Facebook must take ‘action’ against misinformation, Mozilla Foundation and 32 civil society groups demand

connectVideoFacebook defends controversial ‘research’ app

Social network giant paid users in the age group of 13 to 35 to install the app and allow Facebook to follow all of their smartphone activity, including what apps were used, sites visited, what messages said and who they were sent.

Facebook must stop paying lip service to the fight against the misinformation and the taking of concrete actions, the Mozilla Foundation said in a letter posted on Monday.

The letter is co-signed by the Open Data Institute and 30 other groups of human rights activists, journalists and technologists. Against that CEO Mark Zuckerberg’s company is dragging their feet and blocking transparency tools run-up to the EU parliamentary elections in May.

“Promises and press statements are not enough; instead we need real action in the coming months, and we will search for ways to hold Facebook responsible if that action is not sufficient,” the letter says.

Facebook has come under fire since the 2016 U.S. presidential election is not fast enough to stop the flow of false news and misinformation, the tactics they employed against enemies and for its leadership structure.


The letter calls on what it claims to be contradictory statements and actions emanating from Facebook, including the limitations on those political ads that are placed on the network and the tech giant’s reported efforts to block access to transparency tools.

“In the recent Wall Street Journal op-ed, Mark Zuckerberg wrote that the key principles of data transparency, choice and control,” the letter states. “By restricting access to advertising-transparency tools available to Facebook users, undermine the transparency, making the choice of your users to install tools that will help them in the analysis of political ads, and the use of control over the good faith of researchers who are trying to data on the platform.”


The letter asks the following of Facebook: the roll-out of a functional open Ad Store API to allow advanced research and the development of tools for analyzing Facebook ads shown to users in the European Union. Make sure that all political ads are easily distinguishable from the other contents and be accompanied by comprehensive targeting criteria. Stop the harassment of researchers who create tools to allow for more transparency in the online giant advertising platform.


“We believe that Facebook and other platforms can be positive forces that make it possible for the democracy, but this vision can only be realized by means of real transparency and trust,” the letter concludes. “Transparency can’t just be about the terms and conditions with that of the world’s largest, most powerful tech companies are the most comfortable.”

When they are in contact with Fox News, Facebook has made a statement of Rob Leather, the company’s director of product management, and pointed in the direction of recent blog posts about the subject:

“We are committed to a new level of transparency to ads on Facebook and encourage others to do the same. That is the reason why we plan to open the Ad API at the end of March, at the same time as our previously announced program for the label of political ads ahead of the European Parliament election, so people on and off Facebook can analyze political ads and archived in a library for up to seven years. This work is important and part of our broader efforts for the protection of the elections this year. We are also bringing transparency tools for political ads to India, Israel, Ukraine, and worldwide in June.”

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