Wednesday November 21, 2018
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This creepy app uses WhatsApp data to let users ‘spy’

This comes at a time when Facebook users are uninstalling apps they got connected with long ago via "Facebook log-in" after the social media platform

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A new creepy app named “Chatwatch” is using WhatsApp’s online or offline status feature to tell users how often their friends check the micro-blogging platform and also estimate when they go to bed every day — potentially making it an invasive app.

‘Chatwatch’ takes advantage of WhatsApp’s public online/offline status, which lets your friends know when you’re readily available to talk.

Chatwatch allows users to spy.

“Using this data, the app can tell you how often your friends check WhatsApp. It can even estimate what time they go to sleep and wake up each day,” tech website LifeHacker reported on Thursday.

This comes at a time when Facebook users are uninstalling apps they got connected with long ago via “Facebook log-in” after the social media platform, which also owns WhatsApp, was hit by a major data breach.

Also Read: WhatsApp adds feature to check ‘Delete for Everyone’ misuse

“It’s a creepy new trick that the app’s developers hope will bring more attention to how Facebook handles our data, along with how other companies access and analyse it,” the report added.

“It’s also likely that WhatsApp will find a way to block Chatwatch soon. So if you want to spy on your friends expose Facebook’s privacy issues, you should try it soon,” it added.

"WhatsApp Business" was launched last week in Indonesia, Italy, Mexico, Britain and the US. Pixabay
This app is a threat to privacy. Pixabay

The app was first launched on iOS devices but it was later taken off from the Apple App Store. “Chatwatch” is currently available on Android platform and the developers are reportedly working on a web-based version as well. IANS

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Facebook Cannot Regulate Itself: U.S. Lawmakers

Now we know that once they knew the truth, top @Facebook executives did everything they could to hide it from the public.

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Rep. David Cicilline, D-R.I., center, talks with Rep. Eric Swalwell, D-Calif., right, during a House Judiciary Committee meeting on Capitol Hill. VOA

Democratic U.S. Representative David Cicilline, expected to become the next chairman of House Judiciary Committee’s antitrust panel, said on Wednesday that Facebook cannot be trusted to regulate itself and Congress should take action.

Cicilline, citing a report in the New York Times on Facebook’s efforts to deal with a series of crises, said on Twitter: “This staggering report makes clear that @Facebook executives will always put their massive profits ahead of the interests of their customers.”

“It is long past time for us to take action,” he said. Facebook did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

Facebook Chief Executive Mark Zuckerberg said a year ago that the company would put its “community” before profit, and it has doubled its staff focused on safety and security issues since then. Spending also has increased on developing automated tools to catch propaganda and material that violates the company’s posting policies.

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Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg testifies before a House Energy and Commerce hearing on Capitol Hill in Washington about the use of Facebook data to target American voters in the 2016 election and data privacy. VOA

Other initiatives have brought increased transparency about the administrators of pages and purchasers of ads on Facebook. Some critics, including lawmakers and users, still contend that Facebook’s bolstered systems and processes are prone to errors and that only laws will result in better performance. The New York Timessaid Zuckerberg and the company’s chief operating officer, Sheryl Sandberg, ignored warning signs that the social media company could be “exploited to disrupt elections, broadcast viral propaganda and inspire deadly campaigns of hate around the globe.” And when the warning signs became evident, they “sought to conceal them from public view.”

“We’ve known for some time that @Facebook chose to turn a blind eye to the spread of hate speech and Russian propaganda on its platform,” said Cicilline, who will likely take the reins of the subcommittee on regulatory reform, commercial and antitrust law when the new, Democratic-controlled Congress is seated in January.

Also Read: Social Media Laws Should Be Tightened: Germany

“Now we know that once they knew the truth, top @Facebook executives did everything they could to hide it from the public by using a playbook of suppressing opposition and propagating conspiracy theories,” he said.

“Next January, Congress should get to work enacting new laws to hold concentrated economic power to account, address the corrupting influence of corporate money in our democracy, and restore the rights of Americans,” Cicilline said. (VOA)