Study shows that countries that permit Facebook's beloved "zero rating" programs end up with more expensive wireless data

Facebook loves "zero rating," when an internet provider takes bribes from online services to exempt them from data charges on their networks: Facebook says that having a roster of (Facebook-approved) services that are free-to-use benefits the poorest people in a country (and the fact that this also makes "Facebook" synonymous with "internet" for whole nations is merely incidental). Read the rest

Germany just deleted Facebook

Germany's Federal Cartel Office (Bundeskartellamt, the country's antitrust regulator) has ruled that Facebook can't combine user data aggregated from different sources (Facebook usage data, data from pages with Facebook Like buttons, data purchased from third parties, etc), because users can't reasonably anticipate the way these different datastreams might be combined, nor the kinds of inferences that could be gleaned thereby. Read the rest

'Zucked: Waking up to the Facebook Catastrophe,' by Roger McNamee [BOOKS]

“The time has come to accept that in its current mode of operation, Facebook’s flaws outweigh its considerable benefits”. — Roger McNamee in ZUCKED.

Facebook cancels its all-spying, secret "research" program, Apple cancels Facebook's developer account

Yesterday, Techcruch published a deeply reported account of Facebook's "Project Atlas,", a "research" app whose users were paid up to $20/month (plus affiliate fees) to install on Ios devices, which exploited third parties with access to Apple's developer program to install a man-in-the-middle certificate that allowed Facebook to harvest every conceivable kind of data from its users' Iphones and other Ios devices. Read the rest

Project Atlas: Facebook has been secretly paying Iphone users to install an all-surveilling "VPN" app

The "Facebook Research" VPN is an app that circumvents Apple's ban on certain kinds of surveillance by cloaking itself as a beta app and distributing through the Applause, Betabound and Utest services, rather than Apple's App Store: users get up to $20/month, plus referral fees, to run the app, which comes with a man-in-the-middle certificate that lets Facebook intercept "private messages in social media apps, chats from in instant messaging apps – including photos/videos sent to others, emails, web searches, web browsing activity, and even ongoing location information by tapping into the feeds of any location tracking apps you may have installed." Read the rest

Citing terms of service and "bad actors," Facebook locks out tools that catalog ads and ad targeting

Propublica is one of many organizations, mainly nonprofits, whose "ad transparency" tools scrape Facebook ads and catalog them, along with the targeting data that exposes who is paying for which messages to be shown to whom. Read the rest

Megathread of Facebook's terrible, horrible, no-good eternity

Bruce Sterling's All Things Facebook is a massive linkdump of the latest-and-greatest reasons to delete Facebook (and possibly put Zuck and Sandberg on trial for crimes against humanity). This morning's post on Facebook's tracking of non-Facebook users on Android came from here. Read the rest

How Facebook tracks Android users, even those without Facebook accounts

Facebook provides a suite of turnkey app-building tools for Android that are widely used among the most popular Google Play apps, with billions of combined installs; naturally, these tools create incredibly data-hungry defaults in the apps that incorporate them, so that even before you do anything with an app, it has already snaffled up a titanic amount of data, tied it into your Google Ad ID (which is recycled by Facebook to join up data from different sources) and sent it to Facebook. Read the rest

Facebook sold out the internet, secretly lobbied IN FAVOUR of upload filters

Though Facebook's lobbying associations spent the whole debate over the EU Copyright Directive arguing (correctly) that algorithmic filters to catch copyright infringement would end up blocking mountains of legitimate speech (while still letting through mountains of infringement), Facebook secretly told the EU Commission that it used filters all the time, had utmost confidence in them, and couldn't see any problems with their use. Read the rest

The Nazis and your privacy

The nonprofit organization to which I belong recently put the personal data of around 410,000 people on the internet, connected to interactive street maps of where they lived. The data includes their full names, date and place of birth, known residential address, and often includes their professions and arrest records, sometimes even information about mental or physical handicaps. It also lists whether any of their grandparents were Jewish. Read the rest

Unsealed court documents reveal that Facebook knew kids were being tricked into spending thousands of dollars on their parents' credit cards

In 2012, Facebook settled a class-action suit with parents who claimed that their kids were being tricked into spending real money on game items, thinking they were spending virtual in-game currency; the parents said that Facebook had structured its system to allow kids to use their parents' credit cards without the parents' intervention, unlike competitors like Google and Apple, who required password re-entries when a card was re-charged for in-game purchases. Read the rest

The glass is half-full (of bile over Facebook's business-model)

While it's true that the Pew Center found that most US Facebook users don't understand how they're being tracked and targeted, the more important fact is that the number of Americans who do understand this, hate it and are deleting their Facebook accounts because of it is growing fast. Read the rest

Regardless of political affiliation, over-65s are most likely to share "fake news" (and there's not much fake news, and it's largely right-wing)

A peer-reviewed study conducted by a trio of Princeton and NYU political scientists and published in Science Advances systematically examined the proliferation of fake news in the 2016 election cycle and found that, contrary to earlier reports, disinformation did not get shared very widely, and that most of it was right-wing, and that the people who shared disinformation of all political orientation were over 65. Read the rest

Samsung phone owners are upset because they can't delete the Facebook app

Samsung's sleazy deals with Facebook mean that owners of Samsung phones are not able to uninstall the Facebook apps that come pre-installed with their devices. Read the rest

Fans of Brazil's new fascist president chant "Facebook! Facebook! Whatsapp! Whatsapp!" at inauguration

Brazil's new president Jair Bolsonaro rode to power on a platform of racist and gendered discrimination, genocide for indigenous people, homophobia, torture apology, and the abolition of human rights; he owes his victory to political spamming and conspiracy theories spread on Facebook at Whatsapp. Read the rest

A timeline of all of Facebook's scandals in 2018

This list of terrible things Facebook did in 2018 (not including the terrible things it did without getting caught) makes it clear that Facebook is a garbage company.

March 29

BuzzFeed News published an internal memo from Facebook executive Andrew Bosworth in which one of Zuckerberg’s most trusted lieutenants calls any effort to connect the world a “de facto good.” “Maybe it costs a life by exposing someone to bullies,” he wrote in June 2016. “Maybe someone dies in a terrorist attack coordinated on our tools... And still we connect people.” The note caused a backlash externally in light of troubling events, including Facebook’s role in abetting genocide in Myanmar and its role in broadcasting a spate of suicides and murders on its livestreaming tool. In a statement, Zuckerberg disputed the idea that Bosworth was speaking for the company and said, “We've never believed the ends justify the means.” In response to the story, Bosworth tweeted (and later deleted), “I don’t agree with the post today and I didn’t agree with it even when I wrote it.”

Image collage created from photos by JD Lasica (Attribution 2.0 Generic, CC BY 2.0) and Shutterstock/Mr.anaked Read the rest

The latest Facebook scandal might explain why Amazon wrongfully banned book-reviewers

Yesterday, we learned that Facebook granted extraordinary user-data access to a handful of blue-chip companies, including Amazon. Read the rest

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