Facebook Roundup, July 19, 2022


WIRED: Meta Was Restricting Abortion Content All Along. “…Meta denies changing its policies after the decision—and pro-choice activists say that the censorship has been going on for years. Activists who spoke to WIRED say they have seen the company’s AI moderation system tag abortion content, in many cases about abortion pills, as ‘sensitive,’ decrease its visibility, or remove it altogether.”

Techdirt: Now That Rupert Murdoch Has Convinced Governments To Force Facebook To Pay For News, Facebook No Longer Wants Anything To Do With News. “This should surprise no one, but Joshua Benton, over at Nieman Lab, has a really fantastically well-reported article about how Facebook basically wants out of the news business entirely. It goes through multiple reasons why this is the case, but a big one is that Rupert Murdoch’s decade-long demands that Facebook and Google simply fork over some cash to news organizations (for sending them traffic) has finally had some modicum of success in Australia, and is now being considered elsewhere around the globe.”


The Verge: Meta warns employees of ‘serious times’ in internal memo listing key product bets. “Meta is warning of ‘serious times’ and preparing for a leaner second half of 2022, according to an internal memo circulated to employees this week. The note comes from chief product officer Chris Cox and outlines the company’s priorities and challenges to its business going forward.”

CNET: Meta’s Novi Service to Be Phased Out: What you need to know. “What little is left of Meta’s once-ambitous cryptocurrency project is limping to an end. A pilot program for Novi, a money-transfer service that uses a cryptocurrency wallet of the same name, will cease operating on September 1, according to a notice on its website. Novi operates only in Guatemala and the US.”

Gizmodo: Fired Employee Claims Facebook Created Secret Tool to Read Users’ Deleted Messages. “How ‘forgotten’ are your deleted internet posts anyway? That question has come under renewed scrutiny this week thanks to a new lawsuit filed by a fired Meta employee who claims the company set up a ‘protocol’ to pull up certain users’ deleted posts and hand them over to law enforcement. If the former employee’s claims ring true, the practice could call into question Meta’s previous communications about how it accesses certain user data.”


Engadget: Meta sues a site cloner who allegedly scraped over 350,000 Instagram profiles. “Meta is taking legal action against two prolific data scrapers. On Tuesday, the company filed separate federal lawsuits against a company called Octopus and an individual named Ekrem Ateş. According to Meta, the former is the US subsidiary of a Chinese multinational tech firm that offers data scraping-for-hire services to individuals and companies.”

WIRED: How to Avoid the Worst Instagram Scams . “SINCE MARK ZUCKERBERG snapped up Instagram for a mere $1 billion in April 2012, the app has grown into a social media juggernaut and one of Meta’s biggest assets. More than a billion people use Instagram every month, with influencers relying on it as a key source of their income. Any online congregation of this size is naturally a target for hackers and scammers looking to take advantage of people and make a quick buck.”

New York Times: An Irish regulator puts Facebook data policies back in spotlight.. “A draft decision by Irish regulators on Thursday threatened to block Facebook and Instagram from moving data about European Union users to the United States, the latest round in a yearslong dispute about protecting the data of European citizens from American spying.”


Flinders University: Instagram pressure rising. “Flinders University body image experts are urging all Instagram users to apply a more conscious ‘filter’ to monitor their health and fitness posts. The researchers say people who follow in the footsteps of high-profile social media influencers and upload regular #fitspo and #cleaneating Instagram posts may be placing increased pressure on girls and women, as the posts may exacerbate bad feelings about themselves and their bodies.”

The Verge: Meta open sources early-stage AI translation tool that works across 200 languages. “Social media conglomerate Meta has created a single AI model capable of translating across 200 different languages, including many not supported by current commercial tools. The company is open-sourcing the project in the hopes that others will build on its work.”

Engadget: Meta’s first human rights report defends the company’s misinformation strategy. “Meta has released its first yearly human rights report, and you might not be shocked by the angle the company is taking. As CNBC notes, the 83-page document outlines the Facebook parent’s handling of human rights issues during 2020 and 2021, with a strong focus on justifying the company’s strategies for combatting misinformation and harassment.”

News@Northeastern: Facebook Ad Algorithms May Be Harmful To Well-informed Democratic Society, Northeastern Research Scientist Tells European Parliament. “Northeastern University research scientist Piotr Sapiezynski recently told the European Parliament that Facebook’s ad delivery algorithms may be harmful both to political campaigns and to society at large. Sapiezynski testified during a hearing on draft legislation concerning transparency and targeting of political advertising in Brussels.”

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