Google Maps takes on Facebook with launch of its own news feed
- The feed, which is found with the Explore tab of the Google Maps app, is designed to make it easier to find the most recent news, updates, and recommendations from trusted local sources.
- For example, the Google Maps’ Updates tab offered a similar feed that included businesses’ posts along with news, recommendations, stories, and other features designed to encourage discovery.
- Google hopes the change will encourage users to visit the app more often in order to find out what’s happening in their area — whether that’s a new post from a business or a review from another user detailing some fun local activity, like a day trip or new hiking spot, for example.
- Over the past few years, Google Maps has added features that allowed users to follow businesses, much like Facebook does, as well as message those businesses directly in the app, similar to Messenger.
Is social media ready for a Covid-19 vaccine?
- Public health and social media experts told Recode that social media companies should expect anti-vaccination communities to use social media to capitalize on peoples’ understandable concerns about a potential Covid-19 vaccine.
- For much of the pandemic, the company had a policy of taking down misinformation that could cause imminent, physical harm, like the false claim that face masks cause Covid-19, and reducing the prominence of vaccine hoaxes flagged by global health authorities in places like its News Feed and search.
- The company — which currently bans people from saying there is a proven vaccine — recently announced that it would remove videos that include information about vaccines that go against the guidance of local public health officials or organizations like the WHO.
Facebook’s Oversight Board takes its first six cases
- Facebook’s Oversight Board, an independent body that reviews Facebook moderation decisions, has accepted its first cases.
- The six appeals involve content removed under Facebook’s hate speech rules, nudity ban, and misinformation policies.
- Most of the cases involve users outside the US posting non-English content — a known weak point for Facebook moderation — and at least two hinge on the nuance of someone publishing hate content to implicitly criticize it.
- Cases like the pandemic video decision, for instance, will set an independently decided precedent for when Facebook removes similar content in the future.
- Many of Facebook’s problems involve the speed and scale of content moderation, not the exact nuances of interpreting its policies.
- The Oversight Board obviously can’t hear all the appeals cases, and we don’t know exactly how rank-and-file moderators will apply its rulings to everyday decisions.
How fake news aimed at Latinos thrives on social media
- Politicians and social media researchers are still working on the full post-mortem of what happened in the 2020 election with Latino voters, but they’re already finding clear takeaways about what kinds of viral misinformation spreads, how it gains traction, and what companies like Facebook, YouTube, and Twitter can do to minimize its impact — if they decide to do so.
- And increasingly, some members of the Latino community feel that the major Spanish-language networks are biased against conservatives, perpetuated in part, Savage and Longoria said, by viral conspiracy theories spread online — including the unproven accusation that star Univision anchor Jorge Ramos is working on behalf of the Democratic Party.
- In a YouTube live video posted last week with over 40,000 views, three popular Latino social media influencers warned viewers about a California woman claiming that her dog was sent a mail-in ballot, as an example of mass voter fraud — despite the fact that the anecdote has been widely discredited.
Libra cryptocurrency changes name to Diem to distance from Facebook
- The Libra cryptocurrency is getting a new name today, Diem, in an effort to show that the project has “organizational independence” as it attempts to get regulatory approvals for launch.
- The project initially received widespread pushback in part because it emerged out of Facebook and in part because its ambitious aims seemed to threaten traditional government-run financial systems.
- According to the Financial Times, the cryptocurrency could debut as a single coin backed by the dollar, with an initial launch as early as January 2021.
- It was meant to make digitally transferring money quicker and easier than it is today, and companies like Facebook would be able to offer financial services around it.
- Facebook initially announced plans for a digital wallet, called Calibra, that could offer these services, with the company positioning Calibra as its means for turning its investment in the project into a potential moneymaker.
Facebook's self-styled 'oversight' board selects first cases, most dealing with hate speech
- Facebook’s outsourcing of a fantastically tiny subset of content moderation considerations to a subset of its so-called ‘Oversight Board’ has attracted plenty of criticism (including inspiring a mirrored unofficial entity that dubs itself the Real Oversight Board) — and no little cynicism.
- With this Facebook-commissioned pantomime of accountability the tech giant will be hoping to generate a helpful pipeline of distracting publicity — focused around specific and ‘nuanced’ content decisions — deflecting plainer but harder-hitting questions about the exploitative and abusive nature of Facebook’s business itself, and the lawfulness of its mass surveillance of Internet users, as lawmakers around the world grapple with how to rein in tech giants.
Facebook's first Oversight Board cases tackle hate speech and misinformation
- Facebook didn’t meet its goal of hearing Oversight Board cases before the US election, but it’s finally ready.
- The social media giant has revealed that the Board will tackle six appeal cases in its first outing, all of them prioritized based on their likelihood of affecting “lots of users around the world” through potential policy changes.
- The first case, for instance, comes after Facebook removed a post meant to single out former Malaysian Prime Minister Dr. Mahathir Mohamad’s “horrible words” about violence against the French.
- The question, as you might imagine, is whether or not Facebook will make meaningful changes if any of the cases contradict its existing policy.
- It’s easy to reinstate individual posts, for instance, but it’s another to alter policies and allow large volumes of content that would otherwise be removed.
Facebook to pay UK publishers for content with January launch of News tab
- Facebook is launching its News tab in the UK in January in a move that’s expected to see the company pay news publishers tens of millions of pounds annually to license their articles, The Guardian reports.
- Although Facebook is declining to say how much money it’s expecting to pay as part of the scheme, The Guardian reports that some publishers are expecting to make millions of pounds a year from the service, at a cost to tens of millions of pounds to Facebook overall.
- As well as launching Facebook News in the country, Facebook says it’s extending its Community News Project, which has funded the training of 80 journalists over the past two years.
WhatsApp’s improved wallpapers can be assigned per chat with custom dark mode settings
- That latest WhatsApp update brings improved wallpapers and sticker search to the Facebook-owned app used by over 2 billion people.
- The most notable change is custom chat wallpaper backgrounds.
- “Make your chats personal and distinguishable by using a custom wallpaper for your most important chats and favorite people, and you never need worry about sending the wrong message in the wrong chat ever again,” Facebook said in an email sent to The Verge.
- Separate wallpapers can also be chosen for light and dark mode settings.
- “Watch your chat wallpaper automatically transition as your phone device setting switches from light to dark mode,” says Facebook.
- WhatsApp is also making the default doodle wallpaper available in more colors.
- Facebook says the updates are rolling out this week, although some iOS WhatsApp users have seen them appear in the app already.
Mark Zuckerberg sits down with Dr. Fauci to talk holiday COVID safety
- In less than an hour, Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg will interview Dr. Anthony Fauci.
- You can watch the entire segment through Facebook Live at 3 PM PT / 6 PM ET.
- According to the company, Zuckerberg will talk to Dr Fauci about the COVID-19 vaccines that are in development and how to protect your family and loved ones through the holiday season from the coronavirus.
- The interview will likely be an interesting one, to say the least.
- Facebook has been one of the main conduits through which COVID-related misinformation has spread online.
- While the company has taken some measures to stop its users from doing that, it has at the same time allowed vaccine conspiracy theories to go unchecked on Instagram and in Facebook groups.
- In September, Zuckerberg also defended the company’s decision not to crack down on anti-vaxxers.