Wednesday, 21 March 2018

Cambridge Analytiica scandal is threat to the Facebook Empire

Former Facebook-er: Cambridge Analytica-Style Data-Harvesting Was "Shockingly Routine"

20 March, 2018

The Cambridge Analytica scandal that erupted over the weekend has snowballed into the biggest threat to CEO and founder Mark Zuckerberg's rule since the company's 2012 IPO.

But, as we noted earlier, the manner in which Cambridge Analytica allegedly leveraged the data it purportedly "stole" from Facebook (or rather, refused to delete after receiving it from an intermediary who himself had improperly accessed it, according to the company) isn't all that unusual. Case in point, Carol Davidsen, Obama's director of integration and media analytics during his 2012 campaign, revealed that Facebook knowingly helped the Obama campaign collect as much user data as possible - even from the friends of users who may not have explicitly consented to the data collection.

When Facebook found out about the data mining for political purposes - the same thing they just banned Cambridge Analytica for doing - they "didn't stop us," the Obama staffer said. Representatives from Facebook even traveled to Obama campaign headquarters and candidly told campaign workers, including Davidsen, that they were allowing the Obama campaign do things they wouldn't have allowed other developers to do.

Fast forward nearly six years and Facebook Security Chief Alex Stamos is planning to leave the company in August after clashing with executives over their refusal to prioritize policing how user data is accessed and manipulated over ever-expanding advertising profits.
Facebook

And now, another former Facebook employee has come forward to reveal that, before the company started tightening its data security practices after its IPO, the type of "unauthorized" access that Facebook suspended Cambridge Analytica for was routinely carried out by app developers. The reason? Facebook's advertising business can increase profits by offering more data to advertisers and developers. And the more successful games like FarmVille and Candy Crush become, the more money Facebook - which takes a piece of developers' profits - stands to make.
Combined, these factors created a powerful incentive to look the other way.
Asked what kind of control Facebook had over the data given to outside developers, he replied:
"Zero. Absolutely none. Once the data left Facebook servers there was not any control, and there was no insight into what was going on."
The employee, Sandy Parakilas, first accused Facebook of prioritizing data mining of consumer safety in a New York Times op-ed published in November, when the scandal surrounding a "Russian troll farm's" alleged purchases of Facebook ads and promoted posts was still in full swing.
While the company insists that it has strengthened its oversight in the years since Parakilas's departure, the degree of negligence described by Parakilas is staggering nonetheless. If he had to guess, Parakilas would say that, in reality, the majority of Facebook users have probably had their data improperly sold or shared.
Parakilas said he "always assumed there was something of a black market" for Facebook data that had been passed to external developers. However, he said that when he told other executives the company should proactively "audit developers directly and see what’s going on with the data" he was discouraged from the approach.
He said one Facebook executive advised him against looking too deeply at how the data was being used, warning him:"Do you really want to see what you’ll find?" Parakilas said he interpreted the comment to mean that "Facebook was in a stronger legal position if it didn’t know about the abuse that was happening."
He added: "They felt that it was better not to know. I found that utterly shocking and horrifying."
The developer feature that allowed a UK-based psychology professor to access data from 50 million Facebook users is called "Friends Permission".
That feature was a boon to outside software developers who, from 2007 onwards, were allowed to build quizzes and games that were hosted on the platform. Parakilas says the company could've easily disabled this feature - which helped developers sneakily hoover up the data of friends of assenting users - but it chose not to.
The apps proliferated on Facebook in the years leading up to the company’s 2012 initial public offering, an era when most users were still accessing the platform via laptops and computers rather than smartphones.
Facebook took a 30% cut of payments made through apps, but in return enabled their creators to have access to Facebook user data.
Parakilas does not know how many companies sought Friends Permission data before such access was terminated around mid-2014. However, he said he believes tens or maybe even hundreds of thousands of developers may have done so.
Parakilas estimates that "a majority of Facebook users" could have had their data harvested by app developers without their knowledge. The company now has stricter protocols around the degree of access third parties have to data.
* * *
Lawmakers and regulators in both the US and UK are demanding investigations and hearings into the lapse, which they are squarely blaming on Facebook. The company said it would meet with the House Judiciary Committee to brief lawmakers on what happened.
However, any attempts at reconciliation or reform might be too little, too late: Lawmakers are demanding a scalp - somebody to blame for President Trump's improbable electoral triumph over the "eminently qualified" Hilary Clinton.
...And Zuckerberg would be a suitable pariah.

Cambridge Analytica Suspends CEO Alexander Nix

Mark Zuckerberg's Net Worth Tumbles - Now 'Only' World's 5th Richest Man

20 March, 2018

While Amazon's Jeff Bezos walks his new dog and remains head and shoulders above everyone else in the world in terms of net worth, Facebook's Mark Zuckerberg is sliding down the ranks to a lowly 5th on the world's richest person list...

After the carnage in Facebook's shares, CEO Zuckerberg lost $5 billion yesterday and another $4 billion today (and is down around $14 billion from his highs)...
 
Which knocked him back below Amancio Ortega into just 5th place on the "world's richest" list...

And after today's bloodbath, Zuck may end up in 6th place... or even 7th place!!!

Still, Bezos (and his new pet dog) remain uber alles...





Facebook Inc. Chief Executive Mark Zuckerberg saw his net worth decline by more than $5 billion since Monday, but it could have been worse.

Ahead of Facebook’s worst one-day decline since 2012, prompted by news that data affecting 51.3 million members was improperly shared with a political consulting firm, Zuckerberg had been busy selling stock. So far this year, he has sold more than 5 million shares.

Disposing of those Facebook shares FB, -2.56% before Tuesday ended up saving about $70 million, according to Securities and Exchange Commission filings and some arithmetic by MarketWatch. At Tuesday’s close, the 5.4 million shares Zuckerberg has sold this year under a predetermined plan would be worth $910 million. Zuckerberg made about $980 million selling those shares, according to calculations using average weighted prices reported to the Securities and Exchange Commission.

Facebook spokeswoman Vanessa Chan said in an email that the stock sales are intended to fund the Chan-Zuckerberg Initiative, the philanthropic investment organization the Facebook founder set up with his wife in 2015. In an SEC filing in September, Zuckerberg said that he plans to sell at least $6 billion in Facebook stock over the next 18 months to fund the organization’s efforts.

Last year, Facebook abandoned its plan to create a new class of nonvoting shares that was concocted to allow Zuckerberg to retain voting control of the company.Zuckerberg said at the time that the stock’s gains over the past couple of years would allow him to retain control of the enterprise and still sell enough stock to fund his philanthropy without the new stock structure.

Over the past year and a half, Facebook’s business has performed well and the value of our stock has grown to the point that I can fully fund our philanthropy and retain voting control of Facebook for 20 years or more,” Zuckerberg wrote at the time. “As a result, I’ve asked our board to withdraw the proposal to reclassify our stock — and the board has agreed"


'They were on our side': Obama campaign director reveals Facebook ALLOWED them to mine American users' profiles in 2012 because they were supportive of the Democrats

  • Carol Davidsen, who worked as the media director at Obama for America, claimed Obama campaign mined millions of people's information from Facebook
  • She said that Facebook was surprised at the ease with which they were able to 'suck out the whole social graph'
  • But the firm never tried to stop them when they realized what was doing, and even told them they'd made a special exception for them
  • They 'were very candid that they allowed us to do things they wouldn't have allowed someone else to do because they were on our side,' she tweeted
  • Davidsen said that she felt the project was 'creepy' - 'even though we played by the rules, and didn't do anything I felt was ugly, with the data'
  • Davidsen posted this in the wake of the uproar over Cambridge Analytica, and their mining of information for the Trump campaign


The Cambridge Analytica Scandal Could Provide Hard Evidence of “Israeli” Meddling in Trump Election

The Cambridge Analytica scandal isn’t a scandal: this is how Facebook works

Three key parts of Facebook’s model come into play: gathering data from people in order to profile them, designing systems that allow that data to be used to target people, then allowing third parties to use the data and those targeting systems for their own purposes

Mercer's Cambridge Analytica 'Utterly Sleazy'


the Real News

Britain's Channel 4 details the dirty tricks that Cambridge Analytica, the data-mining company owned by billionaire Robert Mercer, uses to sway elections around the world. If the story is true, it would mean the company is not only sleazy, but also blatantly criminal, says white-collar criminologist Bill Black

No comments:

Post a Comment