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Inside Facebook (Mar 7th, 2017)

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The Naval Criminal Investigative Service is investigating hundreds of Marines who may have taken part in a secret Facebook group that shared naked pictures of women. The Center for Investigative Reporting reported that pictures of service women were shared on a private Facebook group called Marines United. The group consists of nearly 30,000 members. Thomas Brennan, founder of a nonprofit news organization called The War Horse said the group was founded in 2015, and open to male members of the US Marine Corps, Navy Corpsmen, and the British Royal Marines. “We need to be brutally honest with ourselves and each other: This behavior hurts fellow Marines, family members, and civilians. It is a direct attack on our ethos and legacy,” Sgt. Maj. Ronald L. Green, the most senior enlisted Marine on active duty, wrote. “It is inconsistent with our Core Values, and it impedes our ability to perform our mission.” – CIR

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Facebook is facing scrutiny after a BBC investigation discovered that the company removed only a small percentage of sexualized images of children shared through online Facebook groups. Of 100 images that the BBC reported, Facebook removed 19. The company stated that the remaining photos did not violate community standards. Using Facebook’s “report” button, the BBC flagged photos of minors in sexualized poses and other obscene content and pages. When shown the photos by the BBC, Facebook instead reported the journalists to police and canceled the scheduled interview. The recent story was a follow-up to a 2016 BBC investigation that showed that people were exchanging child pornography through secret groups. – BBC

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Facebook now has a "Dislike" button, but it's not in its news feed. A "thumbs down" emoji is now available on a trial basis in Facebook's Messenger app. The button is visible for some of Messenger's one billion users. It appears alongside other emoji responses, including "like," heart-eyes for "love," and an open mouth for "wow." "We're always testing ways to make Messenger more fun and engaging," a Facebook official told TechCrunch. "This is a small test where we enable people to share an emoji that best represents their feelings on a message.” – TECH CRUNCH

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Facebook has started to flag stories that might be considered "fake news." The company has begun pinning a “disputed” tag on stories that have credibility issues. A "fake news" story would be accompanied with a warning label, along with links to fact-checking sites explaining why it’s not true. For Facebook to label a story as "disputed," either Facebook’s users have to report problems with the story or Facebook's algorithm would have to flag it. The company would then send the story to some of the organizations that have signed on to provide free fact-checking, like Snopes and Politifact. If the fact-checkers believe the story is bogus, Facebook will place the "disputed" label on the story. – RECODE

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A 38-year-old Connecticut mother allegedly let her 10-year-old child drive a car, and then streamed it on Facebook Live. Authorities arrested the woman, 38-year-old Lisa Nussbaum, on March 3 after several people witnessed the video. Nussbaum was charged with risk of injury/impairing morals of a minor and was released from custody. Officers believe Nussbaum was recording her son while she sat in the passenger's seat of her vehicle. – BOSTON

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Facebook will celebrate International Women's Day with a 24-hour Facebook Live video event. Facebook users will see “celebratory artwork” in their news feeds directing them to the event, which began at 7 a.m. Tuesday and goes through Wednesday morning. The celebration is part of the company's #SheMeansBusiness program, designed to empower women entrepreneurs and women-owned businesses. During the 24 consecutive hours, Facebook wants policy makers, female business owners, entrepreneurs, and others to use Facebook Live to share inspiration, impart knowledge and discuss topics of women in business. About 40 percent of business pages on Facebook are female-owned, a 60 percent jump between 2015 and 2016. – ADWEEK

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Some parents in Kentucky are upset with the Facebook-developed Summit Learning Platform, an online curriculum that blends computer with hands-on traditional learning. Boone County Schools received the Summit program for free and launched it in three middle schools, with plans to expand. Students spend part of the day on a computer learning, and part of the day in a traditional classroom setting, doing projects. Students also create online profiles, where they, their parents and their teachers can track academic progress. The parents, however, said they had little to no information about the curriculum and that the permission slip for Summit was sent home with a threat: "sign and return these, or your kid gets detention." Parent Stacie Storms questions Facebook's academic qualifications. “I was like, ‘Since when do they have anything to do with education?’” said Storms, who now homeschools her daughter. “My husband and I looked at it, and we were appalled.” – USA TODAY

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People who post a lot on Facebook and other social media are likely to be lonely, according to research from the University of Pittsburgh School of Medicine. The American Journal of Preventive Medicine published the report, which studied 1,787 adults between the ages of 19 and 32. The results showed that those who used social media more than two hours a day were twice as likely to suffer from feelings of social isolation as those who spent only 30 minutes a day on social media. "We are inherently social creatures," said Brian A. Primack, lead author of the study. "But modern life tends to compartmentalize us instead of bringing us together. While it may seem that social media presents opportunities to fill that social void, I think this study suggests that it may not be the solution people were hoping for." The study was unclear as to whether social isolation drove people toward social media or whether the dependence on social media leads to isolation. – CNET

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