Tuesday March 31, 2020
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This Massive Bug in Facebook Removes Legitimate Posts, News About Coronavirus Outbreak

Facebook and Instagram have already announced to ban ads and commerce listings selling medical face masks on their platforms to stop people from exploiting the coronavirus emergency

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Facebook
According to the company, this was an issue with an automated system that removes links to abusive websites, "but incorrectly removed a lot of other posts too". Pixabay

A massive bug in Facebook has removed several legitimate posts, news and comments about new coronavirus from some leading media outlets like USA Today, Buzzfead and Medium.

Aimed at curtailing the spread of fake and mischievous health information around COVID-19, Facebook’s News Feed spam filter blocked URLs of legitimate websites.

“It looks like an anti-spam rule at FB is going haywire. Facebook sent home content moderators yesterday, who generally can’t WFH (work from home) due to privacy commitments the company has made. We might be seeing the start of the ML going nuts with less human oversight,” tweeted former chief security officer at Facebook.

Guy Rosen, Vice President, Product Management at Facebook replied: “We’re on this – this is a bug in an anti-spam system, unrelated to any changes in our content moderator workforce. We’re in the process of fixing and bringing all these posts back”.

Later, he said Facebook has “restored all the posts that were incorrectly removed, which included posts on all topics – not just those related to COVID-19”.

According to the company, this was an issue with an automated system that removes links to abusive websites, “but incorrectly removed a lot of other posts too”.

A Twitter user posted: “It’s not just news articles. A community flier asking for emergency donations of food to the needy in our community was blocked. A friend in Canada had posts from Royal Canadian Mounted Police blocked. It’s very widespread”.

Facebook
A massive bug in Facebook has removed several legitimate posts, news and comments about new coronavirus from some leading media outlets like USA Today, Buzzfead and Medium. Pixabay

Top tech giants Facebook, Google, LinkedIn, Microsoft, Reddit, Twitter and YouTube have come together to help fight the fake news and misinformation related to COVID-19 on their platforms.

Facebook and Instagram have already announced to ban ads and commerce listings selling medical face masks on their platforms to stop people from exploiting the coronavirus emergency.

ALSO READ: I Feel Blessed to See My Work Being Noticed by People: Bhumi Pednekar

Facebook said that coronavirus-related searches on its platform would be greeted with an automatic pop-up featuring information from the WHO. (IANS)

Next Story

Spread of Fake News on high Rise on Facebook, Twitter Amidst Coronavirus Pandemic

Jumbling of content makes viewers less likely to check sources

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Fake News
The findings of a researcch show the dangers of people getting their news from social media sites like Facebook or Twitter, Pixabay

In novel coronavirus times, there is so much fake news going around and according to new research, there’s a price to pay when you get your news and political information from the same place you find funny memes and cat pictures.

Jumbling of content makes viewers less likely to check sources, said the team from Ohio State University, adding that people viewing a blend of news and entertainment on a social media site tended to pay less attention to the source of content they consumed – meaning they could easily mistake satire or fiction for real news.

“The findings show the dangers of people getting their news from social media sites like Facebook or Twitter,” said study author George Pearson, a senior lecturer and research associate in communication at The Ohio State University.

“We are drawn to these social media sites because they are one-stop shops for media content, updates from friends and family, and memes or cat pictures,” Pearson added. People who viewed content that was clearly separated into categories – such as current affairs and entertainment – didn’t have the same issues evaluating the source and credibility of content they read.

“Jumbling of content makes everything seem the same to us. It makes it harder for us to distinguish what we need to take seriously from that which is only entertainment,” said Pearson in the study appeared in the journal New Media & Society. For the study, Pearson created a fictional social media site called “Link Me.”

The 370 participants saw four webpages with either two or four posts each. Each post consisted of a headline and short paragraph summarizing the story, as well as information on the source of the post. The sources were designed to be either high or low credibility, based on their name and description.

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Fake News, Lie, News, Media, Disinformation, Propaganda
 In novel coronavirus times, there is so much fake news going around and according to new research, there’s a price to pay when you get your news and political information from the same place you find funny memes and cat pictures. Pixabay

All posts were based on real articles or public social media posts taken from Reddit or Tumblr. The results showed that when the content was not grouped by distinct topics – in other words, news posts appeared on the same page with entertainment posts – participants reported paying less attention to the source of the content.

“They were less likely to verify source information to ensure that it was a credible source,” said Pearson. That may be one reason why satirical and other types of fake news get shared by people who evidently think it is real. One solution would be for social media companies to develop tools to distinguish content.

ALSO READ: Rise in Temperature May Double The Risk of Cardiovascular Disease: Study

But until that happens, it is up to users to pay more attention to where their news is coming from – as difficult as that may be. (IANS)