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Facebook Says It Can’t Protect Users Alone Day After Stock Collapses

Facing global backlash over data scandals, Facebook stock nosedived 20 per cent -- wiping over $120 billion off the company's market value in a single day

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Facebook plans sprawling office near Microsoft headquarters. IANS
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Facing an intense public scrutiny over data leaks amid privacy concerns, Facebook has now called for the entire tech industry to come and protect people’s data.

According to David Baser, Director of Product Management at Facebook, nearly every day, news comes out from a different company about personal data that got into the wrong hands.

“Even if we’re all taking steps to shore up our privacy protections, we won’t find the answers in a silo. Companies are connected and our technology ecosystem can’t be reversed.

“So we need to work together on standards and best practices to make data portability a reality while also prioritizing people’s privacy and security,” Baser said in a blog post late on Thursday.

Facebook, Google, Microsoft and Twitter last week announced that they will join the open source initiative called Data Transfer Project (DTP).

In the early stages at the moment, the Data Transfer Project will help users of one service to use their data to sign up for another service with encryption.

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Facebook App on a smartphone device. (VOA)

According to Facebook, some of the world’s most popular apps have been built on its platform and the flow of information has the potential for abuse.

“Bad actors can gather information from people and use it in ways that they aren’t aware of and didn’t agree too, like selling personal data to marketers.

“Facebook has clear policies against this, but as we saw with the Cambridge Analytica situation, bad actors are more than willing to ignore these policies in pursuit of their own objectives,” Baser said.

Some argue that the best response to Cambridge Analytica would be to lock Facebook down completely so apps can’t get access to this kind of information but according to Facebook, limiting people’s ability to share information would erase the conveniences they enjoy.

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“We need to find the right balance, giving people control over data sharing and preventing abuse without hampering people’s experiences or hindering innovation,” said Baser.

Facing global backlash over data scandals, Facebook stock nosedived 20 per cent — wiping over $120 billion off the company’s market value in a single day — after its revenue and user growth in the second quarter of 2018 fell short of investor expectations.

The social media giant reported 2.23 billion monthly active users — an increase of 11 per cent (year-over-year) which was its slowest growth in more than two years. (IANS)

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Australia Proposes To Strengthen Regulations of Facebook, Google

Facebook has 17 million monthly users in Australia -- 68 per cent of its population -- while Instagram, second most popular site in terms of users - which is owned by Facebook, has 11 million users

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Australia recommends strengthening regulation of Facebook, Google. Pixabay

The Australian Competition and Consumer Commission (ACCC) on Monday proposed measures to counter the dominant market positions of Google and Facebook and strengthen monitoring on their access to information, advertising and consumers personal data.

The regulatory body, which recommended 11 preliminary measures in the report, was directed to conduct a public inquiry into the impact of digital search engines, social media platforms and other digital content in 2017 by then treasurer and current Prime Minister Scott Morrison.

“Acting as an intermediary between consumers and news outlets, platforms are inherently influential in shaping consumers’ choices of digital journalism,” said the report cited by Efe news.

This influential position and filtration of news items could place the consumer in a so-called filter bubble, increasing the risk of consumers being exposed to unreliable news, according to the report.

“The algorithms operated by each of Google and Facebook, as well as other policies, determine which content is surfaced and displayed to consumers in news feed and search results,” it said.

“The ACCC considers that the strong market position of digital platforms like Google and Facebook justifies a greater level of regulatory oversight,” Chair Rod Sims said.

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Facebook, social media. Pixabay

The commission called for the creation of a regulatory authority with powers to monitor these digital platforms and recommended establishing an automatic mechanism to take down content that violates copyright.

The ACCC said consumers should be informed about the manner in which these platforms collect and use their data to create personalized advertising.

This would include a reform of privacy laws to require the user’s express consent to data collection and “enable consumers to require erasure of their personal information where they have withdrawn their consent”.

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ACCC said that it found that “competition may have been distorted in multiple sectors where consumer data is used”.

Facebook has 17 million monthly users in Australia — 68 per cent of its population — while Instagram, second most popular site in terms of users – which is owned by Facebook, has 11 million users.

In 2017, Google registered 90 per cent of search traffic originating from Australian desktops and 98 per cent from mobile phones. (IANS)