Facebook is blocking access to NYU researchers and urging legislators to blame – TechCrunch

Facebook is blocking access to NYU researchers and urging legislators to blame – TechCrunch

Facebook closed the accounts of two academic researchers late Tuesday, blocking the ability to study political advertising and misinformation on the world’s largest social network.

The company accused scholars of being involved in “illegal scraping” and infringing on the privacy of users on the platform, and many Facebook critics said. Pretend thin Because I killed the job of transparency.

The company has filed a proceeding against two well-known affiliated researchers, Laura Edelson and Damon McCoy. Cyber ​​Security Project for Democracy in NYU People who have been sparring with the company for a long time. This move blocks access to Facebook’s ad library. This is one of the company’s only meaningful transparency initiatives to date, with data on popular posts from social media surveillance service CrowdTangle.

Facebook has a history of Edelson and McCoy.The company wrote a pair cease and desist letter Just a few weeks before the 2020 elections, Disable the opt-in browser tool called Ad Observer and call on the team to keep the findings private.Advertising observer Browser tool that anyone can install It’s designed to give researchers a glimpse of how Facebook is targeting ads that have transformed into a $ 1 trillion company.

“For the past few years, we have used this access to uncover systematic flaws in the Facebook advertising library, identify false information in political advertising, including a lot of distrust of the electoral system, and Facebook’s partisanship. I’ve been studying the obvious amplification of false information, “says Edelson. On Twitter.

“By suspending the account, Facebook has virtually finished all this work. Facebook also has more than 20 other studies accessing Facebook data through the project, including the work of measuring false alarms for vaccines. Effectively blocked access to people and journalists. Virality project And many other partners who rely on our data. “

The incident sparked new criticism of the company that opacity was prioritized over transparency for some of the more dangerous behaviors that the platform incubates.

By Wednesday, Facebook’s actions had caught the attention of some members of Congress. Senator Ron Wyden (D-OR) has criticized Facebook’s decision to punish researchers by pretending to protect users in the light of the company’s long history of invasive privacy practices.Weiden can also revoke a researcher’s access Comply with privacy orders from FTC The company was issued due to a previous user privacy breach.

After years of misusing user privacy, Facebook often uses it as an excuse to crack down on researchers revealing problems. I asked the FTC to make sure this excuse was as fake as I expected. https://t.co/eHuPiVYFe9

— Ron Wyden (@RonWyden) August 4, 2021

Senator Mark Warner (D-VA) also took part in Facebook’s recent controversy and said he was “deeply concerned” about the decision.Warner described independent researchers as “consistently [improving] The integrity and security of social media platforms by exposing harmful and exploitative activities. “

“It’s a thing of the past that Congress has acted to increase transparency in the shadow world of online advertising, and it continues to be a major vector of fraud and fraud,” Warner said.

Mozilla, the developer of Firefox Advertising Observer Defense On Wednesday, the company noted that it had “performed both a code review and a consent flow and reviewed it twice” before recommending browser extensions through the storefront. In a blog post, Mozilla’s chief security officer said Facebook’s claim was “simply not holding water.”

Number of Free news agencyResearchers and false alarm experts also blamed Facebook’s decision on Wednesday. “The Knights’ approach to Facebook’s privacy has allowed Facebook to become very dominant.” Markup Julia Ann and Naviha Saeed Written in a joint statement.

“But now, when an independent researcher wants to investigate the platform and the impact it imposes, Facebook supports user privacy as a shield to hide behind.”

https://techcrunch.com/2021/08/04/facebook-ad-observatory-nyu-researchers/ Facebook is blocking access to NYU researchers and urging legislators to blame – TechCrunch

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