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Facebook Still Evasive Over Cambridge Analytica And Fake News: UK Lawmakers

Collins says the committee will continue to push Facebook 'until the public get the answers they deserve

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LinkedIn faced probe for Facebook ads targeting 18 mn non-members. Pixabay

Facebook’s response to questions about Cambridge Analytica’s misuse of its data continues to “display a pattern of evasive behaviour”, according to the chair of a British parliamentary committee.

“Facebook continues to display a pattern of evasive behaviour — a pattern which has emerged over the course of our inquiry. “In some cases, these answers even show inconsistencies in their evidence to us,” Damian Collins, chair of a British parliamentary committee was quoted as saying by CNET late Friday.

Collins has outlined a number of areas where Facebook’s answers have been lacking, including refusing accountability for fraudulent ads on the site, not sharing country-by-country revenues, digital political advertising and refusal to share how many resources are being devoted to security.

“Collins says the committee will continue to push Facebook ‘until the public get the answers they deserve’.

Facebook mobile app
Facebook mobile app. Pixabay

“The MP has been fighting to have Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg face his committee and is looking into issuing a formal summons that would legally compel him to do so,” the report added.

This comes a day after a security researcher revealed that a german personality quiz app was exposing the private data of about 120 million Facebook users it had amassed to third-parties online since 2016.

The company behind “NameTests”, a German app maker Social Sweethearts, created popular social quizzes like “Which Disney Princess Are You?” and distributed them on the social networking site.

Also Read: Google, Facebook Have Been Using “Dark Patterns”: Report

Facebook was hit by a major data scandal in March after Cambridge Analytica, a British consulting company, was accused of harvesting data of up to 87 million Facebook users without permission to help politicians, including US President Donald Trump and the Brexit campaign.

Appearing before the US Congress, the company CEO Mark Zuckerberg told the lawmakers that his own personal data was part of the users’ data that was “improperly shared” with the British political consultancy firm. (IANS)

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Political ad Spend on Facebook Picks up in April

The 2019 Lok Sabha election is being held in seven phases from April 11 to May 19

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FILE - The Facebook app icon is shown on an iPhone in New York. VOA

Political parties and their affiliates ramped up spending on social media ads ahead of the third phase of Lok Sabha elections, scheduled for Tuesday, show data released by Facebook Ad Library.

Indians spent around Rs 7 crore for running political ads on Facebook and Instagram in the first 20 days of April, while the amount spent on these platforms in February-March was about Rs 10 crore.

Facebook’s Ad Library, a searchable database, includes ads related to politics and issues of national importance run on Facebook or Instagram.

The Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) and its affiliates continue to lead the ad spending on Facebook. The official BJP page took the top spot in the list of spenders on social media platforms. Of the Rs 1.3 crore that it spent on Facebook, Rs 44.32 lakh was spent during the week ending April 20.

The official Congress page on Facebook spent Rs 56.69 lakh during February-April 20.

However, supporters and affiliates of political parties account for most of the spending on the social media platforms.

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FILE – An Indian man surfs a Facebook page at an Internet cafe in New Delhi, India, Feb. 9, 2016. VOA

For example, the pro-BJP pages — Bharat Ke Mann Ki Baat (Rs 2.23 core), My First Vote For Modi (Rs 1.08 crore) and Nation with NaMo (Rs 1.20 crore) among others — spent much more than the Congress.

Similarly, the pro-Congress page “Bande Mein Hai Dum” spent Rs 2.59 lakh for drumming up support for the grand old party on Facebook and the Indian Youth Congress spent Rs 6.52 lakh on the social media platform.

Among the regional parties, the Biju Janata Dal (BJD), the YSR Congress and the Telugu Desam Party (TDP) lead the spending table on Facebook.

Also Read- Warning for WhatsApp Users in UAE Issued: Report

On Twitter, the accounts spending over $100 during the past week belonged to BJP MLA from Mandawa Narendra Kumar, Mumbai Congress unit chief Milind Deora, Congress leader and former Union Minister Subodh Kant Sahai, BJD President Naveen Patnaik and the TN Youth Party.

The 2019 Lok Sabha election is being held in seven phases from April 11 to May 19. (IANS)