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Facebook Testing a Feature That May Help You Befriend Strangers

The tool is being tested as part of Facebook's efforts to make public discussions more meaningful, the report said

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Facebook App on a smartphone device. (VOA)
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Facebook is testing a feature that can point to the commonalities you have with other random users — whether you share a neighbourhood with them or went to the same university.

The feature, called “things in common”, may help you connect with random commentators on public posts, Engadget reported on Sunday.

The tool, currently available for a few users in the US, displays titbits of information a user has in common with people they are not friends with.

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Facebook, social media. Pixabay

Facebook said the tags that the feature uses will not violate a user’s privacy as they only show information that are publicly available, meaning the same information can also be seen by someone by visiting a user’s profile.

The tool is being tested as part of Facebook’s efforts to make public discussions more meaningful, the report said.

Also Read- Delhi Government Orders To Ban All One-Time Use Plastic Products

“Knowing shared things in common helps people connect,” a Facebook spokesperson told Engadget.

“We’re testing adding a ‘things in common’ label that will appear above comments from people who you’re not friends with but you might have something in common with. Only information that people made publicly available on their profiles will be eligible to show up.” (IANS)

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Teenage Girls Being Urged To Befriend ‘Middle-Aged Men’ On Facebook: Report

In October, Facebook had removed 8.7 million user images of child nudity

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Fake News, Facebook, dating
This photo shows the logo for Facebook on screens at the Nasdaq MarketSite, in New York's Times Square. VOA

Facebook is encouraging grooming by offering teenage girls middle-aged men as ‘friend suggestions’, the media reported.

Teenage girls, as young as 13-year-olds, who join the social network are given up to 300 suggestions for who they can add as friends, some of which include middle-aged men who are topless in their profile photos, The Telegraph reported late on Saturday.

Facebook has said that was not a typical experience for teenagers for signing up for the service and that it has safeguards built into its recommendation system.

Following the findings, UK-based charity the National Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Children (NSPCC) has called for friend recommendations to be suspended for children on the social networking giant’s platform.

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A cellphone user looks at a Facebook page at a shop in Latha street, Yangon, Myanmar. VOA

‘Groomers are seeking to infiltrate children’s friendship groups on social networks, often with the intention to move children to live streaming or encrypted sites where it is easier for them to commit sexual abuse,” Andy Burrows, NSPCC Associate Head of Child Safety Online, was quoted as saying.

“Social media algorithms risk making it easier for groomers to find and contact children and ‘friend of friend’ or ‘new follower’ recommendations can add legitimacy to their requests, which is why we are calling for these features to be blocked for children.

“For too long social networks have failed to make their platforms safe for children, and that is why the Home Secretary must commit to strong and effective regulation to finally ensure that children’s safety is non-negotiable,” she said.

According to Facebook, the company has safeguards to protect children. However, the campaigners warn that the networking giant must do more to stop groomers who use the site to become friendly with children.

facebook, U.S. Politicals ads, dating
This photo shows a Facebook app icon on a smartphone in New York. VOA

“Grooming is incredibly serious, and we have teams specifically focused on keeping children safe, informed by extensive research and outside experts,” said a spokesman for Facebook, the Daily Mail reported on Saturday.

“We use artificial intelligence to proactively identify cases of inappropriate interactions with minors and we refer potential abuse to law enforcement.

“We limit how children can be found in search, we remind them to only accept friend requests from people they know and we caution them before making public posts.”

Also Read: Twitter Giving Its Users More Freedom To Report Fake, Suspicious Accounts

In October, Facebook had removed 8.7 million user images of child nudity with the help of previously undisclosed machine learning software that automatically flagged such photos during the last quarter.

The company has said that it is also considering rolling out systems for spotting child nudity and grooming to Instagram. (IANS)