The 2020 Complete Certified Facebook Marketing Masterclass: $13.99

· Bryan Chaffin · TMO Deals

The 2020 Complete Certified Facebook Marketing Masterclass

We have a deal on the 2020 Complete Certified Facebook Marketing Masterclass. This course is designed to teach you how to develop and grow your business’s Facebook presence, identify your customers, use paid ads, and more. It’s $13.99 through our deal.

Facebook Bought Giphy. What Does That Mean for Privacy?

· Andrew Orr · Link

Facebook logo

Facebook announced today that it’s acquiring Giphy for an alleged sum of US$400 million.

Facebook characterized the acquisition—reportedly worth $400 million—as a way to help its millions of users “better express themselves.” […] Facebook says it will not collect information specific to individual people using Giphy’s API, but it will get valuable data about usage patterns across the web.

I definitely don’t believe them when they say that won’t collect individual data. That is Facebook’s raison d’être. This is exactly like its usage of the Onavo VPN spyware: Collect data on how people use GIFs everywhere, especially on competitor’s platforms. Mark Zuckerberg is furiously trying to beat Snapchat into submission. They rejected him once and he’s been out for blood ever since. GIFs may sound like a stretch when it comes to data collection, but keep in mind that web beacons exist.

Facebook Removes ‘Pseudoscience’ Category for Targeted Ads

· Andrew Orr · Link

Facebook logo

Facebook is no longer allowing advertisers to use pseudoscience as a category with which to target people.

The company eliminated the pseudoscience category from its “detailed targeting” list on Wednesday, the spokeswoman said by phone, after tech news site The Markup showed that it could advertise a post targeting people interested in pseudoscience.

The Markup demonstrated that Facebook was allowing such ads after saying it would police COVID-19 misinformation on its platform. More than 78 million Facebook users were interested in “pseudoscience,” it said, citing Facebook’s ad portal.

Good to see Facebook doing this. Now we just need YouTube to stop recommending conspiracy videos.

Facebook Publishes First COVID-19 Maps

· Charlotte Henry · News

Facebook has released the first maps built using COVID-19 data collected from a survey distributed across the social network.

Facebook Scales Back Libra, Ties it to Fiat Currency

· Andrew Orr · Link

Facebook coin

Facebook is scaling back its cryptocurrency project ‘Libra.’ Instead of trying to become the dominant global financial system, its new goals are less ambitious. Instead it will work as a layer on top of traditional fiat currency, much like Apple Pay.

The Libra Association said it had begun the process of getting regulatory approval for the payment network from the Swiss Financial Markets Supervisory Authority. To ensure that authorities around the world are on board, the Swiss agency is working with a “college” of regulators from over 20 countries. The association said it still aimed to bring the system live this year.

A good move by Facebook, in part because there was always going to be strong opposition to Libra. You might work with the government in some aspects, but you don’t mess with its money. And ultimately it’s still a way to compete with the likes of PayPal, Google Pay, and Apple Pay.c

Facebook Tried to Buy a Hacking Tool to Spy on iPhone Users

· Andrew Orr · Link

Facebook logo

According to court filings, when Facebook was in the early stages of building its spyware VPN called Onavo Protect, it noticed that it wasn’t as effective on Apple devices as it was on Android. So Facebook approached a hacking group called NSO Group to use its Pegasus malware.

According to the court documents, it seems the Facebook representatives were not interested in buying parts of Pegasus as a hacking tool to remotely break into phones, but more as a way to more effectively monitor phones of users who had already installed Onavo.

Why is Zoom Sending Our Data to Facebook?

· Andrew Orr · Link

Zoom logo

As people are required to work from home, apps like Zoom help us with video conferencing. But why is the iOS app sending our data to Facebook?

Upon downloading and opening the app, Zoom connects to Facebook’s Graph API, according to Motherboard’s analysis of the app’s network activity. The Graph API is the main way developers get data in or out of Facebook. The Zoom app notifies Facebook when the user opens the app, details on the user’s device such as the model, the time zone and city they are connecting from, which phone carrier they are using, and a unique advertiser identifier created by the user’s device which companies can use to target a user with advertisements.

I’ll add this to my #DeleteFBSDK endeavors.

Australia Takes Facebook to Court Over Privacy Violations

· Andrew Orr · Link

Facebook logo

Australia’s privacy regulator is taking Facebook to court over Cambridge Analytica. It could impose a fine of AUD$1.7 million (US$1.1 million) for every privacy violation.

“Facebook failed to take reasonable steps to protect those individuals’ personal information from unauthorised disclosure,” the Australian commissioner’s office said.

Big companies like Facebook need fines in the billions of dollars for them to start paying attention.

Facebook Sues OpenAudience for Improperly Harvesting Data

· Andrew Orr · Link

Facebook logo

Facebook filed a federal lawsuit in California against OneAudience, saying it improperly harvested its user data.

The social media company claims that OneAudience harvested users’ data by getting app developers to install a malicious software development kit, or SDK, in their apps. SDKs are packages of basic tools that make it easier and faster for developers to build their apps.

Oddly, Facebook isn’t suing itself.

How Apple Caused Chaos At Facebook HQ

· Charlotte Henry · News

Facebook HQ

Apple plunged Facebook into chaos when it pulled enterprise certificate, taking its internal apps offline for a period.

When You Download Facebook Data, it Doesn’t Show Everything

· Andrew Orr · Link

Facebook logo

Facebook isn’t being completely truthful about the data available in its “Download Your Information” feature. Some information is left out.

Privacy International recently tested the feature to download all ‘Ads and Business’ related information (You can accessed it by Clicking on Settings > Your Facebook Information > Download Your Information). This is meant to tell users which advertisers have been targeting them with ads and under which circumstances. We found that information provided is less than accurate. To put it simply, this tool is not what Facebook claims. The list of advertisers is incomplete and changes over time.

As Privacy International points out, this is in violation of GDPR because Facebook doesn’t let you see all of the advertisers that have your data.

IRS Sues Facebook for $9 Billion Over Offshore Profits

· Andrew Orr · Link

The IRS is suing Facebook for US$9 billion, saying the company kept profits in subsidiaries based in Ireland.

The IRS argues that Facebook understated the value of the intellectual property it sold to an Irish subsidiary in 2010 while building out global operations, a move common among U.S. multinationals…Under the arrangement, Facebook’s subsidiaries pay royalties to the U.S.-based parent for access to its trademark, users and platform technologies. From 2010 to 2016, Facebook Ireland paid Facebook U.S. more than $14 billion in royalties and cost-sharing payments, according to the court filing.

If the IRS succeeds this would be one of Facebook’s biggest fines.

Instagram Seems to Think it’s a Startup When it Comes to an iPad App

· Andrew Orr · Link

When asked why there isn’t an Instagram iPad app yet, CEO Adam Mosseri said the company would like to create one, “But we only have so many people, and lots to do, and it hasn’t bubbled up as the next best thing to do yet.”

Instagram users have been asking for an official ‌iPad‌ app nearly since the social network launched in 2010, the same year that the first ‌iPad‌ was released. Some alternatives include third-party Instagram apps for ‌iPad‌, browsing Instagram on the web on ‌iPad‌, or using the upscaled iPhone app on ‌iPad‌.

The obvious answer is, “Hire more people because you’re owned by one of the richest corporations in the world: Facebook.” But I wonder what the actual answer is. Invasive tracking isn’t as lucrative on iPadOS?

Not Wanting Surveillance Competition, Facebook Tells Clearview AI to Back Off

· Andrew Orr · Link

Last month, we got word that a company called Clearview AI helped law enforcement with its facial recognition technology. Now, Facebook and Google, which also use facial recognition, told Clearview AI to stop scraping images from each one’s website.

Ton-That argued that his firm’s work is protected by the First Amendment and also that Clearview doesn’t do anything Google doesn’t.

“The way we have built our system is to only take publicly available information and index it that way,” he said.

Ton-That added, “Google can pull in information from all different websites… So if it’s public and it’s out there and could be inside Google search engine, it can be inside ours as well.”

Was Facebook’s Libra Planning to Make Money in Dirty Ways?

· Andrew Orr · Link

Facebook logo

I know that’s kind of a clickbait headline but it’s from a quote by Mastercard CEO Ajay Banga, who dropped out of Facebook’s Libra organization after “multiple red flags.” Emphasis mine:

One reason was Libra’s leaders wouldn’t commit to abiding by laws around knowing their clients, money laundering, and data management, he told the newspaper.

“Every time you talked to the main proponents of Libra, I said ‘Would you put that in writing?’ They wouldn’t.”

It was also unclear to Banga how Libra would generate revenue, stoking his fears that it would make money in unscrupulous ways. “When you don’t understand how money gets made, it gets made in ways you don’t like,”

Facebook profiting off of money laundering?

Kids Need End-to-End Encryption for Protection Against Corporations

· Andrew Orr · Link

Image of locks to suggest security and encryption

In a report from the Financial Times (paywall), a letter signed by 129 non-profits, think tanks, and academics urge Facebook to reconsider encrypting its apps. They use the “think of the children” argument because encryption could enable more child sexual abuse. But Justin Myles Holmes says we should think of the children and enable end-to-end encryption for them, so their data isn’t used and abused by corporations precisely like Facebook.

If we fail to take action now, we risk a world in which unsavory actors – domestic and foreign – have built rich, comprehensive profiles for every one of our children, following the trajectories of their education, home life, consumer habits, health, and on and on.  These profiles will then be used to manipulate their behavior not only as consumers, but as voters and participants in all those corners of society which, in order for freedom and justice to prevail, require instead that these kids mature into functional, free-thinking adults.

CERN Replaces Facebook Workplace With Open Source

· Andrew Orr · Link

CERN is ending its trial of Facebook Workplace and replacing it with open source alternatives, like Mattermost and Discourse.

Facebook Workplace is Facebook’s corporate-focused product for internal real-time communication and related communication needs within organizations. CERN had been making use of Facebook Workplace and in addition to data privacy concerns, they were recently confronted with either paying Facebook or losing administrative rights, no more single sign-on access, and Facebook having access to their internal data. But now they have assembled their own set of software packages to fill the void by abandoning Facebook Workplace.

I hope to see more of this. Facebook is the Fox News of social media. Like The Mac Observer’s editor-in-chief Bryan Chaffin says: “Death by a thousand paper cuts.”

Facebook Hilariously Reminds its Users About ‘Data Privacy Day’

· Andrew Orr · Link

Facebook logo

In the next few weeks you might see a reminder in the Facebook to review your privacy settings. That is, what little privacy the company gives you.

The updates represent Facebook burnishing its image to some extent. It spent much of the last decade embroiled in privacy problems that ranged from the Cambridge Analytica scandal through to data exposure on a third-party system. At the same time, it’s safe to say many people want to know their data is being used properly — the prompt and expanded tools could provide a degree of reassurance.

I don’t think it’s possible for Facebook to burnish its image.