Connect with us

FACEBOOK

Op-Ed: Think Facebook is invincible? Here’s how the social media giant can be held accountable

Published

on

op-ed:-think-facebook-is-invincible?-here’s-how-the-social-media-giant-can-be-held-accountable

Facebook has had a rough month, and deservedly so. The company has earned a special place of distrust in the hearts of many: A CNN poll published Wednesday found that 3 out of 4 U.S. adults say Facebook is making American society worse.

In an October Senate hearing, former Facebook employee Frances Haugen made explosive allegations that the company’s own research documented the harms its site inflicts upon users. In other words, Facebook itself allegedly knew that its business harmed others in concrete and preventable ways, like promoting photo sharing that damages the mental health of young people, especially girls. How has Facebook gotten away with it?

Part of the answer lies with Section 230 of the Communications Decency Act, the controversial federal law that essentially gives websites broad protection against liability for content posted by others. The law shields Facebook from the responsibility and liability of a traditional publisher.

Though a newspaper might be sued for libel over a defamatory article, Section 230 protects online platforms from liability for the content they distribute as long as they did not create it. In effect, Facebook has received a federal subsidy in the form of Section 230, which largely protects it from an important form of societal regulation: lawsuits.

Lawsuits bring issues into a public forum for scrutiny and discussion. In the absence of adequate regulation, the public depends upon private citizens to assert their rights and redress wrongs in court. When companies deploy new technology and business models, legislators and regulators are often slow to react. As a result, the legality of these new practices is often litigated — meaning they get debated by attorneys, reported by the news media and discussed by the public.

Advertisement

Social media companies have escaped these lawsuits mostly unscathed. For example, Facebook was sued by a victim of sex trafficking who had connected with her abuser through the site. In June the Texas Supreme Court dismissed most of her claims based on Section 230 immunity. In a different case, family members of victims killed by terrorist attacks sued Twitter, Facebook and Google, alleging that these companies provided material support to terrorist organizations. The 9th Circuit ruled (also in June) that most of the claims were barred by Section 230.

See also  Netflix hires former Facebook exec as gaming VP to focus beyond films, shows

But there are grounds for civil liability lawsuits against Facebook outside the scope of Section 230. While 230 lets social media companies off the hook for harmful content posted by users, Facebook’s internal documents and Haugen’s Senate testimony suggest its business model and products are themselves harmful and addictive.

The “like” button and the endless scrolling feature may have negative consequences for mental and physical health by keeping users glued to their screens, as noted by tech insiders such as Tristan Harris and former Facebook executive Chamath Palihapitiya. The company’s product design also rewards misinformation. When Facebook overhauled its algorithm to increase user engagement, it boosted amplification of divisive and provocative content.

Facebook should further be held liable for misleading public statements about the nature of its products. For example, the company’s statements about the mental health benefits of social apps for young people glaringly omit its own internal research showing that Instagram use makes body image issues worse for 1 in 3 teenage girls.

Facebook’s products and what the company says about them should be fair game for product liability lawsuits. People who suffer physical or emotional harm from those products — especially teenagers and young adults who are particularly vulnerable to the site’s features — should be able to sue the company without getting bogged down by Section 230.

Advertisement

Certainly Section 230 needs to be modified. It is currently written so that courts interpret it too broadly to mean blanket immunity even when the claims against a company are not based on publisher or speaker liability. The law should be updated to clarify that companies are responsible for their business practices and products, a line that could be drawn without upending the important protections for free speech and content moderation that 230 provides.

See also  Moms on Facebook and TikTok can't get enough of this $60 washable handbag that resemble a ...

But legislative reform won’t happen fast, and accountability for Facebook shouldn’t have to wait. In addition to compensating injured victims, lawsuits serve another purpose — they will compel the famously evasive company to disclose more information on what it knows about its own products.

Nancy Kim is a law professor at Chicago-Kent College of Law, Illinois Institute of Technology.

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  Moms on Facebook and TikTok can't get enough of this $60 washable handbag that resemble a ...

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

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

FACEBOOK

Facebook Owner Meta Launches New Platform, Safety Hub to Protect Women in India

Published

on

By

Meta Image

Meta (formerly Facebook) on Thursday announced a slew of steps to protect woman users on its platform, including the launch of StopNCII.org in India that aims to combat the spread of non-consensual intimate images (NCII).

Meta has also launched the Women’s Safety Hub, which will be available in Hindi and 11 other Indian languages, that will enable more women users in India to access information about tools and resources that can help them make the most of their social media experience, while staying safe online.

This initiative by Meta will ensure women do not face a language barrier in accessing information Karuna Nain, director (global safety policy) at Meta Platforms, told reporters here.

“Safety is an integral part of Meta’s commitment to building and offering a safe online experience across the platforms and over the years the company has introduced several industry leading initiatives to protect users online.

“Furthering our effort to bolster the safety of users, we are bringing in a number of initiatives to ensure online safety of women on our platforms,” she added.

Advertisement

StopNCII.org is a platform that aims to combat the spread of non-consensual intimate images (NCII).

“It gives victims control. People can come to this platform proactively, hash their intimate videos and images, share their hashes back with the platform and participating companies,” Nain said.

She explained that the platform doesn’t receive any photos and videos, and instead what they get is the hash or unique digital fingerprint/unique identifier that tells the company that this is a known piece of content that is violating. “We can proactively keep a lookout for that content on our platforms and once it”s uploaded, our review team check what”s really going on and take appropriate action if it violates our policies,” she added.

See also  'If you're eligible, we'll help you': Facebook group helps Wisconsinites secure vaccine appointments

In partnership with UK Revenge Porn Helpline, StopNCII.org builds on Meta’s NCII Pilot, an emergency programme that allows potential victims to proactively hash their intimate images so they can”t be proliferated on its platforms.

The first-of-its-kind platform, has partnered with global organisations to support the victims of NCII. In India, the platform has partnered with organisations such as Social Media Matters, Centre for Social Research, and Red Dot Foundation.

Advertisement

Nain added that the company is hopeful that this becomes an industrywide initiative, so that victims can just come to this one central place to get help and support and not have to go to each and every tech platform, one by one to get help and support.

Also, Bishakha Datta (executive editor of Point of View) and Jyoti Vadehra from Centre for Social Research are the first Indian members in Meta”s Global Women”s Safety Expert Advisors. The group comprises 12 other non-profit leaders, activists, and academic experts from different parts of the world and consults Meta in the development of new policies, products and programmes to better support women on its apps.

“We are confident that with our ever-growing safety measures, women will be able to enjoy a social experience which will enable them to learn, engage and grow without any challenges.

“India is an important market for us and bringing Bishakha and Jyoti onboard to our Women”s Safety Expert Advisory Group will go a long way in further enhancing our efforts to make our platforms safer for women in India,” Nain said.

See also  Moms on Facebook and TikTok can't get enough of this $60 washable handbag that resemble a ...

Advertisement
Continue Reading

FACEBOOK

Facebook Adds New Trend Insights in Creator Studio, Which Could Help Shape Your Posting Strategy

Published

on

By

facebook-adds-new-trend-insights-in-creator-studio,-which-could-help-shape-your-posting-strategy
en flag
sv flag

Facebook’s looking to provide more content insight within Creator Studio with the rollout of a new ‘Inspiration Hub’ element, which highlights trending content and hashtags within categories related to your business Page.

Facebook Inspiration Hub

As you can see in these screenshots, posted by social media expert Matt Navarra, when it becomes available to you, you’ll be able to access the new Inspiration Hub from the Home tab in Creator Studio.

At the right side of the screen, you can see the first of the new insights, with trending hashtags and videos from the last 24 hours, posted by Pages similar to yours, displayed above a ‘See more’ prompt.

When you tap through to the new hub, you’ll have a range of additional filters to check out trending content from across Facebook, including Page category, content type, region, and more.

Facebook Inspiration Hub

That could be hugely valuable in learning what Facebook users are responding to, and what people within your target market are engaging with in the app.

Advertisement

The Hub also includes insights into trending hashtags, within your chosen timeframe, which may further assist in tapping into trending discussions.

Facebook Inspiration Hub

How valuable hashtags are on Facebook is still up for debate, but you’ll also note that you can filter the displayed results by platform, so you can additionally display Instagram hashtag trends as well, which could be very valuable in maximizing your reach.

Much of this type of info has been available within CrowdTangle, Facebook’s analytics platform for journalists, for some time, but not everyone can access CrowdTangle data, which could make this an even more valuable proposition for many marketers.

See also  Facebook meets with Israeli and Palestinian officials to discuss online hate speech, threats as ...

Of course, overall performance really relates to your own creative, and thinking through the action that you want your audience to take when reading your posts. But in terms of detecting new content trends, including hashtag usage, caption length, videos versus image posts, and more, there’s a lot that could be gleaned from these tools and filters.

It’s a significant analytics addition – we’ve asked Facebook for more info on the rollout of the new option, and whether it’s already beyond test mode, etc. We’ll update this post if/when we hear back.

Advertisement
Continue Reading

Trending