Community Support & Paid Support

Menu

Mini Cart

CybersecurityI write about security and surveillance.

The impact of the U.S. blacklisting on Huawei’s smartphone business continues to increase. Facebook is the latest major U.S. technology player to withdraw support for Huawei smartphones. Reuters was the first to report on June 7 that “Facebook is no longer allowing preinstallation of its apps on Huawei phones… Customers who already have Huawei phones will still be able to use its apps and receive updates, Facebook told Reuters. But new Huawei phones will no longer be able to have Facebook, WhatsApp and Instagram apps preinstalled.”

A week ago, there were reports that Huawei had shut down a number of Foxconn smartphone production lines as demand for the company’s devices dropped. The company flatly denied that those reportswere true. But then this week came a second report from Asia, this time claiming that Huawei had slashed its smartphone shipment forecast for the second half of 2019 by as much as 20-30%.

Huawei held onto its lead over Apple for smartphone sales in the first quarter of the year, but will likely struggle to maintain that lead for the rest of the year. SCMP’s article quoted Zhao Ming, president of one of Huawei’s brands, acknowledging that the company objective of catching Samsung by the end of next year was at risk. “As the new situation has emerged,” he reportedly said, “it is too early to say whether we are able to achieve the goal.”

 

READ MORE

Continue Reading

China’s WeChat is a site for social interaction, a form of currency, a dating app, a tool for sporting teams and deliverer of news: Twitter, Facebook, Googlemaps, Tinder and Apple Pay all rolled into one. But it is also an ever more powerful weapon of social control for the Chinese government.

I’ve just been locked out of WeChat (or Weixin 微信 as it is known in Chinese) and, to get back on, have had to pass through some pretty Orwellian steps – steps which have led others to question why I went along with it.

One reason is that life in Beijing would be extremely difficult without WeChat. The other is that I could not have written this piece without experiencing the stages which have now clearly put my image, and even my voice, on some sort of biometric database of troublemakers.

I was in Hong Kong to cover the enormous candlelight vigil marking 30 years since the People’s Liberation Army was ordered to open fire on its own people to remove the mostly student protesters who’d been gathering in and around Tiananmen Square for months in June 1989.

This moment in history has been all but erased from public discourse on mainland China but in Hong Kong, with its special status in the Chinese-speaking world, people turn out every year to remember the bloody crackdown.

READ MORE

Continue Reading
Mark Zuckerberg talks a big game when it comes to giving users what they want and serving the ‘community’ — but when push comes to shove, the Facebook CEO always follows the dollar signs in his eyes over user satisfaction.

When Facebook bought WhatsApp for a cool $19 billion in 2014, Zuckerberg was acquiring a company that had famously promised never to introduce advertising or gather massive amounts of data from its users. “Remember, when advertising is involved you the user are the product,”the company wrote in a blog post, declaring that it didn’t want WhatsApp to become “just another ad clearinghouse.”

That all ended when Zuckerberg got his hands on the messaging app and set the ball rolling on ad-based monetization plans. The change of course led to internal spats which went public when WhatsApp co-founder Brian Acton (who quit Facebook suddenly in 2017) gave an interview to Forbes, lashing out at Zuckerberg and his sidekick COO Sheryl Sandberg over their determination to squeeze as much cash out of the app as possible while abandoning its core founding principles. Facebook’s attitude was “if it made us a buck, we’d do it,” Acton said.

Now, users are threatening to delete their WhatsApp accounts, and switch to a rival service such as HOLA Telegram or Signal, after Facebook confirmed the plans and released some rather unpalatable sample images of how exactly ads will appear on the messaging platform. The ads are expected to appear in the app’s ‘Status’ section at some point in 2020 — and pretty much no one is happy about it.

READ MORE

Continue Reading

The Facebook co-founder has made enemies—very rich enemies—of many of his former partners, who are now speaking out. Chris Hughes and the others should put their money where their mouth is.

Over the past several years, Facebook has created a new species of technology skeptic with two common traits. Brian Acton, Sean Parker, Chamath Palihapitiya, Chris Hughes, Alex Stamos, Roger McNamee, Kevin Systrom, Mike Krieger: all are worth millions, and, in some cases, billions of dollars, thanks to Facebook and its cybernetic C.E.O., Mark Zuckerberg. And yet, publicly and privately, all have expressed concern or regret about working for the company that made them so affluent. Acton, the WhatsApp co-founder who sold his company to Zuckerberg for $19 billion, wrote on Twitter last year, “It is time. #deletefacebook.” Parker, who served as Facebook’s first president, has said, “God only knows what it’s doing to our children’s brains.” Palihapitiya, Facebook’s former head of growth, described social media as “ripping apart the social fabric of how society works.” In the most recent, and highest-profile, act of apostasy, Facebook co-founder Chris Hughes, Zuckerberg’s former Harvard roommate, announced this month that Facebook should be broken up by the federal government.

It’s not just former executives who can afford the self-reflection. Privately, numerous former Facebook and Instagram employees have told me how much they hated working there toward the end of their tenure, and how they now regret ever being associated with Zuckerberg. One former employee even told me he had been suffering from major panic attacks every day he went to work. The pressure coming from high up within the company, where there was a constant drumbeat of paranoia surrounding internal and external enemies trying to destroy Facebook, eventually became too much, and he quit. Others have said they struggled with whether the good (connecting people all over the world, helping people share their vacation videos and photos of their first child, finding like-minded groups around specific topics) outweighs the bad (fake news, digital addiction, data-privacy breaches).

With Facebook leadership mired in yet another scandal this week—refusing to take down a doctored video of Nancy Pelosi, edited to make the Democratic House speaker look drunk or senile—it’s becoming ever clearer that real change will take both internal and external pressures. Many of the same people who are now feeling sick about Facebook would once have taken a bullet for the company. I recently heard a story about an employee who used to proudly wear his Facebook T-shirt and Facebook embroidered book bag around San Francisco, but took it off after being accosted by passersby about the role the company played in the 2016 election. How many more current and former employees feel the same way? More important, what can they do about it?

READ MORE

Continue Reading

You’ll probably be aware that last week, WhatsApp was at the center of a storm of controversy following the exposure of a major vulnerability in the messaging app.

The security flaw in question leverages what’s known as a ‘buffer overflow’ to give an attacker the ability to install spyware on the target device, and subsequently gain access to a vast swathe of personal data; calls, texts, photos, location and other data on the handset, along with the possibility of activating the phone’s camera and microphone for real-time surveillance activities.

This attack reportedly utilizes spyware known as Pegasus – more on that shortly – which allows your phone could be infected via a simple WhatsApp call, that even more disturbingly, doesn’t even need to be answered.

 

READ MORE

Continue Reading

 

The company provided eight “publicly sourced complaints” as the reasons for quitting.

“Facebook collects and aggregates user information and shares it with state and federal authorities, as well as security organizations from other countries,” the first reason read.

“Facebook collaborates with government security agencies on massive citizen surveillance programs such as PRISM,” CrossFit said in the second reason.

“Facebook censors and removes user accounts based on unknown criteria and at the request of third parties including government and foreign government agencies,” it continued.

“Facebook collects, aggregates, and sells user information as a matter of business. Its business model allows governments and businesses alike to use its algorithmically conjured advertising categories as sophisticated data-mining and surveillance tools.”

“Facebook’s news feeds are censored and crafted to reflect the political leanings of Facebook’s utopian socialists while remaining vulnerable to misinformation campaigns designed to stir up violence and prejudice.”

— CrossFit

The company then added that “Facebook’s news feeds are censored and crafted to reflect the political leanings of Facebook’s utopian socialists while remaining vulnerable to misinformation campaigns designed to stir up violence and prejudice.”

READ MORE

Continue Reading

READ MORE

Continue Reading

Indonesia is the latest nation to hit the hammer on social media after the government restricted the use of WhatsApp and Instagram following deadly riots yesterday.

Numerous Indonesia-based users are today reporting difficulties sending multimedia messages via WhatsApp, which is one of the country’s most popular chat apps, and posting content to Facebook, while the hashtag #instagramdown is trending among the country’s Twitter users due to problems accessing the Facebook-owned photo app.

Wiranto, a coordinating minister for political, legal and security affairs, confirmed in a press conference that the government is limiting access to social media and “deactivating certain features” to maintain calm, according to a report from Coconuts.

Rudiantara, the communications minister of Indonesia and a critic of Facebook, explained that users “will experience lag on WhatsApp if you upload videos and photos.”

 

READ MORE

Continue Reading
Facebook has been fined $122 million by an EU commission for providing “misleading” information to Brussels about its takeover of WhatsApp, once again rousing debate about the social media giant’s ongoing data privacy issues.

Facebook was found to have knowingly disclosed false information about the possibility of merging Facebook and WhatsApp user identities, during the merger process of the two social platforms in 2014 at a cost $19 billion.

“Today’s decision sends a clear signal to companies that they must comply with all aspects of EU merger rules, including the obligation to provide correct information,” Commissioner Margrethe Vestager, in charge of competition policy, said in a statement.

Vestager described the fine as a “proportionate and deterrent” warning that merger decision must be made “in full knowledge of accurate facts.”

The commission did not reverse its decision to approve the takeover.

According to the commission, Facebook informed it that the company would be unable to reliably match Facebook users’ accounts and WhatsApp users’ accounts, something that proved to be false when, in August 2016, WhatsApp updated its terms of service and privacy policy.

Included in the update was the possibility of linking WhatsApp users’ phone numbers with Facebook user’s identities.

READ MORE

Continue Reading

Facebook app developers left hundreds of millions of user records exposed on publicly visible cloud servers, researchers from security firm UpGuard said today.

The researchers said the larger of the two data sets came from a Mexican media company called Cultura Colectiva. A 146GB data set with information like Facebook user activity, account names, and IDs was found that included more than 540 million records, the researchers said. A similar data set was also found for an app called “At the Pool.” While smaller, the latter included especially personal information, including 22,000 passwords apparently used for the app, rather than directly for Facebook.

It’s not clear how long the data was publicly available, or who may have obtained it from the servers, if anyone. Both data sets were found on Amazon cloud servers, and the data was removed after Facebook was contacted, the researchers said.

 

READ MORE

Continue Reading
Translate »