Facebook’s weapon amid chaos and controversy: misdirection

The New York Times’ bombshell report into the past three years at Facebook paint a grotesque picture of the company’s attempts to navigate a string of high-profile controversies by using unsavory, unethical and dark PR tactics. The Times’ report, citing more than 50 sources, accuses the company of: employing a Republican opposition research firm to […]

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 […]

Zuckerberg rejects facetime call for answers from five parliaments

Facebook has declined once again to send its CEO to the UK parliament — this time turning down an invitation to face questions from a grand committee comprised of representatives from five international parliaments. MPs from Argentina, Australia, Canada, Ireland and the UK have joined forces to try to pile pressure on the company’s founder, Mark […]

Snap is being probed over its IPO because some investors are salty about losing money

Here’s something I didn’t expect to read today. The U.S. Justice Department and Securities and Exchange Commission has subpoenaed Snap for details on its IPO apparently in connection with a lawsuit from disgruntled shareholders who claim the company played down its rivalry with Instagram. Reuters first reported on the subpoenas which Snap has confirmed. Precise details […]

Facebook bug let websites read ‘likes’ and interests from a user’s profile

Facebook has fixed a bug that let any website pull information from a user’s profile — including their “likes” and interests — without that user’s knowledge. That’s the findings from Ron Masas, a security researcher at Imperva, who found that Facebook search results weren’t properly protected from cross-site request forgery (CSRF) attacks. In other words, […]

YouTube VR finally lands on the Oculus Go

Today, Google’s YouTube VR app arrives on the $199 Oculus Go, bringing to Facebook’s entry-level VR device the largest library of VR content on the web. YouTube brings plenty of content in conventional and more immersive video types. It’s undoubtedly the biggest single hub of 360 content and native formats like VR180, though offering access […]

Limiting social media use reduced loneliness and depression in new experiment

The idea that social media can be harmful to our mental and emotional well-being is not a new one, but little has been done by researchers to directly measure the effect; surveys and correlative studies are at best suggestive. A new experimental study out of Penn State, however, directly links more social media use to […]

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 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 […]