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Social Networking Giant Facebook Losing Users in US

Last month, Facebook reportedly decided to put an end to its unpaid market research programmes after it was found to have been bribing teenagers in India and the US to give their personal information

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Facebook
Facebook App on a smartphone device. (VOA)

Social networking giant Facebook today hosts around 15 million fewer people in the US than it did in 2017, with the biggest drop being among teen and millennial demographic.

A new US-specific survey data compiled by market research firm Edison Research highlighted that Facebook’s user-base was shrinking, particularly in the coveted 12- to 34-year-old in America, which was once recognised as the most lucrative market for the platform.

“Edison’s survey signal that the social network’s privacy woes and continued breaches of user trust may be having some noticeable effect on its most coveted slice of users. Also, there’s conjecture about as Facebook has become more popular among older people, whether that’s affected younger people,” The Verge reported on Thursday.

Although, one interesting element that was observed was that whole Facebook users are awarming away from the app, they are flocking to Instagram.

“The photo-sharing platform, which by its nature collects less personal information from its users, can be a simpler, less toxic alternative to using the main Facebook service, now overrun by ads and plagued by all manner of misinformation and fake news,” the report said.

Facebook
The logo for Facebook appears on screens at the Nasdaq MarketSite in New York’s Times Square, March 29, 2018. VOA

Instagram now counts more than 1 billion global users and over 400 million monthly users of its Snapchat-like feature, Stories.

Facebook’s biggest competitor is another one of its own products, and it seems unlikely the company will stop the shed of users anytime soon, the report added.

 Decline in the user-base does not really come as a shock given that the platform has been pointed at several times for its practices of collecting user information without their consent for ad targeting and finding friends purposes which have outraged users and privacy advocates.

The company was pulled up on Tuesday over its secure login process two-factor authentication (2FA) where it asked users to add phone numbers, which could be searched by advertisers. The practice drew criticism even from Facebook’s former chief information security officer Alex Stamos.

Last month, Facebook reportedly decided to put an end to its unpaid market research programmes after it was found to have been bribing teenagers in India and the US to give their personal information. (IANS)

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Social Networking Giant Facebook Blames Apple iOS for Bezos’ Phone Hacking

WhatsApp provides end-to-end encryption by default, which means only the sender and recipient can view the messages

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Social Media, Facebook, Authenticity, Posts
The social media application, Facebook is displayed on Apple's App Store, July 30, 2019. VOA

Facebook has blamed Apple’s operating system for the hacking of Amazon Founder and CEO Jeff Bezos’ phone, saying WhatsApp’s end-to-end encryption is unhackable.

Investigators believe that Bezos’s iPhone was compromised after he received a 4.4MB video file containing malware via WhatsApp – in the same way when phones of 1,400 select journalists and human rights activists were broken into by Pegasus software from Israel-based NSO Group last year.

In an interview to the BBC last week, Facebook’s Vice President of Global Affairs and Communications, Nick Clegg, said it wasn’t WhatsApp’s fault because end-to-end encryption is unhackable and blamed Apple’s operating system for Bezos’ episode.

“It sounds like something on the, you know, what they call the operate, operated on the phone itself. It can’t have been anything on the, when the message was sent, in transit, because that’s end-to-end encrypted on WhatsApp,” Clegg told the show host.

Clegg compared the hack to opening a malicious email, saying that “it only comes to life when you open it”.

According to a report from FTI Consulting, a firm that has investigated Bezos’ phone, after that the video file was received, Bezos’ phone started sending unusually large amounts of outbound data, including his intimate messages with his girlfriend Lauren Sanchez.

Jeff Bezos
Jeff Bezos, Amazon founder and owner of Blue Origin. (Wikimedia commons)

According to Clegg, “something” must have affected the phone’s operating system.

“As sure as you can be that the technology of end-to-end encryption cannot, other than unless you have handset, or you have the message at either end, cannot be hacked into,” he was quoted as saying.

Apple was yet to comment on Facebook’s statement.

The NSO Group has denied it was part of Bezos’ hacking.

Also Read: Here Are Some Life Lessons That We Can Learn From Freedom Fighters this Republic Day

WhatsApp provides end-to-end encryption by default, which means only the sender and recipient can view the messages. But the piece of NSO Group software exploited WhatsApp’s video calling system by installing the spyware via missed calls to snoop on the selected users.

According to leading tech policy and media consultant Prasanto K. Roy, end-to-end encrypted apps (E2EE) do provide security, and messages or calls cannot be intercepted and decrypted en route without enormous computing resources.

“But once anyone can get to your handset, whether a human or a piece of software, the encryption doesn’t matter anymore. Because on your handset, it’s all decrypted,” Roy told IANS recently. (IANS)