Tag Archives: Facebook

Contrite Facebook executives seek to ward off more European rules
January 21, 2018 6:00 pm|Comments (0)

MUNICH (Reuters) – Facebook executives are fanning out across Europe this week to address the social media giant’s slow response to abuses on its platform, seeking to avoid further legislation along the lines of a new hate speech law in Germany it says goes too far.

Facebook’s communications and public policy chief used an annual meeting in Munich of some of Europe and Silicon Valley’s tech elite to apologize for failing to do more, earlier, to fight hate speech and foreign influence campaigns on Facebook.

“We have to demonstrate we can bring people together and build stronger communities,” the executive, Elliot Schrage, said of the world’s biggest information-sharing platform, which has more than 2 billion monthly users.

“We have over-invested in building new experiences and under-invested in preventing abuses,” he said in a keynote speech at the DLD Munich conference on Sunday.

In the United States, lawmakers have criticized Facebook for failing to stop Russian operatives using its platform to meddle in the 2016 presidential elections, while Britain’s parliament is looking again at the role such manipulation may have played in Britain’s Brexit vote to leave the European Union.

(reut.rs/2FZJlXB) ((reut.rs/2y9i98F)

A German law that took effect at the start of the year requires social networks such as Facebook, Google and Twitter to remove online hate speech or face heavy fines. (reut.rs/2rm6AI2)

“It sets forth the right idea for the relation between government and the private sector but it also goes farther than … we think it should go,” Schrage said of the law.

”At the same time the law places the responsibility on us to be judge and jury and enforcer determining what is legally compliant and not. I think that is a bad idea.

“The challenge is how to define where the violation has been or not,” he said.

By contrast, Schrage praised the approach of the European Union in demanding that internet companies adhere to a code of conduct and respond quickly to requests to take down illegal content rather than being required to make those decisions themselves.

“That’s an example of how we can work with governments to be more responsive to their concerns,” Schrage said of the EU.

The EU has put internet companies on notice that it will legislate if they don’t do a better job self-policing their services for extremist propaganda, hate speech and other abuses. (reut.rs/2DmXGeU)

NO WILD WEST

Far from being a “Wild West of content”, Schrage argued, Facebook’s policies on policing content are far more in line with Europe’s strict boundaries governing hate speech than the anything-goes reputation it has coming from Silicon Valley.

“We are often criticised for being an American company. But our policies with respect to speech and expression are much closer to how the standards have evolved in Europe than they are in the United States,” Schrage said.

“We do not permit hate speech, we do not permit incitement. There is a tremendous amount of content we remove regularly. When we see content related to terrorism, to hate speech, to incitement, we reach out to law enforcement,” he said.

But several tech leaders in the audience said Facebook had long ignored what are effectively editorial responsibilities for policing abusive content on its platform.

Schrage said Facebook now employed thousands of people to monitor content and to work more closely with law enforcement, while automated algorithms detect and delete 99 percent of Islamic State and al Qaeda content before any Facebook users ever see it.

Paul-Bernhard Kallen, chief executive of Hubert Burda Media, one of Germany’s largest publishers, said Facebook has avoided responsibility for moderating content on its platform.

“From my perspective, Facebook is a media company. One way or the other, Facebook should accept it,” Kallen said of taking more control over content or facing regulatory demands to do so.

Facebook Chief Operating Officer Sheryl Sandberg is meeting policymakers in Paris and Brussels, while Schrage is touring Germany. Later this week they will converge on Davos, the annual policy gathering of world politicians, business chiefs, bankers and celebrities taking place in the Swiss Alps.

Facebook founder and chief executive Mark Zuckerberg, who has declared earlier this year that his 2018 goal is to “fix” Facebook, is staying home (reut.rs/2F2w8g6).

Reporting by Eric Auchard and Douglas Busvine in Munich; Editing by Adrian Croft

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What It Means When Someone Stops Posting on Facebook
December 1, 2017 12:19 pm|Comments (0)

For millions of people around the world, posting to Facebook is a routine affair that happens daily, if not multiple times a day. But it’s not uncommon for someone to dramatically slow how much they post, or to stop posting altogether and “go dark”. What does it mean when this happens? Should you worry? Here are some possibilities about what might be happening.

Facebook silence on personal accounts

1. The person is seriously busy.

This is the simplest explanation for Facebook darkness. Research shows that people spend an average of 135 minutes a day on social media. But an individual might put Facebook on the back burner if other demands–for example, a stretch project or transitioning to a new technology system in the office–intensify.

2. The individual is taking time to unplug.

In recent years, the concept of “unplugging” or spending time without technology has gained a ton of steam. The idea is, when you get off Facebook or other social media, you get to reconnect with yourself and others and remember what’s really important. Many people who go dark for this reason will put up a courtesy post saying they won’t be on Facebook for a while, but they don’t always do this.   

3. The person is frustrated or discouraged with what they see coming across their Facebook feed.

Social media can be saturated with all kinds of drama, whether it’s people ending romantic relationships or spewing political rhetoric. People sometimes get to a point where they find these kinds of interactions draining, and they’ll pull back from using Facebook as a result. When they feel like the drama is quieting, or when their circumstances are less stressful and enable them to cope better, they come back to the platform. It’s worth noting here, too, that experts have found using social media often eats away at self-esteem because of the way people compare themselves to what they see. People sometimes need a Facebook hiatus to stop feeling like they’re less worthy.

4. The person is depressed for reasons outside of Facebook.

Withdrawal from friends and family is one of the most basic symptoms of depression. But because so much of the interaction we do now is Internet based, inactivity on a social media account after an extended pattern of consistent interaction should be viewed under the same lens as face-to-face withdrawal. Looking at the tone of what the person posted before their Facebook silence might give you a sense of whether the person is struggling.

Facebook silence on business accounts

Facebook business accounts might be manned by a single marketing or social media expert, but the posts represent the pulse of the entire business. Even if a company decides that other marketing and forms of interaction give better results, most companies won’t cut posts altogether. They avoid total darkness because they understand that social still reaches a percentage of their audience. Extended silence thus usually is reason for concern. The company might be experiencing some major internal changes. They go dark, even when they sincerely value transparency, because they don’t have a clear goal or direction they can communicate to customers in writing.

What to do to turn the light back on

At the very least, for individuals, Facebook silence signals that a person needs a break, if only to rest or reaffirm the joy of life outside of devices. At worst, it signals that the individual is going through a period of real emotional suffering. Darkness from a company similarly means that the business likely is in some degree of turmoil. In all cases, seeing silence is your cue to ask face-to-face if you can help. Maybe they can delegate to you, for example, or you could offer some feedback to the company. The bottom line is, don’t let your response to Facebook silence be more silence.

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Austrian can't file Facebook class action suit: EU Court adviser
November 14, 2017 12:00 pm|Comments (0)

BRUSSELS (Reuters) – An Austrian law student cannot bring a class action suit against Facebook’s Irish unit over alleged privacy violations in an Austrian court, an EU court adviser said on Tuesday, but can sue the company in his home country on his own behalf.

FILE PHOTO: A 3D plastic representation of the Facebook logo is seen in this photo illustration May 13, 2015. REUTERS/Dado Ruvic/Illustration/File Photo

Arguing Facebook violated privacy rules, Max Schrems is claiming 500 euros ($ 576) in damages for each of some 25,000 signatories to his lawsuit, one of a series of European challenges to U.S. technology firms and their handling of personal data.

“A consumer who is entitled to sue his foreign contact partner in his own place of domicile, cannot invoke, at the same time as his own claims, claims on the same subject assigned by other consumers,” the EU top court’s Advocate General Michal Bobek said.

The advocate general, whose opinions are not binding but usually followed by the court, said allowing a class action suit in this case would lead consumers to choose the place of the most favorable court.

Privacy activist Schrems, who had argued that individual lawsuits on user privacy would be “impossible” due to the financial burden on users, said a ruling in line with the advocate general’s opinion would still allow him to set a precedent.

“In the advocate general’s view, I can at least bring a ‘model case’ at my home jurisdiction in Vienna, which may enable us to debate the illegal practices of Facebook in an open court for the first time,” Schrems said in a statement.

Facebook said the advocate general’s opinion supported the decision of two courts that Schrem’s claims could not proceed as a class action.

While common in the United States, class action suits are rarely recognized in Europe.

“It is not for the Court to create such collective redress in consumer matters, but eventually for the Union legislator,” the Advocate General said.

Reporting by Robert-Jan Bartunek in Brussels; additional reporting by Shadia Nasralla in Vienna; editing by Philip Blenkinsop and John Stonestreet

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Facebook, in reversal, to publish cache of political ads
October 28, 2017 12:01 am|Comments (0)

SAN FRANCISCO (Reuters) – Facebook Inc (FB.O) announced a plan to increase transparency about its role in political advertising on Friday, ahead of congressional hearings next week on social media companies and Russia’s meddling in last year’s U.S. presidential election.

FILE PHOTO: Facebook logo is seen at a start-up companies gathering at Paris’ Station F in Paris, France on January 17, 2017. REUTERS/Philippe Wojazer/File Photo

Rob Goldman, Facebook’s vice president for ads, said in a blog post that the company would launch a publicly searchable archive next year containing details about the advertisements it runs related to U.S. federal elections.

Details will include the size of spending and the demographics of the audience the ads reached, Goldman said. The archive, beginning with ads carried in 2018, will cover a rolling four-year period, he said.

Internet political ads have boomed in recent years as U.S. politicians looked for different ways to reach potential supporters, and as companies including Facebook have created tools to allow targeted marketing.

Online ads, though, are generally viewable only to the intended audience, raising concerns among transparency advocates, researchers and lawmakers about how to hold politicians accountable for what they say.

The planned archive reflects a change in corporate policy for the world’s largest social network, which had previously resisted the idea.

In June, Facebook told Reuters that it would go on treating political ads like all others and that creating an online repository would violate the confidentiality of those advertisers.

Since then, Facebook, Twitter Inc (TWTR.N) and Alphabet Inc’s (GOOGL.O) Google have all said that Russia-based operatives bought ads and used fake names on their services to spread politically divisive messages in the months before and after the 2016 U.S. election.

Moscow has denied interfering in the election.

Next week, general counsels for Facebook, Google and Twitter will testify before public hearings of three U.S. congressional committees about the alleged interference and proposed legislation to require them to disclose election-related ads.

Goldman wrote in his post: “Transparency helps everyone, especially political watchdog groups and reporters, keep advertisers accountable for who they say they are and what they say to different groups.”

Facebook said its archive will eventually expand beyond the United States and show ads from elections in other countries and jurisdictions.

In the future, advertisers on Facebook will also be required to include a disclosure in election-related ads, to read: “Paid for by,” the company said.

The announcement fleshes out ideas that Facebook Chief Executive Mark Zuckerberg outlined in September, as criticism of California-based Facebook built inside the United States over the Russian ads.

The changes will test in Canada before being brought to the United States ahead of November 2018 elections, Facebook said.

Twitter took similar steps this week, saying it would add labels to election-related ads and say who is behind them, and it barred two Russian media outlets from running ads.

Reporting by David Ingram in San Francisco; Additional reporting by Laharee Chatterjee and Sonam Rai in Bengaluru; Editing by Sai Sachin Ravikumar and Tom Brown

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Get Ready for the Next Big Privacy Backlash Against Facebook
June 4, 2017 4:15 pm|Comments (0)

Get Ready for the Next Big Privacy Backlash Against Facebook

Privacy watchdogs think a damning leaked document about Facebook targeting insecure teens could help usher in new era in privacy protections. The post Get Ready for the Next Big Privacy Backlash Against Facebook appeared first on WIRED.
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Facebook and Google got scammed out of $100 million
April 28, 2017 5:25 pm|Comments (0)

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A 48-year-old Lithuanian man named Evaldas Rimasauskas managed to defraud internet giants Facebook and Google of $ 100 million over a span of two years, according to Fortune and the United States Department of Justice. How’d he do it? A little email phishing, of course.

Rimasauskas set up several accounts in Latvia and Cyprus under the name of an Asian “computer hardware manufacturer” that does business with the search giant and the social giant, according to the Justice Department. Then he set up fake email accounts pretending to be representatives of the hardware company. He used those fake accounts to request money from Google and Facebook, who wired cash his way. That kind of cash may have caused some raised eyebrows at the banks into which Rimasauskas funneled the money, but he “forged invoices, contracts, and letters that falsely appeared to have been executed and signed by executives and agents” of Google and Facebook, according to the Justice Department. Read more…

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Facebook enlists AI tech to help prevent suicide
March 5, 2017 3:05 am|Comments (0)

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Can Facebook use all that it knows about us to help stop someone from committing suicide?

It’s been more than a rhetorical question since January, after a video, pulled from the social media platform Live.Me and shared on Facebook, showed a 12-year-old Katelyn Nicole Davis taking her own lifeFacebook couldn’t control the spread of the video and appeared unsure if it even violated its own terms of service.

A month later, Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg’s 6,000 word global community manifesto made it  clear that Facebook is ready to take on a more parental role, one that acknowledges its incredible influence and impact over nearly 2 billion people around the worldZuckerberg wrote: Read more…

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Facebook brings in a new head of news partnerships
January 6, 2017 6:35 pm|Comments (0)

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Facebook has hired a former NBC and CNN journalist to lead its news partnerships team, a major hire as the platform deals with criticism over its role in spreading misinformation around the election.

Campbell Brown will be filling the new role, which was first posted in December. Brown previously worked as a television reporter centered on politics for NBC, later moving to CNN, where she continued to cover politics. She helped anchor CNN’s 2008 election coverage and hosted various shows. CNN and Brown parted ways in 2010.

Most recently, Brown started an education-focused non-profit focused 

Brown announced the move in a Facebook post. Read more…

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Facebook Won’t Say Anything About Its Senior Employee Who Allegedly Solicited Underage Sex
December 27, 2016 8:20 pm|Comments (0)

Dov Katz

It’s been almost a week since one of Facebook’s employees was arrested for allegedly attempting to solicit sex from a 15 year-old girl, and the company has yet to say anything. Dov Katz, the head of computer vision at Oculus VR, was arrested at a hotel near Seattle on December 21, where he allegedly thought he was meeting a 15 year-old girl.

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Facebook doubles down on political ambitions with sponsorship of both major conventions
May 6, 2016 8:40 am|Comments (0)

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Those thinly veiled shots that Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg took at Donald Trump last month apparently had no bearing on how his company spends its money.

The social network said Thursday that it will sponsor both the Republican and the Democratic conventions this summer — providing both events with financial backing, a “Facebook Lounge” on the premises and other forms of support.

Facebook said in a statement that its involvement in the events does not mean the company is vouching for any particular candidate or party. Rather, it considers the sponsorship to be a chance to encourage its users to participate in the election. Read more…

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