Tag Archives: Pages

Facebook Removes More Myanmar Military-Controlled Pages That Incited Violence, Following NYT Report
October 16, 2018 12:00 am|Comments (0)

Facebook responded to a New York Times investigation on Oct. 15 into ethnic violence incited by members of the Myanmar military by banning 13 additional pages with a combined 1.35 million followers. The pages represented themselves as offering beauty, entertainment, and general information, but the Times report said the military controlled the pages, rather than fans of pop stars and national heroes, as the pages alleged.

Facebook announced the move in an update to a blog post about its previous actions to combat the spread of false information via its service in Myanmar that have led to killings and widespread violence against ethnic minorities. Accounts and pages previously banned had about 12 million followers, and included the account for the general in charge of the country’s armed forces.

Facebook received heavy criticism for its slow response to its platform being used for violence, and said as much in August in the initial version of its Myanmar blog post, when it admitted “we have been too slow to prevent misinformation and hate.”

The Times reported that the Myanmar military have engaged in a systemic campaign for five years on Facebook to target the Rohingya, a stateless minority population in the country comprising mostly Muslims. As many as 700 military personnel were involved, the Times said. Facebook confirmed many details for the newspaper. The company did not immediately respond to a request from Fortune for comment.

The spread of fake information ranging from specific false accounts about rapes and murders by Muslims to blanket condemnations of Islam are seen as leading directly to a large-scale campaign of ethnic cleansing. Over 700,000 Rohingya have left Myanmar since August 2017, joining more than 300,000 who had already departed the country, according to the United Nations Refugee Agency. A report from the agency in August estimates at least 10,000 Rohingya people had been killed in violence, but other observers believe the number could be far higher.

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Facebook Purges Hundreds of ‘Inauthentic’ Pages and Accounts Ahead of Midterm Elections
October 12, 2018 12:01 am|Comments (0)

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Facebook is continuing its quest to prevent propaganda and fake news from spreading in prelude to the upcoming U.S. midterm elections.

The social networking giant said in a blog post on Thursday that it is removing 559 pages–the public profiles of firms and celebrities–and 251 accounts, claiming that they were intentionally misleading people, engaging in “inauthentic behavior,” and posting spam.

Although a lot of the accounts and pages that Facebook typically removes involve scams intended to sell “fake sunglasses or weight loss ‘remedies,’” Facebook said that shady actors are increasingly sharing “sensational political content.”

Facebook has been pruning bad actors from its service over the past year in order to prevent misinformation from spreading like it did in prelude to the 2016 U.S. Presidential election.

This questionable political content, which Facebook said covers the gamut of the political spectrum, helps these bad actors “build an audience and drive traffic to their websites, earning money for every visitor to the site,” the company said.

“And like the politically motivated activity we’ve seen, the ‘news’ stories or opinions these accounts and pages share are often indistinguishable from legitimate political debate,” Facebook executives said in the post. “This is why it’s so important we look at these actors’ behavior–such as whether they’re using fake accounts or repeatedly posting spam–rather than their content when deciding which of these accounts, Pages or Groups to remove.”

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Facebook did not name in its blog post any of the pages and accounts that it removed, but several media outlets reported that they included groups with names like “Reverb Press,” “Nation in Distress,” “Right Wing News.” and “Snowflakes.”

The progressive non-profit Media Matters cited over the summer that Nation of Distress was one of the biggest spreaders of conspiracy theories and propaganda on Facebook.

Nation In Distress is one of the most popular (and extreme: https://t.co/F5drgCUm5x) right-wing meme pages on Facebook. In the past 72 hours, they have:
– pushed a conspiracy from fake news sites
– resurfaced an old Clinton conspiracy
– re-posted Russian propaganda pic.twitter.com/t2t5KyZRuG

— Natalie Martinez (@natijomartinez) August 21, 2018

Some of the other misleading pages previously highlighted by Media Matters included “Dean James III%”, “USA in Distress,” and “The voice of the people.” These pages are currently inaccessible, suggesting that Facebook removed them as well.

Fortune contacted Facebook for more information and will update this post if it responds.

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You Can Pilot Larry Page’s New Flying Car With Just An Hour Of Training
June 6, 2018 6:05 pm|Comments (0)

Kitty Hawk, the flying car company founded by Google’s Larry Page has a new personal car model coming to a sky near you. The Flyer, a single-seat vehicle operated by joystick is fully electric and has been described as a mix of a pontoon plane and a drone, though it’s not remotely operated, CNBC reported.

The flying car will start at a speed of 20 miles per hour, and will be able to fly up to 10 feet above ground, with pilots ready to take the skies after just an hour of training, according to Bloomberg. The quick training time makes the flying car more accessible, according to Sebastian Thrun, a self-driving car innovator and CEO of Kitty Hawk. “If it’s less than an hour, it opens up flight to pretty much everyone,” Thrun told CNN. He hopes the cars will one day be able to reach a speed of 100 miles per hour.

Another Kitty Hawk venture includes the Cora aircraft, a two-seat electric pilotless taxi aircraft. So far, the vehicle has been tested in New Zealand. The company’s plan is for its flying vehicles to become “part of a service similar to an airline or a rideshare.”

CNN reporter Rachel Crane, who tested out the Flyer said, “The joystick is so intuitive, but it’s not the most comfortable thing I’ve ever sat in. You definitely feel the vibrations.”

It’s still unclear when the vehicle will be released—and at what price—but according to Thrun, these cars could take to the skies in the next five years.

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Hate Pages Banned as Reddit Tightens Rules on Violent Content
October 29, 2017 12:00 am|Comments (0)

But broadened rules might be hard for the small company to enforce.

Reddit, a large internet community that has sometimes been accused of incubating hate groups, announced on Wednesday that its content policy would become more restrictive. Several pages dedicated to hateful speech or ideologies were quickly banned.

Reddit’s new policy was outlined in statements on the site’s Help page and on a message board for the volunteer moderators of the site’s thousands of community pages, known as subreddits. The change expands a prior ban on “inciting” violence to include “any content that encourages, glorifies, incites, or calls for violence or physical harm against an individual or group of people” or against animals.

The broadened restrictions seem intended, in part, to tamp down on hate groups and racist ideology on the site. The New York Times reported that at least three subreddits were swiftly banned after the announced changes: r/NationalSocialism, r/Nazi, and r/Far_Right.

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Reddit has previously banned a number of subreddits, particularly those glorifying or enabling sexual crimes or targeted harassment. But the latest wave of shutdowns comes amid a broader move away from free-speech absolutism on platforms including Twitter and Facebook, both of which have announced plans to further restrict content considered hateful.

Those efforts have shown mixed results, and Reddit’s new approach is likely to be even more constrained, simply because of the company’s size. Reddit was recently valued at $ 1.8 billion, compared to around $ 16 billion for Twitter and $ 516 billion for Facebook. Facebook employs thousands of content screeners, while Reddit’s entire staff numbers fewer than 300.

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