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Facebook will tell users if they followed Russian pages

Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg. Photo: Jeff Roberson / AP

Facebook will tell users whether they followed pages set up by Russian operatives as part of a broad campaign to interfere in the 2016 election. The company, along with Twitter and Google, have faced pressure from lawmakers to be more transparent about how far the Russian ads, pages and propaganda spread on their platforms and who was exposed to it.

The details: The social network said Wednesday that it will create a page on its support website that will tell a user which pages and accounts they followed on Facebook and Instagram that have been linked to a Russian troll farm involved in the election campaign. Users will also be able to see when they followed the account.

  • The announcement coincides with the deadline to respond to a letter from Sen. Richard Blumenthal asking the company to "individually notify any and all users who received or interacted with these advertisements and associated content." He also sent letters to Google and Twitter.

What they're not doing: Telling users whether they were exposed to content from the pages in their Newsfeed, even if they didn't follow them. Users may have seen content that spread organically or as a result of a paid ad. Facebook has argued that it's especially difficult to be able to show that information.

Steve LeVine 4 hours ago
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Self-driving lab head urges freeze after "nightmare" fatality

Uber self-driving car in Pittsburgh. Photo: Jeff Swensen / Getty

Carmakers and technology companies should freeze their race to field autonomous vehicles because "clearly the technology is not where it needs to be," said Raj Rajkumar, head of Carnegie Mellon University's leading self-driving laboratory.

What he said: Speaking a few hours after a self-driven vehicle ran over and killed a pedestrian in Arizona, Rajkumar said, "This isn't like a bug with your phone. People can get killed. Companies need to take a deep breath. The technology is not there yet. We need to keep people in the loop."

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Palestinian president calls U.S. ambassador "son of a dog"

Abbas speaks in Ramallah. Photo: Issam Rimawi/Anadolu Agency/Getty Images

Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas personally attacked U.S. ambassador to Israel David Friedman today, calling him a "son of a dog" during a speech at his Fatah party meeting. The U.S. State Department has condemned his rhetoric as "outrageous and unhelpful."

Why it matters: This is another escalation in Abbas's rhetoric against the U.S. since President Trump's Jerusalem announcement. In another speech two months ago, Abbas went on a personal attack against Trump himself and told him to "go to hell".