Tag Archive | "Facebook"

Roughly 100 Developers May Have Improperly Accessed FaceBook Groups Data

The last few weeks have seen the news go from bad to worse for Facebook, especially on the privacy front. Now the company is admitting that roughly 100 developers may have improperly accessed Groups member data.

In April 2018, Facebook made changes to the Groups API to limit what information administrators could access. Prior to the change, admins could see identifiable information, such as member names and profile pictures. Following the change, group members would have to opt-in for an admin to see that information—at least in theory.

According to Konstantinos Papamiltiadis, Facebook’s Platform Partnerships Head, an ongoing review discovered that some 100 developers had retained access to member information. Papamiltiadis said the company had taken steps to address the issues.

“We have since removed their access. Today we are also reaching out to roughly 100 partners who may have accessed this information since we announced restrictions to the Groups API, although it’s likely that the number that actually did is smaller and decreased over time. We know at least 11 partners accessed group members’ information in the last 60 days. Although we’ve seen no evidence of abuse, we will ask them to delete any member data they may have retained and we will conduct audits to confirm that it has been deleted.”

The post also made a point of promising that the company would continue to improve moving forward.

“We aim to maintain a high standard of security on our platform and to treat our developers fairly. As we’ve said in the past, the new framework under our agreement with the FTC means more accountability and transparency into how we build and maintain products. As we continue to work through this process we expect to find more examples of where we can improve, either through our products or changing how data is accessed. We are committed to this work and supporting the people on our platform.”

Given the current political climate, with politicians on both sides of the aisle increasingly looking at Facebook as a threat to privacy—and some even calling for its breakup—the company will need to do better to convince authorities and users alike that it can be trusted.

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Facebook opens search ads to all advertisers

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Facebook Libra Backers Back Out

A week ago we covered a Wall Street Journal article highlighting potential trouble for Facebook’s Libra cryptocurrency, as multiple backers were reconsidering their commitment to the project.

Fast-forward a week and things have only gone from bad to worse. As Bloomberg reports, PayPal was the first to announce they were leaving on October 6, with Visa, Mastercard, eBay, Stripe and Mercado Pago following suit. Each of these companies provided a brief statement, expressing their interest in monitoring Libra’s progress. Nonetheless, without these companies’ support, Libra is left without a single payment processor in the U.S.

The high-profile exits follow increased pressure from U.S. senators, who cautioned Mastercard, Visa and Stripe about backing the currency. Since Facebook first announced the Libra project, governments around the world have been critical of the endeavor, expressing concern about how the cryptocurrency will impact financial markets. In the days leading up to the companies pulling their support, senators cautioned them about how Libra could impact their broader payment business as well.

Critics are mixed about whether these high-profile defections spell doom for Libra or a new opportunity. Michael Pachter, an analyst for Wedbush Securities, told Bloomberg TV that he “didn’t think Facebook can do this by itself. Short of a big bank stepping in like JPMorgan, I don’t think this could ever happen.”

As SiliconANGLE highlights, however, several other companies emphasized their support, “including Kiva, Mercy Corps, Andreessen Horowitz, Anchorage and Xapo. Arguably, the change sees Libra look more like a startup now with the lack of mainstream company support.”

The news comes days before the Libra Association is scheduled to meet to sign a charter agreement. It’s probably a safe bet there will be far more to talk about in the wake of these defections.

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Government Officials Urge Facebook to Create Encryption Backdoor

In most cases, two plus two equals four. It’s simple math. The same is true of encryption. Devices and services are either protected by strong encryption or they’re not. There is no in-between.

In spite of that, the UK Home Secretary, Priti Patel, joined U.S. Attorney General William Barr and Australian Home Affairs Minister Peter Dutton in an open letter urging Facebook to essentially create a backdoor in their end-to-end encryption.

On the one hand, the government officials offer lip service to the need for strong encryption:

“We support strong encryption, which is used by billions of people every day for services such as banking, commerce, and communications. We also respect promises made by technology companies to protect users’ data. Law abiding citizens have a legitimate expectation that their privacy will be protected.”

However, those statements are undermined by what follows:

“Companies should not deliberately design their systems to preclude any form of access to content, even for preventing or investigating the most serious crimes.”

Unfortunately these statements, and others like them, demonstrate a dangerous lack of understanding about how encryption works or, for that matter, how basic math—the foundation of all encryption—works. Experts the world over have warned about the catastrophic dangers of creating backdoors in encryption here, and here, and here, and here, and here, and here and here (PDF).

The last one was an open letter to the White House by civil organizations, companies, trade associations and a myriad of security and policy experts. These are individuals from such varied backgrounds that they rarely agree on anything. Yet the one thing they all agree on is that there is simply no way to create backdoors in encryption without fundamentally weakening said encryption. It simply can’t be done. There is no way to create a backdoor for the “good guys” to get into the phones, computers and tablets of the “bad guys” without the “bad guys” using those same backdoors to get into the devices of the “good guys.”

At this point in the debate, people who want backdoors usually fall back to complaining about how strong encryption is making it possible for bad actors to “go dark,” using encryption to protect their activities from prying eyes. Therefore, the argument goes, the tech companies should be forced to make a backdoor in the interest of the greater good.

By that logic, however, safe makers should be required to create a backdoor to every safe they manufacture in the event that whoever purchases it tries using it for nefarious purposes. Similarly, paper shredder makers should be forced to make shredders that can take the strips of shredded paper and recombine them into their original form. Otherwise, someone might use a shredder to destroy documents to cover illegal activity.

What’s interesting about both of those examples is that, even without the manufacturers’ assistance, it’s possible to crack into a safe, as well as sort through strips of shredded paper and reconstruct documents. Is it a pleasant experience? No—but it’s possible.

Similarly, even without backdoors in encryption, with enough computing power it is possible to break encryption or find ways to circumvent it. In the wake of the San Bernardino case, after the FBI tried to force Apple to unlock the perpetrator’s iPhone, the FBI was able to find a company that succeeded in unlocking the phone. Was it pleasant? No—but it was possible.

Sometimes convenience for a few—in this case law enforcement—must take a back seat to the safety of the many. In other words, two plus two must equal four, unless a person doesn’t believe in basic math principles. Then two plus two equals five, or 13, or 127,309 or…

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Zuckerberg Connecting Whatsapp, Instagram, and Facebook. What Could Go Wrong?

“Typically, you separate great brands to create enterprise value,” says Scott Galloway, a Professor of Marketing at NYU Stern School of Business. “Mark Zuckerberg is trying to encrypt the backbone between WhatsApp, Instagram, and the core platform Facebook, such that he has one communications network across 2.7 billion people or the population of the southern hemisphere plus India.  What could go wrong? I actually, and I’ve said this before, I think Mark Zuckerberg is the most dangerous person in the world.”

Scott Galloway, a well-known and popular Professor of Marketing at NYU Stern School of Business, discusses Facebook’s possible implementation of a single communions platform for all of its apps utilized by 2.7 billion people. Galloway was interviewed on Bloomberg Technology.

Connecting Whatsapp, Instagram, and Facebook – What Could Go Wrong?

What we have here is the mother of all conjoining of triplets (referring Facebook’s plan to use the same messaging backend on all of its platforms). That is, typically, you separate great brands to create enterprise value. Mark Zuckerberg is trying to encrypt the backbone between WhatsApp, Instagram, and the core platform Facebook, such that he has one communications network across 2.7 billion people or the population of the southern hemisphere plus India. What could go wrong? 

I actually, and I’ve said this before, I think Mark Zuckerberg is the most dangerous person in the world. If you look at key moments in our history where we moved to tyranny, one of the key steps is someone consolidates the media. The notion that we’re going to have one individual deciding the algorithms for an encrypted backbone of 2.7 billion people is frightening, regardless of that person’s intentions or not. They’re even talking about putting the Facebook brand on each of these. 

Is This a Prophylactic Move Against Antitrust Action?

I think what Mark Zuckerberg is doing is taking prophylactic moves against any sort of antitrust such that he could say, “It’d be impossible to unwind us now.” This is absolutely bad for the planet and bad for society. It’s clear where they’re going, an encrypted backbone, conjoin the triplets, and claim that if you do anything you’re going to kill all of us. 

Typically antitrust plays out over the course of years or even decades. The idea to try and conjoin the companies as quickly as possible, such that they can make a nationalist argument, and they’re making it now. They are arguing that the Chinese are coming for us with their AI weaponized companies and you need a big company (to combat them). In fact, we’re the only ones that can do a stable currency coin. 

They’re going to try and make the same argument around encrypting the backbone. The fact is the FTC and the DOJ, as they’ve shown at least stomach some for, should go on background and say, “This is not going to prevent us from splitting you up, so be careful.” There has never been a greater failure in FTC or DOJ history them approving the acquisition of Instagram. I think we all probably regret that now.

Zuckerberg Connecting Whatsapp, Instagram, and Facebook. What Could Go Wrong? – Scott Galloway

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Facebook Trying To Habituate Consumers Around Driving Transactions, Says Button CEO

“The Instagram effort is one that we predicted for a long time,” says Button CEO Michael Jaconi. “I wasn’t the most popular guy in the venture capital pitch room saying hey, the world is moving to commerce. They said advertising makes so much money. In reality, what I think Facebook is doing is very smart. They’re trying to habituate consumers around driving transactions from their platform. For the future of advertising, especially in mobile, the way that you’re going to be able to make money and build durability into your business model is to give consumers what they want.”

Michael Jaconi, CEO of Button, discusses how mobile commerce is rapidly replacing ads as the primary revenue source for publishers and social platforms such as Facebook and Instagram in an interview on Bloomberg Technology.

We’re Trying To Build an Internet Built on Actions, Not Ads

The Button platform really sits above the stack. Where we sit is really in this place where publishers integrate with Button to connect their consumers to their next step. What we’re trying to build is an internet that we think is going to be better, and an internet built on actions, not ads. What the publisher technology that we built does is it sits inside of an application, renders an actual button, and then connects them to the place of intent that their users ultimately may want to go. Whether that’s a mapping app going to Uber or an app like rewardStyle that is powering an influencer network to drive sales at ASOS.

There’s a lot of change happening and Button is trying to invest in that ourselves. You’re seeing the platform’s, Apple and Google, do a lot to make this easier with Facebook’s recent launch of Instagram Checkout. You’re obviously seeing that they’re investing a ton in making the checkout process more seamless. What we fundamentally believe when we started the company was that if we could build a method that would make consumers have a delightful experience, giving from that moment of intent to the moment of fulfillment, saying hey, I want a ride or I want to book a reservation, and having that be as few taps as possible, we would win and the companies that we’re building on top of our platform would win. 

You’re seeing innovation happen with sign-on and the actual account credentials being passed more easily between experiences. Apple Pay, of course, the Google Checkout experiences and  PayPal is making this easier. You’re seeing strides being made but there’s still a long way to go. It’s still a lot easier to purchase on your PC unfortunately. 

Facebook Trying To Habituate Consumers Around Driving Transactions

In our judgment, we think that the Instagram effort is one that we predicted for a long time. I wasn’t the most popular guy in the venture capital pitch room saying hey, the world is moving to commerce. They said advertising makes so much money. In reality, what I think Facebook is doing is very smart. They’re trying to habituate consumers around driving transactions from their platform. Everyone is looking at Amazon with a little bit of fear and a little bit of jealousy. What you’re seeing is that they’re looking at Amazon’s power as being the habituated source of transactions. They are saying look at how Amazon is growing its ad business.

If you look at Amazon’s business, the fastest growing channel it’s had in terms of revenue growth has been its advertising business for the past eight quarters in a row. What’s fascinating about that is that every company wants to grow and be a part of that puzzle or that story. That’s the thing that we’re seeing grow most quickly. For the future of advertising, especially in mobile, when display and all types of advertising are under fire, the way that you’re going to be able to make money and build durability into your business model is to give consumers what they want. For us, we’re trying to give that power to every publisher that exists and to every company that has intent.

Facebook Trying To Habituate Consumers Around Driving Transactions, Says Button CEO Michael Jaconi

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Designed From the Ground Up To Be a Great Medium Of Exchange, Says Facebook Calibra Head

Facebook announced today a new digital wallet for a new digital currency. It is currently in a test phase and will launch live in 2020. Here is how Facebook explains the launch in its announcement release:

“Today we’re sharing plans for Calibra, a newly formed Facebook subsidiary whose goal is to provide financial services that will let people access and participate in the Libra network. The first product Calibra will introduce is a digital wallet for Libra, a new global currency powered by blockchain technology. The wallet will be available in Messenger, WhatsApp and as a standalone app — and we expect to launch in 2020.”

“From the beginning, Calibra will let you send Libra to almost anyone with a smartphone, as easily and instantly as you might send a text message and at low to no cost. And, in time, we hope to offer additional services for people and businesses, like paying bills with the push of a button, buying a cup of coffee with the scan of a code or riding your local public transit without needing to carry cash or a metro pass.”


A sneak peek at what the experience of using Calibra will be like.

David Marcus, head of Facebook’s Calibra, discusses the details of Facebook’s entry into cryptocurrency in an interview on CNBC:

This Is Designed From the Ground Up To Be a Great Medium Of Exchange

If you want to compare Libra with traditional cryptocurrencies the first big difference is that typically they are investment vehicles or investment assets rather than being great mediums of exchange. This is really designed from the ground up to be a great medium of exchange. Libra is a very high-quality form of digital money that you can use for everyday payments and cross-border payments, microtransactions and all kinds of different things.

There are a lot of issues that need to be solved. If you were to get out of the studio right now and ask anyone to send ten dollars on their mobile phones to Canada, they probably wouldn’t know where to start. This is 30 years after the web was invented and mobile broadband is available to so many people. We felt that it was time to try something new and this is the beginning of a long journey to launching this new network in this new digital currency.


Moving money around the world with Libra should be as easy and cheap as sending a text message.

When You Can Move More Value Around Profound Changes Might Happen

We are privileged. We live in a country that has a very stable currency and has very trusted institutions, easy ways to pay each other on mobile devices. That’s actually not the case for many people around the world. Definitely, cross-border payments are still very hard and very expensive. They cost an average of seven percent to send across one border. They sometimes take three or four days to clear. It is a very cumbersome and expensive process for many people around the world. If you think about it from a use case, cross-border payments are definitely going to be a primary use case.

But when you think about the effect that having an internet of value exists, or protocol for money on top of the existing internet, and all of the things that can be built on top of a low-cost system. Microtransactions are things that we’ve been talking about for decades and haven’t materialized because the amounts we are trying to transact are actually lower than the transaction fees. When all of these things change and you can move value around the Internet in a really easy way I think profound changes might happen.

Read the Libra White Paper

There’s Never Been a Better Moment For Us To Do This

I have a slightly contrarian view on this (trust). I don’t think there’s ever been a better moment for us to do this because of the way we’re doing it. We’re actually going to launch this new blockchain at some point next year. We’ve launched a test net today that people can start experimenting with. This new blockchain is actually going to be decentralized and run by the members of an association.

We’re just going to be one among many to govern over this new network and currency. When you look at how much effort we’ve put to limit our influence and limit our control over this network I think it’s a new way of operating. We don’t have control over the network and we don’t have control over the currency. What we have control over is going to be the wallets that are going to operate within Facebook and on top of the network.

We Aren’t Going To Be the Defacto Wallet

We aren’t going to be the defacto wallet. There will be plenty of competition. To earn people’s trust we are going to have to make strong commitments notably on privacy, ensuring that financial data and social data never get commingled and really earn people’s trust over very long periods of time. There are going to be a number of wallets that are going to compete with us on the network we helped create.

Designed From the Ground Up To Be a Great Medium Of Exchange, Says Facebook Calibra Head David Marcus

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A Facebook Coin is Probably the Next Big One, Says Blockchain Capital Limited Co-founder

“For multinationals to issue their own currencies and request that their consumers purchase in that particular currency is not that outlandish,” says Blockchain Capital Limited co-founder Gavin Brown.  “So perhaps with multinationals being what they are the fact that they are able now digitally and technologically to issue their own currencies and request their consumers to use it is perhaps not a sort of an unreasonable thing to think. It may not be the whole mission short term but certainly in the medium term for sure. I mean a Facebook coin is probably the next big one I think.”

Gavin Brown, co-founder & director at Blockchain Capital Limited discusses blockchain and cryptocurrencies in an interview on CNBC:

Wherever There is Potential for Mistrust Blockchain Can Be a Solution

We’re still very early in the technology, so a lot of people obviously associate bitcoin with blockchain, which is the underlying technology, which is understandable. However, the thing that most people fail to realize is that blockchain technology can obviously be applied to many different sectors and many different industries. I’m really keen, especially in the UK where I do a lot of work in my Future Economies Research Center which is a run out of Manchester Metropolitan University.

What we do there is we look at various industries where blockchain is a really good solution to manage lots of things around provenance and trust, scalability, traceability and things like goods supply chains. Really, wherever you’ve got the potential for mistrust blockchain can be a potential solution.

There Are Now Over 2,000 Cryptocurrencies

Regarding cryptocurrencies, If you look overall there are over 2,000 coins in total now. If you look at fiat currencies, the money we use day-to-day, there are 180 fiat currencies recognized by the United Nations globally. Yet there are over 2,000 cryptocurrencies most of which are trying to be some kind of money replacement. So the general play and the way I perceive it is that we will have a shakeout phase as we do with any kind of technology and we’re likely to see it coalesce around either one or a handful of winners.

Those winners will obviously win big. Identifying who they’re going to be is obviously the challenge. That’s why for most people they’ll probably want to run a portfolio inside the crypto asset space to try and maximize their chances. This is almost similar to a sort of leverage private equity-type model the way you’re running lots of different plays, where most will lose, but if you get the winner then you win big.

A Facebook Coin is Probably the Next Big One

What we’re seeing really is the democratization of money. If you and I wanted to we could create a CNBC coin and within three hours we could have it up and running and when we transact with people we could request that we do it using that particular coin. It raises the question of will people trust that coin? They will trust it if they trust your brand and f they trust your products. For instance, Starbucks has over a billion dollars worth of assets on its balance sheet of people who prepaid for coffee on their charge cards in advance. That’s because they trust the brand, they like the product, and they’re confident it will be there.

For multinationals to, therefore, issue their own currencies and request that their consumers purchase in that particular currency is therefore not that outlandish. We live in an era where McDonald’s has got a higher credit rating than the country of Ireland. So perhaps with multinationals being what they are the fact that they are able now digitally and technologically to issue their own currencies and request their consumers to use it is perhaps not a sort of an unreasonable thing to think. It may not be the whole mission short term but certainly in the medium term for sure. I mean a Facebook coin is probably the next big one I think.

A Facebook Coin is Probably the Next Big One, Says Blockchain Capital Limited Co-founder

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Kroger CEO: How We Compete for Software Engineers with Facebook

Kroger and all retailers are fast becoming tech companies and thus have the difficult task of competing with companies like Facebook for top tech talent. According to Kroger CEO Rodney McMullen, one of their secrets to recruiting software engineers is the promise of more responsibility quicker than anywhere else.

Rodney McMullen, Kroger Chairman and CEO, reveals how Kroger competes with Facebook and the tech world for software engineers at NRF 2019, Retails Big Show:

How Kroger Competes for Tech Talent

In terms of the number of employees, I think you will have the same number but the skillsets will be a lot different. If you look at digital, for example, we have 500 people in our digital team. Within 2-3 years we will have a thousand. With software engineers, it is a completely different type of talent. Yes, we compete with (Facebook). It’s kind of fascinating.

It’s important for people to eat. It’s important for people to eat things they like. If you come to Kroger you are able to help people get exactly what they want when they want it. You get immediate feedback on something that is incredibly important. If the customer likes it you see it immediately. If they don’t like it you see it immediately. So you get great feedback.

More Responsibility Quicker Than Anywhere Else

I always tell people when we are recruiting them, I guarantee you that you will have more responsibility quicker than anywhere else. We have 25-year-old and 30-year-old people running $ 100 million and $ 200 million businesses.

On a couple of tests that we have going on right now, we have two interns that actually did the software work to get it in place. When their internship finished they went back to college and kept working with us to finish the project they worked on. It’s one of those things that you get a tremendous amount of responsibility incredibly fast.

The Future of Retail

I think the store will be multi-purpose. I think about one of our bigger stores. It wouldn’t surprise me if you had a small warehouse in the back of that store. You will use the same footprint, but half of it may be a physical store that is an experience space, half of it will be more warehouse efficiency space.

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SearchCap: Google Lens for iOS, Facebook search ads & eCommerce SEO

Below is what happened in search today, as reported on Search Engine Land and from other places across the web.



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