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Sunday, September 08, 2019

Facebook has a gaping loophole in its fight against fake news

Facebook has a major flaw that allows fake users to get around their strategy to stop fake news.

The social media giant has been taking its fight against misinformation and fake news seriously in recent years. The company has been processed against malicious accounts that spread the fraud. It updated its policies to keep false information out of check. Studies are also working on the steps that FaceBook has taken. This is all good news!

However, recently discovered flaws prove that much work is yet to be done for Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg and the rest of his company.

Mashable has learned about the glitch in Facebook groups that allow Facebook pages to easily create fake news and spread misinformation, which closed 2 years ago: editable link preview.

When you post the link on Facebook, the link preview is embedded. They usually contain a large thumbnail, the main URL from which the link, the title of the post, and the short description of the article. Facebook describes this information with the actual post image, headline, and details associated with the website. This is a visually pleasing method to show that otherwise a text link will occur.

Before mid-2017, any user who had pasted a link on Facebook was able to edit the image, title and description of whatever they wanted before posting the link publicly on the site.

However, in June of that year, Facebook made a major change as part of its fight against fake news and misinformation. The company announced that it was ending the ability for users to edit link previews.

"By removing the ability to customize link metadata (ie headline, description, image) from all link sharing entry points on Facebook, we are eliminating a channel that has been abused for posting false news." Facebook said in 2017, explaining the move to its site for post developers.

In a private Facebook group discussing topics related to social media, I recently came across a user about how they discovered a strange glitch that still allowed the Facebook page to edit link preview metadata Has given Again, this is a facility that completely shut down a year ago.

"If I am posting something from Massab from the Facebook page about how important vaccines are," explained the user requesting anonymity for this piece in a private Facebook message, "I can change the headline now "There are bogus. ''

Let's take Howard Shults out of the presidential race. Using my Facebook page and flaws, I was able to post the same CNN link to a Facebook group with an edited title, which completely changed the meaning of the post. You can see the result above. The average Facebook user scrolling will see a CNN source article with a fake title and not knowing that it was changed until they actually clicked.

"I reported this to [Facebook] a few months ago," the source wrote to me more than three weeks ago. "I reported it not too long ago and two days ago they responded with an automated reply and closed the ticket."

This person provided me with a screenshot of the support ticket on 2 August. The message sent to Facebook details the issue, along with the dissemination of misinformation through malicious users, and a note detailing how they first approached the company? Released in February or March of this year.

Facebook responded ten days later.

The company said, "We received your report and appreciated your patience, as we work to fix technical issues on Facebook." While we cannot update everyone who submits a report, we are improving the Facebook experience for everyone using your feedback. . "

The support ticket was immediately discontinued.

I can confirm that Facebook pages can still edit link preview metadata in Facebook groups at the time of publication.

Facebook has in recent years emphasized its fight against fake news on its platform. After the 2016 presidential election, the social network was hit with a wave of criticism over misinformation scandals. Foreign institutions used the site to spread propaganda, the owner of the clickbait website named the Facebook algorithm its fake political news To generate profitable traffic for blogs, the U.N. also claimed that the misinformation spread on Facebook led to Rohingya Muslims in Myanmar Not played a role in the massacre.

A redesign earlier this year, Facebook kept its focus on its entireFocus platform. The company has long pushed the group as a priority citing "meaningful" engagement.

However, with the setting of Facebook groups, the conspirators and other bad actors shifted their misinformation and fake news sharing to private and secret groups. In fact, last month, social media giantPrakashFacebook Group had a long post recalling users that its policies also exist within those private communities. The company is clearly aware of these problems in the group, which makes it even more astonishing that the issue has not been fixed.

Study is done. Majority of people do not remain in the headlines of articles seen online. On top of that, after reading only the headline, they will share it in the digital age, a sad but also surprising fact. The ability to edit titles and short descriptions for shared links can be easily misused by bad actors. Add to the fact that Facebook Link Preview maintains the official URL where the article is from, say or, even after the metadata has been edited, and you're asking for trouble.

"Our research shows that there is a small group of people on Facebook who regularly share large amounts of public posts per day, effectively spamming people's feeds," explained Adam, the then newsfeed VP of KeyFacebook Moseri discontinued the feature when the company edited the link preview. "Our research suggests that the links they share contain low-quality content such as clickbats, sensationalism, and misinformation. As a result, we want to minimize the impact of these spammers and regularize those links Are what they share more often than those who share regularly. "

At the time, Facebook provided publishers with a little route with Facebook page after publisher changes. Media outlets were given a few extra months where it was possible to edit link preview metadata. During this time, publishers were encouraged to use them to edit link previews for domain names that were owned by them. This allows Facebook to edit page link previews, but only for links to their website.

To date, applying is the only way to edit the link preview metadata on your Facebook page and your Facebook page for approval for your domain name. There is no way to edit previews for links to sites you don't have ... apart from this weird group flaws, of course.

Keep in mind that Facebook pages were not always allowed to join groups. That specialty Theka launched in September 2018. It is therefore possible that this workaround also exists to begin and is capable of flying under the radar for as long as it is.

While it is unconfirmed whether this is indeed a bug, given the changes in Facebook's policy over the years, it is highly unlikely that this feature is intentional. The prankster has reached for comment on Facebook and will update this post when we hear back.

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