Facebook to apply state media labels on Russian, Chinese outlets

Facebook has stepped up its cybersecurity defenses and imposed greater transparency requirements for pages and ads on its platforms. (AFP)
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Updated 05 June 2020

Facebook to apply state media labels on Russian, Chinese outlets

  • Facebook will not label any US-based news organizations
  • Social media giant said even US government-run outlets have editorial independence

SAN FRANCISCO: Facebook will start labeling Russian, Chinese and other state-controlled media organizations, and later this summer will block any ads from such outlets that target US users, it said on Thursday.
The world’s biggest social network will apply the label to Russia’s Sputnik, Iran’s Press TV and China’s Xinhua News, according to a partial list Facebook provided. The company will apply the label to about 200 pages at the outset.
Facebook will not label any US-based news organizations, as it determined that even US government-run outlets have editorial independence, Nathaniel Gleicher, Facebook’s head of cybersecurity policy, said in an interview.
Facebook, which has acknowledged its failure to stop Russian use of its platforms to interfere in the 2016 US presidential election, has since stepped up its defenses and imposed greater transparency requirements for pages and ads on its platforms.
The company announced plans last year to create a state media label, but is introducing it amid criticism over its hands-off treatment of misleading and racially charged posts by US President Donald Trump.
The new measure comes just months ahead of the November US presidential election.
Under the move, Facebook will not use the label for media outlets affiliated with individual political figures or parties, which Gleicher said could push “boundaries that are very, very slippery.”
“What we want to do here is start with the most critical case,” he said.
Chinese foreign ministry spokesman Geng Shuang told reporters during a daily briefing in Beijing on Friday that social media companies should not selectively create obstacles for media agencies.
“We hope that the relevant social media platform can put aside the ideological bias and hold an open and accepting attitude toward each country’s media role,” he said.
Facebook is not the first company to take such action.
YouTube, owned by Alphabet Inc’s Google, in 2018 started identifying video channels that predominantly carry news items and are funded by governments. But critics charge YouTube has failed to label some state news outlets, allowing them to earn ad revenue from videos with misinformation and propaganda.
In a blog post, Facebook said its label would appear on pages globally, as well as on News Feed posts within the United States.
Facebook also said it would ban US-targeted ads from state-controlled entities “out of an abundance of caution” ahead of the November presidential election. Elsewhere, the ads will receive a label.


The most visible brands of 2020 are…

Updated 03 July 2020

The most visible brands of 2020 are…

  • A large percentage of the pictures of the swoosh logo depicted international football players Neymar, of Brazil, and Argentinian star Lionel Messi
  • Portuguese footballer Cristiano Ronaldo was one of the top-photographed people in Adidas clothing

DUBAI: A strong visual element is a must-have for brands. Many of the world’s iconic brands can be recognized simply by their visual imagery from Nike’s swoosh to McDonald’s golden arches.

Today, every smartphone user is a photographer in some form resulting in more and more visual elements in social and digital conversations.

With this in mind, research and analysis company Brandwatch conducted a study of 40 million images containing logos to find the most photographed brands.

“For brands, the images consumers share provide a window into how their products or advertisements are seen in the wild – how they’re used, the context they appear in, and more,” the firm’s report said.

In fact, only 14.7 percent of the images studied featuring the most visible logo of 2020 actually mentioned the brand in the accompanying text.

“Being able to analyze images effectively, especially when there is so much that could be missed in traditional text-based searches, is vital to uncovering previously hidden insights,” the report added.

Argentina’s Lionel Messi sporting Barcelona’s Nike strip. (Reuters)

Nike: Brandwatch’s analysis found that a large percentage of the pictures of the logo depicted international football players Neymar, of Brazil, and Argentinian star Lionel Messi wearing Nike attire.

Although the logo appeared in numerous images of people practicing fitness in some form, there were thousands of images of individuals posing in relaxed positions wearing Nike clothes.

Despite empty stadiums and social-distancing measures in place this year, the most common setting for the logo to be featured in was an arena.

People appeared most in Nike logo images, but sneakers shoes also brought in thousands of mentions.

Portugal’s Cristiano Ronaldo sporting Juventus’ Adidas strip. (Reuters)

Adidas: Portuguese footballer Cristiano Ronaldo was one of the top-photographed people in Adidas clothing, if not in the whole world.

Similar to Nike, arenas and crowds were common in Adidas logo images, which was surprising given the lack of crowds in the last few months.

“Something unexpected that pops up in the top scenes is romance, referring to people in athleisure embracing each other (in an SFW sense) or in other cute settings,” said the report.

Unlike Nike, images featuring the Adidas logo largely showed sports activities. “Speech is an unexpected addition to the list of common actions associated with Adidas logo images – these mentions actually come from quotes posted from soccer player Marcus Rashford (Manchester United and England), who has spoken out about making sure vulnerable children don’t go hungry in 2020,” added the report.

Similar to Nike’s analysis, people were the most common subject to appear in Adidas logo images. T-shirts were also widely shared, unlike Nike images which featured shoes and sneakers a lot more.