Facebook is testing new Messenger feature to help users spot direct messages from Russian trolls
- Facebook is trying out a new tool to spot trolls who contact you on Messenger
- When you’re contacted by an unknown user, Messenger will begin displaying the when the account was created and the phone number registered along with it
- For now, Facebook is only testing the tool in a small trial, Motherboard reported
Facebook will soon be able to notify you if Russian trolls are sliding into your DMs.
The social media giant is testing a new feature that will include additional information from unfamiliar contacts who have direct messaged you on Facebook Messenger, showing things like when the account was created and the country where their phone number is registered.
It marks Facebook’s latest effort to stave off the spread of fake news on its platform.
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Facebook will soon be able to notify you if Russian trolls are sliding into your DMs. It marks Facebook’s latest effort to stave off the spread of fake news on its platform
Should the feature become available to the public, it would help prevent users from receiving potentially malicious or spammy messages from unknown users.
‘We are testing a way to provide people with more context on folks they may not have connected with previously,’ Facebook Messenger spokesperson Dalya Browne told Motherboard.
‘This is just a small test,’ she added.
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At the top of the screen, in the area where it typically includes details about a person’s profile, the new feature will show information like ‘Using Messenger without Facebook’
In a screenshot obtained by Motherboard, it shows an example of what the proposed feature could look like.
At the top of the screen, in the area where it typically includes details about a person’s profile, it shows information like ‘Using Messenger without Facebook.’
Additionally, the screenshot denotes that the user is ‘logged in using a phone number from Russia,’ using an account that was recently created and says ‘different from your Facebook friend _____.’
The blank space would presumably say whether the user is different/similar from a name that’s actually included in your contact list.
Should the feature become available to the public, it would help prevent users from receiving potentially malicious or spammy messages from unknown users
Although there are uses beyond spotting Russian bots, many presume that’s the feature’s dominant purpose.
Facebook is still grappling with the fallout from the revelation that it was a major tool in Russia’s efforts to sow discord leading to and during the 2016 US presidential election.
The firm has suspended or shut down hundreds of accounts linked to the Russian propaganda organization, the Internet Research Agency (IRA).
HOW MANY AMERICANS SAW RUSSIA’S DIVISIVE ADS DURING THE 2016 US PRESIDENTIAL ELECTION?
Facebook says ads that ran on the company’s social media platform and have been linked to a Russian internet agency were seen by an estimated 10 million people before and after the 2016 US presidential election.
The company turned 3,000 ads over to three congressional committees in October 2017 as part of their investigations into Russian influence in the 2016 election.
In a company blog post, Facebook’s Elliot Schrage said the ads appeared to focus on divisive social and political messages, including LGBT issues, immigration and gun rights.
In many cases, the ads encouraged people to follow pages on those issues.
Facebook said last month that the ads appear to have come from accounts associated with a Russian entity called the Internet Research Agency.
Fewer than half of the ads – which ran between 2015 and 2017 – were seen before the election, with 56 percent of them seen after the election.
It also launched a tool late last year that helps users determine whether they interacted with content posted by the IRA.
It shows if pages or accounts users liked or followed between January 2015 and August 2017 were created by Russian operatives.
The accounts spread posts on race, religion, gun rights, gay rights, immigration and other hot-button issues.
Some promoted the candidacy of Donald Trump and criticized his Democratic challenger, Hillary Clinton.
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