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There is no more FluTrackers on Facebook - FTC Sues Facebook for Illegal Monopolization

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  • There is no more FluTrackers on Facebook - FTC Sues Facebook for Illegal Monopolization

    Apparently someone tried to hack the Flu Trackers account/page in August 2018 so they locked it. Or so facebook says. No notification was sent to the registered email.

    Anyway - I can not access the account anymore. Facebook is demanding a drivers license, passport, or other government id in the name of Flu Trackers to give me access. After 30 days they say they will delete that information from their database. Well - for obvious reasons - those ids do not exist.

    Sally and I reluctantly signed up for facebook as a feed for our twitter account. We did not like all of the ads but we thought as a public service we would connect. We have never engaged on facebook. Frankly, this site takes all of our administrative efforts.

    After all of the alleged privacy violations, I see no reason to make an effort to re-establish FluTrackers on facebook. They asked over and over again for my phone number which I never gave them. I guess to participate on facebook now they need to lock you down. Sounds a lot like what China does to their internet participants.

    1984 - only times 1000.
    Last edited by sharon sanders; January 3, 2019, 07:39 PM. Reason: typo

  • #2
    There is apparently some interest in what has occurred.

    1) Last night I tried to log onto our facebook account: Flu Trackers. This account has a page that our twitter account feeds to. We do not engage on this facebook account or page and it acts only as a feed. I log onto this account about twice a year to check the settings, make small updates etc. We set up this account many years ago. I don't remeber how long. Maybe 2008? There were very few corporate accounts on facebook then. We selected the name Flu Trackers - like a person.

    2) When I tried to log in the prompt said that there was some unusual activity on the account so I had to prove who I was. I was given the choice of identifying pictures from friends accounts or asking friends for help. So I attempted to name the identities of the pictures shown to me from the accounts of our "friends". Well - I don't actually know most of our "friends". I did correctly identify a picture from Vincent Racaniello's account. However, I correctly identified only 1 person so I failed that test.

    3) Next I was offered the chance to ask for help from 5 friends. I needed to contact them offline and ask them to send me a code which I was then to type into boxes under their names. I was not allowed to select the friends. The friends were selected for me by facebook. Well...I do not know how to contact most of our friends offline.

    4) The prompt told me that I had exceeded the number of tries to identify pictures from our friends accounts. It said to try back in a few hours. Also, I could try to log in with a computer used before to access the account. That method would also identify me.

    5) In the meanwhile, I was allowed to change the account password via the registered email.

    6) Today I tried again. I logged in with the new password and using two computers I was able to cross check and identify 4 of the 5 pictures shown to me. I was allowed to skip two pictures and still pass the test. I skipped 1. I got 4 identifications correct. Apparently 3 correct out of 5 is a pass.

    7) However, I was told that I did not pass the test and I was again offered to ask my friends for help. They selected the same friends as last night for me to contact offline and ask them to create a code for me to insert into the box under their name on the screen.

    8) I just clicked on continue since I can not contact these friends offline and then I was presented with 2 lists of options for identification to submit to facebook to prove that I have legitmate access to this account. Basically the selections are all government identifications, real life utility bills, etc. Well - Flu Trackers does not have a drivers license, passport, or utilitiy bill. Facebook represented that they delete copies of submitted identifying documents within 30 days.

    9) Over the years I was asked for my phone number to verify the account in case recovery was necessary - and I always refused. I do not regret this.

    So that is that. I do not personally know most of the Flu Trackers "friends". I can not easily identify pictures of them from various photos in their accounts. I do not have offline contact information for our "friends". And besides - since I correctly identified 4 of the 5 pictures shown to me today from our friends accounts - why do I still need to send in government identification? AND since I have access to the registered email for this account and was able to change the password - what is the problem? Facebook knows an authorized person has access. It has been the same email since the creation of the account - many years ago.

    P.s. One of the computers I used today to cross check the pictures was a computer that I used to log into the Flu Trackers account in the past. So that method to gain access did not work. My computers are old. Peeps at facebook probably assume that denying a person access due to a change in equipment is a valid possibility. Not in my case. I keep my laptops until they literally burn out. My favorite laptop was manufactured in 2009 and is eccentric.
    Last edited by sharon sanders; January 3, 2019, 11:05 PM. Reason: added the P.s.


    • #3
      From EFF:

      An Update on Facebook?s Smear Campaign Against Critics

      JANUARY 8, 2019

      Back in late November, the New York Times revealed that Facebook had paid a corporate PR firm called Definers Public Affairs to develop and peddle a smear campaign aimed at some of its Open Society Foundations-funded critics, including members of the Freedom From Facebook coalition.
      In response, we asked three basic questions of Facebook, all aimed at the same issue: what did Facebook do with the smear campaign information on the Facebook platform itself? Did Facebook promote the smears on its platform? Did Facebook develop different versions to target different audiences, including Congressional staffers and other influencers, as it does for key advertising customers? And, most important, what is the boundary between Facebook?s own policy interests and the operation of the platform?
      Just before the holiday break, Facebook answered our questions in a telephone call with two of its legal and communications staff. The short answer: Facebook asserts that it did not help promote Definers's messages on its own platforms. Facebook said it does not allow its own policy work to be promoted on its platforms (for example, through the ads you see or the posts that show up in your Newsfeed) without clear and unequivocal notice to its users.
      This is good as far as it goes. But Facebook must do much more if it wants to regain any of the trust it lost from this episode, especially given the dangerous waters that it chose to swim in.
      Facebook must do much more if it wants to regain any of the trust it lost from this episode.
      First, while Facebook said this time that it did not use its platform to promote its own policy positions, Facebook needs to state publicly that it will not use its own platform to, for example, secretly further attacks against critics. This should take the form of a clear, written, publicly available policy that Facebook will not use the Facebook platform for its own policy purposes without clear notice. Facebook is of course entitled to take policy positions and even to use its platform to promote them, but it must be crystal clear when it?s doing so.
      Facebook has publicly said it was reviewing its policies and procedures concerning its communications work, including with external firms, and that this process is being led by Nick Clegg. A rule ensuring strong separation and transparency requirements?with serious consequences for violations?should be part of that process.
      Second, Facebook still needs to find out what actually happened with this information. We know that Facebook?s algorithms often promote controversial and divisive content, and that both Definers and its affiliate the NTK Network have Facebook presences. Facebook might not have needed to intentionally promote this material for it to have circulated widely on Facebook. Facebook needs to investigate how and where this content spread on the platform, and tell its user base.
      Finally, Facebook must take steps to ensure that it does not participate in efforts to undermine civil society groups around the world. It is certainly reasonable for Facebook to do research into its political opponents, including the Freedom from Facebook coalition. But Facebook went over the line when it tried to push the story that these groups? funding from George Soros meant they were were not really grassroots, and that, by actions of the philanthropies he funds, Soros might have been engaged in financial manipulation aimed at Facebook?s stock price.
      At best, this betrays a fundamental misunderstanding at Facebook about how nonprofit funding and philanthropy work. More likely, since we know that folks at Facebook know better than this, this was a cynical play into larger, ugly efforts to undermine nonprofit advocacy and the role of civil society in public debate.
      And that?s where Facebook?s strategy here is particularly dangerous. Delegitimizing civil society based upon attacks on philanthropic funding sources has long been a key part of the authoritarian playbook. The United Nations directly recognized this problem in 2013. Attempts to cut off foreign funding for civil society groups, or what Kenneth Roth of Human Rights Watch has called ?The Great Civil Society Choke-Out,? have even been held to violate international law. And it's not just a historical problem. This is the strategy used today by those seeking to undermine civil society, including the increasingly authoritarian governments in Egypt, Hungary, Macedonia, and Russia. Facebook should ask whether that's the company it wants to keep.

      Back in late November, the New York Times revealed that Facebook had paid a corporate PR firm called Definers Public Affairs to develop and peddle a smear campaign aimed at some of its Open Society Foundations-funded critics, including members of the Freedom From Facebook coalition. In response, we...


      • #4
        Apparently facebook wants some money. I am not responding. Flu Trackers has never advertised on facebook. Please note I de-linked the connection between the words "Learn more" and facebook.

        To: Flu Trackers
        Subject: Flu, create a post for people visiting "FluTrackers"
        Date: Jan 23, 2019 11:29 AM
        Facebook for Business
        Facebook Ads
        Hi Flu,
        People visiting FluTrackers haven't heard from you in a while. Write a post or share a photo or video to keep people engaged. Learn more
        The Facebook Ads Team


        • #5

          From EFF:

          A Guided Tour of the Data Facebook Uses to Target Ads

          JANUARY 24, 2019

          Last week, Pew released the results of a survey investigating how users understand Facebook?s data collection practices and how they react when shown what the platform thinks it knows about them. The upshot is that 74% of users weren?t aware that Facebook assembles lists of their interests and traits. 88% of respondents were assigned ?categories? for advertising, which could include racial or ethnic ?affinities? and political leanings. 58% of those users were ?not comfortable? with the company compiling that information.
          Essentially, this means that more than half of Facebook's users are unhappy with the major thrust of the company's business model?surveillance-based advertising?even after they've learned more about the info that the company has gotten from surveilling them. This is unsurprising: just knowing how you're being tracked doesn't necessarily make the tracking or the targeted ads less creepy. And while Facebook gives you some control over what data it uses to show you ads, it does not give you any way to stop the data from being collected in the first place.
          We don?t know what goes into determining your ?categories,? but it is likely grounded in the more concrete data the company knows about you: what you ?like,? what third-party websites and apps you use, and the physical location of your smartphone and your computer. Facebook allows advertisers to target you based on any one of these categories of data, as well as by more nebulous metrics like ?similarity? to other users. Though you might not know it, much of this data is visible to average users in the Ad Preferences page. In this post, we?ll go through each category of data to explain where it comes from and what it means.
          What do they know?

          There are four main ways Facebook collects data about you.
          The first is through actions you take on Facebook platforms, like Instagram, Whatsapp, and Facebook itself, including Liking posts and clicking on ads. You can see a summary of what it knows about you this way under the ?Your Interests? tab. Every time you take an action in a Facebook product, it contributes to the profile shown here. Some of the items in this list are specific companies or pages you?ve interacted with, and others are interests that it?s attributed to you indirectly based on your actions.
          Some of these pages are things I?ve actually clicked on, and some of them are ?related to? things I?ve interacted with. For the record, I have no idea why it thinks I like Taylor Swift.

          Further down, under ?Your Information -> Your Categories,? you can see more ways Facebook classifies you for advertisers. According to Pew, a majority (60%) of users are placed into 10 or more categories by Facebook, and these categories can include political and ethnic "affinities." About half of users are assigned to a political category, and 21% are assigned a "multicultural affinity" by the company.
          Facebook?s data about my birthday and politics -- which I have deliberately fuzzed -- are off, but its deductions about my travel habits and home (in San Francisco) are spot on.

          Second, Facebook allows businesses to upload lists of people they want to reach directly with contact information. For example, if a big box store collects email addresses as part of a rewards program, it can tell Facebook to target ads at everyone it has an email for. This also allows advertisers to target people using other sources of data, like publicly-available voter records or lists of names purchased from data brokers. Facebook often processes these data in a hashed or obfuscated form, and maintains that it does not save or use them for any purpose other than this direct targeting. You can see which companies and groups have targeted you in this way under ?Advertisers -> Who used a contact list added to Facebook.?
          The companies here have targeted me with ads using their own lists of contact information, potentially including my name, email, or phone number. Facebook lets companies link any of these identifiers to a Facebook profile to serve ads.

          Third, Facebook tracks your activity on the rest of the internet. Thanks to tech like pixel tracking and Facebook?s third-party ad network, Facebook can track a great deal of your activity on other websites and in different apps on your phone. According to our own research, Facebook has pixels or other cookie-sharing code on about 30% of the top 10,000 sites on the web. And according to its own marketing literature, the company?s tracking tech is used in 32% of the top 500 android apps and reaches 1 billion people per month. Under ?Whose website or app you?ve visited,? you can see a list of the advertisers Facebook believes you?ve interacted with in this way. The data recorded here may include activity from any device or browser you?ve used to log in to Facebook in the past, so some of it might not actually be yours.
          This kind of third-party tracking can be stopped with Privacy Badger!

          Finally, Facebook can collect location data through its apps (including Instagram and Messenger), by asking to ?know your location? in your browser, and by logging where you connect to the Internet. It uses that data to serve location-targeted ads as well as to determine when specific people are visiting specific brick-and-mortar stores, part of its efforts to link digital ad impressions to purchases in meatspace. Even with a good understanding of how it works, researchers have found it incredibly difficult to turn offlocation-based ad targeting on Facebook.
          Knowledge, not power

          Facebook shows you a bit of what they know about your activity, plus a limited window into who can target you with certain kinds of ads. But it doesn?t give you any control over how it collects or uses your data.
          Under Ad Settings, you have the option to ?opt out? of seeing targeted ads in a couple of ways: you can turn off targeted ads served on Facebook using data collected off Facebook (e.g. with pixels), and you can turn off ads you see around the web that are targeted using your activity on Facebook. Both of these may help you if you?re tired of the same electric toothbrush ad stalking you across cyberspace, but they do nothing to stop the collection of your data in the first place.
          You can also opt out of seeing ads from individual advertisers by clicking on the little ?X? in the top-right corner of each icon ? one at a time. There?s no way to turn off ads from a single source in bulk. And if you want to stop advertisers from targeting you based on your location or your contact information in the future, you?re out of luck.
          So what good is all this? Well, we do applaud Facebook?s strides towards transparency. This window into its targeted ad ecosystem is more straightforward and more granular than many of its competitors, most of whom perform the same kinds of tracking. But without meaningful ways to act on this data, the page mostly serves as a creepy reminder that Facebook follows you just about everywhere.
          Luckily, you can take matters into your own hands. You can uninstall or disable Facebook?s mobile apps to stop most of the company?s location tracking. And you can install Privacy Badger to third-party tracking around the web, including through Facebook?s pixels and Like buttons. The more users learn what Facebook is doing, the more they can make informed decisions about their privacy, including putting pressure on lawmakers and companies to do better.


          • #6
            In WSJ Op-Ed, Mark Zuckerberg Speaks Down to Users and Misses the Point

            JANUARY 25, 2019

            Mark Zuckerberg?s op-ed in the Wall Street Journal today (paywalled, but summarized here) relies on all-too-familiar refrains to explain the dubious principles and so-called ?facts? behind Facebook?s business model. It?s the same old song we?ve heard before. And, as usual, it wildly misses users? actual privacy concerns and preferences.
            "Users Prefer Relevant Ads"

            He starts with one of his greatest hits: ?People consistently tell us that if they?re going to see ads, they want them to be relevant.? This perpetuates the ad industry?s favorite false dichotomy: either consumers can have ?relevant? ads?targeted using huge collections of sensitive behavioral data?or they can be bombarded by spam for knock-off Viagra and weight-loss supplements. The truth is that ads can be made ?relevant? and profitable based on the context in which they?re shown, like putting ads for outdoor gear in a nature magazine. To receive relevant ads, you do not need to submit to data brokers harvesting the entire history of everything you?ve done on and off the web and using it to build a sophisticated dossier about who you are.
            Zuckerberg soothingly reassures users that ?You can find out why you?re seeing an ad and change your preferences to get ads you?re interested in. And you can use our transparency tools to see every different ad an advertiser is showing to anyone else.? But a recent Pew survey on how users understand Facebook?s data collection and advertising practices, and our own efforts to disentangle Facebook?s ad preferences, tell a far different story.
            Pew found that 74% of U.S. adult Facebook users didn?t even know that Facebook maintained information on their advertising interests and preferences in the first place. When Pew directed users to the ad preferences page where some of this information resides, 88% found there that Facebook had generated inferences about them, including household income level and political and ethnic ?affinities.? Over a quarter of respondents said the categories ?do not very or at all accurately represent them.?
            It gets worse. Even when the advertising preferences Facebook had assigned to them wererelevant to their real interests, users were not comfortable with the company compiling that information. As Pew reports, ?about half of users (51%) say they are not very or not at all comfortable with Facebook creating this list about their interests and traits.?
            So we?d like to know: on what basis does Zuckerberg claim that users?who Pew has demonstrated are overwhelming unaware of and uncomfortable with the data collection and targeting that powers Facebook?s business model?are clamoring for the kinds of ?relevant? ads Facebook is providing?
            His op-ed goes on to claim that ?when we asked people for permission to use this information to improve their ads as part of our compliance with the European Union?s General Data Protection Regulation, the vast majority agreed because they prefer more relevant ads.? If Zuckerberg is referring here to the consent requests that users were prompted to click through last spring (documented in detail in this report and pictured above), then this statement is a stretch at best. Those requests were part of a convoluted process engineered to maximize the ways a user could say ?yes.? In particular, it took one tap of a button to ?opt in? to Facebook?s terms, but three levels of dialog to decline.
            "We Don?t Sell Your Data*"

            Next, Zuckerberg deploys Facebook?s favorite PR red herring: he says that Facebook does not sell your data. It may be the case that Facebook does not transfer user data to third parties in exchange for money. But there are many other ways to invade users? privacy. For example, the company indisputably does sell access to users? personal information in the form of targeted advertising spots. No matter how Zuckerberg slices it, Facebook?s business model revolves around monetizing your data.
            Transparency is a necessary, but not sufficient, principle for Facebook to rely on here. Just knowing how you're being tracked doesn't make it less invasive. And any transparency efforts have to confront the fact that roughly half of Americans simply don't trust social media companies like Facebook to protect their data in the first place.
            Saying One Thing and Lobbying Another

            Zuckerberg ends his op-ed with a call for government regulation codifying the principles of ?transparency, choice, and control.? But in reality, Facebook is tirelessly fighting against laws that might do just that: it is actively battling to undermine Illinois? Biometric Information Privacy Act in court, and the Internet Association, of which Facebook is a member, has asked California legislators to weaken the California Consumer Privacy Act, and is pushing for a national law only if it ?preempts? and rolls back those vital state protections.
            Nearly all of Zuckerberg?s claims will be familiar to anyone who?s followed Facebook?s recent privacy issues. But Facebook users are ready for something new: policies that promote real privacy and user choice, and not just the tired excuses and non-sequiturs that Zuckerberg published today.

            Mark Zuckerberg’s op-ed in the Wall Street Journal today (paywalled, but summarized here) relies on all-too-familiar refrains to explain the dubious principles and so-called “facts” behind Facebook’s business model. It’s the same old song we’ve heard before. And, as usual, it wildly misses users’...


            • #7

              Facebook asked some users for their email passwords, because why not

              And two third-party developers left the data from millions of Facebook users exposed in S3 bucket.

              SEAN GALLAGHER - 4/3/2019, 4:47 PM


              • #8
                Updated May 2, 2019 7:36 p.m. ET


                Facebook Inc. is recruiting dozens of financial firms and online merchants to help launch a cryptocurrency-based payments system on the back of its gigantic social network.



                As we have said for years - always use at least 2 sources for your news. Most of the main stream media are corporate owned. Search out the truth. Do not take anything at face value.


                • #9
                  This could get crazy. I just saw a listing realtor offering a cryptocurrency bonus to buyers, claiming that in a few years the currency could be worth what they would have paid for the house...or even more?

                  Report: Facebook looking to disrupt credit cards with cryptocurrency

                  Facebook's virtual currency could be pegged to traditional currencies.

                  Timothy B. Lee - May 3, 2019 3:47 pm UTC
                  Last edited by Emily; May 7, 2019, 02:41 AM.

                  Ask Congress to Investigate COVID Origins and Government Response to Pandemic.

                  i love myself. the quietest. simplest. most powerful. revolution ever. ---- nayyirah waheed

                  "...there’s an obvious contest that’s happening between different sectors of the colonial ruling class in this country. And they would, if they could, lump us into their beef, their struggle." ---- Omali Yeshitela, African People’s Socialist Party

                  (My posts are not intended as advice or professional assessments of any kind.)
                  Never forget Excalibur.


                  • #10
                    I think what we are seeing is the emergence of leading internet entities as virtual governments.

                    But without any of the constitutional protections.

                    Human rights, access, privacy, redress, and now financial instruments, are determined by the whim of those who own majority stock. Usually a small cadre at the top.

                    While I do not trust most of what governments represent as fact, I do not have any faith in the behemoth internet companies.


                    • #11
                      Apparently facebook is introducing a news feature that is going to carry only validated news outlets.

                      More opportunity to limit "news" to the accepted mantra. Mostly corporate.


                      • #12
                        Originally posted by sharon sanders View Post
                        Apparently facebook is introducing a news feature that is going to carry only validated news outlets.

                        More opportunity to limit "news" to the accepted mantra. Mostly corporate.
                        Establishment Journalists Call For Big Tech To Censor Everyone Else

                        Profile picture for user Tyler Durden by Tyler Durden
                        Wed, 12/18/2019 - 15:45

                        In a major threat to what’s left of press freedom, establishment journalists are calling for Big Tech to censor those who won’t parrot the government-approved official narrative. Journalist Sulome Anderson has publically called for censorship of a site because it’s an independent news source.

                        Anderson publicly requested that Google de-rank the independent news site The Grayzone. Anderson, who, according to her bio on her Twitter page, has published with news outlets such as The Washington Post, Newsweek, New York Magazine, and Foreign Policy, labeled a recent article by Grayzone contributor Rania Khalek as “dangerous”.


                        The real question is what are these establishment journalists afraid of? That they cannot refute the facts laid out? That people may start thinking on their own? That humans will come to the conclusion that they shouldn’t be owned and controlled by the media and a handful of corrupt politicians?

                        ZeroHedge - On a long enough timeline, the survival rate for everyone drops to zero


                        • #13

                          Facebook Just Forced Its Most Powerful Critics Offline

                          "Nothing says 'free speech' quite as much as a multibillion-dollar corporation with a global monopoly getting its critics shut down."

                          Carole Cadwalladr

                          I hadn't actually clocked this till
                          pointed it out. Facebook's spokesman calling Real Facebook Oversight Board 'a fake thing' that has accused Facebook of 'fake things'.
                          in journalism, we send right-to-replies before making accusations. I await your email

                          Quote Tweet

                          ? 17h
                          Replying to @carolecadwalla
                          Your fake thing that accuses us of fake things was caught in our thing to prevent fake things.


                          • #14

                            Facebook Approved Ads With Coronavirus Misinformation

                            A CR experiment raises questions about how the social media giant screens ads on its platform
                            By Kaveh Waddell
                            April 07, 2020

                            A Consumer Reports experiment raises questions about how the social media giant screens ads on its platform, finding that Facebook approved ads with coronavirus misinformation.

                            __________________________________________________ _________________________________

                            Facebook Gave Tips to Spot Fake News. A Study Says They Work Surprisingly Well.
                            By Kaveh Waddell
                            June 22, 2020

                            Social platforms have become more aggressive in flagging or deleting false information but, Consumer Reports says, a new study on how Facebook gave tips to spot fake news indicates that media-literacy tips might also help fight misinformation.


                            • #15
                              I wonder whether facebook has moderators with any type of medical background experience monitoring their posts and their ads. Maybe not in their budget.?


                              • sharon sanders
                                sharon sanders commented
                                Editing a comment
                                I have no idea what they are doing. It seems to me that the entire world has given too much power to the social media giants by participating on their platforms.