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  • Facebook to add info on news articles in the hopes you start re-trusting the media

    US President Donald Trump and his administration have made it their mission to sow a distrust for the media throughout the US -- and the prevalence of  "fake news" sites isn't helping -- but Facebook is looking to restore the broken relationship its users have with journalism. The company has begun a test to give users more information on the news articles that appear on their timelines. This information -- accessed by clicking a lower case "i" -- includes a background on the original publication, a look at related articles, and a map of where the article is being shared. It will also...

  • Russian propaganda ads reached 10m US Facebook users

    Facebook has revealed that 10-million US users were shown Russian propaganda ads that may have interfered with the 2016 US election -- and that may not be the final number. In a blog post connected to the company's Hard Questions series, Vice President of Policy and Communications Elliot Schrage provided more clarity on an issue that has been intentionally left murky. Schrage said that the total reach of dubious Russian ads was 10-million people, but only 44% of ad impressions (the number of times ads were displayed) were before the election. The company has not clarified user reach prior to the election. In 2016, the...

  • Twitter addresses Russian bots as Zuck faces the web’s wrath

    Twitter has finally broken its silence on the role its platform played in enabling Russian interference in the 2016 US election, but it's staying tight-lipped on the nitty-gritty. In a blog post that mostly addresses bots in general, the company announced that yesterday its VP for public policy Colin Crowell had met up with staff from Senate Select Committee on Intelligence to discuss the way Russian-owned accounts advertised on its platform. Twitter revealed that of the roughly 450 accounts Facebook removed earlier this year in relation to the debacle, 22 had related Twitter accounts -- all of which had "already been or immediately were...

  • Instagram ‘advertises’ itself on Facebook with rape threats

    Instagram has come under fire for advertising itself on parent company Facebook's platform with a screenshot of an email that read "I will rape you before I kill you". Instagram is using one of my most "engaging" posts to advertise its service to others on Facebook 😂pic.twitter.com/lyEBHQXMfa — Olivia Solon (@oliviasolon) September 21, 2017 The Guardian reporter Olivia Solon had posted the image to her feed a year ago. Her caption read: "This is an email I received this afternoon. Sadly this is all too common for women on the internet. I am sure this is just an idiot rather than any kind...

  • Russian Facebook pages may have organised pro-Trump rallies

    Suspected Russian Facebook page Being Patriotic organised pro-Trump and anti-Clinton rallies in the build-up to the 2016 US election, The Daily Beast has found. On 20 August 2016 -- less than three months before the election in November -- the page created a number of events collectively titled "Florida Goes Trump!" It called for supporters to rally together in 17 different cities and towns. The position in Florida is crucial, as it is a swing state that could have reasonably been won by either party. US President Donald Trump won 49.1% of the vote in Florida, as opposed to Hillary Clinton's 47.8%. The Daily Beast found proof...

  • Facebook removes ads targeting ‘Jew haters’

    Facebook profiles can be obnoxious. With no vetting procedures on the information provided for education or employment, friends can say they attended Hogwarts or that they work at NASA despite failing high school maths. But while some have been using these self-reporting fields to make harmless jokes, others have been using them to spew hatred -- and it's been revealed that advertisers could have specifically targeted these individuals. On Thursday, a report by Propublica revealed that advertisers, who have the ability to select which demographic they'd like to target, have been able to select the likes of "Jew hater", "how to burn Jews", and "history of...

  • Facebook may have earned $150k from US election-hacking ads

    Facebook has divulged that it could have earned up to US$150 000 from Russian ads that targeted the 2016 United States election. The company studied ads bought between June 2015 and May 2017 and found 3000 that were connected to 470 accounts promoting content that violated its policies. These ads were all "likely operated out of Russia", and brought in US$100 000. Another study looked at a broader range of ads that could have Russian origin, including those with US IP addresses and the language set to Russian. This search found around 2200 politically-related ads. They accounted for another US$50 000. Many of the...

  • Facebook revamps News Feed, DM-like comments & circles abound

    Facebook has announced a minor redesign of its News Feed that tackles the comment section, readability and those darn square profile pictures. Over the coming weeks, the company will be rolling out a few updates so that the Feed is more "conversational". The biggest of these is a revamped comments section that replaces the trusty block comments with bubbles that resemble the DM look Apple made popular with iMessage. This section -- and the rest of the Feed -- will be pulling a Twitter and replacing the square images with sleeker circles. Facebook says that these combined updates make it "easier to...

  • Facebook Watch is a social video service for mobile and beyond

    As it slowly transforms from a social network into a media company, Facebook Watch is the company's latest step into the latter. With its website and apps running out of space for ad placements, an entirely new video app which feeds off the Facebook name seemingly makes business sense. The service is the company's social video platform, which will host a number of Facebook-funded shows, sports and shows from outside creators. There's no word on whether the entire swathe of video on Facebook will be available on Watch. "Shows are made up of episodes -- live or recorded -- and follow a...

  • 11 must-know tips and tricks for Facebook Messenger

    Facebook Messenger has grown from a necessary evil to a semi-decent service in its own right, spanning messaging (obviously), chatbots and more. The app is one of the more popular mobile downloads around, but here are a few more ways you can get the most out of it. Disable those pesky chat heads We're starting off with a simple but effective tip for an annoying feature: those weird chat heads. The chat heads are essentially those chat bubbles that pop up when you receive a message, obscuring part of your screen and just being obnoxious. In any event, you'll want to visit your profile...

  • Facebook makes more cash than Google in Q2, but revenue slows

    Facebook has brought in a higher net income than Google's parent company Alphabet for the first time in history -- though this has more to do with the massive US$2.7-billion fine the EU slapped on the latter than anything else. The company made US$3.8-billion over the last three months, seeing a 71% year-on-year increase, while Google made just over US$3.5-billion. The moment isn't all sunshine and beating Google, though. Facebook has seen a steady decline in its revenue growth over the past year as it runs out of space for ads on its News Feed. A year ago, it's year-over-year change was 59%; that number has...

  • Facebook takes a stand on link spam, and your racist aunt’s clickbait

    Facebook knows you have family members who routinely share links about how the country has gone to the dogs, and it wants you to know it sympathises. In an announcement posted Friday, the company asserted that it was "deprioritising" posts shared by users who spam others' news feeds on a regular basis. According to the social network, there is a "tiny" group of people on Facebook who post a "vast" amount of shared articles per day -- though considering nearly every user on the network has one family member they've muted for this very reason, that "tiny" seems suspicious. The company's research has proven that...

  • Facebook commits to addressing its hate speech problem

    Facebook has acknowledged that it needs to do more to combat hate speech in a blog post for its "Hard Questions" series. The company's current definition for hate speech is that which directly attacks anyone based on a "protected characteristic". This includes their race, ethnicity, national origin, religious affiliation, sexual orientation, sex, gender, gender identity, or serious disability or disease. Richard Allen, VP of Public Policy for Europe, the Middle East and Africa, noted that this definition is not universal. Countries like South Africa and Germany have their own definitions due to their history, while the US protects all kinds of speech under its...

  • Facebook hits 2 billion users, Zuckerberg wants more

    Mark Zuckerberg has announced that two billion people now use Facebook. The platform hit its first billion in October 2012, and took under five years to hit its second. The number accounts for around 26% of the global population, but almost two thirds of the world's internet users. YouTube has over one billion users. As of the first quarter of 2017, Twitter was sitting with around 328 million users. Reddit had attracted 234 million unique users. Users took to the comment section of Zuckerberg's announcement to congratulate him, and he responded to some by expressing his wish to grow the brand even further. Philip Fung,...

  • Here’s how Facebook and Google plan to fight terrorism

    Both Facebook and Google have revealed how they are countering terrorist activity on their respective blogs this past week. These posts come after UK Prime Minister Theresa May criticised the internet for providing a safe space for terrorists to communicate -- and after Facebook itself dodged a lawsuit that claimed it was the reason Palestinian terrorists were able to kill numerous Israelis. Facebook revealed it is looking specifically at how artificial and human intelligence can work together, as well as partnering with other companies, NGOs and governments to bring an end to terror. The company is working on software that identifies when a user...