reported The New York Times reported that Facebook apologized to disinformation researchers for providing flawed and incomplete data for their work studying how users interact with posts and links across its platform.
More than three years ago, Mark Zuckerberg announced a plan to share data with researchers about how people interact with posts and links across the social network, so that academics can study the wrong information across the site.
The researchers used data over the past two years in several studies examining the prevalence of false and misleading information.
Contrary to what the company told researchers, the data it provided appeared to include information for roughly half, but not all, of users in the US.
The company told researchers that the data about users outside the US, which was also shared, did not appear to be inaccurate.
The Times reported that members of the Open and Transparency Research Team on the platform made a call to the researchers to apologize for the error. Some researchers questioned whether the error was intended to sabotage the research, or just a case of negligence.
The company apologized to the researchers in an email, and said: “We apologize for the inconvenience this may cause and would like to provide as much support as possible.”
She added that she updated the dataset to fix the problem. But due to the large amount of data, it takes weeks before the work is complete.
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Facebook provided inaccurate data to researchers
The flaw in the data was first discovered by a researcher at the Italian University of Urbino. which compared a report the company made public in August with data it provided to researchers. The data sets did not match, according to the Times.
An official spokesman for the company told the newspaper: The error was the result of a technical error. The company has proactively notified affected partners and is working quickly to resolve the issue.
The report relates outgoing On August 18, which was used by a University of Urbino researcher in the comparison, Transparency showed the most viewed content in the news feed across the platform between April and June of this year, in the second quarter of this year.
However, I discovered The Times reported that the platform had discontinued a report for the first quarter that portrayed the company less satisfactorily. Facebook released the report, which it suspended.
In August, the company banned academic researchers from New York University’s Ad Observatory Project from its platform. That’s after the group’s Ad Observer browser plugin highlighted the issues.
Research by the Ad Observatory found that Facebook failed to disclose who paid for some political ads on its site.
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