Facebook Attempts to Restore its Tarnished Image with Two Announcements

  • The world's leading social network announced that users would be able to view and delete data related to their online activity.
  • The idea of ​​a supervisory board, a sort of "Supreme Court" made up of independent personalities, was raised by Facebook boss Mark Zuckerberg in April 2018.
  • Political advertisements, even false ones, will thus not be censored, which has earned Facebook a new round of convictions.

Facebook is trying to tackle the issue of contentious content and has now announced the establishment of an independent “Supreme Court.” Moreover, the company is now giving users the ability to erase their personal data collected from external websites to target them with advertisements. Facebook, which has approximately two billion users worldwide, is often criticized for its data management policies.

Criticism of Facebook has led to international media coverage and significant reporting of its legal troubles and the outsize influence it has on the lives and health of its users and employees, as well on its influence on the way media, specifically news, is reported and distributed. Facebook has been criticized for not doing enough to limit the spread of fake news stories on their site, especially after the 2016 United States presidential election.

Through these two measures, which were announced on Tuesday, the group is looking to restore its image as the U.S. presidential elections get closer. The following is an excerpt of a statement from Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg.

“Over the next few weeks we’ll show nearly 2 billion people around the world a prompt encouraging them to review their privacy settings. The prompt will show up in your News Feed and direct you to the Privacy Checkup tool, which we recently updated.”

The world’s leading social network announced that users would be able to view and delete data related to their online activity. Facebook collects some of it from external websites and applications. Users will now be able to delete this info with just one click.

Internet searches, online shopping, and other online activities are all tracked by Facebook and used to target users with advertisements. The practice has, over the years, attracted a vast number of advertisers. The new privacy tool dubbed the “Off-Facebook Activity” offers a new level of transparency and control to users of the social network. This is according to Zuckerberg.

The following is an elaboration of the new feature by Erin Egan, the company’s Chief Privacy Officer.

“Off-Facebook Activity lets you see a summary of the apps and websites that send us information about your activity, and clear this information from your account if you want to. This is another way to give people more transparency and control on Facebook, along with recent updates to our Ad Library.”

Thomas Hughes is a British human rights expert who was appointed by Facebook to lead its new oversight board. He was previously executive director at Article 19, a non-profit British human rights organisation.

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The second measure announced Tuesday by Facebook is related to its “Supreme Court,” which will have the final say in disputes concerning the removal of questionable content. It is set to be operational in the coming months. To lead the monitoring committee, the social network has recruited British human rights activist, Thomas Hughes. He has been the executive director of Article 19, an information and expression human rights group.

The idea of ​​a supervisory board, a sort of “Supreme Court” made up of independent personalities, was raised by Facebook boss Mark Zuckerberg in April 2018 and was to be set up in late 2019. The social network says it wants to prevent the publication and sharing of articles and images considered inappropriate according to its charter. This is while being careful to respect freedom of expression.

Political advertisements, even false ones, will thus not be censored, which has earned Facebook a new round of convictions. “In a democracy I think it is up to people to decide what is credible, not to tech companies,” said Mark Zuckerberg in October. In his view, political advertisements are useful for small candidates, local candidates, challengers, or even certain groups that would otherwise be ignored by the media.

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Samuel Gush

Samuel Gush is a Technology, Entertainment, and Political News writer at Communal News.

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