Facebook Cons Its Users

Facebook Steals Your Personal Information

Data ripped included users’ identities, their friend networks, and the various likes/interests from millions of Facebook users. Officials of both companies have asserted that nothing illegal has taken place, given that all users (inadvertently) gave consent by agreeing to the user conditions in the app. With social logins growing in popularity over the years as one of the most convenient means of accessing an application or platform, more users are opting to leverage this technology, which means the risk of unauthorized Facebook data mining is only going to increase.

What exactly happened with the Facebook data mining scandal?

Before we go any further, it’s important to point out that this is not at all a fringe event — this happens all the time and Cambridge Analytica is not the only company to exploit this. In fact, a few years ago, Sandy Parakilas, a platform operations manager at Facebook who had the difficult job of monitoring and policing data breaches by third-party software developers, warned the company about such risks. In an interview with the Guardian, he warned senior executives at the company that its very relaxed and “turn a blind eye” approach to data protection placed all the platform’s users at risk of a major data breach.

However, since the main focus these days is on the breach/scandal as it pertains to Cambridge Analytica, let’s focus on that.

In short, what happened was that the political research firm was able to gain access to data belonging to over 50 million Facebook users through a third-party personality quiz application — the users had absolutely no knowledge of this and had not explicitly given consent for this to take place. Given Facebook’s policies at the time to hinder these types of activities, the quiz app was able to pass this information along to the firm, which then used the information to create detailed user profiles of Facebook users. They used this profiles to essentially develop micro-targeted political ads that were intended to sway users in favor of one candidate during the 2016 US Presidential elections.

While it’s a given that the ad-campaign likely had minimal impact on actually swaying voters, it is the principle and breach of data/confidence behind this event that has many people shocked.

Who exactly was impacted?

What’s unique about this particular breach of data was that the Facebook data mining scandal did not just impact the users who took the quiz, but all their friends and other shared interests as well. Consider this for a moment — only 270,000 people downloaded the quiz app, however, over 50 million users had their information accessed.

This level of data compromisation means that any company, not just a political research firm, could gain such personal pieces of information, which could then be leveraged for various purposes — including targeted advertising.

The justification of people who side with Facebook, especially Facebook executives, on this particular issue is that (technically) “everyone involved gave their consent”, given that the minute a user accepted the infamous Terms and Conditions checkbox, they opened themselves up to having their data accessed. The only problem with this argument is that consent usually implies that users were aware that their data was being harvested — in this case, a huge majority did not

The best way to protect yourself is to delete your Facebook account completely. However, if you are a hardcore Facebook addict and just can’t do it, here’s how you can check which apps have access to your’s and your FB friends’ information.

Access Facebook through your desktop/laptop or via your mobile app, hit the drop-down menu on the top-right side and select “Settings”.

Next, select “Apps”, which should be on the left side of the page on desktop. On the mobile version, all you need to is scroll down the settings page.

Once you access this page, you will be able to see all the apps that have access to your personal data, like your gender, networks you belong to, your username, user ID, full name, your profile picture. You can also see which ones have access to your full friends list and any other public information on your profile. Surprisingly, most people have absolutely no clue how this works — despite having above-average tech savviness.

In the moment, selecting whether or not to use your social information to log in may seem like the convenient option, however, it’s always advised that you should carefully read and consider the terms of the app.

I say, just get out while you can!

Source: IAME – The Facebook Data Mining Scandal — What Happened

A Revolt Against the Revolting

Facebook C.E.O. Mark Zuckerberg has a lot of control over the company he runs—and the tech giant’s investors aren’t happy about it. As Facebook continues to slog through a series of crises from the Cambridge Analytica scandal to looming antitrust investigations, shareholders signaled their displeasure with the C.E.O.’s outsized influence through a series of votes at a recent shareholder meeting. 

Public pension fund leaders from New York, Illinois, and three other states renewed their call for Facebook Chief Executive Mark Zuckerberg to abdicate his role as chairman, citing escalating support among outside investors in the company.

Shareholder acrimony is bound to only add to the intensifying pressure Zuckerberg already faces from lawmakers and federal regulators. The Wall Street Journal on Monday reported the Federal Trade Commission, which is on the verge of hitting Facebook with a multibillion-dollar fine for privacy violations, was granted the rights to launch a probe of the social-networking giant for monopolistic practices.

“Facebook’s insular boardroom must be cracked open because the company has no accountability to its users, its investors, or our democracy,” New York City Comptroller Scott Stringer, whose fund controls over $750 million of Facebook stock, said in a statement on Tuesday. “Naming an independent board chair is a necessary first step that is supported by shareowners who own the majority of Facebook shares, but whose voting power is not commensurate with their ownership.”

Illinois State Treasurer Michael Frerichs added “it’s time for the company to separate the Board Chair and CEO roles. Right now, Mr. Zuckerberg is both Board Chair and CEO, serving as his own boss, and clearly it’s not working.”

Facebook declined comment on the statements, as well as similar remarks from treasurers from Connecticut, Rhode Island, and Pennsylvania.

The Facebook investors’ growing frustration with Zuckerberg doesn’t exactly come as a surprise, as the Cambridge Analytica scandal has spurred a tidal wave of scrutiny against Facebook—and likely a hefty fine from the Federal Trade Commission. Facebook shares tumbled even further in the days after the shareholder meeting, as it was revealed that both the F.T.C. and House Judiciary Committee will be ramping up their antitrust oversight over Facebook and other tech companies. And things aren’t too rosy internally at Facebook either: Business Insider reported Tuesday that Facebook is conducting an investigation into the security firm it contracts from in Silicon Valley, which is related to allegations of financial irregularities and security workers creating a hostile work environment. 

Sources: Vanity Fair Hive – Story by Alison Durkee June 4 2019; Market Watch – Story by Jon Swartz June 5 2019

Facebook = Depression

Facebook makes people less happy.

So if you’re a Facebook user, it’s now important to ask yourself, “Is spending your time on Facebook actually making you happier?”

If you’re the type to just view what your friends are up to, read articles, and scroll down your wall, it’s likely hurting your happiness.

A few studies have shown that using Facebook passively like this can lead to upward social comparisons. When you compare yourself to the best qualities of others on Facebook, suddenly you like yourself less. You know, like when you see the accomplishments of your so-called friends and you start questioning whether you’ve done enough with your life. Or when you see the fancy-ass meals your co-workers are posting before eating, and then you wonder if you are boring because, let’s face it, you never do anything cool or fun.

It’s human nature to compare yourself to others, but on Facebook, everyone is presenting the best versions of themselves. So you always compare upward and end up feeling like you’re not good enough.

Most of the crap people post is fake, or exaggerated, anyway. POSERS.

The little green envy monster can make you feel inferior, hostile, and resentful. These emotions can actually harm your social relationships instead of supporting them while making you feel miserable in the process.

If you’re looking for the easiest possible way to find out if Facebook is making you miserable, take some time off. Then ask yourself if you felt better. If it did, consider taking more time off. Like, FOREVER.

Source Credit: Psychology Today – Tchiki Davis, Ph.D., is a consultant, writer, and expert on well-being technology.

Facebook is Not Your Friend

Facebook remains the most popular social network worldwide. Users just can’t seem to let go of Facebook, even though, according to a huge recent study by Stanford University, it’s also having a detrimental impact on our health. (Tom Fogden@fogdenstom)

Facebook recorded 2.32 billion monthly active users on December 31, 2018. According to the International Telecommunications Union, some 48% of the world’s population is online – about 3.6 billion people. Scratch off a billion or so for the people who can’t access Facebook in China and the enormity of Facebook becomes clear – almost 90% of those who can access Facebook do indeed have an account with it. (Tom Fogden@fogdenstom)

Insiders know that Facebook is not simply an innocent space where its users can interact with each other. Among many other negative effects that Facebook ultimately has on individuals, one of the more sinister aspects of it involves the milking of personal data and reselling it to third parties without permission or compensation.

Here is a good starting point to familiarize yourselves with the evil that is Facebook:

Zucked

WAKING UP TO THE FACEBOOK CATASTROPHE

By ROGER MCNAMEE

The New York Times bestseller about a noted tech venture capitalist, early mentor to Mark Zuckerberg, and Facebook investor, who wakes up to the serious damage Facebook is doing to our society – and sets out to try to stop it. 

If you had told Roger McNamee even three years ago that he would soon be devoting himself to stopping Facebook from destroying our democracy, he would have howled with laughter. He had mentored many tech leaders in his illustrious career as an investor, but few things had made him prouder, or been better for his fund’s bottom line, than his early service to Mark Zuckerberg. Still a large shareholder in Facebook, he had every good reason to stay on the bright side. Until he simply couldn’t. 

ZUCKED is McNamee’s intimate reckoning with the catastrophic failure of the head of one of the world’s most powerful companies to face up to the damage he is doing. It’s a story that begins with a series of rude awakenings. First there is the author’s dawning realization that the platform is being manipulated by some very bad actors. Then there is the even more unsettling realization that Zuckerberg and Sheryl Sandberg are unable or unwilling to share his concerns, polite as they may be to his face. 

And then comes the election of Donald Trump, and the emergence of one horrific piece of news after another about the malign ends to which the Facebook platform has been put. To McNamee’s shock, even still Facebook’s leaders duck and dissemble, viewing the matter as a public relations problem. Now thoroughly alienated, McNamee digs into the issue, and fortuitously meets up with some fellow travelers who share his concern, and help him sharpen its focus. Soon he and a dream team of Silicon Valley technologists are charging into the fray, to raise consciousness about the existential threat of Facebook, and the persuasion architecture of the attention economy more broadly — to our public health and to our political order. 

Zucked is both an enthralling personal narrative and a masterful explication of the forces that have conspired to place us all on the horns of this dilemma. This is the story of a company and its leadership, but it’s also a larger tale of a business sector unmoored from normal constraints, just at a moment of political and cultural crisis, the worst possible time to be given new tools for summoning the darker angels of our nature and whipping them into a frenzy. Like Jimmy Stewart in Rear Window, Roger McNamee happened to be in the right place to witness a crime, and it took him some time to make sense of what he was seeing and what we ought to do about it. The result of that effort is a wise, hard-hitting, and urgently necessary account that crystallizes the issue definitively for the rest of us.

(Penguin Random House http://www.global.penguinrandomhouse.com)

Besides turning a generation into an army of self-involved, bragging, show-off, narcissistic, posing, phoney, wannabe, smart-phone addicted automatons, Facebook is turning its users into a giant, uncompensated data farm.

Quit it while you can.