What does it mean for the future of Facebook and what will it mean to your news feed?
With a recent report by the Electronic Frontier Foundation (EFF) on Facebook’s ability to use its massive database of user data to censor content, the social network’s CEO Mark Zuckerberg has been forced to take a few big steps to protect its users.
The report reveals that Facebook is able to automatically determine whether an account belongs to a known criminal and if so, the information can be used to automatically delete posts from that account.
It also revealed that Facebook has access to user data for over a billion people and can use it to decide whether a post is a “hate post”, which means it can be removed from the newsfeed.
If this sounds like a lot of power, it is.
Facebook is the fourth most visited website on the internet, according to Alexa data.
The company’s data is also used to filter out posts deemed “harmful”, according to the EFF report.
It’s clear that Zuckerberg and the rest of Facebook’s management team are concerned about what happens when a “fake news” narrative becomes the news.
The data is being used to create an algorithm that “minimises the likelihood of a hoax, and thereby minimises the impact on real people”, according the report.
Facebook has said it will “reconsider” the use of this data in the future.
The firm has already had to remove a controversial post in the past that used fake news information.
In a statement to TechRadar, Zuckerberg said: “We have worked hard to improve the reporting of real-time information about dangerous threats.
But we also want to be transparent about what we know about our algorithms and the information we collect.”
While the EFF says that Facebook’s use of user information for censorship purposes “will not be a new thing for Facebook”, its new technology is “much broader and broader than we thought it would be”, according Aaron Johnson, a researcher with the technology and media group Information Technology and Communications Policy Research Institute (ITCPRI).
“It’s just a new tool for Facebook to control who sees what content and when, in order to control what people are able to see,” he told TechRadars blog.
Johnson, who studies the rise of fake news, said that Facebook would not be the first social network to use this type of technology.
“If I had to guess, I would say Facebook is going to do this as well,” he said.
Johnson said Facebook’s data could be used for “very specific things”.
For example, it could be combined with other types of content to determine who was able to access the content at a particular time.
“That’s a very broad use of the technology, but it’s a really big issue with the kind of data that’s being used,” he added.
In addition to the new data being used for censorship, the EFF also found that Facebook uses its massive trove of user accounts to monitor its user base.
Facebook uses the user accounts of users to track their activity and to track users’ posts, according the EFF.
In one example, the report showed that users can be tagged and tagged by the name of a friend who posted to Facebook.
Facebook said the “friend” tag was used to tag posts that were not tagged by their actual friends.
But the EFF’s Johnson says that users’ accounts are also being used as a tool to monitor posts that have been posted to other people’s pages.
“If someone posts a link to a news story and they’re not tagged, they’ll see the friend tag,” he explained.
“It could be as simple as that person tagging someone else’s page that post.
If the friend tags that post, they can then see the posts on the other pages.
And that’s a lot more accurate than if you don’t tag that post.”
As the report made clear, the power of this information has been used to make Facebook more difficult to use.
“The fact that they [Facebook] could track the activity of millions of people without them being able to do anything to stop it is terrifying,” Johnson said.
“What the system is trying to do is basically censor people.
That is exactly the problem we want to solve.”