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Amidst growing scrutiny, tech expert discusses best practices when browsing Facebook

Published: Oct. 5, 2021 at 4:34 PM EDT
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TALLAHASSEE, Fla. (WCTV) - With Facebook facing increased scrutiny for amplifying divisive content and misinformation, what can the average user do to protect themselves?

WCTV spoke with the CEO of Aegis Business Technologies, a local technology company about best practices for the platform.

If an article is in all caps, a link doesn’t look quite right or a timestamp is outdated, that should tip you off that the content might not be legitimate.

“My mom loves Facebook,” Shanna Brajevic shared. “Actually, both of my parents send me Facebook info all the time.”

The average Facebook user doesn’t consciously go looking for misinformation or hateful content.

Many use the platform, as Arianna Gonzalez puts it, “To keep up do date with all my friends and family that I don’t get to see as often.”

But as a former employee calls out the platform for amplifying hate speech and misinformation, some are rethinking how Facebook impacts users.

“It definitely does strike me as concerning,” Brajevic said.

Gonzalez adds, “There’s been incidents where its like, that’s fake, definitely.”

Blake Dowling, CEO of Aegis Business Technologies, says its important to be critical of content that pops up on your feed.

“Don’t click it if it looks to be fake,” he said.

And, if you notice something particularly disturbing, don’t ignore it.

“Unfollow,” Dowling adds. “That’s the most powerful function on Facebook; unfollow something if you don’t like it, and don’t be afraid to report it, if it falls into that category of being extremely negative, report it.”

The Facebook algorithm works to amplify content similar to what users have engaged with in the past. So, the best way to avoid negative content is to not engage with it.

“If we focus on the negative, those platforms will continue to focus on the negative push forward something positive, how about that,” Dowling continued.

Dowling says although there are risks to using any social media, as long as you think critically about what you’re sharing and engaging with, there’s nothing wrong with using platforms like Facebook to share cat photos or keep in touch with friends.

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