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Social Networking Giant Facebook to Punish Groups for Spreading Fake News

Facebook said it will bring the “Verified Badge” into its Messenger service

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

In yet another bid to tame fake news, Facebook will crack down on Groups that repeatedly share misinformation by reducing that Group’s overall News Feed distribution.

The social media platform will also hold admins of the Facebook Groups more accountable for the Community Standards violations.

“When people in a group repeatedly share content that has been rated false by independent fact-checkers, we will reduce that group’s overall News Feed distribution. Starting today, globally,” Guy Rosen, Vice President of Integrity at Facebook said in a blog post on late Wednesday.

Facebook said that starting in the coming weeks, when reviewing a Group to decide whether or not to take it down, it will look at admin and moderator content violations in that Group — including member posts they have approved as a stronger signal that the group violates its standards.

“We’re also introducing a new feature called Group Quality, which offers an overview of content removed and flagged for most violations, as well as a section for false news found in the group,” added Tessa Lyons, Head of News Feed Integrity at Facebook.

The company has incorporated a “Click-Gap” signal into News Feed ranking.

“Click-Gap” looks for domains with a disproportionate number of outbound Facebook clicks compared to their place in the web graph.

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FILE – Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg speaks at a Facebook developer conference in San Jose, California, May 1, 2018. VOA

“This can be a sign that the domain is succeeding on News Feed in a way that doesn’t reflect the authority they’ve built outside it and is producing low-quality content,” said Facebook.

The company is also expanding the Context Button to images on Instagram.

Launched in April 2018, the Context Button feature provides people more background information about the publishers and articles they see in News Feed so they can better decide what to read, trust and share.

Also Read- Google Doodle Focuses on Lok Sabha Polls in India

“We’re testing enabling this feature for images that have been reviewed by third-party fact-checkers,” said Facebook.

Facebook said it will bring the “Verified Badge” into its Messenger service.

“This tool will help people avoid scammers that pretend to be high-profile people by providing a visible indicator of a verified account,” said the company. (IANS)

Next Story

Social Networking Giant Facebook Blames Apple iOS for Bezos’ Phone Hacking

WhatsApp provides end-to-end encryption by default, which means only the sender and recipient can view the messages

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

Facebook has blamed Apple’s operating system for the hacking of Amazon Founder and CEO Jeff Bezos’ phone, saying WhatsApp’s end-to-end encryption is unhackable.

Investigators believe that Bezos’s iPhone was compromised after he received a 4.4MB video file containing malware via WhatsApp – in the same way when phones of 1,400 select journalists and human rights activists were broken into by Pegasus software from Israel-based NSO Group last year.

In an interview to the BBC last week, Facebook’s Vice President of Global Affairs and Communications, Nick Clegg, said it wasn’t WhatsApp’s fault because end-to-end encryption is unhackable and blamed Apple’s operating system for Bezos’ episode.

“It sounds like something on the, you know, what they call the operate, operated on the phone itself. It can’t have been anything on the, when the message was sent, in transit, because that’s end-to-end encrypted on WhatsApp,” Clegg told the show host.

Clegg compared the hack to opening a malicious email, saying that “it only comes to life when you open it”.

According to a report from FTI Consulting, a firm that has investigated Bezos’ phone, after that the video file was received, Bezos’ phone started sending unusually large amounts of outbound data, including his intimate messages with his girlfriend Lauren Sanchez.

Jeff Bezos
Jeff Bezos, Amazon founder and owner of Blue Origin. (Wikimedia commons)

According to Clegg, “something” must have affected the phone’s operating system.

“As sure as you can be that the technology of end-to-end encryption cannot, other than unless you have handset, or you have the message at either end, cannot be hacked into,” he was quoted as saying.

Apple was yet to comment on Facebook’s statement.

The NSO Group has denied it was part of Bezos’ hacking.

Also Read: Here Are Some Life Lessons That We Can Learn From Freedom Fighters this Republic Day

WhatsApp provides end-to-end encryption by default, which means only the sender and recipient can view the messages. But the piece of NSO Group software exploited WhatsApp’s video calling system by installing the spyware via missed calls to snoop on the selected users.

According to leading tech policy and media consultant Prasanto K. Roy, end-to-end encrypted apps (E2EE) do provide security, and messages or calls cannot be intercepted and decrypted en route without enormous computing resources.

“But once anyone can get to your handset, whether a human or a piece of software, the encryption doesn’t matter anymore. Because on your handset, it’s all decrypted,” Roy told IANS recently. (IANS)