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Social Networking Giant Facebook Removes 5 Accounts Linked to Alabama Senate Election

But, according to a person in the know of things, one of the accounts removed belonged to Jonathon Morgan, a prominent social media research and CEO of New Knowledge

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Facebook
Facebook releases Messenger redesign on Android, iOS. Pixabay

Facebook has said that it has removed five accounts of Americans who used its platform improperly in the hard-fought Alabama Senate election of 2017.

Facebook has shut down “five accounts run by multiple individuals for engaging in coordinated inauthentic behaviour on Facebook around the Alabama special election, and our investigation is ongoing,” the company said in a statement on Saturday.

The company acted in response to media reports that a small group of social media experts had secretly used deceptive tactics in the Alabama election that were explicitly modelled on Russia’s meddling in the 2016 US presidential election.

The group sought to split the conservative vote to undermine the Republican candidate, Roy S. Moore, and to boost support for the Democrat, Doug Jones, who won by a small margin.

Facebook
Facebook, social media. Pixabay

Morgan has said the operation was an experiment to learn more about the kinds of methods Russia had used, and not to influence the outcome of the election.

The social networking site did not name those whose accounts were closed, and it was not immediately possible to identify the others, The New York Times reported.

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But, according to a person in the know of things, one of the accounts removed belonged to Jonathon Morgan, a prominent social media research and CEO of New Knowledge.

“We take a strong stand against people or organisations that create networks of accounts to mislead others about who they are or what they’re doing,” the statement said. (IANS)

Next Story

Social Media Giant Facebook Requires ‘Significant Work’ to Stop Political Bias

“We don’t allow content that might encourage offline harm or is intended to intimidate, exclude or silence people,” he added

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FILE - The logo for Facebook appears on screens at the Nasdaq MarketSite, in New York's Times Square, March 29, 2018. VOA

Facebook has released results of an independent internal audit conducted by a former Republican senator that found the social networking giant has been biased against conservatives and needs to do “significant work” to stop this.

Former Senator Jon Kyl, a respected Republican and his team at the law firm Covington and Burling met with more than 130 leading conservative politicians and organizations and produced the report.

Facebook has long been accused of bias against conservative viewpoints to appear on its platform

“Although these concerns appear across the political and ideological spectrum, members of the conservative community in particular are concerned that the Silicon Valley-based company’s admittedly liberal culture negatively influences the reach of conservative ideas and news.”

“Political conservatives, religious traditionalists, and others are increasingly feeling marginalised by cultural ‘gatekeepers’ such as social media, entertainment media, and academia,” the report said.

According to Nick Clegg, Vice President of Global Affairs and Communications at Facebook, the report also highlights the changes Facebook has made to address some of those concerns.

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FILE – Attendees walk past a Facebook logo during Facebook Inc’s F8 developers conference in San Jose, California, United States. VOA

“These include making our decisions more transparent by providing more information on why people are seeing specific posts on News Feed; ensuring Page managers can see when enforcement action takes place; launching an appeals process; and creating a new Oversight Board for content,” Clegg said in a statement late Tuesday.

This is the first stage of an ongoing process and Senator Kyl and his team will report again in a few months’ time.

“Facebook’s policies and their application have the potential to restrict free expression. Given the platform’s popularity and ubiquity, this is a danger that must be taken very seriously. Facebook insists that it is committed to safety, equal treatment and building community,” read the report.

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“Facebook has recognized the importance of our assessment and has taken some steps to address the concerns we uncovered. But there is still significant work to be done to satisfy the concerns we heard from conservatives,” it added.

Clegg said that “while we err on the side of free speech, there are critical exceptions”.

“We don’t allow content that might encourage offline harm or is intended to intimidate, exclude or silence people,” he added. (IANS)