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Inside Facebook

Inside Facebook (Feb 7th, 2017)

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Thanks for reading Inside Facebook! Today we’re covering Facebook's fake news troubles, legal challenges and the impact an immigration ban could have on its workforce. Have any thoughts or comments on stuff you want to see? Hit REPLY and let us hear about it!

A lawyer for Facebook told a German court that it is impossible for the company to block all racist language and hate speech on the popular social networking site. "There are billions of postings each day. You want us to employ a sort of wonder machine to detect each misuse. Such a machine doesn’t exist," said attorney Martin Munz. Facebook is in court to defend itself against a lawsuit filed by Syrian refugee Anas Modamani, who took a selfie with German Chancellor Angela Merkel. The photo was distributed and spread widely on Facebook, falsely linking the 19-year-old man to terrorist acts in Brussels and Berlin. Modamani’s lawyer Chan-jo Jun said "Volkswagen can’t just say: 'Well, sorry we build too many cars we can’t really make sure they’re all safe.'" A ruling is expected in early March. – NY TIMES

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Facebook Live will face new competition from YouTube. The Google-owned video network on Tuesday began offering live mobile streaming to users with more than 10,000 subscribers. YouTube will offer a 55%-45% ad split. Later this year YouTube plans to offer the service to all of its users. Phoenix-area dad Clintus McGintus has received more than 300 million views on his YouTube channel. “A lot more YouTubers are going to start doing more live streams now that it’s more available to them,” he says. “If they can pull the phone out of their pocket and start going live, there is more potential for revenue." YouTube has been offering live video streams on the computer, not mobile devices, since 2011. Facebook launched Facebook Live in 2016. – USA TODAY

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Facebook could be one of the companies impacted by an executive order that forces employers to prioritize American workers during the hiring process. More than 15 percent of Facebook’s U.S. employees relied on temporary H-1B visas last year, surpassing other tech companies such as Microsoft, Google, Amazon and Apple. Facebook is classified as an "H-1B dependent" company. H-1B visas are intended for foreign nationals in "specialty" occupations that generally require higher education, including scientists, engineers or computer programmers. The government awards 85,000 every year through a lottery system. According to Business Insider, a majority of the visas are awarded to outsourcing firms, sparking criticism that the visas are issued to less educated employees to fill lower-level information technology jobs. – VANITY FAIR

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Facebook has joined Microsoft, Apple, Google and dozens of other companies objecting to the Trump administration's executive order banning U.S. entry for citizens of seven majority-Muslim countries. 127 companies have filed "friends of the court" documents, alleging the order inflicts “significant harm on American business, innovation, and growth.” President Trump in January banned entry to the U.S. for three months for citizens of seven Muslim-majority nations: Iran, Iraq, Libya, Somalia, Sudan, Syria and Yemen. Washington state appealed the order and the matter is now in the appeals court. Airbnb, eBay, Intel, LinkedIn, Netflix, Twitter and Uber are among the companies that have also appealed the executive order. According to the court filing, “Immigrants make many of the Nation’s greatest discoveries, and create some of the country’s most innovative and iconic companies.” – SEATTLE TIMES

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Facebook will roll out new tools in France ahead of the country's presidential election to ward off the spread of fake news. As it has already done in Germany and the U.S., Facebook will allow users in France the option to report a story as fake. The company will then send that story to fact checkers. If the story has significant inaccuracies, it will be marked with a "disputed' tag and placed lower in news feeds. Facebook is currently facing a lawsuit from a Syrian refugee who claims that his photo was linked to terrorism and then distributed widely on Facebook. –  FORBES

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Facebook is fighting search warrants for user information in New York's high court. In 2013, Manhattan prosecutors demanded information on 381 9/11 first responders who are under investigation for disability benefits fraud. Facebook challenged the warrants, but the lower courts sided with prosecutors, saying that it was up to the individuals to seek legal action, not Facebook. Prosecutors said 9/11 responders have claimed mental trauma and filed for disability claims, but photos and messages on Facebook pages of many responders indicate fraudulent disability claims. Facebook believes it has a right to legally challenge search warrants that are issued for its users' data. “We recognize that law enforcement needs to investigate potential crimes, but we believe all government data requests must be narrowly tailored, proportionate to the case, and subject to strict judicial oversight,” the company said in a statement. – ABC NEWS

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President Trump or a member of his staff allegedly shared a fake news post on Facebook late last week. The post from albawaba.com had a headline of “Kuwait Issues Its Own Trump-esque Visa Ban for Muslim-Majority Countries.” Trump's caption read “Smart!” Kuwaiti officials said the story was fake. “The foreign ministry categorically denies these claims and affirms that these reported nationalities … have big communities in Kuwait and enjoy full rights,” Assistant Foreign Minister Sami Al-Hammad said in a statement, “The State of Kuwait believes that granting of visa is a sovereign matter, and is not linked to terrorism or violence or nationality or faith.” Trump’s post is still up and had received 250,000 reactions, nearly 69,000 shares and over 14,000 comments by Tuesday. – NY DAILY NEWS

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A connection made on Facebook helped save the life of an Atlanta-based flight attendant. Oscar David Serrano wrote "Please help save my life" in a Facebook post. He was suffering from stage 5 kidney disease. Serrano searched for more than two years, posting fliers on cars, restaurants, utility poles and social media, At one point, he spent 12 hours per day connected to a dialysis machine. Kimberly Menders saw his Facebook post last September and he had the surgery in December. He is hoping to return to work as a flight attendant in April. "We need more Kims in this world," Serrano said. – FOX NEWS

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