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Facebook Removes Several Ads Placed by US Senator, Restores Later

The ads directed users to a petition on Warren's campaign website urging them "to support our plan to break up these big tech companies."

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A smartphone user displays a Facebook newsfeed .VOA

Facebook removed several ads placed by US Senator and Democratic candidate for President Elizabeth Warren on its platform that called for breaking up tech giants like Amazon, Google and Facebook.

According to a report in Politico news on Monday, Facebook later said it has restored the ads that it had taken down.

“We removed the ads because they violated our policies against use of our corporate logo. In the interest of allowing robust debate, we are restoring the ads,” a Facebook spokesperson was quoted as saying.

Warren tweeted after Facebook removed the ads.

“Curious why I think FB has too much power? Let’s start with their ability to shut down a debate over whether FB has too much power.

“Thanks for restoring my posts. But I want a social media marketplace that isn’t dominated by a single censor,” she tweeted.

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FILE – The Facebook app icon is shown on an iPhone in New York. VOA

The ads announced her plans to unwind “anti-competitive” tech mergers, including Facebook’s acquisition of WhatsApp and Instagram.

“Three companies have vast power over our economy and our democracy. Facebook, Amazon, and Google,” read Warren’s ads.

Stressing that tech giants have too much influence over our lives, Massachusetts Senator Warren also said she wanted Apple to surrender control over the iOS App Store or cease selling its own apps within it.

Also Read- Micro-blogging App Twitter Testing Prototype App ‘Twttr’ with New Features

The ads directed users to a petition on Warren’s campaign website urging them “to support our plan to break up these big tech companies.”

The Democratic Senator, who recently launched her 2020 presidential bid, is in favour of passing laws that prevent large e-commerce platforms with a global annual revenue of $25 billion or more, from owning both the platform and any sellers on it.

“This would not be the first time in US history that this kind of arrangement had to be broken up,” Warren stressed, comparing the tech majors to the railroad barons who dominated the US commerce during the 19th and early 20th centuries. (IANS)

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Social Networking Giant Facebook Sharing Users’ Data with Telecom Firms, Phone Makers

The database contained 49 million records of several high-profile influencers, including prominent food bloggers, celebrities and other social media influencers

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This photograph taken on May 16, 2018, shows a figurine standing in front of the logo of social network Facebook on a cracked screen of a smartphone in Paris. VOA

A confidential Facebook document reviewed by The Intercept has revealed that the social networking giant is offering private data of its users without their knowledge or consent to 100 different telecom companies and phone makers in 50 countries.

Confidential documents seen by the website showed late Monday that Facebook is helping operators and phone makers “create targeted advertising by supplying them with surveillance data slurped directly from users’ smartphones”.

Not only that, the social networking giant is also collecting data from its main iOS and Android apps, Messenger and Instagram apps — even snooping into the phones of children as young as 13.

Through a tool called “Actionable Insights”, Facebook is allegedly collecting data including technical details about smartphones, cellular and Wi-Fi networks used by Facebook users, locations visited social groups and interests.

Facebook reacted in a statement late Monday: “We do not, nor have we ever, rated people’s credit worthiness for Actionable Insights or across ads, and Facebook does not use people’s credit information in how we show ads”.

According to the report, “the data has been used by Facebook partners to assess their standing against competitors, including customers lost to and won from them, but also for more controversial uses like racially targeted ads”.

Facebook launched “Actionable Insights” tool last year “to address the issue of weak cellular data connections in various parts of the world.”

“The confidential Facebook document shows how the programme, ostensibly created to help improve underserved cellular customers, is pulling in far more data than how many bars you’re getting,” said the report.

Facebook
Facebook’s founder and CEO Mark Zuckerberg speaks at the Viva Tech start-up and technology summit in Paris, France, May 24, 2018. VOA

“The Facebook mobile app harvests and packages eight different categories of information for use by over 100 different telecom companies in over 50 different countries around the world, including usage data from the phones of children as young as 13,” the report claimed.

These categories include use of video, demographics, location, use of Wi-Fi and cellular networks, personal interests, device information, and friend homophily, an academic term of art.

Also Read- China Excludes Taiwan from Participation in World Health Assembly

From these categories, a third party vendor could learn an extraordinary amount about patterns of users’ daily life.

The news came after Facebook’s photo-sharing service Instagram saw itself in trouble as personal data of millions of celebrities and influencers were allegedly exposed on its platform in a massive database that was traced to Mumbai-based social media marketing firm Chtrbox.

The database contained 49 million records of several high-profile influencers, including prominent food bloggers, celebrities and other social media influencers, TechCrunch reported. (IANS)