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  • Writer's pictureLaura Berni

Campaigning on lies - What is Facebook's stand on the issue?

"I believe in giving people a voice because, at the end of the day, I believe in people."

No, this quote is not JFK, nor it is Mandela. If you are wondering who could say such powerful (?) words don't think too much. It’s Mark Zuckerberg.

Hello and Welcome to my 4th Blog. It was time to cover something about security measures, and Facebook gave me the perfect topic to do it.

Last week, Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg gave an impassioned speech about his company's stance on free speech, with a particular focus on its decision not to fact-check political ads. This decision, as many have noted, has the power of giving a free pass for politicians to campaign on outright lies.

If this sounds familiar to you, it’s because it is. Many of the latest political campaigns have been accompanied by the shadow of “fake news”. The problem seems to have been overlooked so far, as per usual, people tend to overlook the power that relies on Social Media. Social Media is often associated with populism, and rightly so. But there is a snobbish element in rejecting the use of Social Media completely, or judging from a bourgeois high horse those who believe in Fake news or fall for the fake promises of one politician or another.

Zuckerberg fully acknowledges that people can be, and have been, manipulated by Facebook-hosted content (a bit hypocritical, what do you think?). Which is why this week, Facebook has outlined a range of new measures designed to better protect users for misinformation campaigns and voter manipulation, adding to the already extensive set of processes Facebook has put in place for the same.

  • 'Facebook Protect', a new process which adds an additional security layer to the accounts of elected officials, candidates, their staff to avoid issues of direct hacking

  • New element to its Page Transparency Tools which will enable users to find out which organisations manage a given Facebook Page.

  • Facebook will also start labelling media outlets which are wholly or partially under the editorial control of their government as state-controlled media. This is particularly relevant in states such as China

  • Facebook is also adding to its political ad reporting tools insights into where each ad has run (e.g. on Facebook, Instagram) and a handy new US presidential candidate spend tracker, so that people can see how much each candidate is spending.

  • Facebook's also making its false information tags on content more prominent, in an effort to slow their spread.

Interestingly, Facebook has committed $2 million in support of digital literacy projects, which aim to empower people to determine what is, and is not, trustworthy information online.

Digital Literacy should be taken very seriously these days and I believe it should be taught in school.

Moving on,

LinkedIn is rolling out a brand new feature called “Events”. The option will provide the capacity for members to create and organise event pages, and facilitate in-person meet-ups via the professional social network.

LinkedIn users will now be able to create their own event pages via the Community panel to the left side of the News Feed in the mobile app. Bare in mind this is being rolled out on gradually so you might not be able to create an event just yet, though you can be invited to one.

"You need to provide a description, a date and time, a venue, and then invite your connections using filters such as location, company, industry, and school. We also recommend you share the event as a post to leverage the power of the feed to reach relevant attendees. From your event page, you can easily track attendees and invitees, post updates and interact with other attendees."

And guess what?

Instagram is adding some more features! Unheard of news.

Instagram is testing out a new Stories sticker option, this time aimed at facilitating event participation, with invites via your Story.

The new 'Invites' sticker would enable you to add details of your upcoming event - including title, date and location - which you could then attach to your Instagram Story as a sticker. Viewers would then be able to RSVP direct from the Sticker, providing another way to generate interest, and/or share exclusive events.

And it wouldn't necessarily have to be a real-world event either - you could use the function to promote exclusive product launches, live Q and A discussions, webinars, etc.

Instagram is also testing out a new process which would categorise your 'Following' list into both topic categories and listings based on your engagement with each, in order to help users better manage what content appears in their main feed.

The option would automatically sort your following list into topics, like 'Art', 'Comics' and 'Travel'.

Instagram has also included lists of 'Least interacted with' and 'Most shown in feed', based on your individual activity.

The latter two are particularly interesting - with 'Least interacted with', Instagram would essentially be recommending profiles to unfollow

And this is it for this week!


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