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Ukrainians can lock Facebook pages after ‘kill list’ fears

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Facebook hits anti-vaccine campaign harassing doctors


© AFP Kirill KUDRYAVTSEV

People in Ukraine can lock down their Facebook pages as a security measure, the platform said Thursday, following warnings Russia was creating lists of Ukranians to kill after its invasion.

Users are able to block people they don’t know from downloading and sharing their profile photo or seeing their posts, a tool the company also deployed after Afghanistan fell to the Taliban last year.

The announcement comes after the United States warned the United Nations this week of “credible information that indicates Russian forces are creating lists of identified Ukrainians to be killed or sent to camps following a military occupation.”

Invading Russian forces moved in Wednesday and were pressing deep into Ukraine, claiming dozens of lives and raising the prospect Moscow will march on Kyiv as the West imposed punishing sanctions in response.

Facebook said it has a team monitoring the situation, and has rolled out the account-locking feature in response.

“This is a one-click tool for people in Ukraine to lock down their account,” Nathaniel Gleicher, Facebook’s head of security policy, tweeted.

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The company was fiercely criticized during a recent whistleblower scandal, in which the social media giant was accused of putting growth over the safety of the billions of users on its platforms.

Facebook’s parent Meta has moved to pivot to its metaverse vision for the internet, but worries over the firm’s future prospects have led to a historic drop in its value.



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Meta’s Adding More Ad Targeting Information to its Ad Library Listings

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Meta's Adding More Ad Targeting Information to its Ad Library Listings

In the wake of the Cambridge Analytics scandal, Meta has implemented a range of data protection measures to ensure that it limits access to users’ personal data and insight, while at the same time, it’s also been working to provide more transparency into how its systems are being used by different groups to target their messaging.

These conflicting approaches require a delicate balance, one which Meta has largely been able to maintain via its Ad Library, which enables anyone to see any ad being run by any Facebook Page in the recent past.

Now, Meta’s looking to add to that insight, with new information being added to the Ad Library on how Pages are using social issue, electoral or political ads in their process.

Meta ad targeting

As you can see here, the updated Ad Library overview will include more specific information on how each advertiser is using these more sensitive targeting options, which could help researchers detect misuse or report concerns.

As explained by Meta:

“At the end of this month, detailed targeting information for social issue, electoral or political ads will be made available to vetted academic researchers through the Facebook Open Research and Transparency (FORT) environment […] Coming in July, our publicly available Ad Library will also include a summary of targeting information for social issue, electoral or political ads run after launch. This update will include data on the total number of social issue, electoral and political ads a Page ran using each type of targeting (such as location, demographics and interests) and the percentage of social issue, electoral and political ad spend used to target those options.”

That’s a significant update for Meta’s ad transparency efforts, which will help researchers better understand key trends in ad usage, and how they relate to messaging resonance and response.

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Meta has come under scrutiny over such in the past, with independent investigations finding that housing ads, for example, were illegally using race-based exclusions in their ad targeting. That led to Meta changing its rules on how its exclusions can be used, and this new expansion could eventually lead to similar, by making discriminatory ad targeting easier to identify, with direct examples from Meta’s system.

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For regular advertisers, it could also give you some additional insight into your competitors’ tactics. You might find more detailed information on how other brands are honing in on specific audiences, which may not be discriminatory, but may highlight new angles for your own marketing efforts.

It’s a good transparency update, which should glean significant benefits for researchers trying to better understand how Meta’s intricate ad targeting system is being used in various ways.

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