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  • Geebo 9:00 am on November 5, 2019 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , Facebook, ,   

    Are hackers spending your money on Facebook? 

    Are hackers spending your money on Facebook?

    Business owners, whether they may be big or small, often take out ads on Facebook. Considering Facebook’s massive reach, placing ads on Facebook is almost considered a no-brainer. In order for businesses to place these ads, they need to enter some kind of payment information on Facebook. That can be either a credit or debit card or some kind of online payment like PayPal. You don’t even have to be a business to place a Facebook ad as anybody can purchase an ad. Now, some hacked Facebook accounts have led to these ads being purchased without the knowledge of the account’s owner.

    CNET is reporting that they’ve received reports of hacked Facebook accounts being used to purchase questionable ads. The ads are then charged to the account of whoever’s account has been compromised while the hackers get their ads served for free. The ads tend to be for some kind of scam product where the hackers are just looking to gain the financial information of more victims. You don’t even have to have a Facebook business account for this to happen. If you’ve ever entered your payment information to Facebook for whatever reason, you could be in jeopardy if your account becomes compromised.

    To better protect yourself against an attack like this is to have a secure password used specifically for your Facebook account. Never use similar passwords for different accounts. While business accounts have to keep an eye out for fraudulent charges, personal accounts can remove their payment information from Facebook. On your Facebook account, click on the settings option then scroll down to the payment information option. Once you click on that you’ll have the option to remove your payment information.

     
  • Geebo 7:42 am on July 24, 2019 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , , Facebook, Libra coin,   

    Scammers have gotten out ahead of Libra’s launch! 

    Scammers have gotten out ahead of Libra’s launch!

    If you’re unfamiliar with cryptocurrency it’s essentially a form of digital currency that is not centralized through any bank or nation. Bitcoin is the most notorious of these cryptocurrencies. Since Bitcoin is decentralized its value has wildly fluctuated over the years. While there are those who have made a virtual fortune through trading BitCoin the cryptocurrency craze seems to be on a downswing as many competing cryptocurrencies looking to copy Bitcoin’s relative success have flooded the market. One of those cryptocurrencies is set to be launched by Facebook which they have dubbed Libra. While Libra is some time away from launching, that hasn’t stopped scammers from trying to take advantage of speculators by fraudulently using the Libra name.

    According to reports, a wave of scammers has gotten out ahead of Libra’s launch claiming to be official sellers of Libra. Unfortunately, Facebook’s own platforms such as Instagram, Messenger, and Facebook itself are being used to perpetrate these scams. However, in Facebook’s defense, these scams have also spread to Twitter, YouTube, and the web at large with a number of websites claiming to be affiliated with Libra. Some phony outlets are even claiming to give discounts on millions of Libra coins. As you’ve probably guessed, these scams are designed to only take your money and give you nothing in return.

    Investing in cryptocurrency is like investing in any other financial market. You should only do it if you can afford to lose the money you invest as not all investments turn into profits. That’s not even taking into account that Libra seems more like a way to spend money globally rather than an investment type of cryptocurrency. So if you’re actually interested in using Libra once it launches, you’ll have to wait until 2020 before you can purchase any. No matter what someone online tries to tell you.

     
  • Geebo 8:00 am on April 18, 2019 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , , , Facebook, , minimum wage, Notre Dame Cathedral,   

    Hold off on Notre Dame donations, Facebook’s latest privacy accident, and an Amazon employee puts Bezos’ boast into perspective 

    Hold off on Notre Dame donations, Facebook's latest privacy accident, and an Amazon employee puts Bezos' boast into persepctive

    By now, we’re all familiar with the events that took place in Paris where fire ravaged the famous Notre Dame Cathedral. While multitudes across the globe were moved to the point where they were willing to dedicate money you may want to wait on doing so. The BBB of Canada is warning consumers there to beware of phony donation scams on social media and crowdfunding sites. The BBB suggests that you wait until there is an official Notre Dame rebuilding fund donation program if you’re so inclined.

    ***

    Facebook is finding itself in yet another privacy kerfuffle as they claim that they ‘unintentionally’ harvested the email contacts of about 1.5 million of its users during the past three years. When new users would sign up for a Facebook account, Facebook would ask for your email password. Anybody who gave that information to Facebook would have their entire contacts list harvested. Facebook says this practice, which has since ended, was used to “help build Facebook’s web of social connections and recommend other users to add as friends.” If your contacts were harvested, Facebook will reportedly contact you.

    ***

    Last week, we posted about how Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos taunted WalMart on Twitter for not paying their employees $15/hr. WalMart fired back asking when Amazon was going to pay its fair share in taxes. More recently, the news blog Splinter has received an email from an anonymous Amazon employee who works as a customer service agent. It seems that the wage increase may have come at the expense of other benefits. According to the anonymous employee, Amazon took away incentive bonuses and stock grants leaving the bottom rung of Amazon’s corporate ladder basically in the same place they were when they started.

     
  • Geebo 8:00 am on April 10, 2019 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: Facebook, , , ,   

    YouTube’s livestream of hate speech hearings was flooded by hate speech 

    YouTube's livestream of hate speech hearings was flooded by hate speech

    In the wake of the deadly mass shooting that took place in Christchurch, New Zealand by an alleged white nationalist, the US House Judiciary Committee held a hearing about hat speech online. If you’ll recall the gunman in the Christchurch shooting that left 50 victims dead not only livestreamed his attack on Facebook but also posted a hate-filled manifesto online. Facebook and Google were called before the committee to address what steps they were taking to combat the problem. Both Facebook and Google defended the practices they use in order to prevent online hate. However, Google, who owns YouTube, may have spoken too soon.

    The hearing was being livestreamed on YouTube and about 30 minutes into the livesstream many YouTube users were leaving racist and anti-Semitic comments in the stream’s live chat and comment section. At that point, YouTube shut down the chat and closed the comments section but by then the damage had already been done. Committee chairman Rep. Jerrold Nadler, D-NY, was handed a sampling of the hateful comments and read them aloud during the hearing. “This just illustrates part of the problem we’re dealing with,” Nadler said.

    Unfortunately, just because YouTube clamped down on one livestream doesn’t mean the hate speech went away. Instead, they just relocated to other livestreams of the hearing. At least one recognized hate group ran their own livestream of the hearing and even raised money for themselves through YouTube’s own platform. Because of social media, there hasn’t been a surge in hate groups like this since the days of the civil rights movement. According to the Southern Poverty Law Center, there are over 1,000 organized hate groups in the US alone. Violence committed by some of these groups has also been on a sharp rise in the past few years as well.

    What remains to be seen is if these social media platforms can actually develop effective safeguards to screen for hate speech or will it just remain business as usual? Hate speech has been a problem since the early days of the internet and no major platform has been able to tackle it convincingly.

     
  • Geebo 8:00 am on March 28, 2019 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: Facebook, , ,   

    Facebook will try to ban white nationalist content 

    Facebook to ban white nationalist content

    Last September, Motherboard reported that Facebook treated white supremacy, white nationalism, and white separatism as different things. According to a leaked memo, Facebook said that white supremacist content should be deleted from the platform while white nationalist and white separatist content should be allowed as it’s not necessarily racist. As you can imagine, this created a backlash against Facebook since most rational people believe that white supremacists, nationalists, and separatists are all cut from the same cloth. If that cloth were to be literal we assume it would be in the shape of a pointy hood.

    More recently, Facebook has announced that they will now be cracking down on white separatist and white nationalist content. However, don’t expect racism to magically disappear from Facebook. According to a follow-up by Motherboard, the content has to be pretty overt in its objective to be flagged by Facebook.

    Specifically, Facebook will now ban content that includes explicit praise, support, or representation of white nationalism or separatism. Phrases such as “I am a proud white nationalist” and “Immigration is tearing this country apart; white separatism is the only answer” will now be banned, according to the company. Implicit and coded white nationalism and white separatism will not be banned immediately, in part because the company said it’s harder to detect and remove.

    It’s that last part that is really going to be the problem for Facebook because if anybody knows how to spread their message in code, it’s white supremacists and neo-Nazis. Messages from these types of groups will often contain certain phrases known as ‘dog whistles’ in order to either communicate with other members or recruit new ones.

    I’m sure somebody reading this will be asking “Why is it only white separatists that are being banned?” And we’ll be more than happy to remind you that this isn’t about Facebook just as much as it really wasn’t about water fountains back in the day.

     
  • Geebo 8:05 am on March 25, 2019 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , , Facebook, , , ,   

    Cashless stores and Amazon, Facebook and hate, and Robert Kraft apologizes 

    Cashless stores and Amazon, Facebook and hate, and Robert Kraft apologizes

    Here are some follow-ups to stories we have discussed in the past.

    Both New Jersey and Philadelphia have banned cashless stores from operating within their jurisdictions. Not surprisingly, the city of San Francisco is moving toward a similar ban. Previously, Amazon had lobbied against the laws in both Jersey and Philly since the allure of its Amazon Go stores are that you can walk in and out without having to deal with a cashier and the stores are cashless with all payment being taken through a smartphone app. The problem with cashless stores is that they exclude lower-income families who don’t have easy access to such things as debit and credit cards or smartphone apps. While prepaid debit cards can be purchased, the rates for these cards can often be described as predatory. It’s unclear what Amazon can use to try to push cities into going cashless as their Go Stores offer little to no opportunities for employment.

    During the horrific mass shooting that recently took place in New Zealand where a white supremacist shot and killed 50 mosque attendees, the assailant broadcast the attack over Facebook live. The attack was said to have been viewed at least 4,000 times before it was removed from Facebook. Facebook claims that it didn’t pull the video sooner because none of their users had reported it. That seems like an awfully convenient excuse considering that in the past it’s been alleged that Facebook counts on controversy to keep their users engaged which in turn results in more views for advertisers. Toward that, a columnist for the Sydney Morning Herald asks why Facebook can curb such videos from terrorist groups like ISIS but couldn’t stop the broadcast of this hate-monger? Again the answer seems to be because it’s not profitable for Facebook to do so.

    Lastly today, we have a follow-up about the story of Robert Kraft. As we’ve previously posted, the New England Patriots owner was caught up in a human trafficking sting in Florida where Kraft was allegedly caught using the services of a massage parlor. We also discussed how the living arrangements and the treatment of trafficked women in those parlors can be harrowing. Over this past weekend, Kraft is said to have apologized for his actions. In the apology, Kraft seems to apologize mostly to his friends and family for letting them down but not to the women he allegedly paid for services whose lives are treated like cattle by their traffickers. In essence, he’s apologizing that he got caught which again takes the spotlight away from the victims of this degrading practice.

     
  • Geebo 10:21 am on March 7, 2019 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , Facebook, , , , Motel 6   

    Facebook sued by human trafficking victim 

    Facebook sued by human trafficking victim

    Social media has long been a tool that human traffickers use to approach their victims. Even going back to the days of MySpace pimps and traffickers would use social media to groom underage victims to come to work for them. These predators look for any vulnerability in their victims to exploit to get their victims to believe in working for the pimps. Most pimps offer a lifestyle of money and luxury while others promise them a better life than what the victims parents are currently providing. So, the question that needs to be asked is should social media platforms be held responsible for the messages sent between traffickers and their underage victims?

    An attorney in Houston thinks the answer to that question is yes. She is suing Facebook on behalf of Jane Doe #19 claiming that Facebook allowed the traffickers to message the then 12-year-old girl for six months before convincing the girl to meet them at a local Motel 6. She was then put up for sale on Backpage where she, unfortunately, was forced to meet with multiple johns. In response to this suit, Facebook released the following statement…

    “Human trafficking is abhorrent and is not allowed on Facebook. We use technology to thwart this kind of abuse and we encourage people to use the reporting links found across our site so that our team of experts can review the content swiftly. Facebook also works closely with anti-trafficking organizations and other technology companies, and we report all apparent instances of child sexual exploitation to NCMEC.”

    Backpage and Motel 6 have also been named in the suit and on those instances, we think the suit has merit. Backpage for the obvious reasons and Motel 6 because they allegedly told the girl’s parents that the victim wasn’t there. However, we’re not so sure that Facebook should be held responsible in this matter. For one, while we sympathize with the victim, no 12-year-old girl should be on Facebook as their terms of service state that a user must be 13-years-old to use their service. I know that sounds like splitting hairs but it’s almost guaranteed it will be brought up by Facebook’s attorneys. Secondly, Facebook, in this case, is just a form of communication. If the girl had been texted by her traffickers should the phone company be sued for allowing traffickers to text her? Then if Facebook starts to monitor messages between users there will be another backlash against Facebook over privacy issues.

    While we hope this girl is able to receive some form of justice with her suits against Backpage and Motel 6, we believe the suit against Facebook holds no merit.

     
  • Geebo 10:00 am on February 8, 2019 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: Facebook, Germany,   

    Germany puts the brakes on Facebook data collection 

    Germany puts the brakes on Facebook data collection

    Modern day Germany is very sensitive about the privacy of its citizens. You can hardly blame them after dealing with oppressive regimes from the 1930s to the 1990s where spying on the citizens was the norm and citizens were expected to report their fellow countrymen for ‘crimes’ against the state. Germany is not only the country where the concept of the ‘right to be forgotten’ was made famous but also where Google Street View was found to be too invasive. So it should come as no surprise that the German government recently severely limited Facebook’s data collection of its German users.

    The antitrust arm of Germany’s government, the Federal Cartel Office, ruled that Facebook was exploiting its users by collecting excessive amounts of data and tying the information to a user’s Facebook account. The FCO ruled that Facebook could continue to collect data from WhatsApp and Instagram but could not tie that information to a specific Facebook account and banned the Facebook collection of data from third-party websites unless a user has given Facebook informed consent. So in essence, Germany has basically banned Facebook’s entire business model in their country.

    Facebook has publicly stated that they will appeal the FCO’s decision but if history is any indicator they probably won’t be successful. Facebook defended its data collection policies by claiming that not only does it show more relevant ads to consumers, which really doesn’t help their case, and that it helps combat terrorism. In the past, laws designed to combat some type of subversive threat has led to some of the greatest atrocities in history not just in Germany but in America as well. So for Facebook to make such a claim trying to appeal to nationalist tendencies seems like they’ve taken a page out of the dictator’s playbook. One has to wonder if Facebook has now instituted a policy of “today Germany, tomorrow the world.”

     
  • Geebo 10:00 am on February 4, 2019 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: Facebook, ,   

    Snopes pulls out of Facebook’s fact-checking program 

    Snopes pulls out of Facebook's fact checking program

    If you’ve been on the internet for any length of time you’ve probably encountered the fact-checking site Snopes.com. Snopes has been an internet vanguard for over 20 years as a resource people can use to determine whether or not the latest viral story is true or not. Snopes started back in 1994 as an urban legend debunking site but has evolved over the years to debunking everything from whatever chain email that one annoying friend kept sending you to whatever exaggeration the President has posted to Twitter this week. Due to its extensive research of such subjects, Snopes is well-respected across the internet as the de facto fact-checking source.

    In 2016, Snopes was contracted by Facebook to be one of many fact-checking resources used by the social network to try to combat the spread of misinformation Facebook became infamous for during the 2016 Presidential Election. Just a little over two years later, Snopes has left Facebook’s fact-checking initiative. Now, the reason Snopes left depends on who at Snopes you happen to be talking to at the time. The official response has been that it’s not financially viable for Snopes to continue to participate in the program as it’s more expensive to fact-check Facebook than what Facebook is paying Snopes. Another report states that Facebook allegedly doesn’t take fact-checking seriously at all. And a former Snopes employee has said that Facebook is more concerned about using fact-checking to make themselves look good rather than stopping the spread of misinformation.

    So which of the reasons for Snopes’ departure from Facebook is the real one? If we had to guess we’d probably say it was a combination of all of them. As Facebook has shown in the past, it seems to be more interested in keeping people engaged on their platform by counting on users’ outrage, not the truth. The truth doesn’t make for a good story that Facebook users will write epic-length rants about leading to more outrage. And when a Snopes link is posted to try to debunk the latest outrage post, it’s usually met with a resounding “What do they know?” If some of the stories are to be believed, Facebook only wants to have the appearance of fact-checking while promoting any incendiary idea that will keep their users engaged through hate and fear.

     
  • Geebo 10:13 am on February 1, 2019 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , Facebook, ,   

    Apple/Facebook privacy dispute drags Google into the fray 

    Apple/Facebook privacy dispute drags Google into the fray

    Earlier this week, Facebook was caught paying users including teens for complete access to their phones. Unhappy with this, Apple struck back by not only banning the app from iOS devices but also revoked Facebook’s enterprise access which hamstrung a number of internal apps that Facebook employees needed to use just to do their daily jobs. At least one report states that some Facebook employees were considering quitting their jobs if Apple did not restore Facebook’s enterprise certificate because they couldn’t do their jobs. However, since the original kerfuffle over user privacy, Apple has restored Facebook’s enterprise access. Facebook didn’t seem to learn their lesson though as Facebook COO Sheryl Sandberg has allegedly defended Facebook’s paid marketing research by claiming that its users consented to the program. But again, the question of consent needs to be reframed when it comes to paying minors.

    Facebook wasn’t the only tech company who felt Apple’s wrath this week as Google admitted that they had a similar research program that was also being used on Apple devices. Google came clean about their program during the initial dust-up between Apple and Facebook, however, that didn’t stop Apple from temporarily revoking Google’s enterprise access as well. While you may think that Google would be an Android-only workplace they do have to develop their most popular apps for Apple’s iOS operating system as well. Without that access, Google could have potentially lost out on having their apps on Apple devices. However, Apple has since restored Google’s enterprise access as well.

    With two of the top tech companies in the country being severely admonished by another one of the top tech companies in the country, will this be a turning point in the fight for user privacy? Unfortunately, it’s doubtful that it will be. Facebook has shown time and time again that they follow their own path when it comes to user privacy as they have continued to forge ahead with questionable privacy practices even in the face of past controversies. Meanwhile, Google has their own Android operating system that outnumbers Apple’s iOS. Consumers still demand products from Facebook and Google on their devices no matter which platform they use as there aren’t many alternatives to their services. So it still may be a while before we see Google or Facebook stop treating consumers as the actual product.

     
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