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Inside Facebook (Jan 24th, 2017)

Thanks for reading Inside Facebook! Today we’re covering the latest Facebook Live controversies, viral posts and videos, hacks and a Facebook apology to an artist. Have any thoughts or comments on stuff you want to see? Hit REPLY and let us hear about it!

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Authorities on Sunday arrested three men in Sweden accused of sexually assaulting a woman and then streaming it on Facebook Live. The assault was allegedly broadcast to a private Facebook group and then quickly taken down. The incident took place in Uppsala, a city about 40 miles north of Stockholm. Police arrested three men, 18, 20 and 24, at an apartment after reports that a gang rape was in progress. Police are asking the public to come forward with any images or video that they may have of the act. “Police and prosecutors have access to some of the images and video footage. What we do not have access to is the segment showing the actual assault," Magnus Berggren, a prosecutor in Uppsala, said at a news conference. Facebook Live was launched in 2016 and allows anyone to stream video live on the social networking site. Users have broadcasted acts of torture, homicide, and suicide on the platform, which has sparked controversy. – NY TIMES

An artist whose work showcased tattoos on the bodies of breast cancer survivors who underwent reconstructive surgery had her account disabled by Facebook. The St. Louis Post-Dispatch reported on Jan. 20 that Facebook disabled Kelly Soraci's account because it did not meet the site's community standards and contained "content that is sexually suggestive/contains nudity." In addition, Facebook disabled the artist's other businesses "I Scream Cakes" and "Kaleidoscope Ceiling" because she was the administrator on those accounts. After the St. Louis Post-Dispatch reported the story, Facebook issued an apology:  "A member of our team accidentally removed something you posted on Facebook. This was a mistake, and we sincerely apologize for they error. We've since restored the content, and you should now be able to see it." – ST. LOUIS POST-DISPATCH

A Texas high school principal is being investigated after she posted disparaging comments about President Trump on her Facebook page. Parents at Spring High School said that Principal Diaka Carter should keep her political views to herself. In a Facebook post, Carter said “I have to realize that expecting others to represent my disgust and views is exactly how the hell we elected this moron,” and described his inner circle as  “a sea of white faces at his inauguration void of color, a cabinet full of non-qualified white males.” A grandparent of a child at the school said Carter is a good principal, but misstepped with the Facebook post. “Our educators and the people of influence that have voices to our students need to be uniting us, not dividing us further,” said Karen Lundberg, speaking on behalf of upset parents. – KHOU

Two Indiana legislators are facing sharp criticism for posting derogatory comments toward women during this past weekend's women's rights marches. A post on the Facebook wall of Sen. Jack Sandlin, R-Indianapolis, said, "In one day, Trump got more fat women out walking than Michelle Obama did in 8 years.” Sandlin denied that he personally posted or shared the meme, but screenshots reportedly show Sandlin's account sharing the message directly. He issued an apology on Facebook, but then deleted it. Lawmaker Rep. Jim Lucas, R-Seymour, shared a post that shows a police officer in riot gear pepper spraying a woman in the face, with the words, “Participation trophies, now in liquid form.” – INDY STAR

In the latest Facebook viral video, a frightening stunt designed to promote the release of the movie "Rings" has attracted 10 million views on the social networking site. As customers are shopping for a new TV, a hag-like character from the film emerges from the fake TV set and sends the customers running. The scare tactic was filmed in White Plains, New York, by Michael Krivicka. He said customers gladly signed the release forms after being told the stunt was to promote the latest movie in "The Ring" series. "Rings" will be released Feb. 3. – CNET

Pittsburgh Steelers wide receiver Antonio Brown has a six-figure contract to promote Facebook. Brown sparked the ire of the NFL after he broadcasted head coach Mike Tomlin's Jan. 15 post-game victory speech on Facebook Live. It turns out that Brown has a marketing contract with Facebook, according to the NFL. The Steelers fined Brown $10,000 for violating the NFL's social media rules, which are designed to give on-site media the first opportunity to speak to the athletes and coaches. In the speech, Steelers head coach Mike Tomlin used several expletives and called the New England Patriots a vulgar name. Facebook has inked deals with athletes and celebrities such as Dwayne "The Rock" Johnson, comedian Kevin Hart and Olympic gold medalist Michael Phelps to promote Facebook Live. – NY DAILY NEWS

A security researcher figured out a way to delete any video on Facebook and was rewarded with $10,000 for reporting his clever hack. Dan Melamed intercepted an exposed piece of URL while uploading a video and came to the conclusion that he could replace the Video ID with a different video that existed on Facebook. Once the ID was modified, Facebook would display an error, but the video was still uploaded successfully. The researcher essentially took control over the video, as if he were the original uploader. From there, Melamed could modify the comments or delete the video altogether. Facebook has since patched the problem.  – GIZMODO

A new study concludes that spending time on Facebook and other social media doesn't make people more social, but actually isolates them. Social media confirms biases and facilitates communication in echo chambers, "where old, and sometimes erroneous, information is just regurgitated over and over again," according to the study published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences. Users often select and share content that fits their viewpoint or narrative and ignore other perspectives, the study states. Researchers mapped the spread of conspiracy theories and scientific information and determined that some social media users show a tendency to search for information that confirms their pre-existing beliefs, and then share the information without additional research, according to Alessandro Bessi, a postdoctoral researcher at USC. The World Economic Forum in 2013 listed massive digital misinformation as a threat to society.  –  CNN


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