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Apps Give Private Data To Facebook Without User’s Knowledge or Permission

Why does this surprise anyone? And it is not just data going to Facebook. Most of the apps we see on Android have such wide open permissions and no or awful privacy policies, that it astounds me anyone would use them. Why does a “torch” (flashlight) app need to be able read my contacts or have full internet access? That is just one example. Running a PC with out a strict application firewall these days is plainly crazy. But how many users run application firewalls on their mobile devices? They should.

Facebook needs to wound down. The best way to do that is to simply boycott any and all of their properties. Just say no to Facebook and all their properties like Messenger, Whatsapp, Instagram, Masquerade (MSQRD), Moves App, …

Well back to the news

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NPR’s Mary Louise speaks with The Wall Street Journal’s Sam Schechner about how several apps they tested sent sensitive personal data to Facebook without users’ permission or knowledge.

MARY LOUISE KELLY, HOST:

Let’s dig deeper now into how some of these apps are sharing users’ data without their knowledge. Laura mentioned The Wall Street Journal just there. It recently published another story headlined “You Give Apps Sensitive Personal Information. Then They Tell Facebook.” Sam Schechner is one of the reporters on the story, and I asked him what sensitive personal information we’re talking about here.

Facebook says that they offer services to the developers that send it. They offer analytic services so you can see how users are interacting with that app. And they allow the app developer to then target users of the app on Facebook properties with ads. It’s worth noting, however, that Facebook’s terms of service give it wide latitude to use that information for other purposes, such as targeting ads more generally, for personalizing their service, including the news feed, and for research and development.

SAM SCHECHNER: Well, it could be your weight, if you’re having your period, your height, your blood pressure. We saw all of that kind of information being transferred from apps directly to Facebook servers in testing that we ran over the last few months.

KELLY: Yeah, you give an example of an app that allows women to track when they’re getting their period and ovulation. They enter that in, and then it immediately gets fed straight over to Facebook.

SCHECHNER: Yeah. What we saw – and this was actually part of what set off the investigation. While we were doing the testing, I was entering information to the app, and I saw that it was immediately sending a notification that I had altered the dates of my period to Facebook.

KELLY: Your virtual period. I assume – (laughter) I’ll make a wild leap and assume here.

SCHECHNER: Sending the dates of my virtual period. I was using the app even though I don’t get one. And in addition, it would send a notification to Facebook when you entered pregnancy mode. The app would show kind of confetti on the screen. But behind the scenes, the app was informing Facebook that it was now in pregnancy status.

KELLY: Here’s the sentence from your article that stopped me cold. I’m just going to read it. (Reading) The social media giant collects intensely personal information from many popular smartphone apps just seconds after users enter it even if the user has no connection to Facebook. Really? I mean, even if I don’t have a Facebook account, this is happening.

SCHECHNER: Yes, that is correct. And the reason is ’cause apps build in software from Facebook in order to do all kinds of things, including to track their users’ behavior. And that software sends the data back to Facebook regardless of whether or not you’re a user. In fact, the app doesn’t have any way of knowing whether you’re a user when it sends the data.

KELLY: And what does Facebook say they are doing with this data?

SCHECHNER: Facebook says that they offer services to the developers that send it. They offer analytic services so you can see how users are interacting with that app. And they allow the app developer to then target users of the app on Facebook properties with ads. It’s worth noting, however, that Facebook’s terms of service give it wide latitude to use that information for other purposes, such as targeting ads more generally, for personalizing their service, including the news feed, and for research and development.

KELLY: Does it appear based on your reporting that regulators are sitting up and paying attention?

SCHECHNER: Well, already New York Governor Andrew Cuomo has directed state agencies to look into the matter. And already since our report, at least five of the apps that we highlighted have stopped sending the information that we highlighted to Facebook. And Facebook has sent out letters to those apps and other major app developers telling them to stop sending any health-related information or other potentially sensitive information.

KELLY: Did you find yourself changing settings or deleting apps as you reported this out?

SCHECHNER: I definitely did. I advised my wife to use a different app to track her own cycle, and I certainly made sure that, you know, when I exercise, I’m using apps that didn’t in my testing turn up to be sending this specific data. Of course I am a tech reporter, not a, you know, software engineer, so the likelihood is that I’m still being tracked. And in fact when I go on my phone, I see plenty of ads for exercise apps probably from the fact that I just went running.

KELLY: Wall Street Journal reporter Sam Schechner, thanks so much.

SCHECHNER: Thanks for having me.

Facebook apologizes for bug leaking private photos

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Hah hah hah – Facebook apologizes…deja vu (weekly)

Data gathering biz still having trouble keeping data secure

Why – because they do not want to. It is their business stupid!

Facebook on Friday apologized for a bug that may have exposed exposed private photos to third-party apps for the 12 day period from September 13 to September 25, 2018.

Yep you read that right – September 2018! Who do you think your fooling Zuckerberg (of …sorry, yes, of course, all the zuckers that use your site).

“We’re sorry this happened,” said Tomer Bar, Facebook engineering director, in a blog post intended for developers, noting that as many as 6.8 million users and 1,500 apps from by 876 developers may be affected.

Tomer explained that when a Facebook user grants permission for an app to access that individual’s photos on Facebook, the service should only grant access to photos shared on timelines.

Instead, the bug made photos shared elsewhere – in Marketplace or Facebook Stories – or uploaded but never posted available to developers’ apps, specifically those that had been approved by Facebook to use the photos API and by users.

Facebook intends to notify affected individuals, so they can check their photo apps for images that shouldn’t be there. And next week, the company says it will provide developers with a tool to determine which users of their apps may have been affected and to assist with the deletion of images that shouldn’t be there.

It was only a few days after the period of vulnerability, on September 28, that Facebook said a different bug had exposed as many as 90 million Facebook profiles to hackers, a figure it subsequently revised down to 30 million.

90 Million? Geez — no wonder miscreants have such an easy time influencing opinion.

In response to that incident, Guy Rosen, VP of product management, apologized.
This is getting to be a habit

The social data biz has apologized so often that its serial contrition came up when CEO Mark Zuckerberg testified before the House Energy and Commerce Committee in April.

Addressing Zuckerberg at the hearing, Rep. Jan Schakowsky (D-IL) said, “You have a long history of growth and success, but you also have a long list of apologies.” She then recited a partial litany of his mea culpas over the years:

“I apologize for any harm done as a result of my neglect.” – Harvard, 2003
“We really messed this one up.” – Facebook, 2006
“We simply did a bad job [with this release, and] I apologize for it.” – Facebook, 2007
“Sometimes we move too fast…” – Facebook, 2010
“I’m the first to admit we made a bunch of mistakes.” – Facebook, 2011
“[For those I hurt this year,] I ask forgiveness and I will try to be better.” Facebook, 2017

Schakowsky concluded from this that Facebook’s self-regulation doesn’t work.

No shit Jan — and no need to stop with them. It is the enter industry that has grown up mining, sharing and selling personal data that must be disassembled.

Legislative regulation may not be working either. Facebook in April, shortly after Zuckerberg’s Congressional testimony, made much of its effort to comply with Europe’s GDPR privacy regime.

“As soon as GDPR was finalized, we realized it was an opportunity to invest even more heavily in privacy,” said Erin Egan, veep and chief privacy officer of policy, and Ashlie Beringer, veep and deputy general counsel in a blog post at the time. “We not only want to comply with the law, but also go beyond our obligations to build new and improved privacy experiences for everyone on Facebook.”

Nonetheless, in response to complaints, the Irish Data Protection Commission has begun an investigation of the company’s privacy practices.

“The Irish DPC has received a number of breach notifications from Facebook since the introduction of the GDPR on May 25, 2018,” spokesperson for the watchdog said on Friday in an email to The Register. “With reference to these data breaches, including the breach in question, we have this week commenced a statutory inquiry examining Facebook’s compliance with the relevant provisions of the GDPR.”

Coming shortly after the British Parliament published a trove of Facebook emails about how the ad biz monetizes its user data, the investigation isn’t all that surprising.

The Register asked Facebook how users of the ad network should interpret the photo bug in light of CEO Mark Zuckerberg’s apology following the Cambridge Analytica scandal: “We have a responsibility to protect your data, and if we can’t then we don’t deserve to serve you. ”

We’ve not heard back.

Facebook Wielded Data to Reward, Punish Rivals, Emails Show

Is anyone surprised?

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Facebook Inc. wielded user data like a bargaining chip, providing access when that sharing might encourage people to spend more time on the social network — and imposing strict limits on partners in cases where it saw a potential competitive threat, emails show.

A trove of internal correspondence, published online Wednesday by U.K. lawmakers, provides a look into the ways Facebook bosses, including Chief Executive Officer Mark Zuckerberg, treated information posted by users like a commodity that could be harnessed in service of business goals. Apps were invited to use Facebook’s network to grow, as long as that increased usage of Facebook. Certain competitors, in a list reviewed by Zuckerberg himself, were not allowed to use Facebook’s tools and data without his personal sign-off.

In early 2013, Twitter Inc. launched the Vine video-sharing service, which drew on a Facebook tool that let Vine users connect to their Facebook friends. Alerted to the possible competitive threat by an engineer who recommended cutting off Vine’s access to Facebook data, Zuckerberg replied succinctly: “Yup, go for it.”

A spokeswoman for Twitter declined to comment.

In other cases Zuckerberg eloquently espoused the value of giving software developers more access to user data in hopes that it would result in applications that, in turn, would encourage people to do more on Facebook. “We’re trying to enable people to share everything they want, and to do it on Facebook,” Zuckerberg wrote in a November 2012 email. “Sometimes the best way to enable people to share something is to have a developer build a special purpose app or network for that type of content and to make that app social by having Facebook plug into it. However, that may be good for the world but it’s not good for us unless people also share back to Facebook and that content increases the value of our network.”

Break up Facebook (and while we’re at it, Google, Apple and Amazon)

Reich concludes “We must resurrect antitrust” – yes and we need to do that very fast.

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Big tech has ushered in a second Gilded Age. We must relearn the lessons of the first, writes the former US labor secretary

Last week, the New York Times revealed that Facebook executives withheld evidence of Russian activity on their platform far longer than previously disclosed. They also employed a political opposition research firm to discredit critics.

There’s a larger story here.

America’s Gilded Age of the late 19th century began with a raft of innovations – railroads, steel production, oil extraction – but culminated in mammoth trusts owned by “robber barons” who used their wealth and power to drive out competitors and corrupt American politics.

We’re now in a second Gilded Age – ushered in by semiconductors, software and the internet – that has spawned a handful of giant hi-tech companies.

Facebook and Google dominate advertising. They’re the first stops for many Americans seeking news. Apple dominates smartphones and laptop computers. Amazon is now the first stop for a third of all American consumers seeking to buy anything.

“Amazon the first stop..” — The main reason is that they have allowed illegal predatory pricing to drive out competition. And Amazon is usually never a good deal. Check it out carefully: Prime products are always more expansion than elsewhere even on the Amazon site. With Prime you pay twice. Brilliant!

This consolidation at the heart of the American economy creates two big problems.

First, it stifles innovation. Contrary to the conventional view of a US economy bubbling with inventive small companies, the rate at which new job-creating businesses have formed in the United States has been halved since 2004, according to the census.

A major culprit: big tech’s sweeping patents, data, growing networks and dominant platforms have become formidable barriers to new entrants.

The second problem is political. These massive concentrations of economic power generate political clout that’s easily abused, as the New York Times investigation of Facebook reveals. How long will it be before Facebook uses its own data and platform against critics? Or before potential critics are silenced even by the possibility?

America responded to the Gilded Age’s abuses of corporate power with antitrust laws that allowed the government to break up the largest concentrations.

President Teddy Roosevelt went after the Northern Securities Company, a giant railroad trust financed by JP Morgan and John D Rockefeller, the nation’s two most powerful businessmen. The US supreme court backed Roosevelt and ordered the company dismantled.

In 1911, President William Howard Taft broke up Rockefeller’s sprawling Standard Oil empire.

It is time to use antitrust again. We should break up the hi-tech behemoths, or at least require they make their proprietary technology and data publicly available and share their platforms with smaller competitors.

There would be little cost to the economy, since these giant firms rely on innovation rather than economies of scale – and, as noted, they’re likely to be impeding innovation overall.

But is this politically feasible? Unlike the Teddy Roosevelt Republicans, Trump and his enablers in Congress have shown little appetite for antitrust enforcement.

Republicans rhapsodize about the “free market” but have no qualms about allowing big corporations to rig it at the expense of average people. Yet as the late Robert Pitofsky, former chairman of the Federal Trade Commission, once noted: “Antitrust is a deregulatory philosophy. If you’re going to let the free market work, you’d better protect the free market.”

But the Democrats, for their part, have shown no greater appetite for antitrust – especially when it comes to big tech.

In 2012, the staff of the FTC’s bureau of competition submitted to the commissioners a 160-page analysis of Google’s dominance in the search and related advertising markets, and recommended suing Google for conduct that “has resulted – and will result – in real harm to consumers and to innovation”.

But the commissioners, most of them Democratic appointees, chose not to pursue the case.

The Democrats’ recent “better deal” platform, which they unveiled a few months before the midterm election, included a proposal to attack corporate monopolies in industries as wide-ranging as airlines, eyeglasses and beer. But, notably, the proposal didn’t mention big tech.

Maybe the Democrats are reluctant to attack the industry because it has directed so much political funding to Democrats. In the 2018 midterms, the largest recipient of big tech’s largesse, ActBlue, a fundraising platform for progressive candidates, collected nearly $1bn, according to the Center for Responsive Politics.

As the New York Times investigation makes clear, political power can’t be separated from economic power. Both are prone to abuse.

Antitrust law was viewed as a means of preventing giant corporations from undermining democracy. “If we will not endure a king as a political power,” thundered Ohio’s Senator John Sherman, the sponsor of the nation’s first antitrust law in 1890, “we should not endure a king over the production, transportation and sale” of what the nation produced.

In the second Gilded Age as in the first, giant firms at the center of the American economy are distorting the market and our politics.

We must resurrect antitrust.

Delay, Deny and Deflect: How Facebook’s Leaders Fought Through Crisis

A great article worth a full read! Here we have Facebook creating their own Fake News to cover up their disgusting unethical behavior. This is a long and excellent read and highly recommended. It shows clearly facebook’s pattern of covering up its faults with lobbyists, misinformation, and outright lies.

Note to advertises: Withdraw all advertising on Facebook. Let them die.
Note to Facebook users: Delete your account now

Some brief excerpts…but again, read entire article to see how this disgusting company operates.

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While Mr. Zuckerberg has conducted a public apology tour in the last year, Ms. Sandberg has overseen an aggressive lobbying campaign to combat Facebook’s critics, shift public anger toward rival companies and ward off damaging regulation. Facebook employed a Republican opposition-research firm to discredit activist protesters, in part by linking them to the liberal financier George Soros. It also tapped its business relationships, lobbying a Jewish civil rights group to cast some criticism of the company as anti-Semitic.

Anti-Semitic? Need any other proof of the amoral unethical behavior of Facebook? Disgusting. It is behavior that likes that leads to more anti-semitism. Shame!

In Washington, allies of Facebook, including Senator Chuck Schumer, the Democratic Senate leader, intervened on its behalf. And Ms. Sandberg wooed or cajoled hostile lawmakers, while trying to dispel Facebook’s reputation as a bastion of Bay Area liberalism.

This account of how Mr. Zuckerberg and Ms. Sandberg navigated Facebook’s cascading crises, much of which has not been previously reported, is based on interviews with more than 50 people. They include current and former Facebook executives and other employees, lawmakers and government officials, lobbyists and congressional staff members. Most spoke on the condition of anonymity because they had signed confidentiality agreements, were not authorized to speak to reporters or feared retaliation.

And now let’s see how they use misinformation to combat critics. It is clear that Facebook learned well from their Russian propaganda teachers.

In March, The Times, The Observer of London and The Guardian prepared to publish a joint investigation into how Facebook user data had been appropriated by Cambridge Analytica to profile American voters. A few days before publication, The Times presented Facebook with evidence that copies of improperly acquired Facebook data still existed, despite earlier promises by Cambridge executives and others to delete it.

Mr. Zuckerberg and Ms. Sandberg met with their lieutenants to determine a response. They decided to pre-empt the stories, saying in a statement published late on a Friday night that Facebook had suspended Cambridge Analytica from its platform. The executives figured that getting ahead of the news would soften its blow, according to people in the discussions.

They were wrong. The story drew worldwide outrage, prompting lawsuits and official investigations in Washington, London and Brussels. For days, Mr. Zuckerberg and Ms. Sandberg remained out of sight, mulling how to respond. While the Russia investigation had devolved into an increasingly partisan battle, the Cambridge scandal set off Democrats and Republicans alike. And in Silicon Valley, other tech firms began exploiting the outcry to burnish their own brands.

“We’re not going to traffic in your personal life,” Tim Cook, Apple’s chief executive, said in an MSNBC interview. “Privacy to us is a human right. It’s a civil liberty.” (Mr. Cook’s criticisms infuriated Mr. Zuckerberg, who later ordered his management team to use only Android phones — arguing that the operating system had far more users than Apple’s.)

Facebook scrambled anew. Executives quietly shelved an internal communications campaign, called “We Get It,” meant to assure employees that the company was committed to getting back on track in 2018.

Then Facebook went on the offensive. Mr. Kaplan prevailed on Ms. Sandberg to promote Kevin Martin, a former Federal Communications Commission chairman and fellow Bush administration veteran, to lead the company’s American lobbying efforts. Facebook also expanded its work with Definers.

On a conservative news site called the NTK Network, dozens of articles blasted Google and Apple for unsavory business practices. One story called Mr. Cook hypocritical for chiding Facebook over privacy, noting that Apple also collects reams of data from users. Another played down the impact of the Russians’ use of Facebook.

The rash of news coverage was no accident: NTK is an affiliate of Definers, sharing offices and staff with the public relations firm in Arlington, Va. Many NTK Network stories are written by staff members at Definers or America Rising, the company’s political opposition-research arm, to attack their clients’ enemies. While the NTK Network does not have a large audience of its own, its content is frequently picked up by popular conservative outlets, including Breitbart.

Mr. Miller acknowledged that Facebook and Apple do not directly compete. Definers’ work on Apple is funded by a third technology company, he said, but Facebook has pushed back against Apple because Mr. Cook’s criticism upset Facebook.

If the privacy issue comes up, Facebook is happy to “muddy the waters,” Mr. Miller said over drinks at an Oakland, Calif., bar last month.

Note to Sandberg: Take your money and retire from public life. The world will be a better place without your sleazy input.

Made and Distributed in the U.S.A.: Online Disinformation

with Facebook’s help of course!

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SAN FRANCISCO — When Christine Blasey Ford testified before Congress last month about Justice Brett M. Kavanaugh’s alleged sexual assault, a website called Right Wing News sprang into action on Facebook.

The conservative site, run by the blogger John Hawkins, had created a series of Facebook pages and accounts over the last year under many names, according to Facebook.

After Dr. Blasey testified, Right Wing News posted several false stories about her — including the suggestion that her lawyers were being bribed by Democrats — and then used the network of Facebook pages and accounts to share the pieces so that they proliferated online quickly, social media researchers said.

The result was a real-time spreading of disinformation started by Americans, for Americans.

What Right Wing News did was part of a shift in the flow of online disinformation, falsehoods meant to mislead and inflame. In 2016, before the presidential election, state-backed Russian operatives exploited Facebook and Twitter to sway voters in the United States with divisive messages. Now, weeks before the midterm elections on Nov. 6, such influence campaigns are increasingly a domestic phenomenon fomented by Americans on the left and the right.

“There are now well-developed networks of Americans targeting other Americans with purposefully designed manipulations,” said Molly McKew, an information warfare researcher at the New Media Frontier, a firm that studies social media.

Politics has always involved shadings of the truth via whisper campaigns, direct-mail operations and negative ads bordering on untrue. What is different this time is how domestic sites are emulating the Russian strategy of 2016 by aggressively creating networks of Facebook pages and accounts — many of them fake — that make it appear as if the ideas they are promoting enjoy widespread popularity, researchers said. The activity is also happening on Twitter, they said.

Reverb Press’s logo on its Facebook page shows that it has been verified by the social network.

The shift toward domestic disinformation raises potential free speech issues when Facebook and Twitter find and curtail such accounts that originate in the United States, an issue that may be sensitive before the midterms. “These networks are trying to manipulate people by manufacturing consensus — that’s crossing the line over free speech,” said Ryan Fox, a co-founder of New Knowledge, a firm that tracks disinformation.

This month, Twitter took down a network of 50 accounts that it said were being run by Americans posing as Republican state lawmakers. Twitter said the accounts were geared toward voters in all 50 states.

On Thursday, Facebook said it had identified 559 pages and 251 accounts run by Americans, many of which amplified false and misleading content in a coordinated fashion. The company said it would remove the pages and accounts. Among them were Right Wing News, which had more than 3.1 million followers, and left-wing pages that included the Resistance and Reverb Press, which had 240,000 and 816,000 followers.

Facebook said this amounted to the most domestic pages and accounts it had ever removed related to influence campaigns. The company said it had discovered the activity as part of its broader effort to root out election interference. Also, the pages had become more aggressive in using tactics like fake accounts and multiple pages to make themselves appear more popular.

“If you look at volume, the majority of the information operations we see are domestic actors,” said Nathaniel Gleicher, Facebook’s head of security. He added that the company was struggling with taking down the domestic networks because of the blurry lines between free speech and disinformation.

Mr. Gleicher said that the accounts and pages that Facebook took down on Thursday violated its rules about online spam and that many of the domestic organizations probably had financial motivations for spreading disinformation. The organization can make money by getting people to click on links in Facebook that then direct users to websites filled with ads. Once someone visits the ad-filled website, those clicks means more ad revenue.

But while traditional spam networks typically use celebrity gossip or stories about natural disasters to get people to click on links that take them to ad-filled sites, these networks were now using political content to attract people’s attention.

Just say no to Facebook

Soldiers in Facebook’s War on Fake News Are Feeling Overrun

Facebook – the sharp tool of mob psychology

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MANILA — The fictional news stories pop up on Facebook faster than Paterno Esmaquel II and his co-workers can stamp them out.

Rodrigo Duterte, the president of the Philippines, debated a Catholic bishop over using violence to stop illegal drugs — and won. Pope Francis called Mr. Duterte “a blessing.” Prince Harry and his new wife, Meghan Markle, praised him, too. None were true.

False news is so established and severe in the Philippines that one Facebook executive calls it “patient zero” in the global misinformation epidemic. To fight back in this country, the Silicon Valley social media giant has turned to Mr. Esmaquel and others who work for Rappler, an online news start-up with experience tackling fake stories on Facebook.

While Rappler’s fact checkers work closely with Facebook to investigate and report their findings, they believe the company could do much more.

Right – Facebook do more? Never – they rely on eyeballs for their advertising revenue. The best way to get more eyeballs/revenue is to allow spreading of sensationalist fake news.

“It’s frustrating,” said Marguerite de Leon, 32, a Rappler employee who receives dozens of tips each day about false stories from readers. “We’re cleaning up Facebook’s mess.”

On the front lines in the war over misinformation, Rappler is overmatched and outgunned — and that could be a worrying indicator of Facebook’s effort to curb the global problem by tapping fact-checking organizations around the world. Civil society groups have complained that Facebook’s support is weak. Others have said the company doesn’t offer enough transparency to tell what works and what doesn’t.

Facebook says it has made strides but acknowledges shortcomings. It doesn’t have fact checkers in many places, and is only beginning to roll out tools that would scrutinize visual memes, like text displayed over an image or a short video, sometimes the fastest ways that harmful misinformation can spread.

Paterno Esmaquel II, a Rappler reporter, said the false stories on Facebook just kept coming. “We kill one,” he said, “and another one crops up.”CreditJes Aznar for The New York Times

“This effort will never be finished, and we have a lot more to do,” said Jason Rudin, a Facebook product manager.

For fact checkers themselves, the work takes a toll. Members of Rappler’s staff have received death and rape threats. Rappler brought in a psychologist. It debated bulletproofing the windows and installed a second security guard.

The way to end this is to end Facebook and the way to end Facebook is to delete your account.

Facebook pulls ‘snoopy’ Onavo VPN from Apple’s App Store after falling foul of rules

Just say no to Facebook, they will never change, they can’t, because your private data is their product.

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Facebook has pulled its data-snaffling Onavo VPN from Apple’s App Store after the iGiant said the tech violated recently tightened rules.

Onavo is a free VPN app that pipes user traffic through Facebook systems under the pretext of protecting surfers from malware-tainted websites and other threats. The app, which the social network acquired in 2013, sends users’ data back to Facebook, even when the app is turned off.

Security advocates have blasted Onavo for being a privacy threat, as previously reported. Onavo Protect was separately criticised for allegedly harvesting users’ psychological profiles.

Facebook has been accused of using the data gathered through the app to track rivals and provide pointers on new product development. Data from Onavo lit the way for its 2014 purchase of WhatsApp as well as the social network’s excursion into live video in 2016.

Apple updated its App Store guidelines in June to ban “[collecting] information about which other apps are installed on a user’s device for the purposes of analytics or advertising/marketing”. Apple also informed Facebook that Onavo violated developer rules that prevent apps from using data beyond what’s needed to deliver the service on offer, The Wall Street Journal reported

Break up Facebook up

Since the users of Facebook will never take action to fix their addiction, perhaps it is time for regulators to step in. The history of egregious breaches of public trust and leaks of privacy at Facebook demand action.

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When the government broke up the telephone system in 1984, the fact that AT&T could count most citizens as customers and that it was arguably the best-run telephone company in the world was not deemed compelling enough to preserve its monopoly power. The breakup would unleash a wave of competition and innovation that ultimately benefited consumers and the economy.

Facebook seems to be in a similar position today — only with far greater global reach than Ma Bell could have imagined. Facebook’s two billion monthly active users, and the way those accounts are linked and viewed by users and by third parties, have made it the most powerful communications and media company in the world, even if its chief executive, Mark Zuckerberg, insists his is a technology business.

And that power is being abused. As The New York Times reported Tuesday, Facebook shared data with at least four Chinese electronics firms, including one flagged by American officials as a national security threat. We learned earlier this week, thanks to a Times investigation, that it allowed phone and other device makers, including Amazon, Apple, Samsung and Microsoft, to see vast amounts of your personal information without your knowledge. That behavior appears to violate a consent order that Facebook agreed to with the Federal Trade Commission in 2011, after Facebook was found to have made repeated changes to its privacy settings that allowed the company to transfer user data without bothering to inform the users. And it follows the even darker revelation that Facebook allowed a trove of information, including users’ education levels, likes, locations, and religious and political affiliations, to be exploited by the data mining firm Cambridge Analytica to manipulate potential voters for its Republican Party clients.

Throughout its history, Facebook has adamantly argued that it treats our data, and who has access to it, as a sort of sacred trust, with Zuckerberg & Company being the trustees. Yet at the same time, Facebook has continued to undermine privacy by making it cumbersome to opt out of sharing, trying to convince users that we actually do want to share all of our personal information (and some people actually do) and by leaving the door unlocked for its partners and clients to come in and help themselves. Those partners have included 60 device makers that used application programming interfaces, also known as A.P.I.s, so Facebook could run on their gadgets.

In Facebook’s view those partners functioned as extensions of the Facebook app itself and offered similar privacy protections. And the company said that most of this intrusive behavior happened a decade ago, when mobile apps barely existed and Facebook had to program its way onto those devices. “We controlled them tightly from the get-go,” said Facebook’s Ime Archibong, vice president for product partnerships, in a response to The Times’s article. Yet a Times reporter was able to retrieve information on 295,000 Facebook users using a five-year-old BlackBerry.

Facebook Gave Data Access to Chinese Firm Flagged by U.S. Intelligence

Suprise Surprise Surprise! Just say no to Facebook!

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Facebook has data-sharing partnerships with at least four Chinese electronics companies, including a manufacturing giant that has a close relationship with China’s government, the social media company said on Tuesday.

The agreements, which date to at least 2010, gave private access to some user data to Huawei, a telecommunications equipment company that has been flagged by American intelligence officials as a national security threat, as well as to Lenovo, Oppo and TCL.

The four partnerships remain in effect, but Facebook officials said in an interview that the company would wind down the Huawei deal by the end of the week.

Facebook gave access to the Chinese device makers along with other manufacturers — including Amazon, Apple, BlackBerry and Samsung — whose agreements were disclosed by The New York Times on Sunday.

The deals were part of an effort to push more mobile users onto the social network starting in 2007, before stand-alone Facebook apps worked well on phones. The agreements allowed device makers to offer some Facebook features, such as address books, “like” buttons and status updates.