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  1. Facebook's modified Messenger Kids app is now available on Android, having been already available on iOS and Amazon Fire tablets. The application is aimed at 6- to 12-year old children and lacks in-app purchases or Hide options so that parents can have more control over any unsolicited messages. Messenger Kids The app gives kids the ability to have more fun, the listing on the Play Store claims. Facebook added kid-appropriate stickers, GIFs, frames and emojis to help kids “creatively express themselves.” There are also one-to-one video calls with interactive AR masks. Unlike the regular Messenger app, the Kids version does not ask for a phone number or need a Facebook account. Parents and approved grown-ups can use their profiles to verify the Kids account and can also check up what is going on through the regular Messenger. Kids can block contacts and report inappropriate content in the app. When they do that, the parent or guardian will be notified. Messengerkids.com Gsmarena.com
  2. Horrifying: Facebook Users Are Reporting Getting Friend Requests From The Dead Back from the dead: Facebook users getting friend requests from deceased family members and friends What happens when you get a friend request on Facebook from someone you know; however, this someone in this case is not alive? You will be stunned, petrified, scared, etc. right? That is what is happening to some of the users of Facebook who have reported of getting friend requests from dead friends and family members. While dealing with a closed one’s death and handling their Facebook accounts after their death in itself is horrifying, and with such friend requests coming in, it is only causing more grievances for such people. However, what is more worrying is the fact that cyber-criminals and scammers are using this social media platform to trick people to steal money from them or for running some other frauds. So, how does this whole thing work? Basically, such friend requests are likely the result of cloning or hacking scams. For instance, the first method involves cloning someone’s account (in this case, the profile of the deceased) and stealing all the information in that profile, which is then used to setup a new account that is actually controlled by someone else. Further, the other method involves hacking into a deceased’s Facebook account and taking control of that account. In both the cases, the scammers have a complete hold over the account, which allows them to send messages, while pretending to be someone’s friend. Then, the scammer sends friend requests to the friends of the account they cloned or hacked into, in the hope that a number of them will accept the request under the thinking that it is the friend that has either created a new account of that they were accidentally deleted and being duly re-added. Once an invitation has been accepted, the scammer can now see information on that account. The scammer can then carry various kinds of scams, hoaxes and cons on the person who accepted the friend request. For example, the trick known as “friends in crisis” scam, where a person claims they are stuck somewhere and need money to get out of a problem. Or the fake account may be used to send users links to malicious websites that will attempt to install malware onto their computer when visited. Or they will be sent to a survey scam, which gather personal information by luring them into completing intrusive questionnaires. Or the fake account may be used to check on a person’s statuses and other information to impersonate them or steal from them. The above tricks and scams are applicable for those Facebook users who are alive too. If you too come across such a horrifying friend request on Facebook, please submit a request to either have the account of the dead to be memorialized (so that it will still be visible on Facebook, but no one will be able to log into it) or deactivated. This request can be made by filling the contact form given here. You can also find more information on how to report a deceased person or memorialize an account on Facebook by clicking here. Source
  3. Used An iPhone And Social Media Pre-2013? You May Be Due A Tiny Payout Twitter, Instagram, and others are stumping up $5.3m to settle a privacy suit with implications for those who used social-media apps on an iPhone in 2012 or earlier. Given the millions who downloaded the social-media apps in question, it's likely the settlement will result in a very small payment for each individual. Eight social-media firms, including Twitter and Instagram, have agreed to pay $5.3m to settle a lawsuit over their use of Apple's Find Friends feature in iOS. The main problem that complainants had with the accused firms was that their apps, which used Apple's Find Friends, didn't tell users that their contact lists would be uploaded to company servers. The lawsuit alleged the privacy incursions occurred between 2009 and 2012, the year the class action suit began. Instagram, Foursquare, Kik, Gowalla, Foodspotting, Yelp, Twitter, and Path have agreed to pay in to the settlement fund, which will be distributed to affected users via Amazon.com, according to Venture Beat. Yelp had previously argued it was necessary to store user contact lists to enable the Find Friends feature, which consumers understood would occur in the context of using a mobile app. However, US District Judge Jon Tigar countered that the key question was whether Apple and app developers "violated community norms of privacy" by exceeding what people reasonably believe they consented to. "A 'reasonable' expectation of privacy is an objective entitlement founded on broadly based and widely accepted community norms," said Tigar. If the judge approves the settlement, Apple and LinkedIn would be the only remaining defendants among 18 firms originally accused of the privacy violation. Given the millions of people who downloaded these apps, it's likely the settlement will result in a very small payment for each individual. However, people who took part in the class action suit could receive up to $15,000 each. Source
  4. Facebook Bans Devs From Creating Surveillance Tools With User Data Without a hint of irony, Facebook has told developers that they may not use data from Instagram and Facebook in surveillance tools. The social network says that the practice has long been a contravention of its policies, but it is now tidying up and clarifying the wording of its developer policies. American Civil Liberties Union, Color of Change and the Center for Media Justice put pressure on Facebook after it transpired that data from users' feeds was being gathered and sold on to law enforcement agencies. The re-written developer policy now explicitly states that developers are not allowed to "use data obtained from us to provide tools that are used for surveillance." It remains to be seen just how much of a difference this will make to the gathering and use of data, and there is nothing to say that Facebook's own developers will not continue to engage in the same practices. Deputy chief privacy officer at Facebook, Rob Sherman, says: Transparency reports published by Facebook show that the company has complied with government requests for data. The secrecy such requests and dealings are shrouded in means that there is no way of knowing whether Facebook is engaged in precisely the sort of activity it is banning others from performing. Source
  5. Facebook Makes Its Privacy Settings Much Clearer Facebook has made lots of changes to its privacy settings over the years, usually in a bid to make them simpler to understand and use, yet many people just stick with the defaults. Facebook’s new Privacy Basics aims to make it much easier for people to find the tools they need to control their information on the social network. Created, Facebook says, using user feedback, Privacy Basics puts all of the top privacy topics and frequently asked questions within easy reach. There are 32 interactive guides available, in 44 different languages. It provides tips for securing your account, and understanding who can see your posts, what your profile looks like to others, and so on. The update comes as part of Data Privacy Day, which takes place every year on January 28. Source
  6. Facebook Is Ready To Censor Posts In China -- Should Users Around The World Be Worried? Facebook's relationship with China has a tense and turbulent history. The social network is currently banned in China, and this clearly takes a huge chunk out of Facebook's ad revenue. In a bid to keep Chinese authorities happy, Mark Zuckerberg has been involved in the creation of software that can be used to monitor and censor posts made by users. In terms of playing by China's rules, this is clearly great news for Facebook, and it opens up the possibility of the social network operating in the country. While there is the slight silver lining that Facebook's censorship tool does not amount to a full blackout (as the Guardian puts it: "The posts themselves will not be suppressed, only their visibility"), the new program does raise a very important question: if Facebook is willing and able to create such a censorship tool for China, what’s to stop it doing the same for other markets, or even for its own benefit? The answer, of course, is 'nothing'. Facebook has shown time and time again that it is more than happy to fly in the face of popular user opinion and do whatever it wants. We have already seen some of the ways in which the social network is willing to tinker with users' newsfeeds. Increasingly controversial algorithms have been used for some time to tailor news and posts in a way that Facebook says is in users' interests. There is nothing to stop these algorithms being further tweaked to prevent the appearance of certain posts, certain types of content -- be that at Facebook's whim, or at the behest of governments around the world. Of course, the counter argument is that it would not be in Facebook's interest to introduce censorship outside of China. Except the Chinese case has very much indicated that it is in Facebook's interest to use censorship tools. In China, it is a matter of bowing to governmental demands in order to -- hopefully, in Facebook's view -- be allowed to operate in the country once again. The real driving force here is, as mentioned, money generated through advertising; this is the very reason why we should be wary of Facebook's development of a censorship tool, and fear its use elsewhere. Just as with the covert activities of the NSA, there would be nothing to stop Facebook from using a censorship tool without making it clear to users. After all, Facebook is free to do whatever it wants to do with content that is posted, so long as it is in keeping with the law. It is not a stretch to imagine a high profile advertiser applying pressure to Facebook to put a damper on certain opinions and to threaten withdrawal of advertising. Money talks, so it is hardly inconceivable that Facebook might at least be tempted to comply with such a demand -- and users would be none the wiser. What’s happening in China -- and, indeed, in Russia and other countries -- is great cause for concern. Facebook does not have a great track record when it comes to maintaining user trust (just look at the fake news problem), and as news of tools such as this starts to spread, any trust that does remain is only going to be further undermined. Source
  7. German Officials Order Facebook to Delete WhatsApp User Data Facebook was infringing data protection law Needless to say that WhatsApp users weren't pleased with the new feature and they quickly found a workaround that allowed them to disable the sharing feature within 30 days from installing or updating the app on their phones. The measure would pose some security and privacy concerns, which meant that WhatsApp had to update its terms and privacy policy, which it did for the first time in four years. WhatsApp is one of the most secure chatting applications out there, with default message encryption and self-destruct messages that make sure that no one can access conversations between users. Since the app is focused on privacy and security, it's only normal that users were concerned by this measure for sharing information with Facebook. It seems that users from Germany no longer need to worry about this, since the Hamburg Commissioner for Data Protection and Freedom of Information ordered Facebook to delete user data shared from WhatsApp. Facebook is willing to work with the Commission to resolve the issue The report by Reuters mentions that Facebook was infringing data protection law and WhatsApp's 35 million users in Germany didn't provide effective approval for sharing their information. "After the acquisition of WhatsApp by Facebook two years ago, both parties have publicly assured that data will not be shared between them," commissioner Johannes Caspar said in a statement. "The fact that this is now happening is not only a misleading of their users and the public, but also constitutes an infringement of national data protection law," Caspar added. The Commission also said that Facebook and WhatsApp are independent companies that should process user data based on their own terms and conditions. Facebook issued a statement saying that the company is working with the Hamburg DPA to resolve any concerns. Facebook bought WhatsApp for $19 billion two years ago. Source More info on this news - Alternate Source - Germany bans Facebook from collecting WhatsApp users' data
  8. MENLO PARK, CA (WFSB) - An officer from Los Angeles County took to Twitter on Friday when Facebook users called for help to report that the social media website was down. Sgt. Burton Brink, the public information officer in La Crescenta, CA, posted a Tweet reminding people about the reasons for calling them for help. "#Facebook is not a Law Enforcement issue, please don't call us about it being down, we don't know when FB will be back up!" he wrote. Users who tried to get on Facebook around noon EST were greeted with an apology. "Sorry, something went wrong. We're working on getting this fixed as soon as we can," the site posted. A message posted by a Facebook's developer around noon said the site "is currently experiencing an issue that is affecting all API and web surfaces. Our engineers detected the issue quickly and are working to resolve it ASAP. We'll update shortly." Facebook returned about an hour later. Source: http://www.wfsb.com/story/26174225/police-do-not-call-us-if-facebook-is-down
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