In an interview on Thursday for The New York Times, Mark Zuckerberg shed some interesting insights into the Fake News conversation coming out of Macedonia.
While discussing the scandal involving British data analytics firm Cambridge Analytica, obtaining access to more than 50 million Facebook users’ data in 2014, Mark said:
“In last year, in 2017 with the special election in Alabama, we deployed some new A.I. tools to identify fake accounts and false news, and we found a significant number of Macedonian accounts that were trying to spread false news, and were able to eliminate those. And that, actually, is something I haven’t talked about publicly before, so you’re the first people I’m telling about that. ”
“I feel a lot better about the systems now. At the same time, I think Russia and other governments are going to get more sophisticated in what they do, too. ” he continued.
This is not the first time that Macedonia has found itself in the spotlight related to the spread of fake news on social media. In 2016, the central town of Veles became infamous for the lucrative online ventures of some of its younger inhabitants, who used the US presidential election to earn money by promoting fake or misleading news in support of Donald Trump. Wired Magazine has a fantastic article called “Inside the Macedonian Fake-News Complex”, which is worth reading.
Banned Pages from Kosovo about Native Americans
In February this year, Facebook had removed multiple pages that pretended to represent Native Americans but were actually pushing fake news stories linked to websites seemingly from Kosovo. However, a Media Matters review found that the network runs much deeper.
Media Matters discovered eight purported “Native American” Facebook pages pushing fake news, Facebook removed them. But an additional review has found at least 18 more Facebook pages that appear to be part of the network.
Not every page is branded as Native American, but the similarities between these pages and the fake news they share suggest they are interconnected. Altogether, the pages had an audience of more than 3.8 million followers.
The #DeleteFacebook Saga
While the #deleteFacebook saga is continuing to grow, latest news around it comes from Elon Musk himself, who deleted his company pages on Facebook, (Tesla & SpaceX).
Musk was answering a flurry of tweets this morning when he responded to one from Signal’s Brian Acton, co-founder of the Facebook-owned WhatsApp, that contained the hashtag #deletefacebook. “What’s Facebook?” Musk queried. Afterward, a follower told Musk he should delete SpaceX’s Facebook page if Musk was “the man.” Musk claimed he didn’t even know it existed and then said he would, probably in an attempt to preserve his “the man” status.