Facebook dating service rolling out in Colombia

Some 21 million people log in to Facebook every day in Colombia, a country of 50 million people. (File/AFP)
Updated 22 September 2018
0

Facebook dating service rolling out in Colombia

  • Colombians are particularly avid fans of using social networks and websites to find partners
  • The service is programmed not to link up people who are already connected as family or friends

BOGOTA: Facebook said Friday a dating service it teased early this year is being rolled out in Colombia.
The social media giant chose the Latin American country as its test lab because Colombians are particularly avid fans of using social networks and websites to find partners.
The new feature, rolled out in Colombia this week, allows users to create a separate “dating” profile not visible to their network of friends, with potential matches recommended based on preferences and common interests.
The service is programmed not to link up people who are already connected as family or friends, and users of Facebook Dating will also be able to block people if they wish.
A basic chat service will be available, and the site will bar strangers from sending photos, videos or links.
Some 21 million people log in to Facebook every day in Colombia, a country of 50 million people, according to the company.
“We view this as an incredible opportunity to continue helping people build relationships in meaningful ways on Facebook,” said Facebook Dating product manager Nathan Sharp.
Facebook’s chief Mark Zuckerberg in May announced plans for the new dating feature at the world’s leading online social network — while vowing to make privacy protection its top priority in the wake of the Cambridge Analytica scandal.
Zuckerberg was emphatic that the focus would be on helping people find partners, not flings.
“This is going to be for building real, long-term relationships, not just hookups,” Zuckerberg said in presenting the new feature.
He said the dating offer was built with privacy and safety in mind.
Facebook faced intense global scrutiny over the mass harvesting of personal data by Cambridge Analytica, a British political consultancy that worked for Donald Trump’s 2016 election campaign.
The company has admitted up to 87 million users may have had their data hijacked in the scandal.


Twitter publishes tweet trove from ‘clumsy’ Iran regime campaigns

Updated 18 October 2018
0

Twitter publishes tweet trove from ‘clumsy’ Iran regime campaigns

  • Twitter found 770 Twitter accounts that it traced back to Iran
  • Nearly 4,000 accounts affiliated with Russian troll farm

WASHINGTON: Twitter published a trove of some 10 million tweets that it said are potentially the product of state-backed operations by Russia and Iran, shedding new light on the scale and nature of misinformation campaigns mounted by the two nations.
Twitter said on Wednesday that it had identified 3,841 accounts affiliated with the St. Petersburg-based Internet Research Agency, a Russian “troll farm” that has been indicted by US Special Counsel Robert Mueller for attempts to interfere with the 2016 presidential election.
It found another 770 Twitter accounts that it traced back to Iran.
“We are making this data available with the goal of encouraging open research and investigation of these behaviors from researchers and academics around the world,” Twitter said in a statement on its “elections integrity” site.
In total, the exposed accounts shared more than 10 million tweets and 2 million images and videos, Twitter said, before being taken down.
Twitter had already made public the existence of tweets it believes to be the product of foreign misinformation campaigns, but the release of the tweets themselves on Wednesday will allow researchers to learn much more about Russia and Iran’s disinformation efforts on Twitter since 2016.
It comes less than one month before US Congressional elections which are already the subject of foreign-directed social media campaigns, according to senior US intelligence officials.
The release shows that both the Iranian and Russian operations started out as campaigns to support countries’ governments at home, but the Moscow-based effort expanded into an “offensive weapon” targeted at the United States, said Ben Nimmo, a senior fellow at the Atlantic Council’s Digital Forensic Research Lab, which has seen the tweets.
“The Iranian operation was clumsy. It tried to use social media to draw people toward pro-regime messaging sites,” said Nimmo, whose lab published a detailed analysis of the tweets on Wednesday.
“The Russian operation was much more skilled. It masqueraded as real Americans to turn real Americans against Hillary Clinton, and against each other,” Nimmo added, referring to Donald Trump’s presidential election challenger.