Facebook Says: "Governments Use Social Networks to Spread Fake News and Hoaxes"

The social network has stated in an public address that its platform is being used by governments to spread fake news, terror and hoaxes...

Facebook has publicly acknowledged that its platform has been exploited by governments seeking to manipulate public opinion in other countries – including during the presidential elections in the US and France – and pledged to clamp down on such “information operations”.

In a white paper authored by the company’s security team and published on Thursday, the company detailed well-funded and subtle techniques used by nations and other organizations to spread misleading information and falsehoods for geopolitical goals. These efforts go well beyond “fake news”, the company said, and include content seeding, targeted data collection and fake accounts that are used to amplify one particular view, sow distrust in political institutions and spread confusion.

The company said:

We have had to expand our security focus from traditional abusive behavior, such as account hacking, malware, spam and financial scams, to include more subtle and insidious forms of misuse, including attempts to manipulate civic discourse and deceive people.

Facebook says that people with local language skills and basic knowledge of "the relevant political situation" are behind the majority of the operations.

The report, which was put together by Facebook’s chief security officer and two “veteran security analysts” who joined the social network from FireEye and Dell SecureWorks, adds that the agents’ objectives are to create distrust, confusion and tension between groups of users.

The company, which suspended 30,000 accounts in France before last Sunday’s first-round presidential election, will use machine-learning to identify false accounts.

Voters in France have been deluged with fake news stories on their social media feeds ahead of the country's presidential election, many from sources "exposed to Russian influence", new research has found.  

Oxford University researchers found up to a quarter of the political links shared on Twitter in France were based on misinformation. They were identified as deliberately false and expressed “ideologically extreme, hyper-partisan or conspiratorial" views with logical flaws and opinions presented as facts.

National French newspaper Le Monde compiled some of the most striking stories that have been widely circulated on social media over the last few days. One website described by the newspaper as “an unreliable source of information” published a story announcing “election results”, four days ahead of the vote. 

It declared Front National leader Marine Le Pen the winner of the first round of voting, with 28.1 per cent of the votes followed by Emmanuel Macron with 22.83 per cent.It concluded “this is not fiction”. 

The story claimed it was based on the results of the electronic votes from the US but this year’s election has no electronic votes and French citizens in the US were not due to vote before 22 April. 

Facebook says it used the US presidential election as a “case study”, and adds that its data “does not contradict” widespread beliefs that Russia was behind efforts to interfere with the process. 

No other countries are named in the report.

Facebook Says: "Governments Use Social Networks to Spread Fake News and Hoaxes" Facebook Says: "Governments Use Social Networks to Spread Fake News and Hoaxes" Reviewed by Admin on 22:29:00 Rating: 5
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