Technology Facebook tackles deepfake spread and troll farms in latest moderation push
Facebook weighs pivotal decision on Trump ban
Facebook finds itself confronted with one of its most consequential content moderation decisions - whether to let former President Trump back on the platform or keep him permanently banned.Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg has left the decision in the hands of Facebook's fairly new independent oversight body, and the 20-member board's impending verdict may have effects beyond the fate of Trump's potential return.The Oversight Board, whichFacebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg has left the decision in the hands of Facebook's fairly new independent oversight body, and the 20-member board's impending verdict may have effects beyond the fate of Trump's potential return.
Facebook has removed a troll farm, spreaders of misinformation, and creators of deepfake images in its latest moderation efforts.
The company's latest Coordinated Inauthentic Behavior (CIB) report, published(.PDF), lists Facebook's most recent efforts to reduce coordinated, inauthentic behavior across the network.
The Technology 202: Facebook's ban on Australian news triggers greater scrutiny of its vast power
Rep. David Cicilline, who led a 16-month investigation into competition in the tech industry, called the moves 'the ultimate admission of monopoly power.' Facebook’s decision to block the posting and sharing of Australian news highlights the platform's vast influence over the media industry, raising the stakes in global regulators’ efforts to address its power.
According to the March CIB report, Facebook investigated and wiped out a "long-running" troll farm located in Albania.
The troll farm's members primarily targeted an Iranian audience and are thought to have ties to Mojahedin-e Khalq (MEK), amade up of several thousand members.
MEK was exiled to Albania in the 1980s and now appears to be running a network made up of both genuine and fake accounts to spread information that is critical of the Iranian government and that praises MEK's activities.
Facebook says that MEK-related content sharing spiked in 2017 and 2020 via three separate clusters, but the majority of the group's efforts to grow an audience have failed.
"Most of its accounts were run by operators in Albania who routinely shared technical infrastructure," the company notes. "This meant that the same operator was able to run multiple accounts; conversely, multiple operators were able to run the same account. These are some of the hallmarks of a so-called troll farm -- a physical location where a collective of operators share computers and phones to jointly manage a pool of fake accounts as part of an influence operation."
This man is not Tom Cruise! The incredible deepfake that is making the buzz on TikTok
For a week, thanks to deepfake technology, an Internet user has pretended to be Tom Cruise on his Tik Tok account and has published videos of disturbing realism. © TikTok / deeptomcruise This man is not Tom Cruise! The incredible deepfake that is making the buzz on TikTok For several days, a small series of videos has intrigued, fascinated and confused TikTok users. You can see Tom Cruise playing golf, tripping over a carpet or trying your hand at a magic trick.
In addition, Facebook is tackling deepfakes, images generated through the application of artificial intelligence (AI). While the company started taking down fake imagery three years ago, now, generative adversarial networks (GAN) are using deepfakes to pose as independent news outlets and investigative journalists.
After reviewing research provided by FireEye on a GAN network located in Spain and El Salvador, the firm removed accounts and pages that were publishing information concerning a mayoral election at "spam-like" rates. A further two networks have also been wiped out, bringing Facebook's total deletion count to seven operations that made use of AI-generated images.
The social media giant has also documented its customary disruption of inauthentic networks. In total, 14 CIB operations were disrupted in March that originated from countries including Argentina, Egypt, Israel, Mexico, and Georgia, leading to the deletion of over 1,100 accounts, 255 pages, and 34 groups.
Parler needs Apple so much it's actually moderating more content
The anti-moderation social network has recognized that it can't mount a comeback without Apple's blessing—and stricter content standards.The impetus for this change of heart is that Parler now recognizes it needs Apple, one of the Big Tech companies it used to rail against. As recently as Jan. 9, former Parler CEO John Matze called Apple one of “those authoritarians who hate free speech,” after the iPhone-maker removed Parler from the App Store over its role in the Jan. 6 insurrection at the US Capitol. Matze has since been fired. Now the platform is waging a campaign to get back in Apple’s good graces—and back into its all-important App Store.
Last month, Facebook said it had managed to detect and take downof cyberattackers using the platform to distribute malware. The operators, thought to be part of Earth Empusa or Evil Eye groups, used fake profiles to target journalists and activists.
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Trump faces a narrow path to victory against Facebook suspension .
The board reviewing his case has overturned Facebook’s content takedowns in almost every decision so far. But the ex-president poses special challenges.Facebook’s oversight board is expected to rule in the coming weeks on whether to uphold or overturn Trump’s indefinite suspension from the platforms, which the company imposed after the Jan. 6 Capitol riots over fears he might incite further violence. So far, the panel of scholars, lawyers and other outside experts has bucked Facebook’s judgment in five of the six decisions it has rendered.