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Facebook Better Prepared To Defend Itself Against External Manipulation For The Elections

Facebook announced it was expanding fact-checking for photos and videos to 27 partners in 17 countries around the world, up from 14 countries earlier this year.

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Facebook
A combo of 2017-2018 photos shows (L-R) a Facebook posting from a group named "Being Patriotic" attributed to Russian agents by the U.S. House Intelligence Committee; Democratic Sen. Claire McCaskill of Missouri, whose campaign was targeted by Russian hackers, and voting machines in Chicago after hackers breached the voter registration database at the Illinois State Board of Elections in mid-2016. VOA

Facebook is better prepared to defend against efforts to manipulate the platform to influence elections and has recently thwarted foreign influence campaigns targeting several countries, chief executive Mark Zuckerberg said Thursday.

Zuckerberg, posting on his Facebook page, outlined a series of steps the leading social network has taken to protect against misinformation and manipulation campaigns aimed at disrupting elections.

“We’ve identified and removed fake accounts ahead of elections in France, Germany, Alabama, Mexico and Brazil,” Zuckerberg said.

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Facebook Chief Operating Officer Sheryl Sandberg testifies before a Senate Intelligence Committee hearing on foreign influence operations and their use of social media on Capitol Hill. VOA

“We’ve found and taken down foreign influence campaigns from Russia and Iran attempting to interfere in the US, UK, Middle East, and elsewhere — as well as groups in Mexico and Brazil that have been active in their own country.”

Zuckerberg repeated his admission that Facebook was ill-prepared for the vast influence efforts on social media in the 2016 US election but added that “today, Facebook is better prepared for these kinds of attacks.”

But he also warned that the task is difficult because “we face sophisticated, well-funded adversaries. They won’t give up, and they will keep evolving.”

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Facebook’s data centres are currently located across the US and in Europe. Pixabay

The Facebook co-founder said the social network remains in a constant battle with those who create fake accounts that could be used to spread false information — having blocked more than a billion.

“With advances in machine learning, we have now built systems that block millions of fake accounts every day,” he said.

“In total, we removed more than one billion fake accounts — the vast majority within minutes of being created and before they could do any harm — in the six months between October and March.”

Zuckerberg’s post was the latest in a series of steps aimed at repairing the damage from its missteps in 2016, including the hijacking of personal data on millions of Facebook users by a political consultancy working for Donald Trump.

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Facebook CEO of Mark Zuckerberg Wikimedia commons

Separately, Facebook announced it was expanding fact-checking for photos and videos to 27 partners in 17 countries around the world, up from 14 countries earlier this year.

“Similar to our work for articles, we have built a machine learning model that uses various engagement signals, including feedback from people on Facebook, to identify potentially false content,” said produce manager Antonia Woodford.

Also Read: Obama On Why Its Important To Vote In This Midterm Eledtions

“We then send those photos and videos to fact-checkers for their review, or fact-checkers can surface content on their own.”

Next Story

Social Media Giant Facebook Accused of Revealing Sensitive Health Data

The company has not given any official statement on the subject as yet

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This photograph taken on May 16, 2018, shows a figurine standing in front of the logo of social network Facebook on a cracked screen of a smartphone in Paris. VOA

Facebook has been accused of failing to protect sensitive health data of users in its groups.

“Facebook has marketed this product as a Personal Health Record and it then leaked the health data that those patients uploaded to the public,” a complaint filed with the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) noted on Monday.

The issue was first noticed in July, when members of a women’s group with a gene mutation discovered how easily the names and email addresses of members could have been downloaded in bulk, either manually or through a Chrome extension, The Verge reported.

At that time, the social networking giant reportedly claimed to have made changes to “Groups” that ended the practice and emphasised on the option for join “Secret Groups” – that are, although difficult to join, but have a more limited discoverability.

However, the complaint highlights that public sharing of privately posted personal health information is in violation of the law, which is a serious problem with Facebook’s privacy implementation methods.

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Facebook App on a smartphone device. (VOA)

“Facebook has ignored our requests to fix the specific issues we have identified to the company, and denies publicly that any problem exists. All of this represents unfair, deceptive and misleading interactions between Facebook and its users in violation of the FTC act,” the complaint added.

The complaint, which was filed by a security researcher and others, argues that Facebook has failed to make clear what personal information users might be giving up when they join a group.

Also Read- Instagram to Test Donation Sticker on its Stories Feature

Facebook is already negotiating a multibillion-dollar fine with the FTC over privacy lapses, The Verge said.

The company has not given any official statement on the subject as yet. (IANS)