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Facebook Reports Increased Posts of Graphic Violence in Q1 2018

It said the growth was a possible result of a higher volume of graphic violence content shared on Facebook in the first three months of this year

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LinkedIn faced probe for Facebook ads targeting 18 mn non-members. Pixabay

Facebook on Tuesday unveiled for the first time a transparency report that shows an increasing number of posts identified as containing graphic violence in the first of quarter of 2018.

“Of every 10,000 content views, an estimate of 22 to 27 contained graphic violence, compared to an estimate of 16 to 19 last quarter,” Xinhua quoted the report as saying.

It said the growth was a possible result of a higher volume of graphic violence content shared on Facebook in the first three months of this year.

Facebook defines content of graphic violence as the information that glorifies violence or celebrates the suffering or humiliation of others, which it says may be covered with a warning and prevented from being shown to underage viewers.

The report said Facebook has removed or put a warning screen for graphic violence in front of 3.4 million pieces of content in the first quarter, nearly triple the 1.2 million a quarter earlier.

Facebook.
Facebook. Pixabay

Facebook said it has recently developed metrics as a way to review the content shared on its platform and the transparency report reviewed the content posted in the community during the period from October 2017 through March 2018.

The content audited included graphic violence, hate speech, adult nudity and sexual activity, spam, terrorist propaganda (IS,al-Qaeda and affiliates) and fake accounts.

Facebook took action against 2.5 million pieces of content in the first quarter, up 56 per cent over the previous quarter.

It also took action on 837 million pieces of content for spam, 21 million for adult nudity or sexual activity and 1.9 million for promoting terrorism.

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A total of 583 million fake accounts have been disabled in the quarter, down from 694 million in the first quarter of 2017, according to the report.

“We estimate that fake accounts represented approximately 3-4 per cent of monthly active users on Facebook during Q1 2018 and Q4 2017,” the report said.

Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg said in a post also on Tuesday that his company is employing Artificial Intelligence tools to remove spam before users report it. (IANS)

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Facebook Downplayed Cambridge Analytica Data Scandal

In April 2018, Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg testified in front of the US Congress that it learned in 2015 that Cambridge Analytica had bought data from an app developer on Facebook that people had shared it with

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FILE - Attendees walk past a Facebook logo during Facebook Inc's F8 developers conference in San Jose, California, United States. VOA

Facebook in 2015 was aware that UK-based political consultancy firm Cambridge Analytica may have been gathering users’ personal data but downplayed the whole episode till a newspaper revealed the truth three months later, show new documents.

According to a report in CNET on Friday, internal emails by Facebook Deputy General Counsel Paul Grewal, made available by the Attorney General for the District of Columbia, revealed Facebook was concerned about the “sketchy” Cambridge Analytica in September 2015.

The email correspondence started in September 2015 and ran through February 2016.

The Guardian first reported that Cambridge Analytica was supporting Ted Cruz’s campaign using Facebook data through an online quiz. The political research firm later worked on US President Donald Trump’s campaign.

“We suspect many of these companies are doing similar types of scraping, the largest and most aggressive on the conservative side being Cambridge Analytica, a sketchy (to say the least) data modelling company that has penetrated our market deeply,” read an email dated September 22, 2015.

In a blog post late on Friday, Grewal said that they agree with the District of Columbia Attorney General to jointly make public a September 2015 document in which Facebook employees discuss public data scraping.

“We believe this document has the potential to confuse two different events surrounding our knowledge of Cambridge Analytica. There is no substantively new information in this document and the issues have been previously reported,” Grewal defended.

According to him, these are two distinct issues.

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

“One involved unconfirmed reports of scraping — accessing or collecting public data from our products using automated means — and the other involved policy violations by Aleksandr Kogan, an app developer who sold user data to Cambridge Analytica,” he elaborated.

Facebook said it was not aware that Kogan sold data to Cambridge Analytica until December 2015.

“That is a fact that we have testified to under oath, that we have described to our core regulators, and that we stand by today,” said Grewal.

In September 2015, a Facebook employee shared unsubstantiated rumours from a competitor of Cambridge Analytica, which claimed that the data analytics company was scraping public data.

An engineer looked into this concern and was not able to find evidence of data scraping.

According to Facebook, the first indication of Kogan’s involvement didn’t come until December 2015, three months later.

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“Cambridge Analytica was a clear lapse for us, which we have worked hard to address,” said Grewal.

Cambridge Analytica harvested data through an app called “thisisyourdigitallife” that offered personality predictions.

The Netflix documentary “The Great Hack” reveals the sordid tale of UK-based and now defunct political consultancy firm Cambridge Analytica and its role in swaying US voters in the 2016 presidential elections which brought Trump to power via illegally accessing data of 87 million Facebook users.

In April 2018, Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg testified in front of the US Congress that it learned in 2015 that Cambridge Analytica had bought data from an app developer on Facebook that people had shared it with. (IANS)