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How under-fire Facebook is expanding its fight against fake news

File photo The Facebook logo is displayed on their website an image of a photo taken in Bordeaux, France, Feb. 1, 2017. (REUTERS/Regis Duvignau)

Facebook, which has come under fire for the proliferation of fake news on its platform, is the multiplication of the efforts to combat the misinformation.

Facebook is the ability to police content on the platform is under intense criticism after the Cambridge Analytica data-sharing scandal, and the U.S. probes into alleged Russian interference in the 2016 U.S. presidential election.

The company the control over the collection of data are also in the spotlight after it recently confirmed that Mail.Ru a Russian tech company that is reported to have Kremlin links, was one of a number of companies that an extension of the collection of data about the app users’ friends May 2015 cut-off date.

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Virginia Democratic Sen. Mark Warner, vice-chairman of the Senate Intelligence Committee, this week criticized the social network the ability to indemnify the user of the data. “In the last 6 months, we have learned that Facebook few checks for the collection and use of data by third parties. Now we learn that the largest technology company in Russia, whose leaders have close ties with Vladimir Putin, had possibly hundreds of apps integrated with Facebook, collecting data from the user. We need to determine what the user’s information was shared with mail.ru and what can be done with the captured data.”

Facebook told CNN that only two apps developed by Mail.Ru were granted an extension, which lasted two weeks.

With regard to Facebook’s battle against fake news, the company told Fox News that it hired fact-checkers who can interpret the unfair news stories from your diet. The process, involving both human raters and machine learning technology is designed to catch misleading information. If a story is found to have any incorrect information will be highlighted with a blue button and possibly down on a users’ news feed. This bogus content will be removed from the platform completely, if it violates Facebook’s code of conduct.

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“When things call for violence, bullying, sexual harassment – which is in conflict with our community standards and our position is you shouldn’t see the things on Facebook,” John Hegeman, vice-president of the Facebook news feed team, told Fox News. “Most of the things going into the rating but just try to understand what that person would want to see.”

“There are many ways in which people use the platform for good,” adds Sara Su, product manager on the Facebook News Feed team. “But there are also bad actors who misuse the platform, so that the integrity of the team is focused on identifying problematic content.”

Jason Mollica, a professor at America University’s School of Communication, believes that Facebook’s attempt to fact-check the content of their platform will help and, “as the eyes of many as the impartial eyes – on news such as this crack down on fake news angles.”

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This is part of a series of the efforts of Facebook is the creation of a more transparent and accountable after misinformation plagued social media platforms in the 2016 presidential elections. Facebook recently rolled out a new political ad policy that requires political ads to say who paid for them, and purchasing advertisements to go through a verification process.

The social network is good in the political spotlight at the moment. Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg recently testified before Congress about the company’s data collection policies in the wake of the Cambridge Analytica scandal.

The demand for more transparency comes at a time when the Congress is drafting the Fair Advertising Act with the objective of improving the disclosure requirements for online political ads. Facebook now supports this legislation, but it is not waiting on Congress to finalize the bill for it institutes changes in the way content is processed on the platform.

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“I think that the regulation can be a good thing and can be really important, and so the most important thing is that it is well made. Our general philosophy is that we try to proactively do the things that we think are right. I think those are probably good steps for anyone to take, but I think we try to do what we can to lead the way,” said Hegeman.

“I do not think they need congressional oversight,” said Mollica, stating that social media is still relatively young, and Facebook needs time to work out what problems they have. “The congress and the government to pump the tires on the do of an umbrella law to ensure Facebook and other social networks are alive to the government standards.”

As the most influential social network Facebook is working on deleting fake accounts and promote news literacy among the users take on a journalistic standard of ethics in how it deciphers information.

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“We really feel as if it is a shared responsibility, because we are the platform”, said Su.

“We’re not trying to go after their political opinion with this work,” said Hegeman with respect to the new fact-checking system. “We try to go after things that are not true and can be harmful.”

The fact-checking of the systems is currently being implemented in fourteen different countries around the world and focuses on the study of the articles and links, while Facebook is looking to control unfair photos and videos.

“We can reduce the risk of certain types of content by the community do not want to see. We can reduce and lower in the news feed, so there is less of an incentive for the financially motivated spammer. We think that this is the right way to find a balance between the promotion of free speech and the promotion of a safe and authentic community, so that is a hard nut to crack,” said Su. “We’re never going to be 100 percent perfect, so it is really important that in addition to the ranking of work that we invest in building things in the user interface,” she added.

At the end of the day, Mollica says it is up to the individual to figure out what is true and false, and the responsibility should not be entirely focused on an employee at Facebook. “We need to be better as individuals to keep the social networks at a higher level, but give them time to make their game and say what they are going to do.”

Fox News’ James Rogers contributed to this article.

 

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