Facebook to be investigated over whether it is unfairly using personal data to push dating and shopping tools

The Independent - Tech

Regulators have opened an investigation into Facebook amid concerns it is using its vast troves of personal data to push its own shopping and data tools. The probe by the UK's competition regulator will examine whether it is abusing its dominant position in online advertising. It comes amid growing antitrust concerns about the way many technology companies – not just Facebook but others such as Apple – have been able to use their vast size and hold on the market to unfairly benefit themselves. The Competition and Markets Authority (CMA) will look into how the social network gathers and uses certain data and whether it may provide an unfair advantage over rivals in the online classified ads and online dating space. As well as Facebook's advertising services, Facebook Login, a feature that allows people to sign into other websites and apps, will also form part of the probe.

Russia will force Facebook and Twitter to keep data on its citizens within the country

The Independent - Tech

Social media services like Facebook and Twitter will need to have databases of Russian users kept in Russia by July or face fines. The news was first reported by Interfax news agency, citing communications regulator Roskomnadzor as saying on Wednesday. Russia is considering legislation that would force foreign technology companies to open offices in Russia or face penalties such as advertising bans, as part of Moscow's wider efforts to exert greater control over Big Tech. Google and Facebook were fined on Tuesday for failing to delete content Moscow deems illegal, while Twitter has been the victim of a punitive slowdown since March. Facebook, Twitter and others must localise their databases of Russian users by July 1 or face a fine of up to 18 million roubles ($245,100) for non-compliance, the deputy head of Roskomnadzor Milos Wagner was cited as saying on Wednesday.

Twitter data confirms image cropping tool favoured white people


Twitter has quantified the extent to which its image cropping algorithm was racially biased, admitting that white individuals were prioritised over Black individuals when images were algorithmically cropped on the platform. In research [PDF] conducted by Twitter, the company tested its image cropping algorithm for race-based and gender biases and considered whether its model aligned with the goal of enabling people to make their own choices on the platform. From looking at its crop imaging algorithm, which uses a saliency approach, it found that in comparisons of Black and white individuals, there was a 4% difference from demographic parity in favour of white individuals. When looking at comparisons of Black and white women, there was a 7% difference favouring of white women; for their male counterparts, white men were favoured 2% more from demographic parity for image crops. Twitter started using a saliency approach to crop images in 2018.

WhatsApp's New Privacy Policy Just Kicked In


At the beginning of the year, WhatsApp took the seemingly mundane step of updating its terms of use and privacy policy, mostly focused on the app's business offerings. The changes sparked a major backlash, though, because they inadvertently highlighted WhatsApp's years-old policy of sharing certain user data, like phone numbers, with parent company Facebook. Rather than change the policy that sparked the controversy, WhatsApp instead moved the deadline for users to accept it from the original date of February 8 to Saturday. If you haven't accepted the new policy by now, you'll start to see more pop-ups in WhatsApp outlining the changes with a big green Accept button at the bottom. If you tap it, WhatsApp will continue to share certain account data of yours with Facebook.

Facebook will now let you export posts directly to Google Docs and WordPress


Ever wish you could easily export all your Facebook posts and notes onto a completely different platform? On Monday, Facebook announced a few new data portability options that allow you to seamlessly transition the content you've written on the social network onto platforms made for writing. Specifically, Facebook has built in an option to transfer your posts and notes into Google Docs as well as two popular blogging platforms, To give people more control and choice over their data, today we're announcing that Facebook posts and notes can be directly transferred to @GoogleDocs, @Blogger and @WordPress via our Transfer Your Information tool: Facebook already offers options to export your data to your local hard drive.

Ireland's data privacy agency opens investigation into Facebook data leak


Ireland's Data Protection Commission (DPC) is investigating the recent leak of a Facebook user dataset that dates back to 2019. At the start of April, it came out that someone on a hacking forum had made the dataset public, exposing the personal information of about 533 million Facebook users in 106 countries. Depending on the account, there are details about phone numbers, birth dates, email addresses, locations and more. The source of the leak is an oversight Facebook fixed in August 2019. "The DPC, having considered the information provided by Facebook Ireland regarding this matter to date, is of the opinion that one or more provisions of the GDPR and/or the Data Protection Act 2018 may have been, and/or are being, infringed in relation to Facebook Users' personal data," the agency said in a statement spotted by TechCrunch.

Facebook will not notify the half a billion users caught up in its huge data leak, it says

The Independent - Tech

Facebook will not notify the more than half a billion people caught up in a huge leak of personal information, it has said. Over the weekend, it emerged that a vast trove of data on more than 530 million users – containing information including their phone numbers and dates of birth – was being made freely available online. Facebook said that the data was gathered before 2019. It later said that " "malicious actors" had obtained the data prior to September 2019 by "scraping" profiles using a vulnerability in the platform's tool for synching contacts, and that the loophole that allowed them to do so had now been closed. But it said that it did not inform users when the leak happened, and does not have plans to do so now.

Facebook Data Breach: How To Check If You're Part Of The Leak, Preventive Measures To Take

International Business Times

Cybersecurity experts revealed a few days ago that over half a billion Facebook users' personal information have been leaked. It's a gold mine of data, which includes users' full names, birthdays, locations and phone numbers. Although Facebook claims that the actual hack happened a couple of years ago, it won't hurt if users made sure their account is not part of the breach and if they are, they should take a few preventive measures to ensure future incidents as messy as this one won't affect them. Australian Security Researcher and HaveIBeenPawned Founder Tony Hunt recently added the 533 million phone numbers exposed in the Facebook data leak to his website. Those worried if their mobile numbers were part of the leak can visit the site and check if their number is there.

What you need to know about the Facebook data leak

MIT Technology Review

The news: The personal data of 533 million Facebook users in more than 106 countries was found to be freely available online last weekend. The data trove, uncovered by security researcher Alon Gal, includes phone numbers, email addresses, home towns, full names, and birth dates. Initially, Facebook claimed that the data leak was previously reported on in 2019 and that it had patched the vulnerability that caused it that August. But in fact, it appears that Facebook did not properly disclose the breach at the time. It only finally acknowledged it on Tuesday April 6 in a blog post by product management director Mike Clark.

Huge Facebook leak that contains information about 500 million people came from abuse of contacts tool, company says

The Independent - Tech

Facebook says that a vast trove of personal information, uploaded freely to the internet, was harvested as part of a feature gone wrong. The data was not stolen in a hack but instead through malicious users of its "contact importer", it said. Though that feature was intended to allow people to upload their contacts from their phone to Facebook, and find people they might know, malicious actors were able to use it to scrape the personal information of people who were already on the platform. That happened before September 2019, Facebook said in a blog post, and the bug that made it possible has now been fixed. But over the weekend it became clear that the data had become availably publicly online, vastly increasing the risk that anyone involved in it might face. That includes 535 million accounts, which belong to people including chief executive Mark Zuckerberg.