back to article Facebook sat on report that reveals most-shared post for months was questionable COVID story

Facebook has revealed a report that shows the most-shared link on the platform in the first three months of 2021 described questionable interpretation of a death attributed to a COVID-19 vaccination – but only did so after publishing a later and more flattering report. The later report, titled Widely Viewed Content Report: …

  1. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    > But just what "fixes" the system needed were not disclosed

    Apparently, shutting down the accounts of anyone who might be checking

    1. Mark 85 Silver badge

      Apparently, shutting down the accounts of anyone who might be checking

      Or anyone questioning FB on anything. A friend got banned (and new accounts he tried were banned) for post links to negative articles about them. At least one was from El Reg. I think he's finally realized there's better things to do than post on Farcebook.

      1. HildyJ Silver badge
        FAIL

        Farcebook doesn't like it when you interfere or even question Zuck's PR. Never has.

        One of the "better things to do than post on Farcebook" is to delete your account.

  2. A random security guy Bronze badge

    Facebook: the more radical the story the more it gets circulated

    The goal of FB is to rile up people to respond. Either they like the article because it gives them an escape or because they don't like it and want to discredit it. Either way, viewership goes up.

    The truth is too bland.

  3. msobkow Bronze badge

    News flash! Most businesses are run by greedy soulless committees that will hide anything, do anything, say anything, and breach any form of trust or law you might delude yourself about them adhering to.

    The Americans call this "competition."

    The rest of the world tends to prosecute such actions.

    1. Someone Else Silver badge

      Hmmm...3 downvotes (at the time of this writing).

      Zuck? That you?

      1. Mark 85 Silver badge

        Hmmm...3 downvotes (at the time of this writing).

        Zuck and minions... there's now 4 down votes.

      2. Kane Silver badge
        Terminator

        "Zuck? That you?"

        Mark ZuckerBorg? Probably had some of his drones do it for him.

  4. Anhydrous Cummerbund
    Mushroom

    FB must die

    Facebook is doing this to the world --->

    Maybe we ought to do it to Facebook.

  5. Schultz
    FAIL

    Damage control at FB

    Seems to be run not by professionals with any kind of work ethics but by people who don't want to look bad. What fixes you ask? Those required to make FB look less bad, of course. Does that require any fundamental changes? Of course not, just make sure the top 20 looks reasonable and the algorithms can continue peddling those attention-grabbing stupidities to hook people and sell ads.

    And you must love the excuse that ... "while the items listed on the top 20 links list do get millions of views, they collectively account for under 0.01 per cent of all referrals flowing out of Facebook." Anybody wonder what the other 99.99% look like? Well, there is data you might want to extrapolate.

    I've seen people sucked into the FB parallel universe and it isn't pretty. And it definitely doesn't help fighting COVID or other global problems.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Damage control at FB

      And then, people say they "did their own research" when they simply look at facebook posts, and you end up with people like this:

      https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=cQMML3KFSww

      1. Jedit

        "And then, people say they "did their own research""

        More like "did [1] their own [2] research [3]"

        [1] watched

        [2] some crank's

        [3] YouTube video

        1. ThatOne Silver badge
          Unhappy

          Re: "And then, people say they "did their own research""

          Well here, on this very site, people said they considered YouTube as a means to "learn new things". Nowadays the truth is on YouTube, not in books (what's that?)...

          1. Jedit

            Re: "And then, people say they "did their own research""

            Well, it is a means to learn new things. If I need a guide on anything from creating Excel spreadsheets to changing out a carburettor, there will be one on YouTube. What YouTube *isn't* is a place to form new opinions.

    2. ThatOne Silver badge
      Unhappy

      Re: Damage control at FB

      > I've seen people sucked into the FB parallel universe and it isn't pretty.

      Yes, me too. I guess by now most people must have seen one relative or friend falling in that hole. The more gullible of vulnerable are quick to get sucked in, it's like a sect, and its effects are clearly similar: Loss of social or even professional life, family breaking apart, total loss of reality.

      I think that, like all dependency inducing or personality destroying drugs, Facebook should be made illegal and its dealers put to prison for a long time.

    3. Mark 85 Silver badge

      Re: Damage control at FB

      I've seen people sucked into the FB parallel universe and it isn't pretty.

      It's going to get a lot worse instead of ever getting better. There's articles out there for "Zoom-like" meetings using animation instead of real faces. No one knows how much they're slurping from those meetings. I would hope that any business that values it's meetings and the info discussed stay the hell away from it.

  6. FozzyBear
    Flame

    Well Colour me fuckin' surprised. FaecesBook at it again. This time prettying up a quarterly report to appear what...more socially responsible/acceptable. Hate to break it to you Zuckface. Well technically I'm happy to tell you, any social credits you had were lost long, long ago. Anyone with two neurons realise that delving into your platform is akin to diving head first into the bio bin from the VD Clinic.

    Publish the first or second, makes little difference you morally defective idiot.

  7. Pascal Monett Silver badge
    Mushroom

    "We ended up holding it because there were key fixes to the system we wanted to make"

    No.

    You release the report, then publish the fixes you want to make.

    That is transparency.

    You were not being transparent, you were lying your ass off.

    As usual.

  8. Twanky

    Why the outrage?

    It's their system. The users don't pay (money) for it. Do we imagine that any other company from a corner shop to a mega corp would willingly publish a new self-critical report?

    Of course, the stupid bit is that they thought they could keep it secret. In a company that big it was bound to leak out.

    Also: why is this article in the 'security' section?

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Why the outrage?

      > . Do we imagine that any other company from a corner shop to a mega corp would willingly publish a new self-critical report?

      If they claim to produce transparency reports, then yes.

    2. Halfmad

      Re: Why the outrage?

      It would be different if they didn't publicly bang on about transparency, fairness etc.

      Then do the opposite. This is just people calling them out on their BS.

      1. Twanky

        Re: Why the outrage?

        So: Outraged by their hypocrisy. I don't know about anyone else but I can't maintain outrage for that many years.

        People I know who use facebook stop listening when I try to point this stuff out. The only time I got any engagement on this sort of subject was when I objected to them (a relative) publishing stuff about a day out with me - but because I don't use facebook I didn't find out until months later.

        I've not found a way to get people to realise they're supping with the devil. What I do know is that getting sharp and excited causes them to stop listening.

  9. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    A pox on all your houses

    Facebook can get in the bin

    1. Inventor of the Marmite Laser

      Re: A pox on all your houses

      Faecebook IS the bin

  10. Mike 137 Silver badge
    Stop

    "Facebook quickly published the Q1 document here [PDF]."

    Only accessible if you let 30 cryptically named, competely unknown and unverifiable bits javascript to run. All this client side code just to support a file download? Anyone who understands infosec would think twice at the very least.

  11. Steve Button

    Difficult one.

    One the one hand, it seems the story is true and someone has died after taking the vaccine. Could be related, perhaps not. A very very small number of people do die from an adverse reaction. However, it does seem we're not allowed to know this because most people on Facebook are too stupid or just innumerate and can't work out the stats. Which is also probably true.

    So, do we take the position that people are just too dumb to understand? They should be protected? "You can't handle the truth!"

    1. A Non e-mouse Silver badge

      Re: Difficult one.

      According to the BBC & CDC, in 2019 14,414 people were murdered by guns in America. (There were also 23,941 suicides)

      Just saying...

      1. My-Handle Silver badge

        Re: Difficult one.

        Also, an estimated 23,486 people were killed or seriously injured by cars in Great Britain in 2020, yet they are still sold to people. Could it be that it is normal to accept a substantial quality of life improvement in exchange for a vanishingly small risk?

      2. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: Difficult one...and your point was?

        And there are currently 13,068 vaccine associated adverse deaths in VAERS. Since last December. So will easily top murders for 2021.

        Yeah, I know the whole causality issues and if you research the literature on VAERS type early warnings systems (which is all they are) the under report rate is maybe up to 90%.

        Its when you compare it with the flu shot numbers from the same system over the the last 30 years that should give you pause. About 200X less mortality rate for traditional attenuated virus vaccines.

        So when are we going to be given the option of getting very safe flu shot type vaccines (attenuated virus) like in almost 2/3'rd of the world (the non western countries) rather than ones that never previously got regulatory approval in the past? For the reasons why they not got approval see above in VAERS.

        When are we going to get VLA2001? And why is it taking so long. No enough net margins in traditional vaccines perhaps

        As for Facebook, if people have not worked out yet that the business model of FB is to collect huge amounts of very personal information about people and then sell it to the highest bidder then they really are as thick as a sack of bricks. Think of FB as the monetized version of the Stasi . But will all the victims self reporting on themselves and their family.

        1. M. T. Ness

          Adverse events

          VAERS are spontaneous adverse events reports from the public. Attributing a case of dying after vaccination to the vaccine substance requires elimination of all other possible causes of death. This requires evaluation by personnel who have access to and understanding of all relevant medical information. If relevant information is lacking, the case cannot be classified.

    2. ThatOne Silver badge
      Facepalm

      Re: Difficult one.

      > it seems the story is true and someone has died after taking the vaccine

      Sure, but what does it tell us? Nothing at all, the sample size is so small you could just as well accuse the Illuminati or the Lizard men! At this sample size you can't even start talking about simple correlation, as about causation, it is only seen by those who are desperately seeking some proof that Covid vaccines kill, and haven't found it yet despite billions of people poisoned vaccinated worldwide...

      I have good news for them, in 50-60 years almost all people who are vaccinated now will be dead: Covid vaccines will have taken at last their deadly toll! It's guaranteed, and rock-solid (Facebook grade) proof Covid vaccines kill!

  12. Howard Sway Silver badge

    The different types of content listed in the two reports show that Facebook has made progress,

    No, the different types of content listed in the two reports show that Facebook got caught trying to cover up the truth.

    In a criminal investigation, you go to prison for that.

  13. imanidiot Silver badge
    Coat

    Why does Facebook still exist again?

    Seriously? Why is Facebook allowed to continue existing when time and time again it's shown it's pretty much ONLY detrimental? (Anti-)"Social" media should go die in a hole for all I care.

    1. TheMeerkat Bronze badge

      Re: Why does Facebook still exist again?

      Only fascists would want to shut down social media because people dare to share views they don’t like.

      1. teknopaul Silver badge

        Re: Why does Facebook still exist again?

        People only want to shut down antisocial media not social media.

        There is a difference between opinions/views and lies/propaganda.

        It possible to tell the difference and police your platform.

        Facebook fails tragically.

      2. imanidiot Silver badge

        Re: Why does Facebook still exist again?

        It's not that I don't like people sharing their views, it's that I dislike the way Facebook and others very carefully steer and manipulate their platforms so that hype and half-truths prevail. Their platforms are designed to create and reinforce bubbles and black/white thinking. It's us vs. them all the way (twitter is especially bad for this). There is no moderation, there is no thoughtful discourse. There is no variation possible. It's agree or get mobbed to death. So it's not even really about FB or Twitter censoring speech directly, what they're doing behind the scenes is much more evil and malignant.

        And why is the go-to nowadays to call people fascists?? It's a very well defined term with a very specific meaning. being against very large corporations influencing the way large groups of people think and interact with each other isn't fascistic. If anything being against big capitalist corporations exploiting their workers and users would be a moderate left-wing standpoint .

  14. codejunky Silver badge

    Problems

    If facebook wants to decide what is fact and what is fiction then it will have problems. If it allows people to share whatever they please it is down to the people and not so much facebooks fault. Unfortunately its governments being against 'misinformation' that brought us the stunning banning/filtering/flagging about the lab leak only for it now to be an acceptable theory. God help us if the US gov could dictate what was fact or fiction in Afghanistan at the moment.

    I am on the side of freedom with people expected to try and use their brains. Its far less malicious than 'nannying' them.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Problems

      I am on the side of freedom with people expected to try and use their brains. Its far less malicious than 'nannying' them.

      Isn't it fortunate that everyone on the planet is a virologist or a biologist or knows one so they can peer review original Covid-19 research posted on Facebook, so scientifically inaccurate nonsense never gets shared at all.

      Meanwhile, in our reality, this article is published... perhaps you could read it and see what the problem is?

      1. TheMeerkat Bronze badge

        Re: Problems

        The problem is that there are fascists in our society who dislike that today people have ability to share their views on social media.

        1. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Re: Problems

          No, fascism is publishing emotive nonsense to fool the gullible into joining their cause. Always has been, always will be.

          1. codejunky Silver badge

            Re: Problems

            @AC

            "fascism is publishing emotive nonsense to fool the gullible into joining their cause"

            Sounds like socialism as well. And of course the recruiting process of most causes.

      2. codejunky Silver badge

        Re: Problems

        @AC

        "Isn't it fortunate that everyone on the planet is a virologist or a biologist or knows one so they can peer review original Covid-19 research posted on Facebook, so scientifically inaccurate nonsense never gets shared at all."

        And such is the problem. The authoritarian control of the dictator that only the 'right' message is allowed and people should be told what is real. The dream being a benevolent dictator and reality has never worked out that way.

        Those who would tell you truth from lie are also liers. From dictators to democracies east to west around the globe people are still people and the benevolent dictator never seems to happen.

        And thats assuming the dictators of truth get it right in the first place.

        1. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Re: Problems

          So what should be done with the 5G/Coronavirus/billg/antivaxx nonsense? If it should be left up, why, given it's obvious bullshit that only causes social problems which can be disproven by anyone who passed GCSE-level science?

          The only thing that occurs to me is the far right would like that to happen as it helps push the Overton window more rightward, so they argue for complete freedom of speech, but only when it comes to those things which help their cause.

          1. codejunky Silver badge

            Re: Problems

            @AC

            "So what should be done with the 5G/Coronavirus/billg/antivaxx nonsense?"

            Bugger all. Nothing. Discussion allows people to debate ideas which often highlights such nonsense as nonsense.

            "If it should be left up, why, given it's obvious bullshit that only causes social problems which can be disproven by anyone who passed GCSE-level science?"

            You kinda contradict yourself with it being obvious bullshit easily disproved and it being a problem. Compare this to N.Korea has no problems all hail the leader. It is the freedom of expressing opinion that doesnt allow the lier in power to dictate the truth who is just as bad as the lier with the least power.

            "The only thing that occurs to me is the far right would like that to happen as it helps push the Overton window more rightward"

            That would be blinkered. Freely being able to express opinion allows socialists and communists to spout their nonsense that has never worked anywhere in the world and praise each utopia that tries it before decrying it as not real socialism when it fails. By allowing discussion regardless of opinion it stops Biden from sugar-coating Afghans falling off fleeing planes, Trump publicly making his odd ramblings and that N.Korea didnt win the world cup again.

            "so they argue for complete freedom of speech, but only when it comes to those things which help their cause."

            Shouldnt that be good reason to argue for freedom of speech. Because even if we dont all have the same opinion we all get to express it. Otherwise we are stuck with the whims of whatever fascist decides is the truth for today.

            1. Anonymous Coward
              Anonymous Coward

              Re: Problems

              Bugger all. Nothing. Discussion allows people to debate ideas which often highlights such nonsense as nonsense.

              The latest "alternative medicine" against Covid-19 is eating a paste for treating worms in farmyard animals, shitting yourself in public, and quite possibly ending up in hosptial.

              Of course these groups full of nonsense should be left up for the gullible to incite each other to harm themselves because you argue taking down these groups is nothing less than fascism.

              Proving more than anything else that you haven't the remotest idea what fascism is.

              1. codejunky Silver badge

                Re: Problems

                @AC

                "The latest "alternative medicine" against Covid-19 is"

                So? There are people who believe in homoeopathy or the power of prayer etc as medical treatments.

                "Of course these groups full of nonsense should be left up for the gullible to incite each other to harm themselves because you argue taking down these groups is nothing less than fascism."

                Yes. Glad your catching on. I dont recall us banning religion. Increasingly pot is becoming more acceptably in medical reasons (and recreational). The dictation of truth would have you flagged or banned for suggesting it was possible for covid to have come from the lab. That was politically expedient as it was intended to reduce support for a president.

                Just remember the US gov isnt spying on you because they told congress they wernt. Who should decide what is real or a lie? Who should dictate that you have a small unthinking mind too incapable of personal responsibility?

                1. Anonymous Coward
                  Anonymous Coward

                  Re: Problems

                  And you join us here at Aintree for the daily Gish Gallop....

                  And they're off!

                  With Demonstrable Nonsense in the lead.

                  Covidiot Madness in second and Brexit Apologist in the rear ....

  15. Marty McFly Silver badge
    Meh

    Facebook skewing results and censoring!

    This has got to be a news flash for someone! Like the one remaining person who believes FB is the ultimate source of truth.

    For the rest of us....meh.

  16. DanceMan

    Epoch Times

    The Epoch Times is Falun Gong, as is their performing arts arm Shen Yun. Anything that can get its followers to stand on corners handing out leaflets or going door to door doing the same (short of political elections) is a cult.

  17. The Central Scrutinizer

    What I mostly see on Facebook is a shitload of ads and "suggested for you" shite,plus a another load of conspiracy theory fuckwits. I know, I know....

  18. FlamingDeath Silver badge

    Facebook labelled a senate hearing as fake news, I BS you not

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