Items tagged with (NASDAQ:FB)

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 Oculus was one of the pioneers with respect to modern virtual reality (VR) headsets with the original Rift, and now the company is ready to deliver an evolutionary successor in the form of the Rift S. The Oculus Rift S represents a mixed bag on the specs front compared to its predecessor and was developed in conjunction with Lenovo. This time around, the maximum resolution has been bumped up slightly from 1080x1200 per eye to 1280x1440 per eye. In addition, lens quality has been improved for better optics (and less eye strain/fatigue). Pupillary distance is no longer a manual adjustment; it is now down in software according to Oculus. Interestingly though, the refresh... 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...
Would you like to win free airline flights for an entire year? Well, JetBlue is giving you the chance, though it comes with one very big caveat, or a very small one, depending on how active you are on Instagram. To claim your entry, you must first delete all (yes, ALL!) of your Instagram photos. Oh, but "don't worry," Jet Blue says, because "if you win you'll be able to post pics from everywhere" the airline flies. In other words, you are essentially being asked to turn your Instagram account into an ongoing ad campaign for JetBlue, and the airline does not want anything else mucking it up. It's not clear exactly why JetBlue wants your account all to its own—perhaps the requirement to nuke... 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...
Is Instagram gunning for Pinterest’s user base? A security researcher recently discovered new details for public Collections in Instagram's code. This feature would help Instagram directly compete with Pinterest and provide new money-making opportunities for Instagram creators. Instagram launched their “Collections” feature over two years ago. This feature allows users to save and organize posts from their Instagram feed. For better or for worse, these Collections are currently private. Users can click on “See more like this” to find posts similar to the ones in their particular Collections, but they cannot view other users’ Collections. If a user would like... Read more...
Facebook is notorious for disrespecting users’ privacy. Users have plenty of reasons to be suspicious of the social media site, thanks to the Cambridge Analytica scandal, the most recent privacy breach, and everything in between. The social media giant is thankfully now taking a step in the right direction by removing their Onavo VPN app from the Google Play store. The Onavo VPN can no longer be found in the Google Play store and Facebook has stopped recruiting potential users. Facebook promises that the app will be completely shut down, although they have not provided a final date. They will continue to offer their virtual private network (VPN) for the time being until users can find a... Read more...
Facebook had an incredibly rough 2018. The company was rocked by the Cambridge Analytica scanda lthat it initially tried to suppress, but eventually made its way to the light of day. Cambridge Analytica was able to access personal details on nearly 90 million of Facebook customers without their permission. Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg CEO Mark Zuckerberg was eventually dragged to Capitol Hill to sit before a congressional firing squad to explain what went wrong, but by all accounts was able to dodge any serious wounds from the well-publicized hearing. Since that time, representatives for Facebook have been meeting with officials from the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) to agree... Read more...
Have you ever sent a message that you instantly regretted? Facebook Messenger now allows you to unsend your typo-ridden, impulsive messages. The catch? You will only have ten minutes to remove the message. Users will need to open the Facebook Messenger app on their desktop, laptop, or smart device and open the conversation with the desired message. They will need to press and hold the message if they are using a smartphone or select the three dots icon if they are on a desktop or laptop. Users must then select “remove” or “remove for everyone” next to the message. The “remove for everyone” feature will guarantee that the message will be deleted from the inbox... Read more...
Facebook is the largest social networking site on the planet, but if comparing market caps, Apple is nearly twice as big. They are not direct competitors, of course, but the relevance here is that Apple wields considerable power, and it reminded Facebook of this earlier this week when it revoked the social network's developer privileges on iOS. It's not clear if the ban is a temporary (likely) or permanent (unlikely) one. Either way, it is an interesting power play on Apple's part. So, what exactly happened? Earlier this week, it was widely reported that Facebook was paying teenagers and adults to install an app called Facebook Research VPN. In a sense, it's spyware (not technically), or at least... Read more...
Facebook just can't put itself in a good light lately. A new report has shined a bright light on a Facebook policy that was paying people to install something called the Facebook Research VPN. Facebook allegedly paid teens and and adult users to install the VPN, which allowed the company to collect all the user's phone and web activity at all times.  Facebook had a similar app called Onavo Protect that was banned by Apple last summer. The new Facebook Research VPN app is said to potentially violate Apple privacy policy, and was available for Android devices as well. Facebook admitted to TechCrunch that it was running the research program and had since 2016. The social network was paying... Read more...
Facebook recently revealed that it is working on cross-platform messaging between its three social media apps. Although the software rewrite is still in its infancy, it was immediately met with criticism and apprehension. Facebook’s intention of merging their messaging services has spurred concerns about privacy and calls for antitrust regulation. The New York Times reported last week that Facebook was developing software that would merge WhatsApp, Instagram, and Facebook Messenger. The apps would remain separate, but their messaging services would be interoperable. Facebook’s goal is to increase user engagement and discourage users from turning to other messaging platforms. The software... Read more...
Facebook currently fosters three popular platforms that are [for the most part] distinct from its eponymous social network: Facebook Messenger, WhatsApp and Instagram. All three platforms feature their own respective messaging component; Instagram users, for instance, can't use the app to contact users on WhatsApp. That will all change in the future, as Facebook is reportedly in the process of rebuilding its software infrastructure to allow cross-platform messaging from any of its standalone properties to another. According to reporting by the New York Times, the software rewrite is currently in its infancy and might not be made public until late 2019 or early 2020. By tying its various... Read more...
Facebook has found itself facing the ire or many users and even the federal government with a potentially record-breaking FTC fine coming for the social network over privacy violations. Facebook also found itself accused of using the viral Facebook 10-year challenge to feed its AI, something it denies. A new report is making the rounds that Facebook is working on something new to woo younger crowds that flock to the web just for laughs. A new meme service called LOL is reportedly in the works as an attempt to reach teens and lure them to the social network. The social media giant has faced an increasingly difficult time luring in younger users who instead turn to alternatives like Instagram.... Read more...
A popular meme that has been making the rounds is the 10-year challenge in which people on social media (and primarily Facebook) post side-by-side pictures of themselves, one from a decade ago and a recent photo, to see how they have aged. Some have hypothesized that Facebook started the meme as a sneaky way of feeding data into an artificial intelligence (AI) algorithm, though the social media giant has outright denied the allegation. "The 10-year challenge is a user-generated meme that started on its own, without our involvement. It's evidence of the fun people have on Facebook, and that's it," Facebook stated in a Twitter post. Let's not gloss over the fact that Facebook has a Twitter account,... Read more...
Memes are a big part of the web, especially on social media, and they serve different purposes. Humor is the primary reason memes exist, obviously, but they can also be used to make political statements and to share satirical thoughts. Could they also be used to harvest user data, though? That is a question that has been raised in response to the 10-year profile picture challenge that has gone viral on Facebook. You have probably seen this one already—the 'challenge' is to post your first profile picture alongside your most recent one to compare how much you have changed over the years. Oftentimes, there is a fixed data applied to the challenge, usually 10 years, though some participants... Read more...
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