Posts tagged with "Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg"

Facebook gets grief for including Breitbart in News tab

October 29, 2019

Can Facebook do anything that doesn’t draw fire from users, regulators, legislators, and the media? After years of complaints from American news outlets that the social media site has The Washington Post reports that Facebook has agreed to compensate at least some news organizations as part of a specialized “News” tab meant to steer users toward curated national and local news stories.

But the project immediately raised new controversy when it became known that Breitbart News—a Web outlet linked to right-wing causes that was once run by former Trump adviser Steve Bannonhad been included among the 200 media outlets participating in the program.

“Given that Facebook is putting actual news outlets in the same category as Breitbart, actual news outlets should consider quickly withdrawing from the program,” Angelo Carusone, the president of Media Matters for America, a liberal nonprofit media watchdog, told the Post.

At an event in New York to launch the project, Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg defended Breitbart’s inclusion. “You want to include a breadth of content to make sure all different topics can be covered,” Zuckerberg said.

Other outlets participating include The Washington Post, The New York Times, News Corp., BuzzFeed News, Business Insider, Bloomberg News, Fox News, NBCUniversal, USA Today and the Los Angeles Times.

The News tab marks the latest iteration of Facebook’s approach to online news, the Post reports. Before January 2018, the company had been a leading distributor of news, but that role was dogged by the presence in its feed of false and misleading information, as well as by allegations that its news feed and other features tilted toward liberal viewpoints

Zuckerberg did not go into specifics about how different publishers would be compensated, and media analysts expressed skepticism that the arrangement will help the small and medium local outlets that have been most seriously undercut by the rise of online news distribution.

“The vast majority of local news outlets are not included, and that is part of the news ecosystem that’s most at risk,” David Chavern, the president and chief executive of the News Media Alliance, a trade association of news publishers, told The Washington Post.

Chavern called Facebook’s agreement to pay at least some news outlets for their content a step in the right direction, noting that tech platforms have been “uniquely unwilling to pay for news and quality journalism.”

The News tab already is available to more than 200,000 Facebook users in the United States, with a broader rollout planned for early next year. The new service, Facebook executives say, should make it easier for users to locate the day’s major headlines, as well as stories geared toward particular topics or locales.

The initiative could reach 20 million to 30 million people over a few years, Zuckerberg said.

 Research contact: @washingtonpost

Facebook and Instagram: Still allowing groups to sell hate on their platforms?

August 3, 2018

The social media sites, Facebook and Instagram, are enabling neo-Nazis and white supremacists to profit off their platforms. The co-owned sites are letting hate groups promote a Holocaust-denial magazine and sell merchandise, such as children’s tee-shirts with slogans saying, “White baby – the future of our race,” according to an August 2 report by the Huffington Post.

Last month, Facebook removed White Rex, a Russian-owned neo-Nazi clothing company, from its site after the HuffPost reported on the company. But at least three other brands—including Sva Stone, Ansgar Aryan and Pride France—still maintain Facebook pages. And White Rex remains posted on the Facebook subsidiary site, Instagram.

According to HuffPost, “The proliferation of white supremacist businesses on Facebook is more evidence of the social media giant’s inability to rein in radicalism and hate on its platform. Some of the clothing brand pages HuffPost identified have also been suspended or banned in the past—demonstrating the shortcomings of Facebook’s whack-a-mole approach to extremism.”

The clothing labels routinely use variations of well-known Nazi symbols and coded references in their products and Facebook posts; but generally shy away from direct calls to violence or explicitly hateful rhetoric, HuffPost reported, noting, “Their support of white supremacy, however, is obvious after even a brief scroll through these pages.”

A post from Sva Stone’s Facebook page shows a man modeling one of its Nazi-inspired T-shirts while holding a gun.

However, in an interview with Kara Swisher of Recode last month, Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg used Holocaust denial as an example of the kind of speech the company shouldn’t take down because it is “hard to impugn intent and to understand the intent.” After Jewish groups and anti-discrimination groups criticized his statement, he apologized.

The German brand Ansgar Aryan, which has more than 16,000 Facebook followers, uses a thinly veiled HH symbol as one of its logos and repeatedly refers to the number 88, HuffPost says. Both are common references among neo-Nazis to the phrase “Heil Hitler.” Another shirt features a hooded Klansman holding a rifle with the slogan “We want you to enlist today.”

Sva Stone is owned by a prominent Ukranian neo-Nazi named Arseniy Bilodub. It has more than 20,000 followers on Instagram and around 7,000 on Facebook. Sva Stone’s clothing includes symbols that mimic the Nazi SS logo and feature modified swastikas. It also makes a line of T-shirts with its swastika-like logo and the slogans “white boy,” “white girl” and a children’s size “white baby.”

“Generally, it’s worn by neo-Nazis around Eastern Europe,” said Pavel Klymenko, a monitor of extremism and a researcher at the FARE Network, an organization that tracks far-right hooliganism and discrimination in soccer.cribe to The Morning Email.

Facebook is having one of its worst months on record. The site’s stock price plunged by about 19% last week after the company released an earnings report that showed sluggish growth and sales. Facebook lost around $120 billion in market value in the crash.

Research contact: @nickrobinsearly