Looks like the Cambridge Analytica – Facebook data scandal will result in disclosing more secrets of the tech giant.

Over 50 million Facebook users have fallen prey to an alleged data breach that occurred last week. Since then we have been seeing various outcomes of this scandal, whether it’s the huge uproar of people suggesting each other of deleting Facebook accounts or some bold steps already taken by tech billionaires like Elon Musk deleted Tesla and SpaceX’s Facebook pages.

Even though that Cambridge Analytica mystery has not resolved totally, yet a new report from Ars Technica, has revealed that Facebook has been collecting call records and SMS data from Android devices for years.

As you are aware that Facebook has been requesting various permissions from its users when you install the app. These permissions include access to contacts, SMS and MMS data, call history on Android devices. Facebook claims that it has been asking for this data for making its friend recommendation algorithm more efficient and to distinguish between business contacts and your true personal friendships.

It appears that Facebook’s Messenger app is utilized for this purpose, which often asks users to take over as an alternative to their default SMS app

Ars Technica’s reporter Dylan McKay downloaded the archive file of all his Facebook data and he was surprised to find out that social networking giant had been keeping records of his every call and text he had made from his Android phone of around one year.

 

After his tweets went viral, Facebook officially responded in a blog post that they don’t share this data with any third party app and they ask before taking this data from users.

“We never sell this data, and this feature does not collect the content of your text messages or calls.”

Meanwhile, the Cambridge Analytica data scandal is catching more heat as a UK’s Parliamentary committee has summoned CEO Mark Zuckerburg to explain how data was taken without users’ consent.

Facebook came under scrutiny last week when it was revealed by Chris Wylie, a data scientist of Cambridge Analytica, that his firm acquired data of over 50 million Facebook accounts without the consent of users to make an impact in US presidential election. As of now, Facebook’s CEO Mark Zuckerburg who was silent on this scandal for quite a while has finally spoken up and this is what he had to say in a facebook post.

I want to share an update on the Cambridge Analytica situation — including the steps we've already taken and our next…

Posted by Mark Zuckerberg on Wednesday, March 21, 2018

Do you still trust faceboook ? or you thinking of deleting your facebook account let us know in the comments below.

Facebook is allegedly testing a new feature that allows users to downvote comments in public posts.

It’s a simple way to allow users to moderate comments in public posts, located right below the main reactions area of a post.

Back in 2016, Facebook tried to enhance post and comment feedback by adding negative reactions, specifically sad and angry to the fore. The company is quick to say that the new downvote button is not equivalent to a “dislike” button, with a company spokesman clarifying to Engadget that they “are exploring a feature for people to give us feedback about comments on public page posts. This is running for a small set of people in the US only.”

Facebook’s downvote system won’t show how many users have downvoted a post, nor will it cause a post to disappear for other users (aside from the person that downvoted it).

Many other sites also utilize some sort of user ranking method. Reddit, for example, allows users to downvote posts and comments, with heavily downvoted comments and posts disappearing in the article stream. Obviously, the same downvote method is completely open to abuse by troll farms that have been pervasive in today’s highly political climate.

Read very carefully before hitting the Like button on Facebook, it could land you in court.

Reacting to content on Facebook can be achieved by commenting, sharing, or probably the most popular method: hitting that Like button. However, a court in Switzerland just convicted a man on defamation claims simply for “Liking” libelous comments posted on the social network.

The comments posted on Facebook referred to an animal rights activist who was accused of “antisemitism, racism and fascism.” To be clear, the man in court did not write these comments, he simply hit the Like button for them. These Likes were made between July and September 2015. That’s before Facebook expanded the Like button to include several other reactions.

According to CNN, the court in Zurich decided to convict the man on several counts of defamation for hitting the Like button. The reason given was his clicking of the Like button constituted “indirectly endorsing” the comments. But further to that, the court also recognized the act of liking the comments as “further distribution” of them. A statement made by the court said, “The defendant clearly endorsed the unseemly content and made it his own.”

Although the defendant has the right to appeal, his punishment for being found guilty amounts to a $4,100 fine. As for Facebook, they are declining to comment on the court case beyond stating the social network sees “no direct link” to the company.

Regardless of what comments were made on Facebook, should the act of hitting the Like button result in a lawsuit? What’s more clear is, if the comments are libelous, then the person who wrote them can be pursued for prosecution.

However you feel about this court case, it’s important to keep in mind such action can be taken against an individual. Does the expansion of the Like button to include several types of reaction to a comment make the situation better or worse? I guess we won’t know that until another Facebook Like button lawsuit happens.Do you think this could happen in Ghana ?

source:PCMAG

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privacy

Chances are that if you use Facebook today (and those chances are high because Facebook just passed over 1.2 billion active users), you have heard all the hype about the Facebook Messenger App. Users are now being forced to download the separate Messenger App if they want to use messaging through the Facebook app itself for mobile. Not only is that a burden, but Facebook asks for more permissions than the average app in order for you to be able to download the app and, let’s be honest, the permissions are a little frightening when you start looking into them

So, should you be worried about your privacy if you download the Messenger App? Should you not? What do the permissions actually mean and why does Facebook need them? Is Facebook the only app with these “invasive” permissions? This post hopes to answer all that.

I want to start with reacting to a video that I’ve seen shared around social media. In it, two news anchors are discussing the recent Facebook Messenger App and how many users are worried that Facebook is crossing the line and invading everyone’s privacy. Then, they refer to a “Tech Expert” named Anthony Mongeluzo who talks about how Facebook can use the permissions that you agree to in order to “use your recording device and your camera device on your phone without even telling you“. Also, he states that if you text someone that you want something (such as a “Nike Fit Band” as he refers to it), that Facebook will start popping up ads for “Nike Fit Bands”.

NONE of this is true! Nowhere in the permissions does it say that it can use your camera or microphone at any time. Furthermore, if you text someone that you want something, ads will not start popping up on Facebook for that item. If anything, it will be using the cookies within your browser and the pages you’ve visited to give you “relevant” ads. This “Tech Expert” Anthony is a sad excuse for an expert. He refers to the WhatsApp Messenger App as “What’s Up App” and calls Nike FuelBands “Nike Fit Bands”. Just because you heard it from a “news source” online does not mean it’s true. The media loves to scare people because it causes buzz and causes their story to get out there and people to listen.

Secondly, let me get this out there.

If you have the regular Facebook App downloaded, you already have agreed to nearly all the permissions that the Facebook Messenger App requests!

Yes you heard that correctly. The regular Facebook app (not the Messenger app) uses nearly all the same permissions as the Messenger app does (and even more).

Don’t believe me? Check this out (click on picture for full size):

As of Facebook version 14.0.0.17.13 and Facebook Messenger version 9.0.0.15.17
facebook_mobile_app_permissions_list

facebook_messenger_app_permissions_list-2
In the above pictures, you’ll see screenshots of the Facebook app and the Messenger app’s permissions (with some overlap) laid out side by side. After reading through them, some of them stand out as being pretty scary if you’ve never looked into these before (some are listed below).

Messenger App Examples:

  • directly call phone numbers
  • receive, read, and edit your text messages (SMS or MMS)
  • take pictures and videos
  • record audio
  • change network connectivity

Facebook App Examples:

  • directly call phone numbers
  • read your text messages (SMS or MMS)
  • take pictures and videos
  • record audio
  • change network connectivity
  • read/write call log
  • read calendar events plus confidential information

Notice that many of the permissions are the same, except the Facebook App has even more permissions (and more scary looking ones at that). After all, the Facebook App is a full blown social networking app whereas the Messenger App is just a messaging app so it makes sense that the Messenger App has less permissions.

If you read all the permissions, you’ll notice that the ONLY permissions that the Messenger App requests that the Facebook App doesn’t is in the SMS category. Instead of just having read your text messages (SMS or MMS) like the Facebook App, the Messenger App requests permissions to receive text messages (SMS or MMS), edit your text messages (SMS or MMS), and send SMS messages.

Why does Facebook need these permissions?

Well, Facebook came out with a new help page on their site within the past few weeks to help explain to users what the permissions are used for specifically for the Messenger App. However, there was already a help page out there for the regular Facebook App.

See these links:

Some examples Facebook provides as to why they need those permissions (can also be found in the links above):

  • Read your text messages (SMS or MMS) – If you add a phone number to your account, this allows us to confirm your phone number automatically by finding the confirmation code that we send via text message.
  • Take pictures and video – This permission allows you to take photos and videos within the Messenger app to easily send to your friends and other contacts.
  • Record audio – This permission allows you to send voice messages, make free voice calls, and send videos within Messenger.
  • Directly call phone numbers – This permission allows you to call a Messenger contact by tapping on the person’s phone number, found in a menu within your message thread with the person.
  • Read calendar events plus confidential information – This allows the app to show your calendar availability (based on your phone’s calendar) when you’re viewing an event on Facebook.

Another thing that is important to note — An application needs permissions in order to get its features to work. I have even developed some basic Android apps in the past for fun that required some of these permissions. For example, if there is a button within your application that allows the user to take a picture or video, the developer needs to require permissions to take pictures and videos along with the permission to record audio. Otherwise that button is useless because it won’t do anything. Simple as that.

Is Facebook the only app with these “invasive” permissions?

Absolutely not. This is something that you would think is common sense, but apparently it’s not. There are plenty of other apps out there that use many of these same permissions.

Here is a list of most of the “invasive” permissions listed above that the Facebook and Messenger App use along with other popular apps that use those same permissions:

I think you get the point. In my research, the app that surprised me the most was AVG AntiVirus Security. It requested nearly all the same permissions as the Facebook Messenger App except for a couple. Yet, I don’t see everyone up in arms about their privacy when they download AVG… quick! Somebody tell the media. Perhaps they can make a video to scare everyone about it.

Should you be worried about your privacy with the Facebook Messenger App or no?

The answer is NO! The point I’m trying to make with this post is that… you shouldn’t be any more worried about your privacy than you were before the Messenger App became mandatory in order to access your messages through the regular Facebook App.

Why? Because it uses almost every single permission that the regular Facebook App uses. Not to mention, based on the number of downloads listed for the other popular apps above, chances are that you use at least one of those apps and those apps use many of the same permissions as the Facebook Messenger App.

If you truly still believe that Facebook can “access your recording devices at any time”, well guess what, you agreed to those same permissions with the regular Facebook App, or WhatsApp, or Skype, or Snapchat, or many other apps.

The bottom line…

Is that Facebook is using the information they gather about each individual user so that they can sell that information to third-party companies. This is how Facebook monetizes the data they receive. Without it, they wouldn’t be in business. Not sure how your data is used? You can poke through the various categories on the Facebook Data Use Policy page or just go straight to “Information we receive and how it is used“.

The part we should be worried about is the fact that, regardless of any permission that any app could ever ask us, much of online Internet data (whether that be Facebook chats, websites visited, pictures sent, etc.) goes directly to the NSA because apparently we all need to be tracked. But that’s a whole other conversation…

Still not convinced and want alternatives?

Easy. You don’t have to download the Messenger App. You can access your messages via the desktop version of Facebook Or… you could just use another messaging app! There are plenty out there — WhatsApp, Kik, Skype, etc.

credit:crambler

fb

Facebook has announced a “Lite” version of its Android Messenger app. The new bare-bones Messenger app is designed for older phones with less memory and less powerful processors. Messenger Lite will initially launch in Kenya, Malaysia, Sri Lanka, Tunisia, and Venezuela, but will hit other regions at a later, unspecified date.

Much like the main Facebook Lite app that came before it, Messenger Lite is aimed at users in emerging markets. The pared down app has been designed to be work reliably a wider variety of Android devices, and use less data to mitigate unpredictable network speeds. It’s not clear what’s missing in the lightweight version, but don’t be surprised if features likeStories or Chatbots don’t make the cut. At the very least, Messenger Lite will send and receive photos, stickers and links. There’s no mention of whether there will be a similar app for iOS (Facebook says it chose markets with a “prevalence of basic Android smartphones”), but if you’re in one of the five launch nations, you can download Messenger Lite starting today.

source:engadget