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Facebook allegedly provided false data to misinformation researchers

Facebook allegedly provided false data to misinformation researchers

As the New York Times reports, Facebook has apologized to misinformed researchers for providing flawed, incomplete data for their work. Contrary to what the company told the researchers, the data provided by Facebook apparently only included information for about half of its users in the US, not all of them.

The Times reported that members of Facebook's Open Research and Transparency team asked the researchers to apologize for the mistake on Friday. Some researchers questioned whether the mistake was intentionally intended to sabotage research, or merely an example of negligence.

The flaw in the data was first discovered by a researcher at the University of Urbino in Italy, who compared a report released publicly in August to data provided in its entirety to researchers. According to the Times, the data sets did not match.

Facebook did not immediately respond to The Verge's request for comment on Saturday, but a spokesperson told the Times that the mistake was the result of a technical error and the company "proactively notified affected partners about it and resolved it." take steps to do so." Working fast for the crisis.

The August 18 report, which researchers at the University of Urbino used in their own comparison, was released in the interest of "transparency" about the most-viewed content in Facebook's public news feed between April and June of this year. Is. Shows its second quarter. However, the Times found that Facebook touted a report about its first quarter that portrayed the company in a much less flattering light. Facebook eventually issued a postponement report.

Also in August, Facebook banned academic researchers from New York University's Ad Observatory Project from its platform after problems with the group's Ad Observer browser plug-in. Its research found that Facebook failed to disclose who paid for certain political ads on its site.

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