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Nick Clegg admits that Facebook’s fact checker may be politically biased

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Facebook Vice President Nick Clegg said the company’s fact checkers hired to eradicate “fake news” suspicions from social media platforms could be biased and pursue its own political agenda. Acknowledged, according to a European Commission document obtained by email on Sunday.

The former Deputy Prime Minister admitted to EU authorities in November during a discussion about how the tech giant was working on the false information flooding the site.

Facebook announced fact-checking measures in 2016, claiming that its failure to remove misleading content helped support Donald Trump in the US presidential election that year.

Many have praised the steps that allow users to warn Facebook about content that appears to be fake.

Facebook Vice President Nick Clegg said the company’s fact checkers hired to eradicate “fake news” suspicions from social media platforms could be biased and pursue its own political agenda. Acknowledged, according to a European Commission document obtained by email on Sunday

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The former Deputy Prime Minister admitted to EU authorities in November during a discussion about how the tech giant was working on the false information flooding the site. Facebook announced fact-checking measures in 2016, claiming that its failure to remove misleading content helped to favor Donald Trump in the US presidential election that year.

But critics blamed the intervention, Facebook relied on a left-wing fact checker, and warned that the project would be a “disaster.”

Since then, Facebook has been accused of curbing legitimate talk and curbing public debate.

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Over the last few weeks, there has been a great deal of controversy over the decision to censor a story that claims that Covid-19 is artificial and may have leaked from the Wuhan Institute.

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For months, the warning label was removed or affixed to an article suggesting that the virus originated from a Chinese laboratory, until President Joe Biden overturned the decision when he ordered an investigation into the allegations last month.

Under the fact-checking scheme, Facebook uses a network of 80 organizations around the world, including three in the United Kingdom, to flag false information on the platform.

Stories that are considered false or misleading are not removed from the site, but are flagged by the user through a series of warning labels. Facebook’s sophisticated algorithms can push such stories far below the site, so few people will see them again.

Now, the minutes of the meeting between Mr. Craig and the power broker in Brussels reveal how he questioned the ability of fact checkers to make fair decisions.

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Over the last few weeks, there has been a great deal of controversy over Facebook’s decision to censor stories claiming that Covid-19 is artificial and may have leaked from the Wuhan Institute. For months, the warning label was removed or affixed to an article suggesting that the virus originated from a Chinese laboratory, until President Joe Biden overturned the decision when he ordered the investigation of the complaint last month.

The document shows that Craig and Vice-President of the European Commission, Bella Jouroba, discussed how Facebook countered disinformation in the 2020 US presidential election two weeks ago.

However, the minutes are added as follows. [Mr Clegg] He also emphasized that independent fact checkers are not always objective because they have their own agenda.

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Former Cabinet Minister David Jones said he was “extremely worried” about Mr. Craig’s comment.

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He added: ‘Enrollment completely destroys the credibility of Facebook’s own procedures. It does not provide the right to appeal to news organizations when it censors them, even if they act on the advice of fact checkers motivated by “their own agenda.”

Facebook said last night:’Nick never suggested that our fact-checking program was prejudiced. He explained that one of the benefits of having different independent fact-checking partners is the different disciplines of different countries and the areas of problem they bring.

Facebook began issuing fact-checking warnings to the story about potential leaks in the lab at the start of the pandemic. Then in February, the tech giant announced that it would remove the “Facebook and Instagram false allegations” suggesting that the Covid-19 was artificial or manufactured. (Above, 2019 Craig and Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg)

Craig’s comment raises concerns that Facebook is shutting out public debate.

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Facebook began issuing fact-checking warnings to the story about potential leaks in the lab at the start of the pandemic. Then in February, the tech giant announced that it would remove the “Facebook and Instagram false allegations” suggesting that the Covid-19 was artificial or manufactured.

Some of the articles labeled “False Information” were written by award-winning MoS journalist Ian Birrell on the UnHerd website. The tech giant later apologized for the “mistake.”

In March, Facebook put a warning label on an article about herd immunity written by a US surgeon in The Wall Street Journal.

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An opinion piece by Dr. Martin McCali, a professor at Johns Hopkins University in Baltimore, predicted that Covid-19 would “nearly disappear by April” in the United States.

Facebook has added a “missing context” label to Dr. Makary’s work as a result of a study by one of the third-party fact checkers, Health Feedback. “Independent fact checkers say this information can be misleading,” the label added.

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The ferocious Wall Street Journal has accused Facebook of being a “fact-checking dissenting opinion.” Dr. Macari said he made predictions rather than assertions, and Facebook was doing “cherry-picking” research “to support their opinion.”

Facebook said: “If someone feels that the fact check is inappropriate, they can sue it, and the fact checker has the discretion to change the label if there is a benefit.”

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Updates to Section 7 of the Developer Policies – Facebook Gaming Policies

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We have updated Section 7 of the Developer Policies effective immediately. No change is required from the developers’ end, only awareness about these changes.

As part of our continuous focus on improving developers’ experience, we have made some updates to the Section 7 of the Developer Policies which covers all Facebook Gaming Products, such as Web Games on Facebook.com, Instant Games and Cloud Games. As part of this update we have removed outdated policies, and streamlined the language and structure of Section 7 to better reflect the existing state of our Facebook Gaming Products. We have also reorganized some policies under the Quality Guidelines. These updates do not introduce any product change, nor do they include any new requirements for developers.

Please review the updated Section 7 to familiarize yourself with the updated content structure.

First seen at developers.facebook.com

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Creating Apps with App Use Cases

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With the goal of making Meta’s app creation process easier for developers to create and customize their apps, we are announcing the rollout of an updated process using App Use Cases instead of the former product-focused process. App Use Cases will enable developers to quickly create apps by selecting the use case that best represents their reason for creating an app.

Currently, the product-focused app creation process requires developers to select an app type and individually request permission to API endpoints. After listening to feedback from developers saying this process was, at times, confusing and difficult to navigate, we’re updating our approach that’s based on App Use Cases. With App Use Cases, user permissions and features will be bundled with each use case so developers can now confidently select the right data access for their needs. This change sets developers up for success to create their app and navigate app review, ensuring they only get the exact data access they need to accomplish their goals.

Starting today Facebook Login will be the first use case to become available to developers. This will be the first of many use cases that will be built into the app creation process that will roll out continually in 2023. For more information please reference our Facebook Login documentation.

First seen at developers.facebook.com

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Understanding Authorization Tokens and Access for the WhatsApp Business Platform

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The WhatsApp Business Platform makes it easy to send WhatsApp messages to your customers and automate replies. Here, we’ll explore authentication using the Cloud API, hosted by Meta.

We’ll start with generating and using a temporary access token and then replace it with a permanent access token. This tutorial assumes you’re building a server-side application and won’t need additional steps to keep your WhatsApp application secrets securely stored.

Managing Access and Authorization Tokens

First, let’s review how to manage authorization tokens and safely access the API.

Prerequisites

Start by making sure you have a developer account on Meta for Developers. You’ll also need WhatsApp installed on a mobile device to send test messages to.

Creating an App

Before you can authenticate, you’ll need an application to authenticate you.

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Once you’re signed in, you see the Meta for Developers App Dashboard. Click Create App to get started.

Next, you’ll need to choose an app type. Choose Business.

After that, enter a display name for your application. If you have a business account to link to your app, select it. If not, don’t worry. The Meta for Developers platform creates a test business account you can use to experiment with the API. When done, click Create App.

Then, you’ll need to add products to your app. Scroll down until you see WhatsApp and click the Set up button:

Finally, choose an existing Meta Business Account or ask the platform to create a new one and click Continue:

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And with that, your app is created and ready to use. You’re automatically directed to the app’s dashboard.

Note that you have a temporary access token. For security reasons, the token expires in less than 24 hours. However, you can use it for now to test accessing the API. Later, we’ll cover how to generate a permanent access token that your server applications can use. Also, note your app’s phone number ID because you’ll need it soon.

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Click the dropdown under the To field, and then click Manage phone number list.

In the popup that appears, enter the phone number of a WhatsApp account to send test messages to.

Then, scroll further down the dashboard page and you’ll see an example curl call that looks similar to this:

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curl -i -X POST https://graph.facebook.com/v13.0//messages -H 'Authorization: Bearer ' -H 'Content-Type: application/json' -d '{ "messaging_product": "whatsapp", "to": "", "type": "template", "template": { "name": "hello_world", "language": { "code": "en_US" } } }'

Note that the Meta for Developers platform inserts your app’s phone number ID and access token instead of the and placeholders shown above. If you have curl installed, paste the command into your terminal and run it. You should receive a “hello world” message in WhatsApp on your test device.

If you’d prefer, you can convert the curl request into an HTTP request in your programming language by simply creating a POST request that sets the Authorization and Content-Type headers as shown above, including the JSON payload in the request body.

Since this post is about authentication, let’s focus on that. Notice that you’ve included your app’s access token in the Authorization header. For any request to the API, you must set the Authorization header to Bearer .

Remember that you must use your token instead of the placeholder. Using bearer tokens will be familiar if you’ve worked with JWT or OAuth2 tokens before. If you’ve never seen one before, a bearer token is essentially a random secret string that you, as the bearer of the token, can present to an API to prove you’re allowed to access it.

Failure to include this header causes the API to return a 401 Unauthorized response code.

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Creating a Permanent Access Token

Knowing that you need to use a bearer token in the Authorization header of an HTTP request is helpful, but it’s not enough. The only access token you’ve seen so far is temporary. Chances are that you want your app to access the API for more than 24 hours, so you need to generate a longer-lasting access token.

Fortunately, the Meta for Developers platform makes this easy. All you need to do is add a System User to your business account to obtain an access token you can use to continue accessing the API. To create a system user, do the following:

  • Go to Business Settings.

  • Select the business account your app is associated with.
  • Below Users, click System Users.
  • Click Add.
  • Name the system user, choose Admin as the user role, and click Create System User.
  • Select the whatsapp_business_messaging permission.
  • Click Generate New Token.
  • Copy and save your token.

Your access token is a random string of letters and numbers. Now, try re-running the earlier request using the token you just created instead of the temporary one:

curl -i -X POST https://graph.facebook.com/v13.0//messages -H 'Authorization: Bearer ' -H 'Content-Type: application/json' -d '{ "messaging_product": "whatsapp", "to": "", "type": "template", "template": { "name": "hello_world", "language": { "code": "en_US" } } }'

Your test device should receive a second hello message sent via the API.

Best Practices for Managing Access Tokens

It’s important to remember that you should never embed an App Access Token in a mobile or desktop application. These tokens are only for use in server-side applications that communicate with the API. Safeguard them the same way you would any other application secrets, like your database credentials, as anyone with your token has access to the API as your business.

If your application runs on a cloud services provider like AWS, Azure, GCP, or others, those platforms have tools to securely store app secrets. Alternatively there are freely-available secret stores like Vault or Conjur. While any of these options may work for you, it’s important to evaluate your options and choose what works best for your setup. At the very least, consider storing access tokens in environment variables and not in a database or a file where they’re easy to find during a data breach.

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Conclusion

In this post, you learned how to create a Meta for Developers app that leverages the WhatsApp Business Platform. You now know how the Cloud API’s bearer access tokens work, how to send an access token using an HTTP authorization header, and what happens if you send an invalid access token. You also understand the importance of keeping your access tokens safe since an access token allows an application to access a business’ WhatsApp messaging capabilities.

Why not try using the Cloud API, hosted by Meta if you’re considering building an app for your business to manage WhatsApp messaging? Now that you know how to obtain and use access tokens, you can use them to access any endpoint in the API.

First seen at developers.facebook.com

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