Facebook will pass off content policy appeals to a new independent oversight body

Facebook doesn’t want to be the arbiter of decency when it comes to content policy decisions, similar to how it looked to third-party fact checkers rather than becoming an arbiter of truth. Today on a press call with journalists, Mark Zuckerberg announced that a new external oversight committee would be created in 2019 to handle […]

Facebook under pressure over Soros smear tactics

Facebook is facing calls to conduct an external investigation into its own lobbying and PR activities by an aide to billionaire George Soros. BuzzFeed reports that Michael Vachon, an advisor to the chairman at Soros Fund Management, made the call in a letter to friends and colleagues. The call follows an explosive investigation, published yesterday […]

Children are being ‘datafied’ before we’ve understood the risks, report warns

A report by England’s children’s commissioner has raised concerns about how kids’ data is being collected and shared across the board, in both the private and public sectors. In the report, entitled Who knows what about me?, Anne Longfield urges society to “stop and think” about what big data means for children’s lives. Big data practices […]

Facebook Portal isn’t listening to your calls, but may track data

When the initial buzz of Portal finally dies down, it’s the timing that will be remembered most. There’s never a great time for a company like Facebook to launch a product like Portal, but as far as optics go, the whole of 2018 probably should have been a write-off. Our followup headline, “Facebook, are you […]

Facebook starts shipping Portal, clarifies privacy/ad policy

Planning to get in early on the Portal phenomenon? Facebook announced today that it’s starting to ship the video chat device. The company’s first true piece of devoted hardware comes in two configurations: the Echo Show-like Portal and the larger Portal+, which run $199 and $349, respectively. There’s also a two-fer $298 bundle on the […]

Facebook is facing an EU data probe over fake ads

The UK’s privacy watchdog has asked Facebook’s lead EU regulator to look into ongoing data protection concerns about its ad platform — including how its platform is being used to target and spread fake adverts to try to manipulate voters. Facebook’s international HQ is in Ireland so the regulator in play here is the Irish […]

Where’s the accountability Facebook?

Facebook has yet again declined an invitation for its founder and CEO Mark Zuckerberg to answer international politicians’ questions about how disinformation spreads on his platform and undermines democratic processes. But policymakers aren’t giving up — and have upped the ante by issuing a fresh invitation signed by representatives from another three national parliaments. So […]

Facebook must change and policymakers must act on data, warns UK watchdog

The UK’s data watchdog has warned that Facebook must overhaul its privacy-hostile business model or risk burning user trust for good. Comments she made today have also raised questions over the legality of so-called lookalike audiences to target political ads at users of its platform. Information commissioner Elizabeth Denham was giving evidence to the Digital, […]

Campaign tool supplied to UK’s governing party by Trump-Pence app dev quietly taken out of service — thanks to GDPR

An app that the UK’s governing party launched last year — for Conservative Party activists to gamify, ‘socialize’ and co-ordinate their campaigning activity — has been quietly pulled from app stores. Its vanishing was flagged to us earlier today, by Twitter user Sarah Parks, who noticed that, when loaded, the Campaigner app now displays a message informing users […]

Zuckerberg gets joint summons from UK and Canadian parliaments

Two separate parliamentary committees, in the UK and Canada, have issued an unprecedented international joint summons for Facebook’s CEO Mark Zuckerberg to appear before them. The committees are investigating the impact of online disinformation on democratic processes and want Zuckerberg to answer questions related to the Cambridge Analytica-Facebook user data misuse scandal, which both have been […]