A group of Facebook engineers identified a massive ranking failure that exposed as much as half of all news feed views to potential integrity risks over the past six months according to an internal report on the incident obtained by the verge.
The engineers first noticed the issue last October when a sudden surge of misinformation began flowing through the news feed notes the report which was shared inside the company last week. Instead of suppressing posts from repeat misinformation offenders that were reviewed by the company’s network of outside fact-checkers the new feed was instead giving the post-distribution spiking views by as much as 30 percent globally. Unable to find the root cause the engineer watched the surge subside a few weeks later and then flare up repeatedly until the ranking issue was fixed on March 11th.
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In addition to posts flagged by fact-checkers, the internal investigation found that during the bug period face book system failed to properly demote probably nudity violence and even Russian state media the social network recently pledged to stop recommending in response to the country is an invasion of Ukraine. The issue was internally designed as a level one SEV or site event a label reserved for high priority technical crises like Russia’s ongoing block of Facebook and Instagram.
Meta spoke person joe Osborne confirmed the incident in a statement to the verge saying the company detected inconsistencies in downranking on five separate occasion which correlated with small temporary increases to internal metrics.