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Facebook adds labels identifying state-controlled media

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Facebook will soon add labels to news outlets owned or otherwise controlled by a government, marking that information as, if not necessarily false or unreliable, at least worth considering the origin of. Those so labeled will also be banned from buying ads starting this summer.

The company announced its plan to do this a few months ago as one part of its ongoing “election integrity efforts,” along with such things as requiring a confirmed owner for pages and banning anti-voting ads.

Under the new policy, which should roll out to all users over the next week, news organizations “that may be under the influence of a government” will have a subtle but clear label as such, as will their posts. You can see what one of those labels looks like in the top image, and here’s how it would look in the “about” and details pages:

The warning reads: “This publisher is wholly or partially under the editorial control of a state. This is determined by a range of factors, including but not limited to funding, structure and journalistic standards.”

These organizations have immense reach even outside the countries they’re based in: Oxford’s Computational Propaganda Project has tracked this engagement and the strategies used to accomplish it closely in an ongoing series of papers.

The process of identifying state-run news is not quite as straightforward as it may seem. Certainly there are many openly state-run news organizations in many countries, like China Daily, Sputnik and so on. But governments may be pulling the strings behind far more, either by funding (or defunding) them, interfering with or directing editorial coverage or operating a whole news organization via unacknowledged means.

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Facebook turned to experts to analyze and classify the many news organizations on the platform, which seems to have clearly advised that there are many factors that should be considered. As a result, Facebook bases its “state-controlled” label based on official statements, ownership structure and stakeholders, editorial leadership and guidelines, policies and oversight and, last but not least, the state of media freedom in the host country. Outlets can appeal the label if they think it has been applied in error.

Notably the label will not be applied to news posts or organizations that merely reference or base their reporting on state-controlled media. Nor is the information published by these labeled organizations subject to special scrutiny or fact-checking.

“Nevertheless,” writes the company’s cybersecurity policy head Nathaniel Gleicher in a blog post, “later this summer we will begin blocking ads from these outlets in the US out of an abundance of caution to provide an extra layer of protection against various types of foreign influence in the public debate ahead of the November 2020 election in the US.”

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Outside the U.S. those ads will not be blocked, but they will be labeled.

TechCrunch

FACEBOOK

Facebook fighting against disinformation: Launch new options

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Meta, the parent company of Facebook, has dismantled new malicious networks that used vaccine debates to harass professionals or sow division in some countries, a sign that disinformation about the pandemic, spread for political ends, is on the wane not.

“They insulted doctors, journalists and elected officials, calling them supporters of the Nazis because they were promoting vaccines against the Covid, ensuring that compulsory vaccination would lead to a dictatorship of health,” explained Mike Dvilyanski, director investigations into emerging threats, at a press conference on Wednesday.

He was referring to a network linked to an anti-vaccination movement called “V_V”, which the Californian group accuses of having carried out a campaign of intimidation and mass harassment in Italy and France, against health figures, media and politics.

The authors of this operation coordinated in particular via the Telegram messaging system, where the volunteers had access to lists of people to target and to “training” to avoid automatic detection by Facebook.

Their tactics included leaving comments under victims’ messages rather than posting content, and using slightly changed spellings like “vaxcinati” instead of “vaccinati”, meaning “people vaccinated” in Italian.

The social media giant said it was difficult to assess the reach and impact of the campaign, which took place across different platforms.

This is a “psychological war” against people in favor of vaccines, according to Graphika, a company specializing in the analysis of social networks, which published Wednesday a report on the movement “V_V”, whose name comes from the Italian verb “vivere” (“to live”).

“We have observed what appears to be a sprawling populist movement that combines existing conspiratorial theories with anti-authoritarian narratives, and a torrent of health disinformation,” experts detail.

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They estimate that “V_V” brings together some 20,000 supporters, some of whom have taken part in acts of vandalism against hospitals and operations to interfere with vaccinations, by making medical appointments without honoring them, for example.

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Change on Facebook

Facebook announces news that will facilitate your sales and purchases on the social network.

Mark Zuckerberg, the boss of Facebook, announced that the parent company would now be called Meta, to better represent all of its activities, from social networks to virtual reality, but the names of the different services will remain unchanged. A month later, Meta is already announcing news for the social network.

The first is the launch of online stores in Facebook groups. A “Shop” tab will appear and will allow members to buy products directly through the group in question.

Other features have been communicated with the aim of facilitating e-commerce within the social network, such as the display of recommendations and a better mention of products or even Live Shopping. At this time, no date has been announced regarding the launch of these new options.

In the light of recent features, the company wants to know the feedback from its users through the survey same like what Tesco doing to get its customers feedback via Tesco Views Survey. However, the company is still about this feedback will announce sooner than later in this regard.

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