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Tracking non-users; What is Facebook up to?

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By NewsGram Staff Writer

The most popular social networking site, Facebook, admitted that it tracked users not active on FB.

However it claimed that the report commissioned by the Belgian data protection authority ‘gets it wrong multiple times’ on what exactly FaceBook does with the user data. According to the social media giant, tracking happened because of a bug that is now being fixed.

Richard Allan, Facebook’s vice president of policy for Europe wrote, “The researchers did find a bug that may have sent cookies to some people when they weren’t on Facebook. This was not our intention; a fix for this is already under way.”

Allan responded to a few claims of the report which were presented by researchers at the Centre of Interdisciplinary Law and ICT (ICRI) and the Computer Security and Industrial Cryptography department (Cosic) at the University of Leuven, and the media, information and telecommunication department (Smit) at Vrije Universiteit Brussels.

What is interesting is that Facebook claimed in a press release that “there’s no way to opt out of social ads” while the report states that “users can opt-out from so-called Social Ads”.

“Facebook does receive standard ‘web impressions’, or website visit information, when people visit sites with our plug-ins or other integrations. The authors misleadingly call this ‘tracking’,” “Unlike many companies, we explain how we will use this information and the controls we honor and offer,” said Allan.

Allan also wrote that Facebook is very much open about use of cookies for security, personalization and ads.

The Belgian Privacy Commission will be giving its verdict on the report on 29 April.

Meanwhile, things are getting hot for FaceBook. A team of data regulators from Belgium, France, Spain and Italy has been set up to look into Facebook’s privacy practices. Flemish, Dutch and European parliaments have also called for closer inspection of the company.

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Anonymous Ads on Facebook Influenced 10 Million British Voters

Facebook faced flak for not doing enough to prevent spread of misinformation by Russia-linked accounts during the 2016 US presidential election

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Fake News, Facebook
This photo shows the logo for Facebook on screens at the Nasdaq MarketSite, in New York's Times Square. VOA

An anonymous political campaign on Facebook has reached nearly 10 million voters, asking them via advertisements to oppose British Prime Minister Theresa May’s Brexit deal, the media reported on Saturday.

According to The Guardian, it was discovered by the digital campaign group 89up, which shared the details with the Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport’s (DCMS) panel into fake news.

“In adverts micro-targeted to individual constituencies, voters are exhorted to tell your local MP to bin Chequers,” said the report.

“This advertising is designed to specifically influence MPs,” 89up said.

All that is known about the campaign is what can be found on its website, Twitter and Facebook accounts.

“Going by the name Mainstream Network, the group writes and publishes news stories on its website with an almost exclusively pro-Brexit slant, shared on its social media accounts,” the report added.

Facebook, spam
Anonymous Facebook ads urged nearly 10 mn British voters to oppose Brexit. IANS

“Over the last couple of weeks, I received a flood of about 50 emails – some quite abusive – urging me to ‘chuck Chequers’ and vote for out-and-out Brexit,” Labour MP Paul Farrelly was quoted as saying

The news comes at a time when Facebook is reeling under a couple of massive data breaches including the Cambridge Analytica scandal that impacted 87 million users earlier this year.

Facebook says it has set a goal of bringing a transparency feature for political ads — now available in the US and Brazil — to the UK and India by March 2019.

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With the new ad architecture in place, people would be able to see who paid for a particular political ad.

Facebook has also set up a War Room to reduce the spread of potentially harmful content.

Facebook faced flak for not doing enough to prevent spread of misinformation by Russia-linked accounts during the 2016 US presidential election. (IANS)

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