Posts Tagged ‘facebook’

Facebook is not a social network

April 10, 2018

Watching Mark Zuckerberg walk through the corridors of power escorted by Capitol Police was like watching a perp walk, when the police tip off the media. The only difference, he was not facing any charges (yet) and was not handcuffed.

Showing his usual contempt for facebook users he ignored questions fired at him by journalists.

Appearing on his first day before questions from a committee of politicians, it was as though Facebook had sent not a human but a malfunctioning avatar. Was this a human or an avatar representing Facebook?

He claimed facebook was inspirational. Claimed the credit for facebook for any action by democracy activists. Anything bad, that was bad actors. And yes facebook had made mistakes letting in the bad actors to play on their platform.

The only reason Zuckerberg was there was because of the collapse of facebook stock market value. He is still showing contempt for British facebook users by refusing to appear before a Parliamentary Select Committee, refusing any requests for media interviews.

Facebook is not a social network. Facebook is not a community. What we are seeing is not down to a few bad actors or facebook letting them gain access to their platform. Facebook exists to collect and abuse personal data.

The bad actor is facebook.

If Cambridge Analaytica is a bad actor, how many more bad actors, how many more facebook apps harvesting our personal data?

  • facebook has to be regulated
  • facebook has to be broken up, stripped of Instagram and WhatsApp
  • facebook has to be handed to the users

Users have to do their bit.

  • overwrite then delete all personal data
  • turn off location tracking
  • disable facebook apps
  • do not tag friends
  • do not use Instagram
  • do not use WhastApp

What facebook has engaged in is digital rape.

It beggars belief there are still facebook users who have not yet taken these very basic measures.  Are they naive or just plain stupid? Maybe they do not care about their own data security, but what of those they are connected to?  Their behaviour is equivalent in the digital realm to someone spreading HIV/Aids.

Cambridge Analytica Brexit and election fraud

April 2, 2018

We spent $1m harvesting millions of Facebook profiles. — Christopher Wylie

We couldn’t have done it without them [AIQ]. — Dominic Cummings, Vote Leave campaign manager

I voted Leave for reasons of sovereignty and democracy. Isn’t it ironic that this is exactly what we’ve now lost? — Shahmir Sanni

Facebook exists to collect and abuse personal data.

Facebook apps, surveys, quizzes, games, harvest that data.

Cambridge Analytica used a facebook app to harvest the data of 50 million facebook users then used that data to manipulate them.

Two weeks ago, Channel 4 News broke the news of what Facebook and Cambridge Analytica were doing with the data, the lengths to which Cambridge Analytica was prepared to go to rig elections. The Channel 4 scoop of the decade has subsequently reverberated around the world, US, UK, India, Sri Lanka, Kenya, Mexico.

Compelling evidence has been presented by Channel 4 News, Carole Cadwalladr, Christopher Wylie, Shahmir Sanni and others of waht appear to be criminal activity between AggregateIQ, Cambridge Analytica, Vote Leave, BeLeave, senior Tories and their advisers, to rig the European Referendum.

Carole Cadwalladr:

‘Find Christopher Wylie.” That instruction – 13 months ago – came from the very first ex-Cambridge Analytica employee I met. He was unequivocal. Wylie would have answers to the two questions that were troubling me most. He could tell me about Facebook. And he would know about Canada.

What Christopher Wylie knows about Facebook, the world now knows. Facebook certainly knows – its market value is down $100bn. But the Canadian connection remains more elusive. What it is. Why it matters. And why it triggered my search for Wylie.

Did this alleged criminal activity sway the Brexit result? I think not, despite the persuasive  testimony from Christopher Wylie.

Carole Cadwalladr:

In total, £3.9m of leave campaign funds were spent with AIQ. Four different groups used the firm, even though all these campaigns were supposedly separate and could only “work together” if they shared their spending limits. Vote Leave spent £2,697,000. There was the £675,000 via BeLeave. A sum of £100,000 that Vote Leave donated to Veterans for Britain, which Veterans for Britain then paid to AIQ. AIQ also received £32,750 from the Democratic Unionist party. Whichever way one looks at it, AIQ would seem to be fundamental to the data-driven targeting of “persuadables” in the final days of the campaign.

These four campaign groups mysteriously and independently found the same tiny data analytics firm, located in a sleepy town on an island off the west coast of Canada, 5,000 miles away.

In April 2017, Dominic Cummings told me by email that Vote Leave had found the firm “on the internet”. Darren Grimes told the Electoral Commission the same thing. The only problem? Online archives show that AIQ’s website didn’t show up in Google searches until after the referendum. “I looked at the time,” says Sanni. “I was, like, ‘Who is AIQ?’ And there was nothing. No website. Nothing.”

Both sides lied to swing the result. From what little we have seen, IAQ told the truth.

European Union was established as a cartel for Big Business, a democracy-free zone. And nothing has changed. An Empire that centralises power, that brutally crushes any dissent on the periphery, as we have seen with Greece.

No Empire lasts for ever. The EU is on the verge of implosion. We must plan for that eventuality, to create a Europe-wide network of cooperating democratic sovereign countries.

Where though I do agree with Christopher Wylie, is where there was cheating, those involved must be held to account. And that also applies to the overspending by Tory candidates in the last but one General Election uncovered by Channel 4 News for which there has still to be criminal prosecutions.

Deathly silence from Mark Zuckerberg until Facebook stock valuation started to crash. He is still showing contempt for facebook users by his refusal to testify before a House of Commons Select Committee.

Facebook must be regulated to stop the collection and abuse of personal data, broken up, stripped of Instagram and WhatsApp, and ultimately handed to over to its users to function as global commons and open coop.

No one disputes the value of facebook as a social network, what is at issue is the collection and abuse of personal data.

The activities of companies like Cambridge Analytica, a threat to democracy, must not be permitted to operate.

Facebook users must also take personal responsibility for the safeguarding their personal data. They would not hand personal data to a stranger in the street, leave cash lying around, why therefore so careless with personal data.

Facebook users need to act now. Overwrite then delete all personal data, never post live links where you are, disable all facebook apps, disable location, do not use Instagram, do not use WhatsApp.

The most valuable data on facebook, is your personal data, where you are.

Facebook apps, games, surveys, quizzes, harvest personal data.

Instagram is owned by facebook. Pictures posted act as bait to draw into the Facebook walled garden. Instagram claims ownership rights to the pictures. The pictures are not visible on twitter. If you wish pictures to be visible post direct to twitter.

There are superior alternatives to WhatsApp, for example Skype.

Cambridge Analytica the Mexican connection

March 30, 2018

Facebook collects and abuses personal data.

Facebook apps, quiz, survey, game, harvest that data.

Cambridge Analytica harvested the data of 50 million Facebook users, then used it to manipulate the very people whose data they had harvested.

Russian hackers, Russian bots, were blamed for interference in elections. We now know it was much closer to home, Cambridge Analytica were operating in our own backyard, unnoticed, until Christopher Wylie‏ blew the whistle.

Cambridge Analytica has its tentacles every where, US, UK, Kenya, Nigeria, India, Sri Lanka, Mexico.

They go in, do the hard sell, we can swing the election your way. They are like ghosts, go in, do the dirty work that politicians cannot soil their hands with, then long before discovered, if ever discovered, have crept back out.

This is only one Facebook app.

And yet people are still leaving their personal information on Facebook, have not overwritten then deleted, are leaving live links of where they are, have not deleted Instagram and WhatsApp.

Facebook collection and abuse of personal data

March 29, 2018

Facebook business model is collection and abuse of personal data.

Facebook apps, every quiz, survey, game, harvest the data facebook collects, all your personal data, that of your friends, every single thing you do on facebook.

One such app was used by Cambridge Analytica, was used to harvest the data of 50 million facebook users. They then used that data for manipulation, bragged they swung the US Presidential election and won it for Donald Trump.  It has also been claimed they meddled in the EU Referendum.

Facebook claim a breach of trust.  No, the only breach of trust was facebook collecting data on its users.

Facebook and  Cambridge Analytica both claim the data that was harvested, data of 50 million Facebook users, has been deleted.

Not true says Christopher Wylie‏ a whistle blower at Cambridge Analytica.

Not true says Channel 4 News, who in the scoop of the century broke the original story last week.

Channel 4 News found it all too easy to obtain this data. They then knocked on a few doors to see what the good folk of Colorado thought of the collection  and abuse of their personal data.

They were shocked, they did not wish to discuss or appear on camera. One exception was a lady who said she was aware of how Facebook operated.

It beggars belief people are still leaving their personal data exposed on facebook, still leaving live links of where they are, are still using Instagram and WhatsApp.

All personal data should be overwritten with false data then deleted.

Never post live links of where you are.

The most valuable data you post on facebook is your personal data and where you are.

In settings disable apps, disable location data.

Do not use Instagram. Rights are claimed to your pictures, it is owned by Facebook, you are acting as bait to draw others into the facebook walled garden, the pictures posted are not visible on twitter.  Post pictures on twitter or google maps, but not Instagram.

Skype is a better alternative to WhatsApp.


Facebook business model collect and abuse personal data

March 22, 2018

Facebook let a firm called GSR scrape 50 million user profiles and sell the data to another firm, Cambridge Analytica, whose express purpose was to manipulate electoral behaviour in favour of Donald Trump. That’s the one-paragraph summary of a story that will unfold with increasing complexity this week. — Paul Mason

There are several evil corporations. Monsanto aka MonSatan destroys the environment. Nestle human rights abuse. Facebook collection and abuse of personal data.

Channel 4 News has done the world a service in its expose of Cambridge Analytica.

Cambridge Analytica had access to a facebook app that harvested the personal data of 50 million Facebook users, then is believed to have used that data to influence the US Presidential Election and elect Donald Trump, or at least they have bragged so.

Cambridge Analytica is a side show, and the focus has now quite rightly shifted to Facebook.

Facebook collects and abuses personal data. That is the Facebook business model, that is how Facebook makes money, a lot of money.  Facebook founder Marc Zuckerberg has contempt for your personal privacy.

Contrary to what Facebook claim this to be a breach of trust, Facebook makes its money, its businesses model, is built on breach of trust. Every day Facebook breaches the trust of its users.

Cambridge Analytica used a Facebook app to harvest Facebook personal data. It did what every Facebook app does.

A Facebook app, every game, quiz, survey, has access to not only all your personal data, but also that of your friends. And this is continuous access.

  • e-mail
  • photos and videos
  • phone number
  • date of birth
  • hometown
  • current city
  • religious and political views
  • friends list —> access to all your friends
  • relationship status
  • education history
  • work history
  • status updates
  • likes
  • website
  • groups you’ve liked and manage

Who or what is behind that app that is harvesting your data?

In summary, an app gains access to:

  • your basic information
  • your e-mail address
  • your profile info: birthday, likes and location
  • your events

What is basic information?

Well it is actually quite a long list: name, profile picture, gender, networks, user ID, list of friends, and any other information you made public.

All handed over with a single click.

Now you may be happy to see all this information handed over to who knows where, to who knows who, to do as they please, but what of your friends? If you have no concern for your own privacy, do you not have an obligation to respect that of your friends, did you ask each and everyone if it was OK that their name be passed to this app?

Would you hand all your personal information to a stranger who stops you in the street, name, where you live, where you work, school, university, name of partner, name of dog?

Would you hand over a key to your house and say ok to rummage through all your personal effects?

Would you grant access to all the clubs and societies you belong to?

Would you hand over your work pass?

If not then why do you do this on Facebook?

Also be aware when commenting external to Facebook, if linked to Facebook, Facebook now has access to what you are doing outside of Facebook.

Facebook is not a social network.

With Cambridge Analytica there was no data breach at Facebook. This is how Facebook works. You are the product on sale.

Facebook users mistakenly think the only people they are sharing information with are their friends. This is simply not true.

And who are these friends? Often they are people never met, have not a clue who they are.

Many users are now deleting their Facebook accounts. The problem is, Facebook will still have all your personal information.

Overwrite all your personal information with fake information, then a few days later delete.

Never make a live link of the places you visit.

Never tag friends.

Never post videos on Facebook. Post videos on vimeo or youtube and post a link on Facebook. Always drive traffic out of not into Facebook.

Do not use Instagram. Instagram belongs to Facebook, claims rights to your pictures, the pictures are not visible on twitter.

Post pictures direct to twitter, not via Instagram. Encourage your followers to follow you on twitter not on Instagram.

Coffee shops provide a good example. If pictures posted on Instagram act as bait to draw customers into the facebook walled garden, thus complicit in the abuse of their personal data. The pictures can be sold. Pictures not visible on twitter, even though one assumes the whole point of posting pictures is for them to be seen. The coffee shop would get far better traction by posting direct to twitter and posting pictures on Google Maps.

Do not use WhatsApp, it too belongs to Facebook. Use Skype instead.

Check your Facebook settings. You will be horrified at the number of apps you find. Most you will have no knowledge of. Get rid of every single one.

Lobby the government. We need much stricter data protection.

We have had the farce of the Information Commissioner announcing to the media, maybe raid Data Analytica the next day, maybe the day after, maybe by the end of the week. As I write, Data Analytica has not been raided. Any incriminating evidence will have long gone. There are boxes going out the door.

The maximum fine in the UK is £500,000. This is peanuts to Facebook. There should be unlimited fines, punitive fines.

Facebook dodges tax. There should be a social media tax, based on the number of users, exemption for any social media network held in common trust, owned by the members, a social media commons.  There should be a tax on advertising revenue.

We need to create a social media commons, or failing that, Facebook handed to its users.


In addition to collecting and abusing personal data, then enabling it to be harvested by Data Analytica and other data harvesters, Facebook has then provided a platform to enable Data Analytica and others to abuse and manipulate users through acquisition of their own personal data.

Data Analytica have bragged they won the election for Trump by manipulation. They have bragged of being willing to bribe corrupt politicians, to set them up with girls from Ukraine.

Facebook should disable their news feed. It serves no useful purpose other than to disseminate fake news and propaganda.

I and others have been warning of Facebook and Instagram for years.  Will the current scandal finally force users to wake up and take notice, not only take notice, but act?

Facebook is a toxic virus that has invaded every aspect of our digital lives.

Mozilla has pulled the plug on Facebook. We must pressurise other corporations to do the same.

We show our support for Mozilla by downloading and using Firefox.

Facebook has to be broken up. It has to be stripped of Instagram and WhatsApp, but what is left has to be broken up.  No one uses Facebook because they like Facebook, they use it because their friends are there. We therefore have to have open standards where there are many social networks, with communicate both within and across networks. An example would be telephone networks, anyone on one network can communicate with anyone on any other network.

Facebook is not the only tech giant that has to be broken up. Google has to be stripped of Android, YouTube and self-driving cars, leaving Google as a search engine.

Facebook is not free

December 19, 2016

When I am told facebook is a free, I ask is it a charity?

No, facebook is not a charity, it is a rapacious global corporation.

When something appears to be free, it is you who is the product being sold. In the case of facebook, it is your personal information that is being sold. Facebook only exists because you provide the content, only you do not get paid for doing so, you work for free.

Instagram is owned by facebook. Every picture you post, they reserve the right to use your pictures, you will never be told, you will not get paid.

When a friend angrily complained that I had shared her pictures, she was correct to be angry that I had not obtained her consent. But wrong to be angry that her pictures were now available for the world to see, they already were, she had posted them on facebook.

If you do not want your personal information to be shared, then do not post on facebook.

If a stranger stopped you in the street you would not hand over your personal information, why therefore post it on facebook for all the world to see?

It is not only your personal information facebook is stealing, abusing, selling. It is also the communications, who your are networked with. What are known as externalities.

Information is one of the most valuable commodities. We lock away our valuables in a safe place. Why do we not treat our information in the same way?

What we need is an open coop social media platform owned by the users.

The web and the internet were designed to be free. Free as a global information commons, we contribute information, we draw upon that information. It was not intended as a pool to abuse unsuspecting users.

Facebook experiments on its users

July 3, 2014


Facebook has been experimenting on is users, by changing their news feeds to happy or unhappy content (determined by keywords) and seeing how they reacted, how those they were connected to reacted.

I stick my hand up her. Many moons ago, I experimented, or was part of a unit, that experimented on people.

It is a basic tenet of scientific research, that you have to have informed consent to experiment on people. This is known as the Nuremberg Code. In the US, Common Rule, research subjects must give their consent before they’re included in an experiment, and then agree to it and have the option not to grant consent without being penalised.

We have learnt to expect no better from facebook, they having nothing but contempt for users, their privacy and personal data. But we should expect better from the researchers, the authors of the paper, the universities and the journal that published their paper.

Even Susan Fiske, the professor of psychology at Princeton University who edited the study for Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of America, had doubts when the research first crossed her desk.

I was concerned, until I queried the authors and they said their local institutional review board had approved it—and apparently on the grounds that Facebook apparently manipulates people’s News Feeds all the time… I understand why people have concerns. I think their beef is with Facebook, really, not the research.

So, the editor of a reputable journal thought it ok, because an ethics committee of a reputable university thought it ok, because it is what facebook does all the time.

So, the fact that it is normal practice for facebook to abuse its uses, makes it ok, to ignore normal ethical standards when carrying out research and publishing the results of that research?

Facebook experimented on 689,003 users, manipulating their emotions. What if some were, as statistically they would be, bi-polar, what if the manipulation tipped them over the edge? How many were children?

Facebook manipulated its users as laboratory rats.

As facebook users know, ethics does not appear in the facebook lexicography.

The experiment carried out was one of emotion contagion, how you feel, how does it affect those around you.

In India, corrupt politicians are buying news stories. What is to stop facebook, which is one of the least ethical companies around, manipulating its users, as it already has shown it is willing to do so.

Facebook spies on private communications

January 4, 2014

Facebook has once again shown its arrogant contempt for its users and its scant regard for their privacy.

Facebook is accessing private messages between users and selling the data.

Once again this clearly demonstrates why you should not put personal information on facebook.

Would you to a stranger who stopped you in the street hand over personal information, where you live, where you studied, where you work, who your partner is?

If not, then why put on facebook?

All you are doing is turning yourself into a cash cow for facebook, increasing the likelihood of being a target for spam and junk, and making yourself an easy target for ID theft or fraud.

If you have put personal information on facebook, overwrite with false information.

I would urge everyone to delete or overwrite, render the information facebook is collecting on you worthless.

User abuse is not restricted to facebook, also includes Instagram.

Facebook spammers make $200m just posting links, researchers say

August 29, 2013

Italian researchers uncover price lists for posting third-party links to Facebook fan pages – and calculate that they earn substantial amounts for most popular ones

spamming on Facebook could earn those posting the links around $200m annually

spammers on Facebook could earn around $200m annually

Spammers posting links on Facebook fan pages to send people to third-party scam sites are earning $200m every year, according to calculations by a team of Italian security researchers who have investigated hundreds of thousands of posts on the social network.

Andrea Stroppa and Carlo De Micheli, the leaders of the group, analysed pages across the network, and identified spam through the use of phrases such as “Hey click here for a free iPhone” followed by links to sites outside the network.

They also discovered sites where spammers offer to set up fake fan pages in order to tempt Facebook users to click on links.

a typical page with spam links on Facebook

a typical page with spam links on Facebook

The postings breach Facebook’s terms of service, which says that “third-party advertisements on [fan] Pages are prohibited without our prior permission.”

But trying to catch and get rid of the spammers is a growing problem for Facebook. The revenue that the spammers – and those running the sites linked to – do not form part of Facebook’s revenue, but instead piggyback on the success of the social network, which now has more than a billion users worldwide.

The URLs to the outside sites have their destination hidden by using legitimate link-shortening services such as or That also makes it possible for researchers to track the ultimate destination – and figure out how many people click on the link. masks destination and provides stats masks destination and provides stats

About 9% of the pages that users were directed to by spammers instead use Google’s AdSense – meaning that Google inadvertently gets a cut from the money being made by the buyers of spam services.

pay per post

“The spam posters get paid an average of $13 per post, for pages that have around 30,000 fans, up to an average of $58 to post on pages with more than 100,000 fans,” De Micheli told the Guardian. “If we consider these two as extremes, the pages we analysed generate a revenue of 18,000 posts per day, times the revenue per post – ranging from $13 to $58 – 365 days a year.”

That gives a range for the spammers’ earnings of between $87m and $390m – but when they took into account the number of fans of the pages, the weighted average was just over $200m annually.

Often the spammers begin by setting up their own “fan pages” and attract human users to them – and then once they have enough Likes on the page they can begin selling links on it to third parties.

Stroppa and De Micheli found 20 key sites where spammers congregated offering “black marketing” in which they would contract to post spam links in return for cash.

But the spammers argue that they are helping Facebook. One told the researchers over Skype: “Facebook doesn’t ban us, simply because we generate the content on Facebook itself. Everyday I materialize funny, and interesting content full of phrases and so forth that is shared and liked by thousands of users. Without the fan pages Facebook would be an empty place. Tell me how many links do you see shared by your friends on your timeline everyday? You see – the answer is simple.”

But Stroppa and De Micheli counter that the spammer’s motive is pure financial self-interest: “For people involved in this business the sole reason to continue is for the profit. We even found somebody who was selling a page dedicated to the memory of the victims of the Boston terrorist attack for $1,000.”

In April, the Italian team uncovered the multimillion-pound business of selling fake Twitter followers, estimating then that as many as 20m were created by spammers and so fake. There, they calculated that Twitter followers were sold in packages – ranging from $1 for 1,000 extra followers, up to $1,000 for a million. They reckoned that made it a business worth between $40m and $360m.

long term business

In looking into Facebook spam, the researchers found posts offering to sell spam links on Facebook fan pages dating back to 2010. But on the present-day forums, they found spammers’ prices for posting to pages which already had more than 30,000 “Likes” – and so would be likely to show up in peoples’ News feeds, or be regularly visited – varied from $8 to $20. For pages with over 100,000 Likes, the prices ranged from $35 to $100.

They also uncovered a network of 30,000 pages involved in posting spam to Facebook.

what is spam on facebook?

what is spam on facebook?

“Third parties pay spammers to post their links on Facebook pages, to reach the largest amount of users possible,” said De Micheli. For the financial model to work, the third parties must be accruing benefits even greater than they are paying the spammers – though it is impossible to know what their rate of return might be.

“We notice that it is rather common for the landing page [from a link] to be a product on an e-commerce site made to monetise quickly rather than to generate traffic on a home page,” De Micheli said. “Links to YouTube can be used to generate views, and so money – view generation on YouTube is a fast-growing market.” YouTube offers revenue-sharing arrangements with a number of users.

Another outside site identified by the researchers promises that some people who post affiliate links – which pay an intermediary small amounts for clickthroughs to the main site – are getting paid “thousands of dollars per day”.

According to their analysis, around one in eight of the pages they looked at was actually harbouring spam links.

facebook action

Facebook takes action against spam pages and posts where they are reported by users, but the sheer volume of spam postings could overwhelm its checkers’ ability to crack down on spam.

A Facebook spokesperson said: “Protecting the people who use Facebook is a top priority for us, and we have developed a number of automated systems to identify potentially harmful links and stop them from spreading. Those systems quickly spotted these links, and we are working to clear them from the site now.

“In the meantime, we have been blocking people from clicking through the links and have reported the bad browser extensions to the appropriate parties. We believe only a small percentage of our users were affected by this issue, and we are currently working with them to ensure that they’ve removed the bad browser extension. We will keep improving our systems to ensure that people continue to have a safe experience on Facebook.”

— Charles Arthur

Published by The Guardian.

This is just another example of why users should be very wary when using facebook.

Facebook is changing its privacy settings yet again, making it difficult to set privacy settings.

Facebook Is So Uncool

March 10, 2013
facebook is so uncool

facebook is so uncool

More and more people are now turning away from facebook, they are sick of being abused for profit and seeing their personal privacy violated for greed.

Marc Zuckerberg has become the one person most people would rather not be seen dead with.

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