Facebook ‘too slow’ to act on ‘threats’

FACEBOOK'S Chief Opperating Officer Sheryl Sandberg has admitted the tech giant failed to adequately address gross misuse across the social media platform.

Ms Sandberg to a forum at an advertising festival in Cannes, France, that the company needed to do more.

"For too long we missed threats and that's on us and we take responsibility," she said.

"But we also missed the opportunity to work together and the only way we can figure this out and protect our systems is to work together."

Facebook has come under intense scrutiny in the past 18 months following a series of scandals.

The company was recently criticised for allowing a massacre in a mosque in Christchurch, New Zealand, to be live streamed.

It was also reeling from claims that terrorists had been using the platform to spread hate and last year was widely rounded on for the Cambridge Analytica scandal, where the private details of 87 million accounts were accessed.

 

WhatsApp, owned by Facebook, has reportedly has refused to release the details of Belgian backpacker Theo Hayez’s final messages. Picture: AAP
WhatsApp, owned by Facebook, has reportedly has refused to release the details of Belgian backpacker Theo Hayez’s final messages. Picture: AAP

 

Facebook came under fire after alleged Christchurch shooter Brenton Tarrant live-streamed the massacre. Picture: Facebook
Facebook came under fire after alleged Christchurch shooter Brenton Tarrant live-streamed the massacre. Picture: Facebook

 

There were also concerns that Russian trolls were using Facebook to spread fake news and influence elections.

Ms Sandberg said that Facebook did not predict the spread of fake news.

"What we missed and what everyone missed is that we missed there would be this new more insidious threat, it wasn't about hacking into information and taking it, it was about writing fake stuff," she said.

"When we realised we missed it we also realised that we were never going to find it on our own.

"Fast forward to the elections that just happened what we have are huge teams built up against this but also partnerships with government departments."

The company has increased its staffing of monitoring Facebook, she said, with more than one million fake accounts being taken down each day.

Facebook also owns messaging service WhatsApp, which has more than 1.3 billion users.

One of those users, Belgian backpacker Theo Hayez, went missing from Byron Bay, New South Wales, on May 31, had been using the service on the day he disappeared.

But WhatsApp reportedly has refused to release the details of his final messages, despite desperate pleas from his father Laurent Hayez, who has said that "every minute counts" in the search for his son.

Ms Sandberg did not take questions at last night's event in Cannes.

The company was taking down 99 per cent of the ISIS related posts before they appeared, she added.

"We have great defences on that," she said.

 

stephen.drill@news.co.uk



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