Archive for the ‘Facebook’ Category

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An almost theological question for, what will AI make of religion? What will it make of people who proclaim peace whilst inciting violence; who preach tolerance whilst practising intolerance; and whose hypocrisy about sexuality is simply perverse?Anyway, Facebook have excelled themselves by banning an image of Jesus Christ on the cross in a context of religious education.

A post on the Franciscan University blog explains:

We posted yesterday a series of ads to Facebook to promote our online MA Theology and MA Catechetics and Evangelization programs.

One ad was rejected, and an administrator of our Facebook page noticed this rejection today. The reason given for the rejection?

Your image, video thumbnail or video can’t contain shocking, sensational, or excessively violent content.

Our ad was rejected because it contained:

  • shocking content

  • sensational content

  • excessively violent content

What was the offending image?

banned cruxifictionAnd indeed, the Crucifixion of Christ was all of those things. It was the most sensational action in history: man executed his God.

It was shocking, yes: God deigned to take on flesh and was obedient unto death, even death on a cross. (Philippians 2:8)

And it was certainly excessively violent: a man scourged to within an inch of his life, nailed naked to a cross and left to die, all the hate of all the sin in the world poured out its wrath upon his humanity.

Although the university owned up to the ‘violent’ image Facebook then decided that of course the image wasn’t violent and yet again issued a grovelling apology for its shoddy censorship process. So do you think AI censorship process will be any better?

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open rights group 2016 logo Facebook Tracking Exposed (FTE) is a browser extension which intends to find out – but you won’t find it in the chrome store because Facebook have issued a takedown request.

Facebook don’t want you to know how their algorithm works. That will hardly be a shock to you or anyone else, but it is a serious problem. The algorithm is what Facebook uses to determine what you, or anyone else around the world, will see.

What it chooses to promote or bury has become increasingly important to our democracy. But Facebook don’t want you to know how it works.

Facebook Tracking Exposed (FTE) is a browser extension which intends to find out – it lets users compare their timeline posts against the potential chronological content, helping them to understand why some posts have been promoted, and other haven’t. It also allows comparative research, pooling data to help researchers try and reverse engineer the algorithm itself.

So far, so great – but you won’t be able to find FTE in the chrome store because Facebook have issued a takedown on the basis on the basis of an alleged trademark infringement. Facebook do not want you to know how their algorithm works – how it controls the flow of information to billions of people.

To pretend the premise of Facebook’s trademark claim is reasonable for a second (it’s not likely – the Facebook used in the name describes the purpose of the tool rather than who made it) the question becomes – is it reasonable for Facebook to use this as an excuse to continue to obfuscate their filtering of important information?

The answer, as all of the news around Cambridge Analytica is making clear, is that it absolutely is not. People looking to understand the platform they are using would find it very difficult to find without the Facebook in the name. But then, Facebook don’t want you to know how their algorithm works.

This is easy for Facebook to fix, they could revoke their infringement claim, and start taking on some genuine accountability. There is no guarantee that FTE will be able to perfectly reveal the exact workings of the algorithm – attempts to reverse engineer proprietary algorithms are difficult, and observations will always be partial and difficult to control and validate.

That doesn’t change the fact that companies like Facebook and Google need to be transparent about the ways they filter information. The information they do or don’t show people can affect opinions, and potentially even sway elections.

We are calling on Google to reinstate the application on the Chrome store and for Facebook to withdraw their request to remove the app. But, then, Facebook don’t want you to know how their algorithm works.

The equivalent add-on for Firefox is also now unavailable.

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Facebook logoFor years, privacy advocates have been shouting about Facebook, and for years the population as a whole didn’t care. Whatever the reason, the ongoing Cambridge Analytica saga seems to have temporarily burst this sense of complacency, and people are suddenly giving the company a lot more scrutiny.When you delete Facebook, the company provides you with a compressed file with everything it has on you. As well as every photo you’ve ever uploaded and details of any advert you’ve ever interacted with, some users are panicking that Facebook seems to have been tracking all of their calls and texts. Details of who you’ve called, when and for how long appear in an easily accessible list — even if you don’t use Facebook-owned WhatsApp or Messenger for texts or calls.

Although it has been put around that Facebook have been logging calls without your permission, but this is not quite the case. In fact Facebook do actually follow Facebook settings and permissions, and do not track your calls if you don’t give permission.  So the issue is people not realising quite how wide permissions are granted when you have ticked permission boxes.

Facebook seemed to confirm this in a statement in response:

You may have seen some recent reports that Facebook has been logging people’s call and SMS (text) history without their permission. This is not the case. Call and text history logging is part of an opt-in feature for people using Messenger or Facebook Lite on Android. People have to expressly agree to use this feature. If, at any time, they no longer wish to use this feature they can turn it off.

So there you have it, if you use Messenger of Facebook Lite on Android you have indeed given the company permission to snoop on ALL your calls, not just those made through Facebook apps,

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facebook-ads-small-businessGoogle and Facebook accused of supposedly profiting from pop-up brothels and sex clubs sweeping Britain

Ministers are reportedly considering new laws to make internet giants liable when sex workers use their sites to organise business.

The National Crime Agency (NCA) are supporting the propaganda and claim Google and Facebook are making profits from sex trafficking, according to the Times.

Pop up sex clubs have been discovered in Cornwall, Cambridge, Swindon and holiday cottages in the Peak District. Will Kerr, the NCA’s ‘head of vulnerabilities’, claimed:

People are using the internet and social media sites to enable sexual exploitation and trafficking. It is clear that the internet platforms which host and make a profit out of this type of material need to do more to identify and stop these forms of exploitation.

Government figures want internet giants like Facebook to be held accountable, eying new US laws that are set to overturn more than 20 years of blanket immunity for sites for content posted by users. It will make firms liable if they knowingly assist, support or facilitate content that leads to trafficking.

Downing Street and Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport said they are looking at whether and how to replicate the action in the UK.

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babylon bee logo Facebook has revealed just how shoddy its ‘fake news’ and censorship process is when it censored an obvious joke after it passed through the censorship system without anyone at Facebook noticing how stupid they were being.thefederalist.com explains:

The Babylon Bee set off Facebook’s alarm bells by publishing a satirical piece stating that CNN had purchased an industrial-size washing machine to spin news before publication. This is obviously a joke and is clearly marked satire and is published on a site entirely devoted to satire.

But the uptight jerks over at Snopes decided to fact check the Bee’s claim, to ensure that no one actually thought that CNN made a significant investment in heavy machinery.

The article was duly confirmed as fake news resulting in Facebook saying that it would censor The Babylon Bee by denying them monetisation.

And as per the normal procedure, when alerted about stupid censorship, Facebook admitted it was a ghastly mistake and apologised profusely. Fair enough, but in passing it still shows exactly how shoddy the process is behind the scenes.

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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.