Thursday November 21, 2019
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Facebook Labels Russian Users as ‘Interested in Treason’

In its 747-page response to questions raised by a US committee, Facebook said it had already ended partnerships with 38 of them with seven more due to expire in July and one more in October this year

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Facebook plans sprawling office near Microsoft headquarters. IANS

Facebook has apologised for labelling 65,000 Russians as “interested in treason,” putting them at potential probe risk by the Russian law enforcement officials and the government, the media reported.

According to a report in The Guardian on Thursday, the advertising tools algorithmically labelled 65,000 Russians as “interested in treason”.

Facebook later said the label was intended to only identify historical treason.

“Treason was included as a category, given its historical significance. Given it’s an illegal activity, we’ve removed it as an interest category,” a spokesperson was quoted as saying.

The social media giant generally tags users based on their behaviour on its platform for advertisers to select and target people interested in specific topics.

“Treason was included as a category, given its historical significance. Given it’s an illegal activity, we’ve removed it as an interest category,” a Facebook spokesperson told the Guardian.

The labelling raises new concerns over data-driven profiling.

Facebook later said the label was intended to only identify historical treason.
Facebook later said the label was intended to only identify historical treason. Pixabay

and targeting of users on the website, which has already faced criticism for the same tool algorithmically inferring information about users’ race, sexuality and political views despite data protection legislation requiring explicit consent to hold such information.

The Danish Broadcasting Corporation first raised this problem with Facebook.

The issue at hand has “raised a number of important questions about the way Facebook’s advertising systems work. Our goal is to ensure people see ads that are relevant and useful. It’s better for the people using our service, as well as for advertisers,” Facebook said in a statement.

“When we identify misuse of our ads products, we take action. Depending on the violation, we may remove the ad, suspend the ad account or even report the advertiser to law enforcement,” it added.

Also Read: Facebook Fined in U.K. Over Cambridge Analytica Leak

In a latest admission, Facebook said it entered into data-sharing partnership with 52 technology companies, including Chinese companies like Alibaba, Huawei, Lenovo and Oppo.

In its 747-page response to questions raised by a US committee, Facebook said it had already ended partnerships with 38 of them with seven more due to expire in July and one more in October this year.

The UK’s data protection watchdog also plans to slap a fine of 500,000 pounds ($662,501) on Facebook over the Cambridge Analytica data leak scandal. This is the highest permitted fine under Britain’s data protection law. (IANS)

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Social Media Giant Facebook Rolls Out Meme-Making App ‘Whale’

Facebook has quietly rolled out a meme-making app called 'Whale' on the Canadian App Store

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Facebook quietly launched meme-making app Whale. Pixabay

Social media giant Facebook has quietly rolled out a meme-making app called ‘Whale’ on the Canadian App Store that may come to other markets including in India later.

The app’s listing confirms that it has been developed by Facebook’s New Product Experimentation (NPE) team, which was set up earlier this year to develop new experimental apps for the social networking platform that has over 2.6 billion users globally.

‘Whale’ is the latest app from NPE, after music app ‘AUX’ and chat app ‘Bump’, reports The Information.

According to Facebook, these apps are intended to help the company discover new features and services that people like.

Facebook- Whale
According to Facebook, these apps are intended to help the company discover new features. Pixabay

Facebook is slowly launching apps in new genres beyond chats to woo more users and open new avenues to make money.

Facebook-owned Instagram has also launched a new video-music remix feature called “Reels” to take on Chinese short video making app TikTok.

Also Read-TikTok Owner ByteDance To Launch Its Own Music Streaming Service

“Just like TikTok, users can soundtrack their ‘Reels’ with a huge catalog of music, or borrow the audio from anyone else’s video to create a remix of their meme or joke.

Rolled out in the Brazilian market first, “Reels” will be available on both iOS and Android. (IANS)