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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.

Also Read- Tech Giant Google Expanding ‘Smart Compose’ Email Feature to More Devices

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 Blames Apple iOS for Bezos’ Phone Hacking

WhatsApp provides end-to-end encryption by default, which means only the sender and recipient can view the messages

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

Facebook has blamed Apple’s operating system for the hacking of Amazon Founder and CEO Jeff Bezos’ phone, saying WhatsApp’s end-to-end encryption is unhackable.

Investigators believe that Bezos’s iPhone was compromised after he received a 4.4MB video file containing malware via WhatsApp – in the same way when phones of 1,400 select journalists and human rights activists were broken into by Pegasus software from Israel-based NSO Group last year.

In an interview to the BBC last week, Facebook’s Vice President of Global Affairs and Communications, Nick Clegg, said it wasn’t WhatsApp’s fault because end-to-end encryption is unhackable and blamed Apple’s operating system for Bezos’ episode.

“It sounds like something on the, you know, what they call the operate, operated on the phone itself. It can’t have been anything on the, when the message was sent, in transit, because that’s end-to-end encrypted on WhatsApp,” Clegg told the show host.

Clegg compared the hack to opening a malicious email, saying that “it only comes to life when you open it”.

According to a report from FTI Consulting, a firm that has investigated Bezos’ phone, after that the video file was received, Bezos’ phone started sending unusually large amounts of outbound data, including his intimate messages with his girlfriend Lauren Sanchez.

Jeff Bezos
Jeff Bezos, Amazon founder and owner of Blue Origin. (Wikimedia commons)

According to Clegg, “something” must have affected the phone’s operating system.

“As sure as you can be that the technology of end-to-end encryption cannot, other than unless you have handset, or you have the message at either end, cannot be hacked into,” he was quoted as saying.

Apple was yet to comment on Facebook’s statement.

The NSO Group has denied it was part of Bezos’ hacking.

Also Read: Here Are Some Life Lessons That We Can Learn From Freedom Fighters this Republic Day

WhatsApp provides end-to-end encryption by default, which means only the sender and recipient can view the messages. But the piece of NSO Group software exploited WhatsApp’s video calling system by installing the spyware via missed calls to snoop on the selected users.

According to leading tech policy and media consultant Prasanto K. Roy, end-to-end encrypted apps (E2EE) do provide security, and messages or calls cannot be intercepted and decrypted en route without enormous computing resources.

“But once anyone can get to your handset, whether a human or a piece of software, the encryption doesn’t matter anymore. Because on your handset, it’s all decrypted,” Roy told IANS recently. (IANS)