Sony: OK, OK, we don't own Bach

When pianist James Rhodes uploaded a recording of his own performance of a Bach composition to Facebook, it was immediately blocked thanks to a match with a recording that Sony had claimed copyright in; Facebook uses an automated filter of the sort that the EU voted to make mandatory for all content types and services yesterday and it can't distinguish any competent rendition of Bach from any other competent rendition. Read the rest

Young people finally fleeing Facebook, say researchers

It's been predicted for years without much proof to show for it, but new data from Pew Research finally serves the pudding: young people are leaving Facebook for good.

From Pew:

There are, however, age differences in the share of Facebook users who have recently taken some of these actions. Most notably, 44% of younger users (those ages 18 to 29) say they have deleted the Facebook app from their phone in the past year, nearly four times the share of users ages 65 and older (12%) who have done so. Similarly, older users are much less likely to say they have adjusted their Facebook privacy settings in the past 12 months: Only a third of Facebook users 65 and older have done this, compared with 64% of younger users.

Chris Welch at The Verge:

Pew found that “Republicans are no more likely than Democrats to have taken a break from Facebook or deleted the app from their phone in the past year.” The recent swell of criticism directed at Facebook, Twitter, and other social media platforms over supposed censorship came well after the Pew survey was conducted, so it may be a factor the next time around.

It was to be expected that Facebook would age out of its original youthful user base, but it's odd that it aged so fast into being the social network of seething, racist seniors. Read the rest

Find out who's manipulating you through Facebook political ads with ProPublica's free tool

“There's information about political advertising—including the choices about how to target ads to you instead of someone else—that's not in Facebook's Ad Archive,” says ProPublica's Jeremy Merrill. “It can only be exposed if you participate in this project with ProPublica, ABC and our other awesome partners.” Read the rest

Apple removes Facebook's deceptive, surveillant VPN from the App Store

Onavo (previously) was an Israeli startup that Facebook bought; the company has made a series of apps that masqueraded as utility software while gathering competitive intelligence that Facebook used to target its rivals by monitoring users' behavior. Read the rest

Facebook will subject all of its users to "trustworthiness scores," similar to China's Citizen Scores

Every Facebook user will be assigned a "trustworthiness score" derived from a mix of user complaints and secret metrics derived from spying on user activity on the system (Twitter has a comparable system). Read the rest

Facebook sends man animation featuring cartoon characters dancing on his mother's grave

Facebook wants you to "engage" with its service, so they have an algorithm that plucks your most favorited images out of your past stream and adds dancing whimsical cartoon characters and then rams the resulting animation into your eyeballs, because why not? Read the rest

Facebook kills 652 more political disinformation accounts, Russia and Iran blamed

Facebook announced today they are taking down 652 pages, groups and fake accounts for "coordinated inauthentic behavior." Read the rest

Street artists subvertise Facebook bus stop ads in London

Thanks to the members of a street art project, some bus shelter adverts for Facebook in London were improved by a good ol' fashioned culture jam.

The Protest Stencil is taking credit for these subvertising efforts which altered Facebook's messaging to say, "Fake news is not our friend, it’s a great revenue source," and "Data misuse is not our friend, it’s our business model."

They refer to their work as "honest Facebook ads," writing, "To facebook, you’re not a ‘friend’, you’re the product on sale." Preach it!

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those honest facebook ads are really getting around... . . . #facebookads #adhack #londonstreets #adtakeover #advertisingshitsinyourhead #acab

A post shared by Protest Stencil (@proteststencil) on Aug 15, 2018 at 6:02am PDT

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TFW you realise that *you* are the product that’s on sale... . . . #facebookads #adhack #adtakeover

A post shared by Protest Stencil (@proteststencil) on Aug 13, 2018 at 8:36am PDT

(Design You Trust)

image via Protest Stencil Read the rest

HUD accuses Facebook of Fair Housing Act violations

The Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) filed a complaint [PDF] against Facebook on Friday. HUD accuses the social media company of violating the Fair Housing Act, which prohibits discrimination in print and online advertisements on the basis of race, religion, physical ability, gender, and other attributes. Read the rest

Feds ask court to force Facebook to break Messenger's end-to-end voice encryption for MS-13 gang probe

In secret court proceedings, the U.S. government is trying to force Facebook to help wiretap Messenger. Facebook has declined, so the Justice Department is asking a judge for an order of contempt. Read the rest

Talking surveillance, elections, monopolies, and Facebook on the Bots and Ballots podcast

Grant Burningham interviewed me for his Bots and Ballots podcast (MP3), covering a bunch of extremely timely tech-politics issues: Facebook and the impact of commercial surveillance on democratic elections; Alex Jones, censorship and market concentration; and monopolism and the future of the internet. Read the rest

Facebook news chief to media: ‘Work with Facebook or die’

The Australian reports that Facebook media relations chief Campbell Brown privately disclosed that Mark Zuckerberg is indifferent to publishers and offers the news media a simple choice: "Work with Facebook or die."

A senior Facebook executive has privately admitted Mark Zuckerberg “doesn’t care” about publishers and warned that if they did not work with the social media giant, “I’ll be holding your hands with your dying business like in a ­hospice”.

That's a strange thought, isn't it? Right down to how an attempt at intimidation is undermined its own awkward spitefulness.

Still, she (invoking he), is effectively threatening to destroy news publishers unless they comply with Facebook's vision for their future. So everyone has work to do.

Brown was hired last year after to help Facebook "smooth over its strained ties to the news media."

But Facebook executives said they were hiring Ms. Brown for her understanding of the news industry as a onetime White House correspondent, co-anchor of “Weekend Today” and primary substitute anchor of “Nightly News” at NBC News, and prime-time anchor on CNN, which she left in 2010.

Some commentators noted Ms. Brown’s ties to the Republican donor Betsy DeVos, Mr. Trump’s nominee to lead the Department of Education. Ms. DeVos’s family foundation funds The 74, an education-focused journalism site co-founded and led by Ms. Brown.

Hiring a DeVos crony to deal with fake news and media relations quickly became the Facebook Executives Puzzled By Human Emotion trainwreck it promised to be: Brown was last in the news threatening to sue The Guardian for breaking the Cambridge Analytica story. Read the rest

American Conservative laments market concentration and private property as bad for free expression

For years, the big social media platforms have used their market dominance to decide who could speak and on what terms: they forced drag queens and trans people to use their "real" names; kicked Black Lives Matter activists off their platforms; and allowed autocratic rulers to force opposition activists to expose themselves to arrest and torture as a condition of using their platforms. Read the rest

Facebook throws an extra $10m at Zuck's personal security

Zuckerberg -- who says privacy isn't a value that's important to most people any more -- owns the four houses on either side of his Silicon Valley house so that no one can use them as a perch to spy on him; he bought 100 acres around his Hawai'ain beach house, suing native Hawai'ians to force them to sell to him, so that he could have a buffer between him and the world. Read the rest

Leaked Facebook memo reveals "psychological trick" developed to entice high-school students to sign on

In October 2017, Facebook bought the startup TBH, whose product was an enormously successful polling app aimed at high-school students; as part of TBH's integration into the company, they circulated memos detailing the "psychological trick" they developed to maximize their penetration into high-schools and suggested ways this could be adapted for use by Facebook itself. Read the rest

Facebook to banks: give us our users' financial data and we'll let them bank with Facebook

Facebook wants to "deepen user engagement" with Messenger, and to that end, it's been pitching America's giant banks on joint enterprises where Facebook will get to see all your financial info (especially info on where you're shopping and what you're buying) to help it suck you into using Messenger for longer. Read the rest

Facebook takes down a legitimate anti-far-right protest page, calls it "inauthentic"

Like Linus Van Pelt searching the pumpkin patch for a really sincere pumpkin, Facebook has been scouring its political organizing pages for really sincere protesters, and loudly and performatively purging any activity it deems to be "inauthentic." Read the rest

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