Connect with us

FACEBOOK

Facebook has pulled the trigger on news content — and possibly shot itself in the foot

Published

on

Facebook today made good on its threat to block Australians from accessing or posting news content. The ban includes blocking links to Australian and overseas news publishers.

Facebook said the ban was a direct response to the federal government’s news media code legislation, which is expected to become law soon and would require digital platforms such as Facebook and Google to pay news media companies whose content they host.

Why has Facebook done this?

The move is either a last-ditch attempt to gain concessions in the legislation, or a simple cut-and-run by Facebook.

The social media giant claims news publishers derive more value from news sharing than Facebook does. This is plausible, as news content makes up only 4% of sharing on the platform, whereas many news sites gain a large fraction of their traffic from Facebook referrals.

But this is probably more about flexing some muscle. Facebook may be demonstrating to the Federal government that if it doesn’t like the rules, it can damage national interests.

Advertisement
free widgets for website

Collateral damage

Australians will feel some short-term negative impacts of Facebook’s flex.

Certain government Facebook pages, such as those belonging to the Bureau of Meterology and some health department sites, have been caught up in the ban. Facebook says this is due to the wording of the legislation, stating:

As the law does not provide clear guidance on the definition of news content, we have taken a broad definition in order to respect the law as drafted.

While Facebook says it will restore non-news pages, the action will put pressure on the government to define more clearly what it means by news content.

In the meantime, the move will affect Australians’ access to vital information related to emergencies and the COVID pandemic. Without a concerted effort to ensure online behaviour change from users, this could be dangerous.




Read more:
Why Google is now funnelling millions into media outlets, as Facebook pulls news for Australia

Advertisement
free widgets for website

Misinformation risk

We can also expect to see a short-term proliferation of misinformation as Facebook’s news feed will have a vacuum of professionally sourced and fact-checked news.

A significant number of Australians discuss news on Facebook, both via their newsfeed and in groups. Being able to source factual information from news sites is part of the everyday political and social participation that social media platforms facilitate.

The democratic impact of Facebook’s ban will be felt – and is counter to Facebook’s stated principle of connecting people and its recent pledge to tackle misinformation.

Will it hurt Facebook?

The impact of this action against the legislation on Facebook itself is yet to be seen.

The reputational damage from blocking important sites that serve Australia’s public interest overnight – and yet taking years to get on top of user privacy breaches and misinformation – undermines the legitimacy of the platform and its claimed civic intentions.

Advertisement
free widgets for website



Read more:
Google’s and Facebook’s loud appeal to users over the news media bargaining code shows a lack of political power


Facebook’s actions may send a message to the government, but they will also send one to their Australian users.

Readers are likely to find other ways to get their news. If we learn from the experience of Google’s news ban in Spain, we can see that after an initial dip in traffic, most major news organisations in Spain regained much of their web traffic after about a year.

Surfing social waves

Tools such as Facebook are only useful if people want to use them. And for some existing users, the lack of news might be a dealbreaker.

Facebook already faces a long-term problem of an ageing user demographic, as under-25s turn to Instagram, Snapchat and TikTok for news and information.

Advertisement
free widgets for website

Young people may have Facebook profiles, but they are less likely to be active users.

News organisations are already following their lead. For example, The Conversation Australia has 325,735 Facebook followers and will probably feel the impact of the loss of engagement there.

But it also has more than 21,000 Instagram followers and counting. It is increasingly making visual news “tiles” to cater for the younger demographic of users who source news from other platforms. It has also been working to reach readers directly via regular email newsletters, which one in five US readers now say is their primary way of accessing news.

News organisations have already learned how to pivot fast. When Facebook changed its algorithms in 2018 to deprioritise news publishers, many took action to reduce their reliance on Facebook’s traffic, analytics or digital advertising dollars.

What now?

Larger news organisations will be OK in the long run. But Australia’s smaller outlets, including local publishers and non-profits that produce public interest journalism, will need protection.

Advertisement
free widgets for website

The long-term task for news organisations and journalists is to convince the public – especially young people – that it’s worthwhile to actively seek out professional news and journalism as part of their daily online lives, rather than simply reading whatever comes across their feed.

As for Facebook, going back to its original purpose of facilitating personal connection and social networking, rather than posing as a forum for public information, may not be a bad thing. But the reputational damage and publisher exodus will eventually damage its core business: digital advertising revenue.

Read More

Advertisement
free widgets for website
See also  UX Best Practices: Using Emojis, Stickers and Gifs with Bots for Messenger

FACEBOOK

Facebook-Meta Earns the ‘Worst Company of 2021’ Title in This Survey

Published

on

By

facebook-meta-earns-the-‘worst-company-of-2021’-title-in-this-survey-–-news18
Facebook has had its share of controversies this year. The company was under more scrutiny after whistleblower Frances Haugen leaked a series of internal documents.

Facebook parent Meta has been named the Worst Company of the Year (2021) by Yahoo Finance respondents. According to the publication, an “open-ended” survey was published on Yahoo Finance on December 4 and 5, where 1,541 respondents participated. Facebook received 8 percent of the write-in vote, but respondents were seemingly mad about the Robinhood trading app as well. Electric truck startup Nikola, which was named last year’s worst company by the same publication also faced respondents ire.

Yahoo Finance notes, “Facebook has had its share of controversies this year.” Starting in January, Meta-owned WhatsApp got caught up in a huge controversy after the messaging app announced a new privacy policy (Terms of Service). WhatsApp said it would collect user information and share it with third-party apps for a better user experience. However, the app gave users no choice but later made modifications to the policy under pressure. Similarly, the company was under more scrutiny after whistleblower and former Facebook employee Frances Haugen leaked a series of internal documents showing the company’s problematic practices. It was revealed that Meta-owned Instagram had a negative impact on teenage girls, but the company did almost nothing to rectify the problem.

Yahoo Finance even highlights, “At the same time, some critics, including conservatives, say Facebook over-policed the platform’s speech and stifled their voices.” Critics also blame Facebook and other social media platforms for not curbing hate speech that led to Capitol Building riots.

See also  Facebook Inc. Cl A stock rises Wednesday, outperforms market

However, around 30 percent of Yahoo Finance readers said that Facebook or Meta could redeem itself. One respondent suggested that the company could issue a formal apology for negligence and donate a sizable amount of its profits to a foundation to help reverse its harm.

On the other hand, respondents chose Microsoft as the Company of the Year (2021). The Satya Nadella-led company touched the trillion-mark this year and introduced notable upgrades. The most notable is the Windows 11 OS update that succeeds Windows 10.

Advertisement
free widgets for website
Continue Reading

FACEBOOK

Facebook pays 1.7 Cr fine to Russia after failing to delete content Moscow deems illegal

Published

on

By

facebook-pays-1.7-cr-fine-to-russia-after-failing-to-delete-content-moscow-deems-illegal

In the latest legal tussle with Russia over controversial social media regulation laws, Facebook paid 17 million roubles (Rs 1.7 Crore) for failing to remove content deemed illegal by Moscow. With a threat of potential larger fines looming, Facebook parent company Meta, owned by Mark Zuckerberg, is scheduled to face court next week over repeated violations of Russian legislation on content, Interfax News Agency reported. As per the latest updates, the social media giant could be fined a percentage of its annual revenue.

In October, Moscow sent state bailiffs to enforce the collection of 17 million roubles. Meanwhile, as per Interfax report citing a federal bailiffs’ database, on Sunday, there were more enforcement proceedings against the company. Apart from the popular social media app, Telegram has also paid 15 million roubles in fines for failing to comply with the Russian social media legislations that came into force in 2016.

Facebook pays $53k to Russia for refusing controversial social media laws

It is pertinent to mention that Facebook has locked horns with Moscow earlier in November, resulting in it paying 4 million roubles ($53,000) over its refusal to adhere to Russian data localisation laws, the Moscow Times reported. The Moscow court on November 25 had said that Facebook paid the fine levied in February, following which all proceedings against the US-based social media giant. The payment comes against the litigation filed against the company in 2018, alongside Twitter. The tech companies were also forced to pay an additional 3000 rubles ($40) for failing to comply with user data sharing rules as per the law. The Russian authorities have also previously blocked LinkedIn, owned by Microsoft, for failing to abide by the laws.

See also  Far-Right Misinformation Is Thriving On Facebook. A New Study Shows Just How Much

Russian social media laws

As per Moscow Times, under the Russian social media regulation laws, all foreign technology companies are required to store data related to Russian customers and users on servers located in Russia. Additionally, the Russian tech companies will also have to share encryption data with the federal authorities as well as record user calls, messages and civil society group conversation records. The apparatus is said to be a severe breach of privacy rights and unfettered back-door access to personal data that could be used to harass Kremlin critics.

Continue Reading

FACEBOOK

Facebook Messenger Is Launching a Split Payments Feature for Users to Quickly Share Expenses

Published

on

By

Facebook Messenger Is Launching a Split Payments Feature for Users to Quickly Share Expenses

Meta has announced the arrival of a new Split Payments feature in Facebook Messenger. This feature, as the name suggests, will let you calculate and split expenses with others right from Facebook Messenger. This feature essentially looks to bring an easier method to share the cost of bills and expenses — for example, splitting a dinner bill with friends. Using this new Split Payment feature, Facebook Messenger users will be able to split bills evenly or modify the contribution for each individual, including their own.

The company took to its blog post to announce the new Split Payment feature in Facebook Messenger. 9to5Mac reports that this new bill splitting feature is still in beta and will be exclusive to US users at first. The rollout will begin early next week. As mentioned, it will help users share the cost of bills, expenses, and payments. This feature is especially useful for those who share an apartment and need to split the monthly rent and other expenses with their mates. It could also come handy at a group dinner with many people.

With Split Payments, users can add the number of people the expense needs to be divided with and, by default, the amount entered will be divided in equal parts. A user can also modify each person’s contribution including their own. To use Split Payments, click the Get Started button in a group chat or the Payments Hub in Messenger. Users can modify the contribution in the Split Payments option and send a notification to all the users who need to make payments. After entering a personalised message and confirming your Facebook Pay details, the request will be sent and viewable in the group chat thread.

See also  Facebook builds smartwatch with health features

Once someone has made the payment, you can mark their transaction as ‘completed’. The Split Payment feature will automatically take into account your share as well and calculate the amount owed accordingly.


For the latest tech news and reviews, follow Gadgets 360 on Twitter, Facebook, and Google News. For the latest videos on gadgets and tech, subscribe to our YouTube channel.

Advertisement
free widgets for website

Tasneem Akolawala is a Senior Reporter for Gadgets 360. Her reporting expertise encompasses smartphones, wearables, apps, social media, and the overall tech industry. She reports out of Mumbai, and also writes about the ups and downs in the Indian telecom sector. Tasneem can be reached on Twitter at @MuteRiot, and leads, tips, and releases can be sent to tasneema@ndtv.com.

Continue Reading

Trending