Facebook Roundup: 18 Stories From Around the Web, December 10, 2021


CNN: Facebook Oversight Board reiterates calls for Meta to be more transparent. “The Facebook Oversight Board on Thursday released two rulings overturning Meta’s decisions to remove user posts from its platforms, saying the content did not actually violate the company’s policies. In both decisions, the board recommended that Meta (FB) provide more information to users about actions it takes on their content.”

BBC: Instagram announces changes ahead of political grilling. “Instagram has announced new features it says will help teenagers and parents manage time spent on the app. Parents will be able to see how much time their children spend on Instagram and set time limits, while teens will get reminders to take a break. It comes a day before Instagram chief Adam Mosseri is due to appear before US Senators investigating online safety.”

USA Today: White supremacy, Nazi ideology still a big problem for Instagram. “Despite taking significant steps to remove hateful content, hundreds of posts promoting dangerous white supremacist ideologies are still readily available on Instagram where they could radicalize unsuspecting users, new research shows. The Anti Defamation League’s Center on Extremism searched for terms on Instagram related to white supremacist and neo-Nazi movements, quickly uncovering hundreds of accounts sharing extremist propaganda.”

CNN: Instagram plans to bring back chronological feed next year, top exec says. “Instagram head Adam Mosseri testified for the first time before a Senate subcommittee on Wednesday as lawmakers question the app’s impact on the mental health of younger users. During his testimony, Mosseri said Instagram is planning to bring back a version of its news feed that would give users the option to sort media chronologically rather than ranked according to the platform’s algorithm, potentially addressing concerns over how algorithms push users into harmful rabbit holes.”


The Verge: How To Recover When Your Facebook Account Is Hacked. “Hopefully, the day will never come when you find your Facebook account has been hacked or taken over. It is an awful feeling, and I feel for you, for the world of hurt that you will experience in time and perhaps money to return your account to your rightful control. Let me take you through the recovery process. Afterward, I’ll provide some proactive security pointers you can follow to prevent this awful moment from happening, or at least reduce the chances that it will.”


Tech Xplore: Black people use Facebook more than anyone, but now they’re leaving. “Brandon Keyes, a 37-year-old Army combat veteran from Detroit, has an on-again, off-again relationship with Facebook. These days, it’s mostly off. Keyes says he got tired of Facebook censoring Black users when they call out racism while permitting hateful speech and memes to spread unchecked.”

KentOnline: The Facebook users who reacted with laughing emojis to news of 27 asylum seekers drowning in the Channel. “The deaths of 27 men, women and children willing to risk everything was the worst Channel tragedy yet, but not everyone saw it that way. Ed McConnell waded into Facebook’s murkiest waters and found a small group pumped full of hate and completely unwilling to engage.”

NBC News: Instagram pushes drug content to teens. “Instagram is pushing drug-related content to teen accounts, according to research by the watchdog group Tech Transparency Project (TTP). While the company has pledged to crack down on drug sales, it continues to suggest hashtags related to buying illegal substances to children as young as 13, the research shows.”

CNN: Meta bans businesses run by Myanmar’s military from Facebook. “Meta, the owner of Facebook and Instagram, is further clamping down on content linked to Myanmar’s military amid pressure to step up safety controls in the country. The company announced Wednesday that it would ban military-controlled businesses from Facebook, wiping out their pages, groups and accounts.”


CNN: Facebook says Belarusian KGB used fake accounts to stoke border crisis. “Meta, the company formerly known as Facebook, says it has evidence the Belarusian KGB used fake accounts to pose as journalists and activists to stoke tensions about the crisis at the border between Belarus and Poland.”

Wired: The Smoking Gun in the Facebook Antitrust Case. “IMAGINE A POPULAR social network that takes privacy super seriously. By default, your posts are visible only to people in your real-life community. Not only does the company not use tracking cookies, but it promises it never will. It even announces that future changes to the privacy policy will be put to a vote by users before implementation. It’s hard to imagine now, but such a social network once existed. It was called Facebook.”

CNET: As Facebook plans the metaverse, it struggles to combat harassment in VR. “As Facebook focuses on creating the metaverse — a 3D digital world where people can play, work, learn and socialize — content moderation will only get more complex. The company, which recently rebranded as Meta to highlight its ambitions, already struggles to combat hate speech and harassment on its popular social media platforms, where people leave behind a record of their remarks. The immersive spaces such as Horizon Worlds envisioned by CEO Mark Zuckerberg will be more challenging to police.”


Tech Xplore: Facebook misidentified thousands of political ads: study. “Facebook misidentified tens of thousands of advertisements flagged under its political ads policy, according to a study released Thursday, which warned that the failure could lead to political manipulation. Researchers at Belgium’s KU Leuven university and New York University examined 33.8 million Facebook ads that ran on the social media site between July 2020 and February 2021.”

CNET: Instagram and TikTok are failing everyone with an eating disorder. “Dr. Jason Nagata has seen it happen time and again. As an assistant professor of pediatrics at the University of California, San Francisco, he treats teenagers who’ve been hospitalized because of their eating disorders. Even as patients lie in their hospital beds, he says, many still post and share dieting and weight loss content on social media.”

The Verge: Meta has a ‘moral obligation’ to make its mental health research transparent, scientists say. “In an open letter to Mark Zuckerberg published Monday, a group of academics called for Meta to be more transparent about its research into how Facebook, Instagram, and WhatsApp affect the mental health of children and adolescents. The letter calls for the company to allow independent reviews of its internal work, contribute data to external research projects, and set up an independent scientific oversight group.”

Rutgers University: Facebook News Consumers Less Likely to Be Vaccinated, Survey Finds.. “People who rely exclusively on Facebook for news and information about the coronavirus are less likely than the average American to have been vaccinated, according to a new survey. ‘Our findings do not necessarily mean that social media use causes misperceptions or vaccine skepticism,’ said co-author Katherine Ognyanova, an associate professor of communication at Rutgers’ School of Communication and Information who is part of a coalition of researchers from Rutgers-New Brunswick, Northeastern, Harvard and Northwestern universities. ‘But it does tell us there is a large group of vaccine skeptics who disproportionately rely on Facebook for health information.’

Duke University School of Law: A FOIA For Facebook. “Experience from the public sector teaches us that relying purely on government statements or press releases is insufficient because it allows for information to be massaged to suit a desired narrative. Even statistical data can be cherry-picked to present a misleading picture. An ability to make access requests is important to ensure that the public can get an unvarnished picture of what is happening. In terms of building trust in institutions, an effective public dialogue, through receiving and responding to information requests, is better at fostering positive relations with citizens than a one-way flow of information.”

CNET: Facebook parent Meta uses AI to tackle new types of harmful content. “Meta, formerly known as Facebook, said Wednesday it has created artificial intelligence technology that can adapt more quickly to new types of harmful content, including posts discouraging COVID-19 vaccinations.” Considering how the moderation has been so far, I’m not encouraged.

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