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Facebook Watch: Zuckerberg’s Q&A, political ads, health data and more


Here is an overview of all the important news about Facebook from the previous week as it deals with the fallout from the Cambridge Analytica scandal. The social media giant is attempting to make some sweeping changes to its platform with a focus on privacy and attempting to give more information to its users.

Highlights and audio from Zuckerberg’s Q&A with the media

“This is going to be a never-ending battle,” said Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg as he gave the most candid look into his thoughts about Cambridge Analytica, data privacy and Facebook’s sweeping developer platform changes during a conference call with reporters. Sounding alternately vulnerable about his past negligence and confident about the company’s strategy going forward, Zuckerberg took nearly an hour of tough questions. Here are the key highlights from that Q&A.

562,455 Indian users among 87 million accounts accessed by Cambridge Analytica

Data belonging to over 562,455 Indian Facebook users may have been improperly accessed by British political consulting firm Cambridge Analytica, the social media giant revealed last week. This information came as part of the revelation that Cambridge Analytical had access to data from 87 million users, mostly from the US, around 37 million more than what had been reported earlier. This was the first time the company put a number on the total number of Indians that may have been affected. Read all the details here.

Facebook will label political ads, verify users who want to run them

Facebook will label all political and issue ads and include information about who paid for them. It will also mandate verification of identity and location of anyone who wants to run such ads. The company is also creating a searchable archive of past political ads. Apart from this, the company will also mandate verification for people who manage large pages in its attempt to make it more difficult for pages to be run using fake accounts or to “grow virally and spread misinformation or divisive content that way”. Read the full story here.

Facebook sent a doctor on a secret mission to ask hospitals to share patient data: Report

Facebook had asked several major US hospitals to share anonymized data about their patients, such as illnesses and prescription info, for a proposed research project, CNBC reported last week. The company was intending to match it up with user data it had collected, and help the hospitals figure out which patients might need special care or treatment. The proposal never went past the planning phases and has been put on pause after the Cambridge Analytica scandal.

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Sheryl Sandberg says Facebook “underinvested” in safety and security

“As we find more Cambridge Analyticas, we’re going to find a comprehensive way to put them out and make sure people see them,” Facebook COO Sheryl Sandberg told BuzzFeed News. “So far, we don’t have another clear case to share.” Sandberg also took personal responsibility for the series of crises Facebook has been embroiled in, saying that as the person looking over the company’s ad business she has not been let off the hook while Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg takes all the blame.“I take responsibility for this,” she said. “The buck stops with us. The buck stops with me. On the things we didn’t do that we should’ve done that are under my purview, that’s my responsibility and I own that.” In an interview with the Financial Times, Sandberg also admitted that Facebook underinvested in safety and security.

Facebook scans media and links shared on Messenger; reads content when flagged

Facebook scans the links and images that people send each other on Facebook Messenger and reads chats when they’re flagged to moderators, making sure the content abides by the company’s rules. If it doesn’t, it gets blocked or taken down.The company confirmed the practice after an interview published on Vox with Chief Executive Officer Mark Zuckerberg raised questions about Messenger’s practices and privacy. Read the full story here.

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Writes about consumer technology, social media, digital services and tech policy. Is a gadget freak, gamer and Star Wars nerd.

MediaNama’s mission is to help build a digital ecosystem which is open, fair, global and competitive.



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