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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
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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.
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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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The European Union Warns Facebook Over Consumer’s Data Usage

Facebook said it has already updated its terms of service in May to incorporate changes recommended at that point by EU authorities.

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Silhouettes of mobile users are seen next to a screen projection of Facebook logo in this picture illustration. VOA

The European Union’s consumer protection chief said Thursday she’s growing impatient with Facebook’s efforts to improve transparency with users about their data, warning it could face sanctions for not complying.

EU Consumer Commissioner Vera Jourova turned up the pressure on the social media giant, saying she wants the company to update its terms of service and expects to see its proposed changes by mid-October so they can take effect in December.

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European Justice Commissioner Vera Jourova attends an interview with Reuters at the EU Commission headquarters in Brussels, Belgium. VOA

“I will not hide that I am becoming rather impatient because we have been in dialogue with Facebook almost two years and I really want to see, not the progress — it’s not enough for me — but I want to see the results,” Jourova said.

The EU wants Facebook to give users more information about how their data is used and how it works with third party makers of apps, games and quizzes.

“If we do not see the progress the sanctions will have to come,” she said. She didn’t specify punishment, saying they would be applied by individual countries. “I was quite clear we cannot negotiate forever, we just want to see the result.”

The EU has been pressing the U.S. tech company to look at what changes it needs to make to better protect consumers and this year Facebook has had to adapt to new EU data protection rules. The concerns took on greater urgency after the Cambridge Analytica data privacy scandal erupted, in which data on 87 million Facebook users was allegedly improperly harvested.

Jourova said she hopes Facebook will take more responsibility for its nearly 380 million European users.

“We want Facebook to be absolutely clear to its users about how their service operates and makes money,” she said.

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An advertisement in The New York Times is displayed on Sunday, March 25, 2018, in New York. Facebook’s CEO apologized for the Cambridge Analytica scandal with ads in multiple U.S. and British newspapers. VOA

Facebook said it has already updated its terms of service in May to incorporate changes recommended at that point by EU authorities.

The company said it “will continue our close cooperation to understand any further concerns and make appropriate updates.”

Jourova also said U.S.-based property rental site Airbnb has agreed to clarify its pricing system in response to complaints that it could mislead consumers.

Airbnb has promised to be fully transparent by either including extra fees in the total price for a booking quoted on its website or notifying users that they might apply, she said.

 

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U.S.-based property rental site Airbnb has agreed to clarify its pricing system in response to complaints that it could mislead consumers. Flickr

The company is complying with EU demands spurred by concerns that consumers could be confused by its complicated pricing structure, which could add unexpected costs such as cleaning charges at the end of a holiday.

Airbnb is also changing its terms of service to make it clear that travelers can sue their host if they suffer personal harm or other damages. That’s in response to complaints that its booking system can leave tourists stranded if the rental is canceled when all other arrangements have been already made.

Also Read: EU Regulators Question Online Retailer Amazon’s Data Usage

Airbnb said “guests have always been aware of all fees, including service charges and taxes, before booking listings,” and will work with authorities to make it even clearer. (VOA)