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Unable To Find The Source of Fake Accounts: Facebook

Sample images provided by Facebook showed posts on a wide range of issues.

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Lexi Sturdy, election war room lead, sits at her desk in the war room, where Facebook monitors election-related content on the platform, in Menlo Park, California. VOA

Facebook said Tuesday it had been unable to determine who was behind dozens of fake accounts it took down shortly before the 2018 U.S. midterm elections.

“Combined with our takedown last Monday, in total we have removed 36 Facebook accounts, 6 Pages, and 99 Instagram accounts for coordinated inauthentic behavior,” Nathaniel Gleicher, head of cybersecurity policy, wrote on the company’s blog.

At least one of the Instagram accounts had well over a million followers, according to Facebook.

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A man works in the war room, where Facebook monitors election-related content, in Menlo Park, Calif. VOA

A website that said it represented the Russian state-sponsored Internet Research Agency claimed responsibility for the accounts last week, but Facebook said it did not have enough information to connect the agency that has been called a troll farm.

“As multiple independent experts have pointed out, trolls have an incentive to claim that their activities are more widespread and influential than may be the case,” Gleicher wrote.

Sample images provided by Facebook showed posts on a wide range of issues. Some advocated on behalf of social issues such as women’s rights and LGBT pride, while others appeared to be conservative users voicing support for President Donald Trump.

Also Read: The Year Of Women in U.S. Politics

The viewpoints on display potentially fall in line with a Russian tactic identified in other cases of falsified accounts. A recent analysis of millions of tweets by the Atlantic Council found that Russian trolls often pose as members on either side of contentious issues in order to maximize division in the United States. (VOA)

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Time Spent on Social Media May Not Make Teens Depressed: Study

For the study, researchers worked with 500 youth between the ages of 13 and 20, who completed once-yearly questionnaires over an eight-year span

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Social Media use was measured by asking participants how much time they spent on social networking sites on a typical day. Pixabay

The amount of time spent on social media is not directly adding to the anxiety or depression issues in teenagers, say reseachers from Brigham Young University.

The study, published in the journal Computers in Human Behavior, shows that it is not merely the amount of time spent on social media that’s leading to an increase in depression or anxiety among adolescents.

“We spent eight years trying to really understand the relationship between time spent on social media and depression for developing teenagers,” said study author Sarah Coyne, Professor at Brigham Young University in the US.

“If they increased their social media time, would it make them more depressed? Also, if they decreased their social media time, were they less depressed? The answer is no. We found that time spent on social media was not what was impacting anxiety or depression,” Coyne added.

Mental health is a multi-process syndrome, where no one stressor is likely to be the cause of depression or anxiety.

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Time spent on Social Media is not what was impacting anxiety or depression. Pixabay

For the study, researchers worked with 500 youth between the ages of 13 and 20, who completed once-yearly questionnaires over an eight-year span.

Social media use was measured by asking participants how much time they spent on social networking sites on a typical day.

To measure depression and anxiety, participants responded to questions with different scales to indicate depressive symptoms and anxiety levels.

These results were then analysed on an individual level to see if there was a strong correlation between the two variables.

At age 13, adolescents reported an average social networking use of 31-60 minutes per day.

These average levels increased steadily so that by young adulthood, they were reporting upwards of two hours per day.

According to the researchers, this increase of social networking, though, did not predict future mental health. That is, adolescents’ increase in social networking beyond their typical levels did not predict changes in anxiety or depression one year later.

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Social Media use was measured by asking participants how much time they spent on social networking sites on a typical day. Pixabay

Researchers suggest some healthier ways to use social media: Be an active user instead of a passive user. Instead of just scrolling, actively comment, post and like other content.

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Limit social media use at least an hour before falling asleep. Getting enough sleep is one of the most protective factors for mental health, the researchers said. (IANS)