can better identify outlawed content and praised its efforts to fight child pornography. He added though:

But it’s up to the company to ensure those terms are upheld. A company with a good reputation for innovation will have to earn a good reputation in this area.

Mark Wallace, a former US ambassador to the United Nations who now heads the Counter Extremist Project (CEP) in New York, a non-profit group that maintains a database of information about extremist groups, said about Facebook:

Of all the companies, Facebook has done the most, but they’re all just starting to recognize that the weaponization of social media platforms is not good business and not good for society.

CEP is completing testing of a new software tool that will identify new images and videos published on social media sites by Islamic State and other extremist groups, and remove them instantly wherever they occur, much as already done with child pornography images.

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EU flag The OpenMedia campaign group writes:

For over 8 months we’ve been following the EU Commission’s dangerous attempts to impose a new link tax on news content. But today we’re writing about a stunning new development we wanted to make sure you heard:

The European Commission have launched a special process to push forward a new, bigger, broader, version of the hyperlinking fee.

EU decision-makers and lobbyists are calling it a neighbouring right, a snippet tax, or ancillary copyright. But we know what it is: a tax on linking.

If they succeed the link tax could make some of your favourite content virtually disappear from search engines.

We’ve seen this bad idea before, but as MEP Julia Reda put it, this is a “broader and badder version” of the previous push for a Link Tax. 1

Anti-innovation politicians are also talking about a special YouTube tax 2 and still others are pushing the idea of a user fee or a search fee! 3

These terrible ideas will restrict freedom of expression and access to information, but they still want to push ahead.

European decision-makers are in the process of writing a new copyright law and lobbyists are pushing for something called “ancillary copyright”.  If the lobbyists succeed, copyright rules will be extended to links and the text that accompanies them — giving legacy publishers the right to charge fees for linking to content.

If this sounds familiar it’s because late last year people like you in the OpenMedia community overwhelmed EU decision-makers 4 by flooding their public consultation on the Link Tax proposal.

The Internet community has said no, 5 European Parliamentarians have said no, 6 many publishers themselves have said no. 7 Enough is enough already!

If we act now we have a chance to put a stop to this idea before it gets out of control.

Sign our statement to say NO to the link tax.

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Facebook logo Facebook has been fined 100,000 euros in Germany after failing to follow orders regarding clearer privacy terms and conditions for users.The regional court of Berlin ruled that the company did not sufficiently alter the working of an intellectual property clause in its terms and conditions, despite being told to do so following a complaint filing by the Federation of German Consumer Organizations. The entity’s head, Klaus Mueller, said that Facebook keeps attempting to evade customer laws in Germany as well as in the entire continent.

In March 2012, a German court originally ruled that the company’s terms and conditions were vague on the extent to which it could go with users’ data and intellectual property, implying Facebook could license its users’ photos and videos to third parties for business reasons. However, the authorities’ primary issue was Facebook’s compliance with the US government to provide data for its mass surveillance programs. After Edward Snowden’s revelations on the US government’s spying programs and how the tech industry complies, the issue has gained more gravity.

While Facebook complied with the ruling four years ago, the Berlin court now concludes that it merely changed the wording of the clause in question without changing the message that it conveyed. Meanwhile, the company defended itself saying that it had complied with the original ruling and was issued the fine because it couldn’t implement the changes quickly enough.