Updates from September, 2018 Toggle Comment Threads | Keyboard Shortcuts

  • Geebo 9:21 am on September 14, 2018 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , , , , VKontakte   

    Russian social media does what Facebook wouldn’t to curb hate speech 

    Russian social media does what Facebook wouldn't to curb hate speech

    The last time I posted about the persecution of the Rohingya people in Myanmar, Facebook banned the accounts of top Myanmar officials who were allegedly inciting violence against the Rohingya. In Myanmar, Facebook is seen as the de facto internet and is used by many Myanmar nationals to spread lies and misinformation about the Muslim Rohingya minority which has led to accusations of ethnic cleansing against the Myanmar government. Facebook only took down a few offending pages after the UN accused Myanmar of genocide, war crimes, and other atrocities.

    Some of these top Myanmar officials have moved their accounts to a Russian social media network called VKontakte. Now you would think that with its negative connotations on American media that a Russian run website would allow just about any kind of hate speech on their platform but you’d be wrong. According to an interview with Fast Company, a VKontakte spokesperson said they take hate speech very seriously and have taken steps from preventing their platform being used as a tool for hate speech in Myanmar.

    We closely monitor the situation in Myanmar. We have specifically hired Burmese speaking moderators to monitor publications in communities and users pages. Our moderation team delete publications with calls for violence and ban users who host them.

    If a social media network that doesn’t nearly have the global reach of Facebook can stay on top of the situation in Myanmar then why couldn’t Facebook? It’s been posited before that Facebook needs such controversy in order to survive. Facebook is said to allow controversial content like this to proliferate on its network because it keeps people more engrossed in Facebook. This, in turn, is said to increase Facebook’s revenue through advertisements. You know, but what’s the persecution of an entire ethnicity worth when there’s money to be made?

  • Geebo 9:00 am on September 13, 2018 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: ,   

    The aftermath of hurricanes bring out scammers in its wake 

    The aftermath of hurricanes bring out scammers in its wake

    Hurricane Florence is set to make landfall in the Carolinas either late today or early tomorrow. Even though the storm has been downgraded to a Category 2 storm, it is still set to create a lot of property damage in the affected areas. Whether it’s through flooding or wind damage, residents in the path of the hurricane could be facing a long road back to restoring their homes to habitable conditions. Unfortunately, there will also a number of con artists looking to take advantage of people who have been negatively impacted by the tragedy.

    For people living in the storm-damaged areas, people claiming to be contractors will be coming out of the woodwork, so to speak, trying to pressure you into having them fix your home. While you may want to have your home back to normal as quick as possible, never let someone pressure you into making a deal. Always do your research and make sure that any contractor has the proper license. Also never pay cash, never pay up front, and be wary of anyone who just shows up at your door offering to make repairs.

    For people living outside of the hurricane zone but want to help the victims of the storm, be aware of who you’re donating to. Charity scams tend to be the other big scam that happens alongside a natural disaster like this. Make sure you know exactly who you’re donating to. Don’t ever make donations in gift cards or by wiring money as these are the most used methods by scammers to take your money. Also be wary of crowdfunding sites that give vague generalities about where the money is going to. If the site claims to be going to the ‘victims of’ whatever disaster happened most recently. It could just be a scammer trying to make some money off of tragedy.

  • Geebo 9:07 am on September 12, 2018 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , , , ,   

    Price gouging a real concern during a hurricane 

    Price gouging a real concern during a hurricane

    With the impending arrival of Hurricane Florence looking to be a storm of a lifetime event in the Mid-Atlantic, three states have declared states of emergency. Those states being South Carolina, North Carolina, and Virginia. The hurricane is expected to make landfall in one those states later this week. To make matters worse, whenever a hurricane is set to hit an area, there are usually those whose intent is to make a king’s ransom of profit over helping those in need during a time of crisis.

    Price gouging is when a merchant or lodging provider charge an exorbitant amount for their goods or services during a crisis when need is in high demand. Thankfully, the three states mentioned, all have laws in place to prevent price gouging when a state of emergency has been declared. With so many people looking for supplies, fuel, or alternative lodging, it’s refreshing to see governments looking to make sure that people in need aren’t being taken advantage of.

    However, that doesn’t mean that price gouging won’t occur. For example, if you were to leave the area where an emergency has been declared, you may be at the mercy of an unscrupulous vendor. If you live in South Carolina and evacuate to Georgia, where a state of emergency has not been declared, you may see an exorbitant price increase for food, gas, and lodging. If you are in a state that has declared an emergency some vendors may still take to price gouging in defiance of the law. If that is the case, these articles from North Carolina, South Carolina, and Virginia all have the information you need to contact the proper authorities.

    To everyone who is facing the wrath of this potentially devastating storm, please stay safe.

  • Geebo 9:28 am on September 11, 2018 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: endanagerd animals, , Thailand   

    Endangered animals for sale on Facebook 

    Endangered animals for sale on Facebook

    Facebook’s global loss of control isn’t just affecting people around the world but it’s affecting animals as well. In Thailand, both endangered and non-endangered species of animals are being sold openly on Facebook. In too many instances, the animals are not just being sold as pets, but are also being sold in parts as ingredients for high-end restaurant dishes or to ‘collectors’.

    In Thailand, the law doesn’t provide protection to animals that aren’t native to Thailand. So this has allowed the trading of such animals as the rare hornbill bird, black pond turtles, Asiatic black bears, and pangolins just to name a few. Some of these Facebook groups had memberships in the hundreds of thousands where endangered animals were said to have been sold out in the open.

    Facebook has responded to this issue by saying that they remove these groups as soon as they’re aware of them. That’s the problem with Facebook, isn’t it? They never seem to be aware of much of anything that takes place on their platform. Whether it’s the contemptible trade of endangered animals, widespread targeted hate speech, or the sabotage of democracy Facebook is never aware of it until it’s already too late.

    Facebook needs to take responsibility for the problem they created. If they can’t control what’s going in and out of their servers then maybe they don’t deserve to be in control.

  • Geebo 8:58 am on September 10, 2018 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: Carolina Panthers, , , , ,   

    New football season brings about old ticket scams 

    New football season brings about old ticket scams

    This past weekend, or this past Thursday if you want to be pedantic, was the start of the NFL pro football season. And with the start of the new season comes the mad scramble for tickets to see the games live. If you’re not a season ticket holder, good tickets can be hard to come by sometimes. In days gone by this would lead you to enlist the services of a ticket scalper. While the tickets were inordinately expensive, they were more often than not the genuine article. In today’s electronic world, tickets have become easier to fake and have led to an increase in ticket scams.

    For example, a woman in the Charlotte, North Carolina, area recently lost almost $1800 to a craigslist ticket scammer. The victim, a real estate agent, wanted tickets to yesterday’s Carolina Panthers home opener against the Dallas Cowboys. She had sent the money to the scammer after communicating with the alleged scammer over the phone and friending him on professional social networks. After she sent the money the scammer stopped taking her calls and never sent the tickets. This particular scammer is said to be so prolific that even the Panthers organization is familiar with him. The victim herself is said to be no stranger to craigslist scams since she deals with them in her day job but sadly fell for one anyway. This is even after the Panthers and many NFL teams limited customers in the way many of them receive electronic or paper tickets.

    If you’re looking to attend a football game this season, try to avoid places like craigslist for buying tickets. You may think you’re saving money or buying a hard to get ticket, but in the long run, you could end up losing your money and not being able to attend the game. While the prices for NFL tickets may be exorbitant these days, we do recommend that you only buy them from either the team themselves, licensed retailers, or authorized resellers. This way you can assure yourself that you and your family won’t be turned away from the gate on game day.

  • Geebo 8:54 am on September 7, 2018 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , , ,   

    States looking to ban pet leasing 

    States looking to ban pet leasing

    I’ve posted about pet leasing before. It’s a predatory lending tactic used by some unscrupulous pet stores. It’s almost like leasing a car as in you don’t actually own your pet but more like you’re renting it and you have the option to buy at the end of the lease. In many cases, the pet stores getting people to sign up for these leases are not divulging the full details of the lease and new pet owners are often surprised by all the additional fees the lease entails. Many critics of pet leasing say that it unfairly targets low-income families and that many of the pets leased come from puppy mills. There have even been instances where pets have been repossessed and then euthanized.

    The states of Nevada and California already ban pet leasing and now legislators in both Pennsylvania and New York are looking to ban the practice as well. Sadly, the practice of pet leasing is considered legal by the Federal Trade Commission, however, the leases need to comply with the Consumer Leasing Act. If lease companies and pet stores are being cagey about the details of the payments then they are in violation of the law.

    As stated previously, Geebo does not accept pet ads since many of the animals advertised on classifieds can be sick and abused animals from puppy mills or disreputable backyard breeders. As always, as animal lovers, we recommend that if you’re looking to have a furry addition to your family that you either go to a licensed breeder or even better, adopting from your local shelter. We also encourage adopting older dogs from shelters as often, they have a harder time being adopted. Either way, if you adopt a pet in these manners you won’t have to worry about your pet being taken away for failure to make a payment.

  • Geebo 8:47 am on September 6, 2018 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , , ,   

    Fake check scam hitting new highs 

    Fake check scam hitting new highs

    If you’ve been following our blog for a while you’re probably familiar with the fake check scam. It’s a scam that has been around since the early days of craigslist but has since expanded into other avenues. If you’re unfamiliar with the scam, a scammer will send you a check for various reasons and will ask you to deposit the check into your banking account then will have you wire them back a large portion of the money they sent you. The problem is, by the time the bank finds out the check is a fake, you’ve already sent the money back and you’re stuck with repaying the check amount back to the bank.

    Since this scam has been around for such a long time and has been written about a myriad of times, one could assume that the scam was on the decline. Not so says the Better Business Bureau as a new report they recently released claims that as many as 500,000 people in the US fell victim to this scam last year at an average rate of $1200 per person. If their estimation is correct, that means scammers cost their victims around $600 million altogether.

    As I previously stated, this scam has evolved into taking many different forms although there are many common ones. The most common is when you’re trying to sell something online and you receive a check for more than the amount your asking. Another common tactic the scammers take is tied to an employment scam, like secret shoppers. They’ll send you a check for phony expenses and have you wire the money to a phony vendor. Sweepstakes scams are another favorite tactic of fake check scammers where they will send you a check but you need to wire someone the taxes or fees needed to handle the cost.

    Any time someone you don’t know personally asks you to deposit a check into your bank account is more than likely trying to scam you. Another good tip-off to being scammed is when you’re asked to wire any kind of money to a third-party. Scammers have been taking advantage of money wiring services for years as in many cases they can receive the money anywhere and walk away with your cash completely anonymously.

  • Geebo 9:34 am on September 5, 2018 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , , Libya,   

    Is the outlook for Facebook not so good? 

    Is the outlook for Facebook not so good?

    As I write this, Facebook COO Sheryl Sandberg is set to testify before Congress about Facebook’s role in alleged election meddling by foreign opportunists. She is expected to stay the course set by CEO Mark Zuckerberg when he testified before Congress claiming to right the wrongs that Facebook supposedly allowed. However, this week’s news has not been too kind to Facebook as it faces a crucial point in its history.

    For example, after announcing that Facebook had removed multiple accounts of foreign agitators in Russia and Iran, The Daily Beast is reporting that many of the Russian operatives banned by Facebook have found their way back on to the platform. It appears that Facebook’s protocols from keeping such entities off their network amount to that of a revolving door.

    Speaking of Facebook’s foreign relations, according to the New York Times, Facebook is a major contributing factor to the internal strife and violence affecting Libya. Various armed and violent militias within Libya are using Facebook organize attacks and trade weapons. This is in addition to human traffickers who lure their victims through Facebook with the promise of smuggling them out of the country. Everytime Facebook deletes one of these pages, more pop up in its place.

    Back home in The States, the Pew Research Center has released an unflattering poll about Facebook’s usage in America. According to the poll, 42 percent of US Facebook users said they had taken a break from the platform in the past year while many others have deleted the Facebook app from their phone. While Facebook’s global numbers still far surpass any of their competitors this could show a stagnation in Facebook’s growth.

    Again, all of these are symptoms of the much larger problem of Facebook’s reach that has gotten out of their control. When you try to be the soapbox for the world, you have to be ready for the world’s problems and Facebook has shown time and time again that they are not ready.

  • Geebo 9:05 am on September 4, 2018 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: ,   

    Facebook is no friend to small businesses 

    Facebook is no friend to small businesses

    If your Facebook feed is anything like mine it’s probably filled with friends and family either oversharing details of their life you have no interest in or it’s the same people arguing politics in a not so civil manner. This is by design as Back in February, Facebook announced it was retooling its news feed algorithm to bring you more content from your friends and family and less from businesses and brands. Those changes are now said to be hurting small businesses.

    NBC News is reporting that small businesses and content creators are seeing a substantial drop in their revenues thanks to Facebook’s change to bring people closer together. Just about every business or website needs a presence on Facebook since so many people use Facebook as their sole window to the rest of the world. However, this leaves those dependent on Facebook for getting their message out at the whims of an ever-changing landscape on the platform. Following small and local businesses on Facebook is not only a great way to get a good deal but could also lead to finding more local businesses that you might be interested in. Also, notice that Facebook is cutting down on posts from businesses and content creators showing up in your feed and not Facebook’s ads. I guess they want to connect more people as long as they’re still being targeted by Facebook’s own advertising, but I digress.

    Whenever I find a new business that I’m interested in patronizing, I wince a little when I find out that their only internet presence is a Facebook page. Again, you’re at the mercy of a third-party platform that could affect your business in a multitude of ways including deleting your Facebook page if somehow your business goes against Facebook’s arbitrary community guidelines. While you may think having a website is expensive, in the long run, it’s best for your business or content. There are also many inexpensive services that allow you to not only launch your own website but also design it very easily without having to hire an overpriced web designer.

    The bottom line is, if your business model depends on Facebook it may be in jeopardy as Facebook doesn’t depend on you.

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