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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
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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’.

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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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Facebook Dismisses Report of Journalists’ Frustration With Fact-Checking

The report quoted another factchecker as saying that he was demoralised

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A television photographer shoots the sign outside of Facebook headquarters in Menlo Park, Calif. VOA

Facebook has dismissed a media report that claimed journalists working as factcheckers for the social media giant are frustrated and are ending partnerships as the company failed to use their expertise to combat misinformation.

A report in The Guardian on Thursday said outside reporters have lost trust in Facebook, “which has repeatedly refused to release meaningful data about the impacts of their work”.

Reacting to the report, Meredith Carden, Head of News Integrity Partnerships at Facebook, said the Guardian story presents several inaccuracies.

“Contrary to a claim in the story, we absolutely do not ask fact-checkers to prioritise debunking content about our advertisers,” Carden said in statement.

The report, she added, is based primarily on the account of a single fact-checker who has not been involved with the Facebook fact-checking program for six months.

“We have been committed to fighting misinformation for years now and have strong relationships with our third-party fact-checking partners — we now have 35 partners in 24 countries around the world,” said Facebook.

The report quoted Brooke Binkowski, former managing editor of Snopes, a factchecking site that has partnered with Facebook for two years, as saying that the social network is using journalists for handling crisis PR.

“They’re not taking anything seriously. They are more interested in making themselves look good and passing the buck… They clearly don’t care,” said Binkowski, who now runs her own fact-checking site which does not partner with Facebook.

According to Facebook, it values the ongoing partnerships and the work that these journalists do.

The third-party fact checking programme was launched in 2016 after the US Presidential election.

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This photo shows a Facebook app icon on a smartphone in New York. VOA

“We’re planning to expand the programme to even more countries in 2019,” said Carden.

According to Facebook, three separate researches have found that the overall volume of false news on Facebook is decreasing since it put up third-party fact-checking programme and other anti-misinformation measures in place.

However, The Guardian report said the company has ignored journalists’ concerns.

Some newsroom leaders said “they had grown increasingly resentful of Facebook, especially following revelations that the company had paid a consulting firm to go after opponents by publicising their association with billionaire Jewish philanthropist George Soros”.

A New York Times investigation in November suggested that the social network hired a Republican-owned political consulting and PR firm that “dug up dirt on its competitors” including Soros.

Also Read- Varun Dhawan, Alia Bhatt Won Favourite Actors at Kids Choice Awards

Reacting to the report, Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg and COO Sheryl Sandberg denied they had any prior knowledge about this firm.

“It was later revealed that Sheryl Sandberg had directed her staff to research Soros’s financial interests after he publicly criticised the company,” the Guardian report said.

The report quoted another factchecker as saying that he was demoralised.

“They are a terrible company and, on a personal level, I don’t want to have anything to do with them,” said the anonymous factchecker. (IANS)