Instagram caught selling ads to follower-buying services it banned

Instagram has been earning money from businesses flooding its social network with spam notifications. Instagram hypocritically continues to sell ad space to services that charge clients for fake followers or that automatically follow/unfollow other people to get them to follow the client back. This is despite Instagram reiterating a ban on these businesses in November and threatening the accounts of people who employ them. A TechCrunch investigation initially found 17 services selling fake followers or automated notification spam for luring …

Research finds heavy Facebook users make impaired decisions like drug addicts

Researchers at Michigan State University are exploring the idea that there’s more to “social media addiction” than casual joking about being too online might suggest. Their paper, titled “Excessive social media users demonstrate impaired decision making in the Iowa Gambling Task” (Meshi, Elizarova, Bender and Verdejo-Garcia) and published in the Journal of Behavioral Addictions, indicates that people who use social media sites heavily actually display some of the behavioral hallmarks of someone addicted to cocaine or heroin. The study asked 71 participants …

In 2018 the ticketing industry finally killed the sold out show

Jesse Lawrence If the Redskins and Warriors signaled a shift away from the sellout era in sports, Taylor Swift’s Reputation tour did the same for music. Having wrapped up earlier this month, Reputation finished as the highest grossing US Tour in history, despite a flurry of articles lambasting the artist for not selling out many shows.  Ironically, it turns out that the most important factor in her record-breaking success was exactly that: not selling out. Rather than a lack of …

What history could tell Mark Zuckerberg

Perhaps Mark Zuckerberg obsessed over the wrong bit of history. Or else didn’t study his preferred slice of classical antiquity carefully enough, faced, as he now is, with an existential crisis of ‘fake news’ simultaneously undermining trust in his own empire and in democracy itself. A recent New Yorker profile — questioning whether the Facebook founder can fix the creation he pressed upon the world before the collective counter-pressure emanating from his billions-strong social network does for democracy what Brutus did to Caesar …

Facebook is not equipped to stop the spread of authoritarianism

Yael Grauer UNITED STATES – APRIL 10: Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg testifies during the Senate Commerce, Science and Transportation Committee and Senate Judiciary Committee joint hearing on “Facebook, Social Media Privacy, and the Use and Abuse of Data” on Tuesday, April 10, 2018. (Photo By Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call) Protesters scrubbing Facebook data for fear of repercussion isn’t uncommon. Over and over again, authoritarian-leaning regimes have utilized low-tech strategies to quell dissent. And aside from providing resources related to online …

Facebook defends allowing third parties access to user messages

In a new blog post, Facebook VP of Product Partnerships Ime Archibong addressed the company’s latest user privacy controversy. The rebuttal is the second round of Facebook’s pushback against Tuesday’s report by The New York Times detailing some of Facebook’s special partnerships and extensive data sharing with major tech players. In the new post, Archibong specifically argues that Facebook never allowed its partners to access private Facebook messages without a user’s permission. While Facebook did in fact share user messages …

Jack Dorsey and Twitter ignored opportunity to meet with civic group on Myanmar issues

Responding to criticism from his recent trip to Myanmar, Twitter CEO Jack Dorsey said he’s keen to learn about the country’s racial tension and human rights atrocities, but it has emerged that both he and Twitter’s public policy team ignored an opportunity to connect with a key civic group in the country. A loose group of six companies in Myanmar has engaged with Facebook in a bid to help improve the situation around usage of its services in the country …

Instagram kills off fake followers, threatens accounts that keep using apps to get them

Instagram is fighting back against automated apps people use to leave spammy comments or follow then unfollow others in hopes of growing their audience. Today Instagram is removing from people’s accounts who use these apps inauthentic follows, Likes and comments that violate its policies; sending them a warning to change their password to cut ties with these apps, and saying people who continue using these apps “may see their Instagram experience impacted.” Instagram tells me it “may limit access to …

Facebook under pressure over Soros smear tactics

Facebook is facing calls to conduct an external investigation into its own lobbying and PR activities by an aide to billionaire George Soros. BuzzFeed reports that Michael Vachon, an advisor to the chairman at Soros Fund Management, made the call in a letter to friends and colleagues. The call follows an explosive investigation, published yesterday by the New York Times based on interviews with more than 50 sources on the company, which paints an ugly picture of how Facebook’s leadership team …

Facebook must change and policymakers must act on data, warns UK watchdog

The UK’s data watchdog has warned that Facebook must overhaul its privacy-hostile business model or risk burning user trust for good. Comments she made today have also raised questions over the legality of so-called lookalike audiences to target political ads at users of its platform. Information commissioner Elizabeth Denham was giving evidence to the Digital, Culture, Media and Sport committee in the UK parliament this morning. She’s just published her latest report to parliament, on the ICO’s (still ongoing) investigation into the …