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Facebook to Establish an Independent Body to Moderate Content

According to the CEO, the team involved in its policy process and enforcement of those policies was made up of around 30,000 people, including content reviewers

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LinkedIn faced probe for Facebook ads targeting 18 mn non-members. Pixabay
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Facebook will establish an independent body next year to oversee user appeals of content, thereby admitting that it should not take a call on free expression and safety on its own, CEO Mark Zuckerberg has said.

In a 5,500-word article late on Thursday, Zuckerberg said the purpose of this body would be to uphold the principle of giving people a voice while also recognising the reality of keeping people safe.

“In the next year, we’re planning to create a new way for people to appeal content decisions to an independent body, whose decisions would be transparent and binding,” he said.

The independent body will “prevent the concentration of too much decision-making within our teams. Second, it will create accountability and oversight.

“Third, it will provide assurance that these decisions are made in the best interests of our community and not for commercial reasons,” he noted.

Over time, said the social media platform CEO, the body would play an important role in its overall governance.

“Just as our board of directors is accountable to our shareholders, this body would be focused only on our community,” he added.

The post came in the wake of a report in The New York Times earlier this week that suggested Facebook was aware of a Russian campaign designed to influence the 2016 US presidential election as early as spring of 2016.

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Facebook, social media. Pixabay

Facebook later denied the claims made in the report.

According to the CEO, the team involved in its policy process and enforcement of those policies was made up of around 30,000 people, including content reviewers.

“In total, they review more than two million pieces of content every day,” he said, adding that the company currently has a team of more than 200 people working on counter-terrorism specifically.

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“In my note about our efforts towards ‘Preparing for Elections’, I discussed our work fighting misinformation. This includes proactively identifying fake accounts, which are the source of much of the spam, misinformation, and coordinated information campaigns,” he informed.

“In the last two quarters, we have removed more than 1.5 billion fake accounts,” he said. (IANS)

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Irish Watchdog Opens Inquiry into Latest Privacy Breach of Facebook

The private information of Facebook users was alleged to be used to influence the US 2016 general elections in favour of President Donald Trump's campaign

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Irish watchdog opens inquiry into latest Facebook privacy breach. Pixabay

Ireland’s Data Protection Commission (DPC) has announced a fresh investigation into Facebook, a day after the social networking giant admitted another security breach where nearly 6.8 million users risked their private photos being exposed to third-party apps.

Facebook, which is already facing a probe from the Irish watchdog for a previous privacy leak in September that affected 50 million people, may end up with fine of 4 per cent of its annual turnover – the highest fine under the new European General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR), The Independent reported on Saturday.

In Facebook’s case, the fine could amount to nearly 1.5 billion euros.

“The Irish DPC has received a number of breach notifications from Facebook since the introduction of the GDPR on May 25, 2018,” a spokesperson for the watchdog was quoted as saying.

The fresh move came after Facebook on Friday said more than 1,500 apps built by 876 developers may have also been affected by the bug that exposed users’ unshared photos during a 12-day-period from September 13 to 25.

Facebook, in a statement, said it has fixed the breach and will roll out next week “tools for app developers that will allow them to determine which people using their app might be impacted by this bug”.

“Currently, we believe this may have affected up to 6.8 million users and up to 1,500 apps built by 876 developers. The only apps affected by this bug were ones that Facebook approved to access the photos API and that individuals had authorised to access their photos.

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

“We’re sorry this happened,” said Facebook, adding that it will also notify the people potentially impacted by this bug via an alert.

The disclosure is another example of Facebook’s failure to properly protect users’ privacy that may drew more criticism of its privacy policy.

Earlier this month, Italian regulators fined Facebook 10 million euros for selling users’ data without informing them.

The competition watchdog handed Facebook two fines totalling 10 million euros, “also for discouraging users from trying to limit how the company shares their data”.

The Irish watchdog, which is Facebook’s lead privacy regulator in Europe, in October opened a formal investigation into a data breach which affected 50 million users.

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“The investigation will examine Facebook’s compliance with its obligation under the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) to implement appropriate technical and organisational measures to ensure the security and safeguarding of the personal data it processes,” said the DPC.

The world’s largest social media network has been grilled over the past year for its mishandling of user data, including its involvement in a privacy scandal in March when Cambridge Analytica, a British political consultancy firm, was accused of illegally accessing the data of more than 87 million Facebook users without their consent.

The private information of Facebook users was alleged to be used to influence the US 2016 general elections in favour of President Donald Trump’s campaign. (IANS)