Last week, German Minister of Justice and Consumer Protection, Katarina Barley, stated that when users begin receiving hostile messages or threats through Facebook, a platform meant to merely simplify contact with friends, things take a problematic turn.
She said, “It may be that it isn’t in Facebook’s interest to report such content, but when the company merely blames hostility on human error or on an algorithm that hasn’t yet been fully developed, it isn’t particularly convincing, nor does it measure up to the company’s responsibility.”
Barley also highlighted on the handling of user’s personal data. If users’ data is leaked during the course of sharing it with the ad companies, she says “Facebook doesn’t just bear a responsibility to refrain from intentionally sharing data. It must also actively protect that data from third-party access.”
Integrating the Big 3: Instagram, Whatsapp, and Messenger
Last week, Mark Zuckerberg announced his plans to integrate the three popular social messaging platforms, Whatsapp, Facebook Messenger, and Instagram. These services would continue to operate independently; however, their underlying technical infrastructure would be unified.
This is a crucial development at a point where Facebook’s business has been subject to a lot of scandals that includes misuse of user data, fake news, and hate-filled posts. The three messaging platforms have more than 2.6 billion users, who can actually communicate across easily once the platform is unified.
According to the New York Times, “The move has the potential to redefine how billions of people use the apps to connect with one another while strengthening Facebook’s grip on users, raising antitrust, privacy and security questions. It also underscores how Mr. Zuckerberg is imposing his authority over units he once vowed to leave alone.”
By integrating the three apps, “Zuckerberg hopes to increase Facebook’s utility and keep users highly engaged inside the company’s ecosystem. That could reduce people’s appetite for rival messaging services, like those offered by Apple and Google. If users can interact more frequently with Facebook’s apps, the company might also be able to increase its advertising business or add new revenue-generating services, the people said”, the NY Times reports.
Alex Stamos, Facebook’s former Chief Security Officer said that he hoped, “Facebook would get public input from terrorism experts, child safety officers, privacy advocates and others and be transparent in its reasoning when it makes decisions on the details.” “It should be an open process because you can’t have it all”, he added.
To know more about this news head over to the New York Times post.
“This isn’t accessible privacy it’s inaccessible surveillance”, says Sarah Jamie Lewis
Sarah Jamie Lewis, from Open Privacy, says, Facebook “will build the largest surveillance system ever conceived and will sell it under the banner of consumer encryption. They will say that this delivers on the dream of secure usable communication that balances privacy, security and law enforcement.”
With this, she says that Open Privacy is building Cwtch, a metadata resistant communication tool, that can be used to build metadata resistant applications.
Facebook are going to monetize encrypted messaging by consolidating metadata analysis of 3 key platforms (Messenger, Whatsapp & Instagram). They will make money by tracking your relationships and social groups. They will make that information easily accessible to law enforcement.
— Sarah Jamie Lewis (@SarahJamieLewis) January 25, 2019
She says, “Facebook isn’t a public utility, they are a corporation that needs to make money, and the way they make money is through surveillance.”
To know more about this, read Sarah’s blog post.