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Breaking up the social network

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Analysis. After Facebook accounts tied to the Italian governing parties were found posting false accusations and anti-Semitism, the company took immediate action and closed the accounts. But such measures haven’t solved Facebook’s crisis of trust.

written by Benedetto Vecchi

May 15, 2019

Mark Zuckerberg is doing everything he can to address the criticisms that have been undermining Facebook’s credibility for two years, ever since the Cambridge Analytica scandal first broke out. To fend off accusations of being an enemy to democracy, the company tasked independent organizations with monitoring social networks and locating sources of fake news and fake accounts that disseminate racist, xenophobic or anti-Semitic opinions.

In Italy, Facebook entrusted the NGO Aavaz for this initiative, which in turn reported that a certain number of accounts with massive followings, tied to the Five Star Movement and the Lega, were spreading fake news and derogatory accusations against well-known public persons (for instance, Roberto Saviano), which also included displays of anti-Semitism. Facebook took immediate action: the accounts were shut down.

Zuckerberg has been stressing that the company’s commitment to fight fake news is not mere window dressing. However, another recent policy change that has also had significant consequences was Facebook’s decision to unify the rules on privacy between Facebook, Instagram and WhatsApp, saying this would better secure the right to privacy. However, this “unification” is a highly suspect move, as Facebook’s own policies ended up being........

© Il Manifesto Global