Facebook’s week: Zuckerberg's call for internet regulation, News Feed explained, livestream restrictions
It’s been a news-filled week for Facebook and its executives who over the last few days addressed several controversies surrounding its platform, which was highlighted by Mark Zuckerberg calling for more government regulation over the internet.
Here’s everything you need to know about the Facebook stories that broke last week:
Old Mark Zuckerberg posts disappear
Years of old public Facebook posts by CEO Mark Zuckerberg have disappeared from the platform, according to a report from Business Insider published last Friday, March 29.
It’s not clear how many posts were deleted, but the report notes that all posts published from the year 2007 and 2008 and key moments in the company’s history such as the announcement of the Instagram acquisition in 2012 are now gone.
When reached for a comment, a Facebook spokesperson told Business Insider that they were “mistakenly deleted due to technical errors” and that they chose not bring them back because the work needed to do so would have been “extensive.”
"We agree people should be able to find information about past announcements and major company news, which is why for years we’ve shared and archived this information publicly — first on our blog and in recent years on our Newsroom,” the Facebook spokesperson said.
Rob Price, the reporter who wrote the story for Business Insider, however, said, “This makes it far more difficult to hold the company, and Zuckerberg himself, accountable to past statements — particularly during a period of intense scrutiny of the company in the wake of a string of scandals.”
Facebook plans for livestream restrictions
The social network has broken its silence over the Christchurch shooting where it faced public scrutiny for failing to immediately take down the live stream video of the attack, allowing it to be uploaded to YouTube and other platforms.
Facebook chief operating officer Sheryl Sandberg in a blog post wrote the company is are exploring restrictions of who can create livestream depending on factors such as prior Community Standard violations.
“We are also investing in research to build better technology to quickly identify edited versions of violent videos and images and prevent people from re-sharing these versions,” she added.
Facebook managed to identify more than 900 different videos showing portions of the original 17-minute live footage.
Sandberg said that they have made changes to their review process, which they believe would improve response time for similar cases in the future.
Zuckerberg calls for internet regulation
Mark Zuckerberg last Saturday, March 30, published an opinion piece in The Washington Post where he called for the government and other bodies to regulate the Internet, specifically as regards harmful content, election integrity, privacy, and data portability.
“Lawmakers often tell me we have too much power over speech, and frankly I agree,” he wrote.
He gives mention to the previously reported plan to create an independent oversight body to review content moderation appeals in Facebook, which would balance users’ right to free speech and the need for safety.
“One idea is for third-party bodies to set standards governing the distribution of harmful content and to measure companies against those standards,” he added. “Regulation could set baselines for what’s prohibited and require companies to build systems for keeping harmful content to a bare minimum.”
He also suggested adopting privacy legislations, similar to the European Union’s General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) that was enforced last year.
While Zuckerberg said in the piece that he’s open to working with lawmakers around the world to help establish regulation, many of his critics think he’s just trying to avoid responsibility, as reported by Bloomberg.
New tab for “high-quality news”
Mark Zuckerberg, in an interview with Mathias Doepfner last Monday, April 1, expressed interest in creating a news tab that would offer news from professional media.
"We want this to surface high quality and trustworthy information," Zuckerberg said
The news tab would be created in a way to compensate news organizations whose content is selected and serve the 10 to 15 percent of Facebook users who he believes are interested in such a tab.
Facebook, in numerous occasions, have been hammered with accusations of allowing the spread of misinformation on its platform.
Zuckerberg seems to believe that the tab could help fight this problem, saying, "It's important to me that we help people get trustworthy news and find solutions that help journalists around the world do their important work.”
He, however, has yet to offer any details regarding the tab so it remains to be seen what it could bring to the platform.
News Feed explained
Facebook announced that it would be rolling out a feature called “Why am I seeing this post?” to help users better understand what posts appear in their News Feeds.
"This is the first time that we've built information on how ranking works directly into the app," Facebook Product Manager Ramya Sethuraman wrote in a blog post. “This means you’ll be able to tap on posts and ads in News Feed, get context on why they’re appearing, and take action to further personalize what you see.”
How often users interact with posts from friends, groups, and pages; the specific type of posts, for example photos or videos; and popularity of posts contribute to the prominence of a post in the News Feed.
The feature has reportedly began rolling out and should be available to all Facebook users by mid-May. – Rappler.com