Wired: An Email Marketing Company Left 809 Million Records Exposed Online. “Last week, security researchers Bob Diachenko and Vinny Troia discovered an unprotected, publicly accessible MongoDB database containing 150 gigabytes of detailed, plaintext marketing data—including 763 million unique email addresses. The pair are going public with their findings today. The trove is not only massive but also unusual; it contains data about individual consumers as well as what appears to be ‘business intelligence data,’ like employee and revenue figures from various companies.”
Wired: How Amazon’s Algorithms Curated a Dystopian Bookstore. “Once relegated to tabloids and web forums, health misinformation and conspiracies have found a new megaphone in the curation engines that power massive platforms like Amazon, Facebook, and Google. Search, trending, and recommendation algorithms can be gamed to make fringe ideas appear mainstream. This is compounded by an asymmetry of passion that leads truther communities to create prolific amounts of content, resulting in a greater amount available for algorithms to serve up … and, it seems, resulting in real-world consequences.”
Techdirt: Facebook Rejects GRIS Launch Trailer For Being Sexually Suggestive When It Clearly Is Not. “It should be well understood at this point that attempts by internet platforms to automagically do away with sexualized content on their sites via algorithms are… imperfect, if we want to be kind. The more accurate description is to say that these filters are so laughably horrible at actually filtering out objectionable content that they seem farcical. When, for instance, Tumblr can’t tell the difference between porn and pictures of Super Mario villains, and when Facebook can’t do likewise between porn and bronze statues or educational breast cancer images consisting of stick figures…well, it’s easy to see that there’s a problem.”
New York Times: Democrats Faked Online Push to Outlaw Alcohol in Alabama Race. “The ‘Dry Alabama’ Facebook page, illustrated with stark images of car wrecks and videos of families ruined by drink, had a blunt message: Alcohol is the devil’s work, and the state should ban it entirely…. In fact, the Dry Alabama campaign, not previously reported, was the stealth creation of progressive Democrats who were out to defeat Mr. Moore — the second such secret effort to be unmasked.”
The Verge: YouTube faces backlash on Twitter over lifted, uncredited holiday video. “When Lily Hevesh opened Twitter and saw YouTube’s Christmas video, it looked very familiar. That’s because it was her own. YouTube’s tweet doesn’t credit Hevesh at all, or mention her YouTube channel. The tweet also cuts Hevesh’s intro, which acts as a welcome to her channel for those who stumble upon the video. Hevesh’s original video, uploaded to YouTube on December 23rd, has just over 60,000 views, but YouTube’s lifted version boasts more than 250,000.” YouTube eventually DID credit Hevesh, but what an awful case of a giant Internet company just flat out ripping somebody off. If you want to see her domino creations for yourself, her channel is Hevesh5.
New York Times, and I’m so mad about this I could spit: As Facebook Raised a Privacy Wall, It Carved an Opening for Tech Giants. “For years, Facebook gave some of the world’s largest technology companies more intrusive access to users’ personal data than it has disclosed, effectively exempting those business partners from its usual privacy rules, according to internal records and interviews.” If you want to try another social media platform, check out MeWe: https://mewe.com/i/taracalishain . I have no connection to them except I’m on the platform, they don’t know me from Adam’s house cat, do not taunt Happy Fun Ball, etc.
The Guardian: Facebook removed post by ex-manager who said site ‘failed’ black people. “Facebook removed a post from a former employee who accused the company of ‘failing its black employees and its black users’, saying the memo about racial discrimination violated its ‘community standards’.”