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Journalists seeking ‘safe harbor’ to continue research on Facebook

Sometimes journalists want to establish temporary research accounts on Facebook using a number of names and bio details to assess how the platform responds to different profiles, but the company’s terms of service provide for only one account and accurate biographical information. The Knight First Amendment Institute is now asking Facebook to change those rules for journalists. (San Francisco Chronicle, August 7, 2018, by Ellen Nakashima of The Washington Post)

The changes are needed to protect research such as that of the Tow Center for Digital Journalism reported in The Washington Post on the reach of the Russian disinformation meddling on Facebook. As it stands now, journalists violating Facebook’s terms of service  can be barred from the platform and held legally responsible for violation of their contract with Facebook. (techdirt, August 7, 2018, by Mike Masnick)

Facebook is reviewing its position but said it has “strict limits” for third parties using personal information. It recommended that journalists use other available tools. To avoid putting Facebook in the position of deciding who is and isn’t a journalist, The Knight Institute is asking the company to establish a “safe harbor” for journalists. (Nieman Lab, August 7, 2018, by Christine Schmidt)

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