Archive for Facebook

Surprise! Facebook Paid Contractors To Transcribe Users’ Audio Chats….. Another Reason To #DeleteFacebook

Posted in Commentary with tags on August 14, 2019 by itnerd

Facebook has been paying hundreds of outside contractors to transcribe clips of audio from users of its services Bloomberg reported Tuesday citing people with knowledge of the work:

The work has rattled the contract employees, who are not told where the audio was recorded or how it was obtained — only to transcribe it, said the people, who requested anonymity for fear of losing their jobs. They’re hearing Facebook users’ conversations, sometimes with vulgar content, but do not know why Facebook needs them transcribed, the people said. Facebook confirmed that it had been transcribing users’ audio and said it will no longer do so, following scrutiny into other companies.

“Much like Apple and Google, we paused human review of audio more than a week ago,” the company said Tuesday. The company said the users who were affected chose the option in Facebook’s Messenger app to have their voice chats transcribed. The contractors were checking whether Facebook’s artificial intelligence correctly interpreted the messages, which were anonymized. […] The social networking giant, which just completed a $5 billion settlement with the U.S. Federal Trade Commission after a probe of its privacy practices, has long denied that it collects audio from users to inform ads or help determine what people see in their news feeds.

If you want to see the denial of this behavior by Facebook, which is clearly a lie, here’s a link. But unlike Apple, Google, and Amazon who have been caught doing some form of this, I am very concerned that Facebook is doing this. After all this is a company that little to no regard for privacy and thus unlike the other three companies, this needs to be investigated and Facebook needs to be punished accordingly.

Oh… This is yet another reason to #DeleteFacebook.

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Facebook Fined $5 Billion By The FTC & $100 Million By The SEC For Their Bad Behavior.

Posted in Commentary with tags on July 24, 2019 by itnerd

After being rumored last week, CNBC has reported this morning the FTC has officially announced the approval of Facebook’s $5 billion fine after getting the green light from the Justice Department and the FTC’s commissioners voting 3-2 in favor of the penalty.The SEC also announced today that Facebook will pay a separate $100 million fine for misleading investors about the risks of misued user data. The former fine is roughly 9% of the company’s revenue from last year which makes it a slap on the wrist. But I am sure that Facebook clearly felt that this was the best way to make their legal issues go away.

But it’s not all clear sailing for Facebook. The deal will require the company to set up an independent privacy committee on its board to reduce Mark Zuckerberg’s “unfettered control” over user privacy decisions. The deal will also require Zuckerberg and others at Facebook to do quarterly and yearly certifications with the FTC to ensure they are following the agency’s privacy rules. Additionally, there will be an independent assessment every other year. This is something at least that may moderate Facebook’s rather craptastic behavior.

Now the deal will still need to be finalized by the Justice Department. And given their investigation that was announced yesterday, it could change. But I don’t see that happening. And Facebook’s are over. At least until the next time they get themselves into trouble.

FTC Agree To A $5 Billion Dollar Fine For Facebook

Posted in Commentary with tags on July 12, 2019 by itnerd

The Federal Trade Commission voted this week to approve a roughly $5 billion settlement with Facebook over a long-running probe into the tech giant’s privacy missteps, WSJ reported Friday, citing people familiar with the matter [The link may be paywalled. Here’s an alternative source]:

The 3-2 vote by FTC commissioners broke along party lines, with the Republican majority lining up to support the pact while Democratic commissioners objected, the people said. The matter has been moved to the Justice Department’s civil division and it is unclear how long it will take to finalize, the person said. Justice Department reviews are part of the FTC’s procedure but typically don’t change the outcome of an FTC decision. A settlement is expected to include other government restrictions on how Facebook treats user privacy. The additional terms of the settlement couldn’t immediately be learned. An FTC spokeswoman declined to comment, as did a Facebook spokesman. Facebook said April 24 that it was expecting to pay up to $5 billion to settle the probe. A resolution was bogged down by a split between Republicans and Democrats on the FTC, with the Democrats pushing for tougher oversight of the social-media giant.

The problem that I have with this fine is $5 billion is a rounding error to Facebook. So in my mind, that’s a #fail. But if there are really good government restrictions that Facebook has to adhere to for years, then maybe this might mean something. I’ll guess it will be up to the Europeans to really slap Facebook silly.

Uh Oh! There Might Be Big Trouble For Facebook!

Posted in Commentary with tags on June 12, 2019 by itnerd

The Wall Street Journal (via Reuters as the Wall Street Journal story is paywalled) is reporting that Facebook uncovered emails that appear to show Chief Executive Mark Zuckerberg’s connection to potentially problematic privacy practices at the company:

The newspaper said reporters had not seen the emails and relied on unnamed people. The report said the communications “appear to show Chief Executive Mark Zuckerberg’s connection to potentially problematic privacy practices at the company”. Shares of the Menlo Park, California-based company were down 1.8% at $174.9 in early afternoon trading.

The emails have raised concerns within the company that they could be a public relations problem, at least, for Facebook, the WSJ reported, citing one of the people familiar with the matter.

And:

The company’s move to reach a speedy settlement of the FTC investigation is in part because of the emails, according to the WSJ report. The Journal said it could not determine what emails the FTC has requested and how many of them relate to Zuckerberg.

Well, if these emails do exist, and prove who knew what and when, then Facebook as a whole, and Zuckerberg and Sheryl Sanders are basically screwed. It would be a free for all by any agency in the US that has the ability to jail or fine a company or an individual. Not to mention the lawsuits that would instantly filed over this. Plus I would not be shocked if some government agency raided Facebook with a search warrant in hand in the coming days or weeks.

Perhaps this is the beginning of the end for Facebook?

 

Court Orders Facebook to Open Privacy Records Related To Cambridge Analytica

Posted in Commentary with tags on June 4, 2019 by itnerd

According to The Wall Street Journal (paywalled), Facebook got some bad news when a judge told the social media company to hand over records to shareholders investigating the Cambridge Analytica data breach:

A Delaware corporate law court has ordered Facebook Inc. to hand over records to shareholders investigating the data privacy breach that fed information to now-defunct data miner Cambridge Analytica.

There is sufficient evidence that Facebook’s board of directors failed in its duty to protect data privacy to justify an expanded shareholder investigation, Joseph Slights, a vice chancellor of the Delaware Court of Chancery, ruled on Thursday.

You can fully expect that Zuckerberg and company are not happy with that and will likely find some way to fight this as there’s no way on God’s green Earth do they want these records in the public domain as it likely shows that they didn’t do anything to protect their users. Which means that they would be open to getting absolutely slaughtered in any lawsuit that they face. Here’s hoping that they do get slaughtered as they deserve it.

Zuckerberg & Sandberg Have Been Summoned To Appear In Front Of Canadian Parliamentary Committee

Posted in Commentary with tags on May 28, 2019 by itnerd

Facebook’ Mark Zuckerberg and Sheryl Sandberg have been slapped with a summons to appear in front of Canadian MPs on the House of Commons access to information, privacy and ethics committee. This after the duo flipped the committee in question off:

In an unprecedented move on Tuesday, Canadian MPs on the House of Commons access to information, privacy and ethics committee — which is hosting international policy-makers as part of the International Grand Committee — voted to hit the top bosses at the social media giant with an order to appear without a time limit and direct the chair of the committee to reconvene the members even if the chamber is not sitting.

In theory, that means that if Zuckerberg or Sandberg were to come north for a conference, a bailiff would issue a summons as soon as they arrive on Canadian soil and order them to appear before the House of Commons access to information, privacy and ethics committee.

If this sounds familiar, it should. Zuckerberg pulled the same stunt with the UK not too long ago with the same result. Which is if he sets foot on UK soil, he’ll be picked up and taken in front of Parliament. If he keeps this behavior up, he won’t have very many places that he can to go. But his immediate problem is that this makes Zuckerberg and Sandberg look like people who do not want to be held accountable, nor do they want to answer the tough questions as leaders of a global company. That makes their respective reputations look shambolic. I for one hope that many more countries do what Canada and the UK are doing so that Facebook and these two dimwits who run it can be held fully accountable for their missteps.

Facebook Sharing Personal Data With Carriers…. Which Is A Hint That You Should Really #DeleteFacebook

Posted in Commentary with tags on May 21, 2019 by itnerd

I really don’t believe that Facebook cares about your privacy. I say that because a new report from The Intercept reveals Facebook sharing sensitive personal data with mobile carriers:

A confidential Facebook document reviewed by The Intercept shows that the social network courts carriers, along with phone makers — some 100 different companies in 50 countries — by offering the use of even more surveillance data, pulled straight from your smartphone by Facebook itself.

Offered to select Facebook partners, the data includes not just technical information about Facebook members’ devices and use of Wi-Fi and cellular networks, but also their past locations, interests, and even their social groups. This data is sourced not just from the company’s main iOS and Android apps, but from Instagram and Messenger as well.

It gets worse. This might be illegal:

Some experts are particularly alarmed that Facebook has marketed the use of the information — and appears to have helped directly facilitate its use, along with other Facebook data — for the purpose of screening customers on the basis of likely creditworthiness [for ad serving]. Such use could potentially run afoul of federal law, which tightly governs credit assessments.

Now, Facebook does admit to this. But they put some interesting spin on things:

Actionable Insights was announced last year in an innocuous, easy-to-miss post on Facebook’s engineering blog. The article, titled “Announcing tools to help partners improve connectivity,” strongly suggested that the program was primarily aimed at solving weak cellular data connections around the world. “To address this problem,” the post began, “we are building a diverse set of technologies, products, and partnerships designed to expand the boundaries of existing connectivity quality and performance, catalyze new market segments, and bring better access to the unconnected” […]

The blog post makes only a brief mention of Actionable Insights’ second, less altruistic purpose: “enabling better business decisions” through “analytics tools.” According to materials reviewed by The Intercept and a source directly familiar with the program, the real boon of Actionable Insights lies not in its ability to fix spotty connections, but to help chosen corporations use your personal data to buy more tightly targeted advertising.

What’s clear in all of this is that Facebook really does not care about you, or the security of your data. It only wants to make as much money as possible off your data regardless of what the cost to their user base is. That’s unacceptable and if I were you, I would dump any Facebook product off your phone ASAP. I would also stop using any Facebook service as well because there are only two ways that these clowns will get the message. One is if governments worldwide decide to restrict what Facebook can do. And second is if users of their various Facebook owned properties dump said Facebook owned properties. Either one will send a clear message that Facebook’s behavior is completely unacceptable.