Updates from March, 2018 Toggle Comment Threads | Keyboard Shortcuts

  • Geebo 8:59 am on March 16, 2018 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , , Rihanna, ,   

    Snapchat in hot water over insensitive ad 

    Snapchat in hot water over insensitive ad

    Since its public debut, photo sharing app Snapchat has been trying to drag teen users away from Facebook. Since many teens like to follow their favorite celebrities on social media, Snapchat’s business has relied heavily on the activity of celebrities whether Snapchat wants to admit it or not. Now, Snapchat is facing a public backlash after one of its celebrities was featured in a very insulting ad on its platform.

    Recently, Snapchat users were served an ad for a mobile game that asked if you would rather slap R&B singer Rihanna or punch her former boyfriend Chris Brown. If you’ll recall, Rihanna was a victim of domestic violence at the hands of Brown. The Grammy award-winning songstress took to Instagram to voice her displeasure over the ad.

    “Now SNAPCHAT I know you already know you ain’t my fav app out there!” Rihanna wrote. “But I’m just trying to figure out what the point was with this mess! I’d love to call it ignorance, but I know you ain’t that dumb! You spent money to animate something that would intentionally bring shame to DV victims and made a joke out of it!!! This isn’t about my personal feelings, cause I don’t have much of them … but all the women, children and men that have been victims of DV in the past and especially the ones who haven’t made it out yet … you let us down! Shame on you. Throw the whole app-oligy away.”

    Snapchat apologized for the ad, but it was too little too late as their stock took a tumble after the debacle. According to tech blog Recode, this just one in a long line of questionable ads on Snapchat as they are said to run ads for cryptocurrency miners and the infamous Ashley Madison website which supposedly helps people carry on affairs. While those ads may be tasteless, domestic violence is no laughing matter and should not be joked about in such a flippant manner. If this is the attitude Snapchat takes in supposedly curating their ads then it’s no wonder Instagram is beating them at every turn.

  • Geebo 9:11 am on March 15, 2018 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: 3d printed home,   

    Could 3D printed homes help the housing crisis? 

    Could 3D printed homes help the housing crisis?

    It’s no secret that there is a housing crisis not just here in the US but around the world. Too many families worldwide do not have access to affordable or sustainable housing. Now, a proof of concept home has been developed that its developers are hoping to help end that crisis. Recently, at the South by Southwest (SXSW) conference in Austin, Texas, two companies joined together to present what they refer to as a 3D printed home.

    ICON is a company that has developed a machine that is basically a 3D mobile printer that lays out a home in concrete. They’ve partnered with a non-profit called New Story whose goal it is to build homes in developing nations. Together, they’ve developed a 600 square foot concrete home that can be built for less than $10,000. The companies are hoping to get the cost down to about $4,000 in future developments.

    While the houses may not be the most palatial they could go a long way in helping people. Shelter is one of the most basic human needs and with a project like this many of those struggling could afford the dignity to be able to call someplace home that’s inexpensive but still sturdy. This endeavor has great potential and more projects like this need to come out of Silicon Valley instead of yet another social app.

  • Geebo 8:57 am on March 14, 2018 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , , ,   

    Walmart offering home grocery delivery in its war with Amazon 

    Walmart offering home grocery delivery in its war with Amazon

    Retail giant Walmart has fired the latest shot in their ongoing battle with Amazon. After Amazon purchased Whole Foods last year, a number of grocery chains started offering home delivery. Since Walmart is the nation’s leader in grocery sales, they’ve announced that they will be rapidly expanding home grocery delivery into at least 100 cities over the coming year. Currently, through Whole Foods, Amazon only offers that service in six markets.

    The main difference between the two services, besides availability, is cost. With Amazon, you need an Amazon Prime membership which can cost as much as $99 a year. Walmart’s new delivery service will be a $9.95 flat fee per delivery and deliveries have to include at least $30 worth of groceries. While that may seem a little exorbitant at first, at least it’s not Whole Food prices and no membership is required.

    On the one hand, Walmart’s new delivery service could be great for lower-income families who may not have the transportation to get to a local grocery store. When you factor in costs such as public transportation, taxis, or ride share programs like Uber, the $9.95 delivery fee doesn’t seem so bad. However, with Walmart and Amazon battling it out like this for retail dominance, the shadow of a duopoly continues to loom over consumers. While better access to affordable food is always a good thing, what happens if only two corporations control those avenues?

  • Geebo 9:06 am on March 13, 2018 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , , genocide, , ,   

    UN: Incitement to violence on Facebook rampant and unchecked 

    UN: Incitement to violence on Facebook rampant and unchecked

    We’ve previously posted about the crisis of the Rohingya minority in Myanmar here about how Facebook was allegedly being used to not only spread falsehoods about the Rohingya, but also how the social network is being used to fuel ethnic cleansing. The use of Facebook as a weapon against the Rohingya has gotten so bad in Myanmar that the United Nations has referred to Facebook as a ‘beast’.

    UN investigators looking into claims of genocide against the Rohingyan people recently said that Facebook is the de facto internet in Myanmar and that “Everything is done through Facebook in Myanmar.” The investigators also said that the incitement to violence against the Rohingya on Facebook were rampant and unchecked.

    While Facebook has not commented on the UN’s recent findings, in the past their responses have been non-committal at best saying it’s hard to curb hate speech at this magnitude before throwing out figures like “it removes about 66,000 posts a week — around 288,000 monthly — on what it considers hateful rhetoric.” That’s all well and good but it doesn’t change the fact that the government and some of the populace of Myanmar are using Facebook’s platform to help carry out what some consider an ongoing genocide of a religious minority in their country. We’re talking about hundreds of thousands of people who have either been targets of violence or have been forced to flee from their homes. Facebook telling people how many posts they’ve removed isn’t helping and unless Facebook doesn’t take greater measures to prevent their network from being used by oppressive forces they will forever be known as a tool of genocide.

  • Geebo 9:08 am on March 12, 2018 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , , deadbolt, ,   

    Scam victim living in house illegally 

    Scam victim living in house illegally

    A man in Colorado is living in a house illegally after falling victim to a rental scam. The man found a home for rent on craigslist and wired $3000 to the people claiming to be the landlords. In return, the ‘landlords’ were able to give the man the access code to the home’s deadbolt. This is not unlike a similar scam we posted about back in November where scammers were hacking the electronic lockboxes used by realtors

    Once the victim in this case realized he had been scammed he contacted police, but now he may find himself out on the street. He asked the rental company if there was any way he could stay there but the company wants him off the premises. Again, it appears that the weak link in the security is the electronic deadbolt used by the rental company. As shown in the video below, many of these types of locks can be hacked remotely.

    However, as I’m sure you’ve surmised by now, the first mistake made in this unfortunate story was the victim wiring the money to someone before seeing the home. When dealing with sites that are a haven for scammers like craigslist, you should never wire money to anybody you don’t know personally. Not only could that money be received anywhere in the world, but it’s almost impossible to get the money back once it’s been transferred. While we hope this man lands on his feet, let his story serve as a cautionary tale to others when using unscrupulous classified sites.

  • Geebo 9:59 am on March 9, 2018 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: burglary, , home invasion,   

    Don’t ever let them in 

    Don't ever let them in

    One of the cardinal rules when selling or buying something through a classifieds site is to never let the person on the other side of your transaction to come to your home. Unfortunately, some sites and apps with less than stellar reputations, such as craigslist, have attracted a criminal element that are more than willing to take advantage of a situation like that. While this may seem like common sense to most, some consumers are still in need of reminding.

    For example, in Santa Clara, Utah, a family had their home burglarized after a couple with a baby came to their home while looking at a car the family was selling on craigslist. While the family was showing the car they had several valuable items taken from their home right under their noses. Luckily, there was no violence involved with this burglary as there has been with so many others.

    One of the more infamous craigslist home invasions happened in 2010 in Kirkland, Washington, where a family was held captive and the father, James Sanders, was killed after the family advertised a diamond ring for sale on craigslist.

    Meeting in a public place during daylight hours isn’t enough anymore either. As always, we recommend using the SafeTrade Stations that are linked to in each Geebo ad, or your local police department, to conduct these kind of transactions.

  • Geebo 10:18 am on March 8, 2018 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , , MIjem   

    College marketplace app: Good in theory, bad in practice 

    College marketplace app: Good in theory, bad in practice

    Earlier, I came across this article from The News Record, the University of Cincinnati’s student run newspaper, about a marketplace app called Mijem that’s geared toward college students. On the surface, it sounds like a great concept by making a local marketplace between students who could potentially help each other out by selling or trading things like furniture, clothes and the always expensive textbooks. However, the reality of the app appears to be more concept than practice.

    First, I tried signing up for the app through the Google Play Store and the app kept crashing on me. I was able to sign up through their website but was then unable to sign in through the app itself. In looking at the app’s reviews on the Play Store there were a number of suspicious 5 star reviews that either did not elaborate or had one sentence reviews. Mijem also claims that their app is safer than other platforms, but I was unable to determine how that could possibly be. While they do have users create profiles, that alone does not make it safer than any other platform. Other marketplace apps have user profiles and are still plagued by safety issues.

    Lastly, the MIjem developers talk about a safety feature that should have been implemented before launch. In The News Record article, the developers claim they’re working on verifying .edu email addresses so users can have a verified check mark on their profile. This should have been a feature at launch and to make the app more secure only .edu email addresses should be accepted. While this doesn’t guarantee safety, it would go a long way in discouraging bad actors.

    However, since the app is extremely buggy and somewhat sketchy with its Play Store reviews, I would recommend college students to take a hard pass on MIjem.

  • Geebo 10:50 am on March 7, 2018 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: animal sanctuary, ,   

    Craigslist used in elaborate animal scheme 

    Craigslist used in elaborate animal scheme

    Yesterday, headlines from all over the country discussed how several exotic animals were allegedly stolen from a wildlife sanctuary in South Florida. The animals taken included at least seven lemurs, 12 tortoises, four monkeys and five marmosets. The theft was blamed on a craigslist ad placed in the area that claimed the sanctuary was going out of business and anyone could come claim an animal for free.

    On the surface, that doesn’t sound too implausible. Craigslist has often used by either pranksters, or people with vendettas, who post ads that say anything from a single item to an entire property full of items are being given away, even though the poster has no authority to do so. Due to craigslist’s lackadaisical attitude when it comes to moderation, this has become an all too common occurrence.

    However, this story goes beyond the usual craigslist vandalism when it was reported that the sanctuary owners were not only the ones who allegedly stole the animals themselves, but also were said to have placed the craigslist ad to try to throw authorities off their tail, so to speak. Police believe the owners staged the fake burglary to prevent any more animals being taken from the sanctuary as they previously had other animals seized by authorities.

    While this is one of the more unusual crimes committed through craigslist, at this point it should really come as no surprise.

  • Geebo 11:52 am on March 6, 2018 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , survey,   

    Facebook survey asks bizarre questions about child grooming 

    Facebook survey asks bizarre questions about child grooming

    (Disclaimer: This post will be discussing frank topics that may be disturbing to some readers)

    Hot on the heels of Facebook trying to solve their foreign meddling problem with postcards, the social network finds itself in the news once again for all the wrong reasons. Over this past weekend, Facebook users in the UK were asked some rather odd and disconcerting questions in a survey about how they thought Facebook should handle certain volatile situations. A couple of those questions asked about the hypothetical grooming of a 14-year-old girl by an online predator.

    As The Guardian reports, the questions asked by Facebook were more than tone-deaf and insensitive by the way they were posed. Facebook asked how it should be handled if an adult man asked for sexual pictures of the 14-year-old girl. The responses users could choose from ranged from “this content should not be allowed on Facebook” to “I would not mind seeing it” and “I have no preference on this topic”. None of the responses included any kind of suggested contact with law enforcement. Facebook has come out with one of the understatements of the year by saying the survey was a mistake.

    Now do we think that Facebook is gearing up to become some kind of underground network for child predators? No, we do not. Facebook actually has a better record of dealing with online predators than a lot of other social platforms like Kik, Snapchat, and craigslist. However, this shows once again that Facebook is the textbook definition of ‘the right hand doesn’t know what the left hand is doing’. Whether or not this survey was created by an algorithm or by committee, someone along the Facebook chain of command either allowed this survey to pass by them unnoticed or worse yet, approved the survey.

    This is yet another example of how Facebook’s sphere of influence has gotten away from them like so many wild horses. For a company that has such a global reach, maybe it’s time for the social giant to be reined in.

  • Geebo 11:33 am on March 5, 2018 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: ,   

    ‘Craigslist of guns’ shows deadly flaws in law 

    'Craigslist of guns' shows deadly flaws in law

    For all its faults, craigslist says they forbid guns from being sold on their platform. Gun sales still happen on craigslist since they don’t moderate their site, but if you want a classifieds site dedicated entirely to guns then Armslist has you covered. Armslist, which was started in 2007, is known as the craigslist of guns and allows private gun owners to sell and trade guns between themselves. While the practice is legal, in many states private gun sales do not require background checks meaning Armslist is a go to place for people who want a gun but are prohibited from owning one.

    Most recently, a gun that was traded on Armslist was used in the murder of a high-ranking Chicago police officer. This is just the latest in a line of incidents where guns from Armslist were used in violent crimes. Gun control advocacy group the Brady Campaign filed a lawsuit against Armslist stating they were negligent in allowing guns to be sold to criminals but the lawsuit was thrown out on the grounds of our old friend the Communications Decency Act of 1996. So does Armslist do anything to prevent guns from falling in the hands of criminals? They do the very bare minimum by making users click a button that says they’re over 18 and they’re legally able to purchase a gun and that’s it. Users don’t have to register or provide any kind of identification.

    That’s not even taking into account that Armslist users are susceptible to the same scams that proliferate on craigslist such as the fake check scam. That means that gun sellers would not only be out of the money they were hoping to get for the gun but the gun would now be out in the wild as well.

    Just because something is legal, doesn’t make it right. While Armslist is operating under the letter of the law it shows how easy it is for someone to buy a gun when it’s not legal for them to do so. Making it so private sellers do not have to complete background checks is a loophole in the law that needs to be closed, but until then, Armslist will continue to take advantage of it.

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