Facebook is the platform trusted the most by world governments and political parties to publish fake news, according to a new report by the University of Oxford.
The report, entitled, “The Global Disinformation Order 2019: Global Inventory of Organised Social Media Manipulation,” discussed the increasing usage of social media, especially Facebook, by governments and political parties around the world to discredit political opponents, drown out opposing views, or undermine trust in the liberal international order.
According to the report, governments and political parties in at least 70 countries are misusing Facebook for the above-mentioned purposes.
Oxford study researchers observed social media platforms for three years to come out with the fundamental results that the number of countries with governments or political parties that have engaged in social media manipulation has more than doubled in the past two years, up to 70 — and that Facebook continues to be at the heart of the issue.
The main two reasons put by the two Oxford Internet Institute researchers who put together the report are: Facebook’s global reach and the fact that the platform structurally lends itself well to the spread of disinformation; users go there to read the news and share it with friends and family, and can easily set up groups or pages.
Even though the company said earlier this year that it would censor groups where members repeatedly shared misleading content and hold group admins “more accountable” for breaking the platform’s community standards, the report underscores how, despite these efforts, social media manipulation is on the rise and becoming ever-more sophisticated. It is now a “ubiquitous and pervasive part of the digital information ecosystem,” the report said.
“Evidence of organized social media manipulation campaigns which have taken place in 70 countries, up from 48 countries in 2018 and 28 countries in 2017. In each country, there is at least one political party or government agency using social media to shape public attitudes domestically,” it added.
In an emailed statement, a spokesperson for Facebook told Business Insider that protecting against harm and helping show people accurate information is a “major priority” for the company.
Amid Facebook’s efforts to fight fake news, equally-powerful efforts are being made to crack down on the Palestinian content. Facebook has recently imposed a series of biased measures against the Palestinian content, removing and blocking several posts and accounts owned by Palestinian users and News agencies.
Facebook has created a new algorithm, targeting terms related to the Palestinian cause to remove hundreds of posts and accounts.
The targeted terms include “martyr, resistance, PFLP, Qassam, Hamas, Islamic Jihad, Saraya Al Quds”, and other terms regardless of their context.
In response, Palestinian and international pro-Palestine activists launched a campaign to protest against Facebook’s anti-Palestine measures using the hashtag #FBblocksPalestine on social media.
Source: Quds News Network.