50 million Facebook profiles harvested for Cambridge Analytica in major data breach

Discussion in 'Off Topic' started by hmscott, Mar 17, 2018.

  1. Tanner@XoticPC

    Tanner@XoticPC Company Representative

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    Did the download thing, hoping to figure out why none of the ads ever seem to be relevant to me. The data they have makes no sense and is unrelated to my actual use, but acts like I clicked on stuff. I can only guess that it also records every time I accidentally tap an ad when I am trying to scroll, even if I immediately hit "back".

    Also when looking in the ads section some of the categories are bizarre.
     
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  2. hmscott

    hmscott Notebook Nobel Laureate

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  3. hmscott

    hmscott Notebook Nobel Laureate

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    Are politicians asking the right questions at the Facebook hearings?
    Published on Apr 11, 2018
    Are politicians asking the right questions at the Facebook hearings in Washington? Author Mara Einstein of City University in New York says it was embarrassing to see some of the questions senators asked Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg.
     
  4. hmscott

    hmscott Notebook Nobel Laureate

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    The shortest, most straight-forward how-to delete your Facebook account video I've seen. :)

    Here is the method to delete your Facebook account permanently
    Published on Apr 15, 2018
    How to delete Facebook account permanently
    If you are worried about the privacy of your data after Cambridge analytica, then you can permanently delete your Facebook account
     
  5. hmscott

    hmscott Notebook Nobel Laureate

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    Some Facebook employees are reportedly quitting or asking to switch departments over ethical concerns
    Prachi Bhardwaj, Apr. 9, 2018, 11:38 AM
    http://www.businessinsider.com/face...p-instagram-cambridge-analytica-report-2018-4
    • Facebook engineers are quitting or trying to transfer to its Instagram or WhatsApp divisions, The New York Times reported over the weekend.
    • Employee dissatisfaction seems to be stemming from the reports last month that Cambridge Analytica, a data analytics company that worked on Donald Trump's 2016 presidential campaign, had illegitimately obtained data from an estimated 87 million Facebook profiles.
    • Many have argued that Facebook could and should have handled the data more responsibly and were frustrated that CEO Mark Zuckerberg was silent for days after the reports surfaced.
    "Some dissatisfied Facebook engineers are attempting to switch divisions to work on the company's other products, like Instagram or WhatsApp, in the wake of the Cambridge Analytica data scandal, The New York Times reported over the weekend.

    Christopher Wylie, the founder of the data analytics company Cambridge Analytica, which worked on Donald Trump's 2016 presidential campaign, told news outlets last month that the company had illegitimately obtained data from over 50 million Facebook profiles. Facebook has since revised that figure to as many as 87 million.

    Facebook says it was aware of the data Cambridge Analytica had and asked the company to delete it when it changed its advertising rules 2015, but it never followed up to ensure Cambridge Analytica had done so.

    Many have argued that Facebook could and should have handled the data more responsibly, and the increased scrutiny of Facebook has apparently taken a toll on employees working on the platform.

    CEO Mark Zuckerberg and COO Sheryl Sandberg have spoken to the media on a few occasions since news of the scandal broke, but it was days before the company commented on the scandal. Then late last month, a leaked 2016 memo from the Facebook executive Andrew Bosworth described a "growth at all costs" mentality at the company, piling on the recent backlash.

    Amid the uproar, some engineers working on Facebook's core product have found it increasingly difficult to stand by it. Westin Lohne, a former Facebook product designer, explained his dilemma in a tweet.

    westin lohne‏ @westinlohne
    "morally, it was extremely difficult to continue working there as a product designer."
    8:14 PM - 4 Apr 2018 from New Jersey, USA
    https://twitter.com/westinlohne/status/981731786337251328

    Lohne said in his tweets that he didn't choose to go to Instagram or WhatsApp and is now unemployed.

    Zuckerberg is testifying before Congress on Tuesday, where he's expected to face questions about the company's role in the Cambridge Analytica scandal. What he says in his testimony is likely to affect some employees' decisions about whether to stay or go.

    Meanwhile, Zuckerberg isn't planning on going anywhere.

    The Atlantic's Robinson Meyer recently asked Zuckerberg whether he had ever considered resigning.

    "I mean, it started in a dorm room, and now it's this unprecedented community in scale, and I'm very confident that we're gonna be able to work through these issues," Zuckerberg said."
     
  6. hmscott

    hmscott Notebook Nobel Laureate

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    Facebook admits it does track non-users, for their own good
    Oh that snitch-code? It's just a little thing to make the web more convenient ... for Facebook and its advertisers
    By Richard Chirgwin 17 Apr 2018 at 05:53
    https://www.theregister.co.uk/2018/04/17/facebook_admits_to_tracking_non_users/

    "Facebook's apology-and-explanation machine grinds on, with The Social Network™ posting detail on one of its most controversial activities – how it tracks people who don't use Facebook.

    The company explained that the post is a partial response to questions CEO Mark Zuckerberg was unable to answer during his senate andCongressional hearings.

    It's no real surprise that someone using their Facebook Login to sign in to other sites is tracked, but the post by product management director David Baser goes into (a little) detail on other tracking activities – some of which have been known to the outside world for some time, occasionally denied by Facebook, and apparently mysteries only to Zuck.

    When non-Facebook sites add a “Like” button (a social plugin, in Baser's terminology), visitors to those sites are tracked: Facebook gets their IP address, browser and OS fingerprint, and visited site.

    If that sounds a bit like the datr cookie dating from 2011, you wouldn't be far wrong.

    Facebook denied non-user tracking until 2015, at which time it emphasised that it was only gathering non-users' interactions with Facebook users. That explanation didn't satisfy everyone, which was why The Social Network™ was told to quit tracking Belgians who haven't signed on earlier this year.

    Baser gave a pinky-promise that this kind of non-user tracking is all about functionality: “knowing your IP address allows us to send the Like button to your browser and helps us show it in your language. Cookies and device identifiers help us determine whether you’re logged in, which makes it easier to share content or use Facebook to log into another app.”

    Then there's the tracking that advertisers perform on behalf of the news-groomer: “An advertiser can choose to add the Facebook Pixel, some computer code, to their site. This allows us to give advertisers stats about how many people are responding to their ads — even if they saw the ad on a different device — without us sharing anyone’s personal information.”

    In other words, it's data-gathering for advertisers, rather than for Facebook: an advertiser who plants the Facebook Pixel on their site gets an easy way to identify someone who bought something, so they can “reach this customer again by using a Custom Audience.”

    Have you ever wondered why advertisers think you're a perpetual customer for a product you just bought? Wonder no more (we're aware that the Tweet below relates to Amazon, but you get the picture).

    "Dear Amazon, I bought a toilet seat because I needed one. Necessity, not desire. I do not collect them. I am not a toilet seat addict. No matter how temptingly you email me, I'm not going to think, oh go on then, just one more toilet seat, I'll treat myself."
    — Jac Rayner (@GirlFromBlupo) April 6, 2018

    Facebook Analytics and Facebook Audience Network are the other key items in today's mea non culpa.

    Facebook Analytics, the post said, “gives websites and apps data about how they are used”, with IP addresses offering geolocation, browser/OS fingerprints (developer information, promise!), and cookies dishing up “aggregated demographic information” about site visitors or app users.

    The Facebook Audience Network links non-Facebook sites and apps to Facebook advertisers, and honestly, The Social Network™ only needs all that data it gathers for technical reasons like making sure the ads display correctly (fingerprints again), to encourage victims visitors to sign up to Facebook, and to hammer people with ads for similar products to the advertiser they viewed/clicked on.

    If you don't like all this, it's your fault: you didn't use Facebook's preference menus (until recently hidden as if it were “in the bottom of a locked filing cabinet stuck in a disused lavatory with a sign on the door saying 'Beware of the Leopard'”) to manage your news and advertising management.

    Neither of which, of course, will be as effective as just blocking Facebook's cookies. "
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  7. hmscott

    hmscott Notebook Nobel Laureate

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    Nearly one in 10 Americans have deleted their Facebook accounts, survey says
    The #DeleteFacebook movement may be gaining traction
    By Joe Osborne 4 days ago
    https://www.techradar.com/news/near...users-have-deleted-their-accounts-survey-says

    "Have you deleted your Facebook account in the wake of the Cambridge Analytica scandal? Tech.pinions, a technology and media research firm, claims that almost 10% of people in the US have done just that.

    The firm surveyed 1,000 Americans across age and gender demographics. While not all respondents were Facebook users, a whopping 17% of respondents reported having removed the Facebook app from their smartphones, and 9% had deleted their accounts altogether.

    As of January 2018, statistics aggregator Statista reports that Facebook serves roughly 214 million users in the US. So, to put those numbers into better perspective, that means around 36.38 million people in the US have deleted the Facebook phone app, while 19.26 million have deleted their accounts altogether.

    This might not even be the worst of it
    We'd be pretty concerned about losing nearly 20 million sets of eyeballs on ads, but according to Tech.pinions, those numbers might not even have Facebook worried.

    In its survey, 39% of respondents said they’re now more careful about not only what they post, but what they ‘Like’ and react to on brand pages and within friends’ posts. Meanwhile, 35% claim to be using the social network less than they used to following the data breach.

    These numbers should be of real concern to Facebook’s bottom line. As Tech.pinions says, the fact that users that are engaging less with content and brands means they simply aren’t as valuable to companies paying for traffic or buying ads.

    Perhaps to stem this supposed tide, Facebook co-founder and CEO Mark Zuckerberg has publicly floated the idea of introducing a paid version of Facebook with zero ads and stronger privacy protections. However, he may want to reconsider, as a massive 59% of survey respondents said that they wouldn't be interested.

    The problem with all of this is that, whether you like it or not, it’s growing more and more clear across the internet landscape that, if you’re not paying for the product, then at some level you yourself are the product. So, unless attitudes change toward paying directly for social media and other connected services, there will always be a third party for those services to please (ie advertisers)."

    Nearly one in 10 Americans have deleted their Facebook accounts, survey says - The #DeleteFacebook movement may be gaining traction - /r/Technology
    https://www.reddit.com/r/technology/comments/8cmttc/nearly_one_in_10_americans_have_deleted_their/
     
  8. Tanner@XoticPC

    Tanner@XoticPC Company Representative

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    Speak for yourself lady.

    But seriously, I think barely anyone would notice the ads if they weren't so bizarre, irrelevant or late. The only things that FB ads have ever made me think were "I already bought that" and "OK, what in the heck did I search for that made *this* come up?"
     
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  9. hmscott

    hmscott Notebook Nobel Laureate

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    Facebook's login-to-other-sites service lets scum slurp your stuff
    Your security's only as good as your partners'. And some Facebook partners are rotten
    By Richard Chirgwin 19 Apr 2018 at 01:58
    https://www.theregister.co.uk/2018/04/19/facebook_third_party_site_login_security_leak/

    "A security researcher has claimed it's possible to extract user information from Facebook's Login service, the tool that lets you sign into third-party sites with a Facebook ID.

    Readers will be familiar with Steven Englehardt (a Mozilla privacy engineer who pursues privacy research for his PhD at Princeton), whose work on browser fingerprinting led him to identifying a remarkable degree of privacy invasion by analytical scripts.

    In Englebardt's latest work, in partnership with Gunes Acar and Arvind Narayanan, the three explain that they identified seven sites accessing Facebook user data, and one site using Facebook's application to track users around the Web.

    For users, Facebook Login looks like a boon: they only need to use their Facebook password to log into multiple sites or apps. That, however, puts a very strong onus on Facebook to make sure the whole process is secure.

    What Englebardt discovered is simple: “when a user grants a website access to their social media profile, they are not only trusting that website, but also third parties embedded on that site.”

    The third parties were able to grab Facebook user ID, e-mail, name, and other profile information including (in one case) gender.

    “We found seven scripts collecting Facebook user data using the first party’s Facebook access”, he wrote. The practice isn't yet widespread, thankfully: scripts to gather this user information were only found on 434 of the Alexa top million sites, including “fiverr.com, bhphotovideo.com, and mongodb.com”.

    [​IMG]
    Too easy, says Englehardt: a bit of JavaScript can exfiltrate Facebook Login data

    The table below shows some a sample of some sites' data collection Englehardt's team identified.
    facebook login data slurp.JPG
    Engledhardt noted that OnAudience stopped the data collection when he'd previously spotted them misusing browser autofill features.

    The second tracker Engledhardt discovered was that sites can abuse iFrames to de-anonymise users who had used Facebook Login to access their sites. In the example given in the article, Bandsintown (an online gig guide) was carrying a hidden tracker that passed user information to an embedded iFrame script (meaning Bandsintown could read the Facebook profile).

    He added that having linked the logged in user to their Facebook profile, Bandsintown could then pass that information up to advertisers.

    [​IMG]
    How an online gig guide grabbed and shared user data

    When notified, the site discontinued the practice.

    Englehardt emphasized that this kind of third-party data gathering shouldn't be regarded as a bug on Facebook's part, although having announced “anonymous login” four years ago, it might be time for the Social Network™ to implement the feature.

    As he wrote: "It is straightforward for a third party script to grab data from the Facebook API." "
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    Last edited: Apr 19, 2018 at 4:27 AM
  10. 6730b

    6730b Notebook Evangelist

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