Epic fail

[…] as billions of the world’s zombies realize they’ve been spied on – and had their information trafficked (what exactly did they think made Facebook’s market cap over half a trillion dollars anyway?)… Facebook – well to be more accurate – Mark Zuckerberg, has taken out full-page, Facebook-logo-less, ads in many of the world’s most popular newspapers this Sunday morning with one clear message – “we’re sorry… and we won’t do it again, we promise this time.”

Facebook founder Zuckerberg took out full-page ads in numerous British and American newspapers Sunday to apologize for a “breach of trust” in the Cambridge Analytica scandal.

“You may have heard about a quiz app built by a university researcher that leaked Facebook data of millions of people in 2014,” said the ads signed by Zuckerberg, referring to the political consultancy company accused of manipulating Facebook data during the 2016 US election.

“This was a breach of trust, and I’m sorry we didn’t do more at the time. We’re now taking steps to ensure this doesn’t happen again,” read the ads appearing in the UK’s The Observer, The Sunday Times, Mail on Sunday, Sunday Mirror, Sunday Express and Sunday Telegraph, along with American newspapers The New York Times, Washington Post and Wall Street Journal.

More from Zerohedge

The exchange, originally published by Business Insider‘s editor-in-chief Nicholas Carlson in 2010, was an early instant messenger conversation then 19-year-old Zuckerberg had with a college friend shortly after he launched “The Facebook” in his dorm room.

At the time Business Insider published the exchange, Facebook had “faced one privacy flap after another, usually following changes to the privacy policy or new product releases.”

But the company’s attitude toward privacy, as reflected in Mark’s early emails and IMs, features like Beacon and Instant Personalization, and the frequent changes to the privacy policy, has been consistently aggressive: Do something first, then see how people react.

And this does appear to reflect Mark’s own views of privacy, which seem to be that people shouldn’t care about it as much as they do — an attitude that very much reflects the attitude of his generation.

After all, here’s what early Facebook engineering boss, Harvard alum, and Zuckerberg confidant Charlie Cheever said in David Kirkpatrick’s brilliantly-reported upcoming book The Facebook Effect.

“I feel Mark doesn’t believe in privacy that much, or at least believes in privacy as a stepping stone. Maybe he’s right, maybe he’s wrong.” […]

[…] Zuckerberg reportedly hacked into people’s email using their TheFacebook passwords…

At one point early on on Facebook history, Zuckerberg – nervous about an upcoming report in the Harvard Crimson, used “TheFacebook” login data of Crimson staff to crack into their Harvard email accounts to see if the paper was going to include a claim that he had stolen an idea for a TheFacebook feature called “Visualize Your Buddy.”

And now we read that Google has allowed Facebook to harvest call records and text message history via early Android versions.

The last thing Facebook needs right now is yet another controversy, though one is starting to brew anyway. […] it is now coming to light that Facebook has been collecting call history and SMS text messaging data from Android phones for the past several years as well. How and why did this happen?

It all boils down to Android permissions, and how Facebook’s mobile app was taking advantage of an earlier versions of Android to collect a surprising amount of sensitive information. Dylan McKay, a software developer in New Zealand, brought the issue to light on Twitter saying he downloaded his Facebook data as a ZIP file and “somehow it has my entire call history with my partner’s mum.” In looking at his grandmother’s data dump, he also discovered that Facebook had been collecting SMS records from 2015 to 2017.

Other Twitter users corroborated his findings, as did Arstechnica’s Sean Gallagher, who said his own downloadable data archive contained call log data and text messages “for a certain Android device I used in 2015 and 2016.” When Gallagher asked Facebook to explain the situation, he was basically told it’s a normal part of the social networking experience designed to make it easier to connect with relevant friends and family members.

“The most important part of apps and services that help you make connections is to make it easy to find the people you want to connect with. So, the first time you sign in on your phone to a messaging or social app, it’s a widely used practice to begin by uploading your phone contacts,” a Facebooks spokesperson said.

Facebook’s spokesperson also pointed out that uploading contact information is optional and that the mobile app explicitly requests permissions to access contacts. What’s more, users can delete contact data from their profiles using a tool that is accessible on a web browser.

Fair enough, but what is concerning is how Facebook went about getting these permissions. In earlier versions of Android, and specifically Android 4.1 Jelly Bean and prior, granting permission to read contacts during Facebook’s installation also gave it the ability to access call data and messaging logs by default. Google changed this in a later Android API, but even then, Android applications written to earlier versions of the API could continue to harvest data by specifying an earlier Android SDK version. That is what Facebook did up until Google squashed the workaround in version 4.0 of the Android API in October 2017.

This never affected iOS devices because of tighter controls over call and messaging histories, only Android phones. While it doesn’t seem to be an issue anymore, it is concerning that Facebook ever did this in the first place, and over a two-year period.

Facebook Data

If you want to check your own data archive on Facebook, click on Settings on the top-right of any Facebook page, select Download a copy of your Facebook data at the bottom of the General Account Settings section, and click Start My Archive.

It will take some time for this process to complete. When finished, Facebook will email you with a link to your download.

I imagine that Golly G and her rent-a-protest mob (all 29 of them) will soon be marching with placards outside the local Facebook office, after all, it is her leftie mates who are so often complaining about the deep state and SIS and GCSB spying.

Meanwhile, back in the real-world (Facebook, Instagram, Twitter and the rest of the social media ARE the real world, aren’t they?) these airhead protesters were willy-nilly using Facebook to spread their conspiracy theories about Russian collusion etc while (American) Facebook was doing the spying as they collected Likes and Followers and “Friends”.

Little by little, and for reasons of convenience and cost, we have accepted all manner of free apps and functionality online.  The “invoice” has now been posted (pun intended) and we are getting to see the real cost of all this “free” stuff.


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WH is a pale, stale, male who does not believe all the doom and gloom climate nonsense so enjoys generating CO2 that the plants need to grow by driving his MG.

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