Half a Billion Facebook Users’ Personal Info Hacked and Made Available

There’s a reason why Zuckerberg called people who entrusted their personal information to facebook “dumb fucks“:

a dataset containing 553 million Facebook users’ data—including phone numbers, full names, locations, email addresses, and biographical informationwas published for free online. (It appears this is the same dataset Motherboard reported on in January). More than half a billion current and former Facebook users are now at high risk of various kinds of fraud.

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Facebook: Promoting Hate and Division

MIT Technology Review offers a look inside Facebook.

Facebook uses algorithms and machine learning programs to maximize user engagement (keep users hooked). It seems people are most interested in the divisive stuff and rumors. So Facebook promotes that sort of socially-damaging stuff.

In 2017, Chris Cox, Facebook’s longtime chief product officer, formed a new task force to understand whether maximizing user engagement on Facebook was contributing to political polarization. It found that there was indeed a correlation, and that reducing polarization would mean taking a hit on engagement. In a mid-2018 document reviewed by the Journal, the task force proposed several potential fixes, such as tweaking the recommendation algorithms to suggest a more diverse range of groups for people to join. But it acknowledged that some of the ideas were “antigrowth.” Most of the proposals didn’t move forward, and the task force disbanded.

[A] former employee…no longer lets his daughter use Facebook.

Facebook leveraged user data to fight rivals and help friends

Zuckerberg, along with his board and management team, found ways to tap Facebook users’ data — including information about friends, relationships and photos — as leverage over the companies it partnered with. In some cases, Facebook would reward partners by giving them preferential access to certain types of user data while denying the same access to rival companies.

NBC

[Have you yet dropped facebook?]

Facebook Is Giving Advertisers Access to Your Shadow Contact Information

Alan Mislove studies how privacy works on social networks and had a theory that Facebook is letting advertisers reach users with contact information collected in surprising ways.

One of the many ways that ads get in front of your eyeballs on Facebook and Instagram is that the social networking giant lets an advertiser upload a list of phone numbers or email addresses it has on file; it will then put an ad in front of accounts associated with that contact information.

Gizmodo