As first reported by the New York Times, which obtained a duplicate of the Q1 report earlier than Fb launched it, the most-viewed hyperlink on Fb between January and March of this yr was a since-updated information story that steered a Florida physician’s dying could also be linked to the COVID-19 vaccine.
Fb coverage communications supervisor Andy Stone tweeted Saturday that the criticism Fb obtained for not releasing the report “wasn’t unfair,” however tried to unpack the complexities of the way it dealt with that most-viewed hyperlink:
“Information shops wrote in regards to the south Florida physician that died. When the coroner launched a reason for dying, the Chicago Tribune appended an replace to its unique story; NYTimes didn’t. Would it not have been proper to take away the Instances story as a result of it was COVID misinfo?” Stone tweeted. “In fact not. Nobody is definitely suggesting this and neither am I. Nevertheless it does illustrate simply how tough it’s to outline misinformation.”
Stone mentioned Fb had withheld the January-March report “as a result of there have been key fixes to the system we wished to make.” He didn’t elaborate additional on what these fixes had been, however tweeted a hyperlink to the Q1 report.
On the query of the unreleased report from earlier this yr and why we held it. We ended up holding it as a result of there have been key fixes to the system we wished to make.
— Andy Stone (@andymstone) August 21, 2021
What Fb launched on August 18th was a report displaying the most-viewed content in its public News Feed from April to June, its second quarter. It gives a rosier image of the corporate; the most-viewed submit in Q2 was a phrase puzzle that invited customers to pick the primary three phrases they noticed. The second most-viewed Fb submit between April and June requested customers over 30 to submit an image of themselves in the event that they regarded younger. Essentially the most-viewed domains included YouTube, UNICEF, Spotify, and CBS Information. Among the many high ten most-viewed hyperlinks on Fb in Q2 had been a GIF of kittens, and a UNICEF response page for India’s COVID-19 crisis.
It’s not completely clear why Fb determined to launch these studies of widespread content material in any respect, however criticism of the platform’s dealing with of deceptive COVID-19 data has been mounting in latest weeks. The Biden administration has urged Facebook and other social media platforms to do a greater job at coping with deceptive or false details about COVID-19 vaccines on their websites.
One other doable motivation for Fb’s new “transparency” studies is probably going the work of New York Instances tech columnist Kevin Roose who final yr started utilizing Fb-owned content material analytics platform CrowdTangle to compile and publish daily lists of the top-performing US Fb pages, lists which often included pages devoted to former President Trump, and right-leaning pundits like Ben Shapiro and Dan Bongino. The lists had been reportedly a source of irritation for Facebook.
Fb didn’t instantly reply to a request for touch upon Sunday morning. You may learn the total Q1 content material transparency report under.