FACEBOOK allows fake news merchants to reap big profits on its platform despite pledges to combat dangerous disinformation according to a top watchdog.
The Bureau of Investigative Journalism, one of the world’s most revered media watchdogs, has released a damning report claiming that Facebook deliberately allows fake news merchants to profit from peddling dangerous disinformation to millions of users.
According to the London-based bureau’s report, 430 pages collectively followed by 45 million people are allowed to monetise their disinformation content by availing of Facebook’s virtual “shop” feature and paid subscription services.
Facebook has disputed some of the report’s claim, with a spokesperson asserting that many of the pages flagged by the bureau are not in breach of their policies. They said they are investigating the data provided by the report, and have already removed a number of pages found to be peddling dangerous vaccine and Covid-19 disinformation.
Alongside swathes of fake news targeting English-speaking audiences in the US and UK, the bureau found disinformation pages in seven languages including Spanish, Portuguese, and Polish. Other reports have warned that Spain has been heavily targetted by bad actors during the pandemic, with Bilbao-based Panda Security claiming that more than half of Spaniards had been exposed to pandemic related fake news during the country’s lockdown.
The report has ultimately accused Facebook’s claims that they are “aggressively” targeting the spread of fake news as being dwarfed by the platform’s insatiable desire for profit. The United Nations and the World Health Organisation have both stressed the significant damage inflicted by fake news on global vaccine efforts. If we are to believe the findings of the bureau, it is evident that while fake news merchants produce dangerous disinformation in search of profit it is Facebook that takes the fattest cut.
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