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  • Geebo 9:24 am on June 18, 2018 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: Facebook, , satire, The Onion   

    Why The Onion taking on Facebook is real news 

    Why The Onion taking on Facebook is real news

    If you’re not familiar with The Onion, it is a satirical news website that has been around since the dawn of the internet. To put it in simple terms, they are the internet version of Saturday Night Live’s Weekend Update. While The Onion’s humor can sometimes be crass and off-color, satire is sometimes the purest form of social commentary. So it should come as no surprise that The Onion has turned its satirical barbs at Facebook.

    Recently, The Onion has been lambasting Facebook with such headlines as “Mark Zuckerberg Insists Anyone With Same Skewed Values And Unrelenting Thirst For Power Could Have Made Same Mistakes.” Then there’s “Daddy, I Don’t Want To Live In The World Your Website Has Created,” written from the perspective of Mark Zuckerberg’s 2-year-old daughter. The reason that The Onion has gone on this crusade against Facebook is that The Onion claims Facebook is limiting The Onion’s exposure on Facebook.

    In a statement attributed to Editor-in-Chief Chad Nackers, the publication further skewered the social network, in its signature, humorous style.

    “We are strong proponents of the First Amendment, and the fuel of a functioning democracy is the free flow of information. Facebook, the world’s largest sieve of personal data, has become an unwanted interloper between The Onion, and our audience. We have 6,572,949 followers on Facebook who receive an ever-decreasing amount of the content we publish on the network. Mark Zuckerberg has repeatedly betrayed the trust of billions of people. What you’ve seen over the last 48 hours is only the tip of the iceberg.”

    While it can be argued that Facebook is limiting The Onion’s exposure due to Facebook’s initiative to fight ‘fake news’, this situation does highlight a much larger problem. Because of Facebook’s dominance of the internet, content creators, businesses and news outlets are all at the whim of Facebook, and if we don’t all play by Facebook’s arbitrary rules we could all see our favorite content go up in smoke. Should one solitary company be able to wield that much power? In case you’re wondering, the answer is no, no it shouldn’t.

     
    • Peter 2:36 pm on June 18, 2018 Permalink

      Spot on!

    • Juan Thompson 1:27 am on June 19, 2018 Permalink

      F*** . He sucks

  • Geebo 9:16 am on June 7, 2018 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , Facebook, Huawei,   

    Did Facebook share data with the Chinese government? 

    Did Facebook share data with the Chinese government?

    I’ve mentioned previously that I don’t normally feel inclined to post about the same subject in the same week. For example, if Facebook makes the news for one of its many alleged data leaks, I try to only post about that once a week. I do this to try to avoid reader burnout on any particular topic. However, Facebook seems to be the gift that keeps on giving with its reported mishandling of user data when it comes to third parties. Now, there are concerns that Facebook may have inadvertently shared user data with a foreign government.

    In an update to our previous post about Facebook sharing user data with device manufacturers, one of those manufacturers has questionable ties with the Chinese government. China-based Huawei is the third largest manufacturers of cell phones in the world. Many within the US government believe that Huawei could allow access to their devices by the government of China which could lead to espionage in the US. This is nothing new either as these concerns have been around since the last two previous administrations. Huawei is one of those manufacturers that Facebook had an agreement with to share user data leading some to assume that Facebook may have exposed user data to the government of China.

    Once again, Facebook is playing catch-up with their possible data breaches as they say that they’re ending their relationship with Huawei even though Huawei claims they never exposed any user information.

    How many more potential data breaches will it take before the public decides to limit the personal information they voluntarily give to Facebook who then gives it to multiple third parties? The US government already seems poised to regulate or break up Facebook, yet the Facebook users continue to sacrifice privacy for the sake of convenience.

     
  • Geebo 9:03 am on June 5, 2018 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: Facebook,   

    Facebook can’t stop sharing our data 

    Facebook can't stop sharing our data

    As it turns out, the Cambridge Analytica scandal wasn’t the first time Facebook allegedly shared personal user information to third-parties on a grand scale. According to a New York Times report, Facebook has been sharing extensive user information with device manufacturers for close to a decade if not more. Some of those companies are said to have included Apple, Amazon, BlackBerry, Microsoft, and Samsung.

    A Times reporter was supposedly able to use a 5-year-old Blackberry phone to access the personal information of close to 300,000 Facebook users. This ranged from friends to friends of friends and so on. Facebook hasn’t expressly denied that device makers didn’t have access to this information but instead claims that no information has been misused by any of its device partners. In response to this report, Apple has stated that it never requested any information from Facebook. Apple even took it a step further at their most recent developers conference when they introduced a new feature to iOS that would block Facebook’s tracking capabilities.

    Should we be surprised about this latest look at how Facebook handle’s our privacy? Probably not. Facebook isn’t a non-profit. They’re in business to make money. The way they make their money is through targeted advertising and for that Facebook needs as much of our personal information as possible. Yet, as Facebook users, we are more than happy to hand that information over to them just so we can satiate our social media addictions. Facebook won’t stop using our information until we stop supplying it to them.

     
  • Geebo 9:08 am on May 24, 2018 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , Facebook,   

    Facebook: Our monopoly keeps you safe 

    Facebook: Our monopoly keeps you safe

    This past Tuesday, Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg appeared before the Parliament of the European Union to address concerns about user privacy among other matters. To the EU Parliament’s credit, they asked much more poignant questions to Zuckerberg than the sometimes clueless US Congress did. However, much like he did with Congress. Mr. Zuckerberg was largely evasive when it came to the big topics raised by the EU?

    One of the major topics that Mr. Zuckerberg seemed to constantly avoid was that of ‘is Facebook a monopoly?’ Zuckerberg would name platforms like Twitter and Google, but as one Parliament member pointed out, that would be like saying a car manufacturer that has a monopoly telling people they could take a plane instead. Mr. Zuckerberg closed his appearance stating that Facebook would respond to many of the EU’s concerns in writing and that they did, sort of. In addressing concerns that it is a monopoly Facebook issued a statement claiming that its dominance in the social media and messaging space keeps its users safe.

    The company answered Wednesday in an online post, saying there are “many consumer benefits” to having Facebook control so much of the world’s communication. “By working together we have been able to improve safety across all these services,” the company wrote. When Facebook sees spam, exploitative images or illegal content, for example, it can obliterate it on all platforms at once.

    Forgive us for beating a dead horse, but this sounds almost exactly like the claim Backpage used to make that they were a leading tool in the fight against human trafficking. A platform cannot be both the cause of and solution to a problem. As far as obliterating harmful content across all of its properties, Facebook can barely handle that as many people who have complained about harmful content are told that the content in question doesn’t meet their vague community standards for deletion.

    The European Union has a history of taking a dim view against corporations that appear to violate their antitrust guidelines and have ruled against companies that ended up having worldwide ramifications, just ask Microsoft. Could we see a similar blow made against Facebook? If history is any indicator, we will.

     
  • Geebo 9:00 am on May 15, 2018 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: Cambridge, , Facebook, mypersonality   

    Facebook exposes millions of users’ data…again 

    Facebook exposes millions of users' data...again

    Stop me if you’ve heard this one. A personality quiz on Facebook compiled data from at least 6 million users and at least half of those users had their personal data exposed. Much like the Cambridge Analytica scandal, this data was freely available for four years before Facebook finally banned the app.

    New Scientist reports that an app called myPersonality was distributed by the University of Cambridge for an academic project. The problem was that the information collected was distributed to researchers on a website that was not very secure. It seems that a username and password for the website was could be found publicly by doing a web search. From there, anyone could steal the information which included the names of the quiz participants.

    Those in tech circles are known for calling on Facebook to tighten its security protocol, however, normal users of the platform really don’t have those concerns. In too many instances Facebook users are willing to sacrifice their own privacy for the sake of convenience, entertainment, or just plain boredom. While no major damage has been done from Facebook’s data breaches, it’s only a matter of time before so much data is lost that it causes the average Facebook user to stand up and take notice. If Facebook is not going to protect our data, maybe it’s time we stopped giving Facebook all of our information.

     
  • Geebo 10:32 am on May 11, 2018 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , , Facebook, , Lincoln, , ,   

    A Capital city hit with trio of scams 

    A Capital city hit with trio of scams

    Lincoln, Nebraska, population 280,000+, was recently hit by a trio of online scams that were reported to police. Regular readers of our blog may recognize these scams, but as long as victims keep falling prey to them, it gives us the opportunity to review them once again, and discuss how to avoid them.

    In the first scam, a man was selling his car on craigslist and received a check for more than the amount asked. The man then wired the difference back to the ‘buyer’. The check later turned out to be a phony and the man was out over $1500 since the bank debited the man’s account for the amount of the fraudulent check. This is one of the most common scams when selling something online. If you receive a check that’s over the amount asked, chances are the check is a fake and should be discarded accordingly. In cases like this, you should always deal in cash only and meet the buyer at a secure transaction location like a police station.

    In the second scam, a woman lost close to $5000 after she received a Facebook message from a friend claiming to have received money from a grant in order to pay their bills. The victim paid the money to the phony grant givers for ‘processing fees’ before finding out that her friend’s Facebook account had been hacked. If you receive this kind of message from a friend on Facebook, it’s more than likely that their account has been compromised. You should contact them in a way outside of Facebook to let them know their Facebook has been taken over.

    Lastly, a woman was out close to $700 after trying to buy a dog online. In this instance, the victim was told to wire most of the money out to one state while paying the rest in gift cards to another state. Unfortunately, this victim was double-scammed. Both wiring money and paying through gift cards are sure signs of a scam and should always be avoided when buying something online. After the funds have been transferred in these matters, once the money is gone it’s impossible to get back and the scammers are virtually untraceable at this point. Also, if you’re looking to purchase a pet, we strongly recommend going to your local shelter or a licensed breeder as you’re also less likely to get a pet with health conditions as many puppy mills and the like advertise online.

    Again, while most of our regular readers are probably familiar with these scams, there are still many others out there that aren’t. We ask you to please share this blog post with them so they can be better-prepared consumers in the future.

     
  • Geebo 10:01 am on May 2, 2018 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: dating, Facebook, ,   

    Amid scandals Facebook to offer dating service 

    Amid scandals Facebook to offer dating service

    After dealing with foreign meddlers, privacy breaches, data leaks and congressional hearings, Facebook is introducing a new feature that will undoubtedly allay the fears of Facebook users. During Facebook’s annual developer conference, Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg announced that Facebook will soon have its own dating feature which I’m sure will not be abused in any way. That’s sarcasm in case anyone was wondering.

    Of course, the most foremost concern in privacy. On that front, Facebook does not have the best reputation. Another concern is engagement as Facebook continues to try to keep users inside their walled garden by trying to be all things to all people. This is just another way for Facebook to keep its hooks in its users by incorporating yet another service into its platform. Facebook is desperately trying to be your only internet experience where no other site and apps are needed.

    My greatest fear, however, is that the proposed dating service will become the new online haven for human trafficking, taking over the void left by the seizure of Backpage. After craigslist got rid of their adult services section, the ads for prostitution moved to the personals section. The same thing happened with Backpage when they claimed that they shut down their adult section due to ‘censorship’. Before FOSTA was even passed, craigslist took it upon themselves to remove their personals due to the fear they might run into legal trouble with adult ads still littering their personals. Now that the social network with billions of users is planning its own dating feature, one can’t help but think that history may be repeating itself.

     
  • Geebo 9:13 am on April 30, 2018 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: Facebook, Facebook lottery, , , Sheryl Sandberg   

    The Facebook lottery is a lie 

    The Facebook lottery is a lie

    Back in the early days of the internet, there was an infamous hoax that said if you forward an email from Microsoft founder Bill Gates you’ll get cash for each time the email is forwarded. That hoax was largely harmless and mostly resulted in annoyance and some susceptible people wondering where their money was. Now there’s another impersonation hoax that’s causing its victims to lose thousands of dollars apiece. It’s colloquially known as the Facebook lottery scam.

    The way the scam works is that Facebook users will receive texts or Facebook messages claiming to be from Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg or COO Sheryl Sandberg. These messages will say that the user has won a Facebook lottery that only a small number of people have ever won. They’ll claim the prize is anywhere from $500,000 to $500,000,000, but as you might expect, there’s a catch. In order to claim the alleged winnings you’ll need to either wire a processing fee, or give the processing fee in gift cards.

    This is not a new scam with some reports stating that it’s been around since 2011, however, it seems to have really ramped up in the past month with stories about it being reported all over the country, most notably in the New York Times. While each story has some differences, they all have the same result, an elderly person being scammed out of large sums of money.

    While some may easily spot this scam before they fall victim, there are still others who are not as educated in these matters. If you know someone who thinks the Facebook lottery is real show them this blog post and the other stories where people have fallen victim to the scam. Reason with them that if Facebook was giving away money, which they don’t do, they wouldn’t need money for so-called processing fees. Also remind them that wiring money or sending gift cards to strangers is the sure sign of a scam.

     
  • Geebo 9:08 am on April 23, 2018 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: ethnic violence, Facebook, Sri Lanka   

    Is Facebook a flashpoint for violence in yet another country? 

    Is Facebook a flashpoint for violence in yet another country?

    For those of us who use Facebook, we all have that friend or relative who is so entrenched in their beliefs they can’t be talked out of making discriminatory posts against some ethnicity, religion, or other groups that they may find objectionable. Now imagine that person made a Facebook post inciting violence against a particular group based on misleading information. Here in the U.S. we have laws against threatening speech and our culture is mostly one that doesn’t form into anti-whatever death squads. Other countries in the world do not have such luxuries. Previously, we’ve posted about the violence and disenfranchisement of the Rohingya minority in Myanmar. More recently, The New York Times has published an article detailing a similar situation currently happening in Sri Lanka.

    In an article entitled “Where Countries Are Tinderboxes and Facebook Is a Match” the Times details the role Facebook plays in the violence perpetrated by some of the Sinhalese Buddhist majority in Facebook against Muslim minorities, and just like in Myanmar, Facebook is seen as the de facto internet in the country where any rumor or conspiracy theory about the Sri Lankan Muslims are seen as fact. The violence reached such a peak that the Sri Lankan government even blocked Facebook from the country for a time but millions of Sri Lankans would get around the ban using virtual private networks known as VPNs. When other Sri Lankans would try to flag hateful posts on Facebook, the social media giant would once again respond to the complaints by saying the posts didn’t violate their seemingly arbitrary community guidelines. As one government official put it “The germs are ours, but Facebook is the wind, you know?”

    With Facebook holding virtual information monopolies in so many countries they need to do more than just offering platitudes to the press and government officials. If Facebook wants to be a real agent of change in this world it needs to concentrate on how its platform is abused rather than just expanding. In too many cases when Facebook expands into a country, it is akin to dropping a formidable weapon in the middle of a country and letting any majority wield it as they see fit.

     
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