- Facebook’s head of communications, Nick Clegg, defended the decision on Tuesday at the Digital Life Design (DLD) conference in Munich.
- Facebook says it’s up to the consumer to decide whether an ad is misleading or not.
- The company has announced the creation of 1,000 new jobs in the U.K.
It has been proven that misinformation on social media networks had a significant impact on the 2016 U.S. presidential elections. Some social networks responded by banning potentially misleading political advertisements. Facebook has, however, changed its censorship strategy, and is no longer looking to filter such promotions.
Facebook’s head of communications, Nick Clegg, defended the decision on Tuesday at the Digital Life Design (DLD) conference in Munich. He underscored that it’s up to the consumer to decide whether an ad is misleading or not. He underlined that tech companies should not predetermine such weighty decisions. “In the end, it shouldn’t be left to Google, Twitter or Facebook to make those decisions because it is not our democracy, it is the people and the peoples’ representatives who have to decide,” he said.
After facing criticism due to propaganda campaigns from Russia during the 2016 U.S presidential election, Facebook has, among other things, introduced a database for advertisements with political content. It shows detailed information about the ads, including the identity of the entities behind them. The company also recently announced plans to allow users to filter political advertisements.
The highlight of Clegg’s time on the mic came when Werner Vogels, Amazon’s chief technology officer, ambushed him with a question on how Facebook was handling user privacy. He asked for an elaboration of the steps that the company was taking to help users understand that they were the product, for advertising purposes.
“If you don’t pay the product you are the product . . . I’d like to believe 95 per cent of your customers do not understand that they are the product.
What would you want to do for them to make them realise that they are selling their data”
Clegg responded by highlighting that Facebook was working hard to make the relationship with its users more explicit.
1,000 New Jobs to Combat Harmful Content
Facebook has announced the creation of 1,000 new jobs to combat the spread of harmful content on its platforms. The new positions will be based in London. This is according to a statement released by the company’s chief operating officer, Sheryl Sandberg, on Tuesday. The new hires will be instrumental in the development of artificial intelligence tools, plus identification and removal of harmful content on Facebook, Instagram, Messenger, and WhatsApp.
Sandberg expressed that Britain is a world market leader in terms of innovation and creativity. She said that this was one of the main reasons why the U.K. was chosen as the new center for development. Prime Minister Boris Johnson welcomed the move, and said that his country was “at the forefront of cutting-edge technologies.”
Internet giants like Facebook and Twitter have been criticized for doing too little to halt the spread of hate and fake news. So far, social media platform operators have only had to delete content if it’s deemed illegal or unsuitable for the general audience. The companies, however, cannot be held responsible for the content.