Washington Post: U.S. regulators have met to discuss imposing a record-setting fine against Facebook for some of its privacy violations. “U.S. regulators have met to discuss imposing a record-setting fine against Facebook for violating a legally binding agreement with the government to protect the privacy of its users’ personal data, according to three people familiar with the deliberations but not authorized to speak on the record.” I’m afraid that even a record-setting fine will be couch cushion money to Facebook, not an actual deterrent.
CNET: Facebook employees appear to have left 5-star Amazon reviews for Portal. “Facebook’s Portal has a pretty high rating on Amazon, with just over 4 stars. But some Facebook employees may not have gotten the memo that they’re not allowed to help boost that rating. New York Times columnist Kevin Roose tweeted Wednesday that several 5-star reviews for Portal, a video chat device, were posted by people with the same name as Facebook employees.”
Facebook: Removing Coordinated Inauthentic Behavior from Russia. “Today we removed multiple Pages, groups and accounts that engaged in coordinated inauthentic behavior on Facebook and Instagram. The two operations we found originated in Russia, and one was active in a variety of countries while the other was specific to Ukraine. We didn’t find any links between these operations, but they used similar tactics by creating networks of accounts to mislead others about who they were and what they were doing.”
New York Times Magazine: How Secrecy Fuels Facebook Paranoia. “The biggest internet platforms are businesses built on asymmetric information. They know far more about their advertising, labor and commerce marketplaces than do any of the parties participating in them. We can guess, but can’t know, why we were shown a friend’s Facebook post about a divorce, instead of another’s about a child’s birth. We can theorize, but won’t be told, why YouTube thinks we want to see a right-wing polemic about Islam in Europe after watching a video about travel destinations in France. Everything that takes place within the platform kingdoms is enabled by systems we’re told must be kept private in order to function. We’re living in worlds governed by trade secrets. No wonder they’re making us all paranoid.”
The Register: Three quarters of US Facebook users unaware their online behavior gets tracked. “Most Facebook users have no idea that the ad biz compiles data profiles of their online activities and interests, according to research conducted by the non-profit Pew Research Center.”
CNET: Facebook is still a dog’s best friend. “2018 was a horrible year for Facebook. Beset by an endless stream of scandals involving user privacy, data breaches, hate speech and fake news, the shine has come off a company that once seemed unstoppable. Governments in the United States and the European Union have questioned its executives in public hearings and the campaign to “Delete Facebook” has moved from the call of a few to a full-grown movement. But not everyone is joining the cause. For animal shelters and rescue organizations in particular, Facebook is an invaluable tool. The social network’s vast reach (2 billion users), versatility and affordability (it’s free to use) lets them help more animals than before it existed.”
Reuters: Exclusive – Facebook brings stricter ads rules to countries with big 2019 votes. “Facebook Inc (FB.O) told Reuters on Tuesday that it would extend some of its political advertising rules and tools for curbing election interference to India, Nigeria, Ukraine and the European Union before significant votes in the next few months.”