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  • Geebo 8:59 am on August 17, 2018 Permalink | Reply
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    Facebook failing in the fight to stop ethnic cleansing 

    Facebook failing in the fight to stop ethnic cleansing

    I’ve been posting about Facebook’s role in the persecution of the Rohingya people in Myanmar for a little while now. If you’re unfamiliar with the situation, the Rohingya Muslim minority in the country formerly known as Burma has not only been run out of their homes by the Myanmar military, but they’ve also been the victims of hate crimes and ethnic cleansing that is fueled by the Buddhist majority. The Rohingya are considered to be the most persecuted people currently in the world today. Previously, Facebook has given non-committal answers about their efforts to help stop the human rights abuses in Myanmar, but a new report says Facebook is failing horribly to curb the tide of ethnic violence in the country.

    WARNING: The following video may contain images and language that some may find disturbing.

    A report from Reuters (via CNBC) says that since the problem of ethnic cleansing in Myanmar has been brought to Facebook’s attention, they’ve done little about it. In a country of 100 million people where roughly three-quarters of the population use Facebook as their only news source, Facebook has only employed a handful of people who speak and read Burmese. The Reuters report also found posts that incite violence against the Rohingya going back as far as six years that are still active on the platform. This further shows that Facebook’s global power has gotten way out of their own control to the detriment of humanity.

    Now some in the West may ignore this problem because it doesn’t concern us but think of this. What if this was happening in our country? What if 75% of the population was looking to drive certain ethnicities or religions from the U.S. because of what they read on Facebook. What if that turned into the mass killings of those oppressed people and the government was to look the other way? Then you look at things like the proliferation of hate groups on Facebook in the United States and you have to ask yourself how close are we to becoming like Myanmar?

  • Geebo 9:08 am on August 16, 2018 Permalink | Reply
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    Backpage still in ‘good standing’ as a Delaware corporation 

    Backpage still in 'good standing' as a Delaware corporation

    Earlier this year, I published a blog post about how Backpage was a company in ‘good standing’ in the state of Delaware. Many companies incorporate in Delaware due to their lax tax laws regarding corporations and because Delaware courts have corporate proceedings ruled by a judge knowledgeable in corporate matters rather than a jury which may not be. However, this post was made months before the federal government seized control of Backpage for their alleged role in human trafficking. Now it turns out that Backpage is still a company in good standing in Delaware.

    Yesterday, news station WHYY out of Wilmington, published a report that showed Backpage is not only still in good standing in Delaware but also re-registered its status as an LLC. The state Attorney General’s office could potentially revoke Backpage’s but they are still reviewing the legislation that could allow them to do that. Even with a company like Backpage that doesn’t have the most stellar reputation I can imagine the state may drag its feet on any kind of ruling considering it may affect the number of businesses incorporating in Delaware and no one wants to see anything hurt their bottom line.

    Backpage isn’t the only shady company that’s been incorporated in Delaware. Again, according to WHYY, Delaware corporations were allegedly used by former Trump campaign chair Paul Manafort to launder money and commit tax fraud, infamous drug lord ‘El Chapo’ allegedly used Delaware to launder his drug money, and former Trump attorney Michael Cohen allegedly used a Delaware corporation to pay hush money to Stormy Daniels. Maybe it’s time for the First State to start paying closer attention to who their granting corporation status too before collecting their money.

  • Geebo 9:10 am on August 15, 2018 Permalink | Reply
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    Study identifies who is really harming democracy on Facebook 

    Study identifies who is really harming democracy on Facebook

    By now, we should all be familiar with the stories about how Facebook was allegedly used by foreign influencers and bad actors to try to sway the 2016 Presidential Election. This has been an ongoing issue even up to the recent 2018 Primary Elections. Many in positions of power have called upon Facebook to try to clamp down on this problem, but what if I told you that it wasn’t Russia that was the biggest threat to democracy on Facebook, but rather it was us?

    According to a recent study by the University of Wisconsin–Madison, social media users are less informed about politics than those who refrain from social media. The study contributes this to most social users only skimming their social media feeds rather than taking the time to process or even further pursue the veracity of the information.

    It also doesn’t help that social media is where people go to feel safe in their bubbles of convenience where they would rather regurgitate whatever latest meme fits into their political party loyalty or narrow worldview. If you think I’m singling out one side of the political spectrum over the other, I’m not as both sides of the aisle are guilty of this behavior. So while the typical Facebook user may think he or she is the political scholar in their circle of friends, the odds are they really aren’t and as long as people keep acting and thinking like this democracy will remain threatened from within.

  • Geebo 9:20 am on August 14, 2018 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , , , tribal lands   

    FCC stopped from cutting internet subsidies in tribal lands 

    FCC stopped from cutting internet subsidies in tribal lands

    Back in November of last year, I wrote a blog post about the number of then-recent FCC rulings that I alleged was done to possibly silence poorer voices in this country. One of those rulings was to roll back Lifeline subsidies that helped provide low-cost internet and phone to low-income families. That same ruling also put a cap on the number of service providers that could offer Lifeline services. One of the areas that could have been hit hardest by the FCC’s ruling would have been the tribal lands of Native-Americans.

    Recently, the US Court of Appeals has blocked the FCC from taking away Lifeline services in these areas. The court ruled that taking away these services and limiting the number of providers would cause the tribal populations to lose vital services due to a lack of communication options. The court also noted that the tribal lands have a lack of choice when it comes to internet and phone providers.

    As he is wont to do, FCC Chairman Ajit Pai has said in the past that rollbacks like this would create competition and lower prices for broadband internet. However, the court added that the FCC failed to provide any evidence that supported any of those claims. Ever since Pai started talking about rolling back net neutrality protections it seems that the FCC has tried to create a digital divide between the haves and have-nots, almost like the FCC and the current administration doesn’t want lower-income families, minorities, and migrants to be able to have access to news and other services on matters that personally affect them. Ignorance is strength indeed.

  • Geebo 9:11 am on August 13, 2018 Permalink | Reply
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    Your social media could hurt your job search 

    Your social media could hurt your job search

    I’m pretty sure we all have that friend who is totally unfiltered on social media. They act like social media is some kind of virtual bubble where their posts are self-contained inside of the platform not realizing that their posts could be viewed by almost anyone. Part of that anyone could be a prospective employer and those posts could potentially hurt your chances of finding a new job.

    According to a recent survey conducted by a job listing service, more than 70% of employers will check the social media profiles of potential applicants. So, if you’re posting pictures of drugs and alcohol, committing crimes, or anything that could be deemed offensive, you may not want to start dreaming of that corner office. Conversely, you might think that erasing all of your social media might be the way to go, but according to the survey that may as equally as harmful. A total lack of social presence may appear as if you have something to hide.

    While it may seem like common sense, it’s advised to carefully cultivate your social media presence. Highlight positive activities and don’t complain about your current position. If you succeed in getting your dream job that doesn’t mean you can start posting pictures of your weekend escapades as many employers continue to keep tabs on your social media. The basic philosophy should be that if you can’t say it at work, then you shouldn’t be posting it on Facebook.

  • Geebo 9:28 am on August 10, 2018 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: Europe, , migrant crisis   

    Facebook accused of not doing enough to stop the deaths of migrants 

    Facebook accused of not doing enough to stop the deaths off migrants

    In the recent past, Facebook has been criticized for allowing human rights abuses to have taken place in countries like Myanmar, Sri Lanka, and The Philippines. In many of these cases, human rights organizations have criticized Facebook for not doing enough to stop abuses from happening but Facebook tends to give the rationalizations of the inflammatory content either doesn’t violate their community guidelines or claiming they’re doing all they can. Now, Facebook is being accused of not helping to stop the deaths of migrants trying to escape to Europe.

    Since 2015, refugees from countries in the Middle East and Africa have been fleeing their countries either due to internal violence or human rights abuses. While the number of migrants has decreased since then, 700 refugees have died trying to cross the Mediterranean in dangerously overcrowded vessels. The UK’s National Crime Agency claims that a large part of the problem is illegal smugglers advertising their services on Facebook. Tom Dowdall, deputy director of the NCA says Facebook has the technology to stop these smugglers from posting but doesn’t do enough to prevent them from posting.

    Facebook have developed a fantastic ability to be able to identify patterns and how everybody operates on a day to day basis.

    “This is no different: there will be patterns that are developed here which we know that Facebook and others can be onto really quickly. We need their cooperation to be able to identify and to either close down these sites or be able to further investigate them.”

    Once again, this another example of Facebook’s power and reach getting out of their own control. Since Facebook wants to be all things to all people they can’t seem to grasp that a lot of those people use their platform to do horrible things. It isn’t enough anymore for Facebook to just throw up their hands and say “they’re trying”. They need to start policing themselves before the governments of the world start doing it for them.

  • Geebo 10:21 am on August 9, 2018 Permalink | Reply
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    The house where craigslist was born is up for sale 

    The house where craigslist was born is up for sale

    The San Francisco condo where Craig Newmark founded his eponymous list has gone up for sale. For a cool $1.4 million you could own the three-bed, one-bath, 1,250 square-foot, condo with a backyard. It sounds like the perfect place for some up and coming startup CEO who just got their first round of funding. I mean it’s not like an actual working family could afford it or anything.

    Mr. Newmark himself hasn’t lived in the condo since 2005. Since then he’s bought a $6 million home in New York City that takes up two floors of a four-story building in addition to his primary residence in the San Francisco Bay Area that I’m sure must have cost him a pretty penny. Yet over the years, Craig Newmark has said that craigslist’s profits are so small that the company can’t hire additional employees such as moderators or customer service agents. The profits must at least be enough that he can afford multi-million dollar homes in the most expensive real estate markets on both coasts.

    Not surprisingly, the realtor who is handling the condo’s sale has not listed the property on craigslist. How ironic would it be if someone posted a phony ad on craigslist purporting to rent the condo out below market value? You know, like all the homes that claim to be up for rent on craigslist where scammers steal money from people looking for homes. The same phony real estate ads that craigslist does nothing to prevent from being posted in the first place.

  • Geebo 9:05 am on August 8, 2018 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: Miami, , Roomster   

    Craigslist isn’t the only place for rental scams 

    Craigslist isn't the only place for rental scams

    We’ve documented the rental scams that have proliferated on craigslist a number of times. In case you’re unfamiliar with the scam, someone posing as a landlord will post a phony ad for a rental property on craigslist. Then they’ll either try to get you to wire them money as a deposit, and even in some cases will collect the money in person. However, in each case, the phony landlord doesn’t own the property. In many instances, families have been left broke and homeless. Now, there’s a new place online where this scam has propagated.

    Roomster is a website/app that allows you to look for rooms to rent. Recently, a woman who left Puerto Rico after the devastating Hurricane Maria was looking for a place to live in the Miami area. She found a place on Roomster and was told by the supposed landlord to wire the deposit and the first and last month’s rent. That was all the money the victim had. Also, it seems that this isn’t the only scam taking place on Roomster.

    Roomster itself has been accused of not only deceptive billing practices but also hijacking other sites in order to push users into their paid subscription service. A casual Google search found a number of complaints regarding not only the alleged hidden subscription fees but fraudulent listings as well. The last thing the online classifieds industry needs is yet another site or app that puts profits ahead of protecting its users.

  • Geebo 9:08 am on August 7, 2018 Permalink | Reply
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    FCC admits there was no cyberattack, blames Obama administration in the process 

    FCC admits there was no cyberattack, blames Obama administration in the process

    FCC Chairman Ajit Pai

    FCC Chairman Ajit Pai has not been shy in his zeal to repeal the Obama-era regulations known as net neutrality. These were the regulations that required internet providers to treat all internet traffic as equal. Last year, after Pai announced the FCC’s intention to repeal net neutrality there was a 60-day period in which consumers could go to the FCC’s website to make their opinions known. Due to the large amount of traffic that the website received it was unavailable at times during the comment period. The FCC claimed this was a denial of service attack (DDoS). This allowed Pai and the FCC to question the credibility of any comments in support of net neutrality. Now, the FCC has admitted that no such attack took place.

    Yesterday, Mr. Pai released a statement saying that the Government Accountability Office’s investigation showed that no denial of service attack took place. However, Mr. Pai quickly attempted to deflect blame from himself and the current administration. Instead, he blamed a former holdover from the Obama administration for the inaccurate information’.

    “I want to thank the Office of the Inspector General, both for its thorough effort to get to the bottom of what happened and for the comprehensive report it has issued,” Pai said in a statement Monday. “With respect to the report’s findings, I am deeply disappointed that the FCC’s former Chief Information Officer (CIO), who was hired by the prior Administration and is no longer with the Commission, provided inaccurate information about this incident to me, my office, Congress, and the American people. This is completely unacceptable.”

    Specifically, Pai is blaming the FCC’s former chief information officer David Bray. Bray left the FCC last year to pursue a position with an international coalition that was created to ensure that the Internet continues to improve people’s lives. That coalition was founded by one of tej internet’s foremost pioneers, Vint Cerf. Whereas, Ajit Pai is a former executive for one of the country’s largest internet providers in Verizon.

    As has been Ajit Pai’s M.O. this is just more misdirection when it comes to having a free and open internet in our country. Pai makes laughable claims that net neutrality would stifle industry innovation and hurt smaller ISPs. Yet somehow, protecting regional internet monopolies like Verizon and Comcast wouldn’t do those exact things.

    While net neutrality may currently be dead, it doesn’t have to be that way forever. In many places in our country, today is election day for many primary races. If you want net neutrality restored, go to your local polls and vote for the candidates who support it. Things won’t change overnight, but they won’t change at all if we do nothing.

  • Geebo 9:10 am on August 6, 2018 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: blackmail, , ,   

    New Facebook extortion scam hits Texas town 

    New Facebook extortion scam hits Texas town

    Before the advent of Facebook, craigslist was ground zero for most internet scams. While craigslist is still used for a multitude of scams, a lot of con artists have moved to Facebook due to the sheer number of worldwide users Facebook has. A number of these scams involve blackmail or extortion where the con artist lulls the victim into a false sense of security in order to gain some kind of private information from the victim that the scammer can use for financial gain. In the past, these scammers would try to obtain very intimate photos of the victim before threatening to publish them if the victim didn’t pay. Now, a small Texas town is finding out that the blackmailers don’t even need intimate photos of you to try to extort money from you.

    As reported by NewsWest9.com, police in the city of Floydada, Texas, have been receiving a number of reports about someone trying to blackmail local residents on Facebook. How this new scam works is that the scammer befriends the victim on Facebook in order to get the victim to engage in a video chat. The chat doesn’t even have to be risqué as the scammer just wants an image of your face. Then the scammer superimposes your face onto an explicit photo and threatens to send it to everyone on your friends list if you don’t pay the blackmailers.

    I’m sure you’re asking why you should be concerned about what’s going on in a small city probably nowhere near you. The reason you should be concerned is that if it’s happening in small-town America, it can happen anywhere in the country, even where you live. To protect yourself from this scam don’t accept Facebook messages from people you don’t know personally. Sometimes people will try to pose as someone already on your friends list but under a different profile. Always check to make sure your friends are who they say they are. If you’ve been threatened by one of these scammers, it is never advised to pay them as blackmailers will usually keep requesting money after they receive the first payment. With Facebook recently announcing the testing of their new dating app, I can see this particular scam proliferating in the near future.

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