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Facebook Chief Operating Officer Supports Releasing Russia-linked Advertisements

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Chief Operating Officer of Facebook, Sheryl Sandberg, delivers a speech during the visit of a start-up companies gathering at Paris' Station F, in Paris. voa

Washington, October 12: Facebook Chief Operating Officer Sheryl Sandberg said Thursday she “absolutely” supports the public release of all advertisements produced by a Russia-linked organization during the 2016 presidential election.

Sandberg said the company is “working on transparency” following the revelation last month that a group with alleged ties to the Russian government ran $100,000 worth of ads on Facebook promoting “divisive” causes like Black Lives Matter.

“Things happened on our platform that shouldn’t have happened,” she said during the interview with Axios’s Mike Allen.

Later Thursday, Facebook Chief Operating Officer is set to meet with Congressional investigators who are looking into what role the advertisements which began running in 2015 and continued through this year may have played in the 2016 presidential election.

The $100,000 worth of ads represent a very small fraction of the total $2.3 billion spent by, and on behalf of, President Donald Trump and losing-candidate Hillary Clinton’s campaigns during the election.

Multiple congressional investigations have been launched, seeking to determine what effect alleged Russian meddling may have played in the election.

In addition, Robert Mueller, a former director of the Federal Bureau of Investigation, is conducting a criminal probe, including whether President Trump’s campaign colluded with Russian operatives during the election season. Trump has denied working with the Russians.

Facebook had previously agreed to disclose the thousands of Facebook ads to congress. Sandberg said Thursday she thinks “it’s important that [the investigators] get the whole picture and explain that to the American people.”

In response to the Russian ad buys, Facebook Chief Operating Officer said that company is hiring 4,000 new employees to oversee ads and content. She said the company is also using “machine learning and automation” to target fake accounts that spread fake news.

She defined fake news as “things that are false hoaxes” and said Facebook is working to stamp out the bad information by teaming up with third-party fact checkers and warning users before they share news deemed fake by Facebook.

She said it is important to be cautious when going after fake news because “a lot of what we allow on Facebook is people expressing themselves” and “when you cut off speech for one person, you cut off speech for all people.”

“We don’t check the information posted on Facebook before people post it, and I don’t think people should want us to,” she said.

Hundreds of fake accounts were used to distribute the Russia-linked advertisements, Sandberg said. But had those ads been posted by legitimate users, “we would have let them run,” she said.(VOA)

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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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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.

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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.

Also Read- Microsoft Interns Make English Learning App

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)