In the past few hours, Meta, still committed to building the Metaverse, has announced transparency operations regarding political advertisements, the most viewed content, and changes to privacy policies.
Meta, the progenitor of well-known social services, such as Facebook and Instagram, but also famous messaging platforms, such as WhatsApp and Messenger, has announced and advertised various initiatives with a view to transparency, without forgetting the classic detour into the sector of the beloved Metaverse.
The first news related to Meta, in this weekly queue, is represented by an “own goal” made in the unsuccessful attempt to demonstrate that its algorithms do not amplify harmful, divisive, and questionable content: in this regard, the social giant shared the report on the most viewed content in the first three months of 2022 (Q1 2022). An initial analysis shows that, among the most viewed links in this period of time, two, which before being removed had totaled about 60 million views overall, had violated Facebook policies. By changing methodology, to increase the accuracy in reflecting what users watch in-app, it was decided not to count the links that do not display previews: in this case, it emerged that, out of 20 of the most shared links in Q1 2022 , at least 6, then removed how much they had now been subjected to about 112 million views, were in violation of the rules of the social network.
In continuing its transparency operations, in the past few hours, Meta has announced that it will begin to send users notifications regarding the changes to its privacy policies that will come into force on July 26th: these policies updated, as stated in the the company’s official blog, reflect “a greater demand by regulators and in privacy legislation for them to be more comprehensive” but, at the same time, are the result of an attempt to make them less complex as well.
In practice, the consequence of these changes has resulted in the adoption of more bold phrases, subtitles and infographics to explain what Menlo Park can and cannot do with user data: in addition, they have been consolidated into a unified interface the existing controls on the ads that users can see, while the introduction of a new setting will offer “more control over who can see their posts by default”.
Instead, with the aim of clarifying what is expected of Menlo Park and those who use its services, updates to its terms of service will also be included, in order to clarify what happens when an account is deleted or on what are the cases that could lead to disable or close an account.
With regard to the aforementioned changes, users will not have to do anything in particular to continue using the services of the social media giant, with the comment, however, that those who do not feel like accepting the subject of the changes are still free to leave the services of Meta. Obviously, everything has not met the full approval of those involved in privacy, just think of the first comments of the activist, author of the tome “Technology Is Not Neutral: A Short Guide to Technology Ethics”, Stephanie Hare who, in this regard , explained how the new approach shifts the responsibility towards users who, accepting everything as a “compromise on privacy for social connection”, will limit themselves to clicking on what will be proposed to them.
For some time, Meta has created the Facebook Open Research and Transparency, or FORT, to help qualified academic researchers to study the impact of social media on society: thanks to this platform, also in view of the next mid-term elections in the USA, the Facebook’s parent company announced that, by the end of the month, it will make available to selected independent researchers, who have applied for the initiative, a series of data that, for example, will allow them to understand how the interest groups have been selected to address each single ad.
These data, in July, will also be made available to common users, through the already existing “Ad Library” portal, within which it will also be possible to find the information (eg interests, demographic data, position) of ad targeting so that , for example, it will be discovered that, out of 2,000 announcements on political, elections and social issues, published for 30 days on one page, 40% of the related expenditure was directed to people who “are interested in politics “or” living in Pennsylvania “.
However, Meta does not live on transparency operations alone, as it is known that it is increasingly committed to building its Metaverse. To date, the avatars of the platform (but, in truth, also those of the Microsoft metaverse) are more like floating torsos, without legs. However, if you want to sell digital objects to personalize them, it will be necessary for them to become more realistic, up to the shoelaces: in this regard, Mark Zuckerberg, CEO of Meta, announced that the Meta AI division has created the MyoSuite, an AI platform in which musculoskeletal simulations, 4,000 times faster than the current state of the art, can be trained to perform complex movements, such as rotating balls in one hand, precisely in order to contribute (as well as to the creation of better prostheses) also to the realization of more realistic avatars.