Items tagged with Facebook

This might be a 'be careful what you wish for' moment for Mark Zuckberg, the wonderkid who built the most popular social network on the planet. Weeks removed in calling for "a more active role for governments and regulators" as it pertains to the internet, Facebook may find itself dealing with two decades of oversight by the US Federal Trade Commission (FTC). Facebook and the US government are currently hammering out a consent agreement that would put to rest a probe into whether the company ran afoul of a separate but similar agreement it reached in 2011. The 20 years of oversight that is being considered for the new pact would be in addition to a penalty in the range of $3 billion to $5 billion.... Read more...
Remember life before digital assistants? Even if you are not using one, it is a safe bet that you know someone who is, because they are all over the place. The market is flush with them—Alexa (Amazon), Siri (Apple), Cortana (Microsoft), Google Assistant (Google), and Bixby (Samsung), those being the main ones. There may be another on the horizon as well, from Facebook. These AI controlled assistants are in all kinds of devices these days, which mostly consists of smartphones and smart speakers. You can use them to fire up playlists, look up the news, get a weather forecast, fetch movie times, and even to order a pizza. Citing "several people familiar with the matter," CNBC reports that... Read more...
Another day, another Facebook privacy row. Of all the major technology companies out there, the social networking giant seems utterly incapable of keeping its users' information private. Last month reports indicated that Facebook was under criminal investigation over sharing user data without permission. Facebook also announced in March that up to 600 million user passwords were stored in plain text and that 20,000 of its employees had access to the searchable database. Earlier this month word surfaced that Facebook was forcing some new users to give their email passwords to register for an account. Facebook is now admitting that it unintentionally grabbed the email contacts of 1.5 million new... Read more...
There is evidence to suggest that Facebook might be reintegrating its standalone Messenger app into the social network, rather than having the two exist as separate entities. The feature is currently being tested, and presumably if all goes well, Facebook and Messenger will get back together, allowing users to send messages from within Facebook. Messenger's roots trace back to 2008 when it debuted as Facebook Chat. Two years later, Facebook overhauled the messaging platform, and in 2014 it split from Facebook as a standalone Messenger app for mobile devices. A year after that, Facebook ported Messenger to the web, and also released a version for Tizen. Throughout the years, Facebook has fleshed... Read more...
Facebook has one of the worst reputations for privacy and security of personal information in the entire tech industry. It admitted last month that the passwords of up to 600 million users had been stored in plain text and were accessible to 20,000 employees. The company is facing a criminal investigation over sharing user details without the consent of the user and the social network is also facing an FTC fine in the billions of dollars range. With all the problems that Facebook has encountered with sharing user data without permission, it would make sense that it wouldn't want access to information that it didn't need. However, reports indicate that Facebook is now asking some new users to... Read more...
Some parts of Facebook are not really a mystery. For example, I was researching compact SUVs over the weekend, and predictably, I began to see related ads scattered in my Facebook News feed. We all understand how targeted advertising works (outside of Congress, apparently). Less clear, however, is why we see particular posts (non-ads) in our News feeds prioritized over others. Facebook is finally offering some clarity. There is a new option on News feed items called "Why am I seeing this post?" This is an effort on Facebook's part to provide a bit of transparency into how it selects posts for viewing, and to give users more control over what they see. "This is the first time that we’ve... Read more...
Several weeks ago, a terrorist killed fifty people at the Al Noor Mosque and Linwood Islamic Centre in Christchurch, New Zealand. The horrific attack was streamed through Facebook Live and shared thousands of times through additional Facebook posts. Facebook Chief Operating Officer Sheryl Sandberg recently shared a letter with the New Zealand Herald that outlines the actions Facebook plans to take to police hate groups and hate speech. Sandberg noted that immediately after the attack, Facebook removed the video of the attack, shut down the terrorist’s Facebook and Instagram accounts, and used AI to delete related videos. Their efforts were not enough to prevent the terrifying footage from... Read more...
Facebook just can’t seem to keep its nose clean with respect to security and user privacy. The latest blunder was first reported on by KrebsonSecurity, which discovered that the social networking giant was storing user account passwords in plain text instead of hashing them. What’s more troubling about this discovery is that the passwords were readably accessible by Facebook employees, affecting accounts dating back to 2012. In total, over 20,000 Facebook employees had searchable access to the passwords, and the plain text folly affected between 200 million to 600 million users in total. Brian Krebs also dropped this interesting nugget in his blog post on the latest... Read more...
Facebook's services including its main website, Facebook Messenger, Instagram, and WhatsApp all suffered massive outages this week that left millions around the globe unable to connect. Facebook was quiet on the outage at first, only stating that a DDOS attack did not cause the outage. With Facebook offering no real insight into what caused the outage, speculation ran rampant. Possible causes for the outage were said to be an issue with an undersea cable or a BGP routing leak from a European ISP to a major transit ISP. The possibility that a BGP leak caused the outage was quickly ruled out. Facebook has now stepped up and offered the reason for the outage: it was all due to a server misconfiguration.... Read more...
Facebook's privacy practices and the amount of data it shares with other apps and device makers are a big problem for lots of people. Facebook has been in trouble with the FCC over privacy issues and faces a fine that could be in the billion dollar range. While losing a big chunk of cash to fines is certainly not something the social networking giant relishes, facing criminal charges is something that Facebook would like to avoid at all costs. A new report going around suggests that federal prosecutors are conducting a criminal investigation into Facebook's data sharing deals with other tech companies. A New York grand jury is on the case, and a pair of unnamed smartphone makers have had records... Read more...
Facebook catches flack frequently for poor privacy practices and questionable decisions, like not allowing people to opt out of phone number searches. The privacy violations could mean a massive fine in the billions of dollars for the social network. Despite all its criticisms, when the service goes down, people lose their minds. Facebook, Facebook Messenger, Instagram, and WhatsApp were all down for users around the world yesterday. The massive outage is the largest that the social network has suffered since 2008. The big difference between the disruption in 2008 and the one yesterday is the massive amount of growth for Facebook. There were 2.3 billion users impacted this week compared to 150... Read more...
Facebook seems to constantly deal with issues that have to do with privacy, many of which are specifically its own fault. Its privacy mess-ups could ultimately cost the company a record FTC fine in the billion dollar range. Facebook recently warned popular health apps that use its API to be sure they have legal justification for sharing personal data with Facebook, seemingly indicating that the data major health apps are sharing with it, is data it hasn't asked for. Facebook is now caught up in another privacy issue. This one has to do with the social network calling on users to secure their accounts with a phone number for additional two-factor authentication protection. The problem for users... Read more...
Dark Mode seems to be all the rage these days with desktop and mobile operating systems (and their complementing apps), and now Facebook is getting in on the action. The social network giant has now included a new dark mode in its popular Messenger app, and it’s relatively easy to enable.  The dark mode in Messenger can be accessed either with Android or iOS versions of the app, and you’ll first need to send the crescent moon emoji (clever) to one of your contacts (or to yourself), after which you’ll some fancy animations and a message telling you that you’ve found dark mode. You’ll be then given the option to enable it in settings, which should turn your... Read more...
Privacy is a big issue for users of the social network Facebook. The company has been called out for violating the privacy of users multiple times and faces fines that could be in the billions from the FTC. While Facebook will shutter one of its apps for privacy issues, called Onavo, there are still multiple third-party apps that collect all sorts of highly personal data, and shares that data with Facebook. Late last week a report surfaced that called out several apps that were sharing data on the health and fitness of users without permission. Four of those apps have stopped sending sensitive data, such as the weight of users and information on women's menstrual cycles, to Facebook. Apps noted... Read more...
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