After an entire year of embarrassment, many had thought that Facebook would refrain from indulging in unethical techniques for obtaining data. But every new discovery reveals a more disturbing picture about Facebook’s thirst for data. A new report from The Wall Street Journal has found Facebook gaining highly personal information from certain apps. To make the situation more alarming, Facebook can access this data even if you’re not using Facebook.

The report looked at some 70 different popular apps and found at least 11 to be sharing sensitive data with Facebook. Flo Period and Ovulation Tracker was found sharing details about when its users were having periods or when they were about to get pregnant. Instant Heart Rate :HR Monitor shared heart rates of users at various times with Facebook while the real estate app, Realtor shared the listing its users viewed.

The developers who used Facebook’s SDK for analytics were found sending data to the social media giant. The report notes that none of the mentioned apps made it easily accessible for users to know that such sort of data sharing was taking place. In fact, some apps were using custom events which are popular in the app to send the data.

Talking to CNBC, the spokesperson for Flo Period and Ovulation Tracker said that they would revisit all the analytics tools they are using and said that the tools are intended for internal testing only, “will cover an exhaustive spectrum of all external analytical tools, not limited to Facebook Analytics,” said the spokesperson.

Facebook in their usual fashion, denied any involvement in the fiasco. In fact they deemed the practice is quite lawful and said that they encouraged the developers to let their users know about such data sharing. A spokesperson for Facebook said,“Sharing information across apps on your iPhone or Android device is how mobile advertising works and is industry standard practice. The issue is how apps use information for online advertising. We require app developers to be clear with their users about the information they are sharing with us, and we prohibit app developers from sending us sensitive data. We also take steps to detect and remove data that should not be shared with us.”

“Invasion of consumer privacy”

Following the report, an investigation has been launched by New York Department of State and Department of Financial Services into Facebook’s practices resulting “invasion of consumer privacy.”

New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo said ,“New Yorkers deserve to know that their personal information is safe, and we must hold internet companies — no matter how big — responsible for upholding the law and protecting the information of smartphone users,”

Where does it stop?

Facebook has been facing criticism for such practices but it looks like they are not changing anything. Last month, a report from TechCrunch found how Facebook was incentivising teenagers to share their personal data. The VPN app used has since been removed but Facebook walked away freely. If Facebook continues to get such privilege, who knows what they will do next in their quest for data and analytics.

Facebook has said that an attack on its network has affected almost 50 million user accounts, exposing their personal information. The breach could allow attackers to take over the accounts of affected users. The full extent of the attack remains unknown at this time.

The social media giant said that the security breach was discovered earlier this week on Tuesday. The company found that the attackers had exploited a feature in Facebook’s code that impacted ‘View As’, which lets people see what their own profile looks like to others. The attackers exploited the vulnerability, which leaked Facebook access token, giving attackers access to users’ accounts.

In a conference call with reports, Mark Zukerberg, CEO of Facebook, said, We’re taking it really seriously. We have a major security effort at the company that hardens all of our surfaces. I’m glad we found this. But it definitely is an issue that this happened in the first place.”

Currently the company’s internal investigation “is still in its early stages” and it has provided no details regarding who might be behind the attack or what user data (if any) was exfiltrated. Facebook has not revealed where in the world the affected 50 million users are, but says that it has informed Irish data regulators, where Facebook’s European subsidiary is based.

Over 90 million users were forced to log out of their accounts on Friday, which is a common security measure when accounts have been compromised. However, the users were not required to change their passwords.

The company said that it has fixed the vulnerability and has also notified law enforcement officials. It has temporarily disabled the View As feature while the company conducts a thorough security review. Facebook says that peoples’ privacy and security are very important and apologises for the incident.

The news about security breach comes at a time when Facebook is going through a rough time. It is currently facing federal investigation over its role in the Cambridge Analytica scandal in which the firm misused data from about 87 million Facebook users.

The Facebook-owned whatsapp is making serious attempts to keep the users hooked to the app.

Some of the updates are available in beta, a few have been rolled out to all the users of WhatsApp. Here are five recent changes made by the leading messaging app with 1 billion daily active users:
1. The feature that helps to deal with unwanted messages

The beta version 2.18.246 has a report feature that enables you to not only report but also block and save chat history of individuals.

The feature is available for individual as well as group chats and upon tapping the report button, a new alert appears which allows the user to report a specific number to WhatsApp and hence the contact is instantly blocked and all messages get deleted in the chat. Currently, the feature is available for Android beta testers and It is expected that the feature will be rolled out for public soon.

2. The feature that allows you to chat and watch videos in WhatsApp simultaneously

WhatsApp’s 2.18.234 version was submitted to Google beta program recently and it enables you to watch YouTube and Instagram videos in small windows in WhatsApp through Picture in Picture (PiP) mode. Users can simultaneously browse through their chats. Users need to click on play symbol in the thumbnail of the sent video and instead of visiting Instagram or YouTube, they can watch the video right there and then.

3. The feature that allows you to talk to four WhatsApp contacts on
video call

The feature has been rolled out for public and WhatsApp users can make a group call to as many as four contacts at the same time. Users need to make a regular video call to one friend via WhatsApp. Then tap on the “Add participant” button located at the top right corner and add more contacts to the video call. Just like the chats on WhatsApp, the video calls are also end-to-end encrypted.

4. The feature that fights with the spread of fake news

In order to control the spread of fake viral messages that lead to mob lynchings in India, WhatsApp rolled out forward labeled messages and also added a limit to the number of forwarded messages. On 8th of August, the users of WhatsApp in India started witnessing limit to the number of messages they can forward. While the forwarded labeled feature has been rolled out for users all over the world, the feature that adds the limit to the number of messages that can be forwarded is still to arrive to the messaging app.

5. The feature that lets you share GIF and stickers on WhatsApp web

According to a report by WABetaInfo, WhatsApp is working on a new feature that will also allow users to share GIFs and stickers through WhatsApp’s web client. WhatsApp web users can only view sent and received GIFs but cannot use the web client to send GIFs or stickers. This upcoming feature will make WhatsApp web equally interesting.

Facebook is again in hot waters as the fake news spread from its most widely used messaging platform — WhatsApp resulted in the death of over 12 innocents people by mobs in separate incidents in different states of India. To curb its fake news problems, WhatsApp is offering grants of up to $50,000 to social researchers for finding out the reason behind these tragic incidents.

WhatsApp came under scrutiny after it was discovered that over a dozen of people got killed in a mob violence across five states of India due to the misinformation spread via the online platform during the course of last two months. Washington Post claims that among the total number 8 were killed during the last week.

Witnessing these tragic incidents in India which is also the 2nd largest market of WhatsApp users, Indian government criticized the company for its role in spreading false information. India’s Ministry of Electronics and IT demanded from the Facebook-owned WhatsApp that the company should “take immediate action to end this menace.”

In response to that WhatsApp announced that it will pay researchers for studying various aspects of misinformation including election-related issues and viral content which is being spread through the platform. As the statement reads, “WhatsApp is commissioning a competitive set of awards to researchers interested in exploring issues that are related to misinformation on WhatsApp.”

The company further states; “We will seriously consider proposals from any social science and technological perspective that propose projects that enrich our understanding of the problem of misinformation on WhatsApp.”

This is not the first time that fake news spread through social networking giant Facebook resulted in several casualties. Last year in Myanmar, over 650,000 Rohingya Muslims were massacred in the world’s most brutal homicidal violence due to the hate speech primarily spread through Facebook.

Facebook and Twitter have announced some big changes in order to ensure advertisement transparency on their respective platforms. Facebook and Twitter have announced some big changes.

On 28th June 2018, Facebook COO Sheryl Sandberg announced in a press conference that different tools are being introduced on the platform for the transparency and information about ads running on the social media site. Each Facebook page will now have a tab called “Info and Ads.” Clicking on that tab will give details about every ad that the page would be running along with the details about the page itself, including when it was founded and any other prominent changes that were made during the timeline.

Sheryl Sandberg, Facebook’s chief operating officer said:

“Our ultimate goal is very simple: We want to reduce bad ads and make sure people understand what they are saying. We believe advertisers and us should be held accountable for content and ads.”

This move comes when the U.S. midterm elections are just around the corner. Prior to that, Facebook came under widespread criticism for the spread of fake news and hostile political propaganda spread by foreign agents on the platform during the 2016 presidential election. With these changes, Facebook is also giving its users a deeper look into its advertising operation. The company will disclose how many political advertisers spend on their ads. It will also allow people to search and see what ads are being shown in a particular country and on a particular page.

Read Also: Facebook removes the ban on cryptocurrency ads

Following Facebook’s announcement, Twitter also immediately released details about its new Advertising Transparency Center. The centre will allow the public to see all ads that are running on the service and for how long. The centre has also been designed to provide a different “look and feel” for political ads so they’re easier to differentiate among others.

Want to find out who is advertising on Twitter? 💰

Today we launched the Ads Transparency Center, which lets you do just that. pic.twitter.com/LYs8mpm3x6

— Twitter (@Twitter) June 28, 2018

 

 

Facebook is the biggest social media platform of the world. In addition to that, they also own the biggest online chatting app of the world, WhatsApp along with the ever-famous images sharing app, Instagram. Don’t think it’s all $$ and fame; it’s not easy being one of the biggest corporations of the world. Facebook has been subject to a number of scandals in the previous years, one of the most recent ones being the Cambridge Analytica scandal. Well, it turns out Facebook isn’t eager to cater to user privacy as well.

Facebook has applied for a patent which enables it to turn on your smartphone mic without permission. Facebook has always denied that it would spy on you but why would they patent this technology if they don’t intend on using it? Boy, I would be furious at Facebook for hearing in on my conversations.

In an application filed on the 14th of June, Facebook has requested to patent the technology required to turn on a phone’s mic and for it to start recording. Although there are no mentions of the technology “invading user privacy”, I’m sure nobody with a sane mind would be okay with Facebook listening in on their conversations. This is how the technology works:

  1. A digital sound will be transmitted through TV ads or any other medium. This sound will be an inaudible noise that cannot be heard by humans in normal conditions. The sound will be high-pitched and will contain a set of machine Morse-style codes that can only be heard/understood by a mobile.
  2. These codes will order your smartphone to open the mic and start recording. If it wasn’t obvious, you won’t have knowledge of any of this happening.
  3. The mic starts recording “ambient noise”, which is the sound of basically everything around the mic, including your conversations and other environmental sounds such as that of the air conditioning system etc.
  4. These noises are then sent to an online system which analyses the sound note in addition to the storage of user identity information.

Indefinitely, the purpose of this system is to analyze what kind of ads/content users are seeing on their “broadcasting devices”. The data will further on be used to come up with relevant advertisements on Facebook itself, i.e. personalized to the user according to the content they see on other mediums.

It’s painful to see Facebook commercializing themselves so much. It seems like user concerns don’t even matter anymore. Everything they’re doing is indirectly benefitting their advertising partners exclusively. Is that the right way to do things? I don’t think so, what about you?

Facebook has updated its policy on 26th June to allow ads that promote cryptocurrency (previously banned) meanwhile making sure the ads are safe and from pre-approved advertisers. However, the new policy still does not favour initial coin offerings (ICO) ads.

Facebook’s revised policy states:

“Starting June 26, we’ll […] allow ads that promote cryptocurrency and related content from pre-approved advertisers. But we’ll continue to prohibit ads that promote binary options and initial coin offerings.”

In January 2018 amidst the biggest bull run of Bitcoin and altcoins, Facebook created a new policy that prohibited “ads that promote financial products and services that are frequently associated with misleading or deceptive promotional practices, such as binary options, initial coin offerings and cryptocurrency.”

At that time Facebook asked people to explore and discover new products and service without the fear of being deceived. Facebook simply believed that these ads were not operating on right terms and good faith so they should be prohibited on its platform. However, they also gave a signal that will review the policy and will see if it would be updated or not.

Now after around 6 months Facebook decided to loosen its ropes on cryptocurrency ads by introducing some terms and conditions. For example, advertisers wanting to run ads for cryptocurrency products and services must submit an application to pass through the eligibility criteria designed by Facebook. Moreover, the advertisers have also need to submit any licenses they have obtained, and other necessary information about their business. Keeping these restrictions in mind, not everyone who wants to advertise will be able to do so on the social media platform.

In addition to Facebook, Google and Twitter also have restricted cryptocurrency ads on their respective platforms. This decision by Facebook might encourage other platforms to revisit their advertising policies related to cryptocurrency ads. It is also speculated that once the ads are on flow on Facebook, the credibility of cryptocurrency will increase and there might be a surge in their value.

Social media apps or websites have come under fire for being too addictive and has led to it being blocked at workplaces and schools so the social media giant is coming up with a solution to manage your time on Facebook.

Facebook developer Jane Manchun Wong discovered a code for a feature “Your Time on Facebook” on Facebook’s Android app. Facebook has since confirmed the feature and said it is in active development, saying “We’re always working on new ways to help make sure people’s time on Facebook is well spent.”

 

The new tool lists will monitor how much time you spent on Facebook in the past week and your average time on the social media app per day. You can even set a time limit for your usage and to manage notification settings. “Time well spent” and “digital wellbeing” are the latest features in tech world which help you to curb social media and mobile phone addiction respectively. Google and Apple have already introduced such features trying to help you spend less time on social media, and now Facebook is going to give it a go.

Mark Zuckerberg earlier responded to the changes in News Feed by saying:

“I’m changing the goal I give our product teams from focusing on helping you find relevant content to help you have more meaningful social interactions.”

At WWDC 2018, when Apple announced this feature, it used the example of Facebook. At I/O conference, Google also announced a new initiative to improve the digital wellbeing of its users by helping to understand their online habits and learn when it’s time to switch off.

Do you check your social media accounts the first thing in the morning? How often have you encountered yourself keeping a track of how many likes you got on your recent post?
Have your friends ever told you that you tag them in the best memes? Have you tried different ways to stop this unlimited scrolling through your timeline but failed every time? If the answer to all of these questions is yes, then fret not, I am going to tell you amazing strategies to start earning through your social media addiction.

Become an Instagram blogger:

All you need to do is identify your interests. if you always keep a track of what celebrities wore at the latest event they attended, then certainly you are a fashionista and you can try becoming a fashion blogger. If you love to try every restaurant that opens in your vicinity, then why not start an Instagram food blog.
So, instead of posting on your personal account that is private, create an account that is open to the public. Now you can start posting and gradually build an audience. Depending on the number of your audience, companies will approach you and ask you to publish a paid post for their offering related to your audience. For instance, if you have 10,000 followers on your account, a company will easily pay you GHC 1000 to do a post.
There are many popular Instagram bloggers that you can follow and learn from.

Start creating or sharing memes on Facebook:

If your phone gallery is full of memes that you randomly save online or receive from different WhatsApp groups, you can start a page on Facebook and start sharing memes. All you need to do is save random memes on your phone while you are uselessly scrolling Facebook and then take an hour to schedule all the posts on your Facebook page with a specific time difference.
Slowly, you will have substantial audience base and then you can start charging for posts that companies would approach you for. Companies look for social media pages that have a great number of likes on their page. They approach owners of the pages to help them make their marketing campaign successful by sharing posts through that page. There are many famous pages on Facebook such as Humorists

Earn by Twitter:

If you have a good sense of humor, you can start tweeting on Twitter and gradually you will start getting followers. This will help you create a massive number of followers and eventually companies will do a contract with you to do a number of posts with a hashtag so, this will help them make their hashtags trending.
If this does not convince you enough, Kris Sanchez is 25 year old owner of the Twitter page, @Uberfacts. He makes more than $500,000 every year by tweeting random facts every day.

Earn through WhatsApp:

If you use WhatsApp a lot, then you can start earning by following the steps:

  1. Visit the website called shorte.st
  2. Register by using your email or login with Facebook
  3. Shorten the URL on the site and then copy the shortened URL
  4. Now share in WhatsApp groups you are a part of
  5. You will get money for every click on the URL.

When anyone clicks on the shortened URL, the user will be shown an advertisement for 5 seconds before the user is redirected to the destination link. This is why this website pays you as you bring traffic to them.

Create and sell filters on Snapchat:

Well, if you are a graphic designer who loves to use Snapchat, you can create filters and sell them through Snapchat Geofilter on FilterPop.
When you will add your designs, you will earn 50% for each sale of your design. This feature allows you to have a Geofilter store of your own. Snapchat will manage and promote the store. You only need to create a custom Snapchat filter and submit by creating your account on FilterPop and you can start making passive income in this way.
On Snapchat, you can also share any item you want to sell and use Snapcash by linking debit card to your account and anyone on your snapchat account who wants to buy what you are selling can send you payment via Snapcash.

Do you know of any other way of earning money through social media. Let us know in the comments section.

A  script message is going viral on the messaging platform WhatsApp and it is reported to have been crashing WhatsApp.

According to reports, the message consists of a “Telugu” text bomb. If you click on this bomb it will crash your WhatsApp app on both Android and iOS. This message is usually sent as a forward message surfacing around WhatsApp which claimed to hang the app for some time. TechJuice received such a message as well and as you can see in the image below the message reads, “If you touch the black point then your WhatsApp will hang.”

The message consists of a black icon, clicking on that black icon will cause your WhatsApp to freeze or make it unresponsive. This is not a hoax as many WhatsApp users experienced WhatsApp crash after tapping on the black icon.

WhatsApp application is freezing but the black dot is not the actual culprit here, there is a small hidden trick in this message. The app is freezing because of the blank space between the text and the black dot, as you can see in the screenshot above.

Converting the message into HTML format reveals that the text consists of RLM (right-to-left mark). This is an invisible formatting character which is used to distinguish between left-to-right mark (LRM) and right-to-left mark (RLM). WhatsApp doesn’t use RLM, it uses LRM hence the use of wrong directional formatting character is making WhatsApp change the direction, which ultimately leads the app to crash.

WhatsApp is one of the most popular messaging application in the world. And the company has been introducing many new features in its latest updates.

Did you get such a forward message from your friends and family? Don’t fall for the prank!