The world is no longer willing to tolerate the plague of bullshit "agreements"

Mark Zuckerberg says it doesn't matter how creepy and terrible his company is, because you agreed to let him comprehensively fuck you over from asshole to appetite by clicking "I agree" to a tens of thousands of words' worth of "agreements" spread out across multiple webpages; when questioned about this in Congress, Zuck grudgingly admitted that "I don’t think the average person likely reads that whole document." But as far as Zuck is concerned, it doesn't matter whether you've read it, whether you understand it, whether it can be understood -- you still "agreed." Read the rest

Facebook vs regulation: we exist nowhere and everywhere, all at once

Where is Facebook located? Well, if you're the taxman, Facebook's global HQ is a tiny shed somewhere in Ireland, where Facebook can escape virtually all taxation; but on the other hand, if you're the EU, Facebook is headquartered in America, where the General Data Protection Regulation doesn't apply. Read the rest

Cambridge Analytica data-raid: the number is "much greater than 87 million"

Brittany Kaiser is an ex-Cambridge Analytica employee who gave written testimony and answered questions at the UK Parliament this week in which she revealed that the Facebook apps that Cambridge Analytica used to covertly gain access to millions of users' data went far beyond the ones disclosed to date, and that the number of total users implicated is "much greater than 87 million." Read the rest

The Facebook Liberation Army Link List

The Institute of Network Cultures' Facebook Liberation Army Link List (compiled by Geert Lovink & Patricia de Vries) is a thoroughly useful document: Read the rest

Peak Zuck: "What's a shadow profile?"

Shadow Profiles is the industry term for the dossiers that Facebook compiles on billions of people, including people who don't have Facebook accounts, merging data from Facebook Like buttons and tracking pixels, outside data brokers, and data entered by Facebook users about their friends, including harvested address-books, tagged photos, and other personal information that can pertain to Facebook users and non-users alike. Read the rest

The Peltzman model: a way to understand the kind of regulation Facebook might face from Congress

Sam Peltzman proposed a model of regulation where the profitability of firms is in tension with their customers' desire for low prices and politicians' desire to get votes. Read the rest

Facebook quietly admits they let Cambridge Analytica read your private messages

Buried in Facebook's latest message to 87,000,000 users who had their data stolen by Cambridge Analytica is this eye-popping nugget: "A small number of people who logged into 'This Is Your Digital Life' also shared their own News Feed, timeline, posts and messages which may have included posts and messages from you." Read the rest

Facebook finally has a form where you can check whether Cambridge Analytica stole your data

Want to know if Facebook let Cambridge Analytica steal your person information? here's the company's form to check, but you'll need a Facebook login, so it won't work if you've already done the right thing (that is, #DeleteFacebook). (Image: hobvias sudoneighm, CC-BY) (via The Verge) Read the rest

Survey: 89% of Android users didn’t give Facebook consent

In a survey of 1,300 Android users, 89% percent said that they did not give Facebook consent to scrape their call and text history. Facebook has been allegedly scraping phone records since 2015.

From TeamBlind:

Last month, we surveyed our users, asking them if they planned to delete their Facebook accounts after the Cambridge Analytica scandal. In just a few days, more than 2,600 users answered our survey, with 31 percent answering that they will delete their Facebook account.

Shortly after news of the Cambridge Analytica scandal, many Facebook users rushed to download their profile data, leading Android users to discover that the company had been collecting their call history records and SMS data. As Sean Gallagher of Ars Technica writes:

This past week, a New Zealand man was looking through the data Facebook had collected from him in an archive he had pulled down from the social networking site. While scanning the information Facebook had stored about his contacts, Dylan McKay discovered something distressing: Facebook also had about two years’ worth of phone call metadata from his Android phone, including names, phone numbers, and the length of each call made or received.

We surveyed over 1,300 Android users, asking if they granted Facebook permission to collect their call and text history. Overall, 89% answered ‘No.’

Last week, Facebook announced that the company will reduce the amount of data collected from Android users. In a company blog post, Facebook CTO, Mike Schroepfer writes:

Call and text history is part of an opt-in feature for people using Messenger or Facebook Lite on Android.

Read the rest

The Congressjerks who will grill Zuckerberg this week are a rogue's gallery of Facebook donation recipients

The House Energy and Commerce Committee is scheduled to give Mark Zuckerberg a public drubbing on Wednesday morning, sticking up for America and sticking it to the reckless, feckless CEO of a giant digital monopolist who has distorted our discourse to sell us soap and only grudgingly feigned surprise when he was informed that his machine had also been used in an attempt to win an election by trickery. Read the rest

Facebook is unfixable. We need a nonprofit, public-spirited replacement.

The corruption and surveillance culture of Facebook is baked in deep and can never be removed; if you doubt it, just peruse a sampling of their patent filings, which are like Black Mirror fanfic written by lawyers. Read the rest

For years, Facebook has been secretly deleting Zuck's messages from his correspondents' inboxes

People who'd corresponded with Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg contacted Techcrunch to say that Zuck's messages were missing from their inboxes -- but the replies to his messages lived on as proof that something had been deleted.

Read the rest

Facebook: Actually, looks like Cambridge Analytica got 87 Million user records

Facebook CTO Mike Schroepfer buried the news that Cambridge Analytica's total body-count was probably 87,000,000 (not 50,000,000 as previously recorded) at the end of a long-winded, mealy-mouthed update on the Facebook/Cambridge Analytica scandal. He offered no explanation for the discrepancy. Read the rest

Zuckerberg: Facebook will not stop spying on Americans to comply with EU privacy law

The imminent implementation of the EU's General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) has been hailed as a victory for global privacy advocates; since the regulation severely limits the collection of data on Europeans -- even when they're communicating with non-Europeans -- services like Facebook would risk running afoul of the GDPR if they collected data on anyone in a way that violated EU rules, and since the penalties for violating the GDPR are incredibly draconian, the benefits of such surveillance would surely be outweighed by the risk of getting it wrong. Read the rest

Here are the moats and walls Facebook has been building for years to defend against #DeleteFacebook

As we set ourselves to the task of dooming Facebook to the scrapheap of history, it's worth considering the many ways in which Facebook has anticipated and planned for this moment, enacting countermeasures to prevent the rise of a competitor focused on delivering things that help users (making it easy to find people to form interest groups with), rather than focused on "maximizing engagement" and spying on us. Read the rest

Facebook deathwatch: a decade ago, it was impossible to imagine the fall of Myspace

In 2007, the Guardian's Victor Keegan published "Will MySpace ever lose its monopoly?" in which he enumerated the unbridgeable moats and unscalable walls that "Rupert Murdoch's Myspace" had erected around itself, evaluating all the contenders to replace Myspace and finding them wanting. Read the rest

The idea behind Cambridge Analytica's Facebook data-harvesting app came from a Palantir employee, with support from Eric Schmidt's daughter

Palantir is the surveillance company founded by authoritarian "libertarian" Peter Thiel; their business-development employee Alfredas Chmieliauskas was part of a cohort of Palantir employees who worked closely -- if informally -- with Cambridge Analytica as they hatched their plan to harvest 50,000,000 Facebook profiles with a deceptive "personality quiz" app. Read the rest

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