Mark Zuckerberg founded tech giant, Facebook may be embroiled in another controversy as popular journal, New York Times in a new report recently published inferred that the newly released transparently report by Facebook hitherto hidden from the public eye has the most popular post on their public news feed in the United States riddled with COVID-19 misinformation.
According to the report, the most viewed Facebookpage links from January to March 2021 insinuated that the death of a doctor from Florida was caused by a COVID-19 vaccine, an obvious misinformation that has garnered about 54 million views in the first quarter of 2021.
The page link, a back link from a site called Epoch,which incidentally is among the top 20 most visited pages on Facebook, has been famed for being a site that is at home to conspiracy theories and COVID-19 misinformation.
The Policy Communication Director for Facebook, Mr. Andy Stone may have tried to whittle down the effect of the brewing controversy when he opined on microblogging platform, Twitter that though hiding the report was unfair but dealing with misinformation may not be easy as it appears.
In his words:
“News outlets wrote about the south Florida doctor that died. When the coroner released a cause of death, the Chicago Tribune appended an update to its original story; NYTimes did not. Would it have been right to remove the Times story because it was COVID misinform?” Stone tweeted. “Of course not.No one is actually suggesting this, and neither am I. But it does illustrate just how difficult it is to define misinformation.”
We’ve been getting criticism for holding an internal report until it was more favorable for us and then releasing it. Getting criticism isn’t unfair. But it’s worth taking a closer look — and making note of some of the components of the story.
— Andy Stone (@andymstone) August 21, 2021
He further on defended the action of Facebook by asserting that the company is at the moment conducting “key fixes to the system’, publicizing the Q2 report of 2021 on Twitter but failed to adequately explain the exact changes the tech company was planning to infuse.
The Washington Post had quoted Stones in a statement to reporters saying that one of the ‘key fixes’ will involve the configuration of a technical bug but that was too abstract as he did not go into details.
There is a school of thought that Facebook did not see this controversy coming as it has grossly underestimated the abilities of users to analyze the report, with a sizeable number of people pointing out discrepancies in alignment between the report of Facebook Policy Communication Director and the one The New York Times had published.
Facebook had expectedly painted a more glorifying picture in its Q2 report as the details of the report listed from April to June did not really show much of misinformation but famed COVID-19 misleading site, Enoch still reflected in the feed, although its popular posts are majorly memes, food recipes, human and animal stories, as well as CBD products and Christian-oriented clothing.
Users continued their speculation to note that Facebook’s Q1 report only got exposed after the tech giant tried to hide the data from the public by publishing a less-controversial Q2 report.
Despite the public outcry and the scrutiny against Facebook, the tech giant Vice President, Guy Rosen in a statement made available to the Washington Post described Facebook as “the far most transparent platform on the internet”
Facebook’s Communication Director, Andy Stones was more diplomatic in his assertion when he inferred that the tech firm is guilty of cleaning up its house before it invites company but is of the opinion that the barrage of criticism Facebook is getting is unjust to the site’s internal team.
“Given the interest in the first version of the report we did not release, we’ve decided to just make it public. It’s not gleaming, but we’re trying to make progress,” Stone stressed.