Facebook has shut down accounts spreading fake news, but is it accountable?

phys.org | 3/25/2019 | Staff
marika (Posted by) Level 3
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Since late last year, Facebook has been actively shutting down accounts responsible for spreading hoaxes in some countries, especially those holding general elections.

In Indonesia, for instance, Facebook has shut down thousands of accounts believed to be disseminating misinformation.

Facebook - Policy - Closing - Accounts - Questions

Unfortunately, Facebook's policy on closing accounts is not transparent enough. Questions arose when Facebook recovered an account that belonged to social media activist Permadi Arya, a supporter of the incumbent presidential candidate, Joko "Jokowi" Jokowi. Facebook blocked and then recovered his account after Permadi threatened to sue Facebook for around Rp 1 billion (US$70 million) if it didn't open his accounts and clear his name.

Facebook has not clearly explained its policy on shutting down or recovering accounts. Transparency is needed from Facebook to ensure it is free from any political pressures. This will also empower its users to take action in fighting hoaxes and misinformation.

Media - Platforms - Role - Spread - Misinformation

Social media platforms should play a key role in stopping the spread of misinformation. Misinformation has polarised societies in the US, Brazil, Moldova and Indonesia. The platforms' lack of action has allowed misinformation and hate speech to spread faster, triggering genocide (in Myanmar), homicides (in India) and health crises (in Liberia and Nigeria).

Until recently, social media justified their lack of action by arguing that they are not media companies. Therefore, they should not regulate information circulating on their platforms. Twitter CEO Jack Dorsey told CNN last year that Twitter should not be the "arbiter of truth" on its platform.

Platforms - Spreading - Misinformation - Hoaxes - Reasons

However, platforms should be responsible for preventing the spreading of misinformation and hoaxes for at least four reasons.

First, actors who spread misinformation are often part of an organised group. One person, no matter how resourced he or she is, can not protect him/herself from these networks. A study of individuals' behaviours in spreading misinformation that I conducted with my colleague, M....
(Excerpt) Read more at: phys.org
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