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Facebook Shuts Down Russian Fake News, Starts Oversight Board Ahead of 2020 Elections

Can Facebook ever repair its image?

Facebook has been heavily criticized over the last four years for not doing enough to stop the proliferation of fake news on the social network. Fair or not, many claim that this affected the outcome of the 2016 elections. What is clear, however, is that Facebook does have a problem with both hate speech and false news feeds that border on slanderous.

Mark Zuckerberg has been vilified for all of this. A group of celebrities recently boycotted Instagram for a day in protest – not that anyone cared. So now Facebook has blocked a bunch of groups linked to Russian disinformation and announced the start of its long awaited new oversight board.

Nathaniel Gleicher, Facebook’s head of cybersecurity, said in a statement that Facebook, “removed three separate networks for violating our policy against foreign or government interference which is coordinated inauthentic behavior (CIB) on behalf of a foreign or government entity. These networks originated in Russia.”

Facebook said that it took action because in each case, the people behind this activity coordinated with one another and used fake accounts as a central part of their operations to mislead people about who they are and what they are doing,

The company explained that the activities focused on two things: 1) creating fictitious or seemingly independent media entities and personas to engage unwitting individuals to amplify their content and 2) driving people to other websites that these operations control.

In addition, Facebook promises that its new oversight board will begin operations before the November elections.

A source told CNBC that the company is, “currently testing the newly deployed technical systems that will allow users to appeal and the Board to review cases. Assuming those tests go to plan, we expect to open user appeals in mid to late October.”

They added: “Building a process that is thorough, principled and globally effective takes time and our members have been working aggressively to launch as soon as possible.”

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