While social media giant Facebook is reportedly moving forward with its own cryptocurrency, controversy surrounds the social networking platform this weekend.
CrossFit, which refers to itself as a lifestyle characterized by safe, effective exercise and sound nutrition, has removed its accounts from Facebook and Instagram, calling Facebook “utopian socialists”.
Meanwhile, a video manipulated to make Nancy Pelosi drunk and sluggish has made its rounds on the social media platform. Facebook says the video will remain online.
Facebook has been researching cryptocurrency as part of its entrance into the payments space.
While speaking at F8 last month, Zuckerberg said that sending money should be “as easy as sending a photo.”
The currency, reportedly to be called “GlobalCoin”, has been much discussed, especially as the social media giant brought on blockchain experts from San Francisco-based Coinbase, Mikheil Moucharrafie and Jeff Cartwright to work on compliance.
According to the Financial Times, Facebook met with the Winklevoss twins, who founded crypto exchange Gemini. The Winklevoss twins sued Mark Zuckerberg for allegedly stealing their idea for Facebook.
Facebook, which has invested in at least one blockchain company, has hired payment experts to develop a payment method for its WhatsApp messaging platform.
Plus, when Libra Networks registered its company in Switzerland, it became public that Facebook Global Holdings is a stakeholder therein. The fintech company is set to work on payments, data analytics, and investment activities, as well as house a software lab.
The Silicon Valley-based giant plans on increasing its employees in the European financial centers of London and Dublin.
Its Instagram shopping feature makes purchasing products and managing orders on the photo-sharing app possile, and it makes sense that a native payment solution is in the works.
The US Senate banking committee showed interested. In a letter to Zuckerberg in early May, the banking committee asked for details about the cryptocurrency and how Facebook would protect user data.
Last week, CrossFit accused Facebook of being “utopian socialists” upon leaving Facebook and Instagram. The social network had deleted a group dedicated to a particular type of diet, prompting CrossFit to leave the platforms, claiming Facebook deleted “without warning or explanation the Banting7DayMealPlan”, which advocated a diet aimed at eating “food that is as close to its natural state as possible – free of processing, additives, preservatives, and sugar.”
Facebook ultimately re-instated the group, but in the CrossFit statement, it outlines the reason it will remain off the platforms.
“All activity on CrossFit, Inc.’s Facebook and Instagram accounts was suspended as of May 22, 2019, as CrossFit investigates the circumstances pertaining to Facebook’s deletion of the Banting7DayMealPlan and other well-known public complaints about the social-media company that may adversely impact the security and privacy of our global CrossFit community,” the statement read.
Reason 1: “Facebook collects and aggregates user information and shares it with state and federal authorities, as well as security organizations from other countries.”
Reason 2: “Facebook collaborates with government security agencies on massive citizen surveillance programs such as PRISM,.”
Reason 3: “Facebook censors and removes user accounts based on unknown criteria and at the request of third parties including government and foreign government agencies.”
Reason 4: “Facebook collects, aggregates, and sells user information as a matter of business. Its business model allows governments and businesses alike to use its algorithmically conjured advertising categories as sophisticated data-mining and surveillance tools.”
CrossFit even accused Facebook of censorship.
“Facebook’s news feeds are censored and crafted to reflect the political leanings of Facebook’s utopian socialists while remaining vulnerable to misinformation campaigns designed to stir up violence and prejudice,” it wrote.
The workout regimen added that CrossFit is a “voluntary user of and contributor to this marketplace, can and must remove itself from this particular manifestation of the public square when it becomes clear that such responsibilities are betrayed or reneged upon to the detriment of our community.”
It added: “Common decency demands that we do so, as do our convictions regarding fitness, health, and nutrition, which sit at the heart of CrossFit’s identity and prescription.”
Fake Nancy Pelosi Video
Beyond cryptocurreny and CrossFit, Facebook is also facing criticism over a fake video of House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif). The video, which has been viewed millions of times, was apparently altered to make her appear drunk and sluggish. While YouTube removed duplicates, Facebook has said the video will remain on its platform.
Facebook agrees the video is “false”, and Monika Bickert, a company vice president for product policy and counterterrorism told CNN the video was reviewed by fact-checking organizations and the social networking platform than reduced its distribution, but did not remove it.
“We think it’s important for people to make their own informed choice for what to believe,” she said. “Our job is to make sure we are getting them accurate information.”
CNN host Anderson Cooper believes the answer is yes and pressed Bickert on her company’s responsibilities.
“You’re making money by being in the news business,” he said. “If you can’t do it well, shouldn’t you just get out of the news business?”
Bickert replied: “We aren’t in the news business. We’re in the social media business.”
But Cooper did not buy into that.
“The reason you’re sharing news is because you make money from it. . . . But if you’re in the news business, which you are, then you have to do it right. And this is false information you are spreading.”
Lawmakers are not happy.
Rep. David N. Cicilline (D-R.I.) told Facebook to “fix this now!”
Sen. Brian Schatz (D-Hawaii) tweeted: “Facebook is very responsive to my office when I want to talk about federal legislation and suddenly get marbles in their mouths when we ask them about dealing with a fake video. It’s not that they cannot solve this; it’s that they refuse to do what is necessary.”
As well, the company is facing headlines regarding its having deleted 2.2 billion fake accounts from the platform from January to March, which surpasses a record high for the company.
“The health of the discourse is just as important as any financial reporting we do, so we should do it just as frequently,” CEO Mark Zuckerberg said on a call with reporters on Thursday about the report. “Understanding the prevalence of harmful content will help companies and governments design better systems for dealing with it. I believe every major internet service should do this.”