That Ominous Figure in the Corner of Your Digital Living Room is Mark Zuckerberg

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Mark Zuckerberg wants Facebook to be your “digital living room” where you can privately share your thoughts, messages, and photos of your kids that the company will use for advertising purposes. Which was a topic left out of his essay on his new “privacy-focused vision.”

I understand that many people don’t think Facebook can or would even want to build this kind of privacy-focused platform — because frankly we don’t currently have a strong reputation for building privacy protective services, and we’ve historically focused on tools for more open sharing. But we’ve repeatedly shown that we can evolve to build the services that people really want, including in private messaging and stories.

Facebook Shuts Down Onavo Spyware...We Think

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Facebook is shutting down its Onavo spyware VPN and associated “research” app. That is, if you believe anything Facebook says.

To preempt any more scandals around Onavo and the Facebook Research app and avoid Google stepping in to forcibly block the apps, Facebook is now taking Onavo off the Play Store and stopping recruitment of Research testers. That’s a surprising voluntary move that perhaps shows Facebook is finally getting in tune with the public perception of its shady actions.

Eh, I wouldn’t go that far. Not with Facebook blaming users when it screws them over.

Instagram Fundraisers Want Your Credit Card Information

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Instagram Fundraisers will let you easily donate to non-profit organizations on the platform. It’s also a way for Facebook to get its hands on your credit card information.

New code and imagery dug out of Instagram’s Android app reveals how the Fundraiser stickers will allow you to search for nonprofits and add a Donate button for them to your Instagram Story. After you’ve donated to something once, Instagram could offer instant checkout on stuff you want to buy using the same payment details.

Facebook tried to get banks to give up your data, but now it will have to settle for this instead.

Facebook Lets You Search for Photos of Your Female Friends

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Matthew Hughes writes about how Facebook lets you search for photos of your female friends, but not your male friends. Not that you should creep on guys either, though.

Facebook lets you search for photos of your female friends, but refuses to play dice if you want to look up pictures of your male friends. The bizarre find was discovered this weekend by notorious Belgian white-hat hacker Inti De Ceukelaire.

Every time I ask myself, “Can Facebook get any more toxic?” The answer is YES. It’s as if Mark Zuckerberg is competing to be the Worst Person in America.

Sorry, Facebook Messenger Decryption is Secret

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Yesterday a U.S. judge ruled that a secret government effort to compel Facebook to decrypt Messenger voice conversations won’t be revealed.

Groups including the American Civil Liberties Union argued that the public’s right to know the state of the law on encryption outweighed any reason the U.S. Justice Department might have for protecting a criminal probe or law-enforcement method.

One word: PRISM.

Facebook Research Broke the Rules. Now it Faces the Consequences

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Casey Newton wrote a defense of Facebook/attack of Apple, because of the Facebook Research app that got banned.

But for all the attention we’re paying to Facebook’s moves here, I hope we spare at least as much for Apple. If Tim Cook can wreak this much havoc on Facebook’s day, however justified, just imagine what power Apple holds over the rest of us.

That power is App Store rules, which Facebook willfully ignored. We should be glad that big companies have to follow the same rules as small companies. If you’re a Facebook employee unable to use internal apps, don’t be mad at Apple. Instead, be mad at your employer who was willing to throw it all away in order to take advantage of children.