Items tagged with Facebook

Facebook has been fighting with the U.S. government and the governments of other countries over end-to-end encryption plans that would block anyone, Facebook included, out of chat conversations on Instagram, WhatsApp, and Facebook Messenger. The Federal government doesn't like that as it says that encrypting everything gives abusers a place to practice their craft without fear of being caught by authorities. Facebook's WhatsApp already has end-to-end encryption, but the social network wants to apply that to Facebook Messenger and Instagram. At a Senate Judiciary Committee hearing, Sen. Lindsey Graham said that if Facebook didn't add the backdoor, "we're going to do this for you." In response,... Read more...
Facebook is testing a new data tool that will enable its users to more easily transfer their uploaded photos over to Google Photos, if that is what they want to do. It is actually available right now to people in Ireland. Worldwide availability is planned for the first half of 2020, and in the meantime, Facebook said it will continue making refinements to the tool. "We want to build practical portability solutions people can trust and use effectively. To foster that trust, people and online services need clear rules about what kinds of data should be portable and who is responsible for protecting that data as it moves to different services. We hope this product can help advance conversations... Read more...
In this day and age, online account security is constantly under attack by nefarious parties that are looking to settle scores, makes a few bucks, or simply trying to make a name for themselves. 2K Games found this out the hard way last night after a number of its social media accounts were hacked in a massive security breach for the game publisher. Not only was the company's Facebook account compromised, but its Twitter profile was also taken over by foul-mouthed pranksters. One social media account being compromised is bad enough, but this was a coordinated attack across multiple mediums, which is much more troubling security problem for 2K Games. Messages posted to Facebook and Twitter consisted... Read more...
John Carmack is a legend in the gaming world best know by gamers for his work at id Software. Carmack left id to pursue a position with Oculus and work on the Oculus Rift VR headset. Carmack has announced via Facebook that starting this week he is moving into a "consulting CTO" position with Oculus. He says that he will still "have a voice in the development work" but notes that the endeavor will consume "a modest slice of my time." As for what Carmack plans to do with the remainder of his time, he intends to work on artificial general intelligence (AGI). Carmack notes that in all the things he has done in games, aerospace, and VR, he has always felt that he had "at least a vague line of sight"... Read more...
Facebook is a company that is no stranger to controversy, privacy lapses, or downright bizarre behavior that has drawn the ire of users and politicians on Capitol Hill. The company's latest misstep is likely to further tarnish the company, which just hasn't been able to catch a break during 2019. There is apparently a "bug" in the current version of the Facebook app for iOS that results in some pretty atypical behavior. According to Joshua Maddux, who first discovered the oddity and posted video evidence to Twitter, the Facebook app is actively querying the iPhone's camera in the background when scrolling through the News Feed.  If you have an iPhone, and have given the app access... Read more...
Facebook continues to be unable to keep data on its users safe from developers who shouldn't have access to that information. The social network notes that since April of 2018, it has been reviewing the ways that developers can use Facebook to share data with outside companies. Since that time, it has removed or restricted developer APIs like the Groups API, but it has found that 100 developers still accessed this data for longer than it intended. Facebook's Konstantinos Papamiltiadis wrote in a blog post that Facebook found, as part of an ongoing review, that some apps retained access to group member information, like names and profile pictures, in connection with group activity from the Groups... Read more...
Artificial intelligence has frequently been used to better identify people and objects. But can AI also be used to mask someone’s identity? Facebook recently announced that it has created video de-identification technology that can hide people from facial recognition. Facebook has combined an “adversarial autoencoder” and a “trained-face classifier”. An autoencoder is an artificial neural network that learns a representation for a set of data unsupervised. Adversarial autoencoders were introduced in 2016 and are able to “match the aggregated posterior of the hidden code vector of the autoencoder with an arbitrary prior.” Classifiers typically use an algorithm... Read more...
Facebook's attempt to create a cryptocurrency appears to be stillborn as major partners are pulling out of the project. PayPal backed out of the project recently, and now reports indicate most of the other major backers have walked away. Facebook has now lost the backing of Mastercard, Visa, eBay, and Stripe. Regulators around the world have put the Libra project under a microscope for months. Facebook announced its Libra project in June and intended to have the cryptocurrency available in 2020. The plan was to integrate Libra into Facebook services and use the currency for e-commerce transactions on its platform and others. Initially, there were several major backers of the project, and those... Read more...
How do you get to Sesame Street? Dr. Priscilla Chan and Mark Zuckerberg may hold the key. The Chan Zuckerberg Initiative’s Primary School is working alongside the Sesame Workshop to offer a new education curriculum.  The Primary School and Sesame Workshop have been working together on this new curriculum over the last two years. They have tested the curriculum at The Primary School’s site in East Palo Alto, California. The program is centered on the “whole child” approach, which concentrates on a student’s academic, cognitive, social-emotional, physical, and mental needs. The new curriculum is particularly focused on integrating “social emotional learning... Read more...
Many companies are working hard to improve their artificial intelligence (AI) capabilities. AI could impact everything from medicine to silly Instagram overlays and everything in between. Amazon, Apple, Facebook, and Google are all toiling to gain an edge in the AI field by leveraging their massive treasure troves of data, but what are their existing privacy policies and user data security track records? Which of these companies cares the most about protecting your privacy? Should you even trust Amazon, Apple, Facebook, or Google with your data? We examined the kind of data that is collected by the above companies and how it is shared, their virtual assistants, and privacy controls. We also reviewed... Read more...
Facebook is making a major investment into mind control, and while that would normally scare the spit out of us, we are actually optimistic about this latest venture. Or acquisition, we should say—Facebook has agreed to acquire CTRL-labs, a brain-computing startup that developed a wristband users can control with their minds. Following the acquisition, CTRL-labs will join the Facebook Reality Labs team. The goal is to flesh out technology that allows for interacting with devices in "more natural, intuitive ways." How exactly this will manifest remains to be seen, though Facebook seems intrigued by the idea of a neural wristband. "The vision for this work is a wristband that lets people... Read more...
Do you remember the Facebook Phone, aka the HTC First? That device crashed and burned in spectacular fashion. What about the Facebook Portal? That smart display family launched last year in sizes up to 15.6-inches, but it hasn't exactly won over the consumer market like competing entries from Amazon (Echo Show) and Google (Nest Home Hub Max). Facebook is now trying again to prod consumers into buying its first-party hardware, which brings us to the Portal TV and some other new Portal hardware. The Portal TV looks somewhat like a reincarnation of the unloved Microsoft Kinect camera for the original Xbox One. The device plugs into a free HDMI port on your television and allows you to partake... Read more...
In the infinite wisdom of Facebook, the world's largest social network felt it necessary to put a call out to Android and iOS users—practically every person with a mobile phone—to pay attention to new location controls being rolled out to their devices from Google and Apple, respectively, because simply put, "Facebook is better with location" tracking. The rather blunt blog post by Facebook explains some of the ways users might benefit when allowing Facebook to track their location, including the background when not actively using the Facebook application. "It powers features like check-ins and makes planning events easier. It helps improve ads and keep you and the Facebook community... Read more...
Anyone who has a Facebook or Instagram page and thinks that posts they make to a private account are actually private may be disappointed. Photos and videos that are put into private accounts on Instagram and Facebook are still vulnerable to a straightforward workaround that allows any of that content to be shared. The workaround also enables the sharing of Instagram Stories content as well. A user only needs a very basic understanding of HTML to exploit the workaround and the ability to make a few clicks. The user simply needs to inspect the images and videos that are loaded on the page and pull the source URL from the page. That public URL can be shared with people who aren't logged into Instagram... Read more...
Earlier this week, we brought you news that Facebook had yet another epic privacy fail after information pertaining to hundreds of millions of users was found on an external server. The server was fully exposed and publicly accessible, leaving roughly 420,000 million Facebook IDs and their associated phone numbers available for anyone to peruse and use for their own nefarious deeds. This revelation came after a string of privacy and security goofs by Facebook, so a new safeguard that the company is putting in place might put some of its regular users at peace. Facebook announced this week that it will allow its users to opt-out of some facial recognition features available on the site.... Read more...
Facebook must once again deal with the repercussions of a major security blunder. An exposed server recently published more than 419 million phone numbers and Facebook IDs. At least 133 million of those phone numbers were based in the United States. Anyone could have accessed the information before the server was finally taken down. Security researcher Sanyam Jain was the first to find the exposed server. The server was not owned by Facebook, but still contained users’ Facebook IDs and phone numbers. A Facebook ID is a public number that is associated with an account. The number often contains portions of a person’s Facebook name and it is not difficult to determine the owner of the... Read more...
When we think of Minecraft, we think of an addictive game that allows us to escape the rigors of everyday life to embark in a simplistic, virtualized world that is both fun and engaging. However, Facebook sees Minecraft as more than just mere child's play -- in fact, it's using the game as a training ground of sorts for its AI assistant. Team members from Facebook Research are using the 3D sandbox game because of its near limitless ability to create and rules that are "simple and predictable within certain limits" according to MIT Technology Review. This simplicity makes Minecraft a perfect fit for a generalist AI assistant. Facebook researcher Arthur Szlam and his team have crafted an AI... Read more...
Much like Apple, Google, and Amazon have admitted to paying contractors to listed to audio from their respective digital assistants, Facebook is now coming clean about its own similar practice. In a new report today, Facebook confirmed that it has been using paid contractors to listen to audio clips obtained from users of its highly popular Messenger chat app. It also claims that it has since ceased its program. Messenger offers an optional feature that has the ability to transcribe spoken audio to text. For those that opted-in to the feature, Facebook's contractors had the ability to listen in on those conversations in order to provide more accurate transcriptions. There are obvious... Read more...
It already seems like big tech companies can read our minds—it's a bit eerie to see an ad for something that we were thinking about. You can chalk those instances up to a combination of fancy predicative algorithms and coincidence. Nevertheless, Facebook is actually developing a brain-computer interface (BCI) that can actually transcribe your thoughts into written text. Sounds like the stuff of science fiction, right? Not that long ago, it would have been. But it is an actual project at Facebook Reality Labs, and it has been a point of focus since at least 2017. Facebook is also not alone in this kind of research—a start-up called CRTL-labs has been dabbling in BCI technologies for... Read more...
Facebook launched its chat service aimed at kids under 13-years-old in 2017, touting the app as having strict privacy controls that allowed parents to control who their kids talked to. However, the Messenger Kids app failed to deliver on the promise of strict parental and privacy controls. Facebook has reportedly sent messages to parents of users of the app to inform them that there was "a technical error" that allowed the friend of a child to create a group chat within the app that would invite one or more of the second child's friends to a group conversation. Essentially this allowed the child to talk to friends of their approved friends, without parental permission or vetting. Facebook has... Read more...
An Israeli company that managed to hack WhatsApp earlier this year is now claiming it has developed new software that can stealthily swipe cloud data from Amazon, Apple, Facebook, Google, and Microsoft. It can even bypass two-factor authentication and warning emails on target devices. Developed by NSO Group, the software is called Pegasus. Apparently it has been used for several years by various governments and spy agencies to gather data from smartphones, presumably from people of interest for one reason or another. The latest iteration, however, extends past smartphones and can pluck data from the cloud. People who are supposedly familiar with NSO Group's sales pitch told Financial Times that... Read more...
Facebook is no stranger to privacy and security issues; it seems at every turn, a new report is surfacing that claims that some new mishandling of user data has taken place. The most significant privacy outcry Facebook has taken on, happened last year with the Cambridge Analytica fiasco that landed CEO Mark Zuckerberg in front of Congress to talk about how the company handles user data. Facebook admitted that Cambridge Analytica improperly accessed data of 87 million Facebook users and now the FTC has approved a settlement with Facebook on its Cambridge Analytica privacy scandal. The FTC has approved a settlement with Facebook that amounts to about a $5 billion in fine, according to a person... Read more...
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