Big companies boycott Facebook

UNTV News   •   June 30, 2020   •   434

A long list of U.S. companies have pulled advertising from Facebook in support of a campaign that called out the social media giant for not doing enough to stop hate speech on its platforms.

Ice-cream maker Ben & Jerry’s, consumer conglomerate Unilever, and coffee chain Starbucks have nixed ads on the social media network.

And PepsiCo will do so as well, FOX Business News reported citing sources on Sunday (June 28).

The halt on PepsiCo’s advertising will run through July and August, the report said.

PepsiCo did not immediately respond to a request for comment from Reuters.

Annually, Facebook generates $70 billion in advertising sales and about a quarter of it comes from big companies such as Unilever with the vast majority of its revenue derived from small businesses.

But the publicity around its hate speech policies have hurt its perception and stock.

On Friday (June 26), Facebook’s 8.3% decline in stock price wiped out $56 billion in market capitalization.

Responding to demands for more action, Facebook on Sunday acknowledged it has more work to do and is teaming up with civil rights groups and experts to develop more tools to fight hate speech.

Facebook said its investments in artificial intelligence have allowed it to find 90% of hate speech before users report it.

The boycott has accelerated to include other digital advertising platforms, such as Twitter. REUTERS

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Facebook offered to reconstruct taken down ‘Hands off our children’ page – AFP

Robie de Guzman   •   October 14, 2020

MANILA, Philippines – Social media giant Facebook has offered to “reconstruct” an account it recently took down due to alleged links to the military and coordinated inauthentic behavior.

In a statement on Tuesday, Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) chief of staff General Gilbert Gapay said Facebook made the offer to reconstruct the “Hands Off Our Children” page but admitted that it cannot restore the original page.

The “Hands Off Our Children” page is a group composed of parents whose children were recruited into the New People’s Army (NPA).

The page was among the more than 100 pages that Facebook removed in October as it stepped up its campaign against fake accounts and pages that are spreading false information.

Facebook earlier said these accounts were traced to have links with China, the Philippine National Police and the military.

Gapay has expressed dismay over Facebook’s action and called it “unfair.”

“They are unfair to us in taking down those sites because there are many other sites that are really espousing hate, violence, terrorism that should have been taken down in the first place, not these good sites which [we] are advocating on Facebook,” he said.

Gapay said the official Facebook pages of the AFP and all its units remain active for updates on military efforts and activities.

He also stressed that the Philippine military does not engage in sharing fake news and disinformation on social media.

The AFP already met with Facebook representatives to thresh out issues on their social media pages. – RRD (with details from Correspondent Lea Ylagan)

Malacañang allays public fear of possible Facebook ban

Marje Pelayo   •   September 29, 2020

MANILA, Philippines – Malacañang has allayed public fear of a possible ban on social media giant Facebook following President Rodrigo Duterte’s remarks on Tuesday night (September 29) expressing his disappointment over the platform’s policy.

“You cannot lay down a policy for my government. I allow you to operate here. You cannot bar or prevent me from espousing the objectives of the government,” Duterte said. 

Presidential Spokesperson Harry Roque said the President wants to have a talk with Facebook to clarify issues regarding its censorship policy against pages that support the government.

“Number 1 po kasi tayo sa buong mundo sa Pilipinas so kung wala tayo, malaking kawalan yan sa Facebook [The Philippines is the number 1 user in the world. It’s a big loss to Facebook],” Roque said.

“Pero at the same time, dahil nga number 1 tayo, marami ring Pilipino ang gumagamit ng Facebook. Maapektuhan din. So sinabi naman ng president, pag-usapan iyan [But at the same time since we are number 1, many Filipinos are using Facebook. It will affect us. So the President wants a discussion about it],” he added.

Among the accounts that have been taken down is the advocacy group Hands Off Our Children, a page which aims to protect minors from recruitment by extremists who entice youths to become combatants and fight the government.

Meanwhile, Malacañang has again questioned Facebook’s choice of fact-checkers— online news platforms Rappler and Vera Files— who are critical of the present administration.

Roque said the government is now contemplating on commissioning fact-checkers of social media platforms in the country similar to what other countries are doing.

“Pag-aaralan po natin kung dapat gawin natin iyan dahil di po tayo makakapayag na ang fact-checkers ay tanging mga laban lamang sa gobyerno [We will take that into consideration because that has to be done. We cannot allow that fact-checkers are only those who are all against the government],” Roque concluded. MNP (with reports from Rosalie Coz)

Facebook closes political ads loophole ahead of U.S. presidential election

UNTV News   •   June 18, 2020

Facebook Inc. said on Tuesday (June 17) it would affix labels to political ads shared by users on their own feeds, closing what critics have said for years was a glaring loophole in the company’s election transparency measures.

The world’s biggest social network has attached a “paid for by” disclaimer to political ads since 2018, after facing a backlash for failing to stop Russia from using its platforms to influence the 2016 U.S. presidential election.

But the label disappeared once people shared the ads to their own feeds, which critics said undermined its utility and allowed misinformation to continue spreading unchecked.

Facebook introduced a similar labelling approach for state news media earlier this month, but that label also sometimes drops off with sharing and does not appear when users post their own links to those outlets.

The company has been facing demands to do more to combat false viral information before the Nov. 3 presidential election, including by presumptive Democratic nominee Joe Biden, who called Facebooks’s chairman and CEO Mark Zuckerberg on June 11 to reverse his decision to exempt political ads from fact-checking.

Zuckerberg has touted transparency tools in response, arguing that voters should be able to examine statements from would-be political leaders unimpeded.

In a USA Today op-ed on Tuesday, he pledged to display a Voting Information Center at the top of U.S. users’ news feeds. He also said the company would aim to help 4 million people register to vote, double its goal for 2016. (Reuters)

(Production: Paul Warren, Gabriela Boccaccio)

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