Mark Zuckerberg, Facebook’s chief executive, signed off in August 2021 on a new initiative code-named Project Amplify. The effort, which was hatched at an internal meeting months before in January, had a specific purpose: to use Facebook’s News Feed, the site’s most important digital real estate, to show people positive stories about the social network. The idea was that pushing pro-Facebook news items — some of them written by the company — would improve its image in the eyes of its users.
At the start of the pandemic, a group of data scientists at Facebook held a meeting with executives to ask for resources to help measure the prevalence of misinformation about Covid-19 on the social network. The data scientists said figuring out how many Facebook users saw false or misleading information would be complex, perhaps taking a year a more, according to two people who participated in the meeting.
On Dec. 30, Andrew Bosworth, the head of Facebook’s virtual and augmented reality division, wrote on his internal Facebook page that, as a liberal, he found himself wanting to use the social network’s powerful platform against President Donald Trump. But citing the “Lord of the Rings” franchise and the philosopher John Rawls, Mr. Bosworth said that doing so would eventually backfire. “So what stays my hand?
In just over a decade, Facebook has connected more than 2.2 billion people, a global nation unto itself that reshaped political campaigns, the advertising business and daily life around the world. Along the way, Facebook accumulated one of the largest-ever repositories of personal data, a treasure trove of photos, messages and likes that propelled the company into the Fortune 500.
There's been a shift in the flow of online disinformation, falsehoods meant to mislead and inflame. In 2016, before the presidential election, state-backed Russian operatives exploited Facebook and Twitter to sway voters in the United States with divisive messages. Now, weeks before the midterm elections on Nov.
Facebook said that an attack on its computer network had exposed the personal information of nearly 50 million users. The company said it discovered the breach this week, finding that attackers had exploited a feature in Facebook’s code that allowed them to take over user accounts. The company said it fixed the vulnerability and notified law enforcement officials. “We’re taking it really seriously,” said Mark Zuckerberg, the company’s chief executive. “We have a major security effort at the company that hardens all of our surfaces.” He added: “I’m glad we found this.
Although it is not much to look at now, as of the week of Sept 24 the "War Room" will be Facebook’s headquarters for safeguarding elections.
House Commerce Committee Republicans accused Twitter of being biased against conservatives. The charge drew rebukes from Democrats during a Congressional hearing that illustrated how partisan lines are increasingly being drawn on social media. Jack Dorsey, Twitter’s chief executive, repeatedly denied the accusations as Republicans suggested Twitter’s algorithms suppress conservative viewpoints and discriminate against Republican voices. Rep Mike Doyle (D-PA) called the idea that social media services exhibit a partisan slant a “load of crap.”
More than 100 Facebook employees have joined Mr. Amerige to form an online group called FB’ers for Political Diversity. The aim of the initiative is to create a space for ideological diversity within the company. The new group has upset other Facebook employees, who said its online posts were offensive to minorities.
The Russian military intelligence unit that sought to influence the 2016 election appears to have a new target: conservative American think tanks that have broken with President Trump and are seeking continued sanctions against Moscow, exposing oligarchs or pressing for human rights. Microsoft detected and seized websites that were created in recent weeks by hackers linked to the Russian unit formerly known as the G.R.U.