Facebook Roundup, January 26, 2022


Silicon Republic: Instagram trials subscriptions for creators in the US. “A small group of Instagram creators in the US are trialling a new feature that will allow them to monetise their content by making it some of it exclusive to followers who pay a monthly fee. The Subscriptions features will give followers of Instagram creators access to exclusive Lives and Stories to promote greater engagement with content and help creators earn money.”

Bloomberg: Mark Zuckerberg’s Stablecoin Ambitions Unravel With Diem Sale Talks. “The Diem Association, a cryptocurrency initiative once known as Libra backed by Meta Platforms Inc., is weighing a sale of its assets as a way to return capital to its investor members, according to people familiar with the matter. Diem is in discussions with investment bankers about how best to sell its intellectual property and find a new home for the engineers who developed the technology, cashing out whatever value remains in its once-ambitious Diem coin venture, said the people, asking not to be identified because the discussions aren’t public.”


Digital Trends: Instagram’s hidden drug market for teens is out of control. “Instagram is not the healthiest social media platform, especially for teens. Even its own internal research that was recently leaked made it clear that the platform worsened mental health problems for some young users. But it also has a dark drug underbelly that is not even sparing minor users. The Tech Transparency Project (TPP) revealed some startling facts about the bustling online drug marketplace on Instagram just over a month ago.”

Washington Post: How Facebook and Amazon Rely on an Invisible Workforce. “You don’t see them, but they’re there: hundreds of thousands of people sitting at keyboards for hours on end to keep online services humming along seamlessly…. The market for on-demand, digital tasks is estimated by the World Bank to be worth $25 billion, with Facebook’s Meta Platforms Inc., Amazon Inc. and Alphabet Inc.’s YouTube some of the biggest buyers. Over the years they have collected an array of global on-demand digital workers whom they have kept at arms length. Therein lies the problem.”

Reuters: Meta removes Iran-based fake accounts targeting Instagram users in Scotland. “Facebook parent Meta Platforms FB.O removed a network of fake accounts that originated in Iran and targeted Instagram users in Scotland with content supporting Scottish independence, the company’s investigators said on Thursday. The network used fake accounts to pose as locals in England and Scotland, posting photos and memes about current events and criticism of the United Kingdom’s government, Meta said.”

Deseret News: Report: Facebook offered poor countries free internet and then charged them for it. “In 2016, Facebook made a promise — free internet for the world’s poorest countries. While the social media company benefitted, those who are underprivileged were left with big bills that collectively added up to millions of dollars a month, according to The Wall Street Journal.”


The Star: Meta, Snap sued over social media ‘addicted’ girl’s suicide. “Meta Platforms Inc and Snap Inc are to blame for the suicide of an 11-year-old girl who was addicted to Instagram and Snapchat, the girl’s mother alleged in a lawsuit. The woman claims her daughter Selena Rodriguez struggled for two years with an ‘extreme addiction’ to Meta’s photo-sharing platform and Snap’s messaging app before taking her life last year.”

HT Tech: Facebook, Google face crackdown in Europe on race, religion and more. “Tech platforms such as Alphabet Inc.’s Google and Meta Platforms Inc.’s Facebook face tighter restrictions on how they target ads to users, after European lawmakers voted to toughen upcoming legislation. The European Parliament moved to favor rules that restrict platforms from using sensitive data — race or religion, for instance — for targeting purposes, and require them to make it easy for users to opt out of tracking while continuing to use their products.”


CNN: Meta is building an AI supercomputer. “Facebook has long bet that artificial intelligence can help it with the difficult task of moderating posts from its billions of users. Now its parent company is taking a step that could move it closer to that elusive goal: building its first supercomputer.”

New York Times: Facebook’s Unglamorous Mistakes. “…ordinary people, businesses and groups serving the public interest like news organizations suffer when social networks cut off their accounts and they can’t find help or figure out what they did wrong. This doesn’t happen often, but a small percentage of mistakes at Facebook’s size add up. The Wall Street Journal calculated that Facebook might make roughly 200,000 wrong calls a day.”

Whistleblower Network News: Facebook Whistleblowers, Dozens of Organizations Call on Facebook to Release Human Rights Report. “Calls for accountability at Facebook continue as whistleblowers Frances Haugen and Sophie Zhang, former Facebook Vice President Brian Boland, and 25 advocacy organizations sent a letter to Facebook’s (now Meta) Director of Human Rights Miranda Sissons on January 19. The letter urges the company to release the Human Rights Impact Assessment (HRIA), which Facebook commissioned in 2020. The HRIA works to ‘evaluate [Facebook’s] role in spreading hate speech and incitement to violence on its services in India.'”

Media Matters: On Facebook, a Dr. Phil episode about nonbinary identity becomes a bonanza for right-wing hate. “Right-wing figures, particularly from the Daily Wire, weaponized a January 19 Dr. Phil episode to spread anti-trans hatred and drive Facebook engagement on their posts. The episode posited nonbinary identities as up for ‘debate’ and featured nonbinary people and allies alongside anti-trans parents and the Daily Wire’s Matt Walsh.”

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