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News Feed of Facebook Can Raise Self-perception of Political Knowledge

But participants who read the News Feed were more likely to overestimate their knowledge, especially among those motivated to experience strong emotions

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This photograph taken on May 16, 2018, shows a figurine standing in front of the logo of social network Facebook on a cracked screen of a smartphone in Paris. VOA

People who read Facebook’s News Feed that showcases previews of various news articles tend to overestimate their political knowledge and form a strong opinion, says a study.

With approximately half of Internet users using Facebook to access news, the study has important implications for how people learn about politics.

The study, published in the Research and Politics journal, argued that although reading the short article previews provides one with political information, individuals especially those who are motivated to seek emotions think they know more than they actually do.

They tend to form strong opinions and are significantly more likely to overestimate their knowledge.

“Social media can inform audiences, even the little article previews that appear in Facebook’s News Feed. However, with this learning comes a false confidence; some individuals (particularly those motivated by their gut reactions) think they learn more on the issue than they actually do,” Nicolas M. Anspach from the York College of Pennsylvania in the US told PsyPost.com

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FILE- Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg is seen during a keynote speech in San Jose, California, May 1, 2018. VOA

“This overconfidence might translate to increased political participation, but concern remains over whether social media provides enough information for voters to make fully informed choices,” he added.

In the study, a group of 320 participants read an article from The Washington Post about the safety of genetically modified foods.

Another group of 319 participants read a mock Facebook News Feed containing four article previews, where one preview was about genetically modified foods, while a third group of 351 participants, used as a control, did not read anything.

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When tested about their knowledge of the subject, the participants who read the full article answered the most questions correctly, while those who read the News Feed correctly answered only one question more often than the control group on average.

But participants who read the News Feed were more likely to overestimate their knowledge, especially among those motivated to experience strong emotions. (IANS)

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Social Networking Giant Facebook Sharing Users’ Data with Telecom Firms, Phone Makers

The database contained 49 million records of several high-profile influencers, including prominent food bloggers, celebrities and other social media influencers

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This photograph taken on May 16, 2018, shows a figurine standing in front of the logo of social network Facebook on a cracked screen of a smartphone in Paris. VOA

A confidential Facebook document reviewed by The Intercept has revealed that the social networking giant is offering private data of its users without their knowledge or consent to 100 different telecom companies and phone makers in 50 countries.

Confidential documents seen by the website showed late Monday that Facebook is helping operators and phone makers “create targeted advertising by supplying them with surveillance data slurped directly from users’ smartphones”.

Not only that, the social networking giant is also collecting data from its main iOS and Android apps, Messenger and Instagram apps — even snooping into the phones of children as young as 13.

Through a tool called “Actionable Insights”, Facebook is allegedly collecting data including technical details about smartphones, cellular and Wi-Fi networks used by Facebook users, locations visited social groups and interests.

Facebook reacted in a statement late Monday: “We do not, nor have we ever, rated people’s credit worthiness for Actionable Insights or across ads, and Facebook does not use people’s credit information in how we show ads”.

According to the report, “the data has been used by Facebook partners to assess their standing against competitors, including customers lost to and won from them, but also for more controversial uses like racially targeted ads”.

Facebook launched “Actionable Insights” tool last year “to address the issue of weak cellular data connections in various parts of the world.”

“The confidential Facebook document shows how the programme, ostensibly created to help improve underserved cellular customers, is pulling in far more data than how many bars you’re getting,” said the report.

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Facebook’s founder and CEO Mark Zuckerberg speaks at the Viva Tech start-up and technology summit in Paris, France, May 24, 2018. VOA

“The Facebook mobile app harvests and packages eight different categories of information for use by over 100 different telecom companies in over 50 different countries around the world, including usage data from the phones of children as young as 13,” the report claimed.

These categories include use of video, demographics, location, use of Wi-Fi and cellular networks, personal interests, device information, and friend homophily, an academic term of art.

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From these categories, a third party vendor could learn an extraordinary amount about patterns of users’ daily life.

The news came after Facebook’s photo-sharing service Instagram saw itself in trouble as personal data of millions of celebrities and influencers were allegedly exposed on its platform in a massive database that was traced to Mumbai-based social media marketing firm Chtrbox.

The database contained 49 million records of several high-profile influencers, including prominent food bloggers, celebrities and other social media influencers, TechCrunch reported. (IANS)