Your Private Information is Public

As the world’s largest social network, Facebook has data of more than 2 billion people. But it showed that it had failed to safeguard some of that information when Cambridge Analytica took some of the data without people’s permission in 2016 and built voter profiles from it for the Trump presidential campaign, which The New York Times and The Observer in London reported on last year. Facebook said that as many as 87 million users’ information could have been retrieved.

“Facebook put up a neon sign that said ‘Free Private Data,’ and let app developers have their fill of Americans’ personal info,” Sen. Ron Wyden, D-Ore., said Friday. “The FTC needs to hold Mark Zuckerberg personally responsible.”

The social network has since faced lawsuits, regulatory scrutiny and the ire of lawmakers around the world over whether it can safeguard its users’ data trove. The Justice Department and the FBI are investigating Cambridge Analytica. Mark Zuckerberg, Facebook’s chief executive, has appeared in Congress to testify on the matter. Zuckerberg, who visited Washington this week and met with President Donald Trump, also apologized for the improper handling of user data and vowed changes. That included auditing all of Facebook’s third-party apps to make sure they were not abusing people’s information.

Source: The National Post

Shut The Thing Down Already

‘Call their bluff’: Shut down social media platforms, ex-Facebook adviser urges

A former Facebook adviser is urging governments around the world to shut down social media platforms until they can be reformed.

“If your goals are to protect democracy and personal liberty, you have to be bold. You have to force a radical transformation of the business model of internet platforms,” venture capitalist Roger McNamee told the House of Commons privacy and ethics committee Tuesday morning.

“At the end of the day, though, the most effective path to reform would be to shut down the platforms at least temporarily. …. Any country can go first. The platforms have left you no choice. The time has come to call their bluff.”

McNamee’s comments came as an international committee of MPs in Ottawa renewed their summons for Facebook’s founder Mark Zuckerberg and company COO Sheryl Sandberg to appear and give evidence before them. Both ignored the first summons, choosing to send company representatives in their place.

n his testimony, McNamee pointed to Sri Lanka, where authorities turned off the taps on most social media after last month’s Easter Sunday attacks on churches and hotels killed hundreds of people.

The Sri Lankan government’s official news portal said the actions, which included blocking Facebook and its WhatsApp and Instagram services, were needed to stop false news reports online.

McNamee, who wrote Zucked: Waking Up to the Facebook Catastrophe, said “at a minimum” countries should end the platforms’ ability to perform web tracking and to scan emails and documents, and crack down on the platforms’ surveillance of users.

Centre for International Governance Innovation head Jim Balsillie, who became famous as one of the founders of Blackberry maker Research in Motion, also had dire words for the committee.

“Technology is disrupting governance and, if left unchecked, could render liberal democracy obsolete,” he said.

“Data is not the new oil. It’s the new plutonium: amazingly powerful, dangerous when it spreads, difficult to clean up and with serious consequences when improperly used.”  

Source: Catharine TunneyPeter Zimonjic · CBC News · 

Facebook investor and venture capitalist Roger McNamee, right, addresses a panel discussion on Facebook Tuesday, July 31, 2018, in Beverly Hills, Calif. McNamee says that social media platforms should be shut down until they can be reformed. (Chris Pizzello/The Associated Press)

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 is Contemptible

Zuckerberg and his merry band of bloodsucking vampires are at it again.

Facebook’s Zuckerberg, Sandberg could be found in contempt.

Starting today, the House of Commons’s privacy and ethics committee in Canada will be joined by elected officials from around the world to discuss data collection, privacy online and democracy.

The committee had extended invites to the some of the most well-known tech players, including Facebook, Twitter and Google. Senators and government officials from around the world are to join Canada’s privacy and ethics committee as they hear from witnesses.

When no one responded to the invitations, the committee voted to subpoena Facebook’s founder Mark Zuckerberg and chief operating officer Sheryl Sandberg to appear as witnesses.

“You have a company that acts with complete disregard for the democratic systems that we’ve put in place… To me that’s just unbelievable that a company could be that dismissive and I think they have to be held accountable.”

If Canada thinks that Zuckerberg, in all of his supreme smugness and arrogance, is going to pay attention to a Canadian subpoena, it has another think coming. What a joke. Last year lawmakers from nine countries were disappointed when Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg didn’t appear in front of an international hearing on Britain’s parliament on disinformation. 

The Fakebook machine will continue to defy ethics and the law by providing a platform for artificial news, subliminal advertising, stealing of personal data, political manipulation, haters, gossipers, wannabes, posers, and all the rest of the fools out there who want to embrace that trash.

Source: CBC News https://www.cbc.ca/news/politics/facebook-contempt-parliament-1.5145347

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.