Gay dating app Jack'd stored users' private images and data on unsecured AWS server

The gay dating app Jack'd, which has more than a million downloads in the Play store, stored images that users marked 'private' and posted in 1:1 chat sessions *on an unsecured AWS server.* 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 de-platforms 4 Myanmar armed groups. Military behind Rohingya abuse didn't like them either.

Is Facebook following government orders in Myanmar?

Instagram to blur self-harm images after Molly Russell's suicide

Molly Russell, 14, took her life in November 2017.

Google+ accounts and pages will be shut down April 2nd, says Google

Google announced last fall it's killing off Google+ because of the social network's laughably “low usage” and “challenges involved in maintaining a successful product that meets consumers’ expectations,” plus revelations of serious security vulnerabilities. Read the rest

New privacy hires at WhatsApp: Nate Cardozo (EFF), Robyn Greene (Open Technology Institute)

This bodes well for WhatsApp users. Read the rest

Twitter is slow-rolling out a simpler web interface, some users get it first

“A new Twitter is coming,” tweeted Twitter today.

“Some of you got an opt-in to try it now. Check out the emoji button, quick keyboard shortcuts, upgraded trends, advanced search, and more. Let us know your thoughts!” Read the rest

The sad history of Livejournal as a lens for understanding the state of social media today

Like Facebook, Livejournal was built in a bright student's dormroom; but unlike Facebook, LJ wasn't built "for nonconsensually rating the fuckability of stolen photos of undergrads," but rather as a community-minded platform for self-expression and connection-forging. Read the rest

Mark Zuckerberg: Facebook's horrible year was pretty good, actually

In a year-in-review post, Facebook's Mark Zuckerberg said on Friday he is “proud of the progress we've made.”

Yes, he really is that deluded. Read the rest

Woman whose son died at birth wrote this to tech firms who keep reminding her

Gillian Brockell is very brave. Read the rest

Without social organizations, social technologies will eat us alive

The bane of the futurist's existence is that almost daily you see, hear, or read something and want to scream, "I told you so." Sometimes, it's a cause for exhilaration—we got it right—and other times, it makes you angry—why didn't we do something about it earlier, why did we not heed the warning signs?

Right now, I am in the latter state. As stories of Facebook's deflection and manipulation of public opinion dominate the news cycle, I am harking back to things I and others wrote almost ten years ago, in the early days of social media. In 2010, while seeing the great promise of social production (work that involves micro-contributions from large networks of people who often receive "payment" in the form of fun, peer recognition, and a sense of belonging, i.e. social rather than monetary currencies), I started worrying about its shadow side. It seemed that many social media platforms had the potential to re-create the manor economies of the past in the digital world.

Reflecting on the lawsuit brought by bloggers who contributed free content to Huffington Post but didn't get any financial returns when the site was sold for $315 million to AOL, I saw similarities between the medieval and emerging digital manor economies:

Just like digital manor economies today, the manorialism of feudal society in medieval Europe integrated many elements of commons production. In most manors, peasants and tenants were assigned rights to use the commons—pastures, forests, fisheries, soil—within each manor's boundaries…The dark side of manor economics, however, lay in the fact that it perpetuated huge inherited disparities in incomes.

Read the rest

Algorithmic anti-semitism and computational propaganda

Just days before the horrific mass murder at Pittsburgh's Tree of Life synagogue, my Institute for the Future colleagues Sam Woolley and Katie Joseff published a deeply upsetting study on how social media bots and computational propaganda are being used to instigate and amplify anti-semitism online and manipulate public opinion. From the paper:

This report explores the ways in which online propaganda, harassment and political manipulation are affecting Jewish People in the runup to 2018 U.S. midterm elections. In the course of our research, members of this group have described a marked rise in the number of online attacks their community is experiencing. This is proving especially true during electoral contests and major political events. Correspondingly, our analyses suggests that tools like social media bots, and tactics including doxxing, disinformation, and politically-motivated threats, have been used online during the 2018 midterms to target Jewish Americans. According to interviewees, veiled human users—rather than automated accounts—often deliver the most worrisome and harmful anti-Semitic attacks.

As part of the wider paper series focused on “humanizing the effects of computational propaganda” this empirical work details the ways in which the Jewish socio-religious population in the U.S. is being disproportionately targeted with disinformation and abuse during this crucial political moment. We use a mixed methods approach in this research, deploying both qualitative and quantitative analysis in order to generate both a culturally deep and statistically broad understanding of how computational propaganda is being leveraged against this community...

Analysis of 7,512,594 tweets over a period from August 31, 2018 to September 17, 2018 shows the prevalence of political bots in these efforts and highlights groups within the U.S.

Read the rest

Brazil Elections: Facebook's WhatsApp “taking immediate legal action” against political spammers

WhatsApp, the messaging application business owned by Facebook, said on Friday it is “taking immediate legal action” against companies responsible for a flood of political spam ahead of Brazil's presidential elections. Read the rest

This is what a Facebook election security charm offensive looks like

Facebook is working very hard right now to prove it can be trusted to protect users from malicious fake news, political disinformation, and cyberattacks intended to throw the 2018 midterms. What Facebook is not doing: providing details. Read the rest

How to get all your stuff out of Facebook before deleting it

Ronald Langeveld has had enough, but realized you have to do more than simply quit: you gotta get years of your stuff out, too. He posted instructions on exfiltrating all your photos, comments and posts before ridding yourself of Facebook.

1) Log into Facebook. Don't look at any of the cancerous content on your feed and go directly into settings.

2) Click on "Your Facebook Information"

3) Click on "download your information".

4) Now you've got a whole lot of options

It's heartening to see people scrambling out of the dopamine trough, but the truth is we mostly fall back in. Drug-addiction metaphors are strained; gambling seems the better analogy. Read the rest

Summary of how brands manipulate idiots on Twitter

Poolboy nails one of the three most pernicious forms of marketing trends: the ironic self-deprecating brand run by some douchey social media manager: Read the rest

Reddit 'quarantines' white supremacist, incel, holocaust denier, and other gross subreddits

Women-hating MRAs and Incels, Holocaust Deniers, 9/11 Truthers, and snuff video fetishists on Reddit got harder to find today. An update of Reddit's “quarantine” policy was announced on Thursday, and by Friday new content disclaimers appeared a number of the sketchier “subreddits,” including four with over 100,000 subscribers each. Read the rest

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