What, me worry?


A user in a low level hacking forum on Saturday published the phone numbers and personal data of hundreds of millions of Facebook users for free online.

The exposed data includes personal information of over 533 million Facebook users from 106 countries, including over 32 million records on users in the US, 11 million on users in the UK, and 6 million on users in India. It includes their phone numbers, Facebook IDs, full names, locations, birthdates, bios, and — in some cases — email addresses.

Same as it ever was. Same as it ever was. Same as it ever was. INCOMPETENT.

Facebook blocked news pages as a negotiating tactic in Australia

Facebook may wait up to a week before unblocking some of the pages of hundreds of non-media organisations caught up in its news ban, while anti-vaccination content and misinformation continues to run rampant on the social media platform.

Content designated as news was blocked on Facebook in Australia on Thursday morning in response to the federal government’s news media code, which would require the tech giant to negotiate with news publishers for payment for content…

Tim Hanslow, head of social at Preface Social Media and who also helps run the Australian Community Managers group on Facebook, told Guardian Australia he had heard from a couple of community managers who had been contacted by their Facebook representatives and were told an appeals process would be put in place for people to plead their case…

“An appeals process for the ban will launch on Feb 25 and you can request your page be assessed as outside the news ban. All of the government pages/sites caught up in this should be reinstated.”

So, just wait around for a spell and Facebook will decide who is banned, who isn’t…and apparently what is news.

Facebook attacks Apple’s tougher privacy standards


This is what pisses off FACEBOOK honcho, Mark Zuckerberg.

Facebook has…attacked Apple in a series of full-page newspaper ads, asserting that iOS 14’s privacy changes regarding data gathering and targeted advertising are bad for small businesses (via Bloomberg).

The ads are running in the New York Times, Wall Street Journal, and Washington Post, feature the headline “We’re standing up to Apple for small businesses everywhere.”

I feel like I’m standing up to my ankles in cowshit when I read this press release from Zuckerberg.

Earlier this year, Apple introduced a number of privacy changes that curb the ability of companies like Facebook to gather data on users and target adverts. In ‌‌iOS 14‌‌, Apple has made the “Identifier for Advertisers,” used by Facebook and its advertising partners for ad targeting, an opt-in feature, providing more transparency for users who would prefer not to be tracked in apps and on websites. The update simply asks users if they want to agree to ad tracking or prevent cross-app and cross-site tracking to provide targeted ads.

Personally, I love Apple’s changes. What I’d like to see – and Zuckerberg fears – is more software and site developers take the same stand.

FACEBOOK ain’t cracking down on their favorite rightwing bigots

Several data scientists have quit their jobs at Facebook following the presidential election over frustration at the company’s unwillingness to crack down on hate speech and misinformation coming from right-leaning pages. In a goodbye note they wrote and shared companywide, as seen by BuzzFeed News, the departing employees specifically said their extensive efforts to put out flames have been meaningless because of Facebook’s, “very apparent interest in propping up actors who are fanning the flames of the very fire we are trying to put out.”

They concluded that, while Facebook has continued developing its automated tools and been successful at reducing violence reports through targeted interventions, it’s never going to be enough so long as the company continues turning a blind eye to hateful content shared by the likes of Trump and right-leaning pages…

Surprise, surprise. Smoke and mirrors are generally sufficient to ease consciences for advertisers…and Zuckerberg. Time will tell if the unruly horde of users will act up and reduce FB profits.

FCC Chairman rolls over for Trump – will attack Facebook and Twitter

Federal Communications Commission Chairman Ajit Pai is backing President Donald Trump’s proposal to limit legal protections for social media websites that block or modify content posted by users. Pai’s views on the matter were unknown until…he issued a statement saying that he will open a rule-making process to clarify that, despite the First Amendment, social media companies do not have “special immunity” for their content-moderation decisions

…(A) Trump administration’s petition asked the FCC to limit social media companies’ legal protections under Section 230 by changing the definition of “information content provider.” The requested change would define the term more broadly to include platforms that make “editorial decisions that modify or alter content.” That could convert Facebook and Twitter from “interactive computer services” to “information content providers,” limiting their legal protections when they block or screen content…

Both FCC Democrats today criticized Pai’s announcement. “The timing of this effort is absurd. The FCC has no business being the president’s speech police,” Commissioner Jessica Rosenworcel said.

Commissioner Geoffrey Starks said, “We’re in the midst of an election. The president’s executive order on Section 230 was politically motivated and legally unsound. The FCC shouldn’t do the president’s bidding here.”…

In addition to being opposed by the FCC’s Democratic minority, Trump’s petition did not even have full support from the FCC’s Republican majority. Republican FCC Commissioner Michael O’Rielly stated that the FCC must uphold First Amendment speech protections “that apply to corporate entities, especially when they engage in editorial decision making.”

After O’Rielly’s comments, Trump took the unusual step of pulling O’Rielly’s nomination to another FCC term…

Unusual for someone intended to represent the people of this nation broadly instead of just the nutballs ranging from QAnon to your friendly neighborhood fascists.

The illusion of improving social media platforms

By Om Malik

Elizabeth Dwoskin and Craig Tinbergen, writing for the Washington Post have applauded the social media platforms’ recent efforts to reign in “hate speech, misinformation and posts that potentially incite violence.” These posts were coming from the US president and many of his supporters. When asked what I thought of this step forward, here is what I told them:

“A lot of what has been previously thought of as fringe behavior has been brought to center stage by these platforms. They’ve been complicit for a very long time. You can ban a few people — even the president — but on platforms that have a billion people, there are so many dark corners. And instead of coming up with a solution for the entire network, they are banning individuals.

The Washington Post (Subscription Required.)

I have been screaming in the wind for a long time — and will say this again. The incentives to undertake real change aren’t there for these platforms. Most of them will have to retweak and re-imagine their algorithms. They won’t do that because, in doing so, they will have to move away from the current model of monetizing attention and engagement from advertising.

It will undermine how they make money, and thus there is no upside for anyone — including Facebook to Twitter to YouTube. So what do they do? They do the equivalent of re-arranging the chairs on the deck of a listing ship. People applaud them for doing something. They get some good publicity. And soon enough, the world moves on to another outrage.

Say it, again, my brother!

Leave Facebook

By OM MALIK

One vote doesn’t seem like much. On its own, it hardly matters at all. But if you think of yourself as part of something bigger — America, let’s say — then that one vote can make a difference. Many votes together can change the course of history. If you don’t make good use of your vote, you enable those who would abuse our ideals to come into power, maintain control, and destroy what we value.

Facebook is no different. You might be one person with just one account, but you are not powerless. Being a part of Mark Zuckerberg’s algorithmic empire is a choice. If you believe that Facebook is causing long-term damage to our society, and you don’t agree with their values or their approach to doing business, you can choose to leave.

I left Facebook under two years ago, but I remained trapped in Zuck’s hell on earth. Instagram and Whatsapp had a major control on me for some stupid reasons. No more. I disagree with the company, and its leaders so much that I won’t spend any of my attention or energy on its platforms. My mother will have to actually call me on the phone. My friends will have to email me. And you will have to come to my homestead on the Internet to see my photos and visuals.

I have made my choice, and I encourage you to make yours. If you disagree with Facebook and its policies, leave. You might be one account, but if you are one among millions, you will make a difference. Let go of the need for traffic or attention that has kept you coming back to the hell on earth that is Facebook. While you are at it, get off Instagram, and use something other than WhatsApp. Otherwise, you are just endorsing Zuck’s way of doing business — and it is a dirty business.

Scrub away Facebook tracking your history — even when you’re Off Facebook

Ever suspect the Facebook app is listening to you? What we now know is even creepier.

Facebook is giving us a new way to glimpse just how much it knows about us: On Tuesday, the social network made a long-delayed “Off-Facebook Activity” tracker available to its 2 billion members. It shows Facebook and sister apps Instagram and Messenger don’t need a microphone to target you with those eerily specific ads and posts — they’re all up in your business countless other ways.

You can see how Facebook is stalking you…The “Off-Facebook Activity” tracker will show you 180 days’ worth of the data Facebook collects about you from the many organizations and advertisers in cahoots with it. This page, buried behind lots of settings menus (here’s a direct link), is the product of a promise CEO Mark Zuckerberg made during the height of the 2018 Cambridge Analytica scandal to provide ways we can “clear the history” in our accounts.

The article is worthwhile, an easy read…and here’s a link to the article. Meanwhile, I’ve included the direct link in the paragraph above. It is easy enough to just click the link, read and make your choice(s).

I did.

Facebook says they’ll stop abusing your privacy [a little bit]

” Facebook Inc will no longer feed user phone numbers provided to it for two-factor authentication into its “people you may know” feature, as part of a wide-ranging overhaul of its privacy practices, the company told Reuters.

” Revelations last year that Facebook was using personal data obtained for two-factor authentication to serve advertisements enraged privacy advocates, who called the practice deceptive and said it eroded trust in an essential digital security tool…

” Facebook initiated the updates in connection with its $5 billion settlement with the U.S. Federal Trade Commission, which required it to boost safeguards on user data to resolve a government probe into its privacy practices.

The FTC order, which is still pending approval in court, said Facebook failed to disclose that the phone numbers provided for two-factor authentication also would be used for advertising, and specifically barred that approach to security tools.

If a thief has to change style, methods, to stay out of jail – while continuing to steal – of course, he will exert the effort.

Facebook to ban two white nationalist groups


Megan Jelinger/Anadolu Agency

❝ Facebook will no longer allow Red Ice TV and Affirmative Right to use its platform, following a Guardian report on the continued presence of prominent white nationalist organizations on the site eight months after a promised ban.

A Facebook spokesperson said on Tuesday that the company has now determined that Red Ice TV and Affirmative Right violate its policy against “organized hate”. The ban will include the pages of the Red Ice TV hosts Lana Lokteff and Henrik Palmgren, as well as their internet radio show, Radio3Fourteen…

❝ YouTube banned Red Ice in October for repeated violations of its ban on hate speech.

❝ Facebook has for years failed to proactively police its site for hate groups and white supremacists, despite a longstanding ban on “hate”. As white nationalist terrorist attacks rose around the world, the company maintained a policy distinction between white supremacism and white nationalism until March of this year, when it finally agreed to ban white nationalist content. The company still allows Holocaust denial content, though it says that it works to prevent such content from spreading…

What? Did you think foot-dragging was wholly-owned by the Republican Party. The only part that surprises me is these dilettantes of democracy believe folks angry over backdoor support for bigots will simply forget about them after a while.