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  • Geebo 10:02 am on January 24, 2019 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: Facebook, petitions   

    Are Facebook Petitions pointless or dangerous? 

    Are Facebook Petitions pointless or dangerous?

    If you’re anything like us when you first heard the announcement of Facebook adding a petition feature you might have thought how useless that will probably be. For example, 25,000 people signed a White House petition in 2013 asking the Obama administration to build a Death Star. Online petitions usually carry about as much weight as a European Swallow unburdened by coconuts. That was until we saw an article that changed our mind but didn’t make us feel any better.

    Recently, tech blog Gizmodo published a post asking the question How Long Before Facebook’s New Petition Feature is Complicit in Genocide? The post makes a number of valid points. For example, if a group makes a valid petition to government officials how long will it take before virtual mobs flag the petition as abusive or offensive? Conversely, how long will it take before someone creates a truly offensive petition and Facebook will do nothing about it since it supposedly doesn’t violate Facebook’s ill-defined community standards?

    As the Gizmodo author and we have pointed out, Facebook needs your continued engagement to keep making money and if that means doing it by preying on your outrage, they will. The new petitions feature could just be another weapon in Facebook’s arsenal of agitation designed to keep you angry and glued to Facebook at all times. Remember as always, more often than not, if you’re not paying for a service then you are the product.

     
  • Geebo 10:00 am on January 21, 2019 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: ad sellers, Facebook, Rent your Facebook,   

    Renting out your Facebook account could lead to trouble 

    Renting out your Facebook account could lead to trouble

    BuzzFeed News recently reported on a Facebook scam that we had previously unheard of until now. Apparently, there are shady ad dealers that promise you that you can make at least hundreds of dollars a week if you just hand over your Facebook credentials. This is done so the ad dealers can create a Facebook page under your name in order to serve ads that are usually frowned upon by Facebook such as online gambling. There are many ad dealers that use this promise of easy money and here’s a YouTube video showing what the pitch usually looks like. We found this particular video posted to multiple YouTube accounts.

    What they don’t tell you in the video is that in order to make money you have to grant these ad dealers almost complete access to your computer. That means the ad dealer can remotely access just about anything on your computer which could lead to financial or identity theft. In some cases, the ad dealers will send you a free laptop that is filled with these virtual backdoors that allow the ad dealers to continue running ads on Facebook in your name even while the browser is closed.

    Another issue that can arise from renting out your Facebook account is that it violates Facebook’s terms of service. If Facebook discovers that your Facebook account is being rented out they could delete your account. While you’re locked out of Facebook the ad sellers just move on to the other accounts that they’ve rented out. That means all your posts, photos, and connections that you’ve made are gone and it’s unlikely you’d ever have access to them again.

    The old adage of “There’s no such thing as a free lunch” applies here as the ad sellers don’t care what happens to your Facebook account. Also, if a platform that says you can’t make a lot of easy money isn’t a scam you can bet your bottom dollar that it’s more than likely a scam.

     
  • Geebo 10:00 am on January 14, 2019 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , , Facebook, ,   

    Amid shutdown, federal employees forced to sell belongings on Facebook and craigslist 

    Amid shutdown, federal employees forced to sell belongings on Facebook and craigslist

    Today, the government shutdown reaches its 24th day. This is the longest government shutdown in American history. 800,000 federal employees are going without their paychecks because the President is throwing a tantrum like a tangerine toddler over a border wall that would actually do little to stop the influx of immigrants that we should be welcoming into this country. Most illegal immigration doesn’t even take place at the country’s southern border with Mexico but rather through people who have stayed in the country after their travel visas have expired. But far be it from the truth getting in the way of a President who was elected on a platform of fear and intolerance. Meanwhile, the federal employees caught in the crossfire are in danger of having their lives ruined.

    Due to their lack of income, many locked out employees have taken to selling their possessions on places like Facebook and craigslist. So not only are they being driven into poverty by their own government but now these employees will have to deal with many scammers and con artists that prey on people like this on the less than scrupulous classifieds sites and marketplace apps like craigslist. The Coast Guard even published a survival guide recommending their members try to get part-time jobs as secret shoppers which has a well-known history of being mostly a scam.

    To make matters worse, the President has the temerity to claim that the unpaid federal employees are behind him and his ridiculous wall.

    President Donald Trump, when asked about the hardship facing workers, said federal employees “are on my side.”

    “You take a look at social media, so many of those people saying ‘it’s very hard for me, it’s very hard for my family, but Mr. President you’re doing the right thing. Get it done.’ They’re patriots,” he said.

    Then again, what do you expect from someone who made a business out of declaring bankruptcy on multiple occasions? However, Mr. Trump right now is the worst kind of bankrupt, morally bankrupt.

     
  • Geebo 10:40 am on January 9, 2019 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , Facebook, ,   

    Many Android users can’t delete Facebook even if they wanted to 

    Many Android users can't delete Facebook even if they wanted to

    Nothing is more frustrating to an android user than when you have limited storage space and there are bloatware apps on your device that can’t be deleted. A number of phone companies include these indestructible apps in order to make money through various partnerships by nudging their customers into using these apps. However, unlike a computer where you can delete just about anything, many Android users are locked into these apps for the life of their device. Now, it’s being reported that a company not known for its security or privacy is allegedly paying at least one major phone manufacturer into making its app irremovable.

    Bloomberg has reported that Facebook is not only coming pre-installed on many of Samsung’s flagship phones but that the Facebook app can’t be deleted as well. While the app can be put in a disabled app that hasn’t stopped Samsung customers from being concerned about what personal data may have been sent to Facebook. Considering Facebook’s less than stellar year when it came to privacy and security, this seems to be a valid concern. Facebook claims that when their app is in disabled mode that it’s the same as if the app had been deleted. That’s not reassuring to many users who want the app off of their phone for good which puts Samsung in an anti-consumer light even though Samsung has said they’re trying to give consumers the best out of the box experience.

    Unfortunately, Samsung isn’t the only manufacturer that includes permanent apps and Facebook isn’t the only company pushing them. Most cellular carriers include apps for their various services that can’t be deleted as does Google who created and maintains the Android operating system. While Facebook may be taking the brunt of criticism right now it’s just a symptom of a larger problem where consumers do not have the freedom to do what they want with the phones that they’ve paid for. Considering how expensive some of these devices are shouldn’t the choice of whether or not the customer wants to have Facebook on their phone be left up to them?

     
  • Geebo 10:13 am on December 31, 2018 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: Facebook, , Privacy International   

    Popular apps sharing data with Facebook without users’ permission 

    Popular apps sharing data with Facebook without users' permission

    It only seems fitting that we close out 2018 with another story about Facebook’s questionable data handling practices. 2018 was a tumultuous year, to say the least. It all started with the Cambridge Analytica scandal and just went downhill from there. Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg was called to testify before Congress which ended up not leading to much after giving his robotic-like testimony. Then more data breaches became public knowledge which resulted in the potential exposure of millions of users’ data to third parties. Then that all was followed up with Facebook allegedly authorizing a smear campaign of its biggest detractors. Now a report has surfaced that only seems to compound Facebook’s privacy problems.

    A privacy watchdog group called Privacy International studied many of the most popular apps on Android devices. Their findings concluded that a majority of the apps they studied send user data to Facebook. While that’s not really surprising the surprising part is that not only are these apps sending data to Facebook the moment you open the app but you also don’t have to have a Facebook account for the apps to send data about you. Some of the apps in the study included travel apps Kayak and Trip Advisor but also fitness app MyFitnessPal. While Facebook may not have instructed these apps to send the data, they’re not exactly discouraging it either.

    If you’re concerned about Facebook using your personal information, The Detroit News has a great article about what you can do to limit Facebook’s access to your data. Some of these steps include reviewing the privacy permissions you grant your most frequently used apps and minimizing your Facebook presence. While it’s difficult in today’s digital world of keeping all your data out of the hands of companies like Facebook, it’s not impossible to limit that amount of information just by taking the time to stop and read what permissions you’re granting these services.

     
  • Geebo 10:20 am on December 19, 2018 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , Facebook, ,   

    Is Facebook finally making progress in Myanmar? 

    Is Facebook finally making progress in Myanmar?

    Yes, Facebook is currently under fire in the Western World for its latest security gaffe. You can read about that at the New York Times which has a great write-up about just who Facebook allowed to have user data. However, news that may get lost in the shuffle is that Facebook recently made a pretty significant step in trying to curb the ethnic violence in Myanmar.

    As you may know, Facebook has largely been used by the Buddhist majority Government in Myanmar in order to spread disinformation and hate speech against the Muslim Rohingya minority. Initially, Facebook was slow in enacting measures to try to curb the use of their platform for ethnic cleansing and genocide. Facebook increased their Burmese speaking team and deleted a number of accounts on both Facebook and Instagram that were encouraging violence against the Rohingya. Facebook even deleted the account of a high-ranking Myanmar military official. These were accounts that were very blatant in their hatred for the Rohingya people. Now, Facebook has started going after accounts that are trying to be more subtle.

    Yesterday, Facebook announced that it had deleted the accounts of 135 Facebook users in Myanmar, 425 Pages, 17 Groups, and 15 Instagram accounts. This may not seem like a lot, but these accounts in total had over 2.5 million followers which is 10% of the total internet users in Myanmar. These accounts were trying to be clever by posing as news, entertainment, and beauty and lifestyle accounts but Facebook says that they took action because of “the behavior of these actors rather than on the type of content they were posting.” This is a definite change in Facebook’s Myanmar strategy as previously, they waited for someone else to take action before Facebook did anything.

    This is a step in the right direction for Facebook which has largely stumbled over the past year, not just in Myanmar but worldwide. It remains to be seen if this will be a continuing trend for Facebook’s social responsibility, we just hope it isn’t too little too late.

     
  • Geebo 10:12 am on December 17, 2018 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , Facebook, ,   

    Here we go again: Facebook bug exposes millions of accounts 

    Here we go again: Facebook bug exposes millions of accounts

    In what is starting to become an almost weekly event, Facebook announced this past Friday that yet another bug exposed close to 7 million accounts to third-party app developers. The bug was first discovered in September and was active for a few weeks before being corrected. The bug is said to have exposed pictures that users had posted to Facebook but did not give permission for the pictures to be seen by third-parties.

    In the grand scheme of things, this bug is not that big of a security risk as other Facebook data leaks have been in the past year. The pictures that were exposed were only those that were started to be uploaded but for some reason were never posted to the user’s timeline. Or they were photos that were posted to Facebook Marketplace. However, it further shows Facebook’s long-standing disregard not just for user privacy but for Facebook’s own security.

    This was a bug that was discovered back in September after being active for weeks. Why did it take Facebook upwards of three months before informing the public? According to the New York Times, Facebook didn’t notify government officials about the bug until November because they needed to “create a notification page” first. Again, this shows that Facebook is really more concerned about covering their own tails from regulators rather than protecting user privacy.

     
  • Geebo 10:16 am on December 5, 2018 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , Facebook, ,   

    Facebook slips as the top place to work as a Facebook scam targets veterans 

    Facebook slips as the top place to work. Also, a Facebook scam is targeting veterans.

    In a follow-up to yesterday’s post about Facebook employees looking to leave the company, Glassdoor released their 2019 rankings of the best places to work. Facebook has fallen hard from its number one perch sliding all the way down to number seven. While it’s still in the top ten of the best places to work in the country, its decline on Glassdoor’s list shows that worker’s attitudes toward the company have definitely shifted in a less than positive way. Facebook was supplanted at the top of the list by consulting firm Bain and Company.

    In other news, a scam has arisen on Facebook that is indicative of its ongoing fight with foreign agitators. WIRED is reporting that foreign entities are posing as various US veterans groups in order to provoke outrage among veterans. As has been Facebook’s usual response to matters like this, Facebook has only been shutting down these scam pages when they’ve been notified by a legitimate veterans organization although the process took months. The scam pages seem to be largely targeting veterans who served during the Vietnam War. The scammers seem to be targeting Vietnam vets due to their age and are hoping that the vets are not savvy internet users. Unfortunately, a number of these scam pages continued to stand because Facebook said that the page did not violate their ever-vague community standards.

    What can be said about this latest Facebook faux pas that hasn’t been said about the others? Again, this latest scam shows that Facebook seems to thrive on controversy and outrage in order to keep their users engaged on the platform by any means necessary. In this day and age where the average Facebook users use the platform to obtain their news, they can almost hardly be blamed for buying into the misinformation since they’re inundated by it on an almost constant basis. If Facebook isn’t willing to help those who have served our country then who are they out to help besides themselves?

     
  • Geebo 10:14 am on December 4, 2018 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , Facebook, ,   

    Are Facebook employees looking to jump ship? Also, hate speech is still a problem for the platform. 

    Are Facebook employees looking to jump ship? Also, hate speech still a problem for the platform.

    For several years, Facebook was considered the place to work in Silicon Valley. Many considered it to be the holy grail of employment with Facebook even being ranked the best place to work in America by employer review site Glassdoor.com. Facebook even touted this fact themselves in a corporate video where they almost break their arm patting themselves on the back.

    However, the ranking and the video all took place before Facebook started to be embroiled in the myriad of scandals that have shaken the foundations at the Menlo Park headquarters. According to CNBC, a number of current Facebook employees have been reaching out to former colleagues supposedly looking for new employment opportunities. That’s not unusual for many companies but former Facebook employees have said they’ve seen a sharp increase recently in current Facebook employees looking to leave the company. One of the problems facing current Facebook employees is that Facebook holds a lot of sway in Silicon Valley and can basically determine your future employment opportunities. Again, according to CNBC, if you leave Facebook in the ‘wrong’ way, you can be labeled as “non-regrettable”. Not only does this status mean you could never work for Facebook again, but it could also keep you out of many other positions in the tech industry.

    To make matters worse for Facebook, The Daily Beast has published a report where they documented a deluge of posts that could be considered hate speech by most rational people, yet Facebook failed to do anything about these posts until The Daily Beast pointed them out to Facebook. The majority of these posts were calling for violence against immigrants. Even though The Daily Beast reported many of these posts to Facebook, the social network failed to remove all of them saying that some of the calls for violence didn’t violate their nebulous community standards. Again, this lends credence to the theory that Facebook wants to keep as many users engaged as possible even if it’s through inflammatory content. Facebook’s so-called commitment to stopping hate speech seems little more than lip service to anyone who actually tried to do something about it. Any private company, and by private we mean that it’s not a government-run institution, that not only allows but encourages their platform to be used for hate cannot have its users best interest at heart.

     
  • Geebo 10:31 am on December 3, 2018 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: Buzzfeed, Definers, Facebook,   

    Buzzfeed releases Facebook document on critic George Soros 

    Buzzfeed releases Facebook document on critic George Soros

    George Soros

    For the past several weeks, Facebook has been facing a public backlash ever since the New York Times revealed Facebook’s alleged plans to try to discredit their critics. One of those tactics was to hire right-wing media firm Definers who have been accused of allegedly trying to run a smear campaign against progressive philanthropist George Soros. Definers was said to have been given the orders to investigate Soros by Facebook’s COO Sheryl Sandberg. More recently, Buzzfeed News has obtained a document created by Definers for Facebook about George Soros’ alleged ties to activist groups that are critical of Facebook. The document can be read below.

    While Buzzfeed calls the document ‘largely innocuous’, not only does it make a giant leap in logic, but it also reads like a conspiracy theorists manifesto. The document from Definers basically concludes that since some groups that are critical of Facebook have received money from Geroge Soros then the group Freedom from Facebook must be receiving money from Soros too. Soros has been a very prominent critic of Facebook for some time now, however, the right has long held Soros up as some kind of villain who they claim is funding everything that is wrong with America.

    As TechCrunch points out, Freedom from Facebook says that they have received no money from Soros and instead its initial funding came from a Pennsylvania-based philanthropist and former hedge fund executive. It almost seems like Definers were given orders by Sheryl Sandberg to connect George Soros to Freedom From Facebook in any way possible and this is what they came up with. While the document from Definers may not be damning in itself, it does exhibit the questionable tactics Facebook will use in order to try to quash any public dissent.

     
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