Summary of “Here’s how to see the data that tech giants have about you”

It’s also left average everyday internet users with new questions about what data the tech giants hold about us-and what they’re doing with it.
We’ll show you how to to find and download the data that Facebook, its subsidiary Instagram, Apple, Google, and Twitter have on you.
A word of warning: Depending on how long you’ve used Facebook, you might be shocked at how much data it has on you.
Facebook’s data on you often include things like your political views, who you’ve unfriended, and even facial recognition data.
Under the New File menu at the top of the page, choose your data range, the format you want the data in and the media quality.
Downloading your Facebook data doesn’t include any data the company has on you via its Instagram app.
Select all the data you want to include in your download. Again, we recommend you “Select all” just so you can be sufficiently frightened by the scope of the data.
Twitter probably has a fraction of the data on you that other tech giants possess.

The orginal article.

Summary of “Facebook, Google face first GDPR complaints over “forced consent” – TechCrunch”

After two years coming down the pipe at tech giants, Europe’s new privacy framework, the General Data Protection Regulation, is now being applied – and long time Facebook privacy critic, Max Schrems, has wasted no time in filing four complaints relating to companies’ ‘take it or leave it’ stance when it comes to consent.
As we pointed out in our GDPR explainer, the provision in the regulation allowing for collective enforcement of individuals’ data rights in an important one, with the potential to strengthen the implementation of the law by enabling non-profit organizations such as noyb to file complaints on behalf of individuals – thereby helping to redress the imbalance between corporate giants and consumer rights.
Under the penalty structure of GDPR, major violations of the law can attract fines as large as 4% of a company’s global revenue which, in the case of Facebook or Google, implies they could be on the hook for more than a billion euros apiece – if they are deemed to have violated the law, as the complaints argue.
Only yesterday, for example, Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg – speaking in an on stage interview at the VivaTech conference in Paris – claimed his company hasn’t had to make any radical changes to comply with GDPR, and further claimed that a “Vast majority” of Facebook users are willingly opting in to targeted advertising via its new consent flow.
The new consent flow Facebook revealed ahead of GDPR only offers the ‘choice’ of quitting Facebook entirely if a person does not want to accept targeting advertising.
“The GDPR adds some new controls and then there’s some areas that we need to comply with but overall it isn’t such a massive departure from how we’ve approached this in the past,” he claimed.
Schrems also makes the point that small startups and local companies are less likely to be able to use the kind of strong-arm ‘take it or leave it’ tactics on users that big tech is able to use to extract consent on account of the reach and power of their platforms – arguing there’s a competition concern that GDPR should also help to redress.
“The fight against forced consent ensures that the corporations cannot force users to consent,” he writes.

The orginal article.

Summary of “The Bill Gates Line – Stratechery by Ben Thompson”

Yelp did participate in the piece because Google is doing the opposite of “Delivering the best results possible,” and instead is giving its own content an unlawful advantage.
Yelp’s position, at least in this video, appears to be that Google’s answer box is anticompetitive because it only includes reviews and ratings from Google; presumably the situation could be resolved were Google to use sources like Yelp.
First, the answer box originally included content scraped from sources like Yelp and other vertical search sites; under pressure from the FTC, driven in part by complaints from Yelp and other vertical search engines, Google agreed to stop doing so in 2013.
At least in the case of Facebook and Google, the point of integration in their respective value chains is the network effect.
It’s worth noting, by the way, why it was Facebook could come to be a rival to Google in the first place; specifically, Facebook had exclusive data – those relationships and all of the behavior on Facebook’s site that resulted – that Google couldn’t get to.
What I do find compelling is a new video that Yelp put out yesterday; while it makes many of the same points as the one above, instead of being focused on regulators it is targeting Google itself, arguing that Google isn’t living up to its own standards by not featuring the best results, and not driving traffic back to sites that make the content Google needs.
Facebook is even further from the Bill Gates Line than Google is: the latter at least needs commoditized suppliers; the former can take or leave them on a whim, and does.
Remember the conditions that led to Facebook’s rise in the first place: the company was able to circumvent Google, go directly to users, and build a walled garden of data that the search company couldn’t touch.

The orginal article.

Summary of “How the Math Men Overthrew the Mad Men”

They’ve now been eclipsed by Math Men-the engineers and data scientists whose province is machines, algorithms, pureed data, and artificial intelligence.
To appreciate how alike their aims are, sit in an agency or client marketing meeting and you will hear wails about Facebook and Google’s “Walled garden,” their unwillingness to share data on their users.
This preoccupation with Big Data is also revealed by the trend in the advertising-agency business to have the media agency, not the creative Mad Men team, occupy the prime seat in pitches to clients, because it’s the media agency that harvests the data to help advertising clients better aim at potential consumers.
Prowling his London office in jeans, Keith Weed, who oversees marketing and communications for Unilever, one of the world’s largest advertisers, described how mobile phones have elevated data as a marketing tool.
Suddenly, governments in the U.S. are almost as alive to privacy dangers as those in Western Europe, confronting Facebook by asking how the political-data company Cambridge Analytica, employed by Donald Trump’s Presidential campaign, was able to snatch personal data from eighty-seven million individual Facebook profiles.
Advertiser confidence in Facebook was further jolted later in 2016, when it was revealed that the Math Men at Facebook overestimated the average time viewers spent watching video by up to eighty per cent.
In 2017, Math Men took another beating when news broke that Google’s YouTube and Facebook’s machines were inserting friendly ads on unfriendly platforms, including racist sites and porn sites.
The magazine editorialized, in May, 2017, that governments must better police the five digital giants-Facebook, Google, Amazon, Apple, and Microsoft-because data were “The oil of the digital era”: “Old ways of thinking about competition, devised in the era of oil, look outdated in what has come to be called the ‘data economy.'” Inevitably, an abundance of data alters the nature of competition, allowing companies to benefit from network effects, with users multiplying and companies amassing wealth to swallow potential competitors.

The orginal article.

Summary of “‘I felt exposed online’: how to disappear from the internet”

As Bucard drove to the local airport, he checked his rear-view mirror every few moments to see that he was still being followed by Frank Ahearn, a 54-year-old American with a peppery beard and wraparound sunglasses.
Bucard had met Ahearn for the first time only the day before, in the lobby of a Monaco hotel close to Bucard’s office.
A former New York skip tracer – a private investigator who finds people who have “Skipped” town – turned professional “Disappearer”, Ahearn offers a range of freelance services, everything from helping to restore your privacy on the internet to driving your family across Europe and into a new life.
After a few days, Ahearn left the Bucards in their temporary accommodation and returned to his home in Madrid, where he lives with his girlfriend.
“There are two types of skip tracer: passive ones, who use databases and directories to find people; and aggressive ones, who carry out social engineering to find their prey.” Ahearn would listen as his colleague extracted information about someone by calling utility companies and posing as the target in order to gain access to their phone records and bank details until, finally, he zoned in on a likely hideout address.
When the website’s owner pointed out that Ahearn’s work finding people might concern its users, who, in many cases, prized anonymity, Ahearn suggested that he write a blogpost on how to disappear instead. “It was a really cheesy article, but it just blew up,” Ahearn recalls.
Ahearn founded a few offshore companies for Bucard, helping him buy a new house, cars and other essentials.
Bucard has kept Ahearn on retainer; whenever a new client comes his way, Ahearn runs checks on the person, to make sure they are who they say they are, and not connected in some way to his previous life.

The orginal article.

Summary of “Facebooks reportedly plans to launch its own cryptocurrency”

Facebook is reportedly planning to launch its own cryptocurrency, according to a report from Cheddar’s Alex Heath.
Currently, there isn’t too much detail, but the company is said to be specifically focused on using cryptocurrency specifically for facilitating payments on the platform, something that could be a pretty dramatic shift given Facebook’s huge user base and existing marketplace section of the site for buying and selling goods.
The company is also said to be investigating other ways to leverage the tokenized digital currency and its underlying blockchain technology across its platform, too.
The cryptocurrency efforts are said to be led by David Marcus, who earlier this week was reported to be leading a new blockchain division at Facebook “To explore how to best leverage Blockchain across Facebook, starting from scratch.”

The orginal article.

Summary of “Cambridge Analytica: how did it turn clicks into votes?”

How do 87m records scraped from Facebook become an advertising campaign that could help swing an election? What does gathering that much data actually involve? And what does that data tell us about ourselves?
For those 87 million people probably wondering what was actually done with their data, I went back to Christopher Wylie, the ex-Cambridge Analytica employee who blew the whistle on the company’s problematic operations in the Observer.
According to Wylie, all you need to know is a little bit about data science, a little bit about bored rich women, and a little bit about human psychology…. Step one, he says, over the phone as he scrambles to catch a train: “When you’re building an algorithm, you first need to create a training set.” That is: no matter what you want to use fancy data science to discover, you first need to gather the old-fashioned way.
The “Training set” refers to that data in its entirety: the Facebook likes, the personality tests, and everything else you want to learn from.
Facebook data, which lies at the heart of the Cambridge Analytica story, is a fairly plentiful resource in the data science world – and certainly was back in 2014, when Wylie first started working in this area.
In order to be paid for their survey, users were required to log in to the site, and approve access to the survey app developed by Dr Aleksandr Kogan, the Cambridge University academic whose research into personality profiling using Facebook likes provided the perfect access for the Robert Mercer-funded Cambridge Analytica to quickly get in on the field.
Where the psychological profile is the target variable, the Facebook data is the “Feature set”: the information a data scientist has on everyone else, which they need to use in order to accurately predict the features they really want to know.
How Cambridge Analytica turned Facebook likes into votes.

The orginal article.

Summary of “What Are Snapchat, Instagram, and Facebook ‘Stories’?”

Facebook’s chief product officer, Chris Cox, made a remarkable announcement during a keynote at the company’s big conference this week: “The increase in the Stories format,” he explained, “Is on a path to surpass feeds as the primary way people share things with their friends sometime next year.”
I have been ignoring Stories for years, deeming it a trifle for young people.
Instagram, which is owned by Facebook, added Stories in 2016, essentially copying it from Snapchat, which inaugurated the format.
Even if Stories aren’t really stories, they deserve careful attention, especially given Cox’s warning.
Like them or hate them, Stories might be the first true smartphone media format.
This tendency drove one of Facebook’s newly announced features: a software integration for Stories that would allow direct posting from an app.
On Snapchat, Stories are more informal, making use of the face-filters and geotags common to that platform.
Sequence is not sufficient to create narrative, and many Stories feel like random collections of unrelated materials.

The orginal article.

Summary of “Mark Zuckerberg Doesn’t Understand Journalism”

Mark Zuckerberg wants you to know that he cares, really cares, about journalism.
“I view our responsibility in news as two things,” he said in a wide-ranging conversation with a small group of news editors and executives assembled in Palo Alto for a journalism gathering known as Off the Record on Tuesday afternoon.
Zuckerberg runs a media company that distributes news, but doesn’t have a proper newsroom.
According to Zuckerberg, the way you find common ground-a common set of facts-is not through professional news outlets, but via individuals.
While Zuckerberg said Facebook is now ranking news outlets by trustworthiness-in person, he didn’t seem to distinguish among the quality of opinions.
“It’s not about saying here’s one view; here’s the other side,” Zuckerberg said when I asked him to reconcile the contradiction.
In a newspaper, he continued, publishing opinions in close proximity to the news is “Pretty dangerous.” Facebook, on the other hand, is surveying readers to determine which professional news organizations are broadly trustworthy.
At one point, Zuckerberg hinted at the need for government subsidy of American journalism-alluding to the public-television licensing model that supports the BBC. Couldn’t Facebook pay publishers directly by licensing their stories or programming? “Yeah,” Zuckerberg said, “I’m not sure that makes sense.”

The orginal article.

Summary of “Facebook shrinks fake news after warnings backfire – TechCrunch”

That’s what happened when Facebook put red flags on debunked fake news.
First, rather than call more attention to fake news, Facebook wants to make it easier to miss these stories while scrolling.
When Facebook’s third-party fact-checkers verify an article is inaccurate, Facebook will shrink the size of the link post in the News Feed.
“We use machine learning to help predict things that might be more likely to be false news, to help prioritize material we send to fact-checkers,” a spokesperson from Facebook confirmed.
Distribution – To limit the spread of false news, Facebook works with fact-checkers.
If they debunk an article, its size shrinks, Related Articles are appended and Facebook downranks the stories in News Feed.
Together, by chipping away at each phase, Facebook says it can reduce the spread of a false news story by 80 percent.
Facebook needs to prove it has a handle on false news before more big elections in the U.S. and around the world arrive.

The orginal article.