The Antitrust Case Against Facebook: a turning point in the debate over Big Tech and monopoly

In 2017, a 28-year-old law student named Lina Kahn turned the antitrust world on its ear with her Yale Law Review paper, Amazon's Antitrust Paradox, which showed how Ronald Reagan's antitrust policies, inspired by ideological extremists at the University of Chicago's economics department, had created a space for abusive monopolists who could crush innovation, workers' rights, and competition without ever falling afoul of orthodox antitrust law. Read the rest

An insider's view of Facebook's 15 months in hell: my take

Following up on Xeni's post from earlier today: For their 12,000-word, beautifully reported story on how Facebook's top executives coped with 15 months of mounting crises, Wired's Nicholas Thompson and Fred Vogelstein spoke with 65 current and former insider sources, producing a gripping account of how the people who built the worst thing to ever happen to the web coped when the world woke up one day and figured this all out. Read the rest

Facebook's '15 months of Fresh Hell' detailed deliciously by WIRED

'Scandals. Backstabbing. Resignations. Record profits. Time Bombs. In early 2018, Mark Zuckerberg set out to fix Facebook.'

Welp. That didn't work.

The May issue cover story of WIRED Magazine is a 12,000-word rip-snorting takedown of Facebook. Read the rest

Facebook's year-old "improvements" to the newsfeed have elevated enraging Fox News posts to the service's dominant form

A year ago, smarting over public criticism of its role in promoting division and stoking racism, Facebook announced a major shift in its newsfeed algorithm which would downrank posts from media organizations and uprank the things sent by your friends on the network, in the name of promotion a gentler form of "engagement" that would emphasize discourse over clickbait, which founder Mark Zuckerberg promised would be "time well spent." Read the rest

There is a federal criminal investigation into Facebook's data-sharing deals

The Eastern District of New York empaneled a Grand Jury into the dirty data dealings of Facebook.

After taking them down, Facebook restores Elizabeth Warren ads calling for breakup of Facebook

“This ad was taken down because it goes against Facebook's advertising policies,” the ban notice read.

Facebook won't accept ads for Hump, Dan Savage's delightful homebrew porno film-festival

Hump is a festival showcasing homemade pornographic shorts (5 minutes or less), created by beloved sex- and relationship-advice columnist Dan Savage (the guy who made Rick Santorum's name synonymous with the residue of lube, semen and fecal matter produced by anal sex; and who created the "It Gets Better and Impeach the Motherfucker Already campaigns). Read the rest

Millions of Americans have left Facebook, led by young people aged 12-34

A new report from Edison Research finds Facebook's American user-base contracted for the second consecutive year in 2018, shrinking by 15,000,000, and that the biggest declines have come from the coveted 12-34 year old group. Read the rest

Zuckerberg announces a comprehensive plan for a new, privacy-focused Facebook, but fails to mention data sharing and ad targeting

Mark Zuckerberg's 3,000 word blog post about his plan to create a parallel set of Facebook services that contain long-overdue privacy protections has plenty to please both the regulators who are increasingly ready to fine the company billions and possibly even break it up, but also privacy advocates who will rightly cheer the announcement that the service will be increasing its end-to-end encryption offerings, only storing data in countries with good track records on human rights and the rule of law, and allowing users to mark some of their conversations as ephemeral, designed to be permanently deleted after a short while. Read the rest

Facebook forces you to expose your phone number to the whole world in order to turn on two-factor authentication

Last September, Facebook drew fire for abusing the phone numbers users provided for two-factor authentication messages, sending spam advertising messages over the same channel -- now, rather than reforming its ways, Facebook has doubled down on poisoning the security well, by adding a no-opt-out policy of allowing anyone in the world to search for you by phone number if you provide that number for two-factor auth. Read the rest

Mobile apps built with Facebook's SDK secretly shovel mountains of personal information into the Zuckermouth

If you need to build an app quickly and easily, you might decide to use Facebook's SDK, which has lots of bells and whistles, including easy integration of Facebook ads in your app's UI. Read the rest

NY Governor Cuomo orders 2 state agencies to probe report that Facebook gets more personal data from mobile users than known

Governor Andrew Cuomo (D-NY) on Friday ordered two New York state agencies to investigate reports that Facebook could have access to a lot more of your personal data, if you're a smartphone user, than anyone realized before. Read the rest

Facebook's internal security goons track ex-employees and critics using Facebook's apps

If you're a disgruntled ex-Facebooker or someone who "made threatening statements" against the company, there's a chance its internal security force is tracking your location and activities, using Facebook's apps and other tracking tools. Read the rest

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

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