Here's what Facebook employees are saying about Zuckerberg's decision not to remove Trump's threats of violence

“If we fail the test case here, history will not judge us kindly.”

Leaked internal Facebook posts reveal that Facebook employees are horrified that Mark Zuckerberg and C-suite executives refuse to remove impeached president Donald Trump’s threats of violence. Read the rest

Facebook studied how it polarizes users, then ignored the research

• “Our algorithms exploit the human brain's attraction to divisiveness.”

• “64% of all extremist group joins are due to our recommendation tools”

• GOP operative turned Facebook policy VP Joel Kaplan, who threw a party for Brett Kavanaugh upon his Supreme Court confirmation, killed any action on Facebook's internal findings, reports WSJ Read the rest

'GrokNet', the AI behind Facebook Shops, looks for body type, skin tone, location, socioeconomic class in photos

• Yay, Clearview AI but for shopping!

Facebook Mark Zuckerberg today announced the launch of Facebook Shops, an e-commerce feature to allows business users to list and sell products on Facebook and Instagram. Read the rest

Facebook is buying Giphy in deal valued at $400 million

• In the future, everything will be eaten by Mark Zuckerberg

Facebook is acquiring Giphy in a deal valued at roughly $400 million. The GIF-sharing service was valued at ~$600 million in its latest funding round. Read the rest

Facebook working with China Mobile to bring undersea internet to Africa in $1 Billion deal

New mega subsea cable to bring more reliable high-speed internet to Africa, Mideast

Facebook must pay $52M for 11,250 content moderators' mental health issues caused on the job

Current and former moderators will be paid at least $1,000

Facebook helps launch American Edge, lobbying group in DC to fight antitrust regulators

• Facebook is one of the big-tech entities behind American Edge, a new lobbying group in DC to fight antitrust regulators and push back against lawmakers trying to rein in Big Tech.

“Facebook is working behind the scenes to help launch a new political advocacy group that would combat U.S. lawmakers and regulators trying to rein in the tech industry, escalating Silicon Valley’s war with Washington at a moment when government officials are threatening to break up large companies,” reports Tony Romm at the Washington Post: Read the rest

Facebook may lose seal of approval that gives ad buyers confidence they get what they buy in advertising, WSJ reports

Media rating council says Facebook could be denied accreditation

Facebook accuses Israel's NSO Group of exploiting U.S. servers to infect 100s of devices via WhatsApp

Israeli spy-tech firm used WhatsApp accounts to hack, Facebook claims

Facebook nixes 'pseudoscience' ad-targeting category

After The Markup revealed that Facebook users were being targeted with bad ads for garbage products, Facebook has now agreed to remove “pseudoscience” as an ad targeting option for advertisers.

Yes, this was allowed during the coronavirus pandemic, until a news website shamed Facebook into eliminating it. Read the rest

Facebook says it will show geographic origin of some posts, to thwart foreign political disinformation campaigns

On Wednesday, Facebook said it will label posts from popular accounts to reveal their geographic origin, an attempt to limit election-year political misinformation by foreign entities. Read the rest

Washington state sues Facebook a second time over political ads

“FACEBOOK already paid $238,000 in 2018 to resolve a previous dispute over political advertising in Washington state.”

Australia sues Facebook, says Cambridge Analytica scandal violated privacy of over 300,000 Australians

“Facebook’s default settings facilitated the disclosure of personal information, including sensitive information, at the expense of privacy.”

Facebook allows pro-Bloomberg posts from paid staffers, may change that now

Facebook is reportedly considering making it just a wee bit clearer that pro-Bloomberg political campaign posts come from paid staffers on Michael Bloomberg's political campaign. Yes, 2020 is bonkers. Read the rest

IRS sues Facebook for $9bn

The IRS is suing Facebook for $9bn over unpaid taxes, reports Reuters, targeting its licensing of "intellectual property" to its own Irish subsidiary to shift profits to that lower-taxed jurisdiction.

Under the arrangement, Facebook’s subsidiaries pay royalties to the U.S.-based parent for access to its trademark, users and platform technologies. From 2010 to 2016, Facebook Ireland paid Facebook U.S. more than $14 billion in royalties and cost-sharing payments, according to the court filing.

The company said the low valuation reflected the risks associated with Facebook’s international expansion, which took place in 2010 before its IPO and the development of its most lucrative digital advertising products.

The practice used to be called Double Irish but has become more elaborate in recent years with changes to the law; Ireland remains the hot place to store profits. Read the rest

Study: Facebook quitters report more life satisfaction, less depression and anxiety

Facebook is designed to make you anxious, depressed and dissatisfied, three states of mind that make you more vulnerable to advertising and other forms of behavioral manipulation. Small wonder, then, that people who quit using Facebook report higher levels of life satisfaction and lower levels of depression and anxiety [pdf]. Bloomberg's article about the study is a few months old but one that should be revisited regularly between now and November.

People who deactivated Facebook as part of the experiment were happier afterward, reporting higher levels of life satisfaction and lower levels of depression and anxiety. The change was modest but significant — equal to about 25 to 40 percent of the beneficial effect typically reported for psychotherapy.

Why are people willing to pay so much money for something that reduces their happiness? One possibility is that social media acts like an addictive drug — in fact, the people Allcott et al. paid to deactivate Facebook ended up using it less after the experiment was over. But another possibility is that people use services like Facebook because they’re compelled by motivations other than the pursuit of happiness.

Read the rest

Facebook refused to remove racist and anti-Semitic group page until it got a letter from New Jersey Attorney General

Ten months ago the director of New Jersey's Division on Civil Rights alerted Facebook about a racist and anti-Semitic group page it was hosting, but Facebook took no action, reports Ars Technica. It took a letter from the state's attorney general to convince Facebook to remove the group page.

On Wednesday New Jersey Attorney General Gurbir Grewal and New Jersey Governor Phil Murphy issued a joint statement, which read:

"We just learned that Facebook has decided to take down the public page on the company’s social network called ‘Rise Up Ocean County.’ Facebook’s action comes ten months after the Director of our Division on Civil Rights, Rachel Wainer Apter, first sent a letter to Facebook expressing concerns about racist and anti-Semitic statements on the page. Since then, we’ve consistently and repeatedly made clear our view that the page appeared to violate Facebook’s terms of service, and we appreciate that Facebook has now decided that this kind of hateful rhetoric has no place on its platform.

There remains much that should be done to stop the spread of hate on the Internet. The Murphy Administration will continue to call out hate whenever and wherever we see it, we will persist in demanding meaningful reforms to address the proliferation of hate online, and we will continue working to make New Jersey a safe and inclusive place for all of our residents.”

From the Ars Technica article:

In January the Facebook page went briefly offline, leading state officials to believe Facebook had in fact taken it down, but the group came back several hours later, "gloating" about its perseverance.

Read the rest

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