Connect with us


Facebook Launches Voting Information Center, and New Option to Opt-Out of Political Ads



Amid ongoing criticism of his company’s handling of political content, Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg has today provided an update on where Facebook stands on political content, while also announcing a new Voting Information Center to encourage political participation.

Zuckerberg has also noted that, soon, Facebook users will be able to opt-out of political ads. But more on that in a moment.

In an opinion piece for USA Today, Zuckerberg says that despite criticisms, Facebook can and will play a key role in the upcoming US Presidential Election. He hopes that it will be a helpful one:

“With so much of our discourse taking place online, I believe platforms like Facebook can play a positive role in this election by helping Americans use their voice where it matters most – by voting. We’re announcing the largest voting information campaign in American history. Our goal is to help 4 million people register to vote.”

Voting has long been Zuckerberg’s fallback stance on political content. People should be able to see what elected officials have to say, Zuckerberg has said, because they voted them in. If you don’t like what they say, don’t ask Facebook to stop them from saying it, just don’t vote for them again. And while the issue is often more complex than that, there is also some logic in Zuckerberg’s stance – so long as voters are not significantly influenced by lies spread by political leaders.

In order to do encourage more voter participation, Zuckerberg has announced a new Voting Information Center, which will be added to both Facebook and Instagram.

Instagram Voting Information Center

As per Zuckerberg

See also  Why each Libra member’s mutiny hurts Facebook

We’re creating a new Voting Information Center with authoritative information, including how and when to vote, as well as details about voter registration, voting by mail and information about early voting. We’ll also include posts from state election officials and verified local election authorities. We’ll show this center at the top of the Facebook News Feed and on Instagram to make sure everyone gets a chance to see it.”

Facebook Voting Information Center

Zuckerberg says that he expects more than 160 million Americans will see “authoritative information on Facebook about how to vote in the general election” from July through to November, heading into the poll. Facebook will also prompt users to register, and add new alerts for information about voting by mail. And Facebook will also run Election Day reminders – which have proven particularly effective in prompting voter participation in the past.

Ultimately, I believe the best way to hold politicians accountable is through voting, and I believe we should trust voters to make judgments for themselves. That’s why I think we should maintain as open a platform as possible, accompanied by ambitious efforts to boost voter participation.”

But the key note of Zuckerberg’s opinion post came right at the end:

By giving people a voice, registering and turning out voters, and preventing interference, I believe Facebook is supporting and strengthening our democracy in 2020 and beyond. And for those of you who’ve already made up your minds and just want the election to be over, we hear you – so we’re also introducing the ability to turn off seeing political ads.”

The capacity to switch off political ads entirely is a big step. Back in January, Facebook gave users more options to limit how they could be targeted by political advertisers by opting-out of Custom Audience targeting – or conversely, by making themselves eligible to see ads if an advertiser had used a list to exclude them. 

See also  Presidential Candidate Joe Biden Calls on Facebook to Stop Lies in Political Ads

Now, Facebook will let users switch ads from political candidates off entirely.

As per CNBC:

“Users will be able to turn off political, electoral and social issue ads from political candidates, Super PACs and “other organizations that have the ‘Paid for by’ political disclaimer on them,”. [Facebook] will start rolling this feature out to some users on Wednesday, and it will become available to all U.S. users over the next few weeks.”

Basically, when you see a political ad in your feed, you’ll soon have an option within the ad drop-down to turn off all future political ads. You’ll also be able to switch them off within your Facebook and Instagram settings.

I would note that the message does say ‘see fewer’, not ‘turn off political ads’, but as you can see here, Facebook says that this will effectively turn off all ads with the ‘Paid for by’ political/issue disclaimer.

Facebook is initially launching the option in the US, but plans to bring it to more regions in future.

That could have a major impact. Of course, it’s still reliant on user response, people still need to manually switch political ads off. And while those that have been critical of Facebook’s political content stance likely will, it’s the people who are not as disparaging of the same that are arguably more likely to be influenced by such.

But it’s a start, it’s an option – it’s a significant step for Facebook, which provides some measure to reduce the influence of political campaigns. The impact will be variable, but it’ll be interesting to see how people respond to the option.

See also  Snapchat permanently bans President Trump’s account

Continue Reading


Meta’s Developing and ‘Ethical Framework’ for the Use of Virtual Influencers



Meta's Developing and 'Ethical Framework' for the Use of Virtual Influencers

With the rise of digital avatars, and indeed, fully digital characters that have evolved into genuine social media influencers in their own right, online platforms now have an obligation to establish clear markers as to what’s real and what’s not, and how such creations can be used in their apps.

The coming metaverse shift will further complicate this, with the rise of virtual depictions blurring the lines of what will be allowed, in terms of representation. But with many virtual influencers already operating, Meta is now working to establish ethical boundaries on their application.

As explained by Meta:

From synthesized versions of real people to wholly invented “virtual influencers” (VIs), synthetic media is a rising phenomenon. Meta platforms are home to more than 200 VIs, with 30 verified VI accounts hosted on Instagram. These VIs boast huge follower counts, collaborate with some of the world’s biggest brands, fundraise for organizations like the WHO, and champion social causes like Black Lives Matter.”

Some of the more well-known examples on this front are Shudu, who has more than 200k followers on Instagram, and Lil’ Miquela, who has an audience of over 3 million in the app.

At first glance, you wouldn’t necessarily realize that this is not an actual person, which makes such characters a great vehicle for brand and product promotions, as they can be utilized 24/7, and can be placed into any environment. But that also leads to concerns about body image perception, deepfakes, and other forms of misuse through false or unclear representation.

See also  Snapchat permanently bans President Trump’s account

Deepfakes, in particular, may be problematic, with Meta citing this campaign, with English football star David Beckham, as an example of how new technologies are evolving to expand the use of language, as one element, for varying purpose.

The well-known ‘DeepTomCruise’ account on TikTok is another example of just how far these technologies have come, and it’s not hard to imagine a scenario where they could be used to, say, show a politician saying or doing something that he or she actually didn’t, which could have significant real world impacts.

Which is why Meta is working with developers and experts to establish clearer boundaries on such use – because while there is potential for harm, there are also beneficial uses for such depictions.

Imagine personalized video messages that address individual followers by name. Or celebrity brand ambassadors appearing as salespeople at local car dealerships. A famous athlete would make a great tutor for a kid who loves sports but hates algebra.

Such use cases will increasingly become the norm as VR and AR technologies are developed, with these platforms placing digital characters front and center, and establishing new norms for digital connection.

It would be better to know what’s real and what’s not, and as such, Meta needs clear regulations to remove dishonest depictions, and enforce transparency over VI use.

But then again, much of what you see on Instagram these days is not real, with filters and editing tools altering people’s appearance well beyond what’s normal, or realistic. That can also have damaging consequences, and while Meta’s looking to implement rules on VI use, there’s arguably a case for similar transparency in editing tools applied to posted videos and images as well.

See also  Twitter Shares New Insights into the Rising Gaming Discussion via Tweets

That’s a more complex element, particularly as such tools also enable people to feel more comfortable in posting, which no doubt increases their in-app activity. Would Meta be willing to put more focus on this element if it could risk impacting user engagement? The data on the impact of Instagram on people’s mental health are pretty clear, with comparison being a key concern.

Should that also come under the same umbrella of increased digital transparency?

It’s seemingly not included in the initial framework as yet, but at some stage, this is another element that should be examined, especially given the harmful effects that social media usage can have on young women.

But however you look at it, this is no doubt a rising element of concern, and it’s important for Meta to build guardrails and rules around the use of virtual influencers in their apps.

You can read more about Meta’s approach to virtual influencers here.

Source link

Continue Reading


Meta Publishes New Guide to the Various Security and Control Options in its Apps



Meta Publishes New Guide to the Various Security and Control Options in its Apps

Meta has published a new set of safety tips for journalists to help them protect themselves in the evolving online connection space, which, for the most part, also apply to all users more broadly, providing a comprehensive overview of the various tools and processes that it has in place to help people avoid unwanted attention online.

The 32-page guide is available in 21 different languages, and provides detailed overviews of Meta’s systems and profile options for protection and security, with specific sections covering Facebook, Instagram and WhatsApp.

The guide begins with the basics, including password protections and enabling two-factor authentication.

It also outlines tips for Page managers in securing their business profiles, while there are also notes on what to do if you’ve been hacked, advice for protection on Messenger and guidance on bullying and harassment.

Meta security guide

For Instagram, there are also general security tips, along with notes on its comment moderation tools.

Meta security guide

While for WhatsApp, there are explainers on how to delete messages, how to remove messages from group chats, and details on platform-specific data options.

Meta security guide

There are also links to various additional resource guides and tools for more context, providing in-depth breakdowns of when and how to action the various options.

It’s a handy guide, and while there are some journalist-specific elements included, most of the tips do apply to any user, so it could well be a valuable resource for anyone looking to get a better handle on your various privacy tools and options.

Definitely worth knowing either way – you can download the full guide here.

See also  Twitter Shares New Insights into the Rising Gaming Discussion via Tweets

Source link

Continue Reading


Twitter bans account linked to Iran leader over video threatening Trump



Twitter bans account linked to Iran leader over video threatening Trump

Iran’s supreme leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei meets with relatives of slain commander Qasem Soleimani ahead of the second anniverary of his death in a US drone strike in Iraq – Copyright POOL/AFP/File Tom Brenner

Twitter said Saturday it had permanently suspended an account linked to Iran’s supreme leader that posted a video calling for revenge for a top general’s assassination against former US president Donald Trump.

“The account referenced has been permanently suspended for violating our ban evasion policy,” a Twitter spokesperson told AFP.

The account, @KhameneiSite, this week posted an animated video showing an unmanned aircraft targeting Trump, who ordered a drone strike in Baghdad two years ago that killed top Iranian commander General Qassem Soleimani.

Supreme leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei’s main accounts in various languages remain active. Last year, another similar account was suspended by Twitter over a post also appearing to reference revenge against Trump.

The recent video, titled “Revenge is Definite”, was also posted on Khamenei’s official website.

According to Twitter, the company’s top priority is keeping people safe and protecting the health of the conversation on the platform.

The social media giant says it has clear policies around abusive behavior and will take action when violations are identified.

As head of the Quds Force, the foreign operations arm of Iran’s Revolutionary Guards, Soleimani was the architect of its strategy in the Middle East.

He and his Iraqi lieutenant were killed by a US drone strike outside Baghdad airport on January 3, 2020.

Khamenei has repeatedly promised to avenge his death.

On January 3, the second anniversary of the strike, the supreme leader and ultraconservative President Ebrahim Raisi once again threatened the US with revenge.

See also  Instagram adds new teen safety tools as competition with TikTok heats up

Trump’s supporters regularly denounce the banning of the Republican billionaire from Twitter, underscoring that accounts of several leaders considered authoritarian by the United States are allowed to post on the platform.

Source link

Continue Reading

Subscribe To our Newsletter
We promise not to spam you. Unsubscribe at any time.
Invalid email address