Published: Mon, April 09, 2018
Science | By

Facebook to make 'unsend' feature available to all soon

Facebook to make 'unsend' feature available to all soon

The announcement caps a week of high drama for Facebook, which has dispatched senior executives to reassure users, advertisers, and lawmakers that it's stepping up efforts to protect privacy and owning up to instances where it failed to safeguard people's data. He's set to testify before Congress next week.

Zuckerberg is scheduled to appear on Tuesday before a joint hearing of two U.S. Senate committees, and on Wednesday before a U.S. House committee.

"Cambridge Analytica licensed data for no more than 30 million people from GSR, as is clearly stated in our contract with the research company", the company said in a statement. "We wanted to organise some direct action where lots of people could say that they love Facebook but want to see it improved".

Facebook later limited the data that apps can access, but it was too late in this case. Campaign spending on Facebook and other digital media will rise to an estimated $600 million this year, compared with about $250 million in 2014, the last midterm election year, according to an estimate by Kantar Media/CMAG. The company doesn't have logs going back that far, he said, so it can't know exactly how many people may have been affected.

In a statement on its website, AggregateIQ distanced itself from Cambridge Analytica and SCL but did not deny it has done work with SCL. Hearings over the issue are scheduled in the USA, and the European Union is considering what actions to take against the company.

That legislation was introduced last October to counter concerns about foreign nationals using social media to influence American politics, an issue being looked at as part of an investigation into possible Russian meddling during the 2016 USA presidential campaign. The federal agency is investigating whether the firm, along with Facebook and Cambridge Analytica, were in compliance with Canada's Personal Information Protection and Electronic Documents Act, as well as B.C.'s Personal Information Protection Act. "It is often the only source of news in some places", she said.

Money from advertising makes up almost all of Facebook's revenue.

Cambridge Analytica disputed the number.

In addition, Facebook announced on Friday that it will require advertisers who want to run not just political ads, but also so called "issue ads" - which may not endorse specific candidates or parties but discuss political topics - to be verified.

Facebook is trying to strengthen its system ahead of this year's USA midterm elections as well as upcoming elections around the world. The company also said it would require managers of popular Facebook pages to have their identity verified. The issue ads requirement is new.

Sandberg underscored that Facebook's business model is dependent on ads.

Facebook users can opt out of seeing targeted ads, but can't shut off ads altogether. Neither can they opt entirely out of Facebook's data collection.

Facebook shares, having taken a beating amid the non-stop revelations, have recovered since Zuckerberg and Chief Operating Officer Sheryl Sandberg embarked on the public-relations offensive. Presently, this is not a "convenience' available to all Facebook users, even for the accidentally sent messages". Facebook executives took almost five days to respond to the Cambridge Analytica reports. Facebook was right to kill the phone number search feature, albeit belatedly, but the problem of bad actors collecting users' phone numbers or other information on the platform remains unsolved.

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