Archive for Facebook

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?

 

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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.

Facebook And Instagram Ban Extremists From Those Platforms…. Why Did It Take Them So Long To Do So??

Posted in Commentary with tags on May 3, 2019 by itnerd

From the “it’s about time” department comes this story that details that a number of extremists have been banned from Facebook and Instagram:

In an effort to contain misinformation and extremism that have spread across the platforms, Instagram and its parent company, Facebook, have banned Alex Jones, Infowars, Milo Yiannopoulos, Paul Joseph Watson, Laura Loomer, and Paul Nehlen under their policies against dangerous individuals and organizations. They also banned the Nation of Islam leader Louis Farrakhan, who has repeatedly made anti-Semitic statements. 

I’ll be frank. This should have happened years ago. It’s no secret that those people have violated the terms of service of these two platforms for years. To illustrate this, here’s the terms of service from Facebook which links to their Community Standards which has specific references to hate speech. And one can argue that all of the people who got banned were irresponsibly stirring up hatred and violence against people, ethnic groups and faiths that they didn’t like. In other words they were banned for being hate mongers. The thing is that this is not new information. But I suspect because there are several big spotlights on Mark Zuckerberg and company at the moment, they felt that they had do punt these people off their platforms now.  And Facebook seems to be doing this in other places as here in Canada they banned a number of individuals and groups including the controversial far-right political commentator Faith Goldy  and white nationalist crusader Kevin Goudreau. Google these people and you’ll see why they got banned.

Here’s the bottom line. Respectful disagreements are fine. Honest arguments to support one’s choices and points of view are fair game. But dishonest hate speech and attempts to stirring up violence are uncivilized, anti-social and should be shunned by any functioning civil society. As far as I am concerned, Facebook is right to do what they are doing and they should do more on that front. But it shouldn’t have taken them this long to do it.

Facebook’s Supposed Pivot To Being More Private Is Meaningless….. And That Means That You Should #DeleteFacebook ASAP

Posted in Commentary with tags on May 1, 2019 by itnerd

Facebook had a bunch of announcements at their F8 Developer’s Conference yesterday. The video is online if you want to watch it. Go ahead. I recommend that you watch. I’ll wait while you do.

Okay. That was fun wasn’t it. Now back to my commentary.

Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerburg kicked off the F8 keynote by saying this:

Now look, I get that a lot of people aren’t sure that we’re serious about this. I know that we don’t exactly have the strongest reputation on privacy right now, to put it lightly. But I’m committed to doing this well.

The thing is that people snickered and laughed when said that. And this was a friendly crowd that he was speaking to which made this moment a total #fail. He then went on to say this:

The future is private.

Of course it is. Except that he’s never believed that. More on that in a second. But he then spoke about many of the changes to Facebook products that would make them more privacy focused. For example, the integration of WhatsApp, Messenger and Instagram messages into a single product with end-to-end encryption. That sounds cool, but by his own admission that’s years away. And he discussed having the various bits and pieces of Facebook and Facebook owned products be a secure payments platform. That from where I stand would allow Facebook to shift away from making money from advertising.

Now that all sounds interesting. But here’s my main problem with all of this. Seeing as their business model is selling their user’s data, I’m not sure how they are going to do this. This honestly sounds more like Zuckerberg trying to get people not to look behind the metaphorical curtain at the fact that they have no interest in respecting user privacy.

Second, when Zuckerberg says “private”, he’s talking about privacy between users and groups of users. An example of this is the integration WhatsApp, Messenger and Instagram messages into a single product with end-to-end encryption.There’s no mention of Facebook respecting user privacy by not collecting and selling user info. And that’s the really big problem here. Facebook at the moment has governments around the planet lining up to slap it silly because of everything the poor handling of data to Cambridge Analytica. Yet when you watch this video, it seems like he’s asking the Facebook faithful to keep the faith and ignore all their problems.

Let’s face it, Zuckerberg is desperately trying to keep the money rolling in and the authorities at bay. And if he really wanted to make a significant change in direction, he’d say that he was sorry, describe how things would change in Facebook world, and execute that change quickly and in public. Except that if you watch his keynote video, he didn’t do that. That makes any mention of Facebook being more private meaningless. And it still means that you need to join team #DeleteFacebook if you value your privacy.

Facebook Facing Yet ANOTHER Investigation….. Which Means That Joining Team #DeleteFacebook Is A Really Good Idea

Posted in Commentary with tags on April 26, 2019 by itnerd

This is just getting worse and worse for Facebook.

The company is now facing an investigation in Ireland. Apparently Ireland’s Data Protection Commission is looking into Facebook’s practices to see whether they violate Europe’s GDPR. Specifically over the fact that the company stored millions of passwords in plan text:

The Data Protection Commission was notified by Facebook that it had discovered that hundreds of millions of user passwords, relating to users of Facebook, Facebook Lite and Instagram, were stored by Facebook in plain text format in its internal servers. We have this week commenced a statutory inquiry in relation to this issue to determine whether Facebook has complied with its obligations under relevant provisions of the GDPR.  

This latest investigation is the third one that has popped up recently after Canada took these clowns to court and New York State decided to look into their slurping up of millions of email addresses. You have to believe that more of these investigations are coming. And that would be a good thing as Facebook needs to be introduced to the rule of law and being a good corporate citizen. Because they haven’t been a good corporate citizen and they wouldn’t know what the rule of law is if it hit them in the face.