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Social Media Giant Facebook Denies it spread Fake News to help Donald Trump Win

According to TechCrunch, Facebook "did not build and withhold any News Feed changes based on their potential impact on any one political party"

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FILE - A man is silhouetted against a video screen with an Facebook logo as he poses with an Samsung S4 smartphone in this photo illustration taken in the central Bosnian town of Zenica, August 14, 2013. Yahoo
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SAN FRANCISCO, Nov 15, 2016:  Hit by charges that the social media giant distributed fake news which helped Donald Trump win the US presidential election, Facebook on Tuesday denied any such charges.

According to TechCrunch, Facebook “did not build and withhold any News Feed changes based on their potential impact on any one political party”.

“It developed two versions of a fix for click bait this year, and decided to trust algorithmic machine learning detection instead of only user behavior,” the report said, quoting a Facebook spokesperson.

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Media reports said earlier that Facebook shelved a planned update earlier this year that could have identified fake news.

TechCrunch now reports that in January 2015, Facebook rolled out an update designed to combat hoax news stories.

In August, Facebook released another News Feed update designed to reduce clickbait stories.

“Of all the content on Facebook, more than 99 percent of what people see is authentic. Only a very small amount is fake news and hoaxes. The hoaxes that do exist are not limited to one partisan view, or even to politics,” Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg had said earlier.

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According to Facebook, “We always work to make News Feed more meaningful and informative, and that includes examining the quality and accuracy of items shared, such as click bait, spam and hoaxes”.

According to Trump, Facebook and Twitter helped him secure victory.

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Speaking on CBS’ 60 Minutes programme last weekend, he said: “The fact that I have such power in terms of numbers with Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, etc. I think it helped me win all of these races where they’re spending much more money than I spent. I think that social media has more power than the money they spent.”

Trump specified that he has more than 28 million followers across various social media platforms, and said that he was getting more each day. (IANS)

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Australia Proposes To Strengthen Regulations of Facebook, Google

Facebook has 17 million monthly users in Australia -- 68 per cent of its population -- while Instagram, second most popular site in terms of users - which is owned by Facebook, has 11 million users

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Australia recommends strengthening regulation of Facebook, Google. Pixabay

The Australian Competition and Consumer Commission (ACCC) on Monday proposed measures to counter the dominant market positions of Google and Facebook and strengthen monitoring on their access to information, advertising and consumers personal data.

The regulatory body, which recommended 11 preliminary measures in the report, was directed to conduct a public inquiry into the impact of digital search engines, social media platforms and other digital content in 2017 by then treasurer and current Prime Minister Scott Morrison.

“Acting as an intermediary between consumers and news outlets, platforms are inherently influential in shaping consumers’ choices of digital journalism,” said the report cited by Efe news.

This influential position and filtration of news items could place the consumer in a so-called filter bubble, increasing the risk of consumers being exposed to unreliable news, according to the report.

“The algorithms operated by each of Google and Facebook, as well as other policies, determine which content is surfaced and displayed to consumers in news feed and search results,” it said.

“The ACCC considers that the strong market position of digital platforms like Google and Facebook justifies a greater level of regulatory oversight,” Chair Rod Sims said.

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Facebook, social media. Pixabay

The commission called for the creation of a regulatory authority with powers to monitor these digital platforms and recommended establishing an automatic mechanism to take down content that violates copyright.

The ACCC said consumers should be informed about the manner in which these platforms collect and use their data to create personalized advertising.

This would include a reform of privacy laws to require the user’s express consent to data collection and “enable consumers to require erasure of their personal information where they have withdrawn their consent”.

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ACCC said that it found that “competition may have been distorted in multiple sectors where consumer data is used”.

Facebook has 17 million monthly users in Australia — 68 per cent of its population — while Instagram, second most popular site in terms of users – which is owned by Facebook, has 11 million users.

In 2017, Google registered 90 per cent of search traffic originating from Australian desktops and 98 per cent from mobile phones. (IANS)