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Facebook to roll out new tools to tackle fake news

by UNTV News   |   Posted on Friday, December 16th, 2016

A man poses with a magnifier in front of a Facebook logo on display in this illustration taken in Sarajevo, Bosnia and Herzegovina, December 16, 2015. REUTERS/Dado Ruvic/Illustration

 

Facebook Inc. said on Thursday it will introduce tools to prevent fake news stories from spreading on its platform, an about-face in response to rising criticism that it did not do enough to combat the problem during the U.S. presidential campaign.

The social network company stressed that the new features are part of an ongoing process to refine and test how it deals with fake news. It has faced complaints this year involving how it monitors and polices content produced by its 1.8 billion users.

Facebook said users will find it easier to flag fake articles on their News Feed as a hoax, and it will work with organizations such as fact-checking website Snopes, ABC News and the Associated Press to check the authenticity of stories.

If such organizations identify a story as fake, Facebook said, it will get flagged as “disputed” and be linked to the corresponding article explaining why.

The company said disputed stories may appear lower in its news feed, adding that once a story is flagged, it cannot be promoted.

A few weeks ago, Chief Executive Mark Zuckerberg said it was a “crazy idea” that fake or misleading news on Facebook helped swing the election in favor of Republican Donald Trump. But criticism persisted amid reports that people in the United States and other countries have fabricated sensational hoaxes meant to appeal to conservatives.

Critics said fake news often was more widely read than news reported by major media organizations.

Ahead of the Nov. 8 election, Facebook users saw fake news reports saying Pope Francis endorsed Trump and that a federal agent who had been investigating Democratic candidate Hillary Clinton was found dead.

The effort by Facebook is intended to focus on the “worst of the worst” of clear hoaxes created by “spammers for their own gain,” Adam Mosseri, Facebook’s vice president in charge of its News Feed, said in a blog post.

Some far-right conservative writers quickly pounced on the announcement, decrying it as a covert attempt to muzzle their legitimate content.

“Translation: A group of incredibly biased left-wing fake news outlets will bury dissenting opinions,” Paul Joseph Watson, editor-at-large of the far-right website Infowars, which routinely peddles unsubstantiated conspiracy theories, said on Twitter.

Facebook has struggled throughout the year to mollify conservatives who fear the company may be censoring them. The company fired contractors who managed the site’s trending news sidebar after a report by Gizmodo in May quoted an anonymous employee claiming the site routinely suppressed conservative news.

On Thursday, Joel Kaplan, Facebook’s vice president for U.S. public policy, met with President-elect Trump at his Manhattan tower. — Reuters

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Trump says North Korea has returned remains of 200 U.S. war dead

by UNTV News   |   Posted on Thursday, June 21st, 2018

U.S. President Donald Trump holds a rally with supporters in Duluth, Minnesota, U.S. June 20, 2018. REUTERS/Jonathan Ernst

 

President Donald Trump said North Korea had returned on Wednesday (June 20) the remains of 200 U.S. troops missing from the Korean War, although there was no official confirmation of the move from military authorities.

“We got back our great fallen heroes, the remains, in fact today already 200 have been sent back,” Trump told a crowd of supporters during a rally in Duluth, Minnesota.

U.S. officials, speaking on condition of anonymity, said on Tuesday that in coming days North Korea would hand over a “sizeable number” of remains to United Nations Command in South Korea, and they would then be transferred to Hickam Air Force Base in Hawaii.

Trump met with North Korean leader Kim Jong Un at a historic summit last week in Singapore, and said in a news conference afterwards that Kim had agreed to return the remains of U.S. soldiers.

About 7,700 U.S. military personnel remain unaccounted from the 1950-1953 Korean War, U.S. military data show. According to the Pentagon, North Korean officials have indicated in the past that they have the remains of as many as 200 U.S. troops. More than 36,500 U.S. troops died in the conflict. — Reuters

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Trump signs executive order to keep immigrant families together

by UNTV News   |   Posted on Thursday, June 21st, 2018

U.S. President Donald Trump signs an executive order on immigration policy in the Oval Office of the White House in Washington, U.S., June 20, 2018. REUTERS/Leah Millis

 

U.S. President Donald Trump, addressing what his administration has characterized as an unwanted side effect of his zero-tolerance policy on illegal immigration, signed an executive order on Wednesday (June 20) to keep families who illegally cross the U.S. southern border together as they await immigration proceedings.

“It’s about keeping families together while at the same time making sure that we have a very powerful, very strong border,” Trump told reporters as he signed the measure.

The order requires that immigrant families be detained together when they are caught entering the country illegally, although it was not immediately clear for how long. It also moves parents with children to the front of the line for immigration proceedings. The order does not end a “zero tolerance” policy that calls for criminal prosecution of immigrants crossing the border illegally.

Videos of youngsters in cages and an audiotape of wailing children had sparked anger in the United States from groups ranging from clergy to influential business leaders, as well as condemnation from abroad, including Pope Francis.

Trump, a frequent viewer of cable television newscasts, had recognized the family separation issue was a growing political problem, White House sources said. First lady Melania Trump, in private conversations with the president, urged him to do something, a White House official said.

Wednesday’s move marked a rare instance since Trump took office in January 2017 in which he has changed course on a controversial policy, rather than digging in. — Reuters

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Trump says he wants to end border crisis by deporting illegal families together

by UNTV News   |   Posted on Wednesday, June 20th, 2018

 

US President Donald Trump (Image grabbed from Reuters video)

 

U.S. President Donald Trump said on Tuesday (June 19) that the current immigration crisis surrounding the separation of undocumented family members at the southern U.S. border could be resolved if new laws would allow the U.S. to deport entire families together as one unit.

Trump was speaking at the start of an address to the National Federation of Independent Business in Washington.

His comments came the same day a major business lobbying group, the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, urged an end to his administration’s policy of separating children from parents trying to enter the U.S. illegally at the border with Mexico.

The family separations, highlighted by videos of youngsters detained in cages and an audiotape of wailing children, have sparked an outcry at home and strong condemnation abroad.

Trump also suggested in his comments on Tuesday that some of the problems are caused by child smugglers who have taken advantage of loopholes in U.S. immigration laws and that lawyers assisting asylum seekers are also gaming the system. — Reuters

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