Facebook Takes Down Billions Of Fake Accounts

Breaking Up Facebook Isn't The Answer, Says Zuckerberg
This file photo taken on February 18, 2019 shows the US social media Facebook logo displayed on a tablet in Paris. French Senate approved in the night between May 21 and May 22, 2019 a new tax on digital giants (“Gafa”), such as Google, Amazon, Facebook and Apple, carried through Finance Minister Bruno Le Maire. PHOTO: Lionel BONAVENTURE / AFP

 

Facebook on Wednesday said it has taken down some 5.4 billion fake accounts this year in a sign of the persistent battle on social media against manipulation and misinformation.

Amid growing efforts to create fraudulent accounts, Facebook said it has stepped up its defenses and often removes the accounts within minutes of their being created.

“We have improved our ability to detect and block attempts to create fake, abusive accounts,” the internet firm said in its latest transparency report.

“We can estimate that every day, we prevent millions of attempts to create fake accounts using these detection systems.”

Facebook believes that fake accounts — where someone pretends to be a person or entity which does not exist — represented about five percent of its worldwide active users during the second and third quarters of this year.

The social network has invested heavily in finding and taking down accounts crafted to deceive people about where information is originating, particular when spread as part of coordinated campaigns with political or social agendas.

The detailed report also showed that government demands for user information hit a new high, led by the US.

Overall requests by governments for Facebook user data rose 16 percent to 128,617 in the first half of this year.

“Of the total volume, the US continues to submit the largest number of requests, followed by India, the UK, Germany and France,” the report stated.

Facebook received 50,741 requests from the US for information regarding 82,461 accounts, with roughly two-thirds of those done in a way prohibiting the social network from letting users know about inquiries, the report showed.

“We always scrutinize every government request we receive for account data to make sure it is legally valid,” Facebook deputy general counsel Chris Sonderby said in an online post about the latest figures.

“This is true no matter which government makes the request.”

Curbing the disturbing

In a detailed transparency report that, for the first time, included photo and video-oriented social network Instagram, Facebook also highlighted progress tackling terror, hate, suicide, child porn, and drug related posts.

“While we are pleased with this progress, these technologies are not perfect and we know that mistakes can still happen,” Facebook said.

“That’s why we continue to invest in systems that enable us to improve our accuracy in removing content that violates our policies while safeguarding content that discusses or condemns hate speech.”

Facebook reported that it removed about 11.6 million pieces of content that broke is rules banning child nudity or sexual exploitation of children from the main social network, compared with half that amount in the first three months of this year..

Some 754,000 pieces of such banned content were removed from Instagram in the recently ended quarter, up from 512,000 in the prior three-month period, according to Facebook.

Millions of pieces of content related to drug sales were also removed from Facebook and Instagram in the recently ended quarter, the report indicted.

In a conference call discussing the report, Facebook chief Mark Zuckerberg and other executives stressed how combining company resources allowed it to better tackle unwanted content and activity at both Instagram and the leading social network.

Zuckerberg has responded to political rhetoric calling for the breakup of Facebook, in part, by arguing that such a move would actually make it harder to fight problems such as malicious content or activities.

“This is something we invest billions of dollars into every year,” Zuckerberg said of the battle to keep Facebook safe and secure for users.

“That certainly weighs on profits, but there is no question it is the right thing to do.”

Zuckerberg renewed his call for regulation that called for all internet firms to openly disclose details about the efficiency of efforts to stop the spread of harmful content on their platforms.

“If we can’t understand the true prevalence of harmful content across systems, we can’t stop it,” Zuckerberg said.

AFP

Facebook Unveils New Logo As Its ‘Family’ Grows

This handout image obtained November 4, 2019 courtesy of Facebook, shows the new company logo for Facebook. Eric BARADAT / FACEBOOK / AFP

 

 

Facebook on Monday unveiled a new logo to represent the Silicon Valley company, distinct from its core social network.

The move aims to highlight the Facebook “brand” which operates a range of apps and services including messaging, photo-sharing, virtual reality and is developing wallets for digital currency.

The new branding, basically the company name in crisp lettering, will be stamped on its “family” of offerings including WhatsApp, Messenger, Instagram, Oculus, Workplace, Portal and Calibra, according to chief marketing officer Antonio Lucio.

“Today, we’re updating our company branding to be clearer about the products that come from Facebook,” Lucio said.

“We’re introducing a new company logo and further distinguishing the Facebook company from the Facebook app, which will keep its own branding.”

The new corporate logo “is a way to better communicate our ownership structure to the people and businesses who use our services to connect,” Lucio added.

The move comes with Facebook under intense scrutiny from regulators around the world over how it polices content on its platforms, and with some politicians and activists seeking a breakup of Silicon Valley giants.

Since its start as a social networking application 15 years ago, Facebook has acquired Oculus virtual reality gear company as well as Instagram image-based social network. It has also launched Portal smart screens as well as a Workplace social network tailored for workplace productivity.

Its messaging applications WhatsApp and Messenger are each used by more than a billion people.

Facebook established a Calibra as a digital wallet for use with the proposed cryptocurrency Libra, which has been facing criticism from regulators and lawmakers in various countries.

AFP

Africa Targeted By Russian-Led Disinformation Campaign – Facebook

Breaking Up Facebook Isn't The Answer, Says Zuckerberg
This file photo taken on February 18, 2019 shows the US social media Facebook logo displayed on a tablet in Paris. 
Lionel BONAVENTURE / AFP

 

Facebook said Wednesday it had taken down accounts linked to a Russian ally of President Vladimir Putin seeking to spread disinformation on the social network in eight African countries.

The influence operations hiding behind fake identities were traced back to Yevgeny Prigozhin, who has been indicted in the United States in connection with a campaign targeting the 2016 US elections.

“Each of these operations created networks of accounts to mislead others about who they were and what they were doing,” Facebook cybersecurity chief Nathaniel Gleicher said in a statement.

“We have shared information about our findings with law enforcement, policymakers and industry partners.”

The accounts originated in Russia and targeted Madagascar, Central African Republic, Mozambique, the Democratic Republic of Congo, Ivory Coast, Cameroon, Sudan and Libya, according to Facebook.

The update suggests an expanding effort by Russia and is the latest move by the social media giant to halt foreign influence efforts in the United States and other parts of the world.

“We’re constantly working to detect and stop this type of activity because we don’t want our services to be used to manipulate people,” Gleicher said.

“In each of these cases, the people behind this activity coordinated with one another and used fake accounts to misrepresent themselves, and that was the basis for our action.”

Links to Mercenary Group

Stanford University researchers who worked in parallel with Facebook on the investigation said at least some of the purged accounts came from Russia’s Wagner Group, a shadowy private army which is believed to have been active in conflicts in Syria and Ukraine, and sent mercenaries to the Central African Republic and Sudan.

Considered a secretive Russian oligarch, Prigozhin is believed to be behind the Internet Research Agency, which has been linked to US election interference, as well as the Wagner Group.

Prigozhin, who has denied any ties to the Wagner Group, gained prominence for operating high-end restaurants in Russia in the 1990s, earning him the moniker “Putin’s chef.”

A statement from Stanford’s Cyber Policy Center said the operations appear to be “at least in part at the behest of a state actor” but also relied on subcontractors who are native speakers or people within the region, making it harder to detect.

“In addition to well-known social media platforms such as Twitter and Facebook, the actors leveraged public WhatsApp and Telegram groups,” the Stanford team said.

“The operation used social media engagement tactics designed to develop a close relationship with the audience, including Facebook Live videos, Google Forms for feedback, and a contest.”

The Stanford group said the African operations followed the playbook of the Internet Research Agency.

“The operatives created several associated news sites (in one case staffed by reporters who appear to have spent time in Russia) as well as Facebook Pages that produced social-first content (memes, live videos),” according to the researchers.

Facebook described three separate operations targeting both its core social network and Instagram.

One operation included 35 accounts and 53 pages that focused on Central African Republic, Mozambique, Democratic Republic of Congo, Ivory Coast and Cameroon.

Russian Strategy

The effort attracted some 475,000 followers and spent $77,000 for ads posting on global and local political news including Russian policies in Africa and criticism of French and US policies.

A separate operation targeting Sudan included 20 different accounts and 18 pages, some posing as news organizations.

The third network, focused on Libya, involved 15 accounts and 12 pages posting about local news and geopolitical issues.

The Stanford researchers said the operation appears to be part of “Russia’s global strategy for reasserting itself as a geopolitical superpower” and follows the deployment of paramilitary groups in Libya and the Central African Republic.

Putin last year surprised the West with a string of high-profile moves that strengthened Russia’s influence in the CAR, an extremely poor but strategically important country that has traditionally had close ties to France, the former colonial power.

Russia sent military trainers to the CAR’s beleaguered armed forces, a senior aide to advise the president and mercenaries to provide his security, and offered to mediate between the government and the country’s many rebel groups.

Facebook Profit Climbs Along With User Base

Breaking Up Facebook Isn't The Answer, Says Zuckerberg
This file photo taken on February 18, 2019 shows the US social media Facebook logo displayed on a tablet in Paris. French Senate approved in the night between May 21 and May 22, 2019 a new tax on digital giants (“Gafa”), such as Google, Amazon, Facebook and Apple, carried through Finance Minister Bruno Le Maire.
Lionel BONAVENTURE / AFP

 

Facebook on Wednesday reported that its quarterly profit grew along with its user base as it grapples with concerns ranging from political ads to cryptocurrency.

The leading social network said its profit topped $6 billion on revenue that climbed 28 percent to $17.4 billion in the quarter that ended on September 30.

Meanwhile, the number of active monthly users increased eight percent from a year ago to 2.45 billion.

“We had a good quarter and our community and business continue to grow,” said Facebook chief and co-founder Mark Zuckerberg.

“We are focused on making progress on major social issues and building new experiences that improve people’s lives around the world.”

Facebook shares rose more than a percent in after-market trades that followed release of the earnings figures, which beat Wall Street expectations.

“I’m not surprised by Facebook’s strong performance last quarter. Advertisers continue to support Facebook, despite the many controversies swirling around the company, and the user base also continues to expand around the world,” said eMarketer principal analyst Debra Aho Williamson.

“Yes, Facebook has a lot of challenges it must deal with, but increasing its revenue and user count isn’t one of them.”

The California-based company said that costs rose 32 percent in the quarter, which ended with a headcount of 43,030 employees, an increase of 28 percent from the same quarter last year.

Facebook has been beefing up teams devoted to privacy and security to protect people’s data and thwart the kind of voter manipulation campaigns seen during the US election three years ago.

The earnings release came just hours after Facebook announced it took down accounts linked to a Russian ally of President Vladimir Putin seeking to spread disinformation in eight African countries.

The influence operations hiding behind fake identities were traced back to Yevgeny Prigozhin, who has been indicted in the United States in connection with a campaign targeting the 2016 US elections.

“Each of these operations created networks of accounts to mislead others about who they were and what they were doing,” Facebook cybersecurity chief Nathaniel Gleicher said in a statement.

“We’re constantly working to detect and stop this type of activity because we don’t want our services to be used to manipulate people.”

Hands-off Approach

The accounts originated in Russia and targeted Madagascar, Central African Republic, Mozambique, Democratic Republic of Congo, Ivory Coast, Cameroon, Sudan and Libya, according to Facebook.

Facebook came under fresh criticism this week for its hands-off approach to political speech, as a group of employees and US lawmakers called on the social network to fact-check politicians spreading misinformation.

A letter from employees urged the company to crack down on “civic misinformation,” saying the spread of debunked claims is a “threat to what FB stands for.”

At the same time, US lawmakers critical of Facebook stepped up their calls for it to revisit its policy, which exempts comments and paid ads on the platform from fact-checking — an issue that has become heated with President Donald Trump’s online ads using what some called “provably false” claims.

“Being a politician shouldn’t be a license to lie — especially to spread hatred. If Facebook employees get it so should Zuckerberg,” tweeted Senator Richard Blumenthal.

Facebook said in response to an AFP query about the controversy that the social media giant remained “committed to not censoring political speech, and we will continue exploring additional steps we can take to bring increased transparency to political ads.”

Meanwhile, Twitter on Wednesday announced it would stop running political ads altogether.

Zuckerberg recently faced a torrent of criticism on Capitol Hill over the Libra cryptocurrency Facebook is seeking to roll out next year.

“We clearly have not locked down exactly how this is going to work yet,” Zuckerberg told members of the House Financial Service Committee.

“The goal of Libra is to build a global payment system rather than a currency.”

He acknowledged that Libra could be limited to digital payment systems using individual currencies — a less ambitious plan than creating a new coin linked to a basket of major currencies.

Libra is backed by an alliance of companies in a nonprofit, Swiss-based association, but some lawmakers are skeptical about the project, and want Facebook instead to focus on data privacy.

Lawmakers did not hold back in their harsh criticism of Facebook’s data practices and doubts about Libra in particular.

Facebook Takes More Heat For Enabling Political Falsehoods

 

Facebook came under fresh criticism Tuesday for its hands-off approach to political speech, as a group of employees and US lawmakers called on the social network to apply fact-checking for politicians spreading misinformation.

A letter from Facebook employees urged the company to crack down on “civic misinformation,” saying the spread of debunked claims is a “threat” to what the company stands for.

“We strongly object to this policy as it stands. It doesn’t protect voices, but instead allows politicians to weaponize our platform by targeting people who believe that content posted by political figures is trustworthy,” said the letter first obtained by the New York Times, which said some 250 employees had endorsed it.

At the same time, US lawmakers critical of Facebook stepped up their calls to revisit its policy, which exempts comments and paid ads on the platform from fact-checking — an issue that has become heated with President Donald Trump’s online ads using what some called “provably false” claims.

“Facebook’s new ads policy allows politicians to run demonstrably false advertising on its platform. I don’t think that’s right,” said Senator Mark Warner, a Virginia Democrat who added that he sent a letter to Facebook chief executive Mark Zuckerberg calling on him “to reverse this decision.”

Other Democrats joined the effort, welcoming the letter from Facebook employees.

“Being a politician shouldn’t be a license to lie — especially to spread hatred. If Facebook employees get it so should Zuckerberg,” tweeted Senator Richard Blumenthal.

Those comments were echoed by Senator and presidential hopeful Elizabeth Warren, who tweeted: “Facebook’s own employees know just how dangerous their policy allowing politicians to lie in political ads will be for our democracy. Mark Zuckerberg should listen to them — and I applaud their brave efforts to hold their own company accountable.”

Facebook did not respond to an AFP query, but Zuckerberg earlier this month articulated Facebook’s policy, saying it’s not the job of tech firms to “censor” politicians.

Zuckerberg said the policy is based on a long tradition of allowing free expression.

“I don’t think most people want to live in a world where you can only post things that tech companies judge to be 100 percent true,” he said.

The policy on Facebook, and a similar approach from other platforms such as Twitter, creates a challenge for online firms seeking to avoid the role of being an “arbiter” of truth and entering the fray of politics.

AFP

Facebook Unveils Fresh Security Measures For 2020 US Elections

Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg speaks during the annual F8 summit at the San Jose McEnery Convention Center in San Jose, California on May 1, 2018.  JOSH EDELSON / AFP

 

Facebook said Monday it was tightening its security for the 2020 US elections, with stepped up scrutiny of “state controlled” media seeking to manipulate American voters.

The moves add to a series of measures from the leading social network since 2016, when foreign entities were prominently involved in social media in the US campaign.

“The bottom line here is that elections have changed significantly since 2016, and Facebook has changed too,” Facebook chief executive Mark Zuckerberg told a conference call.

“We face increasingly sophisticated attacks from nation-states … but I’m confident we’re more prepared now.”

One of the new steps calls for labeling of messages coming from state-controlled media outlets, starting next month.

“We will hold these pages to a higher standard of transparency because they combine the opinion-making influence of a media organization with the strategic backing of a state,” a Facebook blog post said.

Facebook also said it would seek to curb the viral spread of misinformation by using a “pop-up” that will appear when people attempt to share posts on Instagram debunked by third-party fact-checkers.

“In addition to clearer labels, we’re also working to take faster action to prevent misinformation from going viral, especially given that quality reporting and fact-checking takes time,” Facebook said.

“In many countries, including in the US, if we have signals that a piece of content is false, we temporarily reduce its distribution pending review by a third-party fact-checker.”

Facebook said it was offering new protections against the accounts of political candidates, monitoring their accounts for hacking or hijacking. It also outlined steps to protect against “voter suppression” including any efforts to mislead people about where or when to vote.

In a related development, Facebook said it removed four separate networks of accounts from Russia and Iran for “coordinated inauthentic behavior” on Facebook and Instagram.

“All of these operations created networks of accounts to mislead others about who they were and what they were doing,” said Facebook cybersecurity chief Nathaniel Gleicher.

Three of the groups originated in Iran and one in Russia, and they targeted users in the United States, North Africa and Latin America.

One of the Russian groups used posts with concealed identities to make comments “on both sides of political issues including topics like US elections, environmental issues, racial tensions, LGBTQ issues, political candidates, confederate ideas, conservatism and liberalism,” Facebook said.

An Iranian account which “masqueraded as a news entity” posted on topics including race relations, US and Israeli policy on Iran and the Black Lives Matter movement.

Facebook Says It Will Deliver News Corp Stories

 

Facebook on Friday confirmed that some stories from News Corp, publisher of The Wall Street Journal, will be among the headlines delivered in a news tab the leading social network plans to launch in coming weeks.

Edited by seasoned journalists, the tab will be separate from the feed that displays updates from people’s friends, according to the California-based tech giant.

The new feature marks a departure from Facebook’s longstanding practice of letting algorithms dictate users’ experiences.

“I’m excited we’ll have the opportunity to include award-winning journalism from The Wall Street Journal — and other US News Corp properties — in our news tab,” the firm’s co-founder and chief executive Mark Zuckerberg said in a statement.

No details were provided about the agreement, but last month Facebook said it plans to pay only a portion of the publishers whose stories appear in the tab.

Facebook and Google currently dominate the market for online advertising, making it harder for traditional news organizations to gain traction in digital.

Zuckerberg and his social network have also come under intense pressure in recent years over the spread of so-called “fake news” and data privacy issues.

News Corp chief executive Robert Thomson said Facebook “deserves credit for recognizing the principle of journalistic provenance.”

“Mark Zuckerberg seems personally and professionally committed to ensuring that high quality journalism has a viable, valued future,” he added.

The Wall Street Journal has reported that Facebook plans to pay about a quarter of the estimated 200 news organizations whose articles will be featured.

A human team will select relevant, reliable breaking and top news stories for the tab and the number of publishers involved will grow over time, Facebook has said.

Aside from human-curated top news, sections of the tab will rely on algorithms to figure out a user’s interests based on “signals” — such as pages followed, interactions with online news or subscriptions to publications.

European Governments Move To Veto Facebook’s Digital Money

 

Major European players are joining forces to block Facebook’s proposed digital currency because of the dangers it poses to national sovereignty, French Economy Minister Bruno Le Maire announced Friday,

The firm opposition from France, Italy and Germany added to the mounting resistance faced by the tech giant’s troubled foray into digital finance.

The Group of 20 economies also warned Friday of “serious” risks of money laundering, fraud and illicit finance posed by Libra, the social media network’s digital currency.

Italy, Germany and France will take unspecified steps in the coming weeks “to show clearly that Libra is unwelcome in Europe because our sovereignty is at stake,” Le Maire told reporters on the sidelines of the annual meetings of the World Bank and International Monetary Fund in Washington.

“We will not allow a private company to have the same power, the same monetary power as sovereign states,” he added.

“The major difference between Facebook and governments is that we are subject to democratic control, that is the control of the people.”

The Group of Seven economies on Thursday had said any reserve-backed digital currency like Libra — known as a stablecoin — would require a sound legal framework before entering circulation.

But European officials say they want to go even further by blocking the currency outright.

Like Le Maire, German Finance Minister Olaf Scholz also said Friday he was “very skeptical” about Libra.

“I favor not allowing the establishment of such a global currency because that is the responsibility of democratic states,” he said.

But Scholz said he recognized the need for banking reforms to make cross-border payments more simple, cheap and speedy.

Answer: a clear ‘no’

“At the same time, we must protect the autonomy of democratic states,” he said.

Libra also has faced challenges from within after major financial and commercial players in recent weeks have backed out of the project, including Visa, Mastercard, eBay, Stripe, PayPal and the online travel firm Bookings Holdings.

But the Libra Association has tried to ward off a blockade by saying it will address the concerns posed by government officials.

“I repeat our priority today is to work with regulators to answer their legitimate questions and provide all necessary assurances,” said Bertrand Perez, managing director of the association.

Le Maire, however, appeared to rule out such cooperation with Facebook, noting that the social media giant planned to tie its cryptocurrency to a basket of reserve assets.

“All Facebook would have to do would be to decide to use more or fewer dollars or euros to affect the exchange rate between the euro and the dollar, and thus have a direct impact on trade, industry and nations which use the dollar or euro as their base currency,” he said.

This could harm monetary policy and affect governments’ efficiency, he added.

“Do we want to put monetary policy in the hands of a private company like Facebook? My answer is clearly no,” he said.

Still, he said he was not opposed to the creation of a digital currency, which France could develop “in a European framework.”

“The right answer is not a private digital currency under the control of one of the largest multinationals on the planet,” he said, referring to Facebook’s more than two billion users.

The Libra association officially launched Monday in Geneva with 21 founding members, including the telecoms firms Vodafone and Iliad, as well as tech outfits Uber, Spotify and Farfetch, blockchain operations such as Anchorage, Xapo and Coinbase and the venture capital firm Andreessen Horowitz.

Risks Posed By Facebook’s Libra Must Be ‘Addressed’ Before Launch – G20

Breaking Up Facebook Isn't The Answer, Says Zuckerberg
This file photo taken on February 18, 2019 shows the US social media Facebook logo displayed on a tablet in Paris.
Lionel BONAVENTURE / AFP

 

Facebook’s proposed digital currency creates “serious” risks of money laundering, fraud and illicit finance, the Group of 20 economies said Friday, adding to the resistance the proposed digital currency faces.

“Such risks… need to be evaluated and appropriately addressed before these projects can commence,” the Japanese presidency of the Group of 20 forum said in a statement.

 

 

Germany Wants Facebook Platform Access After Encryption

 

The German government wants US social media giant Facebook to ensure that security forces can gain access to its platforms after it has encrypted them so as to help fight crime.

The United States, Britain and Australia urged Facebook in an open letter earlier this month not to encrypt its messaging services because this would hinder efforts to combat terrorism and child abuse.

A government statement to be published in Germany’s Welt am Sonntag newspaper on Sunday says: “The preoccupations expressed in this open letter concerning the consequences of Facebook’s plans are shared by the interior ministry.”

The company says it recognises the problems raised but that it still plans to go ahead.

Facebook has run into stiff criticism over massive personal data security lapses and recently promised to encrypt its instant messenger service, in line with its WhatsApp offering.

The German government said this move would result in “a weakening of the authorities’ capacity to detect serious threats”.

To resolve the issue, it wants Facebook to build in back-door access to the encrypted messages.

“Technical solutions must be found on a case-by-case basis,” it said in the statement.

Finding the “appropriate solution… is first and foremost the responsibility of the company,” it added.

Facebook bluntly rejected the request as a threat to user security around the world.

“We vehemently reject government efforts to gain back-door access because that would put in danger the private lives and the security of people around the world,” the newspaper cited a Facebook German spokesman as saying.

In their open letter, the United States, Britain and Australia said Facebook reported 16.8 million paedophile content cases last year and said 70 percent of these would not have been discovered if its services were encrypted.

AFP

Zuckerberg Meets Trump, Senators, Nixes Breaking Up Facebook

 

Facebook chief executive Mark Zuckerberg met Thursday with US President Donald Trump and members of Congress on a political reconnaissance mission to Washington, where he rejected calls to break up the world’s biggest social network.

Zuckerberg’s visit comes as Facebook faces a myriad of regulatory and legal questions surrounding issues like competition, digital privacy, censorship and transparency in political advertising.

A Facebook spokesman said discussions were focusing in part on future internet regulation.

Senate Democrat Mark Warner, one of the lawmakers who has taken the lead in Washington on digital security, signalled they gave Zuckerberg an earful.

The visit, including a Wednesday night private dinner with Warner and other lawmakers, comes after his stormy appearance last year before Congress, where he was grilled on Facebook’s data protection and privacy missteps.

Senator Josh Hawley, a Republican freshman and one of the more outspoken critics of Facebook, said he had a “frank conversation” with Zuckerberg but remains concerned.

“Challenged him to do two things to show FB is serious about bias, privacy & competition. 1) Sell WhatsApp & Instagram 2) Submit to independent, third-party audit on censorship,” Hawley tweeted.

“He said no to both.”

Trump late Thursday posted a picture on Facebook and Twitter showing him shaking hands with Zuckerberg, but didn’t share details of their conversation.

“Nice meeting with Mark Zuckerberg of Facebook in the Oval Office today,” the president wrote.

Federal and state anti-trust enforcers are looking into potential anti-competitive actions by Facebook, and members of Congress are debating national privacy legislation.

The messaging product WhatsApp and picture-sharing giant Instagram are part of Facebook’s broad family of services that has made it a global online behemoth, but have also exposed the company to concerns about competition, data harvesting and sprawling digital control.

Warner said he was not prepared to call for Facebook’s dismantlement.

“I’m not yet with some of my friends who want to go straight to break up,” he told Fox Business Network.

“I am concerned. These are global companies, and I don’t want to transfer the leadership to Chinese companies,” he added.

“But I do think we need a lot more transparency. We need to have privacy rights protected. We need to increase competition with things like data portability and interoperability.”

Two months ago, the US Federal Trade Commission hit Facebook with a record $5 billion fine for data protection violations in a wide-ranging settlement that calls for revamping privacy controls and oversight at the social network.

Earlier Wednesday, executives from Facebook, Google and Twitter appeared before a Senate panel to answer questions on “digital responsibility” in the face of online violence and extremism.

Facebook Suspends ‘Tens Of Thousands’ Of Apps In Privacy Review

Breaking Up Facebook Isn't The Answer, Says Zuckerberg
Lionel BONAVENTURE / AFP

 

Facebook said Friday it suspended “tens of thousands” of apps on its platform as a result of its review on privacy practices launched following the scandal involving Cambridge Analytica.

The review was launched in 2018 after revelations that the political consultancy hijacked personal data on millions of Facebook users and included attorneys, external investigators, data scientists, engineers, policy specialists and others, according to a Facebook statement.

The suspensions are “not necessarily an indication that these apps were posing a threat to people,” said a statement from vice president of partnerships Ime Archibong, adding that some “did not respond to our request for information.”