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Fewer Political Ads to be Shown on FB and Instagram: Facebook

Facebook says it will show fewer political ads but won't ban

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Facebook on Thursday announced it will show fewer political ads to people on its platform and Instagram. Pixabay

Facebook on Thursday announced it will show fewer political ads to people on its platform and Instagram, starting with the US which faces Presidential elections this year, but won’t ban or limit those as Twitter has already done and Google to some extent.

Targeting both Twitter and Google, the social networking platform said that while Twitter has chosen to block political ads and Google has chosen to limit the targeting of political ads, “we are choosing to expand transparency and give more controls to people when it comes to political ads”.

“Seeing fewer political and social issue ads is a common request we hear from people. That’s why we plan to add a new control that will allow people to see fewer political and social issue ads on Facebook and Instagram,” said Rob Leathern, Director of Product Management at Facebook.

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Facebook said it is updating its Ad Library to increase the level of transparency. Pixabay

The expanded transparency features will roll out in the first quarter of 2020 and will apply in all countries where Facebook facilitates “Paid for by” disclaimers on ads.

“We plan to deploy the political ads control starting in the US early this summer, eventually expanding this preference to more locations,” said the company.

The social networking platform said it is updating its Ad Library to increase the level of transparency.

“We are adding ranges for Potential Reach, which is the estimated target audience size for each political, electoral or social issue ad so you can see how many people an advertiser wanted to reach with every ad,” said Facebook.

The company said it is adding the ability to search for ads with exact phrases, better grouping of similar ads, and adding several new filters to better analyze results like audience size, dates and regions reached.

Later this month, it will begin rolling out a control to let people choose how an advertiser can reach them with a Custom Audience from a list.

These Custom Audiences are built when an advertiser uploads a hashed list of people’s information, such as emails or phone numbers, to help target ads.

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“This control will be available to all people on Facebook and will apply to all advertisers, not just those running political or social issue ads,” said Facebook.

According to the company, when it comes to targeting, “our data actually indicates over 85 per cent of spend by US presidential candidates on Facebook is for ad campaigns targeted to audiences estimated to be greater than 250,000”. (IANS)

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People Use Hate Speech While Searching About Terrorism on Social Media

People post hate speech while seeking answers on terrorism

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People often resort to using hate speech when searching about terrorism on a community group social media platform. Pixabay

People often resort to using hate speech when searching about terrorism on a community group social media platform, say researchers.

According to Snehasish Banerjee, lecturer at the York Management School, University of York, it appears seems that people are really curious to know about terrorists, what terrorists think, their ideas, etc.

“While portrayed as a threat to society and human civilisation by mainstream media, terrorists sell terrorism as freedom fighting via social networking sites and private messaging platforms,” said Banerjee.

“However, the actual workings of terrorism are largely shrouded in secrecy. For the curious, a convenient avenue to turn to is the community question answering sites”.

Community question answering sites (CQAs) are social media platforms where users ask questions, answer those submitted by others, and have the option to evaluate responses. Previous studies have mainly looked at terrorism-related data drawn from Facebook and Twitter, this was the first to examine trends on the CQA site, Yahoo! Answers.

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While portrayed as a threat to society and human civilisation by mainstream media, terrorists sell terrorism as freedom fighting via social media platforms. Pixabay

The University of York study explored the use of Yahoo! Answers on the topic of terrorism and looked at a dataset of 300 questions that attracted more than 2,000 answers. The questions reflected the community’s information needs, ranging from the life of extremists to counter-terrorism policies. Sensitive questions outnumbered innocuous ones.

A typical innocuous question was: Who exactly created ISIS?, while a more sensitive question was: Do you agree with Donald Trump that we should ban Muslims coming from countries seized by ISIS, Al Qaeda and other terrorists? According to the findings, sensitive questions were significantly more likely to be submitted anonymously than innocuous ones.

While no significant difference arose with respect to answers, the paper found that identities were seldom recognisable. Using names non-traceable to themselves, the community group users become embolden to use provocative, inflammatory or uncivil language. “We found that answers were laden with negative emotions reflecting hate speech and Islamophobia, making claims that were rarely verifiable,” said Banerjee.

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Users who posted sensitive questions and answers generally tended to remain anonymous.

“This paper calls for governments and law enforcement agencies to collaborate with major social media companies, including CQAs, to develop a process for cross-platform blacklisting of users and content, as well as identifying those who are vulnerable,” the authors noted in the Aslib Journal of Information Management. (IANS)