Tag Archive | "developer"

Facebook ‘Weaponized’ User Data, Says Bikini Photo-Finding App Developer

Facebook is facing accusations of gathering more user data than disclosed. According to court filings, former start-up Six4Three claimed that the social media company conducted mass surveillance on its users and their friends alike.

Based on the lawsuit documents, Facebook reportedly had access to its users’ text messages, photos, and microphones. It can even track their locations by remotely activating the Bluetooth on mobile devices without permission. All of these accusations were detailed in Six4Three’s fifth version of the complaint, initially filed in 2015.

The court document read, in part:

“Facebook continued to explore and implement ways to track users’ location, to track and read their texts, to access and record their microphones on their phones, to track and monitor their usage of competitive apps on their phones, and to track and monitor their calls.”

In response, Facebook refuted the claims by saying that these “have no merit and we will continue to defend ourselves vigorously.” The company clarified rumors back in March that it was monitoring calls and messages of its users. Rather, they only collected call and text message history as part of its opt-in feature under Facebook Lite and Messenger on Android.

The former start-up also contended that Facebook had access to several photos on iPhones. But the social media company pointed out that users can opt-in to the photo syncing feature of the app for easier uploading.

Allegations of breaching user privacy and data collection remain touchy subjects for Facebook,  following its involvement in the Cambridge Analytica fiasco. Prior to the scandal, the social media giant has removed the access of third-party developers to personal information. This policy change reportedly led to the failure of Six4Three’s controversial paid app Pikinis, where users can find their Facebook friends’ swimsuit photos.

Along with accusations of causing its financial ruin, Six4Three claimed that Facebook ‘weaponized’ its ability to access user data, sometimes without explicit consent, to earn billions of dollars. There was also a mass surveillance scheme, details of which were redacted from the latest filings per Facebook’s request. These documents, such as email correspondence among senior executives, contain confidential business matters and were sealed from public view until further notice. 

Facebook has continued to deny the purported claims, filing a motion to have the case dismissed by invoking the free speech defense under the law in California. Six4Three, on the other hand, is trying to stop the social media giant from getting the case thrown out. As the legal battle wages on, Facebook still faces continued scrutiny over its users’ paranoia on weak data privacy and protection controls.

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Highlights from Facebook’s F8 Developer Conference

At this year’s Facebook’s F8 Developer Conference in San Jose California, the company announced their short and long term plans. The announcements ranged from updates to existing offerings in the short term and long term plans bordering on science fiction.

Facebook Wants to Read Your Mind

In a surprising announcement, Regina Dugan told the F8 audience about a project with two goals, typing with your brain and hearing with your skin. In a Facebook Post Dugan says, “Over the next 2 years, we will be building systems that demonstrate the capability to type at 100 wpm by decoding neural activity devoted to speech… We also described a system that may one day allow you to hear through your skin.”

360-degree cameras

Wednesday’s keynote from CTO Mark Schroepfer announced the second generation of its Surround 360 camera design. The Street reports, “The new cameras are called the x24, featuring 24 cameras on an orb, and the smaller x6, which features six cameras on an orb. Unlike the original Surround 360 camera announced at last year’s F8 event, these cameras use six degrees of freedom (SDOF) to allow a VR headset wearer to move around in about a meter and a half of space to observe an object closer or to simply walk around a space. This effect allows users to feel more immersed in a scene. In addition, while last year’s camera became an open-source project on GitHub, Facebook is planning to work with partners to manufacture the x6 and x24 to bring them to market later this year.”

Beam the Internet from helicopter

CNN Tech reports: “Facebook said it’s created something called a Tether-tenna, a small helicopter connected to an internet cable and a power source. In an emergency, the Tether-tenna would connect to an existing piece of fiber line and fly above the ground, becoming a tower that people can use to get online

This disaster zone tech is still a long-term plan. But Facebook says it could eventually be deployed for months at a time, providing connectivity while a community rebuilds itself.”

Updates to Workplace by Facebook

TechCrunch reports: “Facebook announced updates to its Workplace by Facebook team communications tool, including a slew of new partnerships and new bot integrations, which all show a product that’s maturing to meet the needs of larger enterprise customers.”

Updates to Facebook Analytics

Facebook’s VP of Partnerships, Ime Archibong, announced updates to Facebook Analytics as well as Facebook Login and Account Kit during his F8 keynote address. TechCrunch: “Analytics is getting greater customizability and a machine learning boost while Login and Account Kit are benefiting from additional transparency and accessibility.”

Facebook Spaces Announcement | F8 in Under 10 Minutes from Engadget:

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