Meta’s New Sphere AI Tool Filters Web Content for Accuracy

Meta Platforms has unveiled Sphere, an AI-powered tool designed to verify open web content. “Building on Meta AI’s research and advancements, we’ve developed the first model capable of automatically scanning hundreds of thousands of citations at once to check whether they truly support the corresponding claims,” Meta says, noting that Sphere has “a dataset of 134 million public webpages — an order of magnitude larger and significantly more intricate than ever used for this sort of research.” Sphere is open sourced, which means third parties may be able to tailor its fact-checking algorithms for specialized use, such as legal, medical and architectural. Continue reading Meta’s New Sphere AI Tool Filters Web Content for Accuracy

Concern Expressed Over Meta Scrapping CrowdTangle Filter

As the U.S. approaches the 2022 midterm elections, social media platforms are being criticized for dropping the ball on misinformation safeguards. Meta Platforms’ Facebook has triggered alarm over plans to scrap CrowdTangle, a relevance filter Facebook has promoted as a discovery tool. Advocacy groups have described CrowdTangle as “indispensable” to finding false information online. Meta is accused of reducing CrowdTangle support and losing interest in election security overall as it shifts focus from the real world to the metaverse. CrowdTangle is cross-platform, and used to analyze content on Twitter and Reddit, among others. Continue reading Concern Expressed Over Meta Scrapping CrowdTangle Filter

European Union Creates Code of Practice on Disinformation

The European Union unveiled a new code of practice for disinformation, a glimpse at the regulation Big Tech companies will be dealing with under upcoming digital content laws. Meta Platforms, Twitter, TikTok and Google have agreed to the new rules, which update voluntary guidelines. The revised standards direct social media companies to avoid advertising adjacent to intentionally false or misleading content. EU policymakers have said they will make parts of the new code mandatory under the Digital Services Act. Platforms agreeing to comply with the new rules must submit implementation reports by early 2023. Continue reading European Union Creates Code of Practice on Disinformation

States Fight Misinformation on Social Media Before Midterms

As various states undergo primary elections and the nation gears up for midterm elections in the fall, the social network misinformation machines are becoming more active, too. Connecticut is actively addressing the problem with a marketing budget of nearly $2 million to counter unfounded rumors. The state is also creating a new position to monitor the disinformation mill. Salaried at $150,000 per year, the job involves combing fringe sites like Gettr, Rumble and 4chan as well as mainstream social media sites to weed-out falsehoods before they go viral, alerting platforms to remove or flag such posts. Continue reading States Fight Misinformation on Social Media Before Midterms

Twitter Accepts Musk’s $44 Billion Offer to Acquire Company

Twitter’s board has accepted billionaire Elon Musk’s offer to purchase the social media company for $44 billion, a financial value that reflects his April 14th offer of $54.20 per share. “Free speech is the bedrock of a functioning democracy, and Twitter is the digital town square where matters vital to the future of humanity are debated,” said Musk, the CEO of Tesla Motors and SpaceX, who earlier revealed a desire to make Twitter a private company. “I also want to make Twitter better than ever by enhancing the product with new features, making the algorithms open source to increase trust, defeating the spam bots, and authenticating all humans.” Continue reading Twitter Accepts Musk’s $44 Billion Offer to Acquire Company

Obama Takes Up Mantle of Social Media Regulatory Oversight

Former President Barack Obama sounded a warning against unregulated Big Tech in a speech last week at Stanford University near Palo Alto, California. Cautioning that the power of social media giants to curate information has “turbocharged” political polarization, Obama said the imbalance of power threatened the very pillars of global democracy itself. “Tech companies need to be more transparent about how they operate,” Obama said. “So much of the conversation around disinformation is focused on what people post. The bigger issue is what content these platforms promote.”  Continue reading Obama Takes Up Mantle of Social Media Regulatory Oversight

TikTok Halts Russia Live Streams, Battles War Disinformation

Young people who made TikTok a top destination for dance-craze videos and makeup tutorials are now making it a news destination as they seek information about the Russian invasion of Ukraine, but now it’s revealed that some users are doctoring video game images of tanks rolling in and presenting it as footage from the war. Since the conflict erupted, hundreds of thousands of videos about the ongoing saga have been uploaded to TikTok. The war has put the social video platform in the uncharacteristic role of news moderator for material that is often unverified. Continue reading TikTok Halts Russia Live Streams, Battles War Disinformation

Twitter Formalizes Its Birdwatch Program with Aliases, Profiles

Twitter is tweaking its Birdwatch crowdsourced fact-check feature, adding aliases so contributors can conceal their identities when notating someone’s tweet. The company says its goal in having people append anonymously is “keeping focus on the content of notes rather than who’s writing them,” reducing bias and tempering polarization. To ensure aliases don’t overshadow accountability, all Birdwatch accounts now have profile pages that aggregate past contributions, and the ratings those contributions received from other Birdwatchers, accruing credibility to contributors whose notes and ratings are consistently found helpful by others. Continue reading Twitter Formalizes Its Birdwatch Program with Aliases, Profiles

Lawmakers See Solution in Regulating Facebook’s Algorithm

U.S. lawmakers agitated by the recent testimony of Facebook whistleblower Frances Haugen and related media reports are homing in on the social network’s News Feed algorithm as ripe for regulation, although First Amendment questions loom. The past year has seen Congress introduce or reintroduce no fewer than five bills that expressly focus on software coding that decides who sees what content on social media platforms. In addition to the U.S., laws advancing the idea of regulating such algorithms are gaining momentum in the European Union, Britain and China. Continue reading Lawmakers See Solution in Regulating Facebook’s Algorithm

Facebook Vies with Whistleblower to Spin Latest News Cycle

Facebook vice president of global affairs Nick Clegg in a round of Sunday morning news appearances advocated his company’s position in the midst of senatorial attack, discussing new safety tools and emphasizing the company’s repeated requests for congressional guidelines. Means to deflect users from harmful content, curb political content and put programming power in the hands of parents were among the new measures by which to impede vulnerabilities. Instagram in particular will invite adult supervision over accounts belonging to minors. Clegg stressed Instagram Kids for 13-and-under as part of the solution. Continue reading Facebook Vies with Whistleblower to Spin Latest News Cycle

Whistleblower Contends Facebook Values Profits Over Safety

Whistleblower Frances Haugen said on “60 Minutes” Sunday night that Facebook was cognizant of problems with apps, including Instagram, that allowed misinformation to be spread and caused societal harm, especially among young girls. Haugen revealed on the CBS news show to be the source of documents leaked to The Wall Street Journal that led to congressional inquiry. She also filed eight complaints with the Securities and Exchange Commission alleging Facebook hid research from investors and the public. The former product manager worked for nearly two years on the civic integrity team before exiting the social network in May. Continue reading Whistleblower Contends Facebook Values Profits Over Safety

Top Social Platforms Losing Some Traction as News Sources

A third of U.S. adults continue to get their news regularly from Facebook, though the number has declined from 36 percent in 2020 to 31 percent in 2021. This reduction marks an overall drop in the number of Americans who say they get their news from any social media source — a figure that dropped by 5 percentage points year-over-year (from 53 percent in 2020 to just under 48 percent this year). TikTok was the only major platform to gain during this period. The general decline comes as social media companies face criticism for not doing enough to stem the flow of misinformation on their platforms, Pew Research notes. Continue reading Top Social Platforms Losing Some Traction as News Sources

Twitter Introduces ‘Communities’ for Moderated Discussions

Twitter is testing Communities, moderated discussions around specific topics. The concept is designed to provide a venue for discussion of hobbies and interests, apart from the madding crowd dominated by news and politics. Members of Twitter Communities can post tweets expressly to Communities such as #DogTwitter and #SkincareTwitter. Only other members will be able to reply. Much like Facebook Groups and Reddit’s subreddits Community moderators control who joins, inviting and removing members, establishing guidelines and topics.  Continue reading Twitter Introduces ‘Communities’ for Moderated Discussions

Facebook Decides to Curtail Political Content in News Feed

All politics may be local, but you can expect less of it to be social. As of August 31, Facebook began reducing political content that appears in its News Feed. The move comes as the social media giant attempts to beat back a barrage of criticism for spreading misinformation through the use of algorithms that appear to reward click-generating controversies over level-headed dialogue. The new content modification is “in response to common feedback from our community,” a Facebook spokesperson said. Continue reading Facebook Decides to Curtail Political Content in News Feed

Facebook Will No Longer Offer Politicians Special Treatment

Facebook revealed that former President Donald Trump’s suspension from its platform would last for at least two years. Trump will be eligible for reinstatement on the social network in January 2023, before the next U.S. presidential election. At that time, experts will decide “whether the risk to public safety has receded.” Further violations would trigger “rapidly escalating sanctions” and potentially a permanent suspension. The company also announced that it would end its policy of treating the posts of world leaders and other politicians differently than those of other Facebook users. Continue reading Facebook Will No Longer Offer Politicians Special Treatment