Tuesday November 13, 2018

Facebook Can Help Older People Feel Less Lonely

The researchers also suggested that commenting on and responding to them gave older users a feeling of social interaction.

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For the study, the researchers recruited more than 200 participants who were 60 years and older and used Facebook for at least a year.
Old Man, (Pixabay)
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If your grandparents are struggling with isolation, showing them how to use Facebook may help as researchers, including one of Indian-origin, have found that social networking sites offer tools and activities that may help older adults feel more empowered and less lonely.

Facebook and similar social networking sites could play a critical role in easing isolation and making them feel like they are part of a large community, said the study published in the journal New Media and Society.

“This is important, especially for older adults who might be aging in place, because they have mobility constraints that limit their ability to socialize,” said study co-author S. Shyam Sundar, Professor at the Pennsylvania State University in the US.

The researchers "friended" the participants on Facebook so they could count the number of times they used the various tools in the site during the past year.
Facebook logo, Pixabay

For the study, the researchers recruited more than 200 participants who were 60 years and older and used Facebook for at least a year.

The researchers “friended” the participants on Facebook so they could count the number of times they used the various tools in the site during the past year.

The participants were also asked to respond to a questionnaire that captured the gratifications they obtained from Facebook.

Older adults who posted a lot of personal stories on Facebook felt a higher sense of community, and the more they customised their profiles, the more in control they felt, Sundar said.

The researchers also suggested that commenting on and responding to them gave older users a feeling of social interaction.

Sundar added that using social media is not a uniform experience that is either all bad, or all good, but offers multiple functions for diverse users.

Older adults are increasingly adopting social media, in general, and are a growing number of Facebook’s total membership, said Eun Hwa Jung from National University of Singapore who worked with Sundar.

Also Read: Google Now Lets You Register Sites Ending In .app

Facebook is considered the most popular social network among older adults, the researchers added.

The researcher also emphasised that developers of social media networks should consider the needs of this growing group of users.

For example, they should create features that enhance the identity of older adults while simultaneously protecting their privacy. (IANS)

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Facebook Allows French Regulars To Oversee Hate Speech Control

France's use of embedded regulators is modeled on what happens in its banking and nuclear industries.

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A Facebook panel is seen during the Cannes Lions International Festival of Creativity, in Cannes, France. VOA

Facebook will allow French regulators to “embed” inside the company to examine how it combats online hate speech, the first time the wary tech giant has opened its doors in such a way, President Emmanuel Macron said Monday.

From January, Macron’s administration will send a small team of senior civil servants to the company for six months to verify Facebook’s goodwill and determine whether its checks on racist, sexist or hate-fueled speech could be improved.

“It’s a first,” Macron told the annual Internet Governance Forum in Paris. “I’m delighted by this very innovative experimental approach,” he said. “It’s an experiment, but a very important first step in my view.”

The trial project is an example of what Macron has called “smart regulation,” something he wants to extend to other tech leaders such as Google, Apple and Amazon.

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Facebook’s founder and CEO Mark Zuckerberg meets with French President Emmanuel Macron at the Elysee Palace after the “Tech for Good” summit, in Paris, France. VOA

The move follows a meeting with Facebook’s founder Mark Zuckerberg in May, when Macron invited the CEOs of some of the biggest tech firms to Paris, telling them they should work for the common good.

The officials may be seconded from the telecoms regulator and the interior and justice ministries, a government source said. Facebook said the selection was up to the French presidency.

It is unclear whether the group will have access to highly-sensitive material such as Facebook’s algorithms or codes to remove hate speech. It could travel to Facebook’s European headquarters in Dublin and global base in Menlo Park, California, if necessary, the company said.

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

“The best way to ensure that any regulation is smart and works for people is by governments, regulators and businesses working together to learn from each other and explore ideas,” Nick Clegg, the former British deputy prime minister who is now head of Facebook’s global affairs, said in a statement.

France’s approach to hate speech has contrasted sharply with Germany, Europe’s leading advocate of privacy.

Also Read: Online Hate Thriving Even After The Recent Hate Crime in The U.S.

Since January, Berlin has required sites to remove banned content within 24 hours or face fines of up to 50 million euros ($56 million). That has led to accusations of censorship.

France’s use of embedded regulators is modeled on what happens in its banking and nuclear industries.

“[Tech companies] now have the choice between something that is smart but intrusive and regulation that is wicked and plain stupid,” a French official said. (VOA)