Archive for Facebook

Twitter’s Ban On Political Ads Has Just Put Facebook Into A Bad Position

Posted in Commentary with tags , on October 31, 2019 by itnerd


Yesterday, via a Tweet, the CEO of Twitter Jack Dorsey said this:

If you click on the Tweet above, which I encourage you to do, you will see a long thread spelling out the reasons why Twitter is banning political ads. But in short, he explained that the company felt that the spread of opinion should be earned, not bought. And with both the UK and USA preparing for elections, I am certain the timing is no accident. Neither is the fact that the full rules are yet to be finalized but will be made available on or before November 15th. The new policy goes into effect on November 22nd. Which is right before the UK elections in December. And long before the US elections a year from now.

Now this move is guaranteed to do two things. First it is sure to take Twitter off the radar screens of many governments and politicians worldwide because it’s done something to address the issue of political ads and the damage they can do. But it also now puts the spotlight onto Facebook who makes tons of cash from political advertising and has proven that they don’t manage political ads very well. Mark Zuckerberg and his team at Facebook are sure to feel the heat from all sides who will see them as being bad actors when it comes to this issue as they are refusing to do anything because Facebook sees this as a free speech issue. The problem is that whether this is a free speech issue or not, the perception that already exists is that Facebook is on the wrong side of this issue and the decision taken by Twitter is only going to solidify that perception. Which means that Facebook now has a choice. They can continue down the road of the status quo which is going to make this an a continuing issue for them and embolden the #DeleteFacebook crowd. Or they can copy Twitter and ban political ads which would be certain to upset some people. An example of this can be found here as the Trump campaign has reacted negatively to the Twitter political ad ban. Whichever way they choose to go, one thing is certain. Twitter’s decision to ban political ads is going to make life very, very bad for Facebook.


BREAKING: Facebook Has 8 States That Want To #DeleteFacebook Via An Antitrust Investigation

Posted in Commentary with tags on September 6, 2019 by itnerd

Facebook may be in very deep trouble. The Washington Post in the last few minutes has posted a story that says the following:

New York Attorney General Letitia James released a statement announcing a bipartisan coalition investigating the social media company. The probe includes the attorneys general of Colorado, Florida, Iowa, Nebraska, North Carolina, Ohio, Tennessee and the District of Columbia, according to a press release by James’s office, which said the investigation “focuses on Facebook’s dominance in the industry and the potential anticompetitive conduct stemming from that dominance.”

And that literally all that the story says. At least at 8:30 AM. More details will be coming shortly, but you have to imagine that for Mark Zuckerberg and company, this is not good news to wake up to this Friday morning. And that’s on top of a US senator who wants to see Zuckerberg take a trip to the grey bar hotel.

UPDATE: The Washington Post story has been updated with this text:

New York is leading a multistate investigation of Facebook for possible antitrust violations, Attorney General Letitia James announced Friday, kicking off a bipartisan wave of independent state inquiries targeting the social media giant as well as Google’s parent company, Alphabet.

James will work with the attorneys general of Colorado, Florida, Iowa, Nebraska, North Carolina, Ohio, Tennessee and the District of Columbia on an inquiry focused on “Facebook’s dominance in the industry and the potential anti-competitive conduct stemming from that dominance,” according to a news release.

And there’s this telling Tweet that’s part of the story:

Facebook has not commented yet. Likely because they’re too busy freaking out.

Facebook Fails At User Security Again…. Reinforces The Need To #DeleteFacebook

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

Facebook has failed again to protect its users data. This time over 400 million user records have leaked out from a server that wasn’t protected with a password. And each record that was leaked contained a user’s Facebook ID and the phone number linked to their account.


TechCrunch has the details:

TechCrunch verified a number of records in the database by matching a known Facebook user’s phone number against their listed Facebook ID. We also checked other records by matching phone numbers against Facebook’s own password reset feature, which can be used to partially reveal a user’s phone number linked to their account.

That’s not good at all. Clearly Facebook doesn’t have or doesn’t care to have the wherewithal to protect user data. But according to the company, there’s nothing to see here. Here’s how the company spun this latest security gong show:

This dataset is old and appears to have information obtained before we made changes last year to remove people’s ability to find others using their phone numbers,” the spokesperson said. “The dataset has been taken down and we have seen no evidence that Facebook accounts were compromised.”

Yeah. Right. Sure. Like I believe anything that Facebook has to say. They’ve proven to be completely untrustworthy. and quite honestly they need to be exterminated from the face of the Earth. Take it from me. It’s time to #DeleteFacebook. Do it now. You’ll be better off for it.

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.

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.


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?