Connect with us

OTHER

European Anti-Vaccination Group Tests Limits of Platforms’ Disinformation Checks

Published

on

european-anti-vaccination-group-tests-limits-of-platforms’-disinformation-checks

Troubled by the number of unvaccinated COVID-19 patients showing up at his hospital, the French doctor logged on to Facebook and uploaded a video urging people to get vaccinated. He was soon swarmed by dozens, then hundreds, then more than 1,000 hateful messages from an anti-vaccine extremist group known as V_V. The group, active in France and Italy, has harassed doctors and public health officials, vandalised government offices and tried to disrupt vaccine clinics.

Alarmed by the abuse of its platform, Facebook kicked off several accounts tied to the group last December. But it didn’t stop V_V, which continues to use Facebook and other platforms and, like many anti-vaccine groups around the world, has expanded its portfolio to include climate change denialism and anti-democratic messaging.

“Let’s go and get them at home, they don’t have to sleep anymore,” reads one post from the group. “Fight with us!” reads another.

The largely unchecked nature of the attacks on the indisputable health benefits of the vaccine highlight the clear limits of a social media company to thwart even the most destructive kind of disinformation, particularly without a sustained aggressive effort.

Researchers at Reset, a US-based nonprofit, identified more than 15,000 abusive or misinformation-laden Facebook posts from V_V — activity that peaked in spring 2022, months after the platform announced its actions against the organisation. In a report on V_V’s activities, Reset’s researchers concluded that its continued presence on Facebook raises “questions about the effectiveness and consistency of Meta’s self-reported intervention.”

Advertisement
free widgets for website

Meta, Facebook’s parent company, noted in response that its 2021 actions were never meant to eliminate all V_V content but to take down accounts found to be participating in coordinated harassment. After The Associated Press notified Facebook of the group’s continued activities on its platform, it said it removed an additional 100 accounts this week.

See also  Social Networking Sites Market 2020 (COVID-19 Worldwide Spread Analysis) by Key Players ...

Meta said it’s trying to strike a balance between removing content from groups like V_V that clearly violate rules against harassment or dangerous misinformation, while not silencing innocent users. That can be particularly difficult when it comes to the contentious issue of vaccines.

“This is a highly adversarial space and our efforts are ongoing: since our initial takedown, we’ve taken numerous actions against this network’s attempts to come back,” a Meta spokesman told the AP.

V_V is also active on Twitter, where Reset researchers found hundreds of accounts and thousands of posts from the group. Many of the accounts were created shortly after Facebook took action on the program last winter, Reset found.

In response to Reset’s report, Twitter said it took enforcement actions against several accounts linked to V_V but did not detail those actions.

Advertisement
free widgets for website

V_V has proved especially resilient to efforts to stop it. Named for the movie V for Vendetta, in which a lone, masked man seeks revenge on an authoritarian government, the group uses fake accounts to evade detection, and often coordinates its messaging and activities on platforms such as Telegram that lack Facebook’s more aggressive moderation policies.

That adaptability is one reason why it’s been hard to stop the group, according to Jack Stubbs, a researcher at Graphika, a data analysis firm that has tracked V_V’s activities.

“They understand how the Internet works,” Stubbs said.

Graphika estimated the group’s membership to be 20,000 in late 2021, with a smaller core of members involved in its online harassment efforts. In addition to Italy and France, Graphika’s team found evidence that V_V is trying to create chapters in Spain, the United Kingdom, Ireland, Brazil and Germany, where a similar anti-government movement known as Querdenken is active.

See also  India’s Proposed IT Rules, Panel Formation for Content Moderation Decisions Concern US Tech Giants

Groups and movements such as V_V and Querdenken have increasingly alarmed law enforcement and extremism researchers who say there’s evidence that far-right groups are using scepticism about COVID-19 and vaccines to expand their reach.

Advertisement
free widgets for website

Increasingly, such groups are moving from online harassment to real world action.

For instance, in April, V_V used Telegram to announce plans to pay a 10,000 Euro bounty to vandals who spray painted the group’s symbol (two red Vs in a circle) on public buildings or vaccine clinics. The group then used Telegram to disseminate photos of the vandalism.

A month before Facebook took action on V_V, Italian police raided the homes of 17 anti-vaccine activists who had used Telegram to make threats against government, medical and media figures for their perceived support of COVID-19 restrictions.

Social media companies have struggled with responding to a wave of misinformation about vaccines since the beginning of the COVID-19 pandemic. Earlier this week, Facebook and Instagram suspended Children’s Health Defense, an influential anti-vaccine organisation led by Robert Kennedy Jr.

One reason is the tricky balancing act between moderating harmful content and protecting free expression, according to Joshua Tucker of New York University, who co-directs NYU’s Center for Social Media and Politics and is a senior advisor at Kroll, a tech, government, and economic consulting firm.

Advertisement
free widgets for website

Striking the right balance is especially important because social media has emerged as a key source of news and information around the world. Leave up too much bad content and users may be misinformed. Take down too much and users will begin to distrust the platform.

See also  Instagram Like Counts Will Disappear for Some Users in the US Starting Next Week

“It is dangerous for society for us to be moving in a direction in which nobody feels they can trust information,” Tucker said.


OTHER

Facebook, Instagram Integration Improved With Deeper Account Centre Integration by Meta

Published

on

By

facebook,-instagram-integration-improved-with-deeper-account-centre-integration-by-meta

Facebook and Instagram are set to offer better integration as parent company Meta announced it is testing a deeper integration across both platforms. The firm has revealed two updates that include a new user interface for the Accounts Center feature across mobile and Web platforms, and a redesigned login and onboarding experience on its mobile apps. The tests include two new features that are intended to make it easier for users to switch between and create new accounts and profiles on Facebook and Instagram. The company is also testing allowing users to receive notifications for both Facebook and Instagram profiles in the same place.

In an announcement on its blog, Meta revealed that the new interface is currently in testing and allows existing users who have added their Instagram and Facebook credentials to the same Account Center, to switch between the two apps without navigating to their phone’s home screen, multitasking menu, or app drawer. Meanwhile, a redesigned mobile login and onboarding experience being tested allows iOS and Android users to sign in or create multiple accounts from a single Instagram or Facebook credential.

Meta also confirmed that existing security features will continue to apply to the updates that include blocking unrecognized devices from using interoperating login credentials for Instagram and Facebook accounts that have the two-factor authentication feature turned on for either of the accounts.

Users will also be notified of any account activity across Facebook and Instagram accounts on a single Accounts Center section including the creation of a newly linked Facebook or Instagram account, according to the company.

See also  Twitter's Lawsuit Against Elon Musk to Get First Hearing on July 19 at Delaware Chancery Court

Meta says it is now testing the new user interface on iOS, Android, and the Web while the login and onboarding workflow redesign is being tested on iOS and Android. The company adds that both features are being tested across the globe. The new features are “currently limited to Facebook and Instagram,” Meta said.

Advertisement
free widgets for website

The updates have arrived post the introduction of Meta accounts in August of this year and a recently reported downturn in both revenue and user growth for the American social-media giant.


Continue Reading

OTHER

Instagram Story Time Limit Increased to 60 Seconds: Report

Published

on

By

instagram-story-time-limit-increased-to-60-seconds:-report

Instagram is reportedly increasing the time limit for Instagram Stories to 60 seconds, from the earlier limit of 15 seconds. Previously, Instagram Stories that were longer than 15 seconds would be broken up into separate segments. The social media company is said to have begun testing the change with select users towards the end of last year. Earlier this month, Instagram rolled out parental supervision tools and Family Center in India. Meta had announced the parental supervision tools and the Family Center tool back in March. The company was recently slapped with EUR 405 million (roughly Rs. 3,200 crore) fine for violating strict European Union data privacy rules.

According to a recent report by TechCrunch, Instagram confirmed that it is increasing the time limit of Instagram stories to 60 seconds from the earlier limit of 15 seconds. Previously, if a user had posted a video longer than 15 seconds, it used to get broken up into smaller segments. This made the process of uploading videos to Instagram Stories more challenging, including tagging and mentioning other users.

As mentioned earlier, Instagram is said to have begun testing the new change with select users towards the end of last year.

Earlier this month, Instagram also rolled out parental supervision tools and Family Center in India. The Family Center is a place for parents and guardians to access supervision tools and resources from leading experts. These tools will let them see the screen time spent by their kids on Instagram and impose time limits. The new parental controls are part of Meta’s attempts to protect children who actively use its social media apps.

See also  Twitter Fires Back in Letter to Elon Musk, Claims No Deal Obligations Breached

Instagram was recently slapped with a EUR 405 million (roughly Rs. 3,200 crore) fine for violating strict European Union data privacy rules. The Meta-owned social media platform was found mishandling the personal information of teenagers. Ireland’s Data Protection Commission’s investigation revealed that Instagram displayed the personal information of users between the age of 13 and 17 years. Instagram’s parent Meta said it disagrees with the way the fine was calculated and has expressed its desire to appeal the fine imposed by the regulator.

Advertisement
free widgets for website

Continue Reading

OTHER

Elon Musk, Twitter CEO Parag Agrawal Said to Postpone Depositions Ahead of Upcoming Trial

Published

on

By

elon-musk,-twitter-ceo-parag-agrawal-said-to-postpone-depositions-ahead-of-upcoming-trial

Tesla CEO Elon Musk won a reprieve from questioning by Twitter lawyers Monday, according to several press reports. The billionaire had been scheduled to give a deposition in his high-stakes court fight with Twitter over whether he has to follow through with his agreement to buy the social platform for $44 billion (roughly Rs. 3,37,465 crore).

Instead, Musk’s questioning was postponed to a future date. Twitter CEO Parag Agrawal, who was also scheduled to face Musk lawyers on Monday, likewise postponed his deposition, according to a person who was briefed on the matter.

The Musk postponement was reported by Bloomberg, Reuters and the Wall Street Journal, all of which attributed the information to anonymous sources.

News of the postponements fueled a brief rally in Twitter shares, which jumped 5.4 percent to $43.03 (roughly Rs. 3,500), apparently on hopes of a settlement in the case. That enthusiasm waned later in the day. Twitter shares closed Monday at $41.58 (roughly Rs. 3,300), eight cents higher than they opened.

Court watchers said that such postponements are not unusual ahead of major pretrial hearings. A hearing on several significant pretrial motions is scheduled for Tuesday.

Advertisement
free widgets for website

Both men were expected to answer questions posed by opposing lawyers ahead of an October trial that will determine who is at fault for the seeming collapse of Musk’s Twitter bid, not to mention who owes whom large sums of money as a result. The trial is set to begin October 17 in Delaware Chancery Court, where it’s scheduled to last just five days.

Musk, the world’s richest man, agreed in April to buy Twitter and take it private, offering $54.20 (roughly Rs. 4,180) a share and vowing to loosen the company’s policing of content and to root out fake accounts. In July, he attempted to back out of the deal, leveling a number of charges at Twitter as justification for his action.

See also  Instagram Like Counts Will Disappear for Some Users in the US Starting Next Week

Twitter subsequently sued Musk to force him to complete the acquisition.


Continue Reading

Trending