Wednesday March 20, 2019
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Facebook Tracks Even Those Android Users Who Do Not Use The App

"We do this in a transparent manner by explaining the practice through our Data Policy and Cookies Policy, and by using Google's advertising identifier, which can be controlled centrally by people using their device settings," it added

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Facebook
Facebook releases Messenger redesign on Android, iOS. Pixabay

Making things worse for Facebook, which is already mired in controversies surrounding data leaks of tens of millions of its users, a new research has found that the social media giant tracks even those Android users who do not use the app.

Facebook routinely tracks users, non users and logged out users outside its platform, said the study by UK-based charity Privacy International.

App developers share data with Facebook through the Facebook Software Development Kit (SDK), a set of software development tools that help developers build apps for a specific operating system, showed the findings.

Scrutiny of Facebook increased manifold since it revealed earlier this year how the now defunct London-based political consultancy, Cambridge Analytica, improperly got access to data of up to 87 millions users.

For the latest study, Privacy International examined 34 apps on Android, each with an install base from 10 to 500 million.

The apps included language-learning tool Duolingo, travel and restaurant website TripAdvisor, job database Indeed and flight search engine Skyscanner among others.

The researchers analysed what data these apps transmitted to Facebook through the Facebook SDK. All apps were tested between August and December 2018.

The research, presented at Chaos Computer Congress in Leipzig, Germany, showed that that at least 61 per cent of apps that Privacy International tested automatically transfer data to Facebook the moment a user opens the app.

Facebook, data
This photo shows a Facebook app icon on a smartphone in New York. VOA

“This happens whether people have a Facebook account or not, or whether they are logged into Facebook or not,” the report said.

This data reveals the fact that a user is using a specific app, every single time that user opens an app.

“In our analysis, apps that automatically transmit data to Facebook share this data together with a unique identifier, the Google advertising ID (AAID),” the researchers said.

The primary purpose of advertising IDs, such as the Google advertising ID (or Apple’s equivalent, the IDFA) is to allow advertisers to link data about user behaviour from different apps and web browsing into a comprehensive profile, according to the report.

Responding to the findings, Google said that users can disable ads personalisation via a control in the Google Account controls.

This will stop Google advertising services from creating user profiles for advertising purposes or for targeting users with personalised advertising.

Also Read- Nokia Launches Nokia 106 in India

Facebook told Privacy International that sharing data is “common practice for many companies” and is useful for both users and the companies involved, The Independent reported on Wednesday.

“This information is important for helping developers understand how to improve their apps and for helping people receive relevant advertising in a privacy-protective way,” Facebook said.

“We do this in a transparent manner by explaining the practice through our Data Policy and Cookies Policy, and by using Google’s advertising identifier, which can be controlled centrally by people using their device settings,” it added. (IANS)

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4,000 Viewed NZ Mosques Shootings Live, Claims Facebook

Facebook said it removed the original video and hashed it to detect other shares visually similar to that video and automatically remove them from Facebook and Instagram

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facebook, social media
Facebook, Messenger and Instagram apps are displayed on an iPhone, March 13, 2019, in New York. Facebook said it is aware of outages on its platforms including Facebook, Messenger and Instagram. VOA

Facing the flak over its inability to spot and remove the livestreaming of New Zealand mosque’s shooting, Facebook on Tuesday said 4,000 people viewed it before being taken down.

“The video was viewed fewer than 200 times during the live broadcast. No users reported the video during the live broadcast,” Chris Sonderby, VP and Deputy General Counsel, said in a blog-post. “Including the views during the live broadcast, the video was viewed about 4,000 times in total before being removed from Facebook,” Sonderby added.

Strapped with a GoPro camera to his head, the gunman broadcasted graphic footage of shooting via Facebook Live for nearly 17 minutes. It was later shared in millions on other social media platforms.

Fifty people were killed in the shootings at Al Noor Mosque and the Linwood Avenue Masjid in Christchurch on March 15 after 28-year-old Australian national Brenton Tarrant opened indiscriminate firings.

According to Facebook, the first user report on the original video came in 29 minutes after the video started, and 12 minutes after the live broadcast ended. “Before we were alerted to the video, a user on ‘8chan’ posted a link to a copy of the video on a file-sharing site,” said Sonderby.

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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

“We removed the personal accounts of the named suspect from Facebook and Instagram, and are identifying and removing any imposter accounts that surface,” he said.

Facebook said it removed the original video and hashed it to detect other shares visually similar to that video and automatically remove them from Facebook and Instagram.

Also Read- Netflix Not to Integrate its Services with Apple Streaming Platform

“Some variants such as screen recordings were more difficult to detect, so we expanded to additional detection systems, including the use of audio technology,” Sonderby said.

“In the first 24 hours, we removed about 1.5 million videos of the attack. More than 1.2 million of those videos were blocked at upload, and were therefore prevented from being seen on our services,” he said. (IANS)