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  • Geebo 8:20 am on November 16, 2018 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: Facebook, ,   

    Facebook tries to silence a critic in Geebo 

    Facebook tries to silence a critic in Geebo

    After the daily blog post is published here at Geebo, a link to the day’s blog post is also posted on all of Geebo’s social media accounts. This obviously includes the Geebo Facebook page where we not only post links to the blog but also share some of our users’ ads we think our customers might enjoy.

    Yesterday, the blog post was about how the New York Times accused Facebook of a myriad of transgressions, however, the post mainly focused on how Facebook allegedly used some underhanded tactics to try to silence its critics. More often than not, one of our employees also posts links to that day’s blog on their personal Facebook. That employee is also a content creator in their off time who has been critical of Facebook in the past, but they never had a problem with any of the content they’ve posted. That was until yesterday when they received a notification from Facebook stating that the post goes against Facebook’s ‘Community Standards’ and it has been removed from the news feed section. Isn’t it ironic that Facebook removed a post that was critical of them for trying to silence their critics?

    It was then decided to see if the post was still live on the Geebo Facebook page and it was gone like it never existed. However, in the case of the Geebo page, there was no notification of the post violating the ever-nebulous community standards such as the one posted above from our employee’s personal page. As far as could be told, the post had been wiped off the face of the earth like it had been black bagged by Facebook’s content police and shipped off to a virtual Gitmo. Our employee has reached out to Facebook but has only received a canned response stating that the matter is under review.

    As a whole, we try not to be hyperbolic and we would never claim that Facebook is violating Geebo’s First Amendment right to free speech. Facebook is a private company and has every right to remove whatever content they see fit. However, we are also well within our right to point out what we believe to be evidence supporting some of the allegations that the New York Times has made. It’s one thing to disagree with your critics but it’s another matter completely when you try to rob them of their voice.

     
  • Geebo 10:00 am on November 15, 2018 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: Facebook, ,   

    NYT: Facebook sinks to new lows in trying to protect its rep 

    NYT: Facebook sinks to new lows in trying to protect its rep

    Once again, I was trying not to post about Facebook for the rest of the week. While we’re no fans of Facebook’s unchecked power around the world, our criticism of Facebook is not personal. Also, I didn’t want our readers and customers to get burned out on a constant barrage of Facebook news. However, yesterday, the New York Times published a blistering expose on Facebook that is probably the most damning criticism of Facebook to date. While the Times article focuses most of its attention on Facebook COO Sheryl Sandberg and how she allegedly tried to downplay the various crises Facebook has endured since the 2016 Presidential Election, I want to focus on some specific tactics Facebook allegedly used to try to silence its critics.

    Media outlets that follow a specific political leaning have long accused Facebook of being against whatever their political ideology might be. The right says that Facebook censors conservative posts while the left accuses Facebook of being a cauldron of right-wing hate speech. The Times report shows that Facebook is neither left or right-leaning. Facebook only leanings are toward Facebook and is willing to use either side of the political spectrum to protect themselves. For example, according to The Times, Facebook employed a right-wing media group to run a smear campaign against George Soros. Mr. Soros is a left-leaning philanthropist who has been a very vocal critic of Facebook and has been the target of many right-wing conspiracy theories. Conversely, Facebook has called upon the aid of the Anti-Defamation League to accuse one of its critics of being anti-Semitic in their criticism of Facebook. A liberal advocacy group called Freedom From Facebook, which I posted about here, depicted Facebook in a protest picture as a two-headed octopus with its tentacles encircling the globe. The heads of the octopus were those of Mark Zuckerberg and Sheryl Sandberg. The ADF accused Freedom From Facebook for the image being anti-Semitic stating that “Depicting Jews as an octopus encircling the globe is a classic anti-Semitic trope.” However, similar images were used in political cartoons back in the days of oil and steel monopolies. With this latest look into Facebook’s protectionist tactics, the comparison to companies like Standard Oil could not be more apropos.

    If the Times report is to be believed, and by all accounts, I think it should, it shows just how far Facebook is willing to go to try to discredit its critics. While I’m not a fan of the level of venom used in their article, I think Slate put it best by saying that Facebook isn’t a special company anymore, it’s now just a regular sleazy company engaged in normal sleazy lobbying and corporate propaganda. As far as Facebook is concerned there is only Facebook. Anything else is the enemy and there’s no tactic too low they’ll stoop to in order to protect their brand.

     
  • Geebo 10:47 am on November 13, 2018 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: Facebook, , , Secret SIster   

    Avoid the Secret Sister scam this season 

    Avoid the Secret Sister scam this season

    The old saying goes that the stores start advertising for Christmas earlier and earlier each year. In my opinion, it seemed like as soon as the calendar turned to November, the flood of yuletide advertisements began to assail our televisions and internet devices. The holidays are also a time when scam artists come out in droves since people are more likely to open their hearts and wallets during the holiday season than any other time of the year. This year, an old scam that I haven’t thought about in years is being proliferated through social media and while the risk appears to be minimal, the consequences could have far-reaching effects long after the holidays are over.

    I’m talking about the ‘Secret Sister’ gift exchange where someone posts on social media asking you to add your name to a list where and send in a small $10 gift. In return, you’re promised to receive up to 36 of the gifts. According to the Better Business Bureau not only is this a pyramid scheme, but it’s also illegal since you need to use the US Postal Service to send the gift which can be considered mail fraud. And as usual, when it comes to scams like this, it’s highly unlikely you’ll receive any gifts in return.

    Since the scam seems to proliferate on social networks like Facebook, I decided to see if any of my Facebook friends were soliciting for this scam. While none of my friends were, there were friends of friends who were definitely being taken in by this scam. The post usually looks something along these lines.

    The problem with this scam is not only is it illegal as I mentioned above but if you decide to participate in the alleged gift exchange you’re also putting your personal information out to potential strangers who could use the information to their benefit and your detriment. Identity theft comes immediately to mind but the information could be used for even more nefarious purposes.

    Just because a friend of yours may be participating in the Secret Sister exchange on Facebook doesn’t necessarily mean they’re a Bernie Madoff in the making. They could potentially be a victim in all of this. If you’re worried about one of your friends being caught up in this scam, you may want to remind them that the Secret Sister gift exchange is considered illegal and show them this post or the BBB information. People are more likely to start thinking more critically if there’s potential for them to be in trouble with the law. NO one wants to be investigated for mail fraud for the holidays.

     
  • Geebo 10:00 am on November 12, 2018 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: Facebook, Fortune,   

    Facebook least trusted tech company in America 

    Facebook least trusted tech company in America

    Even though the midterm election went largely as predicted with minimal Facebook chicanery, it was another type of poll that closed election week on Facebook. Thanks to the ever-haunting Cambridge Analytica scandal and various other privacy compromises that have plagued Facebook in the past year, a poll conducted for Fortune shows that consumer confidence in Facebook is at an all-time low with Facebook being the least trusted company among the tech giants. Citing privacy issues as their major concerns, an overwhelming majority of the poll takers said Facebook couldn’t be trusted.

    According to the poll’s results, Facebook came in dead last in consumer trust among tech companies losing out to such companies as Amazon, Google, Microsoft, and Apple. Only 22% of those polled said that they trust Facebook with their personal data. On the opposite end, Amazon received a 59% approval rating when it came to personal data issues which is saying something since Amazon tends to keep a lot of our personal financial information on file after we make a purchase.

    So, if Fortune’s numbers are correct the question that needs to be asked is why are so many people still using Facebook? Part of it is a symbiotic relationship between brands and their customers as if you want to be a top-selling brand you need to be where the customers are and they’re on Facebook. And if consumers want to know more about a brand they’re more likely to go to the brand’s Facebook page than a corporate website. Also, if Facebook is so badly trusted with our personal information why do we continue to share so much personal information publicly in our news feeds? Facebook may be inept when it comes to keeping our information private but since we keep volunteering the information should we be surprised?

     
  • Geebo 10:30 am on November 7, 2018 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: Cameroon, Facebook, ,   

    The ghosts of Myanmar haunt Facebook in other countries 

    The ghosts of Myanmar haunt Facebook in other countries

    With all eyes focused on the US midterm election, Facebook announced in the run-up that they had removed several foreign accounts that were coordinating some kind of inauthentic behavior. What was lost in the headlines is that around the same time, Facebook has admitted to their part in the ongoing ethnic conflict in Myanmar. As has been posted on this blog in the past, the Buddhist majority in Myanmar has used Facebook to not only spread misinformation and hate speech about the Muslim Rohingya minority but have also used Facebook to organize violent attacks against the Rohingya.

    Outside of the announcement of Facebook removing accounts that may have tried to interfere with the US election, Facebook also announced that they admit that their platform was used an “enabling environment” to which ethnic cleansing has proliferated in Myanmar. This was after Facebook had commissioned an independent study to review their role in the continuing Burmese conflict. However, any promise of resolution on Facebook’s side has been vague at best with Facebook basically promising to do better in the future. However, before they can correct any issues in Myanmar, Facebook is being used in another country’s ongoing conflict.

    The African nation of Cameroon is on the verge of a civil war between the French-speaking majority and English-speaking separatists. There are no ‘good guys’ in this fight as both sides have been accused of atrocities against the other. Another thing that both sides of the conflict have in common is that they both use Facebook to discord and misinformation. In one of the more recent incidents, the French-speaking east spread a video of a horror movie on Facebook and claimed it was evidence of cannibalism in the English-speaking east. Even a high-ranking government official claimed this was evidence of atrocities committed by the separatists before the video was debunked. Facebook admitted that there was more to do in Africa but Facebook does not have a team in place in Cameroon but rather handles African content from the US and the UK. This sounds vaguely reminiscent of the crisis in Myanmar as Facebook previously only had a handful of employees that could read Burmese.

    Facebook is losing the global war against hate and has no real-world solutions in place to stop it. This is the problem when one platform dominates the market and tries to be all things to all people. Some of the people are hate-filled monsters with a global platform.

     
  • Geebo 10:10 am on November 6, 2018 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , Facebook   

    Facebook deletes foreign accounts ahead of election 

    Facebook deletes accounts ahead of election

    I know you don’t need another nagging voice telling you to get out and vote if you haven’t done so already but I’m going to say it anyway. Today is probably the most important midterm election in recent history. Whether or not you want things to change or stay the same, it’s imperative that we all get to the polls to make our voices heard.

    Now having said that, guess who is having trouble keeping foreign entities from trying to stir up trouble ahead of the election. I’ll give you three guesses and the first two don’t count. That’s right, it’s Facebook. Yesterday, Facebook announced they’ve suspended over 100 Instagram and Facebook accounts that were acting in a coordinated effort of inauthentic behavior. The suspended accounts were in English, French, and Russian.

    I’ve been using the internet for over 20 years now and in those 2+ decades, I can’t ever remember a time where a platform was used to such great extent in order to influence US voter activity on such a grand scale by international groups. Meanwhile, Facebook is acting like they’re trying to hold back the ocean with a broom as they suspend handfuls of accounts when the number of interfering accounts probably numbers much higher.

    To be quite honest, you probably shouldn’t allow your political views to be influenced by what’s on Facebook anyway. Facebook is the world’s megaphone letting anyone shout their opinion from the rooftops no matter how misinformed or misguided it might be, and all we have is people shouting at each other with no one listening. And when no one is listening no one can be truly informed.

     
  • Geebo 10:00 am on November 5, 2018 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , Facebook, , The Intercept   

    Facebook apologizes for hate speech ad targeting 

    Facebook apologizes for hate speech ad targeting

    why is it that Facebook can’t seem to go at least a week without having to apologize for something. If it’s not massive data breaches and hacks, it’s interference from foreign agitators. One has to wonder if there is a Facebook employee whose official title is Executive President In Charge of Public Apologies. Then again, the way Facebook has been going lately they may need an entire department for that. This week is no different as once again Facebook finds themselves having to apologize for something that had little to no oversight.

    Last week I posted about how news outlets VICE and Business Insider were able to buy phony Facebook ads claiming to be from US Senators and Cambridge Analytica. This week is no different as over the weekend Facebook apologized for yet another advertising faux pas. Another news outlet called The Intercept was able to purchase an ad on Facebook that could be targeted at people who have anti-Semitic views. By using the term anti-Semitic I’m being rather generous as the ads could be targeted using certain phrases that decorum dictates I won’t use here. Facebook blamed the ad category on Facebook’s advertising algorithm for creating the offensive category, however, The Intercept claims that the ad had to be approved by a human moderator. The Intercept placed this ad in order to show just how easy it is for hate groups to be able to promote their vile messages on the platform.

    This isn’t the first time Facebook has been caught allegedly coddling extremist hate groups as Motherboard discovered back in September that ads for white supremacy are not allowed on Facebook while posts that advocate white separatism and white nationalism are allowed. These controversies are just symptoms of much larger and more disturbing problems. Either Facebook’s own platform is grown so large it’s out of their control or Facebook courts controversy in order to keep it’s shrinking userbase engaged. Neither problem is better than the other but both show that Facebook wields more power in our society than they’re capable of handling.

     
  • Geebo 9:22 am on November 2, 2018 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , Facebook,   

    Your Facebook account and messages could be sold for just ten cents 

    Your Facebook account and messages could be sold for just ten cents

    Ever since the major security breaches happened at Facebook, the social media titan has been trying to assure us that no sensitive user information has fallen into the hands of bad actors. However, it may be just now that we’re starting to see the veracity of those claims. When the accounts of hundreds of millions of users have been exposed, you have to expect at least some fallout from the exposure. Let’s revisit Facebook’s most recent hack that exposed somewhere between 30 and 50 million users.

    Now, the BBC is reporting that the private messages from over 80,000 Facebook accounts are being sold on the open market. While the majority of the accounts belong to users in the Ukraine and Russia, there are US and UK accounts listed among them. The bad actors in possession of this information were trying to sell each account for ten cents a piece. The BBC claims to have verified with some of the exposed users that the messages are in fact genuine. The hackers also claim that the 81,000 accounts are just a small sample of a larger cache that contains 120 million accounts.

    Not surprisingly, Facebook is trying to deflect blame from themselves, instead blaming the compromised accounts on malicious third-party browser extensions. That may be all well and good but when you put the words Facebook and hacked together it’s still Facebook who is going to take a lion’s share of the blame no matter how you look at it. Considering they’ve allowed close to 350 million accounts to be exposed in the past year is laying blame at their feet really that much of a stretch?

     
  • Geebo 9:11 am on October 31, 2018 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , Facebook, , VICE News   

    Has Facebook made any progress in stopping election meddling? 

    Has Facebook made any progress in stopping election meddling?

    Ever since the 2016 Presidential campaign, Facebook has been under fire for allegedly allowing foreign influencers to post deceptive ads designed to agitate the political scene in America. Since then Facebook has made claims that they’ve made strides in verifying who has paid for political ads and have removed several accounts thought to belong to Russian and Iranian groups looking to further interfere in the democratic process. So with the midterm elections less than a week away, Facebook must be all good right? Well, as you can probably expect, not so much.

    VICE News recently published an expose on just how well Facebook is screening their political ads. VICE paid for 100 political ads on Facebook posing as all sitting US Senators. All 100 ads were approved by Facebook showing that just about anybody with the time and money can allegedly pay for any ad they want posing as whoever they want. Building off of VICE’s idea, Business Insider took another tact by buying an ad posing as Cambridge Analytica, the embattled firm that allegedly exposed millions of Facebook users’ information. Again, the ad was approved by Facebook with no problem.

    This is just further proof that no one should have their political views influenced by what they see or read on Facebook. Between your hyper-partisan friends who post meme after meme that reinforces their position no matter how wrong they might be, and the fact that just about anyone can buy an ad on Facebook posing as anyone and saying anything, Facebook has lost the fight to be considered a useful tool in political discourse. Anymore, Facebook just exhibits that it’s become the public restroom wall of the nation covered in the graffiti of misinformation.

     
  • Geebo 9:00 am on October 18, 2018 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , Facebook,   

    Latest Facebook hack was not politically motivated. The real explanation is worse. 

    Latest Facebook hack was not politically motivated. The real explanation is worse.

    It was back in late September, which was not all that long ago, when it was announced that Facebook was hacked to the tune of 50 million accounts. The hack not only exposed user information but allowed the hackers access to what’s been referred to as ‘access tokens’, which theoretically would allow the hackers to gain access to other platforms which use Facebook as a login. While Facebook is now claiming the number of accounts hacked was closer to 30 million, it was believed the attack was carried out by state-sponsored agents. Now, Facebook is walking back on that claim and the new claim isn’t much better.

    According to yesterday’s report from the Wall Street Journal, brought here via Business Insider, an anonymous Facebook insider has said that the hack was conducted by your run of the mill spam hackers. These hackers are the type who are in it for the money rather than any political ideal. Among some of the information that was taken from Facebook were birthdates, phone numbers, search history of Facebook users.

    In my opinion, it’s worse that Facebook was hacked by a group of spam hackers rather than a foreign power. To me, this means that Facebook’s security is lacking in a basic way since they can’t keep out the hackers who sell your information to email spammers and phone scammers. An attack from a world power can almost be understood against a platform that is as massive as Facebook. However, Facebook’s security should be above nickel and dime attacks like this that are more akin to the stereotypical hacker who lives in their parents’ basement.

    A saying that’s been going around in tech circles lately is that the only safe Facebook account is a deleted Facebook account.

     
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