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Facebook, Google, Microsoft, and Twitter Launch the Data Transfer Project

Facebook, Google, Microsoft, and Twitter Launch the Data Transfer Project

Facebook, Google, Microsoft, and Twitter have teamed up for a new open source project that strives to make it easier to transfer your data between online services. From a report: The Data Transfer Project (DTP) was officially founded last year, and there have been whisperings about it on the likes of GitHub, but the initiative was officially unveiled today with its first four members. The DTP is actively seeking other members too. The ultimate aim of the Data Transfer Project is to improve data portability, allowing users to not only download their data but transfer it directly to any other service.

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Posted by amiller in Blog, facebook
Zuckerberg: If Someone Gets Fired For Data Abuse 'It Should Be Me'

Zuckerberg: If Someone Gets Fired For Data Abuse 'It Should Be Me'

Mark Zuckerberg isn’t planning to fire himself. At least, not at the moment. From a report: During an interview with Recode’s Kara Swisher published Wednesday, the Facebook CEO touched on Russians interfering with US elections, misinformation, data breaches, the company’s business model and more. When asked by Swisher who’s to blame for the Cambridge Analytica scandal and related data misuse, Zuckerberg said he “designed the platform, so if someone’s going to get fired for this, it should be me.” Swisher followed up by asking if he was going to fire himself. “Not on this podcast right now,” he said. Zuckerberg also defended the social media platform’s decision not to kick off conspiracy theory-peddling websites like the far-right InfoWars. From a report: Zuckerberg said that instead of banning websites outright, the company removes individual posts that violate Facebook’s terms of service. Posts promoting violence are particularly likely to be taken down, he added. Zuckerberg, who is Jewish, said even Holocaust deniers have a place on the platform as long as they genuinely believe the content they share. “I find that deeply offensive,” he said. “But at the end of the day, I don’t believe that our platform should take that down because I think there are things that different people get wrong. I don’t think that they’re intentionally getting it wrong.”

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Posted by amiller in Blog, facebook
Facebook Makes Moves On Instagram's Users

Facebook Makes Moves On Instagram's Users

Facebook is trying to get Instagram users to visit its site more often by further entwining the two services. According to Instagram user Spencer Chen, the Instagram app prompted him to check out a friend’s new photo on Facebook. “Chen grabbed a screenshot and posted the notification on the internet, calling it a cry for attention by the older social network,” reports Bloomberg. From the report: Instagram says what Chen experienced was a product test with a small contingent of users. Still, Instagram feeds Facebook in other ways. Last year, Facebook launched its own version of an Instagram tool called Stories, which lets people post videos that disappear within 24 hours. (The feature was initially copied from Snap Inc., a competitor.) Greenfield noticed the Facebook version became more popular once it became possible for Instagram users to post their stories in both places with the click of a button. Instagram Stories’ 400 million users present a significant opportunity for Facebook’s advertising business, according to Ken Sena, an analyst at Wells Fargo Securities. Instagram is on track to provide Facebook with $20 billion in revenue by 2020, about a quarter of Facebook’s total, he wrote to investors. And cross-posting could help Facebook’s video ambitions.

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Posted by amiller in Blog, facebook
Facebook Chooses To Demote Fake News Instead of Remove It

Facebook Chooses To Demote Fake News Instead of Remove It

Facebook says it will not remove fake news from its platform because it does not violate its community standards. According to the BBC, Facebook said publishers often had “very different points of view” and removing fabricated posts would be “contrary to the basic principles of free speech.” Instead, it is choosing to demote posts in the news feed that it deems to be fake news. From the report: Facebook has been scrutinized for its role in spreading fake news after evidence emerged that Russia tried to influence U.S. voters using the social network. On Wednesday, the company held an event in New York where it sought to convince journalists it was tackling the problem. The company said it would not remove fake news that did not break its rules but would down-rank content that had been marked as false. “We allow people to post it as a form of expression, but we’re not going to show it at the top of News Feed,” a spokeswoman told CNN.

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Posted by amiller in Blog, facebook
You Can Inherit Facebook Content Like a Letter or Diary, German Court Rules

You Can Inherit Facebook Content Like a Letter or Diary, German Court Rules

A German court ruled Thursday that Facebook content can be passed onto heirs like letters, books, or diaries. The ruling comes after the parents of a teenager who died in 2012 after being hit by a train argued Facebook should allow them to access her account, including her private messages, to determine whether she committed suicide. “This would also help determine whether the driver of the train should be entitled to compensation,” notes Quartz. From the report: Currently, Facebook’s policy is to “memorialize” an account when the site is informed of someone’s death. If a user has a “legacy contact” (here are instructions on how to set one up), Facebook grants them limited access to the user’s account, allowing them change the user’s profile picture, accept friend requests, or pin posts to the top of the user’s profile. They can also ask the platform to delete the account. Recently, Facebook told Quartz, the company revised its policy to allow parents or guardians of minors to become legacy contacts after their child has died. In rare cases, the company says, authorized people, like family members, can request information from a deceased person’s account, if they have a court order. But there’s no guarantee they will get what they need.

A Facebook spokesperson said in a statement the company disagreed with the German ruling: “These questions — how to weigh the wishes of the relatives and protect the privacy of third parties — are some of the toughest we’ve confronted. We empathize with the family. At the same time, Facebook accounts are used for a personal exchange between individuals which we have a duty to protect. While we respectfully disagree with today’s decision by [the court], the lengthy process shows how complex the issue under discussion is. We will be analyzing the judgment to assess its full implications.”

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Posted by amiller in Blog, facebook
Facebook Apologizes For Bug That Unblocked 800,000 People

Facebook Apologizes For Bug That Unblocked 800,000 People

An anonymous reader quotes a report from Gizmodo: Facebook disclosed a new “bug” on Monday that temporarily let some users who’d been blocked on the service send messages to the people who had blocked them. The bug also let some previously-blocked users view posts that were shared “to a wider audience,” such as publicly or with friends of friends, Facebook said. Facebook’s privacy boss Erin Egan apologized for the error, writing in a blog that the company is reaching out to “over 800,000” users about the screw-up. The “blocking bug” was active between May 29 and June 5, for eight days, though the company now says Messenger should be acting normally. According to Egan’s post: “[the bug] did not reinstate any friend connections that had been severed; 83% of people affected by the bug had only one person they had blocked temporarily unblocked; and Someone who was unblocked might have been able to contact people on Messenger who had blocked them.”

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Posted by amiller in Blog, facebook
Facebook Acknowledges It Shared User Data With Dozens of Companies

Facebook Acknowledges It Shared User Data With Dozens of Companies

An anonymous reader quotes a report from CNET: Facebook has admitted providing dozens of tech companies with special access to user data after publicly saying it restricted such access in 2015. Facebook continued sharing information with 61 hardware and software makers after it said it discontinued the practice in May 2015, the social networking giant acknowledged in 747 pages of documents delivered to Congress late Friday. The documents were in response to hundreds of questions posed to Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg by members of Congress in April.

Facebook said it granted a special “one-time” six-month extension to companies that ranged from AOL to package-delivery service United Parcel Service to dating app Hinge so they could come into compliance with the social network’s new privacy policy and create their own versions of Facebook for their devices. Data shared without users’ knowledge included friends’ names, genders and birth dates. Facebook’s documents also said it had discovered that five other companies “theoretically could have accessed limited friends’ data” as a result of a beta test. Facebook said in the documents it has ended 38 of the partnerships and plans to discontinue seven more by the end of July.

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Posted by amiller in Blog, facebook
Facebook Mistakenly Leaked Developer Analytics Reports To Testers

Facebook Mistakenly Leaked Developer Analytics Reports To Testers

This week, an alarmed developer contacted TechCrunch, informing us that their Facebook App Analytics weekly summary email had been delivered to someone outside their company. TechCrunch: It contains sensitive business information, including weekly average users, page views and new users. Forty-three hours after we contacted Facebook about the issue, the social network now confirms to TechCrunch that 3 percent of apps using Facebook Analytics had their weekly summary reports sent to their app’s testers, instead of only the app’s developers, admins and analysts. Testers are often people outside of a developer’s company. If the leaked info got to an app’s competitors, it could provide them an advantage. At least they weren’t allowed to click through to view more extensive historical analytics data on Facebook’s site. Facebook tells us it has fixed the problem and no personally identifiable information or contact info was improperly disclosed.

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Posted by amiller in Blog, facebook
Facebook Will Harass You Mercilessly If You Try To Break Up

Facebook Will Harass You Mercilessly If You Try To Break Up

schwit1 shares a summary from PJ Media: Breaking up with Facebook is apparently as difficult as breaking up with a bad boyfriend or girlfriend who won’t accept your decision. That’s the experience Henry Grabar of Slate had when he stopped signing on. He stopped logging in on June 6 and stayed off Facebook for ten days. He had been a member for over ten years and this was the longest period he had remained off the social network. But Facebook didn’t leave him alone. He received 17 email messages in a span of nine days urging him to return. Grabar is not alone in trying to wean himself off Facebook for various reasons. Some do it because they realize it can be a waste of time, while others do it because of the company’s inability to protect (or lack of interest in protecting) its members’ personal data. The company has mistakenly released data of millions of its members and friends of members to third parties, and many of them have used the data for illicit purposes. While Facebook says they are not losing members, some recent statistics paint a different story. According to a Pew study, only 51 percent of U.S. teenagers use the service now, down from 71 percent in 2015. This was the first time the numbers have fallen. The frequent messages reinforced Grabar’s decision to stay off the platform. Some of the messages included photo updates from his friends; liked posts from groups he belonged to; and comments about a news article that was posted to a group he belonged to.

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Posted by amiller in Blog, facebook
Facebook Groups May Soon Charge Monthly Subscription Fees For Access

Facebook Groups May Soon Charge Monthly Subscription Fees For Access

Facebook announced today in a blog post that group administrators can start charging $4.99 to $29.99 a month for exclusive membership in certain groups. “Parenting, cooking, and home cleaning groups will be the first ones to get the new feature as part of an early test,” reports The Verge. From the report: As it stands now, free groups will remain intact, but they will soon have the option to launch premium sub-groups. For instance, lifestyle blogger Sarah Mueller’s Declutter My Home group is starting an Organize My Home group that costs $14.99 a month to join. And the Grown and Flown Parents group is making a College Admissions group that charges $29.99 for access to college counselors. Facebook says the new feature is so that group admins, who put a lot of time and dedication to growing their communities, can also earn money at the same time. The company also says admins could take the money they earn to create higher-quality content for the group as well, whether that be more posts, videos, or offline meet-ups and events. Facebook reportedly won’t be getting a cut of the subscription fees.

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Posted by amiller in Blog, facebook