Tag Archives: Facebook

Democratic Congressman: “Looks Like Zuckerberg Lied To Congress”, by Tyler Durden

This probably won’t effect Mark Zuckerberg’s rumored plans to run for office. From Tyler Durden at zerohedge.com:

Responding to a report in the New York Times which revealed Facebook gave at least 60 major device manufacturers unprecedented access to user data, Democratic Congressman David Cicilline (RI) tweeted on Sunday: “Sure looks like Zuckerberg lied to Congress about whether users have “complete control” over who sees our data on Facebook,” adding “This needs to be investigated and the people responsible need to be held accountable.

The Times reported Sunday evening that Facebook gave at least 60 major device manufacturers access to user data over the last decade – including Apple, Amazon, BlackBerry, Microsoft and Samsung – as part of a data-sharing partnership program which allowed the companies to integrate various features such as messaging and “like” buttons into their products.

The agreement has allowed manufacturers to access information on relationship status, calendar events, political affiliations and religion, among other things. An Apple spokesman, for example, said that the company relied on private access to Facebook data to allow users to post on the social network without opening the Facebook app, among other things.

Even more disturbing, the manufacturers were able to access the data of users’ friends without their explicit consent, despite Facebook declaring they would not let outside companies access user data. The catch? The NYT explains.

Facebook’s view that the device makers are not outsiders lets the partners go even further, The Times found: They can obtain data about a user’s Facebook friends, even those who have denied Facebook permission to share information with any third parties.

In interviews, several former Facebook software engineers and security experts said they were surprised at the ability to override sharing restrictions. –NYT

It’s like having door locks installed, only to find out that the locksmith also gave keys to all of his friends so they can come in and rifle through your stuff without having to ask you for permission,” said Ashkan Soltani, a research and privacy consultant and former chief technologist for the Federal Trade Commission (FTC).

To continue reading: Democratic Congressman: “Looks Like Zuckerberg Lied To Congress”

 

Advertisements

Facebook Replaces User-Generated “Trending News” With “Breaking News” From 80 Undisclosed Publications, by Tyler Durden

Facebook will decide what you need to know. From Tyler Durden at zerohedge.com:

Facebook is replacing its user-generated “trending news” feature with a “breaking news” section – comprised of 80 publications which they will feed to users.

In other words, Facebook will have complete control over narratives and topics which go against their internal corporate culture.

Facebook’s Trending News section has been the subject of intense scrutiny since the 2016 election after it was revealed that the editors in charge of the feature were repeatedly discriminating against conservative articles, while promoting progressive content. Their clear bias resulted in the threat of an investigation from the Senate commerce committee.

The new changes were explained in a Friday announcement:

  • Breaking News Label: A test we’re running with 80 publishers across North America, South America, Europe, India and Australia lets publishers put a “breaking news” indicator on their posts in News Feed. We’re also testing breaking news notifications.
  • Today In: We’re testing a dedicated section on Facebook called Today In that connects people to the latest breaking and important news from local publishers in their city, as well as updates from local officials and organizations.
  • News Video in Watch: We will soon have a dedicated section on Facebook Watch in the US where people can view live coverage, daily news briefings and weekly deep dives that are exclusive to Watch.

To continue reading: Facebook Replaces User-Generated “Trending News” With “Breaking News” From 80 Undisclosed Publications

Facebook Partners with Saudi-Funded Think Tank to Censor Posts That Threaten “Democracy”, by Jake Johnson

It’s official: Mark Zuckerberg is a complete whore for the Deep State. There’s probably no age restriction, but he seems a little young to be selling his soul. From Jake Johnson at theantimedia.org:

The Atlantic Council “will now assist Facebook in suppressing what they decide is disinformation.”

In a new project Facebook insists is a completely objective and nonpartisan effort to root out what it deems “disinformation,” the social media giant announced on Thursday that it is partnering with the Atlantic Council — a prominent Washington-based think-tank funded by Saudi Arabia, major oil companies, defense contractors, and Charles Koch — to prevent its platform from “being abused during elections.”

“This is alarming,” independent journalist Rania Khalek concluded in a tweet on Thursday. “The Atlantic Council — which is funded by gulf monarchies, western governments, NATO, oil and weapons companies, etc. — will now assist Facebook in suppressing what they decide is disinformation.”

According to its statement announcing the initiative, Facebook will “use the Atlantic Council’s Digital Research Unit Monitoring Missions during elections and other highly sensitive moments.”

The statement continued:

“This will allow us to focus on a particular geographic area — monitoring for misinformation and foreign interference and also working to help educate citizens as well as civil society…

“This effort is part of an broader initiative to help provide credible and independent research about the role of social media in elections, as well as democracy more generally. We look forward to working together to protect free and fair elections across the world.”

While Facebook’s statement fawned over the Atlantic Council’s “stellar reputation,” critics argued that the organization’s reliance on donations from foreign oil monarchies and American plutocrats puts the lie to the project’s stated mission of shielding the democratic process from manipulation and abuse.

“Monopoly social media corporations teaming up with [the] pro-U.S. NatSec blob to determine truth was always the logical end of ‘fake news’ panic,” Adam Johnson, a contributor at Fairness and Accuracy in Reporting (FAIR), argued on Twitter in response to Facebook’s announcement.

To continue reading: Facebook Partners with Saudi-Funded Think Tank to Censor Posts That Threaten “Democracy”

Facebook’s Censorship in Germany, by Stefan Frank

Here is a freedom of speech case concerning Facebook with an unexpected outcome. From Stefan Frank at gatestoneinstitute.org:

  • Marlene Weise was banned from Facebook for 30 days, for posting a set of two pictures: One showed the Iranian women’s national volleyball team from the 1970s, wearing t-shirts and shorts; the other, the current Iranian team, wearing hijabs and clothes that cover arms and legs.
  • “Does a law- and contract-abiding user have to acquiesce to companies like Facebook or Twitter deleting his content or banning him for it? The ruling is an important stage victory for the freedom of speech.” — Joachim Nikolaus Steinhöfel, attorney and anti-censorship activist.

A court in Berlin has issued a temporary restraining order against Facebook. Under the threat of a fine of 250,000 euros (roughly $300,000 USD) or a jail term, Facebook was obliged to restore a user’s comment that it had deleted. Moreover, the ruling prohibited the company from banning the user because of this comment.

This is the first time a German court has dealt with the consequences of Germany’s internet censorship law, which came into effect on October 1, 2017. The law stipulates that social media companies have to delete or block “apparent” criminal offenses, such as libel, slander, defamation or incitement, within 24 hours of receipt of a user complaint.

As many critics pointed out, this state censorship makes freedom of speech subject to the arbitrary decisions of corporate entities that are likely to censor more than absolutely necessary, rather than risk a crushing fine of up to 50 million euros ($65 million USD). According to a newspaper report, Facebook’s censors have just ten seconds to decide whether to delete a comment or not.

The case with which the court in Berlin had to deal was that on January 8, 2018, the Swiss daily Basler Zeitung posted an article with the title “Viktor Orban speaks of Muslim ‘invasion'” on its Facebook site. The blurb read:

“Viktor Orban wonders how in a country like Germany… chaos, anarchy and illegal crossing of borders can be celebrated as something good.”

Facebook user Gabor B. posted a comment:

“Germans are becoming increasingly stupid. No wonder, since the left-wing media litters them every day with fake news about ‘skilled workers,’ declining unemployment figures or Trump.”

This comment quickly received the most “likes”, until Facebook deleted it, due to an alleged infringement of Facebook’s “community standards.” In addition, Gabor B. was banned from Facebook for 30 days.

To continue reading: Facebook’s Censorship in Germany

The Blowback Against Facebook, Google and Amazon Is Just Beginning, by Charles Hugh Smith

Don’t tell the stock market, but the pendulum may swing against the internet giants for a while. From Charles Hugh Smith at oftwonminds.com:

This is how we end up with a neofeudal society that benefits the Protected Few at the expense of the powerless, exploited Many.

Blow-out earnings from Facebook and Amazon have cheered Wall Street, but institutional owners might want to focus not just on blow-out earnings but rising blowbackagainst the tech superpowers (Facebook, Google and Amazon).

The blowback is social and political: people are starting to question the social and political costs of these tech darlings’ dominance and the billions in profits they reap.

The typical corporation can buy political influence, but Facebook and Google are manipulating the machinery of democracy itself. That’s a much more dangerous type of power than buying political influence or manipulating public opinion by openly publishing biased “news.”

We all understand how Corporate Media undermines democracy: recall how every time Bernie Sanders won a Democratic primary in 2016, The New York Times and The Washington Post “reported” the news in small typeface in a sidebar, while every Hillary Clinton primary win was trumpeted in large headlines at the top of page one.

But this sort of manipulation is visible; what Google and Facebook do is invisible. I recently addressed these invisible (but oh-so profitable) mechanisms in a series of essays:

How Far Down the Big Data/’Psychographic Microtargeting’ Rabbit Hole Do You Want to Go?

Is Profit-Maximizing Data-Mining Undermining Democracy?

Should Facebook, Google and Twitter Be Public Utilities?

Should Facebook and Google Pay Users When They Sell Data Collected from Users?

Here’s a selection of recent articles on related topics:

Research Shows Google’s Search Manipulations Tried To Rig Election For Hillary

Google’s File On You Is 10 Times Bigger Than Facebook’s – Here’s How To View It

Don’t Fix Facebook. Replace It. (New York Times)

The Infuriating Innocence of Mark Zuckerberg (The New Yorker)

Amazon is the embodiment of numerous destructive dynamics:

1. Zero-sum cannibalism being passed off as “growth.” Amazon is growing its sales by cannibalizing the retail, distribution, transport, computer services and advertising sectors. How many jobs have been lost as Amazon has consumed its victims? Shall we guess that Amazon’s 560,000 employees replaced 1,000,000+ retail/distribution employees who lost their jobs?

To continue reading: The Blowback Against Facebook, Google and Amazon Is Just Beginning

What Makes AI Dangerous? The State, by Per Bylund

As with most new technologies that have both benefits and dangers, the dangers are most pronounced when the technology gets in the hands of governments. From Per Bylund at mises.org:

So I watched “Do you trust this computer?”, a film that “explores the promises and perils” of artificial intelligence. While it notes both the good and the bad, it has an obvious focus on how AI might bring about “the end of the world as we know it” (TEOTWAWKI.) That is, if it is left unregulated.

It’s strange, however, that the examples of TEOTWAWKI AI were “autonomous weapons” and “fake news,” the latter because of how it can provide a path for a minority-supported dictator to “take over.” While I understand (and fear) both, the examples have one thing in common – but it is not AI.

That one thing is the State. Only States’ militaries and groups looking to take over a State have any interest in “killer robots.” They’re also developed by/for those groups. The fake news and “undue influence” issue is also about the power over the State. Neither weapons nor fake news require AI. Yet, in some strange twist, the film makers make it an AI problem. Worse: they end the film indicating that the main problem is that AI is “unregulated.”

But this is completely illogical: with the State as the problem’s common denominator *and* the solution?

Instead, we’re led to believe that it is problematic that Google tracks our web searches and Facebook knows our friends and beliefs (“because autonomous weapons”?). While I agree that it is ugly, neither company is making a claim over life and death. In fact, they operate under the harshest regulation there is: the market. Because they are making investments to make money, and money can only be made in one of two ways: through offering something that people want and are willing to pay for (Oppenheimer’s “economic” means), or through simply taking it from people against their will (“political” means). Companies operate according to the former, which means they are subject to the mercy of consumers. The State operate according to the latter.

 

To continue reading: What Makes AI Dangerous? The State

Facebook Admits “Most” Of Its 2.2 Billion Users Exposed To Data Scraping, “Malicious Actors”, by Tyler Durden

You don’t get something for nothing, certainly not from Facebook. In this, the something you give up for the something Facebook “gives” is your privacy and personal information. From Tyler Durden at zerohedge.com:

Facebook has admitted that “most” of its 2.2 billion users “could have had their public profile scraped” by third parties without their knowledge, and that the personal information of up to 87 million people was improperly shared with Cambridge Analytica, the company disclosed on Wednesday.

In total, we believe the Facebook information of up to 87 million people — mostly in the US — may have been improperly shared with Cambridge Analytica,” said Mike Schroepfer, Facebook’s Chief Technology Officer.

Initial reports set the number of users affected by the CA data purchase at 50 million. The London-based political data company bought the data from two psychologists (one of whom currently works for Facebook) who developed a data harvesting app disguised as a fitness app.

One of the methods used by “malicious actors” to “scrape” user data has been to enter another person’s phone number or email address into a Facebook search, allowing information to be harvested or scraped. “We believe most people on Facebook could have had their public profile scraped in this way,” Schroepfer said.

The Wednesday admissions were accompanied by the announcement of nine major changes aimed at safeguarding user privacy following the data harvesting scandal that has pummeled Facebook stock and resulted in Congressional inquiries. CEO Mark Zuckerberg will testify before the House Energy and Commerce Committee on April 11, which chairman Greg Walden (R-OR) and Frank Pallone Jr. (D-NJ) said would be “an important opportunity to shed light on critical consumer data privacy issues and help all Americans better understand what happens to their personal information online.”

In addition to eliminating the ability to search for users by email and phone number, Facebook will also ensure that it does not collect the content of messages sent via its Messenger app or Facebook Lite on Android.

To continue reading:  Facebook Admits “Most” Of Its 2.2 Billion Users Exposed To Data Scraping, “Malicious Actors”