Facebook bans election-attack firm linked to Israeli military and 'dozens' more disinformation accounts

Facebook announced today that is has banned an Israeli firm that ran a foreign psyops campaign to disrupt election results in various countries. Read the rest

White House asks fans to report anti-Trump 'political bias' online

'If you suspect political bias caused such an action to be taken against you, share your story with President Trump.'

Alex Stamos on the security problems of the platforms' content moderation, and what to do about them

Alex Stamos (previously) is the former Chief Security Officer of Yahoo and Facebook. I've jokingly called him a "human warrant canary" because it seems that whenever he leaves a job, we later learn that his departure was precipitated by some terrible compromise the company was making -- he says that he prefers to be thought of as "the Forrest Gump of infosec" because whenever there is a terrible geopolitical information warfare crisis, he's in the background, playing ping-pong. Read the rest

Lawyer involved in suits against Israel's most notorious cyber-arms dealer targeted by its weapons, delivered through a terrifying Whatsapp vulnerability

NSO Group is a notorious Israeli cyber-arms dealer whose long trail of sleaze has been thoroughly documented by the University of Toronto's Citizen Lab (which may or may not be related to an attempt to infiltrate Citizen Lab undertaken by a retired Israeli spy); NSO has been implicated in the murder and dismemberment of the dissident Saudi journalist Jamal Khashoggi (just one of the brutal dictatorships who've availed themselves of NSO tools), and there seems to be no cause too petty for their clients, which is why their malware has been used to target anti-soda activists in Mexico. Read the rest

Facebook's "celebration" and "memories" algorithms are auto-generating best-of-terror-recruiting pages for extremist groups

Facebook isn't very good at selling you things on behalf of its advertisers, so the company has to gather as much data as possible on you and use it keep you clicking as much as possible in the hopes of eventually scoring a hit with its targeting system, and that means that it often commits unwitting -- but utterly predictable -- acts of algorithmic cruelty. Read the rest

Google mistakenly started handing out a reporter's cellphone number to people searching for Facebook tech support

If Facebook is broken for you in some way large or small, you can't call them to complain -- the company doesn't have a customer service number, it has a "support portal" for people suffering with the service, which combines the worst of autoresponders with the worst of underpaid, three-ring-binder constrained support staff to make a system that runs like a cost-conscious version of Kafka's "The Trial." Read the rest

Facebook sends Nick Clegg to rebut co-founder Chris Hughes' call for breakup

No surprises here. Facebook does not support the co-founder Chris Hughes' proposal to split the world’s largest social media company into three parts. Read the rest

Co-founder of Facebook calls for breakup of Facebook

Chris Hughes co-founded Facebook with Mark Zukerberg, and describes Zuckerberg in warm terms as a friend, but in a long op-ed for the New York Times, Hughes calls for the breakup of Facebook and identifies Zuckerberg's shortsighted prioritization of "clicks" instead of "security and civility" for the platform's toxicity, blaming the company's unusual share structure (which gives Zuckerberg an absolute veto over all matters of company policy despite holding a minority of its shares) for a situation in which Zuckerberg is surrounded by yes-men who never check his worst impulses. Read the rest

Facebook hands hundreds of contractors in India access to its users' private messages and private Instagram posts in order to help train an AI

Facebook gave "as many as" 260 contractors at Wipro, Ltd in Hyderabad, India access to users' private messages and private Instagram posts so that the contractors could label them prior to their inclusion in an AI training-data set. Read the rest

AOC endorses Elizabeth Warren's Big Tech breakup plan

Elizabeth Warren wants to break up Big Tech, a thoroughly excellent idea with many devils in the details: AOC backs her play: "Facebook as a basic communications platform while also selling ads and also being a surveillance platform. Those functions should be broken up, but how that gets levied and how that gets approached is what we need to take a fine-tooth comb at." Read the rest

Facebook totally blew its own 'we banned the bad guys' PR stunt

Facebook says the ban rollout took longer than planned.

Facebook bans Alex Jones, Milo Yiannopoulos, Laura Loomer, Louis Farrakhan, as 'dangerous'

Gosh, it only took 'em 4 whole years

Facebook never delivered its "Clear History" feature

A year ago, Facebook -- wracked by the Cambridge Analytica scandal (and many, many others) -- promised a "Clear History" feature that would allow its users to wipe clean the nonconsensual dossiers that the company had compiled on them, a promise uttered by Mark Zuckerberg himself during the F8 developer conference. Read the rest

Facebook expects up to $5 billion FTC fine over privacy

$5 billion is about one month's revenue for Facebook.

Facebook has hired the Patriot Act's co-author and "day-to-day manager" to be its new general counsel

Jennifer Newstead helped craft the Patriot Act, a cowardly work of treasonous legislation foisted on the American people in the wake of the 9/11 attacks; later, she served as the Patriot Act's "day-to-day manager" in Congress; today, she is Facebook's general counsel. Read the rest

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

NBC News: Access to Facebook user data given to Zuckerberg's "friends"

Leaked internal Facebook documents show that Facebook not only planned to sell user data, but that it ultimately "doled it out to app developers who were considered personal “friends” of Zuckerberg", reports NBC News.

Olivia Solon and Cyrus Farivar:

The thousands of newly shared documents were anonymously leaked to the British investigative journalist Duncan Campbell, who shared them with a handful of media organizations: NBC News, Computer Weekly and Süddeutsche Zeitung. Campbell, a founding member of the International Consortium of Investigative Journalists, is a computer forensics expert who has worked on international investigations including on offshore banking and big tobacco. The documents appear to be the same ones obtained by Parliament in late 2018 as part of an investigation into Facebook. Facebook did not question the authenticity of the documents NBC News obtained.

Read the rest

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