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Facebook Tightens Rules For Paid Ads, Creates Oversight Board

Facebook has no plans to swap its ads-only business model for a fee-paying service

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A photo shows the Facebook app icon on an iPhone in New York, Feb. 19, 2014. VOA

Facebook on Monday laid out plans for an independent content oversight board with the power to overturn company decisions on user posts, aimed at addressing concerns over misinformation and abusive behavior on the platform.

The board’s 40 members would select cases to review as the world’s largest social media network tries to crack down on harassment, incitement of violence and the spread of false information without infringing freedom of speech.

Chief Executive Mark Zuckerberg has said that Facebook should not make such decisions, but defer to an independent body of technology and human rights experts free of commercial influences.

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Facebook ‘tricked’ kids, parents to spend money on ‘free’ games: Report. VOA

Facebook will select inaugural members for three-year terms, but they will independently decide on future membership, Facebook proposed in a draft charter.

Details about the board’s makeup and appeals process will be finalized after a series of workshops over the next six months, wrote Nick Clegg, Facebook recently appointed head of global affairs, in a blog post introducing the charter.

At a news conference in Brussels, Clegg also said the company will strengthen rules and safeguards around political advertisements to prevent foreign interference in elections, including those in Europe this year.

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Conference workers speak in front of a demo booth at Facebook’s annual F8 developer conference, in San Jose, California, April 18, 2017. VOA

Facebook has faced pressure from regulators and the public after last year’s revelation that British consultancy Cambridge Analytical had improperly acquired data on millions of U.S. users to target election advertising.

Fears about misinformation and interference have intensified with elections due this year for the European Parliament and several EU countries including Belgium and Finland.

“We will require those wanting to run political and issue ads to be authorized, and we will display a ‘paid for by’ disclaimer on those ads,” Clegg said.

Clegg, a former British deputy prime minister hired by Facebook in October last year, said the new tools to be launched in late March aim to help protect the integrity of European Union elections due to be held this spring.

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Facebook staring at bigger problems this year, warns analyst. VOA

Facebook said the transparency tools for electoral ads would be expanded globally before the end of June, while the tools would be in launched in India in February before its elections and in Ukraine and Israel before polls in both.

“We now have more than 30,000 people working on safety and security across the company, three times as many as we had in 2017,” the company said in a statement.

The new tools are similar to those adopted for the U.S. mid-term elections, Clegg said, with all political ads stored in a publicly searchable library for up to seven years.

This will contain information such as the amount of money spent and the number of impressions displayed, who paid for them and the demographics of those who saw them, including age, gender and location.

The new tools will also cover ‘issue ads’ which do not explicitly back one candidate or political party but which focus on highly politicized topics like immigration.

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A smartphone user displays a Facebook newsfeed .VOA

Defense Centers

Facebook said it would also set up two new regional operations centers focused on monitoring election-related content in its Dublin and Singapore offices.

“These teams will add a layer of defenses against fake news, hate speech and voter suppression,” it said Clegg also addressed allegations that Facebook sells user data, saying this was not the case.

“Selling people’s information to advertisers would not only be the wrong thing to do, it would undermine the way we do business, because it would reduce the unique value of our service to advertisers,” he said.

Also Read: Revenue Growth Of Ads Slowing Down in The U.S: Report

Facebook has no plans to swap its ads-only business model for a fee-paying service, Clegg said, responding to calls by some as a way to stave off privacy issues.

“We want Facebook to be a universal service. We believe that anyone should be able to connect to anyone else. The best way to do this is to offer the service for free — and that’s what the advertising model allows us to do,” he said. (VOA)

Next Story

Vodafone Quits Facebook’s Libra Cryptocurrency Project: Report

The Libra project, which is still in development, aims for the launch of its first version this year

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vodafone
Vodafone logo. Pixabay

Vodafone has become the latest big player who have decided to quit Facebook’s controversial Libra cryptocurrency project.

Vodafone joins PayPal, Mastercard, Visa, Mercado Pago, eBay, Stripe and Booking Holdings in withdrawing from the controversial project — and is the first company to exit after the Libra Association was formed in October last year, coindesk reported on Tuesday.

The companies left owing to concerns about heightened regulatory scrutiny.

“We can confirm that Vodafone is no longer a member of the Libra Association. Although the makeup of the Association members may change over time, the design of Libra’s governance and technology ensures the Libra payment system will remain resilient,” the Libra Association said in a statement.

“The Association is continuing the work to achieve a safe, transparent, and consumer-friendly implementation of the Libra payment system.”

Despite top-notch firms pulling out, Facebook and 20 partner organisations formally joined the digital currency Libra project in Geneva in October.

The Libra Association said that more than 1,500 entities have expressed an interest in joining the digital currency project.

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Representations of virtual currency are displayed in front of the Libra logo in this illustration picture. VOA

Several US senators have opposed Facebook’s digital coin, arguing that the social networking giant has been irresponsible with user data privacy. They have even called the digital cryptocurrency Libra “delusional” and “dangerous”.

Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg testified before Congress in October about Libra, defending the idea, but acknowledging the struggles left to overcome.

Libra has failed in its current form, according to the President of Switzerland.

Also Read: Digital Transactions in Delhi-NCR Grew by 235% Last Year: Razorpay

In a media interview, Swiss President and Finance Minister Ueli Maurer stated that Libra does not have a chance of being successful “because the basket of currencies that is deposited in this currency is not accepted by the national (central) banks”.

“The project in this form has actually failed,” Maurer was quoted as saying.

The Libra project, which is still in development, aims for the launch of its first version this year. (IANS)