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Technology Advocates fault Facebook over misleading posts by politicos

01:45  27 september  2019
01:45  27 september  2019 Source:   msn.com

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ATLANTA (AP) — Advocacy groups at a meeting with Facebook on Thursday criticized the tech giant's announcement earlier this week that it won't remove newsworthy posts from politicians even if they're misleading or break the site's rules.

FILE- In this Sept. 5, 2018, file photo Facebook COO Sheryl Sandberg testifies before the Senate Intelligence Committee hearing on 'Foreign Influence Operations and Their Use of Social Media Platforms' on Capitol Hill in Washington. Facebook and civil rights group Color of Change are hosting a meeting Thursday, Sept. 26, 2019, in Atlanta to discuss problems around discrimination, racism and political deception on the site. Sandberg didn’t directly respond to questions about the decision by Sherrilyn Ifill, president of the NAACP Legal Defense & Educational Fund, during a discussion by the two. (AP Photo/Jose Luis Magana, File): FILE- In this Sept. 5, 2018, file photo Facebook COO Sheryl Sandberg testifies before the Senate Intelligence Committee hearing on 'Foreign Influence Operations and Their Use of Social Media Platforms' on Capitol Hill in Washington. Facebook and civil rights group Color of Change are hosting a meeting Thursday, Sept. 26, 2019, in Atlanta to discuss problems around discrimination, racism and political deception on the site. Sandberg didn’t directly respond to questions about the decision by Sherrilyn Ifill, president of the NAACP Legal Defense & Educational Fund, during a discussion by the two. (AP Photo/Jose Luis Magana, File)© Provided by The Associated Press FILE- In this Sept. 5, 2018, file photo Facebook COO Sheryl Sandberg testifies before the Senate Intelligence Committee hearing on 'Foreign Influence Operations and Their Use of Social Media Platforms' on Capitol Hill in Washington. Facebook and civil rights group Color of Change are hosting a meeting Thursday, Sept. 26, 2019, in Atlanta to discuss problems around discrimination, racism and political deception on the site. Sandberg didn’t directly respond to questions about the decision by Sherrilyn Ifill, president of the NAACP Legal Defense & Educational Fund, during a discussion by the two. (AP Photo/Jose Luis Magana, File)

Facebook and civil rights group Color of Change hosted a meeting Thursday in Atlanta to discuss problems around discrimination, racism and political deception on the site. Facebook is conducting its own civil rights audit meant to assess those problems and seek solutions, with a final report due in early 2020.

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Facebook Chief Operating Officer Sheryl Sandberg emphasized that the company was listening and trying to learn as it tries to balance "between letting people have voice and people saying things we don't like, that none of us like."

Sandberg and other company executives emphasized that the newsworthiness policy is not a blanket exemption for politicians to engage in hate speech, and added that the company is still considering how it will handle the matter going forward. It's not a new policy for Facebook, but drew wide notice earlier this week when British politician-turned Facebook executive Nick Clegg discussed the issue in a speech Tuesday in Washington.

FILE - In this April 28, 2015 file photo, Nick Clegg, then leader of Britain's Liberal Democrat party, speaks at a press conference in London. Speaking at the Atlantic Festival in Washington on Tuesday, Sept. 24, 2019, Nick Clegg, Facebook's vice president of global affairs, said the company has exempted politicians from its fact checking program for more than a year. But if politicians share previously debunked links or other material, those will be demoted and banned from being included in ads.. (AP Photo/Kirsty Wigglesworth, File)© Provided by The Associated Press FILE - In this April 28, 2015 file photo, Nick Clegg, then leader of Britain's Liberal Democrat party, speaks at a press conference in London. Speaking at the Atlantic Festival in Washington on Tuesday, Sept. 24, 2019, Nick Clegg, Facebook's vice president of global affairs, said the company has exempted politicians from its fact checking program for more than a year. But if politicians share previously debunked links or other material, those will be demoted and banned from being included in ads.. (AP Photo/Kirsty Wigglesworth, File)

"The understanding that we are exempting all political speech from all politicians, that's just not accurate," Facebook Public Policy Director Neil Potts told The Associated Press.

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Groups that have been critical of how minority communities are treated on Facebook expressed both concern and hope at Thursday's meeting. Facebook agreed to the civil rights audit after years of criticism and moved forward with Thursday's meeting following long negotiations.

"Racism is not like the problems Silicon Valley is used to solving," said Color of Change President Rashad Robinson. "You just can't hack it. You just can't assign a project team to figure it out. Racism is highly adaptable. You block it one area and it goes and attacks in another."

Thursday's event featured panels on how to police harmful content and efforts to defeat misinformation related to the 2020 elections and the U.S. census. Participants also discussed hiring a more diverse technology workforce and helping people use Facebook to build community and improve economic opportunity.

Facebook to name first oversight panel members by year-end

Facebook to name first oversight panel members by year-end BOSTON (AP) — Facebook says it expects to name the first members of a quasi-independent oversight board by year-end. The board will rule on thorny content issues, such as when a Facebook or Instagram post constitutes hate speech. The panel will be able to make binding rulings on whether posts or ads violate the company's standards. Critics call the oversight board a bid by Facebook to forestall regulation or even an eventual breakup. The company faces antitrust investigations by the Federal Trade Commission, Congress and a group of state attorneys general. Company officials say the board will eventually comprise 40 members, who will decide a few dozen cases a year.

Since the audit began, Facebook has banned messages discouraging people from voting and announced it would protect against interference in the census. The company in March banned explicit praise of white nationalism and separatism, although a June update on the audit said Facebook hasn't done enough to combat content that supports those ideologies without explicitly using those terms.

FILE - In this July 30, 2019, file photo, the social media application, Facebook is displayed on Apple's App Store. Advocacy groups at a meeting with Facebook are criticizing the tech giant’s announcement earlier this week that it won’t remove newsworthy posts from politicians even if they’re misleading or break the site’s rules. (AP Photo/Amr Alfiky)© Provided by The Associated Press FILE - In this July 30, 2019, file photo, the social media application, Facebook is displayed on Apple's App Store. Advocacy groups at a meeting with Facebook are criticizing the tech giant’s announcement earlier this week that it won’t remove newsworthy posts from politicians even if they’re misleading or break the site’s rules. (AP Photo/Amr Alfiky)

The company also says that its artificial intelligence systems are doing better at recognizing hate speech, detecting 65% of hate speech that was eventually removed before a user reported it in March, up from 24% in December 2017.

On the same day that Facebook announced the civil rights audit, it also announced a review led by Jon Kyl, an Arizona Republican and former U.S. senator, of claims that Facebook was biased against conservatives. That document, released in August, made no specific findings. It did catalog conservative fears about Facebook, including concerns that changes in how posts appear in newsfeeds disadvantaged right-leaning media and that Facebook's employees are too liberal. The 133 conservatives interviewed also expressed concerns that hate speech policies would work against conservatives.

Supporters of the civil rights audit slammed the conservative review, saying it set up a false equivalency between the two groups' concerns.

Millions of Facebook, Instagram posts removed for violating rules .
Facebook releases new data on the content it yanked off the two social networks from April to September.During the second and third quarter, Facebook removed 58 million posts for adult nudity and sexual activity, 5.7 million posts for harassment and bullying and 11.4 million posts for hate speech, according to its biannual community standards enforcement report.

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