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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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Facebook, Data
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.

Facebook, Fake News
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.

Facebook, Trump
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.

Facebook, data
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.

Facebook, data, photos, vietnam
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

Social Networking Giant Facebook Suspends Several Apps Post-Cambridge Analytica Probe

Facebook has also removed a number of application programming interfaces (APIs), the channels that developers use to access various types of data

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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 suspended thousands of apps associated with nearly 400 developers for a variety of reasons, as it continues to investigate suspicious apps after the Cambridge Analytica data scandal.

The social networking giant said that it is not yet confirmed these apps were posing a threat to people.

“Many were not live but were still in their testing phase when we suspended them. It is not unusual for developers to have multiple test apps that never get rolled out.

“In many cases, the developers did not respond to our request for information so we suspended them, honouring our commitment to take action,” Facebook said in a blog post on Friday.

Facebook began its “App Developer Investigation” in March 2018 as part of its response to the Cambridge Analytica data scandal.

The company aimed to review all of the apps that had access to large amounts of information before it changed its platform policies in 2014.

“Our App Developer Investigation is by no means finished. But there is meaningful progress to report so far. To date, this investigation has addressed millions of apps,” Facebook said.

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

In a few cases, Facebook has banned some apps completely.

“That can happen for any number of reasons including inappropriately sharing data obtained from us, making data publicly available without protecting people’s identity or something else that was in clear violation of our policies,” the company said.

In May, Facebook filed a lawsuit in California against Rankwave, a South Korean data analytics company that failed to cooperate with its investigation.

Also Read: Tanzania Refuses to Provide Detailed Information on Ebola Cases

“We’ve also taken legal action against developers in other contexts. For example, we filed an action against LionMobi and JediMobi, two companies that used their apps to infect users’ phones with malware in a profit-generating scheme,” it added.

Facebook has also removed a number of application programming interfaces (APIs), the channels that developers use to access various types of data.

“We have clarified that we can suspend or revoke a developer’s access to any API that it has not used in the past 90 days. And we will not allow apps on Facebook that request a disproportionate amount of information from users relative to the value they provide,” the company said. (IANS)