Social media services have generally been free of charge for users, but now, with ad revenues slowing down, social media companies are looking for new revenue streams beyond targeted ads. Now, Twitter is charging for its blue check verification, and Meta and Twitter both charge for identity protection.
Users benefit from “free” services such as social media platforms. According to one study, in the U.S., Facebook users say they would have to be paid in the range of $40 to $50 to leave the social networking service for one month. If you value Facebook highly enough that you’d need to get paid to take a break, why not pay for these new services if you can afford them?
The collective action problem of Meta Verified and Twitter Blue
Information goods, such as those provided by social media platforms, are characterized by the problem of collective action, and information security is no exception. Collective action problems, which economists describe as network externalities, result when the actions of one participant in a market affect other participants’ outcomes.
Some people might pay Facebook for improved security, but overall, collective well-being depends on having a very large group of users investing in better security for all. Picture a medieval city under siege from an invader where each family would be responsible for a stretch of the wall. Collectively, the community is only as strong as the weakest link. Will Twitter and Meta still deliver the promised and paid-for results if not enough users sign up for these services?
While large platforms such as Facebook and Twitter could benefit from lock in, meaning having users who are dependent on or at least heavily invested in them, it’s not clear how many users will pay for these features. This is an area where the platforms’ profit motive is in conflict with the overall goal of the platform, which is to have a large enough community that people will continue using the platform because all of their social or business connections are there.
The economics of information security
Charging for identity protection raises the question of how much each person values privacy or security online. Markets for privacy have posed a similar conundrum. For digital products in particular, consumers are not fully informed about how their data is collected, for what purposes and with what consequences.
Scammers can find many ways to breach security and exploit vulnerabilities in large platforms such as Facebook. But valuing security or privacy is complicated because social media users do not know exactly how much Meta or Twitter invests in keeping everyone safe. When users of digital platforms do not understand how platforms safeguard their information, the resulting lack of trust could limit the number of people willing to pay for features such as security and identity verification.
Social media users in particular face imperfect or asymmetric information about their data, so they do not know how to correctly value features such as security. In the standard economic logic, markets assign prices based on buyers’ willingness to pay and sellers’ lowest acceptable bids, or reservation prices. However, digital platforms such as Meta benefit from individuals’ data by virtue of their size – they have such a large amount of personal data. There is no market for individual data rights, even though there have been a few policy proposals such as California governor Gavin Newsom’s call for a data dividend.
In the first three months of 2022 alone, nearly one-fifth of teens and adults in the U.S. reported their social media accounts getting hacked. The same survey found that 24% of consumers reported being overwhelmed by devices and subscriptions, indicating significant fatigue and cognitive overload in having to manage their virtual experiences.
For those who are scammed, the process of account recovery is frustrating and time-consuming. Such moves might hurt the most vulnerable, such as those who need Meta to find access to job information, or the elderly and infirm who use social media to learn about what is happening in their communities. Communities that have invested resources in building a shared online space using platforms such as Twitter and Facebook may be harmed by monetization efforts.
People are tired of having to navigate numerous subscriptions and having security and privacy concerns that persist. At the same time, it’s an open question whether enough users will pay for these services to boost collective security. Ultimately, the service a social media platform offers is the opportunity to connect with others. Will users pay for the ability to maintain social connections the way they pay for content, such as entertainment or news? Social media giants may have a difficult path ahead.
NAIROBI, Kenya Jun 3 – A Kenyan court on Friday ordered the suspension of the mass sacking of scores of content moderators by a subcontractor for Facebook’s parent company Meta and directed the social media giant to provide counseling to the employees.
A total of 184 moderators employed in Nairobi by Sama, an outsourcing firm for Meta, filed a lawsuit in March, claiming their dismissal was “unlawful”.
In a 142-page ruling, labor court judge Byram Ongaya said Meta and Sama were “restrained from terminating the contracts” pending the determination of the lawsuit challenging the legality of the dismissal.
“An interim order is hereby issued that any contracts that were to lapse before the determination of the petition be extended” until the case is settled, the judge added.
Ongaya also barred Facebook’s new outsourcing firm, Luxembourg-headquartered Majorel, from blacklisting the moderators from applying for the same roles.
Meta — which also owns Instagram and WhatsApp — was also ordered to “provide proper medical, psychiatric and psychological care for the petitioners and other Facebook content moderators”.
The company told the court of its intention to appeal the ruling.
The California-based tech behemoth has held that it has no official presence in the East African country and that the complainants are not employed by Meta.
The petitioners’ lawyer, Mercy Mutemi, said it was “critical that the court has found Facebook is the true employer of its moderators”, adding that they were “very pleased” with the orders.
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“This ruling matters not just for the petitioners but the entire social media and AI industry,” Mutemi said in a statement.
British-based legal activist firm Foxglove, which is supporting the case, said the ruling was “a major blow to the outsourcing model Facebook uses to avoid responsibility for its key safety workers”.
– Poor working conditions –
Meta has faced scrutiny over the working conditions of content moderators who say they spend hours focused on hateful, disturbing posts with little regard for their well-being.
The company is facing two other legal cases in Kenya.
In 2022, a former South African employee of Sama, Daniel Motaung, filed a complaint in Kenya against Sama and Facebook claiming, among other things, poor working conditions and a lack of mental health support.
The labor relations court in Nairobi declared in February it had the jurisdiction to try Motaung’s case. Meta has appealed the decision.
The social media giant is also facing another complaint in Kenya, where a local NGO and two Ethiopian citizens accused Meta of failing to act against online hate speech in Africa.
A Twitter user uncovered an anti-Ukrainian ad on Facebook targetting Israelis aimed at reducing aid to Ukraine, on Wednesday.
The ad featured a bent-over man dressed in white with a Star of David drawn on him wearing a kippa and carrying a blue and yellow swastika, the colors of Ukraine. The text above it says “Israel should focus all attention on fighting the economic crisis. Supporting the conflicts of others is an unjustified luxury. Every shekel counts.” Followed by a link to a website.
The link led to a website called theliberal.net , which had a similar appearance to an Israeli magazine of the same name. However, the magazine’s website is theliberal.co.il.
The article on the website was titled “Ukraine is expensive” and was supposedly written by Joanna Landau the CEO of Vibe Israel, a TLV-based organization of data-driven storytellers, sharing Israel’s story with the world according to their Twitter.
This led Twitter user, Arieh Kovler, to become suspicious and he decided to investigate.
This paid anti-Ukrain propaganda ad, in Hebrew, just popped up on my Facebook. The cartoon’s message is hardly subtle, but let’s see what we can find out. pic.twitter.com/n4mPVCDISd
The ads publisher was a “nothing” Facebook page that targeted people in Israel who interacted with technology, consumer electronics, and graphic novels.
A boy waves a national flag atop of armoured personal carrier at an exhibition of destroyed Russian military vehicles and weapons, dedicated to the upcoming country’s Independence Day, amid Russia’s attack on Ukraine, in the centre of Kyiv, Ukraine August 21, 2022. (credit: REUTERS/VALENTYN OGIRENKO)
He also found that the page was running a second ad, with the same text but a different image.
The page is running another ad too. Both use the same text:”Israel should focus all attention on fighting the economic crisis. Supporting the conflicts of others is an unjustified luxury. Every shekel counts”The ad text does’t mention the Nazi stuff. pic.twitter.com/EyewJl9OwB
Summing up he said: “They had to buy the fake domain and the cartflower redirect domain, write the fake article in Hebrew, clone the Liberal, set up the Facebook page, commission the original cartoons and buy ads. All to target a tiny amount of humanitarian aid to Ukraine”
Kovler finished the thread by stating that Facebook’s new approval process was broken, showing evidence of drugs being advertised on the platform and saying he had also seen gun advertisements. He questioned how much of this was going on in other language markets.
Another Twitter user pointed out a grammatical error, saying “I suspect the ad isn’t written by a native Hebrew speaker..”; another user mused whether the error revealed the writer to be a native speaker of Russian or Farsi.
You may have managed to go all this time without ever making any kind of social media account. However, Facebook could potentially still have your information even if you’ve never set up an account. Find out why this is possible and how you can protect your information.
How could Facebook have access to my private information?
Whether you deleted your Facebook account years ago or you never made an account at all, it’s possible that Facebook could still have your email address cell phone number or landline number. The reason for this is because of hidden accounts called Shadow Profiles. These profiles are created based on data gathered from various sources, such as contacts uploaded by Facebook users, websites with Facebook tracking pixels, and other third-party data providers.
So, even if people you’re friends with shared their own contact information on Facebook, Instagram, or Messenger, and you were in their address book, Meta, the parent company of these apps, likely has your information.
Facebook’s algorithms use this information to create a profile for non-users, which may include details like the person’s name, email address, phone number and other personal data. These profiles are created without the knowledge or consent of the individuals involved. We reached out to Facebook’s parent company Meta for additional information and to offer the social media platform an opportunity to comment on this report and have not heard back from them at the time of publishing.
Here’s what to know about how Facebook collects your personal information.(CyberGuy.com)
Providing our services to these sites or apps
Improving safety and security on Facebook
Enhancing our own products and services.
The company emphasizes that they don’t sell people’s data. Even so, shadow profiles have been a subject of controversy and criticism due to privacy concerns. Critics argue that the creation of shadow profiles raises ethical questions regarding user consent and control over personal information. However, it is possible to have yourself removed from its databases.
If you’re a Facebook user, here’s how to adjust your contact settings.
Log in to your Facebook account
Click your Profile picture
Click Settings & privacy
In the sidebar on the left, click Privacy
Under How people can find and contact you, reset all those settings to say “Only Me” so that no one in the public can look at your information.
How do I stop uploading my contacts to Facebook?
Log in to your Facebook account
Click your Profile picture
Click Settings & privacy
Click Upload Contacts
Toggle Upload Contacts off.
Once you have turned off this setting, Facebook will no longer upload your contacts to the app. Keep in mind that if you previously allowed Facebook to upload your contacts, you may need to delete your previously uploaded contacts manually.
Knowing how Facebook collects and utilizes personal information is important, even if you have never used the platform. Be aware that they can create hidden accounts called Shadow Profiles, which are generated using data from various sources. While Facebook claims this data is used to improve and protect user experience, creating shadow profiles raises concerns about privacy and consent. By following the steps I’m providing, you can take control of your information and minimize your exposure to potential privacy risks.
Should Facebook be allowed to collect your personal data without asking you directly? Let us know by writing us at Cyberguy.com/Contact.
Kurt “CyberGuy” Knutsson is an award-winning tech journalist who has a deep love of technology, gear and gadgets that make life better with his contributions for Fox News & FOX Business beginning mornings on “FOX & Friends.” Got a tech question? Get Kurt’s CyberGuy Newsletter, share your voice, a story idea or comment at CyberGuy.com.