Facebook’s Plans to Improve Safety, Protect Privacy, and Fight Fake News

June 24, 2018

Facebook is constantly updating and changing their policies. They want to ensure that the network remains safe, protects privacy, and caters to their users.


Photo: Kon Karampelas on Unsplash  


One of the major plans that Facebook has is to fight fake news. Some of you may be familiar with fake news. It is when people will post things that aren’t true and go viral. As a result, people assume that the “news” is real without researching it at all. Facebook has taken the initiative to fight fake news through a news literacy campaign, which offers tips on how to identify fake news. It also recruits researchers who will look into the fake news. Their short film that they recently launched, called “Facing Facts,” is about a company’s fight against fake news (Al-Heeti, 2018). Facebook wants to fight fake news because they have been accused of spreading fake news and misinformation. This has led people to believe that fake news contributed to Donald Trump being elected. Facebook plans to ensure that no fake news gets broadcasted by removing accounts and content that violate Facebook’s community standards and advertising policies.


Facebook is also planning to improve their safety and privacy protection. One of their biggest concerns is privacy, and this is due to numerous cases of information being leaked and users getting hacked. Facebook wants to make sure that every user is protected no matter where they are in the world. One of their plans to improve safety and protect privacy is to ask users to review how Facebook uses their data. There are constant advertisements on Facebook, which are different for each user depending on who they are. The ability for users to review how their data is being used for advertisements will give them the option to opt out of specific targeting (Wenger, 2018).


Another way that Facebook will improve safety and protect privacy is that they will be letting users turn off face recognition technology on Facebook. This will let users choose whether or not they want Facebook to recognize them in photos and videos.


Facebook is also limiting advertisement categories to teenagers so they are not exposed to anything dangerous or illegal. Facebook is being extra careful with regulating who sees their ads and what types of ads are being shown.


To ensure safety, Facebook is restricting data access to apps on Facebook. Most users know that they can connect third party apps to their Facebook, meaning that if they connected to Instagram, they can automatically have an Instagram post be posted to Facebook in order to let their Facebook friends see the post as well. Now, apps will need approval by Facebook in order to connect and users will not be able to search other users through email and phone numbers. Facebook is planning all of this to ensure that their users are safe and that their information never gets leaked.


I think their plans to improve safety and privacy protection will be effective but it won’t be enough. I like that users can turn off face recognition and that they can’t search other users through their emails and phone numbers. I like that specific advertisements will not be specifically displayed to certain age groups. I also like that they are being more careful with which third party apps can be connected to Facebook. However, I don’t personally think this will be enough. I think Facebook should allow users to give feedback on what they want to change and what they’re scared of regarding safety and privacy. Facebook should take into consideration what their users are reporting and make the necessary changes so that all users will feel safe. Users use Facebook to stay connected with friends and family from all over the world. I personally don’t want to see advertisements that don’t relate to me, but I also don’t want my information to be leaked. I feel that Facebook should employ other methods to ensure that information is secured. One way they can do this is to add more security questions. These plans are great and will be effective, but they should still continue to find ways to keep their users safe and protected. They shouldn’t stop here. They should continue to figure out how they can improve their privacy and safety policies even more.


As for Facebook fighting fake news, I’m not sure if this plan will be effective, as I don’t know if they will be able to find a reliable way to reduce fake news. Users all over the platform, especially advertisers, can easily share false information. It’s impossible for Facebook to track down every single fake news post. Surely, there is no definite way to end fake news, but right now, their three initiatives will not be enough. If a post is reported for any reason, I think that Facebook should be quick to research the post and then take it down if necessary. Sometimes, reports won’t be looked at for days at a time. It can sometimes even be weeks, so if Facebook makes a point to be on top of their reports, then their plans to fight fake news may be more effective.


Facebook is constantly updating their policies. So far, everything seems to be effective, but we can only hope that they work out in the long run and that Facebook stays on top of every concern that their users have.


My name is Linda Tran. I'm 24 years old from Boston and I'm majoring in Marketing with a concentration in Social Media at the Southern New Hampshire University. A fun fact about me is that I learned coding and HTML at the age of 11.


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