Tag: facebook privacy

Facebook Blocks Fake News

Fake news is bad for everyone and Facebook has woken up to the fact that it’s bad for them as well.

Facebook say they are making significant investments to stop fake news from spreading and to promote high-quality journalism and news literacy.

Facebook’s New Strategy

  1. Remove accounts and content that violate the Community Standards or advertisement policies
  2. Reduce the distribution of fake news and inauthentic content, such as clickbait
  3. Inform people by giving them more context on the posts they see.


Fact-checking is a key part of the strategy to ensure that what you see on Facebook is accurate and from a trustworthy source. Facebook will make use of specialist third-party fact-checking organisations globally (approved by the International Fact-Checking Network).

These organisations work around the clock to help identify misleading content. When they flag something as being false, Facebook rank the story significantly lower in News Feed. On average, this reduces future views of the offending content by more than 80%. They’re also using the information provided by these fact-checkers to improve the technology to identify potential fake news articles even faster in the future.

Fake Accounts

Fake accounts violate Facebook policies, so, once they are spotted, they are deleted. If a Facebook Page violates the requirement that people use their real identities and not impersonate others, it will be taken down, eliminating all of the misleading content. They’re hiring more reviewers and developing new AI tools all the time to detect and deactivate fake accounts quicker than ever before.


Facebook use many signals to work out which articles are likely to be clickbait, spam or fake news. Anything determined to be disreputable is de-ranked. This means they appear much lower down in your News Feed and you are far less likely to see them. Facebook use machine learning to continually hone the algorithms to help spot fake news, seek it out and reduce your chance of seeing it. This means the things at the top of your News Feed are more likely to be reputable, trustworthy and things you want to see.

Background Information on Articles and Publishers

Facebook will give you background information about the content in your News Feed. You’ll be noticing that articles are starting to come with a context button that gives you more details about the publisher.

They’ve also started to roll out a feature globally called Related Articles, which displays other sources discussing the same topic as any given article in your News Feed. These Related Articles have all been verified by the third-party fact-checkers and allow you to read around a subject and decide for yourself what to believe. If a fact-checker rates a story as false and you try to share it, you’ll be presented with other articles reporting on the same subject.

Stop the Flow of Money

A lot of the misinformation on Facebook is financially motivated. Publishers of fake news are often hoping that people will click on their stories and visit their sites, so they can make money from the ads they show there. Facebook are trying to make this practice unprofitable. They’re penalising fake news, clickbait, links that are shared by spammers and links to low-quality websites (also known as “ad farms”).

Publishers who are known to frequently share false information are also forbidden from running ads or using the other monetisation features, such as Instant Articles. Making fake news unprofitable should slow down it’s spread considerably and reduce the motives for creating it.

Well done Facebook – shame it took you so long to wake-up.

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Do You Understand Facebook Security

The Internet Resource Centre (www.idtheft.org) carried out a survey to help Facebook users deal with concerns over identity theft.

The key concern from the survey results is that many Facebook users don’t understand the privacy settings and believe their information has more restricted circulation than is actually the case.

63% of respondents believed their information was only visible to friends if their profile was set to private. Not true.

Over 90%  of respondents say they have their full name visible on their profile and more than 50% have their birthday, pets names, hometown, high school name and current city visible. All of this information is very useful to identity thieves.

Most people do not share passwords with others, but 10% say they reuse the same password on other sites. If your password is hacked, then the hackers often try the same login and password on other systems so if you share passwords across systems then you’re putting all of them all at risk from one hack.

Most survey respondents have received scam emails and messages, phishing emails and messages and more than 10% report their account was accessed without their permission. The results were mostly embarrassment and damage to reputation but also loss of money in some cases.

Many victims of identity theft do not realise their identity has been compromised  until some time later e.g. when a bank statement arrives or debt collectors start to phone.  By then a lot of damage could already have been done.

The page at http://www.digitalspy.com/tech/feature/a552990/how-do-i-make-my-facebook-profile-private/ contains detailed information on Facebook privacy settings.

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How to Maintain Privacy on Facebook

Social media is designed for you to share but you should take care to set the privacy levels so you know who can see your information and postings.

Basic Privacy Settings

In Facebook on a PC, click on the top right menu item and select Settings then Privacy and you should see as below.

You choose who can see your postings, profile etc. The choices are Public, Friends, Specific Friends or Only Me.

Set “Who Can Contact Me”. The choices are Everyone or just Friends and Friends of Friends

Set “Who Can Lookup Me Up” and whether you want search engines outside of Facebook to find your profile.

That’s all quite straightforward. Basically you decide if you want the world to see what you put on Facebook or restrict it to friends.

The Audience Selector Tool

When creating a new post on your timeline, there is a drop down box which allows you to determine the audience for the post. You can choose Public , Friends, Friends Except (you pick which friends to exclude), Specific Friends (you pick which Friends to include) or Only Me.

You’ll find an audience selector tool most places you share status updates, photos and other things you post. Click the tool and select who you want to share something with.

The selector tool remembers the audience you shared with the last time you posted something and uses the same audience when you share again unless you change it.


To set or modify your profile information, click the ‘Update Info button on bottom right of your header photo. You can then set a new header photo, profile photo, location, family and relationships, schools, professional skills etc.

Everyone can see this public information, which includes your name, profile picture, cover photo, gender, username, user ID, and networks.

To see what your profile looks like to other people, use the View As tool.


Only you and your friends can post to your Timeline. When you make a post you can set the audience. When other people post on your Timeline, you can control who sees it by choosing the audience of the Who can see what others post on your Timeline setting.

As you edit your info, you can control who sees what by using the audience selector.

Privacy Check

Facebook lets you make a quick health check on privacy settings. Click on the question mark (or maybe a padlock symbol) on top right and select Privacy Check.

1) Posts – As explained below, this will explain how to control your privacy settings for every post.

2) Apps – Who sees your activity within APPS from outside suppliers

3) Profile – How much personal information is to be shown

Use Facebook wisely and don’t give any information to people without considering the possible consequences first.

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