Items tagged with Facebook

Is social media bad for you? A recent article suggests that Instagram can be harmful to teenagers. Instagram has fired back and argues that social media's influence is more nuanced.  The Wall Street Journal article notes that Facebook conducted several studies on the impact of social media over the last three years. These studies have reportedly concluded that Instagram in particular is harmful to young users due to the “comparative” nature of the app. Thirteen percent of British Instagram users and six percent of American users who reported suicidal thoughts stated that there was a connection between these thoughts and what they see on Instagram. Thirty-two percent... Read more...
Wondering if Mark Zuckerberg and the gang at Facebook are reading your encrypted WhatsApp messages? The social networking site insists it does not, as end-to-end encryption is what keeps everything private. Nevertheless, if you send a message through WhatsApp, it could still end up being read by a Facebook moderator. How so? End-to-end encryption basically means your data (messages, in this instance) gets scrambled in a way that appears as though it just a random mess of characters. There is a logical order, but unlocking the mystery requires a key, which only the sender and receiver possess. It's virtually unreadable to digital snoops, and that is the main appeal of WhatsApp. Earlier today,... Read more...
Facebook is making a virtual play in the remote collaborative workspace, with a new app for the Oculus Quest 2 called Horizon Workrooms. If you and your co-workers own a VR headset (and not just any VR headset, but specifically the Quest 2), this could offer an alternative to the usual suspects, including Zoom and Microsoft's Teams software. "Workrooms is our flagship collaboration experience that lets people come together to work in the same virtual room, regardless of physical distance. It works across both virtual reality and the web and is designed to improve your team’s ability to collaborate, communicate, and connect remotely, through the power of VR," Facebook explains. That could... Read more...
Facebook is reportedly pouring resources into research that would potentially allow it to analyze encrypted messages without actually decrypting the data, so that it can serve up targeted ads based on private communications. The technique is called homomorphic encryption. Should users of WhatsApp, the secure instant messaging service owned by Facebook, be concerned? WhatsApp boss Will Cathcart says no. WhatsApp is popular because its end-to-end encryption scheme renders messages unreadable by anyone outside of the sender and recipient. So even if the data is intercepted, it would just be a bunch of garbled text to the hacker, who would need a decryption key to make sense of it all. Homomorphic... Read more...
The social media market is constantly shifting and evolving, with new players entering the ring almost daily, it seems. However, just because you have been in the ring for a while does not mean you are at the head of the pack, as newcomer TikTok from ByteDance has now shown. The popular app has hit three billion downloads worldwide, a number Facebook and others have only recently hit after years on the market. As reported by SensorTower data, TikTok was “was the most downloaded and highest grossing non-game app globally in the first half of 2021, reaching nearly 383 million first-time installs and an estimated $919.2 million in consumer spending.” Though downloads have been on a slump... Read more...
Today, former President Donald Trump announced that he would be filing lawsuits against three of the biggest names in tech: Facebook, Twitter, and Google. Serving as lead plaintiff in the class-action suits, he claims that he has been “wrongfully censored” by the companies after his ban. As reported by the Associated Press, the suits have been filed in the U.S. District Court for Florida’s southern district. While this does not necessarily come as a surprise, it is certainly interesting, nonetheless. For context, former President Trump was banned from Facebook, Twitter, and YouTube in early January this year before he left office. This came after the Capitol attack of January... Read more...
Hopefully you are not one of the millions of people who have installed an app called PIP Photo onto your Android device. Why is that? While it may seem like a harmless and handy image editing app, it contains malware designed to covertly swipe a person's login credential for Facebook. Same goes for a handful of other Android apps. Each of the nine malicious apps discovered by researchers at Doctor Web contain a trojan that gets to work trying to trick users into coughing up their Facebook usernames and passwords. What makes the apps potentially effective is that they otherwise work as intended and expected. "The applications were fully functional, which was supposed to weaken the vigilance of... Read more...
While there may be funny and impressive deepfakes out there, the technology poses a risk to trustworthy media and public figures. However, companies are working to prevent this sort of thing by developing robust deep fake detection tools. Facebook is the latest to join the group through reverse engineering generative models from a single deepfake. As time goes on, figuring out whether an image is real or fake has become increasingly difficult as new deepfake generative models are created. For example, things could end poorly if the U.S. President were deepfaked into a video where he says something defamatory about another country, which could spark hostilities or even war if not identified. To... Read more...
In a move that might not sit well with some people, Facebook has begun testing in-game ads when using the Oculus Quest 2 VR headset. Dubbed an "experiment," Facebook is kicking things off in Blaston from Resolution Games, as well as a couple of other unspecified developers who will be beaming targeted ads at players in the coming weeks. "For now, this is a test with a few apps—once we see how this test goes and incorporate feedback from developers and the community, we’ll provide more details on when ads may become more broadly available across the Oculus Platform and in the Oculus mobile app, as well as guidance for businesses and developers interested in advertising on Oculus,"... Read more...
With mobile phone displays switching over to OLED panels, companies like Japan Display Inc., specializing in LCD screens, face the consequences. However, OLED panels are not perfect, nor can they do everything, such as displays in virtual and augmented reality headsets. The pixel density of LCDs simply cannot be matched with present technology or price, so that is what JDI is now focusing on in the fledgling VR and AR marketplace. Following the downturn in LCD sales to smartphone manufacturers, the Tokyo-based JDI believes that its display technology will become the standard for VR/AR as “it can achieve higher resolution than OLED while keeping costs reasonable,” as reported by Bloomberg.... Read more...
It's bad enough when a device you carry with you 24-7-365 breaks, but what if the people tasked with fixing your smartphone sully that experience by rummaging through your private photos? And to make matters worse, what if those same technicians uploaded said photos to the internet just for fun? Well, that's precisely what happened to a 21-year-old woman who has now reached a settlement with Apple over "severe emotional distress" caused after she sent her iPhone off for what she thought would be a relatively routine repair. The phone then arrived at a Pegatron-operated facility, which performs contract work for Apple. Rather than simply fix the unidentified woman's iPhone issues, two technicians... Read more...
Apple's iOS 14.5 was supposed to let users take back control over their data, or so the narrative goes, by preventing apps from tracking their every move. Apple has been banging that privacy drum for a long time now, and customers have taken the company at its word. In fact, you've likely already read our report that a full 95% of users have opted out of allowing Facebook's app to track their data since iOS 14.5 privacy changes launched a few short weeks ago. However, what's to stop Facebook from continuing to track you once the data winds up on their servers? Not much, as it turns out, but there are options for turning the screws down a bit more.  Do You Really Need Geotagging On For Sharing... Read more...
Do you remember discussing (or arguing) with your schoolteacher about how you would never use some of the lessons that they they taught? There were probably some things that you never used and simply forgot about, but what if you could never forget such extraneous information? As it turns out, AI and machine learning have this exact problem, but Facebook AI researchers are looking to tackle it by teaching AI to forget things. Typically, AI is rather good at various tasks, but when it comes to searching long-term memories, performance drops, and the cost of storage grows exponentially. This can be quite the problem as time goes on since we constantly take in new information that would need to... Read more...
The recent feud between Apple and Facebook has been well documented. The companies have been at odd for years, but tensions between the two came to a head most recently when Apple detailed its newest privacy guidelines at WWDC 2020. Those guidelines would force companies to disclose how a customer's data was being used by its apps and require users to Opt-In, to allow gathering of personal data. To date, apps have been able to leverage the Apple Identifier for Advertisers (IDFA) feature to analyze user data and provide targeted advertising. This week’s launch of iOS v14.5, however, changes the paradigm. Instead of having to jump through hoops to Opt-Out, with Apple’s latest iOS update,... Read more...
Facebook knows an awful lot about you, more so than it wants to let on. Sure, it is common knowledge that Facebook sells user data so advertisers can deliver targeted pitches—look up something in your browser and it won't be long before ads for similar items appear on your feed—but have you ever stopped to consider just how much Facebook knows about your likes and tendencies? The developers of Signal, a cross-platform encrypted messaging app (the same outfit that hacked the Cellebrite tool police use to crack iOS and Android phones), shared the kind of insight that is available to advertisers, prompting Facebook to ban their ad account. Signal tried using Instagram ads to show examples... Read more...
It does not seem Facebook will be able to catch a break this week after an accidental email revealed the company’s dismissive view of data leakage. The Silicon Valley social media company is facing a possible new leak after a researcher found he could link up to 5 million Facebook accounts to private email addresses daily. On Tuesday, a video made the rounds that showed a researcher, who remains anonymous, demonstrating a tool called “Facebook Email search v1.0.” This person explained to Ars Technica that as many as 5 million emails could be linked to Facebook accounts in a day, even if said emails were private on an account. Interestingly, the only reason we know of this leak... Read more...
Earlier this month, Facebook worked to downplay a data scraping operation that impacted nearly 533 million users on its social media platform. At that time, we viewed it as Facebook's attempt to simultaneously be evasive and attempt to save face. It seems this is legitimately Facebook's modus operandi; however, after an internal email explaining Facebook's long-term strategy involving the incident was accidentally leaked to a journalist.  Dating back to 2019, users' information, including names, birth date, gender, location, phone number, and email addresses, were available to be scraped off Facebook using a tool created by the social media company. While not all these pieces of data were... Read more...
Over the last week, we have reported on a Facebook data leak that released phone numbers, emails, date of birth, names, and more, impacting nearly 533 million users. This leak occurred in 2019 but recently came to light as it was being spread online for free, and Facebook did not handle the situation well. The social media company has now released a blog post explaining what happened, but is that enough, or is Facebook trying to shift the blame? Mike Clark, Product Management Director, penned a blog yesterday on Facebook's Newsroom explaining what was occurring with the leaked data. He stated that the data was not obtained through hacking but by "scraping it from [the] platform." Scraping... Read more...
It was a solid two-year run for the Oculus Rift S, which helped make VR gaming on PC a little more affordable (the headset launched at $399). These days, however, Facebook is far more interested in its wireless Oculus Quest 2 headset to serve the mainstream VR segment, and has ended production of the Rift S. Facebook may have come to the conclusion that it can consolidate its VR hardware portfolio, as there is no other Rift headset in the works that we are aware of. On the surface, that might sound like disappointing news for gamers who want to play on PC. But one thing that is neat about the Quest 2 is that even though it is a standalone headset, it can also optionally be plugged into a PC to... Read more...
It was recently revealed that the personal information of roughly 533 million Facebook users was leaked in August 2019. Unfortunately, Facebook has not provided a way to check if your personal information was compromised and has not stated whether it intends to do so in the future. However, there are a few third-party sources that can possibly confirm whether or not your information was part of the massive Facebook data leak. The information featured users' names, dates of birth, gender, location, listed places of work, phone numbers, and email addresses. Not all of the above information was leaked for each of the impacted users. Nevertheless, it is suspected that at least the phone number, Facebook... Read more...
As an iPhone user for the past several years, there have been times when I wished there was a way to side-load apps, without resorting to a process known as jailbreaking, which typically involves exploiting a vulnerability to to remove software restrictions. Well, guess what? It is not going to happen any time soon, or perhaps ever, considering Apple CEO Tim Cook's recent comments on the matter. It is an interesting topic, because side-loading gives way to third-party app stores. That would have all sorts of implications, not the least of which is potentially cutting into a major source of revenue for Apple, which collects a royalty charged to app developers (both for apps sold on the App Store,... Read more...
Personal data belonging to 533 million Facebook users has once again found itself leaked online, this time for free, which potentially opens it up to a lot more malicious eyeballs. That's not a good thing, obviously. In response, Facebook finds itself in damage control, posting the same tone-deaf response to multiple Twitter posts pointing to the leak. "This is old data that was previously reported on in 2019. We found and fixed this issue in 2019," Liz Bourgeois, Facebook's Director of Strategic Communications, posted several times in response to tweets linking to articles on the situation. We count at least five tweets with the same cringe-worthy response. It is true that it has been around... Read more...
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