Reality finally strikes Facebook pertaining fake news that it recently deleted more than 30,000 fake accounts before the recent French election. Facebook is now engaged in a very similar campaign in Britain, where it is eliminating thousands of fake accounts and warning users about the problem of fake news in a series of newspaper ads.
It seems the company has come around to the idea that “fake news” campaigns may actually be able to influence elections, after initially denying that this was the case in the U.S. At first, Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg said fake news was a minuscule problem, and called the suggestion thatÂ it may have affected the election “a pretty crazy idea.”
But the company’s behavior in France and the U.K. isn’t evidence of some kind of religious conversion on Zuckerberg’s part when it comes to the dangers of fake news. It’s more about the political pressure that Facebook is feeling on the issue from the European Community.
The giant social network has been under fire for some time now in a number of different E.U. countries, especially Germany, for its role in spreading not just fake news but hate speech and offensive behavior of various kinds. In that context, the French and British campaigns seem mostly designed to make it look as though Facebook takes the issue seriously.
The German cabinet approved a legislation that would fine large services like Facebook as much as $50 million if they fail to remove fake news or hate speech quickly enough. The bill is not yet law, but it is supported by a number of senior German politicians.
In Britain, meanwhile, some believe that social networks like Facebook and Twitter and their distribution of fake news articles helped to sway the so-called “Brexit” vote in favor of having Britain leave the European Union.
In France, it appeared that some organized efforts were under way to try to influence the outcome of the election, after thousands of documentsÂ relating to centrist candidate Emmanuel Macron were leaked in an anonymous Internet dump by unknown parties. The Macron campaign warned that some of the documents in the dump were forgeries.
Although it came too late to be much help with the U.S. election, Facebook admitted in a recent research report that there were signs of coordinated attempts to affect the U.S. presidential campaign through the distribution of fake news about both political parties.
The term â€œfake newsâ€� is in the midst of a significant cultural moment, as people on both sides of the political spectrum have blamed resulted they donâ€™t agree with on false or misleading stories. Many point to â€œfake newsâ€� as a reason why Donald Trump defeated Hillary Clinton on Election Day, but the president is quick to throw around the term himself.
In some cases, the social network’s security team said that this behavior wasn’t even directed at raising doubts or perpetuating myths about a specific candidate or party, but was intended to sow discord and confusion about the outcome of the election in general.
Facebook identified malicious actors on the social media platform who, via inauthentic accounts, actively engaged across the political spectrumÂ with the apparent intent of increasing tensions between supporters of these groups and fracturing their supportive base. Hence, resulting inÂ deleting more than 30,000 fake accounts.
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