How Facebook Screwed Us All

Mother Jones has published an article by Monika Bauerlein and Clara Jeffery that I will suggest should be required reading for every Facebook user.

“A country riven by ethnic tension. Spontaneous protests driven by viral memes. Violence and riots fueled by hateful fake-news posts, often about “terrorism” by marginalized groups.

“It’s a story we’ve seen play out around the world recently, from France and Germany to Burma, Sri Lanka, and Nigeria. The particulars are different—gas prices were the trigger in France, lies about machete attacks in Nigeria—but one element has been present every time: Facebook. In each of these countries, the platform’s power to accelerate hate and disinformation has translated into real-world violence.”

You can read the full story at:

Facebook’s Former Chief of Security Says: Shifting to Private Messaging could be Facebook’s Smartest Move at this Point

Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg made a bombshell announcement earlier this week that his company would pivot to a “privacy-focused communications platform” that prioritizes encrypted private messaging and groups over public-facing posts and the algorithm-driven News Feed.

According to the company’s former security chief, Alex Stamos, the move could mean that some of Facebook’s toughest issues around moderating speech and curbing bad behavior effectively disappear. “Mark Zuckerberg decided he can’t be in the middle anymore. The middle is where you lose continuously,” Stamos told a crowd at Vox Media’s SXSW event series in Austin, referring to Facebook’s attempt to straddle a line between strictly controlling speech and behavior on its platform and allowing for freedom of expression.

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Check if Your Android VPN is Collecting Personal Data

It’s bad enough when various web sites collect your personal data and then resell it. However, it is despicable when apps do the same thing and probably doubly despicable when an app that reportedly secures your privacy instead violates it without telling you what it is doing. The folks at The Best VPN performed an audit into the permissions asked by 81 Android VPN apps available in the Google Play Store. What they found is unsettling: several readily available VPN apps may be accessing more data than they should be.

The results? You never want to use Yoga VPN or oVPNSpider as they had the highest number of unnecessary permissions, including highly sensitive information like specific location data, access to your phone’s status, and read/write permissions for both internal and external storage. oVPNSpider even asks for access to read your log files, which The Best VPN notes was previously disabled for third-party app due to the high level of security risks associated with access to such files.

Other Android VPNs deemed unsafe by The Best VPN’s testing include:

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There are 15 Million Fewer Facebook Users in the U.S. Today than in 2017

Some people have seen the light. New numbers from Edison Research show an estimated 15 million fewer users in the United States compared to 2017. There are 15 million fewer Facebook users in the U.S. today than in 2017.

The biggest drop is in the very desirable 12- to 34-year-old group. Marketplace Tech got a first look at Edison’s latest social media research. It revealed almost 80 percent of people in the U.S. are posting, tweeting or snapping, but fewer are going to Facebook.

Details may be found at:

Revealed: Facebook’s Global Lobbying Against Data Privacy Laws

While promising more privacy in the future, Facebook’s senior management has simultaneously been lobbying politicians around the world, promising investments and incentives while seeking to pressure them into lobbying on Facebook’s behalf against data privacy legislation.

Perhaps the company should be renamed to

You can read about the recent exposure of secret, backroom lobbying in an article by Carole Cadwalladr and Duncan Campbell in The Guardian at:

Leaked Documents Show the U.S. Government Tracking Journalists and Immigration Advocates Through a Secret Database

There’s no surprise here. It is well known that the U.S. government secretly tracks citizens and non-citizens alike. Some attorneys claim this is illegal and even unconstitutional. (I’ll leave it to the attorneys to argue those points.) Now a secret tracking database has been exposed.

The newly-exposed documents detail an intelligence-gathering effort by the United States and Mexican authorities, targeting more than 50 people including journalists, an attorney, and immigration advocates.

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Has Zuckerberg Finally Seen the Light?

Mark Zuckerberg

I’ll believe this when I see it implemented. Yes, I’m a pessimist, but Zuckerberg’s history at Facebook has always been the opposite of this new announcement. Now Mark Zuckerberg claims that Facebook will take new steps to protect the privacy of its more than 2 billion monthly users. The Facebook CEO and co-founder posted a nearly 3,300-word manifesto Wednesday, outlining a new vision for privacy on the world’s biggest social platform.

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