Instagram is a dialup BBS

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JWZ reminds us that all social media is some variation on the walled garden strategy, designed to lock you in and lock value away from the open, interoperable Web into a silo where it languishes and rots. You know, AOL. Read the rest

Facebook shutting legal weed pages

A man gestures in support of pot legalization outside the Supreme Court in Mexico City, Nov. 4, 2015.  REUTERS
Reminder: even if cannabis is now legal in 23 states, including recreationally in some, Facebook does not want you posting about it on its website. The BBC reports on its recent crackdown on accounts and pages set up by legal dispensaries and weedy websites.

So what's the logic behind the move? Well, although the drug may be legal in some places, it's still very much illegal for others. That creates a tough dilemma for a social network like Facebook, which is used by people all over the world. Facebook's "Community Standards", which users agree to maintain when they sign up, tend to take one standard global position on issues like the promotion of drugs.

When BBC Trending contacted Facebook, they issued this official statement: "In order to maintain a safe environment on Facebook, we have Community Standards that describe what is and is not allowed on the service. Anyone can report content to us if they think it violates our standards. Our teams review these reports rapidly and will remove the content if there is a violation."

The wave of shut-downs was noticed last week, reports NBC News.

In New Jersey, where medical marijuana is legal, three of the state's five dispensaries, or Alternative Treatment Centers (ATCs), they're called, had their Facebook pages shut down last week. Breakwater Alternative Treatment Center, Compassionate Sciences Alternative Treatment Center (CSATC) and Garden State Dispensary all received messages from Facebook stating their pages had been "unpublished" because content posted on their pages "doesn't follow the Facebook Terms."

The delicious part is, of course, inconsistent enforcement: it appears that weed sellers are grassing one another up to Facebook. Read the rest

Facebook's "Free Basics" and colonialism: an argument in six devastating points

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Though India's independent telcoms regulator has banned services like Facebook's "Free Basics" -- which bribed phone companies to exempt Facebook's chosen services from the carriers' punishing data-caps -- the debate rages on, as Free Basics has taken hold through many poor countries around the world. Read the rest

Indian regulator stands up for net neutrality, bans Facebook's walled garden

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India's Internet activists have scored an epic victory in their battle against Facebook and its attempt to become gatekeeper to the Internet in India. Read the rest

Facebook's fourth-quarter earnings smash Wall Street expectations

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Social media giant Facebook today reported sales and earnings that well exceeded Wall Street's expectations, as both the number of users and mobile ad dollars rose from October to December.

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Facebook values Whatsapp users' data at $1/year

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This week, Whatsapp -- an instant messaging company that was founded on the principle of charging $1/year and preserving your privacy in exchange, but which sold to Facebook in 2014 for $19B -- sent users a message that their accounts would be free forevermore -- at the same time as the app quietly introduced a tickbox (optional, for now) to share your data with Facebook "to improve your Facebook experience." Read the rest

India's telcoms regulator says it will ignore Facebook's astroturf army

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Facebook's misleading, high budget astroturf campaign sent over 14 lakh (1.4m) comments to TRAI, the Indian telcoms regulator, almost none of which responded to the questions raised in the regulator's Net Neutrality consultation paper. Read the rest

Indian Net Neutrality vs Facebook's astroturf army

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When India's independent telcoms regulator opened up a consultation on whether to allow Facebook to continue bribing some ISPs to charge extra for access to URLs that Facebook hadn't approved, they were flooded with 5.5 million confused comments in support of the $300 billion US company. Read the rest

Facebook's FUDdy, full-page anti-Net-Neutrality Indian newspaper ads

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Facebook is desperate to ensure that the Internet never takes hold in developing nations -- they want a walled garden that they get to own and operate. Read the rest

Six months with a dumbphone

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In yearning for simplicity, the question is its own answer. Or maybe just get something old from Nokia.

No evidence that San Bernardino shooters posted about jihad on Facebook

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After this month's killings, there was widespread reporting (fueled by comments by FBI director James Comey) that Syed Rizwan Farook and Tafsheen Malik had declared their commitment to jihad on Facebook and that the security services failed to note this. Read the rest

Ted Cruz campaign hires dirty data-miners who slurped up millions of Facebook users' data

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Cambridge Analytica is an obscure data-mining company funded by hedge fund billionaire Robert Mercer (Cruz's main financial backer). Cambridge Analytica created "psychographic profiles" of millions of Facebook users by scraping their personal data without their knowledge or permission. Read the rest

Copyfraud: Disney's bogus complaint over toy photo gets a fan kicked off Facebook

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Justin Kozisek, a staffer for the Star Wars Action News podcast, bought a $6.94 Rey toy at Walmart and posted a photo of it to Facebook, and he and his SWAN colleagues were surprised to get a DMCA notice from Disney/Lucasfilm claiming that they had infringed copyright by posting a photo of their toy. Read the rest

Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg speaks out against anti-Muslim hate

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Facebook CEO Executive Mark Zuckerberg said today that he supports Muslims in America, and around the world.

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No, Facebook's Mark Zuckerberg did not donate $45 billion to charity

Mark Zuckerberg and Priscilla Chan, with their newborn daughter. Photo: Facebook handout

Mark Zuckerberg did not just donate $45 billion of his Facebook stock to charity. Perhaps you read this on the internets. It is not true.

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Turns out that "unsubscribing" from spam actually works

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After my spam hit a point where I couldn't actually download my email faster than it was arriving, I spent a month clicking the unsubscribe links in all the spams in my inbox. Weirdly, it worked. Read the rest

Facebook won't remove photo of children tricked into posing for neo-fascist group

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The mother a 13-year-old girl has been unable to get Facebook to remove a photo that her daughter and a 12-year-old friend were tricked into having taken, which is being used to promote the violent neo-fascist group Britain First. Read the rest

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