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Facebook Removes Multiple Fake Pages, Groups, Accounts: Report

Finally, said Facebook, it removed 181 accounts and 1,488 Facebook Pages that were involved in domestic-focused inauthentic activity in Honduras

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Facebook, Data, Privacy
FILE - The entrance sign to Facebook headquarters in Menlo Park, Calif., Oct. 10, 2018. VOA

Facebook on Thursday said it removed multiple Pages, Groups and accounts that were involved in coordinated inauthentic behaviour on its platform and Instagram and originated in Thailand, Russia, Ukraine and Honduras.

It removed 12 Facebook accounts and 10 Pages for engaging in coordinated inauthentic behaviour that originated in Thailand and focused primarily on Thailand and the US.

“Although the people behind this activity attempted to conceal their identities, our review found that some of this activity was linked to an individual based in Thailand associated with New Eastern Outlook, a Russian government-funded journal based in Moscow,” Nathaniel Gleicher, Head of Cybersecurity Policy at Facebook said in a blog post.

Corporate, America, Climate Change
FILE – In this April 30, 2019, file photo, Facebook stickers are laid out on a table at F8, Facebook’s developer conference in San Jose, Calif. The Boston-based renewable energy developer Longroad Energy announced in May that Facebook is building a… VOA

“We didn’t find any links between the campaigns we’ve removed, but all created networks of accounts to mislead others about who they were and what they were doing,” he added.

Ahead of the election in Ukraine, Facebook removed 18 Facebook accounts, nine Pages and three Groups for engaging in coordinated inauthentic behaviour that originated primarily in Russia and focused on Ukraine.

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“Also, ahead of the election in Ukraine, we removed 83 Facebook accounts, two Pages, 29 Groups, and five Instagram accounts engaged in coordinated inauthentic behaviour that originated in Russia and the Luhansk region in Ukraine and focused on Ukraine,” said Facebook.

Finally, said Facebook, it removed 181 accounts and 1,488 Facebook Pages that were involved in domestic-focused inauthentic activity in Honduras. (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.

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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)