The Tomato

Twitter, Facebook asked to speak. Photo: CC, Maryland GovPics.
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Presentation shed light on upcoming fake news stories, personalized advertising

On Feb. 20, a group of Canadian MPs invited Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg, along with other social media titans like Twitter’s CEO, to be keynote speakers during an international committee meeting in May. Zuckerberg enthusiastically accepted the invitation, and came up to Ottawa this past weekend to give MPs a taste of what they’ll be hearing.

This will be the second meeting of the International Grand Committee on Disinformation and Fake News, and Zuckerberg is expected to speak to the spread of fake news on his platform, as well as the privacy of Facebook users’ information.

Zuckerberg’s sample presentation featured fake news stories the Facebook team plans to promote this election cycle, including headlines such as “Trudeau Pressured Wilson-Raybould to Help Maple Syrup Industry” and “Andrew Scheer Literally Ate A Baby”.

Zuckerberg also noted that the promotion of specific stories will depend on which region of Canada the reader is in. For example, in deeply conservative and religious areas of Canada, stories similar to “Justin Trudeau Is the Devil Incarnate” have proven popular in the past. Whereas in progressive, urban areas, headlines such as “Andrew Scheer Is an Anti-Vaxxer” have gotten more clicks.  

‘It’s a tough time for journalism,” Zuckerberg noted. “We here at Facebook believe that through promoting certain articles, reputable news sources like the Toronto Sun and the Beaverton will finally get the exposure they deserve.”

“We don’t call it ‘fake news’. It’s just looking at news from a different perspective. An altered angle on reality.”  

During his presentation Zuckerberg also announced that Facebook’s user privacy settings will be removed in the new year, as they “serve no actual purpose.” The privacy settings on posts have been merely decorative this whole time, he explained.

Advertisers will also be running more personalized ad campaigns this summer, says Zuckerberg. Apparently algorithms have been developed to make use of the audio collected over your phone when you’re sleeping. A new Facebook dating app based purely off of the sounds you make in your sleep is set to launch in the new year. The tech tycoon assured attendees that there’s “nothing to worry about,” and that “this is the world we live in now.”