Facebook Messenger tests a latest ‘Split Payments’ feature in the US

  • The new feature is rolling out next week for U.S. users.
  • The launch of Split Payments comes as Messenger added Venmo-like QR codes for person-to-person payments a few months ago.
  • Split Payments was introduced alongside a few other Messenger updates, including four new group AR effects designed with creators Emma Chamberlain, Zach King, Bella Poarch and King Bach.
[Via]

In India, over 18.8 million content items were “actioned” proactively on Facebook in October: Meta

  • As per the report released on Wednesday, the over 18.8 million content pieces actioned by Facebook during October included content related to spam, violent and graphic content, adult nudity and sexual activity, and hate speech.
  • Child Endangerment – Nudity and Physical Abuse category saw 212,200 content pieces being actioned, while Child Endangerment – Sexual Exploitation saw 597,600 pieces and Violence and Incitement 317,000 pieces being actioned.
  • For Instagram, about 3.07 million pieces of content were actioned across 12 categories during October 2021.
[Via]

No plans from government to charge Facebook, Google for news : MoS IT Rajeev Chandrashekhar

  • No proposal by govt to charge Facebook, Google for news: MoS IT Rajeev Chandrashekhar.
  • The government has no plans to charge tech giants like Facebook and Google for using news content of publishers just like Australia, said Rajeev Chandrashekhar, minister of state for Information and Technology.
  • The Australian government tabled the world’s first media legislation in parliament that forces Google and Facebook to negotiate a fair payment with news organizations for using their content in Facebook’s newsfeed and Google’s search.
[Via]

Meta delays end to end encrypted messages on Facebook, Instagram to 2023

  • Meta-owned Facebook Messenger and Instagram are delaying plans to encrypt users’ messages until 2023.
  • Facebook had first started rolling out encryption to its Messenger service back in 2016, but it only works when users use the Secret Conversation feature on the service.
  • Meta is also planning to unify the infrastructure behind the three messaging platforms – Messenger, WhatsApp, and Instagram Direct.
[Via]

Facebook to test news feed controls to make it easier to customize content

  • Facebook is testing new ways to make it easier for users and businesses to customize their Facebook News Feed experience.
  • For its business customers, Facebook is planning to expand the Topic Exclusion controls for the News Feed test to a limited number of advertisers that run ads in English.
  • Meta considers the Topic Exclusion controls as a bridge product and is planning to test out a new content-based suitability control, which will help them address concerns that advertisers have of their ads appearing in Facebook and Instagram feeds next to certain topics based on their brand suitability preferences.
[Via]

Facebook user data requests from Indian Government increased in 2021 : Meta

  • Facebook user data requests made by the Indian government increased over 10% in the first six months of 2021, as compared to the second half of 2020, the company said.
  • A total of 45,275 requests were made between January and June, compared to 40,300 last year.
  • Facebook produced data for nearly half the number of requests, it said in its latest transparency report.
[Via]

Microsoft Teams to integrate with Facebook’s work app Workplace

  • Facebook said on Wednesday it is integrating Workplace, the work-focused version of its social app, with Microsoft’s collaboration app Teams, so users can better share information between the two platforms.
  • Microsoft last week announced it would bring its virtual platform Mesh into Microsoft Teams next year.
  • Facebook recently launched a beta test of Horizon Workrooms, a remote work app for users of its VR headsets.
[Via]

Meta allowed to pursue malware lawsuit against Israel’s NSO Group -US appeals court

  • A US appeals court said Meta formerly known as Facebook can pursue a lawsuit accusing Israel’s NSO Group of exploiting a bug in its WhatsApp messaging app to install malware allowing the surveillance of 1,400 people, including journalists, human rights activists, and dissidents.
  • In a 3-0 decision on Monday, the 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in San Francisco rejected privately owned NSO’s claim it was immune from being sued because it had acted as a foreign government agent.
  • Facebook, now known as Meta Platforms Inc, sued NSO for an injunction and damages in October 2019, accusing it of accessing WhatsApp servers without permission six months earlier to install its Pegasus malware on victims’ mobile devices.
[Via]

US-based Meta Company to sue Facebook for infringing upon its name

  • An already existing company named as Meta has decided to file the necessary legal suits against Facebook.
  • Facing intense scrutiny over users’ data privacy, Facebook founder last month announced that his company will have a new name, Meta.
  • A live trademark was filed for Meta Company in 2016 that lists the registrant owner at Chicago, Illinois.
[Via]

U.S. and EU Advance Talks to Preserve Data Transfers

  • In talks that will continue next week in Brussels after a round in the U.S. this summer, the two sides hope to avert a disruption of company data transfers by resolving a long-running conflict between strict EU privacy laws and U.S. surveillance measures.
  • An EU court ruling last summer restricted how companies can send personal information about Europeans to the U.S., in part because the court found that Europeans have no effective legal redress in the U.S. Last fall, Ireland’s privacy regulator issued Facebook, which has its EU headquarters in Dublin, a preliminary draft order to suspend its transfers of European user data to the U.S., citing the court ruling.
  • Under EU law, information about Europeans can’t be sent overseas unless the country where it is being sent is deemed to give the same level of protection as the EU. The U.S. has never made that cut, but to keep data flows alive, the EU two decades ago struck a special deal with the U.S. to allow companies to keep sending data if they opt into a program to apply EU privacy principles, enforced by the U.S. Federal Trade Commission.
[Via]

Facebook takes another page out of Snapchat’s playbook, launches new smart glass

  • Facebook takes another page out of Snapchat’s playbook, launches new smart glass.
  • To use the smart glasses, users will have to download the Facebook View app and will require a Facebook account as well.
  • While Facebook’s smart glasses are only available in the US right now, Snapchat had launched the third generation of its Spectacles in India as well.
[Via]

Facebook Apologizes After A.I. Puts ‘Primates’ Label on Video of Black Men

  • Hundreds of employees also staged a virtual walkout last year to protest the company’s handling of a post from President Donald J. Trump about the killing of George Floyd in Minneapolis.
  • In an annual diversity report in July, Facebook said 4.4 percent of its U.S.-based employees were Black, up from 3.9 percent the year before.
  • Ms. Groves, who left Facebook over the summer after four years, said in an interview that there have been a series of missteps at the company that suggest its leaders aren’t prioritizing ways to deal with racial problems.
[Via]

Accenture, the silent partner cleaning up Facebook for $500 million a year

  • Accenture has taken on the work – and given it a veneer of respectability – because Facebook has signed contracts with it for content moderation and other services worth at least $500 million a year, according to The Times’ examination.
  • When faced with legal action from moderators about the work, Accenture stayed quiet as Facebook argued that it was not liable because the workers belonged to Accenture and others.
  • That year, Facebook sent employees to Manila, Philippines, and Warsaw, Poland, to train Accenture workers to sort through posts, two former Facebook employees involved with the trip said.
[Via]

Facebook Loses 1.3 Billion Monthly Visits in Wake of Cambridge Analytica Scandal

Facebook Decay..For Good?
Facebook Decay..For Good?
According to SimilarWeb, in April, total Facebook visits (both to Facebook.com and through its mobile apps) fell from 24 billion in March, down to 22.77 billion in April — a drop of 1.3 billion visits, and down 5.15% of the total.
Assuming the average Facebook user visits the social network once a day, that would suggest an average of about 43 million less users during that month. In recent months, Facebook makes about $5 per user, per month — i.e. some $215 million in potential lost revenue.
[source]

Facebook lost a case, we lost more


Facebook lost its case against the bulk search warrants in the NewYork court of appeals after a protracted legal battle. Facebook was arguing that it can appeal against data requests from law enforcement agencies, where it felt that the request was excessive.
The news looks pretty harmless. I mean when we all signed up for facebook, we all knew that facebook had the data, and was even using it to target ads. Meh..
What was not known was

  1. The real loss of anonymity: The way Trump was able to use Cambridge Analytica to literally map every single voter’s preference in the country and deliver tailor-made advertisements to it. The recent Buzzfeed article on how this targeting can actually shape your thought without you knowing it. Fake news is one very publicized aspect of it.
  2. Actual Impact of Bulk Search Warrants: The worrying part is that there is no scope. Period. If the US government is not asking for all the Facebook Data Dump in one go, then they are just being nice. In Short, facebook is now just a repository which manages data, and with minimal effort, US government can ask it. And combine that with (1) above, you see where is it going.
  3. It is only going to spread further: One good or bad thing about governments is that they learn from each other very quickly. There is already a petition in Indian Supreme Court on Whatsapp sharing data with facebook and its prevention, where facebook has tried to downplay it by saying it’s a contract issue, and supreme court is adamant on a 5 judge bench. So the NewYork ruling can just change the Tide. What is stopping China or India or Russia or Brazil from holding Facebook ransom and asking the same thing? Earlier, there might have been an argument put forward that facebook reserves the rights, now that cover is blown.

Solution?
The only feasible solution that seems possible is for facebook to create country level servers and segregate the information geographically as well as prevent complete censoring of data from crossing geopolitical boundaries. Any other argument has been substantially weakened.
———————-
Views expressed here are my own and don’t reflect the views of any of my employers, present or past.