Facebook’s safety check feature is activated by fake news

Photo-illustration (REUTERS/dado Ruvic).

Facebook’s Safety Check feature is wrongly activated in Bangkok by a wave of false social media reports of a bomb explosion that hasn’t happened. According to The Verge, Safety Control is turned on around 9 A.M. local time, or 9 PM EST.

The warning cited “Explosion” in Bangkok, reported by the “media sources” without a more specific location. According to The Verge, news sources talking about the explosion linked back to reports of the 2015 bombing of the Erawan shrine.

A quick look at the links that Facebook was the quote below, the Safety increases suspicion-linked to the Bangkok Informer, but with the help of the images and the language that look like a BBC report. Government and independent news agencies took to Twitter to confirm that there is no explosion.

The “source” of the @Facebook Security Check for Bangkok: A fake news site that discarded stuff from elsewhere…!

— Saksith Saiyasombut (@SaksithCNA) 27 December 2016

No panic, there was NO explosion in #Bangkok despite a Facebook safety Check is activated. No need to make yourself as safe.

— Richard Barrow (@RichardBarrow) December 27, 2016

Falsely activating a Safety Check is the newest fake news failure for Facebook, which has been in the spotlight for the dissemination of false information since the presidential elections. Facebook is normally the first line of defense is that it is a media company, and has no control over the material by the users is shared, and is therefore not responsible.

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But the Safety Check feature is more proactive, and Facebook should bear responsibility for the use thereof. Facebook has previously said that the Safety Check is activated by an algorithm that checks for messages and news, but there shall be deemed to have robust protection built in to prevent false alarms. So, about that.

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