Facebook's $5B FTC fine was so laughable its stock price went UP after the announcement

In 2011, the US Federal Trade Commission put Facebook under consent decree after the company "deceived consumers by telling them they could keep their information on Facebook private, and then repeatedly [allowed] it to be shared and made public." Read the rest

For years, the chief of the Border Patrol was a member of the secret CBP Facebook group for racist and threatening chatter

Last week, Propublica revealed the existence of "I'm 10-15", a secret Facebook group for current and former Customs and Border Protection employees -- a group with 9,500 members, while CBP's total workforce numbers 58,000 -- where it was commons for members to share violent, racist, sexist, misogynist, rape-y memes, including some that threatened and disparaged members of Congress. Read the rest

Easy subway access predicts the resilience of New Yorkers' friendships

In Social Connectedness in Urban Areas (Sci-Hub mirror), a group of business and public policy researchers from Facebook, NYU and Princeton study anonymized, fine-grained location data from Facebook users who did not disable their location history, and find that the likelihood that New Yorkers will remain friends is well correlated with the ease of commuting between their respective homes on public transit. Read the rest

Zuck's personal head of security resigns after allegations of homophobia, transphobia, "pervasive discriminatory conduct," and "horrific levels of sexual harassment and battery"

Ex-Secret Service officer Liam Booth was the head of security for Mark Zuckerberg's "family office" and charitable foundation; two former employees accused Booth of homophobia, transphobia, "pervasive discriminatory conduct," and "horrific levels of sexual harassment and battery," saying that he had made racist remarks about Zuckerberg's wife, Priscilla Chan; that he had told a staffer that he "didn't trust Black people" and that he believed that "white lives matter more than Black lives" and had personally sabotaged Chan's attempt to hire more diverse staff; that he'd complained about the number of Black people working for the family charity; and that he'd "angrily advocat[ed] against diversity in the workplace and the movement Black Lives Matters, which he called 'reverse racism.'" Read the rest

Instagram's new solution against bullying: Artificial Intelligence, and 'Restrict'

Instagram launched a new feature today, Restrict, intended to help vulnerable users avoid abuse. Facebook's Head of Instagram Adam Mosseri says the company will also be focusing on new uses for AI to crack down on bullying. Read the rest

Woz stopped at an airport and asked about privacy

Woz says toss your Facebooks and beware your phone.

I have been a fan of Steve Wozniak ever since meeting him at an Apple Users Group meeting in my very early teens.

A friend had (still likely HAS) a signed by Woz Apple ][gs and everyone in our social circle was jealous. Read the rest

Tim Wu rebuts Zuck's reasons for exempting Facebook from antitrust enforcement

Competition scholar and cyberlawyer Tim "Net Neutrality" Wu's (previously) latest book is The Curse of Bigness: a tight, beautifully argued case for restoring pre-Reagan antitrust approaches. Read the rest

Possible detection of Sarin reported at Facebook facility in Menlo Park, 'no employees exposed,' may be false positive

No employees have been exposed to the substance, officials said.

"I'm 10-15": the secret CBP Facebook group full of racism, sexism, and jokes about migrant deaths

10-15 is Customs and Border Protection's code for "aliens in custody"; "I'm 10-15" is a secret Facebook group for current and former CBP officers whose participants create and share a torrent of racist and sexist memes, as well as jokes about the deaths of migrants in their care. Read the rest

Flickr offers the best social media experience going

On the whole, technology has been good to me.

In the mid-1990s, I was able to connect with a music magazine in Ireland--my first paying writing gig--via Hotmail. Over two decades later, I'm still writing for them. in 2009, Twitter connected me with folks who became good friends, online and face-to-face. Through them, I was able to shift out of a career that was slowly killing me with stress to begin a decade-long stretch of freelancing. Working remotely during that time, I found that I had a lust for travel, and as a consequence of one of my adventures, met my wife. Recently, I was able to land a full-time gig, still remotely, mind you, that has provided me with a steady income and a fabulous group of co-workers I'm happy to see on Slack every day.

That said, I'm also sure that a lot of the tech in my life is making me miserable.

Facebook is hot garbage, that tracks my movements across the Internet without permission. Twitter is full of thieves waiting to steal your joy and fill your days with dread. Instagram, owned by Facebook, often leaves me feeling expectant and desirous of accolades for my photos from people I've never met. Of late, outside of my work life, I've been taking strides to limit my interactions with tech and social media. I've donated all of the hardware I don't use on a routine basis to local charities, stepped back from owning multiple computers to just one and perhaps, best of all, have started relying on Flickr as a way to share what's going on in my life with the people I care about. Read the rest

Independent audit finds Facebook activity has fallen by 20% since Cambridge Analytica

The "business analytics" firm Mixpanel has released its figures estimating the total usage of Facebook (liking, sharing and posting) since the Cambridge Analytica scandal broke; they showed usage falling off 10% in the first month following from the news of the scandal, and continuing to fall, with overall usage down by 20% since April 2018. Read the rest

Facebook hate group investigation reveals 400 police officers, including NYPD cops, to be members

A year-long investigation of private Facebook hate groups by REVEAL finds close to 400 current and retired law enforcement officers are members, including officers from small towns as well as big cities -- including NYPD. Read the rest

Facebook execs are worried that Zuck's emails show he never took his FTC privacy obligations seriously

In 2012, Facebook settled an FTC privacy investigation by promising a host of privacy protections (that they never delivered on); now, the FTC is probing Facebook's noncompliance and they've demanded that the company let them look at Zuck's email, which prompted the company's legal team to have a look therein, and they really didn't like what they saw. Read the rest

Art pranksters upload Mark Zuckerberg deepfake to Instagram to test Facebook's non-removal policy

We knew it was a matter of time before someone tested Facebook's claim they won't remove so-called 'deepfakes,' aka convincingly real faked videos like that recently viral clip of Democratic House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, edited to appear 'drunk'. Read the rest

68% of "ordinary Facebook investors" voted to fire Zuckerberg

Every year, activist investors try to get Mark Zuckerberg to resign for the good of the company, citing his incompetent handling of the company's endless string of privacy scandals and his inability to steer the business towards a scandal-free, sustainable future: in 2018, 51% of the company's "ordinary investors" (shareholders apart from Zuck, his board and his employees) voted to fire Zuckerberg; this year, the bloc calling for his resignation represented $3B in Facebook investments. Read the rest

European legal official OKs orders that force Facebook to globally remove insults to politicians like "oaf" and "fascist" (as well as synonyms)

Austria has incredibly broad libel laws -- so broad that they prohibit disgruntled voters from calling politicians "oafs" or "fascists." Predictably, this gave rise to a legal dispute between an Austrian politician and Facebook, when the former ordered the latter to remove a comment containing these two insults, and the whole mess ended up before the Advocate General of the Court of Justice of the EU -- a person whose decisions are not binding, but are incredibly legally influential. Read the rest

Racist groups banned by Facebook change account names, get right back on, research shows

Researchers report that a number of white supremacist/white nationalist/violent racist crackpot groups like the 'Proud Boys' and 'Soldiers of Odin' (gag) are doing just fine and being very active on Facebook -- all they had to do is ever so slightly modify their names. Read the rest

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