After lying and covering up, Facebook finally changes rules for inmates' pages

After at least four years of lying about its rubberstamp takedown process for prison authorities and omitting prison takedowns from its transparency reports, Facebook is finally bringing a crumb of due process to its treatment of prisoners. Read the rest

Facebook rolls out new encryption features

The update allows users to post their public email encryption key on their Facebook profile, so others can encrypt future emails to that user.

Mark Zuckerberg just dropped another $100M to protect his privacy

Remember when Mark Zuckerberg declared that the age of privacy was over? Read the rest

Images of breastfeeding, operative scars now permitted on Instagram

How magnanimous of them! Your breasts are now appropriate for their "authentic and safe" environment, so long as you're not doing anything bad with them. But don't get any ideas: "close-ups of fully nude buttocks" are still unacceptable.

Photo courtesy of Shutterstock Read the rest

Strengthening neighborhoods with ... Facebook!

Facebook gets a bad rap, but where I live, it has brought neighbors together, and it started because of the things I didn't want to share. Read the rest

Imaginary ISIS attack on Louisiana and the twitterbots who loved it

Gilad Lotan has spotted some pretty sophisticated fake-news generation, possibly from Russia, and possibly related to my weird, larval twitterbots, aimed at convincing you that ISIS had blown up a Louisiana chemical factory. Read the rest

Facebook tells Native Americans that their names aren't "real"

Facebook's "real names" policy means that from time to time, it arbitrarily decides what its users are allowed to call themselves, which sucks if your name is something like Dana Lone Hill or Robin Kills The Enemy or Shane Creepingbear. Read the rest

Use Facebook while in South Carolina jail, go to solitary for 37 years

Prisons have a legitimate interest in controlling contraband, but in South Carolina, using social media from behind bars is a Class I offense, carrying stiffer penalties than murder, escape and hostage-taking. Read the rest

90s-style Internet hype ad for Facebook

This is a great parody and not just because it points up the goofiness of those AOL and Compuserve ads from the 90s, but because it shows how far Facebook has moved our social norms into the creepy-zone by pursuing its surveillance business-model. Read the rest

Facebook must face privacy violation lawsuit over scanning users' messages to target ads

Aw, poor Facebook. What a lump of coal in their Christmas stocking.

Algorithmic cruelty

With its special end-of-year message, Facebook wants to show you, over and over, what your year "looked like"; in Eric Meyer's case, the photo was of his daughter, who died this year: "For those of us who lived through the death of loved ones, or spent extended time in the hospital, or were hit by divorce or losing a job or any one of a hundred crises, we might not want another look at this past year." Read the rest

Focus on the Family's Singapore sex-ed class promotes rape, bigotry

A plagiarized sex-ed textbook presented to Singapore junior college students by Focus on the Family volunteers left student Agatha Tan aghast, so she penned an open letter to her principal including photos of some of the more grossly offensive pages. Read the rest

Daughter of Hong Kong leader thanks "taxpayers" for diamonds on Facebook

Chai Yan Leung thanked the taxpayers who paid for it, and then dismissed her critics as non-taxpayers, since employed people wouldn't have time to comment on Facebook. Read the rest

TSA employee to security theater skeptics: "You don't have shit for rights"

A person who "works for the TSA" accidentally posted a public comment to Facebook excoriating Rebecca Hains for expressing skepticism about the TSA's efficacy. Read the rest

Facebook manipulation experiment has connections to DoD "emotional contagion" research

Here's a new wrinkle on the massive emotion-manipulation study that Facebook conducted in concert with researchers from Cornell and UCSF: one of its researchers is funded under a US Department of Defense program to study "emotional contagion" and civil unrest. Read the rest

Facebook's massive psychology experiment likely illegal

Researchers from Facebook, Cornell and UCSF published a paper describing a mass-scale experiment in which Facebook users' pages were manipulated to see if this could induce and spread certain emotional states. Read the rest

Eternal vigilance app for social networks: treating privacy vulnerabilities like other security risks

Social networking sites are Skinner boxes designed to train you to undervalue your privacy. Since all the compromising facts of your life add less than a dollar to the market-cap of the average social network, they all push to add more "sharing" by default, with the result that unless you devote your life to it, you're going to find your personal info shared ever-more-widely by G+, Facebook, Linkedin, and other "social" services.

Arvind Narayanan has proposed a solution to this problem: a two-part system through which privacy researchers publish a steady stream of updates about new privacy vulnerabilities introduced by the social networking companies (part one), and your computer sifts through these and presents you with a small subset of the alerts that pertain to you and your own network use. Read the rest

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