Facebook Roundup, April 4, 2022

The Verge: Facebook’s Algorithm Was Mistakenly Elevating Harmful Content For The Last Six Months. “In addition to posts flagged by fact-checkers, the internal investigation found that, during the bug period, Facebook’s systems failed to properly demote nudity, violence, and even Russian state media the social network recently pledged to stop recommending in response to the country’s invasion of Ukraine. The issue was internally designated a level-one SEV, or Severe Engineering Vulnerability — a label reserved for the company’s worst technical crises, like Russia’s ongoing block of Facebook and Instagram.”


Data Center Dynamics: Meta data center in Zeewolde facing opposition by Dutch Housing Minister. “This is the latest development in the obstacle-ridden path faced by Meta (formerly known as Facebook) in its plans to develop in the Netherlands. Despite the Zeewolde council approving the zoning change and plans for the data center, it is currently prevented from being built as part of the land intended for the Meta data center belongs to the government, which announced new and stricter rules for hyperscale developments.”

Reuters: Facebook owner Meta puts plans to build Dutch data centre on ice. “Facebook owner Meta (FB.O) said on Tuesday it was suspending plans to build a giant data centre in the Netherlands, following political opposition. The move comes a week after the Dutch Senate passed a motion asking Prime Minister Mark Rutte’s government to ‘use its powers’ to temporarily block construction of the site in the northern town of Zeewolde, 50 km east of Amsterdam.”


Washington Post: Facebook paid GOP firm to malign TikTok. “The campaign includes placing op-eds and letters to the editor in major regional news outlets, promoting dubious stories about alleged TikTok trends that actually originated on Facebook, and pushing to draw political reporters and local politicians into helping take down its biggest competitor. These bare-knuckle tactics, long commonplace in the world of politics, have become increasingly noticeable within a tech industry where companies vie for cultural relevance and come at a time when Facebook is under pressure to win back young users.”

San Francisco Chronicle: Internet entrepreneurs far from the U.S. are inflaming political division on Facebook to sell T-shirts and coffee mugs. “On a wintry morning in the town of Moulvibazar in northeast Bangladesh, 21-year-old Saeed Ahmed was reading news on Facebook when he came across an unusual story: Truckers were staging a mass protest against COVID-19 vaccine mandates in the Canadian capital of Ottawa. Much of the world was bewildered by the ‘Freedom Convoy’ and its disruptive blockades, but Ahmed was excited. He sensed an opportunity — one made possible by two tech companies with roots in the Bay Area.”

PR Newswire: Meta to Open Hyperscale Data Center in Temple, Texas (PRESS RELEASE). “Meta, formerly the Facebook company, announced today that it will invest $800 million in the creation of a Hyperscale Data Center in Temple, Texas. The new facility, which will total approximately 900,000 square feet when completed, will be located on 393 acres off NW H K Dodgen Loop and Industrial Blvd., and will support approximately 100 operational jobs in the community. The project is expected to employ 1,250 construction workers onsite during peak construction, which will begin in Spring 2022.”


AdAge: Facebook Small Advertisers Win Class-action Status In Fraud Suit. “A lawsuit accusing Meta Platforms Inc.’s Facebook of overstating its advertising audience got a lot bigger Tuesday when a court expanded the pool of plaintiffs to include more than 2 million small ad buyers. Dismissing what he called a ‘blunderbuss of objections’ by the company, a federal judge in San Francisco ruled that the case can proceed as a class action on behalf of small business owners and individuals who bought ads on Facebook or Instagram since Aug. 15, 2014.”

Stanford Law School: Facebook’s Oversight Board’s Work – And Other Free Speech Challenges. “Michael McConnell is the Richard and Frances Mallery Professor at Stanford Law School, where he also directs the Constitutional Law Center. The former Circuit Judge on the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Tenth Circuit also is a co-chair of Facebook’s Oversight Board. That body is charged with helping the social media platform deal with difficult questions about freedom of expression online. In this conversation with Lindsay Lloyd, the Bradford M. Freeman Director of the Human Freedom Initiative at the George W. Bush Institute, and William McKenzie, Senior Editorial Advisor at the Bush Institute, McConnell explains the work of the Oversight Board.”

University of Minnesota Law School: It’s Complicated: Facebook’s Liability for Users’ Posts. “Facebook lets users describe their relationship status as ‘it’s complicated,’ but it also enables them to commit fraud, harassment, intellectual property infringement, and invasion of privacy, or to spread all kinds of disinformation, defamation, and intimate images. When is Facebook (or any other platform) legally responsible for users’ bad behavior? When should they be?”


North Carolina State University: New Study Reveals Why Facebook Ads Can Miss Target. “New research from North Carolina State University offers insight into why Facebook’s targeted advertising can sometimes be more like a wild pitch. Researchers already knew Facebook creates interest profiles for users based on each user’s activities, but the new study finds this process doesn’t seem to account for the context of these activities.”

Associated Press: Facebook fails to detect hate against Rohingya: report. “A new report has found that Facebook failed to detect blatant hate speech and calls to violence against Myanmar’s Rohingya Muslim minority years after such behaviour was found to have played a determining role in the genocide against them. The report shared exclusively with The Associated Press showed the rights group Global Witness submitted eight paid ads for approval to Facebook, each including different versions of hate speech against Rohingya. All eight ads were approved by Facebook to be published.”

Teen Vogue: Instagram Is Bad for Teen Mental Health — We Want to Know All the Data. “For Facebook to keep growing, they’ll need younger generations to flock to Instagram just like the millennials who came before. Young people have leverage, so our voices and our experiences must shape the future of Instagram and other social media platforms. However, there is still a lot we don’t know. The sad irony is that social media platforms rely on the willingness of us as users to share information about our lives, but they themselves have opted to withhold detail of how their platform impacts our mental health. No more.”

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