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Amr Alfiky / AP

Have you liked or commented on a Facebook post about the COVID-19 pandemic that turned out to be a hoax?

The social media company says it's going to notify users if they liked, reacted or commented on harmful misinformation removed from Facebook's news feed.

It's one of the many new policies tech companies are employing to slow the outbreak of dangerous online misinformation that's spread quickly like the coronavirus itself.

Collage by Emilia Brock

Social distancing has become the new normal. With borders closing, shelter-in-place orders in California, lockdowns in Europe, and the Trump administration's guidelines to limit gatherings, millions of Americans are shuttering indoors — and spending a lot of time in front of a screen.

And the memes have flourished.


A campaign to raise awareness of opioid misuse and break the shame and stigma associated with addiction, is receiving help from five Georgia lawmakers.

Facebook’s public policy and program manager, Liza Heyman, said the social media giant is proud to be working on such an important campaign with Reps. Buddy Carter, Hank Johnson, Lucy McBath, Rob Woodall and Jody Hice.

The social platform will bolster the “Stop Opioid Silence” campaign created by Partnership for Drug Free Kids, Heyman said.

Courtesy AP Images

Suicide is the second leading cause of death among 15 to 29-year-olds in the United States. A 2018 study from the Centers For Disease Control and Prevention shows suicide rates increased by 16 percent in Georgia between 1996 and 2016.

 

Tech giant Facebook wants to help prevent suicide with artificial intelligence.

Foter

Social media platforms like Gab market themselves as free speech alternatives to sites like Twitter and Facebook, and they can create a safe haven for extremist views. After the Tree of Life shooting in Pittsburgh, police discovered the shooter had frequently posted anti-semitic messages and memes on Gab.

We spoke with David Schweidel, professor of marketing at Emory University, about the problem with social media echo chambers.


vd/Flickr

Election manipulation, the recent Atlanta cyber security breach and Facebook hacks all prove computers are vulnerable. Atlanta is one of the fastest growing high-tech metro areas in the U.S. It now ranks third in cities with the most Fortune 500 headquarters.

 


Georgia gubernatorial candidates Stacey Abrams, left, and Brian Kemp.
(AP Photos/John Amis, File)

On this edition of Political Rewind, Brian Kemp and Stacey Abrams are laying out the issues and the lines of attack they’ll take into the fall campaign for governor. 


Capitol Hill
Liam James Doyle / NPR

Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg is testifying on Capitol Hill to answer questions about protecting user data. The hearing held by the Senate Judiciary and Commerce committees follows news that the data-mining and political consulting firm Cambridge Analytica obtained personal information of up to 87 million Facebook users. The firm is accused of using that information to target Facebook users with political advertising in 2016. The two Senate committees are holding a joint hearing called "Facebook, Social Media Privacy, and the Use and Abuse of Data."

Leighton Rowell / GPB

Today in the Breakroom we talked about this week's top stories.

Updated at 6:43 p.m. ET

Sen. Richard Burr, R-N.C., wasted no time on Wednesday connecting the abstract story that is Russian election interference to strife in the real world.

With lawyers from Facebook, Twitter and Google sitting before him, the Senate Intelligence Committee chairman described a divisive scene in Houston last year — engineered entirely by Russian influence-mongers.

Copyright 2018 NPR. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/.

RACHEL MARTIN, HOST:

Copyright 2018 NPR. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/.

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Updated at 7:19 p.m. ET

Russian interference efforts in the 2016 presidential election were broader than anyone first knew, as representatives for Facebook, Twitter and Google told lawmakers on Capitol Hill Tuesday.

In July 2016, the aftermath of a police shooting of an African-American man was broadcast live on Facebook. Instantly, Americans of all stripes used the platform to step up the race wars and attack each other.

Twitter may be the public square of our times, but some citizens say their elected officials don't want to hear from them. It has become increasingly common for politicians at all levels of government to block followers, whether for uncivil behavior or merely for expressing a different point of view.

Facebook says 126 million people may have seen Russian content aimed at influencing Americans. Lawmakers on Capitol Hill want to weed out Russian operatives and extremist propaganda from Facebook.

But savvy marketers — people who've used Facebook's advertising platform since its inception — say that social media giant will find it hard to banish nefarious actors because its technology is designed to be wide open and simple to use.

Updated at 2:17 p.m. ET, Oct. 3

Facebook said on Monday it has given Congress thousands of ads linked with Russian influence operations in the United States and is tightening its policies to make such interference more difficult.

"Many [of the ads] appear to amplify racial and social divisions," it said.

The social media giant confirmed that it discovered the ad sales earlier this year and gave copies to Justice Department special counsel Robert Mueller, who is investigating Russian interference in the 2016 election.

For more than nine months, Twitter and Facebook have tried to dodge the intense public scrutiny involved with the investigation into Russian interference in last year's presidential election.

Now they're in the spotlight.

Congressional investigators are digging in on Russia's use of Facebook, Twitter and other social media companies to try to influence the 2016 campaign.

The Breakroom gang joins Celeste to weigh in on this week's headlines.

President-elect Donald Trump met Wednesday afternoon with a who's-who of the tech industry. They came from Silicon Valley and elsewhere to Trump Tower in Manhattan, where they talked about jobs and innovation.