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Facebook takes action against 30,000 Fake Accounts in France to halt spread of Spam and Fake news

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FILE - Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg. VOA
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LONDON, April 13, 2017: Facebook said on Thursday it is taking action against tens of thousands of fake accounts in France as the social network giant seeks to demonstrate it is doing more to halt the spread of spam as well as fake news, hoaxes, and misinformation.

The Silicon Valley-based company is under intense pressure as governments across Europe threaten new laws unless Facebook moves quickly to remove extremist propaganda or other content illegal under existing regulation.

Social media sites including Twitter, Google’s YouTube and Facebook also are under scrutiny for their potential to be used to manipulate voters in national elections set to take place in France and Germany in coming months.

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In a blog post, Facebook said it was taking action against 30,000 fake accounts in France, deleting them in some, but not all, cases. It said its priority was to remove fake accounts with high volumes of posting activity and the biggest audiences.

“We’ve made improvements to recognize these inauthentic accounts more easily by identifying patterns of activity — without assessing the content itself,” Shabnam Shaik, a Facebook security team manager, wrote in an official blog post.

For example, the company said it is using automated detection to identify repeated posting of the same content or an increase in messages sent by such profiles.

Also on Thursday, Facebook took out full-page ads in Germany’s best-selling newspapers to educate readers on how to spot fake news.

In April, the German cabinet approved proposed new laws to force social networks to play a greater role in combating online hate speech or face fines of up to 50 million euros ($53 million).

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These actions by Facebook follow moves the company has taken in recent months to make it easier for users to report potential fraud amid criticism of the social network’s role in the spread of hoaxes and fake news during the U.S. presidential elections.

It has also begun working with outside fact-checking organizations to flag stories with disputed content, and removed financial incentives that help spammers to cash in by generating advertising revenue from clicks on false news stories. (VOA)

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Blind Facebook employee is developing tech for sightless

At Facebook, he works on features to help people with disabilities use the platform.

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A visually impaired Facebook employee is developing technology to make Facebook more fun for the sightless. Pixabay
A visually impaired Facebook employee is developing technology to make Facebook more fun for the sightless. Pixabay
  • A blind Facebook employee is developing AI to make social network for sightless fun
  • He is developing AI which will verbalise images and videos
  • This technology will enable alt-text for images and videos

A blind Facebook employee is developing a technology that will use Artificial Intelligence (AI) to verbalise the content of an image or video and enable the visually impaired to “see” and determine appropriate content for people and advertisers.

Facebook engineer Matt King is leading a project that is making solutions for visually impaired people on the platform that could eventually be used to identify images and videos that violate Facebook’s terms of use or that advertisers want to avoid.

Also Read : Facebook might bring Stories on desktop 

This feature will verbalise images and videos for the visually impaired. Image Source: Reuters
This feature will verbalise images and videos for the visually impaired. Image Source: Reuters

“More than two billion photos are shared across Facebook every single day. That’s a situation where a machine-based solution adds a lot more value than a human-based solution ever could,” CNBC quoted King as saying late on Saturday.

King, who was born with a degenerative eye disease called retinitis pigmentosa, lost his vision by the time he got his degree and started working at IBM with the tech giant’s accessibility projects.

He worked on a screen reader to help visually impaired people “see” what is on their screens either through audio cues or a braille device. IBM eventually developed the first screen reader for a graphical interface.

He worked with the accessibility team till Facebook hired him from IBM in 2015.

The man behind this development is Matt King.
The man behind this development is Matt King.

At Facebook, he works on features to help people with disabilities use the platform, like adding captions to videos or coming up with ways to navigate the site using only audio cues.

“Anybody who has any kind of disability can benefit from Facebook. They can develop beneficial connections and understand their disability doesn’t have to define them, to limit them,” King said.

Also Read : Facebook Profit Escalates with No Major Impact from Russia and it’s Advertisements

One of his main projects is “automated alt-text,” which describes audibly what is in Facebook images.

When automated alt-text was launched in April 2016, it was only available in five languages on the iOS app. Today it is available in over 29 languages on Facebook on the web, iOS and Android.

Facebook is available in more than 29 languages across the world. Pixabay
Facebook is available in more than 29 languages across the world. Pixabay

“The things people post most frequently kind of has a limited vocabulary associated with it,” the Facebook engineer said.

“It makes it possible for us to have one of those situations where if you can tackle 20 per cent of the solution, it tackles 80 per cent of the problem. It’s getting that last 20 per cent which is a lot of work, but we’re getting there,” he said.

In December 2017, Facebook pushed an automatic alt-text update that used facial recognition to help visually impaired people find out who is in photos. IANS