“#Facebook Gave Some Companies Special Access to Additional Data About Users’ Friends – WSJ”

This is separate from the apps that had access to friends of friends data such as those affiliated with Cambridge Analytica, and many others.

This is separate from the 60 hardware partners like Chinese phone maker Huawei, that were given access to private data on Facebook.

This is new – Facebook gave secret access to many additional partners too:

Facebook Inc. FB 0.49% struck customized data-sharing deals with a select group of companies, some of which had special access to user records well after the point in 2015 that the social-media giant has said it cut off all developers from that information, according to court documents, company officials and people familiar with the matter.

Source: Facebook Gave Some Companies Special Access to Additional Data About Users’ Friends – WSJ

Facebook did announce this week that it has cut off Huawei’s data sharing agreement as of this week. But that is not relevant to anyone who has owned a Huawei product the past year or two or three. What happened to our data? Is the data sharing burned into the existing phone’s firmware – hence, ending the agreement is irrelevant?

Facebook has been reckless in its disregard for privacy and continues to steadily obfuscate its tall tales about how they have shared our private data with everyone on the planet – and presumably well beyond the planet, at this point.

Zuckerberg and Sandberg are liars.

“There is nothing wrong with your social media feed. We are controlling transmission”

A long time ago, in a generation far away from the present, there was a TV show called “The Outer Limits” famous for its opening sequence narration:

There is nothing wrong with your television set. Do not attempt to adjust the picture. We are controlling transmission. If we wish to make it louder, we will bring up the volume. If we wish to make it softer, we will tune it to a whisper. We will control the horizontal. We will control the vertical. We can roll the image, make it flutter. We can change the focus to a soft blur or sharpen it to crystal clarity. For the next hour, sit quietly and we will control all that you see and hear. We repeat: there is nothing wrong with your television set. You are about to participate in a great adventure. You are about to experience the awe and mystery which reaches from the inner mind to – The Outer Limits.

Little did they know then, they were describing the future Facebook and Instagram services which use algorithms to determine what you see in your news feed. Both services control the content you see – imagine the possibilities for propaganda when all you see is what a giant corporation’s secret algorithms choose to show you.

Instagram says it uses three main factors, based on your past actions and behaviors, to determine how to build your feed: Interest: How much Instagram predicts you’ll care about a post, with higher ranking for what matters to you, determined by past behavior on similar content and potentially machine vision analyzing the actual content of the post. Recency: How recently the post was shared, with prioritization for timely posts over weeks-old ones. Relationship: How close you are to the person who shared it, with higher ranking for people you’ve interacted with a lot in the past on Instagram, such as by commenting on their posts or being tagged together in photos.Instagram adds that it also considers the frequency with which you open Instagram, the number of people you follow, and how long you generally spend in the app during each session.

Source: Instagram explains how its feed algorithm works, and says it’s not considering a chronological option | 9to5Mac

George Orwell’s 1984 was not intended as operating instructions for the future, but as a warning.

Sadly, Mark Zuckerberg adopted 1984 as the operating guidelines for Facebook and Instagram.

#Facebook used to brag about its ability to influence elections #DeleteFacebook

Facebook’s website had an entire section devoted to touting the “success stories” of political campaigns that used the social network to influence electoral outcomes. That page, however, is now gone, even as the 2018 congressional primaries get underway.

Source: Facebook Quietly Hid Webpages Bragging of Ability to Influence Elections

#Facebook is a platform for mind control #DeleteFacebook #Zuckerberg

Perhaps at some point in the past few years you’ve told Facebook that you like, say, Kim Kardashian West.

….

What you probably missed is that researchers had figured out how to tie your interest in Ms. Kardashian West to certain personality traits, such as how extroverted you are (very), how conscientious (more than most) and how open-minded (only somewhat). And when your fondness for Ms. Kardashian West is combined with other interests you’ve indicated on Facebook, researchers believe their algorithms can predict the nuances of your political views with better accuracy than your loved ones.

Facebook creates a detailed psychological profile of you, to determine your weaknesses, vulnerabilities and key times to “see you something” via advertising or propaganda messaging. “Something” may be a product, a service or someone’s ideology.

More on this in the next post.

#Facebook admits: Most of its 2 billion users have had their data scraped #DeleteFacebook

Facebook said Wednesday that most of its 2 billion users likely have had their public profiles scraped by outsiders without the users’ explicit permission, dramatically raising the stakes in a privacy controversy that has dogged the company for weeks, spurred investigations in the United States and Europe, and sent the company’s stock price tumbling.

It seems likely that more than just “public” data was taken. Facebook is not telling anyone what was taken (why the secrecy?)

It seems highly likely that the vast amount of private data, detailed in my other post, was also taken, through the “Apps Others Use” data theft system built by Facebook. Effectively, everything everyone ever posted, Liked, plus Facebook’s assessment of each of us – was lifted by potentially hundreds of thousands of apps.

Apps were also able to scrape the posts and profiles of private groups.

Source: Facebook said the personal data of most of its 2 billion users has been collected and shared with outsiders – The Washington Post

Their privacy violations have been vast. It is difficult to see how Facebook remains a sustainable business.

Mark Zuckerbeg is a lying scoundrel.

 

Likely that every #Facebook user’s private data was scraped into third-party databases – everything #DeleteFacebook #Zuckerberg

Prior to 2014, applications using the Facebook platform could download nearly everything posted by users, including photos, Likes, Interests, Groups and more – including from the friends of the person running the app – even items restricted to “Friends only” – and did so without permission of the Friends.

Everything ever posted on Facebook was “Public” to applications that requested access to “Friends” data.

An estimated 10+% of Facebook applications requested permission to access the data of Friends. Presumably most collected a limited set of personal data, but with 9 million applications in existence today, that would be 900,000 applications.

What could they get?

  • Every post you ever made on your Timeline (including those that were to Friends and not Public)
  • Every photo you posted online,
  • A list of every Like you ever made on Facebook
  • Every group you belonged to
  • The Facebook determined list of “Interests” (determined by Group membership, Pages you Liked/Followed, and possibly text analysis)
  • Your family relationships
  • Your religion and politics

Here is Table 5 from a 2015 paper, cited below, capturing the Facebook API permissions in effect at the time. Applications could scrape any of the data listed in the “Friends Data” column, which is essentially everything as “friend.status” refers to timeline posts.

In 2014, Facebook rewrote this programming interface to restrict access to Friend’s data. Apps approved after that point were restricted – however, apps approved prior to that point could continue to run and continue to collect data.

Until last weekend, Facebook had a hidden privacy setting for Apps Others Use.The default settings for this page  had almost every item as share-able. I took this snapshot after I had cleared the settings; Facebook deleted this the next day.

When most every item was checked (and the default was checked) Apps run by your friends had access to all of your personal activity. This included everything you “Liked” on Facebook, plus all Interest and Group memberships – even apparently posts on your Timeline intended for Friends-only.

Consumer Reports noted that applications were sharing data for Friends – back in a 2012 online column (https://www.consumerreports.org/cro/magazine/2012/06/facebook-your-privacy/index.htm).

An estimated 10% of Facebook applications requested access to your “Friends”. Thus, it is highly likely everything we shared with Facebook, including items to “Friends” only was scraped, including Timeline posts, Photos, Likes and more and are now stored in non-Facebook, private, third-party databases.

It is likely that if applications could this, then major intelligence agencies also scraped this data.

Most apps would not have collected all of the possible data but just a limited subset. However, a combination of several apps, each collecting a subset, could merge their data together to ultimately collect everything about everyone.

News reports about the Cambridge Analytica beach now affecting 87 million (mostly) Americans are missing the story. It is likely that nearly all 2 billion Facebook users have had their data scraped, including what they thought was private information.

Why are you still using Facebook? Facebook is a dangerous platform that has operated for 14 years in a reckless manner.

Reference

Symeondiis, I., Tsormpatzoudi, P., and Preneel, B. (2015). Collateral damage of Facebook Apps: an enhanced privacy scoring model

Computer algorithms that analyze #Facebook “Likes” understand your thinking better than your spouse #DeleteFacebook #Privacy

Facebook (and Youtube and Twitter) have conducted a global experiment on human populations without consent of the guinea pigs by analyzing our “Likes”.

Facebook’s digital model of us is more accurate than our own understanding of ourselves.

Computers need evaluate as few as 100 Likes to make a judgement more effective than a human. Analyzing just 300 Likes enables the model to know more about the subject than does the subject’s spouse. Computer models achieve “peak” accuracy when more than 500 Likes are observed.

We show that (i) computer predictions based on a generic digital footprint (Facebook Likes) are more accurate (r = 0.56) than those made by the participants’ Facebook friends using a personality questionnaire (r = 0.49); (ii) computer models show higher interjudge agreement; and (iii) computer personality judgments have higher external validity when predicting life outcomes such as substance use, political attitudes, and physical health; for some outcomes, they even outperform the self-rated personality scores. Computers outpacing humans in personality judgment presents significant opportunities and challenges in the areas of psychological assessment, marketing, and privacy.

Given the variety of objects, subjects, brands, and people that can be liked and the number of Facebook users (>1.3 billion), Likes represent one of the most generic kinds of digital footprint. For instance, liking a brand or a product offers a proxy for consumer preferences and purchasing behavior; music-related Likes reveal music taste; and liked websites allow for approximating web browsing behavior. Consequently, Like-based models offer a good proxy of what could be achieved based on a wide range of other digital footprints such as web browsing logs, web search queries, or purchase records

Reference

Youyou, W., Kosinski, M., Stillwell, D. (2015). “Computer-based personality judgements are more accurate than those made by humans”. PNAS. January 27, 2015. https://doi.org/10.1073/pnas.1418680112 Retrieved from: http://www.pnas.org/content/112/4/1036 on April 3, 2018.

Likes are the Secret Sauce of Social Media Surveillance

“Likes” are the secret sauce. We give Likes out of kindness and believing we may have been thoughtful towards a “Friend”. We give Likes, sometimes as a form of “bookmark” so we can find something later, by reviewing our Likes. The entire process was conceived as a form of mind control, to cause us to reveal our thought processes and patterns.

We now know – never, ever click Like on Facebook or Youtube or Twitter and never click +1 on Google platforms. It is unclear what is collected by Instagram and how Likes are evaluated on that platform but it is presumed that Instagram (aka Facebook) ties photo Likes to the image tags used in photo descriptions.

These platforms have created a psychological profile of every user. The analysis includes not only our Likes, but our Group memberships, our self selected Interests (Page Likes, especially), our self provided background such as education or religious interests, an analysis of our text, analysis of our online web site visits (Facebook and Google both track our web site visits across the web), and may include text analysis of posts we have made on other web sites or web sites that we operate ourselves, such as blogs like this one.

While Facebook let’s us download “our data”, Facebook does not provide us with the psychological model they have created about each of us. We do not know what it contains nor do we have any way to correct errors in that model.

#Instagram does not need all those app permissions, How to use it safely #Facebook #DeleteFacebook

When you install the Instagram app, it wants access to your Phone and SMS functions on your phone. Today we know that Facebook’s Messenger app harvested ALL of your call and text records and stored them in the Facebook spy database.

Instagram is a product of Facebook and absolutely cannot be trusted regarding personal privacy. Facebook’s policy is to collect all information, everywhere.

Therefore do not permit Instagram access to features it does not need. And remember NEVER EVER upload your Contacts list to an app or a web site. Access to Contacts is not really for your benefit – it is for the app or service provider to harvest all the names, addresses, email addresses and phone numbers in your address book.

Therefore, when you install Instagram, set all permissions as follows.

Default #Snapchat permissions are not safe for you #Android #Facebook #DeleteFacebook

Yesterday I installed Android Snapchat on my phone. By default SnapChat wanted access to my Contacts list, Phone and SMS – in other words, all my call records.

SUGGESTION – Install apps and before opening the app, go to Settings | Apps | and select the app you just installed. Find Permissions on the app’s attributes. Click on that, and then uncheck any Permissions that seem suspect. Then and only then, run the app for the first time.

SnapChat runs fine with most permissions turned off. Since I do not plan to use video features, I kept the microphone turned off.

If the app tries to do something that requires one of these permissions, it will ask you to enable the permission. You can then decide whether you want to give it that permission.

Note – the Snapchat app tries to get you to sign up by giving them your phone number. DO NOT GIVE OUT YOUR PHONE NUMBER WHEN YOU DO NOT NEED TO.

In fact, you can sign up with just an email address. I used my new alternate email address to create my account. Their verification message was then sent to that email address.

Snapchat runs fine other than nagging about wanting me to enter a phone number. The phone number is what enables them to troll your data and link you to other databases.

SUGGESTION – go through all of our existing apps today. Delete apps you are no longer using or very seldom use. Review the permissions on remaining apps and unless you see a compelling reason for the permission, turn it off. Half of the apps on my phone were requesting Location permission but most had no need for that information. Many are requesting Phone, SMS and Contacts with no obvious reason they need that data. A reasonable guess is that half of all Android apps are collecting data from us.

The irony burns: #Facebook employees angry that internal emails leaking out #DeleteFacebook

An internal post reacting to the memo found employees angry and heartbroken that their teammates were sharing internal company discussions with the media. Many called on the company to step up its war on leakers and hire employees with more “integrity.”

The reference to “hire employees with more ‘integrity'” sounds like a headline in The Onion! Facebook has no understanding of business ethics!

Source: Here are the internal Facebook posts of employees discussing today’s leaked memo – The Verge