Posts Tagged ‘Facebook’

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poland nationalists marchOn 11th November, thousands of people marched in the streets of Warsaw, Poland, to celebrate the country’s Independence Day. The march attracted massive numbers of people from the nationalist or far right end of the political spectrum.The march proved very photogenic, with images showing the scale of the march and also the stylised symbology proved very powerful and thought provoking.

But the images caused problems for the likes of Facebook, on what should be censored and what should not.

Once could argue that the world needs to see what is going on amongst large segments of the population in Poland, and indeed across Europe. Perhaps if they see the popularity of the far right then maybe communities and politicians can be spurred into addressing some of the fundamental societal break downs leading to this mass movement.

On the other hand, there will be those that consider the images to be something that could attract and inspire others to join the cause.

But from just looking at news pictures, it would be hard to know what to think. And that dilemma is exactly what caused confusion amongst censors at Facebook.

Quartz (qz.com ) reports on a collection of such images, published on Facebook by a renowned photojournalist in Poland, that was taken down by the social media’s content censors. Chris Niedenthal attended the march to practice his craft, not to participate, and posted his photos on Nov. 12, the day after the march. Facebook took them down. He posted them again the next day. Facebook took them down again on Nov. 14. Niedenthal himself was also blocked from Facebook for 24 hours. The author concludes that a legitimate professional journalist or photojournalist should not be ‘punished’ for doing his duty.

Facebook told Quartz that the photos, because they contained hate speech symbols, were taken down for violating the platform’s community standards policy barring content that shows support for hate groups. The captions on the photos were neutral, so Facebook’s moderators could not tell if the person posting them supported, opposed, or was indifferent about hate groups, a spokesperson said. Content shared that condemns or merely documents events can remain up. But that which is interpreted to show support for hate groups is banned and will be removed.

Eventually Facebook allowed the photos to remain on the platform. Facebook apologized for the error, in a message, and in a personal phone call.

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european commission logoVera Jourova, the EU’s commissioner for justice, is resisting calls to follow Theresa May’s censorship lead and legislate to fine internet companies who fail to take down anything deemed hate speech.Vera Jourova condemned Facebook as a highway for hatred, but the former Czech minister said she was not yet ready to promote EU-wide legislation similar to that being pursued in the UK, France and Germany. I would never say they [the UK, France and Germany] are wrong, but we all have the responsibility to react to this challenge with necessary and proportionate reaction, she told the Guardian.

In Britain, May is demanding that internet companies remove hateful content , in particular that aligned to terror organisations, within two hours of being discovered, or face financial sanctions. Under a law due to come into effect next month in Germany, social media companies face fines of up to £43m if they persistently fail to remove illegal content from their sites.

The commission is instead offering further guidance to internet companies about how they improve their record by complying with a voluntary code of conduct drawn up last year and so far adopted by Facebook, Twitter and YouTube.

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yale logoFacebook touts its partnership with outside fact-checkers as a key prong in its fight against fake news, but a major new Yale University study finds that fact-checking and then tagging inaccurate news stories on social media doesn’t work.The study , reported for the first time by POLITICO, found that tagging false news stories as disputed by third party fact-checkers has only a small impact on whether readers perceive their headlines as true. Overall, the existence of disputed tags made participants just 3.7 percentage points more likely to correctly judge headlines as false, the study said.

The researchers also found that, for some groups–particularly, Trump supporters and adults under 26–flagging bogus stories could actually end up increasing the likelihood that users will believe fake news. This because not all fake stories are fact checked, and the absence of a warning tends to add to the credibility of an unchecked, but fake, story.

Researchers Gordon Pennycook & David G. Rand of Yale University write in their abstract:

Assessing the effect of disputed warnings and source salience on perceptions of fake news accuracy

What are effective techniques for combatting belief in fake news? Tagging fake articles with Disputed by 3rd party fact-checkers warnings and making articles’ sources more salient by adding publisher logos are two approaches that have received large-scale rollouts on social media in recent months.

Here we assess the effect of these interventions on perceptions of accuracy across seven experiments [involving 7,534 people].

With respect to disputed warnings, we find that tagging articles as disputed did significantly reduce their perceived accuracy relative to a control without tags, but only modestly (d=.20, 3.7 percentage point decrease in headlines judged as accurate).

Furthermore, we find a backfire effect — particularly among Trump supporters and those under 26 years of age — whereby untagged fake news stories are seen as more accurate than in the control.

We also find a similar spillover effect for real news, whose perceived accuracy is increased by the presence of disputed tags on other headlines.

With respect to source salience, we find no evidence that adding a banner with the logo of the headline’s publisher had any impact on accuracy judgments whatsoever.

Together, these results suggest that the currently deployed approaches are not nearly enough to effectively undermine belief in fake news, and new (empirically supported) strategies are needed.

Presented with the study, a Facebook spokesperson questioned the researchers’ methodology–pointing out that the study was performed via Internet survey, not on Facebook’s platform–and added that fact-checking is just one part of the company’s efforts to combat fake news. Those include disrupting financial incentives for spammers, building new products and helping people make more informed choices about the news they read, trust and share, the spokesperson said.

The Facebook spokesman added that the articles created by the third party fact-checkers have uses beyond creating the disputed tags. For instance, links to the fact checks appear in related article stacks beside other similar stories that Facebook’s software identifies as potentially false. They are powering other systems that limit the spread of news hoaxes and information, the spokesperson said.

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Facebook logoAs queer artists and activists, we’re alarmed by a new trend: Many LGBTQ people’s posts have been blocked recently for using words like dyke, fag, or tranny to describe ourselves and our communities.

While these words are still too-often shouted as slurs, they’re also frequently reclaimed by queer and transgender people as a means of self-expression. However, Facebook’s algorithmic and human reviewers seem unable to accurately parse the context and intent of their usage.

Whether intentional or not, these moderation fails constitute a form of censorship. And just like Facebook’s dangerous and discriminatory real names policy , these examples demonstrate how the company’s own practices often amplify harassment and cause real harm to marginalized groups.

For example, two individuals wrote that they were reported for posting about the return of graphic novelist Alison Bechdel’s celebrated Dykes To Watch Out For comic strip. A gay man posted that he was banned for seven days after sharing a vintage flyer for the 1970s lesbian magazine DYKE , which was recently featured in an exhibition at the Museum of the City of New York. A queer poet of color’s status update was removed for expressing excitement in finding poetry that featured the sex lives of black and brown faggots.

A young trans woman we heard from was banned for a day after referring to herself as a tranny alongside a selfie that proudly showed off her new hair style. After she regained access, she posted about the incident, only to be banned again for three more days.

…Read the full article from wired.com

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chi onwurahLabour’s industrial spokesperson has called for the algorithms used by technology firms to be made transparent and subject to regulation.Shadow minister Chi Onwurah wants to see greater scrutiny of the algorithms that now control everything from the tailored news served to Facebook users to the order in which websites are presented in Google search. She said:

Algorithms aren’t above the law. The outcomes of algorithms are regulated — the companies which use them have to meet employment law and competition law. The question is, how do we make that regulation effective when we can’t see the algorithm?

She added in a letter to the Guardian:

Google and others argue their results are a mirror to society, not their responsibility. Google, Facebook and Uber need to take responsibility for the unintended consequences of the algorithms and machine learning that drive their profits. They can bring huge benefits and great apps, but we need a tech-savvy government to minimise the downside by opening up algorithms to regulation as well as legislating for greater consumer ownership of data and control of the advertising revenue it generates.

Labour’s industrial paper, due to be published after the Christmas break, will call for suggestions on how tech firms could be more closely supervised by government.

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Facebook logoFacebook, Microsoft, Twitter and YouTube are coming together to help curb the spread of terrorist content online. There is no place for content that promotes terrorism on our hosted consumer services. When alerted, we take swift action against this kind of content in accordance with our respective policies.

We have committed to the creation of a shared industry database of hashes 204 unique digital fingerprints 204 for violent terrorist imagery or terrorist recruitment videos or images that we have removed from our services. By sharing this information with each other, we may use the shared hashes to help identify potential terrorist content on our respective hosted consumer platforms. We hope this collaboration will lead to greater efficiency as we continue to enforce our policies to help curb the pressing global issue of terrorist content online.

Our companies will begin sharing hashes of the most extreme and egregious terrorist images and videos we have removed from our services 204 content most likely to violate all of our respective companies’ content policies. Participating companies can add hashes of terrorist images or videos that are identified on one of our platforms to the database. Other participating companies can then use those hashes to identify such content on their services, review against their respective policies and definitions, and remove matching content as appropriate.

As we continue to collaborate and share best practices, each company will independently determine what image and video hashes to contribute to the shared database. No personally identifiable information will be shared, and matching content will not be automatically removed. Each company will continue to apply its own policies and definitions of terrorist content when deciding whether to remove content when a match to a shared hash is found. And each company will continue to apply its practice of transparency and review for any government requests, as well as retain its own appeal process for removal decisions and grievances. As part of this collaboration, we will all focus on how to involve additional companies in the future.

Throughout this collaboration, we are committed to protecting our users’ privacy and their ability to express themselves freely and safely on our platforms. We also seek to engage with the wider community of interested stakeholders in a transparent, thoughtful and responsible way as we further our shared objective to prevent the spread of terrorist content online while respecting human rights.

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tisa logoThe Trade in Services Agreement (TiSA) is another reprehensible trade agreement seeking to put big corporations ahead of the people when it comes to the law of the land.Tisa’s latest wheeze is to suggest that censorship procedures adopted by social networks should be granted impunity from criticism, reproach or even legal control via the law of the land.

Under leaked proposals from TiSA, social networks and other online services could be granted legal immunity when censoring any content, as long as it’s deemed harmful or objectionable.

The measure is one of several internet-related proposals being advanced by TiSA, according to a leaked section of the agreement published by Greenpeace and the German digital rights blog Netzpolitik .

The draft proposal, which is dated September 16, 2013, effectively guarantees online services’ ability to censor such content in Europe without needing to accept any legal liability or public accountability–whether that curation is done by a human or an algorithm.

At a time when there is so much debate about whether Facebook over censors or under censors, or that it somehow controls the thought of zombie masses, gullible to a few lies, enabling the subversion of western democracy, it seems strange to consider granting the orgnisation impunity from law.

Of course our politicians rather prove how easy it is to overrule rational thinking with a few bullshit claims about how granting big corporations immense power, will magically right all the wrongs of our failing economies.