Saturday March 23, 2019
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Facebook combats fake news, shortens the doubtful ones

To combat the menace of fake news, Facebook earlier introduced red warning labels. But this led some users to share the false stories even more aggressively, forcing the social network to ditch the red flag.

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New Facebook tool lets journalists scrutinise political ads. Pixabay

After Facebook’s red warning labels to flag fake news backfired, the social networking giant is now literally sizing down the doubtful stories to prevent the triumph of falsehood on its platform.

As part of its new strategy to combat fake news, Facebook wants its users to miss these stories at the time of scrolling their News Feed, while not withdrawing them altogether so as to walk a fine line “between censorship and sensibility”, according to a media report.

Facebook detailed its new tactics to fight fake news at its Fighting Abuse @Scale event in San Francisco, according to TechCrunch.
Representational Image, pixabay

When an article is verified as inaccurate by the social network’s third-party fact-checkers, Facebook will shrink the size of the link post in the News Feed, TechCrunch reported on Saturday.

“We reduce the visual prominence of feed stories that are fact-checked false,” a Facebook spokesperson was quoted as saying.

To combat the menace of fake news, Facebook earlier introduced red warning labels. But this led some users to share the false stories even more aggressively, forcing the social network to ditch the red flag.

Facebook then started showing “Related Articles” from trusted news sources in the hope of offering its users the correct perspective.

Also Read: Report: Apple Is Working On A Wireless AR/VR Headset To Release In 2020 

The move to reduce the visual prominence of inaccurate stories is another effort in the same direction.

Facebook detailed its new tactics to fight fake news at its Fighting Abuse @Scale event in San Francisco, according to TechCrunch.

Facebook, the report said, is also now using machine learning to look at newly published articles and scan them for signs of falsehood.

“We use machine learning to help predict things that might be more likely to be false news, to help prioritize material we send to fact-checkers (given the large volume of potential material),” a Facebook spokesperson was quoted as saying. (IANS)

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Experts Urging Users to Change their Facebook Passwords and Turn on Two-Factor Authentication

Facebook in a blog post on Thursday said that it had fixed the issue and will be notifying everyone whose passwords it found stored this way

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Facebook
Facebook in a blog post on Thursday said that it had fixed the issue and will be notifying everyone whose passwords it found stored this way. Pixabay

After a report revealed around 200-600 million Facebook users may have had their account passwords stored in plain text and searchable by over 20,000 Facebook employees, cybersecurity experts are urging users to change their passwords and turn on the two-factor authentication (2FA).

So far the inquiry has uncovered archives with plain text user passwords dating back to 2012, according to the report published this week by KrebsOnSecurity, a blog run by journalist Brian Krebs.

Facebook in a blog post on Thursday said that it had fixed the issue and will be notifying everyone whose passwords it found stored this way.

“It’s perfectly possible that no passwords at all fell into the hands of any crooks as a result of this. But if any passwords did get into the wrong hands then you can expect them to be abused,” said Paul Ducklin, Senior Technologist at global cybersecurity firm Sophos.

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Facebook said it had found no evidence to date that anyone internally abused or improperly accessed the passwords. Pixabay

“Hashed passwords still need to be cracked before they can be used; plaintext passwords are the real deal without any further hacking or cracking needed,” Ducklin added.

Facebook said it had found no evidence to date that anyone internally abused or improperly accessed the passwords.

“While the details of the incident are still emerging, this is likely an accidental programming error that led to the logging of plain text credentials. That said, this should never have happened and Facebook needs to ensure that no user credentials or data were compromised as a result of this error,” said John Shier, Senior Security Advisor at Sophos.

“This is also another reminder for people who are still reusing passwords or using weak passwords to change their Facebook password to something strong and unique and to turn on two-factor authentication (2FA),” Shier said. Turning on 2FA would mean that a password alone is not enough for crooks to raid your account, Ducklin added.

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Turning on 2FA would mean that a password alone is not enough for crooks to raid your account, Ducklin added. Pixabay

Facebook also asked people to change their passwords “out of an abundance of caution”.

Earlier this month, Facebook came under scrutiny for using phone numbers provided for security reasons — like two-factor authentication (2FA) — for things like advertising and making users searchable by their phone numbers across its different platforms.

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“Another security measure users can implement to strengthen their digital security postures is to use different passwords for different online accounts. Don’t use your Facebook password for any other login, particularly for personal/professional email accounts or online banking,” said Sanjay Katkar, Joint Managing Director and Chief Technology Officer, Quick Heal Technologies Limited.

“It is also a good practice to log out whenever not using Facebook, even on mobile devices,” Katkar added. (IANS)