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Facebook Blocks Accounts Engaged in Malicious Activities

On November 4, the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) tipped Facebook off about online activity that they believed was linked to foreign entities

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The Facebook crackdown on accounts engaged in “coordinated inauthentic behaviour” on its platform and on Instagram continues.

“Combined with our takedown last Monday, we have removed 36 Facebook accounts, six Pages and 99 Instagram accounts for coordinated inauthentic behaviour,” Nathaniel Gleicher, Head of Cybersecurity Policy, said in a blog post on Wednesday.

These accounts were mostly created after mid-2017, apart from a few outliers.

“We found a total of about 1.25 million people followed at least one of these Instagram accounts, with over 600,000 of them located in the US,” Gleicher added.

On November 5, Facebook blocked 30 accounts on its platform and 85 accounts on Instagram.

“We found a total of about 65,000 followers of at least one of the Facebook Pages, which contained posts almost exclusively in French. About 60 followers were located in the US,” said Facebook.

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Facebook, social media. Pixabay

There was about $4,500 in ad spend from these Pages, and none of the ads ran in the US.

“We didn’t find any ad spend on Instagram, and these accounts seem to have mostly been in English,” the social networking giant added.

On November 6, a website claiming to be associated with the Internet Research Agency (IRA), a Russia-based troll farm, published a list of Instagram accounts they said that they had created.

“We had already blocked most of them, and based on our internal investigation, we blocked the rest,” said Gleicher.

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On November 4, the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) tipped Facebook off about online activity that they believed was linked to foreign entities.

“Based on this tip off, we quickly identified a set of accounts that appeared to be engaged in coordinated inauthentic behaviour,” said the company. (IANS)

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Australia Proposes To Strengthen Regulations of Facebook, Google

Facebook has 17 million monthly users in Australia -- 68 per cent of its population -- while Instagram, second most popular site in terms of users - which is owned by Facebook, has 11 million users

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Australia recommends strengthening regulation of Facebook, Google. Pixabay

The Australian Competition and Consumer Commission (ACCC) on Monday proposed measures to counter the dominant market positions of Google and Facebook and strengthen monitoring on their access to information, advertising and consumers personal data.

The regulatory body, which recommended 11 preliminary measures in the report, was directed to conduct a public inquiry into the impact of digital search engines, social media platforms and other digital content in 2017 by then treasurer and current Prime Minister Scott Morrison.

“Acting as an intermediary between consumers and news outlets, platforms are inherently influential in shaping consumers’ choices of digital journalism,” said the report cited by Efe news.

This influential position and filtration of news items could place the consumer in a so-called filter bubble, increasing the risk of consumers being exposed to unreliable news, according to the report.

“The algorithms operated by each of Google and Facebook, as well as other policies, determine which content is surfaced and displayed to consumers in news feed and search results,” it said.

“The ACCC considers that the strong market position of digital platforms like Google and Facebook justifies a greater level of regulatory oversight,” Chair Rod Sims said.

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Facebook, social media. Pixabay

The commission called for the creation of a regulatory authority with powers to monitor these digital platforms and recommended establishing an automatic mechanism to take down content that violates copyright.

The ACCC said consumers should be informed about the manner in which these platforms collect and use their data to create personalized advertising.

This would include a reform of privacy laws to require the user’s express consent to data collection and “enable consumers to require erasure of their personal information where they have withdrawn their consent”.

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ACCC said that it found that “competition may have been distorted in multiple sectors where consumer data is used”.

Facebook has 17 million monthly users in Australia — 68 per cent of its population — while Instagram, second most popular site in terms of users – which is owned by Facebook, has 11 million users.

In 2017, Google registered 90 per cent of search traffic originating from Australian desktops and 98 per cent from mobile phones. (IANS)