Pages with tag Facebook

Cambridge Analytica illegally kept a massive trove user data from Facebook, worked with Russians

Cambridge Analytica, funded by the Mercer Family for manipulating the public to a hard-line-right-wing political, illegally collected a massive trove of Facebook user data, then used Big Data techniques to develop highly targeted advertising meant to influence public opinion. The company was founded when a young computer science researcher focusing on big data machine learning techniques met the Mercers, who promised to give him a free hand and fund his research. What resulted was a massive information warfare weapon used by the Mercer's, and their puppet at Breitbart News Steve Bannon, to manipulate public opinion.

Oh ... and ... there are Kremlin/Putin-connected Russians mixed all through the story.

The issue here for Techsparx readers is a big warning -- when we play those silly games on social media networks, pay close attention to the access being requested. What Cambridge Analytica did is create viral games that then collected data from not only the Facebook profile of the person who played the game, but all their friends, and all their likes, and postings, and everything else.

Cambridge Analyticas abuse of Facebooks data causing worldwide outrage at Facebook

Last weekend it was revealed that Cambridge Analytica and the SCL Group schemed to ..er.. steal may be the correct word .. data from tens or hundreds of millions of Facebook users. Funded by the Mercer Family for manipulating the public to a hard-line-right-wing political agenda, Cambridge Analytica's efforts were used for manipulating the 2016 US Elections, and the company may be at work manipulating other elections. The technology used by the company involves collecting vast amounts of user preferences data, into a big database, and applying modern Big Data algorithms and Machine Learning algorithms to then know how to target personalized advertising directly at individual Facebook users. It's one thing to use this to sell more soap or tobacco, it's yet another thing when the aim is electing political leaders.

Facebook now has a huge target painted on its chest, with politicians and others aiming anger and regulatory oversight at Facebook.

The issue here for Techsparx readers is a big warning -- when we play those silly games on social media networks, pay close attention to the access being requested. What Cambridge Analytica did is create viral games that then collected data from not only the Facebook profile of the person who played the game, but all their friends, and all their likes, and postings, and everything else.

Dept of Justice starts threatened attack on tech companies over supposed stifling of ideas Following a rage-tweeting incidents where Donald Trump attacked Twitter, Facebook, et al, over supposedly stifling of Conservative voices, and describing it as a serious situation, and threatening that it "will be addressed", the US Department of Justice is starting to put some oomph behind that threat. While representatives of Facebook, Google and Twitter appeared before a hearing of the Senate Intelligence Committee, the Department of Justice issued a statement that Attorney General Jeff Sessions will convene a meeting with several US State Attorneys General to discuss "a growing concern that these companies may be hurting competition and intentionally stifling the free exchange of ideas on their platforms".
Facebook 'allegedly' inflates reach of targeted advertising on Facebook In what should be no surprise to anyone placing Facebook advertising, it is likely Facebook inflates the "reach" of an advert. A lawsuit which hopes to become a class action lawsuit alleges that Facebook employees do not give a "s---" about accuracy in the Potential Reach and Estimated Daily Reach figures shown to advertisers. Instead, Facebook plans to continue showing inflated numbers and does not care so long as it does not affect advertising revenue.
Facebook defends open advertising publishing platform that helps fake news propagandists

Two things are colliding on the Internet: Propagandists desire to spread fake news to influence society-wide-beliefs -- this is a huge portion of Russia's meddling in elections in the USA and other countries; and freedom of speech, freedom to build/publish websites, freedom to use social media networks, etc. Facebook and other Tech Giants are increasingly under fire for having allowed Russia to misuse their platforms, both advertising and social media, to spew out tons of fake news and society manipulation. Facebook's answer is that “The thing about free expression is when you allow free expression you allow free expression”, according to Facebook COO Sheryl Sandberg.

Okay, yes, we understand that any squashing of speach is problematic. But, it's false that Facebook doesn't check advertising before it is posted, and it is problematic when stuff that's portrayed as news is completely false and bogus. Facebook already hires a team of people, moderators, to monitor what folks post on Facebook, and delete material or accounts that prove to be problematic. Why doesn't Facebook do the same for fake news?

Facebook demotes news from liberal website on conservative site's say-so Recently many Conservative politicians and the Conservative-friendly news outlets have been beating the war drums against Facebook, Twitter, Google, et al, because of supposed censorship of Conservative viewpoints. The evidence is weak on this, because the culprit is the algorithms for presenting search results. The irony is rich to learn that a Conservative news outlet, a designated Facebook fact checking organization, have labeled news from a Liberal-leaning news outlet as "false". Meaning that Liberal-leaning news is being downgraded by Facebook, when the actual news piece is entirely factual, solely on the say-so of a Conservative-leaning news outlet that has a long history of printing mistruths.
Facebook et al admits to large-scale Russian advertising campaigns, illegal political advertising by foreigners

In US law it is illegal for foreign nationals to purchase political advertising. It is easy for anyone to use the advertising platforms run by Facebook, Google, Twitter, and so forth. Anyone can sign up to run advertising, and Facebook/Google/Twitter et al are raking in tons of cash by showing advertising to their large audiences. The problem comes when someone places illegal advertising -- do these companies have adequate screening to avoid aiding and assisting folks committing fraudulent or illegal advertising?

In this case the concern is foreign governments (such as Russia) placing politically manipulative advertising. It's feared that Russia has launched a "cyber war" spreading propaganda through social media websites, and through blogs, with the goal of manipulating the politics of countries around the world. The war is also a War on Truth, meaning that Russia's goals involve destruction of our sense of truthful facts so that political manipulators can spread any kind of idea as if it's factual.

It's not like Russia is the only organization/country doing this kind of thing. The methods ascribed to Russia are commonplace among online marketers -- using roboticized accounts to pump twitter hashtags -- article spinning techniques to publish variants of the same article to multiple blogs -- etc -- are well known spammy low-integrity methods of gaming the search engines. For what it's worth, Russia does present a greater risk to society-as-a-whole than does a company pushing a new-and-improved soap. That's why Russia is in the crosshairs right now.

Facebook exploits vulnerabilities in human psychology, says early President of Facebook

Facebook is a global phenomena, connecting billions of people around the planet. Supposedly it is creating lots of social good by being the interconnection medium for folks from anywhere to talk with folks anywhere else. Facebook did not birth itself whole into the form it is currently. Instead, Facebook was crafted by its leadership, especially its early leadership. Famously it was started by Mark Zuckerberg as something for the Harvard University campus. According to Sean Parker, who was the Facebook President during its early days, it was Parker's vision that put Facebook on the path of becoming the global behemoth it is today. And Sean Parker is deeply sorry, claiming that maybe he has destroyed humanity.

Facebook has built a surveillance state where the inmates WANT to be in the prison

Facebook may need to come under government regulation. Facebook's COO claimed in a TV interview that the company has an advertising-driven model just like Radio and Television, both of whom are regulated by Governments. She also said that what Facebook is selling is access to people, but that's not for sale, which causes a big "HUH"? Any owner/operator of a Facebook page knows that over the last year or so Facebook has diminished the organic growth potential of Facebook Page postings. Such postings previously showed up organically in the newsfeed of folks following the pages, today that doesn't happen organically (very much). Instead, Page owner/operators are constantly barraged with please to spend money on advertising, in other words Facebook begs page owners to buy access to Facebook's users.

Facebook is selling user data, even as Facebook does not sell user data

Facebook is under extreme fire currently over "leaks" of user data to 3rd party firms, such as Cambridge Analytica who has reportedly used that data for political manipulation projects. The current issue is that miscreant 3rd parties have been exploiting Facebook API's to access user data and build gigantic databases of user information and preferences. The situation is causing Facebook to loudly deny it is selling user data to anyone, and claim the company sells NO user data at all. Unfortunately that's a lie.

Facebook moves towards paying content creators sharing "art" in the news feed

While YouTube's moves make us think Google will push small-scale content creators out, Facebook appears to be inviting them (and their content) to Facebook's news feed. What's in play is those "content creators" with large audiences, and the advertising revenue that can be earned through such a channel. So far YouTube has been a premium place to play that game, because all it that's required is for someone to develop a video presence attractive enough to draw in enough audience to keep people watching your videos and the ads which come along for the ride.

On the flip side is Rights Management services so that piracy doesn't run rampant. To that end, Facebook has acquired contents rights management company Source3.

Facebook usage may fuel anti-refugee violence in Germany What steers a peaceful young man to commit violence? We say Muslims can be radicalized by information they find online, causing them to commit violence like terrorist missions. What if that person is instead an American, or German, practicing Christianity, who suddenly commits violence? A recent study of anti-refugee attacks in Germany suggest a strong correlation with Facebook usage, especially if one is flocking to hard-line right-wing groups or postings.
Facebook was used by 'governments' to spread propaganda, says Facebook report A new report issued by Facebook outlines what they know about propaganda spread by 'Governments' through its website. As Facebook notes, the Internet and sites like Facebook give a whole new realm of possibilities for 'information operations'. Information operations are the are spread by 'organized actors' (governments) to distort political sentiment by distorting the truth. Governments have used such strategies for millennia, but of course the global reach of the Internet changes the game. It's clear now that the 2016 US elections were heavily influenced by a stream of fake news, a large part of which was directed by Russia's intelligence services. Indications are that Russia is now focusing on other elections, including in France where an extreme hard-liner who wants to remove France from the EU and NATO could well be elected. Russia's geopolitical needs would be well served if the EU and NATO were weakened. If government-led information operations really are being conducted over social media networks, shouldn't we call it 'Social Media Warfare'?
Facebook's irresponsibility on user privacy means leak of 'most' user private data

Buried in an announcement of changes being made to tighten user data privacy, Facebook admitted most people on Facebook could have had their public profile scraped. Uh, do what? Why is such an admission buried towards the bottom of a jargon-filled blog post? The core failing is a default setting for an obscure search feature in Facebook that has been exploited by some to inappropriately access user data on a huge scale. It may actually be time to abandon Facebook - as one article published recently said, it's time to Replace Facebook not Fix it.

Facebook, OAuth authorization protocol, user responsibility, Facebook responsibility

The firestorm around data collection by Cambridge Analytica from Facebook users is about the OAuth protocol, the required notification of access requirements, and whether Facebook actually enforces those requirements. During the OAuth protocol it's required to present the user with a screen describing the level of access requested. Facebook signed an order with the Federal Trade Commission in which Facebook agreed to abide by policies about sharing user data. Facebook may have violated that agreement.

Most people don't pay attention to the notifications in the OAuth signup process. It's likely that the users abdicated their responsibility to make good decisions. Instead they, like lemmings, collectively have played the many zillions of viral games that are shared onto Facebook. It is through such games that marketers and political manipulators alike gather user preference information.

Let's take a look at that process.

Fake new viral picture of Obama as New Black Panthers is obvious forgery, still gets passed around

We're facing a War on Truth, where certain actors hope we'll all become confused about what's true and what's false. Presumably if we cannot collectively discern the truth, then society is easier to control? In any case, this image of President Obama is going around claiming to show PROOF he is a SECRET RADICAL member of the New Black Panthers. If one bothers to look closely, it's clearly a poor photoshop job. Fortunately Google Image Search finds us the actual image, as well as a fake-news-debunking site showing the true story.

Google's search algorithm enables fake news from Russia or elsewhere to manipulate reality

If you control what the population believes is true, you can control what that population does. Propagandists have known this for generations. The rise of Nazi Germany was due to "weaponized" misinformation. The Nazi Party owned newspapers that churned out fake news, the Party pushed all kinds of lies including Racial Lies, and ruthlessly squashed any dissenters. In the current time period we're being told that Russia has weaponized a system of social media accounts, websites pushing fake news, and on and on, for the purpose of manipulating elections around the world, and weakening international organizations like the EU and NATO.

I believe that Russia is doing that kind of thing, because Russia has for ages pushed Propaganda. The Russian newspaper "Pravda" (the word Pravda means Truth) famously was full of lies every day. Pravda is still in exactly that business, and other news outlets owned by the Russian Government, like Sputnik News and RT News, also push a highly slanted view of the world (everything Russia does is enlightened, everything the West does is clueless and harmful). Russia's motive? To get NATO off its back without fighting an open war. An information war is the ticket, but the casualty is the sense of Truth we all need.

By determining the scope of information we get as answers to questions, search engines have a lot of power to shape what the population believes.

The game that's on is about controlling what the population believes is the Truth. Governments do it to push policy goals, businesses do it to earn more money, activists might do it to push their cause, and so on.

Russia isn't the only participant in spewing fake news into the world. We're being told The Russians are doing it, and they almost certainly are. But that idea is being pushed to the exclusion of others who are using similar mechanisms. What's the goal being served by pushing "The Russians are doing it" while failing to recognize the techniques are used across governments and industries?

PAY ATTENTION: Facebook showing users permissions granted to 3rd party apps

Buried in the Facebook user settings area is a page showing the permissions that have been granted to 3rd party applications. Most of us click through the permissions granting process - we just want to get to that game or whatever, and it's like a click-through-license that nobody ever reads. But recent events in Facebook's ecosystem shows the extreme danger of information leakage, of personal identifying data, from being too liberal with permissions grants. It's extremely useful that Facebook is calling attention to the permissions grants.

Pres. Trump slams move to ban hate-speech mongerers like Alex Jones A few days ago Alex Jones was banned from YouTube and some other social media platforms. Clearly Jones is a purveyor of fake news and hate speech, and almost certainly violated the terms of service. In response President Trump has described this as discrimination, asking why the social media networks only ban Conservatives and not Liberals. As President Trump suggests, Censorship is a bad thing, but his repeated attacks on normal highly respected news outlets (CNN, etc) borders on Censorship and is itself a bad thing remniscient of what the Nazi Party did in Germany during its ascendancy to power. In this renewed attack, Trump is repeating an earlier claim that social media networks are "shadow banning" Conservatives (making it harder algorithmically to find them). The whole thing could just be a smoke screen to divert attention from something else Republicans are planning to do, or it could be leading up to outright attacks on the social media networks and an attempt at regulation.
Rep. McCarthy was not shadow banned, his Twitter account was misconfigured to hide postings According to Pres. Donald Trump, and other Conservative leaders, social media platforms like Twitter engage in "shadow banning" which means making it hard to find postings by Conservatives. The issue is being raised repeatedly, especially in the last couple days with a twitter tirade by Pres. Trump. Therefore it is rich in irony that Rep. Kevin McCarthy posted a series of tweets last week complaining about this, ending with supposed PROOF of Twitter shadow banning. Except ... it was due to his account settings.
Russian think tank planned to influence the U.S. election, new documents reveal A Russian government-controlled think tank had outlined plans on how to swing the 2016 U.S. election toward Donald Trump, according to a Reuters report Thursday. New documents reveal a strategy of using social media to bolster Mr. Trump and undermine faith in America’s electoral system. William Brangham learns more from former CIA officer John Sipher and Ned Parker of Reuters. The Reuters report concerns two 'confidential' documents from the Russian Institute for Strategic Studies, which was part of the successor to the KGB. These documents provide the framework and rationale for Russia's efforts to influence the 2016 US elections.
Russia’s disinformation campaign in Europe The Russian government has invested immense resources into media networks in Europe. The Russian state-media complex has established news and media outlets in the local languages of many European countries through which the Kremlin attempts to influence European discourse and public opinion on the Ukraine crisis. How does the Russian state-media complex use social media, political partnerships, and financial incentives to influence European media outlets? How successful is the media campaign launched by the Russian government? Where are the next targets of the Russian disinformation campaign? How could and should the EU respond?
What is Shadow Banning? Banning a member such that they do not know they're banned Shadow Banning appears to be rankling Conservatives (Republicans) who are crying foul. The social media networks are supposedly shadow banning conservatives, making it harder for folks to find conservative points of view. Supposedly on Twitter prominent Republicans do not show up in search suggestions -- the dropdown appearing while you type a search request -- while equally prominent Democrats do show up. This is according to the Republicans who are raising the stink. Twitter has responded saying it was a bug, that they've now fixed. But, what is Shadow Banning, and how do we determine if Shadow Banning is happening?
Yesterday: Visit website; Today: ads for that site following me around the web; PRIVACY VIOLATION

A meme going around says -- "I spoke aloud yesterday about cialis, and now my Facebook feed is full of ads about Cialis". The reality isn't quite that bad, but yesterday I opened the TransferWise website for one page view, and now Facebook is showing me a TransferWise advertisement. How did Facebook know I visited that website? how did TransferWise know to put advertising in front of me? Isn't this a privacy violation?

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