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Anonymous Ads on Facebook Influenced 10 Million British Voters

Facebook faced flak for not doing enough to prevent spread of misinformation by Russia-linked accounts during the 2016 US presidential election

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Fake News, Facebook, dating
Intel, Facebook working on cheaper AI chip. VOA

An anonymous political campaign on Facebook has reached nearly 10 million voters, asking them via advertisements to oppose British Prime Minister Theresa May’s Brexit deal, the media reported on Saturday.

According to The Guardian, it was discovered by the digital campaign group 89up, which shared the details with the Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport’s (DCMS) panel into fake news.

“In adverts micro-targeted to individual constituencies, voters are exhorted to tell your local MP to bin Chequers,” said the report.

“This advertising is designed to specifically influence MPs,” 89up said.

All that is known about the campaign is what can be found on its website, Twitter and Facebook accounts.

“Going by the name Mainstream Network, the group writes and publishes news stories on its website with an almost exclusively pro-Brexit slant, shared on its social media accounts,” the report added.

Facebook, spam
Anonymous Facebook ads urged nearly 10 mn British voters to oppose Brexit. IANS

“Over the last couple of weeks, I received a flood of about 50 emails – some quite abusive – urging me to ‘chuck Chequers’ and vote for out-and-out Brexit,” Labour MP Paul Farrelly was quoted as saying

The news comes at a time when Facebook is reeling under a couple of massive data breaches including the Cambridge Analytica scandal that impacted 87 million users earlier this year.

Facebook says it has set a goal of bringing a transparency feature for political ads — now available in the US and Brazil — to the UK and India by March 2019.

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With the new ad architecture in place, people would be able to see who paid for a particular political ad.

Facebook has also set up a War Room to reduce the spread of potentially harmful content.

Facebook faced flak for not doing enough to prevent spread of misinformation by Russia-linked accounts during the 2016 US presidential election. (IANS)

Next Story

Facebook to Launch its Cryptocurrency Next Year: Report

According to Zuckerberg, Blockchain could give users more powers when granting data access to third-party apps

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Facebook, data,photos
A television photographer shoots the sign outside of Facebook headquarters in Menlo Park, Calif. VOA

Facebook, which owns WhatsApp and Instagram, is gearing up to launch its own cryptocurrency next year, the BBC reported on Friday.

Called “GlobalCoin,” the cryptocurrency would work with a new digital payments system in about a dozen countries starting in the first quarter of 2020.

Facebook has been in contact with US and British financial regulators to launch it.

According to the BBC, Facebook is in touch with “Bank of England governor Mark Carney and officials at the US Treasury”.

With over two billion users across its platforms, Facebook could emulate WeChat in China which allows its users to chat, shop and play games without leaving its platform.

The Facebook cryptocurrency would need to overcome numerous technical and regulatory hurdles before it can be launched.

According to media reports, the Facebook currency could be designed to be a “stablecoin” with a value pegged to US currency in an attempt to minimize volatility.

A report last week said Facebook has reportedly set up a company called Libra Networks in Switzerland that is developing payments and Blockchain systems for the social networking giant.

virtual currencies, bitcoin, investors
Bitcoin is a cryptocurrency and worldwide payment system. Wikimedia Commons

According to a report in CNET quoting Swiss publication Handelszeitung, the Facebook cyrptocurrency would be tied to the US dollar and could, therefore, remain stable unlike Bitcoin which has crashed.

“Facebook set up Libra Networks in Geneva several weeks ago. Libra is the social network’s internal project name for the digital currency,” the report said.

The Swiss company would focus on developing the software and hardware for currency-related functions like payments, Blockchain, analytics, big data and identity management.

Facebook declined to comment on the new report.

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According to a report in The Wall Street Journal earlier this month, the social media giant is “recruiting dozens of financial firms and online merchants” towards its cryptocurrency-based system that would use a digital coin similar to Bitcoin.

The New York Times reported in February that Facebook had a team of 50 people working on its virtual currency project.

In a public interview with Harvard Law professor Jonathan Zittrain in February, Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg said he is “potentially interested” in putting the Facebook login on the Blockchain technology.

According to Zuckerberg, Blockchain could give users more powers when granting data access to third-party apps. (IANS)