Tag Archives: facebook

Keep Your Facts Straight with Google’s New Fact-Checking Tag

Read about the new fact-checking tag on Google News and what Facebook intends to do to keep up in this article from techcrunch.com.

google and facebook graphic
Photo courtesy techcrunch.com

Google added fact checking: Facebook, it’s your move now

By Sarah Perez

Google yesterday announced it will introduce a fact check tag on Google News in order to display articles that contain factual information next to trending news items. Now it’s time for Facebook to take fact-checking more seriously, too.

Facebook has stepped into the role of being today’s newspaper: that is, it’s a single destination where a large selection of news articles are displayed to those who visit its site. Yes, they appear amidst personal photos, videos, status updates, and ads, but Facebook is still the place where nearly half of American adults get their news.

Facebook has a responsibility to do better, then, when it comes to informing this audience what is actually news: what is fact-checked, reported, vetted, legitimate news, as opposed to a rumor, hoax or conspiracy theory.

It’s not okay that Facebook fired its news editors in an effort to appear impartial, deferring only to its algorithms to inform readers what’s trending on the site. Since then, the site has repeatedly trended fake news stories, according to a Washington Post report released earlier this week.

The news organization tracked every news story that trended across four accounts during the workday from August 31 to September 22, and found that Facebook trended five stories that were either “indisputably fake” or “profoundly inaccurate.” It also regularly featured press releases, blog posts, and links to online stores, like iTunes – in other words, trends that didn’t point to news sites.

Facebook claimed in September that it would roll out technology that would combat fake stories in its Trending topics, but clearly that has not yet come to pass – or the technology isn’t up to the task at hand.

In any event, Facebook needs to do better.

It’s not enough for the company to merely reduce the visibility of obvious hoaxes from its News Feed – not when so much of the content that circulates on the site is posted by people – your friends and family –  right on their profiles, which you visit directly.

Plus, the more the items are shared, the more they have the potential to go viral. And viral news becomes Trending news, which is then presented all Facebook’s users in that region.

This matters. Facebook has trended a story from a tabloid news source that claimed 9/11 was an inside job involving planted bombs. It ran a fake story about Fox News anchor Megyn Kelly which falsely claimed she was fired. These aren’t mistakes: they are disinformation.

Facebook has apologized for the above, but declined to comment to The Washington Post regarding its new findings that fake news continues to be featured on the platform.

In addition, not only does Facebook fail at vetting its Trending news links, it also has no way of flagging the links that fill its site.

Outside of Trending, Facebook continues to be filled with inaccurate, poorly-sourced, or outright fake news stories, rumors and hoaxes. Maybe you’re seeing less of them in the News Feed, but there’s nothing to prevent a crazy friend from commenting on your post with a link to a well-known hoax site, as if it’s news. There’s no tag or label. They get to pretend they’re sharing facts.

Meanwhile, there’s no way for your to turn off commenting on your own posts, even when the discussion devolves into something akin to “sexual assault victims are liars” (to reference a recent story.)

Because perish the thought that Facebook would turn of the one mechanism that triggers repeat visits to its site, even if that means it would rather trigger traumatic recollections on the parts of its users instead.

There is a difference between a post that’s based on fact-checked articles, and a post from a website funded by an advocacy group. There’s a difference between Politifact and some guy’s personal blog. Facebook displays them both equally, though: here’s a headline, a photo, some summary text.

Of course, it would be a difficult job for a company that only wants to focus on social networking and selling ads to get into the media business – that’s why Facebook loudly proclaims it’s “not a media company.”

Except that it is one. It’s serving that role, whether it wants to or not.

Google at least has stepped up to the plate and is trying to find a solution. Now it’s Facebook’s turn.

Facebook may have only unintentionally become a media organization, but it is one. And it’s doing a terrible job.

Click here to see more from techcrunch.com.

Learn About the Upcoming Facebook Desktop Gaming Platform

Facebook is teaming up with Unity to develop a desktop gaming platform, according to ubergizmo.com. Check out the article below to find out more!

device pitstop facebook and unity desktop gaming platform screenshot

Facebook Is Developing A Desktop Gaming Platform With Unity

By Adnan Farooqui

Game engine company Unity and Facebook have announced today that they are working on a new desktop gaming platform for the social network. This partnership is also going to enable developers to easily port their games to Facebook. Interested developers can apply for a closed alpha of the export tool by August 31st, the tool will be integrated directly into the Unity Editor.

Facebook first talked about its downloadable desktop platform for games earlier this year. That test was called “Facebook Games Arcade” but is now just referred to as “new Facebook PC gaming platform.”

The social network hasn’t revealed all of the details about the platform that it’s working on with Unity but it’s reportedly going to work on different types of PCs and not just Windows.

The report also claims that the desktop platform is going to give players a gaming environment free from all distractions, it won’t have any Facebook features like the News Feed. Facebook’s traditional games will be supported aside from those ported from iOS and Android.

Facebook was once the hub of online social gaming but a lot has changed since then. It appears that the company is trying its hand at this again and now it’s looking to offer a concrete solution that doesn’t bundle casual gaming with the clutter of the world’s largest social network.

Click here to see more from ubergizmo.com.

OpenCellular Promises to Bring the Internet Everywhere

Facebook is behind a new device called OpenCellular that promises to bring the Internet to every inch of the planet in the near future. Read the article from washingtonpost.com to learn more. Or click here to see the article on washingtonpost.com.

Device Pitstop Facebook OpenCelluar product
Photo by Facebook from washingtonpost.com.

This new Facebook device aims to bring Internet to the ends of the earth

By Brian Fung

Facebook has a clear interest in getting the rest of the world online. The more people who use the Internet, the more likely it is they’ll use Facebook, which means more ads and more money.

To that end, the company has launched a new piece of hardware that could help bring Internet access and communication to even the most remote places on the planet.

The device, which Facebook calls OpenCellular, looks like a breadbox and can be mounted on trees, poles and other objects. Pair it with a source of electricity — such as a battery or even solar power — and it can do all sorts of things to connect people, Facebook says. You can hook it into an existing cellular network so mobile phones can start receiving data; depending on how the device is configured, it can transfer everything from simple 2G data to ultra-fast LTE. It has a range of about six miles.

OpenCellular can also work without an Internet connection, essentially acting as an offline hub that still allows phones and computers to interact with one another over a local network.

Facebook believes this device, whose design is being open-sourced so non-Facebook people can tinker and experiment with it, could help make it cheaper to expand cellular connectivity. Some of the biggest costs associated with building out networks have nothing to do with the actual cellular base station and everything to do with the various inputs that go into supporting it. This includes things like tower construction, permits and paying for power and connectivity to the rest of the network, a behind-the-scenes technology called “backhaul.”

While OpenCellular would still need many of these things to run as a fully functional cellular tower, Facebook thinks open-sourcing the design will make it easier for many players to jump into the game, driving down costs.

Facebook also envisions these devices as an integral part of its own effort to build a global Internet-access infrastructure. The company has already invested in drones that could essentially hover for long periods of time and beam down Internet signals, as well as laser technologies that can carry data at high speeds.

Facebook chief executive Mark Zuckerberg said Wednesday that OpenCellular represents the next step after those innovations, and it’s not hard to imagine that these devices someday might talk directly to the drones and satellites ferrying Internet data from halfway around the globe.

Click here to see more from washingtonpost.com.