Facebook Just Got a Whole Lot Creepier

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Source: LibertyBlitzkrieg.com
Michael Krieger
August 30, 2016

I’ve been creeped out by Facebook for a long time now. The following story takes it to another level.

From Fusion:

While some of these incredibly accurate friend suggestions are amusing, others are alarming, such as this story from Lisa*, a psychiatrist who is an infrequent Facebook user, mostly signing in to RSVP for events. Last summer, she noticed that the social network had started recommending her patients as friends—and she had no idea why.

“I haven’t shared my email or phone contacts with Facebook,” she told me over the phone. 

The next week, things got weirder.

Most of her patients are senior citizens or people with serious health or developmental issues, but she has one outlier: a 30-something snowboarder. Usually, Facebook would recommend he friend people his own age, who snowboard and jump out of planes. But Lisa told me that he had started seeing older and infirm people, such as a 70-year-old gentleman with a walker and someone with cerebral palsy.

“He laughed and said, ‘I don’t know any of these people who showed up on my list— I’m guessing they see you,’” recounted Lisa. “He showed me the list of friend recommendations, and I recognized some of my patients.”

She sat there awkwardly and silently. To let him know that his suspicion was correct would violate her duty to protect her patients’ privacy. 

Another one of her female patients had a friend recommendation pop up for a fellow patient she recognized from the office’s elevator. Suddenly, she knew the other patient’s full name along with all their Facebook profile information.

“It’s a massive privacy fail,” said Lisa. “I have patients with HIV, people that have attempted suicide and women in coercive and violent relationships.”

Lisa lives in a relatively small town and was alarmed that Facebook was inadvertently outing people with health and psychiatric issues to her network. She’s a tech-savvy person, familiar with VPNs, Tor and computer security practices recommended by the Electronic Frontier Foundation–but she had no idea what was causing it.

She hadn’t friended any of her patients on Facebook, nor looked up their profiles. She didn’t have a guest wifi network at the office that they were all using. After seeing my report that Facebook was using location from people’s smartphones to make friend recommendations, she was convinced this happened because she had logged into Facebook at the office on her personal computer. She thought that Facebook had figured out that she and her patients were all in the same place repeatedly. However, Facebook says it only briefly used location for friend recommendations in a test and that it was just “at the city-level.

When Lisa looked at her Facebook profile, she was surprised to see that she had, at some point, given Facebook her cell phone number. It’s a number that her patients could also have in their phones. Many people don’t realize that if they give Facebook access to their phone contacts, it uses that information to make friend recommendations; so if your ex-boss or your one-time Tinder date or your psychiatrist is a contact in your phone, you might start seeing them pop up in the “People You May Know” list.

That’s my guess as to how this happened.

The above tale presents a good opportunity to revisit a post highlighted last year by Salim Varani titled, A Very Disturbing and Powerful Post – “Get Your Loved Ones Off Facebook.” In it, he warned:

“Oh yeah, I’ve been meaning to ask you why you’re getting off Facebook,” is the guilty and reluctant question I’m hearing a lot these days. Like we kinda know Facebook is bad, but don’t really want to know.

I’ve been a big Facebook supporter – one of the first users in my social group who championed what a great way it was to stay in touch, way back in 2006. I got my mum and brothers on it, and around 20 other people. I’ve even taught Facebook marketing in one of the UK’s biggest tech education projects, Digital Business Academy. I’m a techie and a marketer — so I can see the implications — and until now, they hadn’t worried me. I’ve been pretty dismissive towards people who hesitate with privacy concerns.

With this latest privacy change on January 30th, I’m scared.

For more on the perils of Facebook, see:

Former Facebook Curators Reveal How Conservative News is Censored

Video of the Day – Three Former U.S. Treasury Secretaries and a Facebook Executive Laugh About Income Inequality

At Facebook, Some Hate Speech is More Equal Than Others

Facebook Caught Secretly Lobbying for Privacy Destroying “Cyber Security” Bill

Facebook Reveals its Master Plan – Control All News Flow

In Liberty,
Michael Krieger

Read More At: LibertyBlitzkrieg.com

1984: New Facial Recognition Technology Can Detect Human Emotions

Source: RT America
August 10, 2016

Microsoft has just developed facial recognition automation straight out of George Orwell’s dystopian novel, 1984. The new technology, recently tested at the Republican National Convention in Cleveland, Ohio, uses facial recognition to analyze human emotions. RT America’s Alexey Yaroshevskey has the report and speaks with Georgetown University law professor Alvaro M. Bedoya about how corporations will be able to use this technology without individuals’ consent.

Cancer On Call: New Study Links Cells Phones To Cancer In Rats

Source: RT America
July 5, 2016

A new study has found that cell phone exposure increases incidences of brain cancer and other tumors in rats. Should you take precautions when it comes to using your mobile device? RT correspondent Alex Mihailovich tells RT America’s Simone Del Rosario that there are a few easy ways to lessen exposure to radio waves from your cell phone.

After Repeated Denials, Facebook Now Admits Its Employees Censored Targeted News Sites Like NaturalNews

[Editor’s Note]

As someone who has been censored by the likes of Facebook, Yahoo, Amazon, Youtube & WordPress [Yes, indeed my friends; wordpress will not auto-load my posts to facebook even though the account is linked directly to it and was working the first few days.  This is not the first time its happened either.] countless times, this hits close to the heart.

First of, if we don’t have freedom of speech, then we aren’t as free as we think we are.  Also, what’s the point of being in a ‘social’ network if you’re not going to be engaging in intelligent conversations about subjects that matter.  At least for me, that’s part of the appeal.

The other question is, why DO they have an agenda?  Who’s calling the shots?  Do they really have ties to the CIA/NSA?  After all, what better way to spy on people then having a social network where people WILLINGLY give you nigh all their personal information, where endless databases can be created from it.

If you don’t think it’s possible, then think again, because a place that allows one method of information control, will certainly allow another. 


Source: NaturalNews.com
David Gutierrez
June 7, 2016

Facebook recently admitted in a letter to John Thune, chairman of the Senate Commerce Committee, that news curators hired by the company had the power to decide which stories to highlight in the Trending Topics section of the site.

The company said that some of those contractors could have used their discretion to discriminate against stories based on their political bent. The company also did not dispute claims that news curators had avoided linking to certain news sites, such as Breitbart, instead waiting for the same story to appear in a larger outlet.

Facebook said that these editorial decisions did not reflect company policy, and that news curators would be retrained to eliminate bias.

Certain sites blacklisted

Allegations of censorship surfaced following a Gizmodo article in which anonymous Facebook news curators revealed that Trending Topics are not selected solely by computer algorithm. Instead, the computer generates a list of topics for curators, who decide which stories to post and then write headlines and summaries for them.

The curators told Gizmodo that different editors imposed very different standards for what stories passed muster.

“Depending on who was on shift, things would be blacklisted or trending,” one former curator said.

That source supplied Gizmodo with a list he had made, while working for Facebook, of trending stories on conservative political topics that had never made it onto the feed.

Curators also told Gizmodo that they avoided publishing news from certain websites, including World Star Hip Hop, The Blaze, Breitbart, Newsmax and Washington Examiner, until they found a larger outlet covering the same story. It is unclear which other sites, including Natural News, might have been censored by overzealous curators.

Gizmodo noted that it was unknown whether other curators had also censored news on liberal topics or from left-leaning websites.

Human element acknowledged

In its letter to Thune, Facebook acknowledged that the Trending Topics feed is not as automated as its name might imply.

“We currently use people to bridge the gap between what an algorithm can do today and what we hope it will be able to do in the future — to sort the meaningful trends from gibberish and duplicates, and to write headlines and descriptions in clear, natural-sounding language,” company counsel Colin Stretch wrote.

The company admitted that employees had the ability to “blacklist” a story for 24 hours, ostensibly to give them time to figure out whether the story was accurate and still current.

Facebook also announced new “controls and oversight” to help eliminate bias. It said it would eliminate certain policies that had made biased curating more likely.

Among the policies to be eliminated is the ability of curators to decide that a source is unreliable, as well as a list of 10 mainstream news outlets (including Fox News, Buzz Feed, CNN and the New York Times) that could be used to judge whether a story was important.

But the company insisted that there was no “systematic political bias” at work. It said it had conducted a review of seven different topics that critics said were censored, and concluded that the topics had received just as much coverage, over time, as other news stories.

“Our investigation has revealed no evidence of systematic political bias in the selection or prominence of stories included in the Trending Topics feature,” Stretch wrote. “In fact, our analysis indicated that the rates of approval of conservative and liberal topics are virtually identical in Trending Topics.”

Thune, who is investigating the allegations of political bias, said the letter answered most of his questions.

“Facebook’s description of the methodology it uses for determining the trending content it highlights for users is far different from and more detailed than what it offered prior to our questions,” he said. “We now know the system relied on human judgment, and not just an automated process, more than previously acknowledged.”

Continue Reading At:NaturalNews.com

Unlikely marriage: New Defense Department board to be headed by Google exec

Source: RT
March 5, 2016

Tech heads in Silicon Valley and the federal government already apparently have strained relations, particularly in the case of Apple and the FBI,. The Defense Department has announced that it will be launching a new technology advisory board to be headed by former Google CEO Eric Schmidt. RT’s Manila Chan has the details.