Facebook pushes ad overhaul before 2018 US election

Facebook said this month it would hire 1,000 more people to review ads and ensure they meet its terms. (Reuters)
Updated 12 October 2017
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Facebook pushes ad overhaul before 2018 US election

SAN JOSE, California: Facebook has begun overhauling how it handles political ads on its platform and may put some changes in place before US elections next year, Facebook’s chief technology officer said on Wednesday.
US congressional and state elections set for November 2018 present a deadline of sorts for Facebook and other social media companies to get better at halting the kind of election meddling that the US accuses Russia of.
“We are working on all of this stuff actively now, so there is a big focus in the company to improve all of this on a regular basis,” Facebook CTO Mike Schroepfer said in an interview.
“You’re going to see a regular cadence of updates and changes,” he said, speaking on the sidelines of a conference that Facebook is hosting about virtual reality technology.
Chief Executive Mark Zuckerberg said last month that the company would begin treating political ads differently from other ads, including by making it possible for anyone to see political ads, no matter whom they target. US lawmakers had begun calling for regulations.
Disclosures by Facebook, Twitter and Alphabet’s Google that their products were battlegrounds for Russian election meddling last year have turned into a crisis for Silicon Valley.
Facebook’s chief operating officer, Sheryl Sandberg, is in Washington this week meeting US lawmakers.
Moscow has denied allegations of meddling in last year’s US presidential election.
Implementing changes is tricky, Schroepfer said, because Facebook does not want to stifle legitimate speech and because of the volume of material on Facebook, the world’s largest social network with 2 billion users and 5 million advertisers.
“We’re investing very heavily in technical solutions, because we’re operating at an unprecedented scale,” he said.
Facebook is also using humans. The company said this month it would hire 1,000 more people to review ads and ensure they meet its terms.
Schroepfer, 42, has been Facebook’s CTO since 2013 and previously was director of engineering. He also sits on Facebook’s board of directors.
Facebook has dealt with problematic user-generated content in the past, he said.
“We don’t want misuse of the platform, whether that’s a foreign government trying to intercede in a democracy — that’s obviously not OK — or whether it’s an individual spewing hate or uploading pornography,” he said.


Vietnam jails activist for anti-government posts on Facebook

Updated 25 September 2018
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Vietnam jails activist for anti-government posts on Facebook

  • The conviction comes as communist authorities step up a crackdown on dissent
  • Some 97 activists were in jail as of April this year, according to Amnesty International

HANOI, Vietnam: A court in southern Vietnam has sentenced an activist to 27 months in prison for Facebook posts that judges say insulted the ruling Communist Party and government and called for anti-government protests.
Doan Khanh Vinh Quang, 42, was convicted “abuse of democratic freedom to infringe on the legitimate interests of the state” by the People’s Court in Ninh Kieu District in Can Tho province after a one-day trial Monday, the Vietnam News Agency reported.
The agency quoted judges as saying Quang’s actions “actively abetted hostile and reactionary forces from inside and outside the country” who want to overthrow the party and government.
Court officials were not available for comment Tuesday.
The conviction comes as communist authorities step up a crackdown on dissent. Quang was third activist to be jailed in a week on similar charges.
On Saturday, Nguyen Hong Nguyen and Truong Dinh Khang, were convicted of insulting the Communist Party and its leaders, including late founding President Ho Chi Minh, and sentenced to two years and one year respectively in separate cases in Can Tho province.
Despite sweeping economic reforms over the past 30 years that opened Vietnam to foreign investment and trade that made it one of fastest growing economies in the region, the Communist Party tolerates no challenge to its one-party rule.
Some Western governments and international human rights groups criticize Vietnam for jailing people for peacefully expressing their views. Hanoi says only lawbreakers are put behind bars.
Some 97 activists were in jail as of April this year, according to Amnesty International.