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  • Geebo 10:00 am on January 31, 2019 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , Facebook,   

    Apple flexes its muscle and disables part of Facebook’s internal infrastructure 

    Apple flexes its muscle and disables part of Facebook's internal infrastructure

    Yesterday’s news story about how Facebook was paying some of its users to have complete access to their phones has had more far-reaching implications than some had previously thought. If you’ll recall, when the news of Facebook’s marketing app broke, Facebook pulled the app from the iOS App Store. Apparently, that wasn’t enough for Apple as they have taken what some may call drastic measures against the social media titans.

    Apple has now taken steps to revoke Facebook’s developer certificates on iOS devices. While this will mean little to the average Facebook user, internally it has struck a blow against Facebook developers using Apple products. Apple’s certificate revocation has disabled many of the intraoffice Facebook apps that Facebook employees use to do business including such things as communication apps, lunch menus, and bus schedules some employees use to get to and from work. Apple released a statement saying…

    “Any developer using their enterprise certificates to distribute apps to consumers will have their certificates revoked, which is what we did in this case to protect our users and their data.”

    Will this be the straw that breaks the camel’s back when it comes to Facebook and user privacy? Considering that not only are iPhones one of the most popular consumer electronic devices, but the fact that Facebook employees rely on them internally could cause a major backlash against Facebook both internally and externally. Would Apple even go as far as to ban the Facebook app from its app store? Apple has such a devout following among its user base it could potentially start its own social network if it wanted to and would probably draw a large chunk of Facebook’s younger demographic away from Facebook’s plateauing userbase. Or will Facebook just make the switch to Android devices for all its employees? Either way, this is a story that could have rippling effects that we will be seeing for years.

  • Geebo 10:11 am on January 30, 2019 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: Facebook,   

    Facebook is paying teens to allow them complete access to their phones 

    Facebook paying teens to allow them complete access to their phones

    It appears that Facebook is starting 2019 the same they left off in 2018, continuing to be criticized for questionable practices when it comes to user privacy. Even more unfortunately, this time the target for Facebook’s latest privacy mishap appears to target children. Not satisfied with exposing the personal data of millions of users to third parties, Facebook is now being accused of paying minors to allow Facebook to have complete access to the teens’ phones in order for Facebook to accomplish what they call ‘marketing research’.

    Tech news stalwart TechCrunch first broke the story yesterday about discovering an app that Facebook was using where people from the ages of 13-35 could make $20 a month for letting Facebook track all of their phone activity. Participants in the program were even encouraged to refer their friends to the program in order to make more money. The app requires the user to give root access to Facebook and in some cases requires you even send Facebook screenshots of your Amazon purchases. At first, Facebook defended the practice then hours later pulled the app from the iOS App Store. Its fate on Android devices is still unknown.

    While the majority of people Facebook is paying are probably over 18, there are too many kids under 18 who are being asked to compromise their privacy in order to get a $20 gift card. This seems like this is the age group that Facebook wants the most information on since so many reports claim that Facebook is hemorrhaging teen users and they can’t seem to reclaim the dominance in the market they once had with teen users. To call this practice predatory is an understatement.

  • 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?

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