Ahead of Midterms, Facebook Steps Up Its War on “Fake News” (That Is, Conservative Perspectives)


Totalitarianism, albeit totalitarianism with a happy face. “The term ‘fake news’ has risen to infamy in the context of the 2016 U.S. election, with many laying the blame at the feet of social media outlets like Facebook, through which disinformation and fraudulent stories were often spread. The company has been lambasted for not doing enough to counteract such content.” That sentence makes the bias of this article clear. The left thinks that it lost in 2016 because conservative perspectives were being aired, and it is determined not to let that happen again in 2018. Facebook’s “fact-checkers” are all leftist ideologues who consider facts that the left hates (such as news about jihad activity) to be “fake news.” This is just more of the large-scale program to shut down all voices that dissent from the hard-left line.

“New Mechanisms ‘Guarantee’ Transparency Ahead of U.S. Midterm Elections, Facebook Executive Says,” by Omer Kabir, CTech, July 12, 2018 (thanks to Mark):

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At the end of 2017, Facebook’s vice president of product management Guy Rosen received a personal email from Mark Zuckerberg, sent days before the budget for 2018 was allotted. “Before I begin, how much do you need?” he asked Rosen, making it clear that Rosen has a blank check as far as resources go.

“At that moment, the penny dropped,” Rosen said Tuesday in an interview with Calcalist. “We were the top priority.”…

Rosen has been leading the unit in charge of the technological aspects of user safety at Facebook since 2016. It was in 2016 that Facebook realized it was not doing enough to ensure the safety of users, Rosen said in an interview with Calcalist on Tuesday. The company invested vast amounts of monetary and human resources to address the problem since, Rosen said.

The term “fake news” has risen to infamy in the context of the 2016 U.S. election, with many laying the blame at the feet of social media outlets like Facebook, through which disinformation and fraudulent stories were often spread. The company has been lambasted for not doing enough to counteract such content.

Despite initially dismissing as “crazy” the claim that fake news spread on Facebook might have influenced the election, Facebook’s founder and CEO Mark Zuckerberg later stated the company “didn’t do enough to prevent these tools from being used for harm as well.”

Like Zuckerberg, Rosen owns up to Facebook’s earlier idleness, but states the company has learned the lesson well. “If there’s something that characterizes the company, it is its ability to alter its course,” he said. “Everyone always talks about the shift to mobile in 2012. The company understood that mobile is the new playing field. We were a desktop company, and we made an abrupt change, helmed by Mark.”

Focus on user safety is a change of the same scale, according to Rosen. “Everything we do has to be oriented towards community safety, taking into consideration everything that could go wrong.”

To combat fake news, Rosen’s team has declared a war on fake accounts. “The general belief is that fake news are driven by political motivation. In fact, most fake news is driven by financial motivation,” Rosen said.

“Much of our work is concentrating on limiting the profitability of Fake news,” he said.

His team is also collaborating with organizations that specialize in fact-checking. “When a fact checker detects fake news, our system significantly lowers its circulation, about 80%, and we add links to related articles to provide a different viewpoint.”

Rosen believes that what happened around the 2016 elections would not repeat itself as the 2018 U.S. midterm elections draw near. In May, Facebook began labeling political ads on the Facebook and Instagram platforms as well as including a “paid for by” disclosure. “We’re making big changes to the way ads with political content work on Facebook to help prevent abuse, especially during elections,” Facebook said in a post announcing the new feature.

“We are still in the midst of development but the defense mechanisms we have put in place can guarantee that what happened in 2016 would not happen again, as far as transparency goes,” Rosen said. “On the other hand, there are people who go to work in the morning and their job is to figure out how to bypass the barriers we put in place,” he said.

Facebook has people trying to hack its own systems and barricades to identify potential exploitations methods, he said. “We also work with law enforcement agencies and an FBI task force,” he added

According to Rosen, what fuels fake news is a general distrust in institutions, and people’s’ tendency to favor conspiratory narratives. “We are studying this issue with academics, trying to understand what we can add to help people understand,” he said.

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