May 27, 2021 | 8:39pm | Updated May 27, 2021 | 9:04pm
Facebook’s flip-flop on COVID posts comes more than a year after it banned a well-reasoned Post opinion column by China scholar Steven Mosher that speculated about a potential lab leak.
iStock; AP Photo/Ng Han Guan
Is there something in the California water that makes Silicon Valley’s censorious dweebs so damned shameless?
On Wednesday, Facebook revised its policy of banning posts suggesting the coronavirus was man-made — because the COVID situation is, er, “evolving,” as a spokesman told Politico.
Gee, thanks. The flip-flop comes more than a year after the social-media giant banned a well-reasoned Post opinion column by China scholar Steven Mosher that speculated about a potential lab leak. Will our columnist receive an apology? Of course not. But it’s the American people who should be holding the Menlo Park tyrants to account.
Think about it: If you were Xi Jinping, and you wanted to deploy an information-control operation over the origins of COVID-19, you couldn’t have done better than to just let Facebook, working in conjunction with America’s bottom-feeding “fact-checking” industry, do its thing.
The Chi-Coms, after all, were held in odium in the US eye long before the first COVID cases arrived: How much more effective — and devious — to have a gazillion-dollar US tech firm shut down public inquiry into the virus’ origins, and that with the help of well-credentialed “experts” and “fact-checkers.”
It’s worth returning to what Mosher wrote to see how shameful Facebook’s censorship was. For starters, note that Mosher didn’t definitively claim that COVID-19 had leaked from a lab. What he argued, rather, is that a lab leak should be plausible to anyone familiar with Chinese realities. Among the pieces of evidence he marshaled:
• The fact that Xi himself had, in the early days of the crisis, warned about “lab safety” as a national-security priority.
• The fact that, following Xi’s guidance, “the Chinese Ministry of Science and Technology released a new directive titled: ‘Instructions on strengthening biosecurity management in microbiology labs that handle advanced viruses like the novel coronavirus.’ ”
• Above all, the fact that the Middle Kingdom has only one Level 4 microbiology lab that can “handle deadly coronaviruses” — and that lab just happens to be located at the “epicenter of the epidemic.”
Set aside any other scientific questions about the virus (many remain unresolved): Didn’t it at least merit some thought that the country’s sole coronavirus lab is located at the outbreak’s ground zero?
Even if Mosher were wrong — and a growing number of US security officials and top scientists are coming around to his side — didn’t Americans and their policy makers have the right to consider the possibility? The virus’ true origins, after all, would inform any number of concrete decisions, not least whether Beijing and the curiously Beijing-subservient World Health Organization deserved US cooperation.
But no. Facebook and its “experts” knew better and moved to suppress a vital column, distorting the US debate when it mattered most.
Oh, about those “experts,” whose testimony was used to justify the ban: At least one of them — Danielle E. Anderson, an assistant professor at Duke-NUS Medical School in Singapore — regularly collaborated with the Wuhan virologists, hardly an unconflicted source.
Another “expert” insisted that no “responsible” government would permit such deadly leaks, and the quaint assumption that China ranks among responsible governments was enough to merit banning Mosher’s column to her mind.
Similarly dubious “expert” claims, amplified by partisan “fact-checking” outfits like Politifact, were used to frame as conspiracy nuts anyone who dared warn of a potential lab leak. (Politifact has now quietly taken down its denunciation of Fox News’ Tucker Carlson as a leading conspiracy theorist on this issue.)
This pattern of Big Tech censorship, enabled by unaccountable “fact-checkers,” poses a catastrophic danger to America’s ability to govern herself and respond to crises.
The problem isn’t just that it leaves ordinary Americans in the dark, but that it insulates elites themselves from uncomfortable realities — such as the possibility that their beloved Chinese trading partner might be responsible for a pandemic that cost millions of lives.
Enough is enough. Facebook and the other Big Tech giants are irreformable. Only political action — in the form of removing the special status that allows them to act like publishers without any of a traditional publisher’s liabilities — can save us from this private tyranny.
Sohrab Ahmari is The Post’s op-ed editor and author of the new book “The Unbroken Thread: Discovering the Wisdom of Tradition in an Age of Chaos.”
Introducing Facebook Graph API v18.0 and Marketing API v18.0
Today, we are releasing Facebook Graph API v18.0 and Marketing API v18.0. As part of this release, we are highlighting changes below that we believe are relevant to parts of our developer community. These changes include announcements, product updates, and notifications on deprecations that we believe are relevant to your application(s)’ integration with our platform.
For a complete list of all changes and their details, please visit our changelog.
Consolidation of Audience Location Status Options for Location Targeting
As previously announced in May 2023, we have consolidated Audience Location Status to our current default option of “People living in or recently in this location” when choosing the type of audience to reach within their Location Targeting selections. This update reflects a consolidation of other previously available options and removal of our “People traveling in this location” option.
We are making this change as part of our ongoing efforts to deliver more value to businesses, simplify our ads system, and streamline our targeting options in order to increase performance efficiency and remove options that have low usage.
This update will apply to new or duplicated campaigns. Existing campaigns created prior to launch will not be entered in this new experience unless they are in draft mode or duplicated.
Add “add_security_recommendation” and “code_expiration_minutes” to WA Message Templates API
Earlier this year, we released WhatsApp’s authentication solution which enabled creating and sending authentication templates with native buttons and preset authentication messages. With the release of Graph API v18, we’re making improvements to the retrieval of authentication templates, making the end-to-end authentication template process easier for BSPs and businesses.
With Graph API v18, BSPs and businesses can have better visibility into preset authentication message template content after creation. Specifically, payloads will return preset content configuration options, in addition to the text used by WhatsApp. This improvement can enable BSPs and businesses to build “edit” UIs for authentication templates that can be constructed on top of the API.
Note that errors may occur when upgrading to Graph API v18 if BSPs or businesses are taking the entire response from the GET request and providing it back to the POST request to update templates. To resolve, the body/header/footer text fields should be dropped before passing back into the API.
Re-launching dev docs and changelogs for creating Call Ads
- Facebook Reels Placement for Call Ads
Meta is releasing the ability to deliver Call Ads through the Facebook Reels platform. Call ads allow users to call businesses in the moment of consideration when they view an ad, and help businesses drive more complex discussions with interested users. This is an opportunity for businesses to advertise with call ads based on peoples’ real-time behavior on Facebook. Under the Ad set Level within Ads Manager, businesses can choose to add “Facebook Reels” Under the Placements section.
- Re-Launching Call Ads via API
On September 12, 2023, we’re providing updated guidance on how to create Call Ads via the API. We are introducing documentation solely for Call Ads, so that 3P developers can more easily create Call Ads’ campaigns and know how to view insights about their ongoing call ad campaigns, including call-related metrics. In the future, we also plan to support Call Add-ons via our API platform. Developers should have access to the general permissions necessary to create general ads in order to create Call Ads via the API platform.
Please refer to developer documentation for additional information.
Deprecations & Breaking Changes
Graph API changes for user granular permission feature
We are updating two graph API endpoints for WhatsAppBusinessAccount. These endpoints are as follows:
- Retrieve message templates associated with WhatsAppBusiness Account
- Retrieve phone numbers associated with WhatsAppBusiness Account
With v18, we are rolling out a new feature “user granular permission”. All existing users who are already added to WhatsAppBusinessAccount will be backfilled and will continue to have access (no impact).
The admin has the flexibility to change these permissions. If the admin changes the permission and removes access to view message templates or phone numbers for one of their users, that specific user will start getting an error message saying you do not have permission to view message templates or phone numbers on all versions v18 and older.
Deprecate legacy metrics naming for IG Media and User Insights
Starting on September 12, Instagram will remove duplicative and legacy, insights metrics from the Instagram Graph API in order to share a single source of metrics to our developers.
This new upgrade reduces any confusion as well as increases the reliability and quality of our reporting.
After 90 days of this launch (i.e. December 11, 2023), we will remove all these duplicative and legacy insights metrics from the Instagram Graph API on all versions in order to be more consistent with the Instagram app.
We appreciate all the feedback that we’ve received from our developer community, and look forward to continuing to work together.
Deprecate all Facebook Wi-Fi v1 and Facebook Wi-Fi v2 endpoints
Facebook Wi-Fi was designed to improve the experience of connecting to Wi-Fi hotspots at businesses. It allowed a merchant’s customers to get free Wi-Fi simply by checking in on Facebook. It also allowed merchants to control who could use their Wi-Fi and for how long, and integrated with ads to enable targeting to customers who had used the merchant’s Wi-Fi. This product was deprecated on June 12, 2023. As the partner notice period has ended, all endpoints used by Facebook Wi-Fi v1 and Facebook Wi-Fi v2 have been deprecated and removed.
API Version Deprecations:
- September 14, 2023: Graph API v11.0 will be deprecated and removed from the platform
- February 8, 2024: Graph API v12.0 will be deprecated and removed from the platform
- May 28, 2024: Graph API v13.0 will be deprecated and removed from the platform
- September 20, 2023: Marketing API v14.0 will be deprecated and removed from the platform
- September 20, 2023: Marketing API v15.0 will be deprecated and removed from the platform
- February 06, 2024: Marketing API v16.0 will be deprecated and removed from the platform
To avoid disruption to your business, we recommend migrating all calls to the latest API version that launched today.
Facebook Platform SDK
As part of our 2-year deprecation schedule for Platform SDKs, please note the upcoming deprecations and sunsets:
- October 2023: Facebook Platform SDK v11.0 or below will be sunset
- February 2024: Facebook Platform SDK v12.0 or below will be sunset
First seen at developers.facebook.com
Allowing Users to Promote Stories as Ads (via Marketing API)
Before today (August 28, 2023), advertisers could not promote images and/or videos used in Instagram Stories as ads via the Instagram Marketing API. This process created unwanted friction for our partners and their customers.
After consistently hearing about this pain point from our developer community, we have removed this unwanted friction for advertisers and now allow users to seamlessly promote their image and/or video media used in Instagram Stories as ads via the Instagram Marketing API as of August 28, 2023.
We appreciate all the feedback received from our developer community, and hope to continue improving your experience.
Please review the developer documentation to learn more.
First seen at developers.facebook.com
Launching second release of Facebook Reels API: An enterprise solution for desktop and web publishers
We’re excited to announce that the second release of FB Reels API is now publicly available for third-party developers. FB Reels API enables users of third-party platforms to share Reels directly to public Facebook Pages and the New Pages Experience.
FB Reels API has grown significantly since the first release in September 2022. The new version of the APIs now support custom thumbnails, automatic music tagging, tagging collaborators, longer format of reels and better error handling.
FB Reels API will also support scheduling and draft capability to allow creators to take advantage of tools provided either by Meta or by our partners. Based on the feedback we received from our partners, we’ll now provide additional audio insights via the Audio Recommendations API and reels performance metrics via the Insights API.
Our goal in the next couple of releases is to continue to make it easier for creators to develop quality content by adding features like early copyright detection and A/B testing. We’re also excited to start working on enhanced creation features like Video clipping- so stay tuned to hear more about those features in the future.
If you are a developer interested in integrating with the Facebook Reels API, please refer to the Developer Documents for more info.
Not sure if this product is for you? Check out our entire suite of sharing offerings.
Tune in to Product @scale event to learn more about FB Video APIs and hear from some of our customers.
First seen at developers.facebook.com
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