Facebook ramps up announcements on data protection efforts Audrey Schomer 8m 8 BI Intelligence

http://www.businessinsider.com/facebook-ramps-up-announcements-on-data-protection-efforts-2018-4

Facebook ramps up announcements on data protection efforts
Audrey Schomer 8m 8
BI Intelligence
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Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg will reportedly testify in a hearing held by the House Energy and Commerce Committee on April 11, focused on Facebook’s use and protection of user data, The Wall Street Journal confirmed.

This will be Zuckerberg’s first public testimony before US lawmakers. Since last week, the CEO has given interviews to a handful of news outlets, including CNN, The New York Times, Wired, Recode, and Vox.

The company has announced a slew of adjustments it’s making or planning to make, including by launching data privacy features or fixes, purging bad actors, and attempting to curb the spread of disinformation. Ahead of Zuckerberg’s appearance next Wednesday, such announcements seem likely to continue streaming out of company leadership.

The hearing is likely to mirror the first set of tech hearings that took place last fall with legal representatives from companies that included Facebook, Twitter, and Google. Lawmakers then present were alarmed and disappointed at the apparent inability of these platforms to self-regulate. Facing a similar set of government officials, and as the founder and head of his company, Zuckerberg will need to be prepared to respond, not just with platitudes promising self-betterment, but with meaningful actions that the company has taken and will continue to take to ensure that users’ data is protected and that it will do what it can and must to weed out bad actors.

Facebook has already issued two statements this week, announcing two new steps the company is taking to that end:

It removed inauthentic accounts and pages that were operated by the Internet Research Agency (IRA), per a blog post by Facebook’s Chief Security Officer Alex Stamos. The IRA is the Russian agency that the tech company determined was pushing out manipulative content and ads on the platform in the months ahead of the US presidential election. Zuckerberg also highlighted the efforts on his page. In its latest purge, the company has removed 70 Facebook accounts, 65 Instagram accounts, and 138 Facebook pages. Facebook has already banned hundreds of IRA accounts, and says it expects to find more, which it will also remove. In addition to an overall agenda to purify its platforms of bad-actor-led activity, Facebook also said it wants to improve transparency with users by giving them an access point through the Help Center that will show users what the IRA did.
Facebook is rolling out a feature in the US that aims to give users more context about articles they see in News Feed, per a company blog post. The feature places an “About this Article” button next to news items that appear in News Feed, writes Engadget. When users click the button, they’ll see that publisher’s Wikipedia page and a data snapshot revealing how many times the article has been shared. The feature aims to help users become more skeptical and savvy consumers of news by giving them useful contextual information to help determine whether a source is legitimate and credible.
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