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Facebook fears loss of face, takes measures to allay concerns 

NEW DELHI: The growing global backlash on concerns of privacy and the use of its platforms such as WhatsApp to spread fake news has forced social media giant Facebook to take several measures using technology as well as reaching out to policy makers and academic community to allay these concerns. 

Facebook is investing in technology and hiring thousands of people to weed out fake profiles often associated with spreading false news, and WhatsApp has begun testing tools to inform users when a message is originally composed and forwarded, people familiar with the development said. It is also blocking advertisements to pages that repeatedly spread false news, removing financial incentives.

Facebook has also stepped up hiring more public policy experts in its teams to engage with governments. Facebook is also expanding to Instagram, the photo sharing site, a service to people who seek drugs, to reach out to counselling centres and prevent drug abuse, they said. Experts, however, said it needs to do more. 

“The expectations from Facebook have dramatically changed, because it is having a huge impact on the society,” said Soumitra Dutta, professor at Cornell University in operations, technology and information management area. “It is an awakening of a company to the future since Facebook is no more just an online company,” he said, talking about the recent controversies sparked off by Facebook. 

Facebook also realises that. It has begun an exercise to hire a massive number of executives in public policy and government affairs roles across the world including in India as it battles multiple governments over privacy and data sharing. The company currently has close to 100 positions open in this area with around four roles in India. 

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