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  • Geebo 9:28 am on August 10, 2018 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: Europe, Facebook, 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 9:10 am on August 6, 2018 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: blackmail, , Facebook,   

    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.

  • Geebo 10:18 am on August 3, 2018 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , Facebook, ,   

    Old craigslist scam turning up on Facebook Marketplace 

    Old craigslist scam turning up on Facebook Marketplace

    One of the oldest scams on craigslist, if not the oldest, is what’s known as the fake check scam. A seller will list an item for sale on the questionable classifieds site then they’ll receive a check for more than the amount they’ve asked for. The scammer will say the overpayment is for shipping costs and will ask the seller to return any money over the asking price to be sent back to them. The seller will deposit the check and usually wire the money back to the scammer. The check then turns out to be a fake which ends up leaving the seller on the hook for the amount of the check with their bank.

    More recently a similar scam has been appearing on Facebook Marketplace. The Atlanta Journal-Constitution is reporting that this new twist on the old scam has claimed a few victims in Georgia. Instead of sending a phony check for more than the asking price, the scammer is now said to be asking for the seller’s bank account information so the funds can be transferred electronically. Once again, the money transfer turns out to be a phony transaction so not only does the scammer have your money but they have your bank information as well which puts you at risk for future scams like identity theft.

    Any online marketplace worth its salt will tell you that if something appears too good to be true it usually is. If you go to the main page of Facebook Marketplace it gives no such warning. If you try to find any tips or suggestions on how to deal with unscrupulous buyers or sellers on Marketplace you really have to know what you’re looking for in Facebook’s maze-like structure of resources. There’s no link to click on from the Marketplace page. Instead, you have to join a separate community about Marketplace then hope to find the link that you’re looking for. Then again, I wouldn’t be surprised if scams like this weren’t against Facebook’s vague and arbitrary community guidelines.

  • Geebo 9:08 am on August 1, 2018 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , Facebook   

    Facebook deletes pages of suspected agitators 

    Facebook deletes pages of suspected agitators

    With the mid-term election cycle in full swing, you’d think that Facebook would be on top of possible foreign entities who might try to meddle in the election process like they did in the run-up to the 2016 Presidential Election. Well, you’d be half right. Yesterday, Facebook announced it had removed 32 pages and accounts that are suspected to have belonged to a campaign to cause political strife in the US.

    Now, when I first read the new articles on the matter I was dismissive of Facebook’s actions considering they only removed 32 accounts. Then I read that some of the pages that were removed had close to 300,000 followers. The allegedly phony pages posed as left-leaning causes. One such page promoted an event called “No Unite the Right 2” which was designed to clash with an alt-right protest on the anniversary of last year’s tragic event in Charlottesville, Virginia, where a counter-protester was killed when a member of the alt-right protesters struck the victim with his car.

    As TIME Magazine points out, this is just the beginning. Even with the billions of dollars at its disposal, Facebook still can’t prevent the flood of misinformation that is probably headed its way for the 2018 elections. If you want to be a truly informed voter this election the best thing to do is to ditch Facebook since they neither have the tools nor the resources to try to stop other entities from interfering in our democratic process.

  • Geebo 9:00 am on July 30, 2018 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , Facebook,   

    Facebook sued by shareholders over after stock plunge 

    Facebook sued by shareholders over after stock plunge

    As if losing $150 billion in last week’s stock drop wasn’t enough, Facebook is now facing another threat to its bottom line. A number of class action lawsuits have been filed against the social media industry leader by major shareholders of the company. The lawsuits allege that Facebook misled shareholders in the time leading up to last week’s biggest ever stock drop in US history.

    Three lawsuits have been filed in New York while one has been filed in California. These suits allege that Facebook understated the cost of complying with the EU’s GDPR privacy laws, and the lack of disclosure over the monetization of Instagram Stories which the lawsuits claim Facebook allegedly overstated its success.

    It also doesn’t help Facebook that many of its top executives sold off large amounts of their stock during the second quarter of the year, the same quarter where Facebook earnings fell causing the historical stock drop. Some of those executives include Mark Zuckerberg himself and COO Sheryl Sandberg. While these sales were not considered to be insider trading, the timing of the stock sale couldn’t be more inconvenient for Facebook.

    Whether or not these lawsuits will have any major financial impact on Facebook remains to be seen. After the stock dropped last week, many financial analysts were urging new investors to jump on the stock after the drastic price decrease. Before we know it, it could be business as usual again at Facebook in little to no time.

  • Geebo 9:08 am on July 26, 2018 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , Facebook,   

    Facebook loses market value over privacy but not in the way you might think 

    Facebook loses market value over privacy but not in the way you might think

    Yesterday, during an earnings call Facebook announced that the company fell short of projected earnings. While Facebook’s revenue grew by 42 percent over the same time last year they fell short of their $13.3 billion projection by ‘only’ making $13.2 billion. That mere $100 million loss caused Facebook stock to dive around 20% and cost the company close to $150 billion in value. One could rightly assume that the market loss had to do with Facebook’s many privacy and security issues since the 2016 Presidential Election, but many analysts say that’s not the case.

    Many market analysts say that Facebook’s improvement to privacy and security has caused the loss stating that Facebook can’t make money from privacy. It also doesn’t help that the number of Facebook users has leveled off. While it still holds the lion’s share of social media users in the world many are leaving the platform and Facebook isn’t bringing in new users as many young people becoming new users to social media are foregoing Facebook.

    That’s not to say that Facebook is on the verge of bankruptcy by any means. Facebook also owns the widely popular apps of Instagram, WhatsApp, and Messenger, which many end users don’t really consider as being a part of Facebook. As Slate points out if Facebook can survive this year’s election cycle without a major scandal, and that’s a mighty big if, they could be back on the road to profitability. Whether or not Facebook can strike a balance between privacy and profit remains to be seen. It seems that if there was a new social network ready to make Facebook its MySpace, now might be the time to strike.

  • Geebo 9:00 am on July 23, 2018 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: Crimson Hexagon, , Facebook, ,   

    Facebook is facing yet another privacy problem 

    Facebook is facing yet another privacy problem

    Once again Facebook finds itself embroiled in controversy over the possible abuse of user data. If you’ll recall, Facebook was admonished by both the US and UK governments when it was discovered that analytics firm Cambridge Analytica had improperly obtained the personal data of 87 million Facebook users. Now, Facebook has suspended a research firm from accessing its data over surveillance concerns.

    Over the weekend, Facebook suspended its contract with research and marketing firm Crimson Hexagon. This was in response to a Wall Street Journal article that claims Crimson Hexagon has contracts with entities that have ties to US and Russian government agencies. Facebook has suspended Crimson Hexagon’s access to user data over fears that the data is being used to conduct government surveillance on Facebook users. Crimson Hexagon denies this claim and says they only get their information from public Facebook posts. However, it is a bit disconcerting that Crimson Hexagon has over 1 trillion of these posts in their databases.

    Besides the fact that this may be another case of Facebook being unable to keep track of who has its data, there’s another concern here. Facebook is only reacting to these potential breaches only after its brought to their attention by the media. By the time Facebook becomes aware of the problem, the data is already in questionable hands. Is Facebook not properly vetting these data collectors, or does Facebook just not really care about our privacy as long as they’re being paid for our information? Then again, the Cambridge Analytica scandal didn’t seem to hurt Facebook so it’s unlikely this latest kerfuffle will either. What will it really take before the American public realizes that Facebook’s only interest is in itself?

  • Geebo 9:02 am on July 19, 2018 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: Facebook, ,   

    The false dichotomy of fighting fake news on Facebook 

    The false dichotomy of fighting fake news on Facebook

    Previously, I’ve posted about how Facebook is used in countries like Myanmar and Sri Lanka to not only discriminate against religious minorities but to also commit violent acts against them. More recently in India, a carefully edited video that spread on Facebook-owned WhatsApp has led to the brutal mob murder of a man who people thought was a child kidnapper.

    Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg has come out and claimed that Facebook will be taking steps to remove fake news from its platform that could potentially incite violence in these areas. However, in the same relative time frame, Mr. Zuckerberg said that Facebook groups that espouse the belief that the Holocaust from World War II was a hoax are allowed to remain on Facebook. Holocaust denial could be considered the modern origin of fake news that could incite violence yet that’s allowed to remain on Facebook.

    Once again, Facebook is trying to be all things to all people while holding two opposing viewpoints at the same time. In the George Orwell novel 1984, this practice was known as doublethink. Considering the global reach of Facebook, the comparison of Mr. Zuckerberg to the fictional Big Brother seems more than apt. However, as I mentioned in my last post about Facebook, Holocaust deniers are exactly the kind of users that Facebook seems to covet more since groups like that keep people more engaged in the platform.

    The decision to fight hate speech and disinformation on Facebook is something that should have happened years before it got to the point where people were being killed around the globe. Now, it’s too late and Facebook refuses to enact any real change to make a difference in the matter.

  • Geebo 9:03 am on July 17, 2018 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: Channel 4, , Facebook, Inside Facebook: Secrets of the Social Network,   

    Documentary: Facebook needs controversy to survive 

    Documentary: Facebook needs controversy to survive

    Have you ever seen something posted on Facebook that was so offensive that you actually took the time to complain to Facebook? I did once. I saw a post accusing a man of a horrible crime even though there was no tangible evidence to support the claim. That was three years ago and this particular post has since been shared millions of times as if it was fact. For all I know, this man’s life could have been ruined due to false accusations. The response I got from Facebook on multiple occasions on why the post wasn’t deleted was because it did not violate their nebulous ‘community standards’. Now, a soon to be released documentary claims this is par for the course when it comes to Facebook moderation.

    British TV broadcaster Channel 4 had a journalist go undercover in a firm that is contracted to moderate Facebook content. The documentary entitled “Inside Facebook: Secrets of the Social Network.” claims that Facebook allows controversial content like this to proliferate on its network because it keeps people more engrossed in Facebook’s walled garden. This, in turn, is said to increase Facebook’s revenue through advertisements. That makes it sound a lot like Facebook is profiting from the suffering of others since most of the controversial material that isn’t deleted consists of instances of child abuse according to Business Insider.

    In a world where discourse is becoming increasingly toxic, Facebook appears to be throwing gasoline on the fire while making money by selling pitchforks and torches. Facebook denies these claims but the evidence seems to indicate the contrary. However, as usual, the problem could be solved if we all did one thing. That is for us to start using social media more responsibly and not sharing every little thing that causes us the slightest bit of outrage. It’s time for us to start using social media with a more discerning eye.

  • Geebo 9:00 am on July 11, 2018 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , , Facebook,   

    Facebook facing fine from UK government 

    Facebook facing fine from UK government

    Yesterday, it was announced that the British government plans on fining Facebook for their role in the Cambridge Analytica scandal. The UK’s Information Commissioner’s Office claims Facebook failed to ensure another company had deleted users’ data. Because of this, the ICO is looking to fine Facebook the maximum amount allowed by British law. While that may sound impressive, the actual amount is paltry compared to Facebook’s net worth.

    The ICO is planning on levying a fine of £500,000 against the social media juggernaut. That equates to around $663,000 in US figures. If this fine is imposed it will no doubt have little to no impact on Facebook since the house that Mark built probably makes this amount in less than a minute. Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg could probably pay this fine just from the change cup in his Acura.

    Fines probably mean nothing to Facebook. Even if they were to be fined $1 billion, they could recoup that loss in a matter of days. Facebook won’t enact any real change until governments start threatening to regulate. It doesn’t even have to be the US government as the EU famously got both Microsoft and Google to curtail some of their more questionable business practices. Until then, Facebook will shake off any fine like so many fleas from a dog.

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