As the world's most widely used social website, Facebook has a great - and often poorly understood - ability to influence its users.
Mark Zuckerberg wrote in 2017 that "Right now, we're starting to explore ways to use AI to tell the difference between news stories about "terrorism" and actual terrorist propaganda so we can quickly remove anyone trying to use our services to recruit for a terrorist organization."
On May 31, 2016, Facebook agreed with Google, Microsoft, and Twitter to a European Union code of conduct obligating them to review "[the] majority of valid notifications for removal of illegal hate speech" posted on their services within 24 hours.
With over 1,000,000,000 active users, Facebook is recording a lot of data about a lot of people. Together with other social media, in 2016, Facebook "accounted for 43 percent of all traffic to major news sites. Nearly two-thirds of Facebook and Twitter users access their news through their feeds."
A 2015 estimate put 1/3 of Facebook's entire staff as moderators, but Facebook claimed this was an overestimate - although without offering an alternative figure.
The editor of Norway's largest newspaper found his Facebook feed censored after he posted the 1972 image of Kim Phúc running away from a US napalm attack. In an open letter to Mark Zuckerberg he complained that "First you create rules that don’t distinguish between child pornography and famous war photographs. Then you practice these rules without allowing space for good judgement. Finally you even censor criticism against and a discussion about the decision – and you punish the person who dares to voice criticism."
Tracking of Users
Facebook admits to using the microphone to listen to users' environments, but has claimed that it does not record conversations.
Since 2012, Facebook has been "better understanding of our ecosystem" by encouraging users to report if their friends use the network under an assumed name. Mark Zuckerberg has been consistent in his explanation of the plan to shareholders, a plan to be the middle-man in all personal communication.
Tracking of Non-users
In April 2015, after research bu Belgian privacy regulators, Facebook admitted that it was placing a cookie on "some" people's browsers, even if they were not Facebook users and had never visited the site. It claimed that this was due to a "bug".
Facebook is used as a research tool by ordinary users, but the company itself also carries out undisclosed research on users. An internal document leaked in 2017 showed how by monitoring posts, comments and interactions on the site, Facebook can figure out when people as young as 14 feel “defeated”, “overwhelmed”, “stressed”, “anxious”, “nervous”, “stupid”, “silly”, “useless”, and a “failure”.
Multiple experimenters have used data from Facebook to study 'emotional contagion', how mood is transferred between friends. It was announced in 2014 that some research was not merely observational, but involved investigations in manipulating users' moods through the skewing of data presented through Facebook. For 7 days, 689,003 users were presented with modified newsfeeds which included more or less "happy" or "sad" phrases from friends. The study concluded "that emotional states can be transferred to others via emotional contagion, leading people to experience the same emotions without their awareness."
Facebook announced in 2014 that it has developed a program called "DeepFace," which can determine whether two photographed faces are of the same person with 97.25% accuracy - compared with a human ability of discriminating faces at about 97.5%.
Experiments by users
In 2015, the EFF reported that in the South Carolina prison system, accessing Facebook is an offense on par with murder, rape, rioting, escape and hostage-taking, with at least one inmate receiving more than 37 years in isolation for the 'offence'.
Facebook on Wikispooks
- "Facebook, YouTube, Twitter and Microsoft sign EU hate speech code". The Guardian. Retrieved 7 June 2016.
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