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Facebook denies listening to user conversations on mobiles
01 Noviembre 2017, 01:55 | Crisanna Felipe
Is Facebook eavesdropping on your conversations to send targeted ads? Social network denies it taps into microphones to 'listen' to its users
The figures were provided as part of written testimony the company plans to deliver to the committee, which is investigating Russia-backed efforts to influence the 2016 US election. For all the deserved focus on political ads paid for by Russian operatives, what most worries experts about the role of internet platforms in 2016 is the "organic" stuff - the mis- and disinformation created and shared for free, not just by Russians but by cynical or misguided Americans, that can shape and direct political debate. But if we're to believe in the ideal of any campaign finance rules, then we have to believe that now is the time to ensure that the internet is not subject to the propagandistic whims of nations that seek only to destabilize and to divide the U.S. The company might be forced to do more to regulate ads and root out misinformation, but it's unclear how much such efforts would hurt Facebook.
But all three social media firms face the difficult challenge of keeping their platforms open, in order to avoid accusations of censorship and bias, and not becoming the curators of truth in society.
"These actions run counter to Facebook's mission of building community and everything we stand for", Facebook's general counsel Colin Stretch said on Tuesday.
The social network will also tell Congress how it deleted more than 170 accounts from its Instagram subsidiary that had posted around 120,000 pieces of Russian-linked content.
Facebook says 126 million people may have seen Russian content aimed at influencing Americans. Those channels hosted 1,108 videos with 43 hours of material, although they racked up just 309,000 views in the U.S. between June 2015 and November 2016, Google said.
The companies will be wary of what happened to Twitter when it first presented information on Russian interference to a closed-door briefing in late September with the Senate Intelligence committee staff. Mark Warner, the top Democrat on the committee, gave the company a verbal lashing afterward for not taking the issue seriously enough.
Facebook has denied evesdropping on app user's conversations to target adverts, following claims from users that they received suspiciously timed promotional messages.
One theory that has been put forward is users could be experiencing what's known as the Baader-Meinhof phenomenon, also known as the frequency illusion.
Facebook promised to display more information about political ads on its site.
At the hearing, Stretch said Facebook also saw some activity continue after the election with the goal of "fomenting discord about the validity" of President Trump's election.
These posts, which Facebook says were created by a Kremlin-linked company, were amplified through likes, shares and comments, and spread to tens of millions of people.
"Senator, it's a signal we should have been alert to", Stretch replied.
Twitter announced last week it would no longer accept advertising from Russia Today and Sputnik, two Russian government-backed media groups that allegedly hone their stories and news placement for political impact.
They also don't yet have the technology for a clear solution to prevent it, they told the Senate panel, while acknowledging they're committed to increasing security on their platforms.
That modification can be made in the built-in 'Settings' application on your smartphone.
Blumenthal pressed Twitter's acting general counsel Sean Edgett to commit to researching how many voters may have been misled into incorrectly believing they had voted because of the posts.
Facebook's terms of service prohibit content that is "hate speech, threatening, or. incites violence".
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