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Social Networking Giant Facebook to Pay $40mn for Inflating Data on Video Ads

Snap and Facebook share a bitter history, with the latter copying several of Snapchat-first features into its Instagram and other products

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Corporate, America, Climate Change
FILE - In this April 30, 2019, file photo, Facebook stickers are laid out on a table at F8, Facebook's developer conference in San Jose, Calif. The Boston-based renewable energy developer Longroad Energy announced in May that Facebook is building a… VOA

Facebook will pay $40 million to settle a class-action lawsuit for incorrectly calculating average viewing time for video ads on its platform.

Advertisers sued the social networking platform for overstating video-viewing metrics over an 18-month period from 2015-16, which led the advertisers paying extra for video ads based on the inflated data, market Watch reported on Monday.

The legal battle began in 2016. According to the company, it discovered the issue only a month before going public with it.

“The tech giant had only counted video views that lasted at least three seconds, ignoring those of shorter durations and artificially pushing the average length of a view higher,” mentioned the report.

Some Facebook competitors like Snap are reportedly helping the US Federal Trade Commission (FTC) as it launches an anti-trust investigation into the social networking giant’s business practices.

Social Media, Facebook, Authenticity, Posts
The social media application, Facebook is displayed on Apple’s App Store, July 30, 2019. VOA

Snap, which is the parent company of Snapchat, has created a dossier under “Project Voldemort” that apparently contains Facebook secrets.

Snap and Facebook share a bitter history, with the latter copying several of Snapchat-first features into its Instagram and other products.

Also Read: 15 Apps on Google Play Market Found Making Adware Attempts: Report

In a historic judgment, the US FTC in July slapped a massive $5 billion fine on Facebook over users’ privacy violations in the Cambridge Analytica scandal, along with the US Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) directing the social networking platform to pay $100 million penalty for making misleading disclosures regarding the risk of misuse of user data.

Democrat Senator Ron Wyden from Oregon is even demanding jail term for Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg, saying he should face serious consequences for letting his social media platform misuse consumers’personal data. (IANS)

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Facebook Raises Questions Over EU Ruling on Removing Content

In a public Q&A, Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg had said that the ruling sets a "very troubling precedent"

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Corporate, America, Climate Change
FILE - In this April 30, 2019, file photo, Facebook stickers are laid out on a table at F8, Facebook's developer conference in San Jose, Calif. The Boston-based renewable energy developer Longroad Energy announced in May that Facebook is building a… VOA

Facebook has raised objections over the European Union (EU) ruling that the bloc’s member countries can not only order the removal of content in their own jurisdiction, but all over the world.

According to the social networking giant, the ruling opens the door for courts to order the removal of content that is similar to the illegal speech, “meaning that something you posted might be removed even if you knew nothing about the earlier post that a European country had deemed illegal”.

“Imagine something you wrote and shared on Facebook was taken down, not because it violated our rules, and not because it broke the law in your country, but because someone was able to use different laws in another country to have it removed,” Monika Bickert, VP, Global Policy Management at Facebook, said in a statement on Monday.

“Imagine as well that your speech was deemed illegal not by a judge who carefully weighed the facts, but by automated tools and technology,” she added.

The European Court of Justice has ruled that Facebook can be forced to remove content internationally.

The ruling arose from a personal defamation case brought by an Austrian politician.

The post in question shared a news article in which the Austrian politician had outlined her and her party’s views on immigration, together with a comment from a Facebook user strongly critiquing the Austrian politician.

facebook, WhatsApp, stories, feature
An iPhone displays the app for Facebook in New Orleans, Aug. 11, 2019. VOA

The court’s ruling raises critical questions for freedom of expression, in two key respects, said Bickert.

First, it undermines the long-standing principle that one country does not have the right to impose its laws on another country.

“This is especially important with laws governing speech, because what is legally acceptable varies considerably in different parts of the world and even within the EU. The ruling also opens the door for other countries around the world, including non-democratic countries who severely limit speech, to demand the same power,” said Facebook.

Second, the ruling might lead to a situation in which private internet companies could be forced to rely on automated technologies to police and remove “equivalent” illegal speech.

Also Read: 5G Carries Potential to Contribute to India’s GDP Growth by the Year 2025

In a public Q&A, Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg had said that the ruling sets a “very troubling precedent”.

“We have had precedents but we have successfully fought them. This is one where a lot of the details of exactly how this gets implemented are going to depend on national courts across Europe, and what they define as the same content versus roughly equivalent content.

“This is something we and other services will be litigating and getting clarity on what this means. I know we talk about free expression as a value and I thought this was a fairly troubling development,” Zuckerberg added. (IANS)