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Zuckerberg unconvincingly feigns ignorance of data-sucking VPN scandal

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Facebook’s Mark Zuckerberg appeared less than entirely truthful at today’s House Judiciary hearing, regarding last year’s major Onavo controversy, in which his company paid teenagers to use a VPN app that reported detailed data on their internet use. Though he may not have outright lied about it, his answers were evasive and misleading enough to warrant a rushed clarification shortly afterward.

Rep. Hank Johnson (D-GA) was asking Zuckerberg to confirm a series of events last year first reported by TechCrunch: A VPN app called Onavo, owned by Facebook, was kicked out of Apple’s App Store for collecting and reporting usage data while purporting to provide a protective service.

Soon afterward, Facebook quietly began paying people — 18% of whom were teenagers — to install the “Facebook Research” app, which did much the same thing as Onavo, under a different name. TechCrunch reported this and Apple issued a ban before the end of that day; Facebook claimed to have removed it voluntarily, but this was shown not to be true.

Rep. Johnson questioned Zuckerberg along these lines, and the latter repeatedly expressed his unsureness about and lack of familiarity with these issues:

Johnson: When it became public that Facebook was using Onavo to conduct digital surveillance, your company got kicked out of Apple’s App store, isn’t that true?

Zuckerberg: Congressman, I’m not sure I’d characterize it in that way.

Johnson: I mean, Onavo did get kicked out of the App Store, isn’t that true?

Zuckerberg: Congressman, we took the app out after Apple changed their policies on VPN apps.

Johnson: And it was because of the use of the surveillance tools.

Zuckerberg: Congressman, I’m not sure the policy was worded that way or that it’s exactly the right characterization of it… [The policies are explained below.]

Johnson: Let me ask you this question. After Onavo was booted out of the App Store, you turned to other surveillance tools, such as Facebook Research App, correct?

Zuckerberg: Congressman, in general, yes, we do a broad variety—

Johnson: Isn’t it true, Mr. Zuckerberg, that Facebook paid teenagers to sell their privacy by installing Facebook Research App?

Zuckerberg: Congressman, I’m not familiar with that, but I think it’s a general practice that companies use to, uh, have different surveys and understand data from how people are using different products and what their preferences are.

Johnson: Facebook Research app got thrown out of the App Store too, isn’t that true?

Zuckerberg: Congressman, I’m not familiar with that.

Image Credits: YouTube

Of course, the idea that Zuckerberg was not familiar with events that made headlines, took down Facebook’s internal apps for days and prompted an angry letter to him from a senator is absurd. (After all, Facebook responded.)

Perhaps intuiting that this particular claim of ignorance was a bridge too far (and perhaps in response to some frantic off-screen action in the CEO’s barnlike virtual testimony HQ), Zuckerberg took the opportunity to backpedal a few minutes later:

In response to Congressman Johnson’s question, before I said that I wasn’t familiar with the Facebook Research app when I wasn’t familiar with that name for it. I just want to be clear that I do recall we used an app for research and it’s since been discontinued.

Of course, although Zuckerberg may plausibly have been unsure about the name, it’s not to be believed that he was not familiar with the events of that time, as they were both highly publicized and very costly for Facebook. Naturally he would also have been refreshed on them during preparation for this testimony.

That Zuckerberg is unfamiliar with the exact wording of Apple’s rules is possible, even probable, but it was no secret that the rules were changed basically in response to reports of Facebook’s Onavo shenanigans. Here is what Apple said at the time:

We work hard to protect user privacy and data security throughout the Apple ecosystem. With the latest update to our guidelines, we made it explicitly clear that apps should not collect information about which other apps are installed on a user’s device for the purposes of analytics or advertising/marketing and must make it clear what user data will be collected and how it will be used.

Later, when TechCrunch showed that Facebook had been using an enterprise deployment tool to essentially sideload spyware onto teenagers’ phones, Apple said this:

We designed our Enterprise Developer Program solely for the internal distribution of apps within an organization. Facebook has been using their membership to distribute a data-collecting app to consumers, which is a clear breach of their agreement with Apple. Any developer using their enterprise certificates to distribute apps to consumers will have their certificates revoked, which is what we did in this case to protect our users and their data.

So Facebook was the reason, implicitly first, then later explicitly, for these App Store lockdowns. Rep. Johnson put the whole thing quite plainly at the end of his questions:

Johnson: You tried one thing and then you got caught, made some apologies, then you did it all over again. [long pause]… Isn’t that true?

Zuckerberg: Congressman, I respectfully disagree with that characterization.

You can watch the full hearing here:

[embedded content]

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Facebook and Google ad oligopoly is over, fund manager says

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Facebook and Google ad oligopoly is over, fund manager says

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Inge Heydorn, fund manager at GP Bullhound, discusses competition in the digital ad market, what investors will be looking for in Meta’s results, and why it’s “all about TikTok.”

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Mike Lindell Says Jimmy Kimmel Wants to Put Him in a Big Claw Machine

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Mike Lindell Says Jimmy Kimmel Wants to Put Him in a Big Claw Machine
  • Mike Lindell says Jimmy Kimmel is requesting to interview him on his show. 
  • But Kimmel had one request, Lindell said: The pillow CEO has to sit inside a giant claw machine.
  • Lindell said this is because he is unvaccinated. 

MyPillow CEO Mike Lindell says late-night show host Jimmy Kimmel had one request of him: The pillow CEO must sit inside a giant claw machine during their interview.

“A lot of you have reached out to me: ‘Mike, don’t do it, he’s going to attack you. Why did you agree to go inside a claw game?'” Lindell said during a Facebook live stream on Tuesday. Lindell is scheduled to appear on Kimmel’s talk show, “Jimmy Kimmel Live,” on Tuesday.

“Which I did, because they, you can’t go inside the studio if you’re not vaccinated. And of course, I’m not vaccinated,” Lindell added. 

“Maybe I’ll find out that that claw game was rigged, huh, the one that picks up the stuffed animals,” Lindell quipped, seemingly referencing his own baseless claims of widespread election fraud.

The pillow CEO said his appearance on Kimmel “should be very, very interesting.” He also said he was only agreeing to the interview because he thinks it will help “save our country.”

Kimmel appeared to confirm Lindell’s account, tweeting: “MyPillow Mike from a claw machine tonight!” 

 

Kimmel said on Monday that Lindell has “repeatedly” asked to be on the show, and that he’s tried to invite Lindell back many times.

Lindell’s last appearance on Kimmel’s show was in April 2021. During their nearly 20-minute conversation, Kimmel pummeled Lindell with questions about his voter fraud claims.

“A lot of people didn’t want you to come on this show. Liberals and conservatives, told me not to have you on, and they told you don’t go on the show,” Kimmel told Lindell in 2021. “But I think it’s important that we talk to each other.”

Lindell is fresh off a big loss in his race for RNC chair, where he only secured four votes.

Lindell and representatives for Kimmel did not immediately respond to Insider’s requests for comment.



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Brandi Carlile and Catherine Shepherd Full Relationship Timeline

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Brandi Carlile and Catherine Shepherd Full Relationship Timeline

Once upon a time, Brandi Carlile and Catherine Shepherd first crossed paths via the telephone while they were in different countries and kept in touch FOR AN ENTIRE YEAR before they met IRL and fell in love. ❤️ They’ve been going strong ever since and have (blessedly) not been shy about posting their adorable ‘ship on social. Prepare to laugh, cry, and see tons of endearing Facebook life update posts as we walk through their decades-long ‘ship!

2009

Truly still can’t get over how iconic the beginning of this love story was. Way back when, Catherine—who is originally from the United Kingdom—was working for former Beatles singer Paul McCartney‘s charity. During one fated day while she was reaching out to donate Beatles memorabilia to Brandi’s Fight the Fear campaign, she actually wound up speaking to the singer herself. And the rest is history! Well…kind of.

2010

The pair wound up speaking for an entire year (!!) before they finally met IRL in New York City in 2010. “It was shocking to say the least,” Brandi confessed to People over a decade later in April 2021. “Every time I talked to her over the phone, I thought I was talking to somebody who was like 65 years old. I don’t know why. I think because of her wisdom and her demeanor. Or maybe I thought she was Paul’s age or something. So we met backstage in New York, and we were both like 27.”

 

Obsessed with them. Obsessed with this pic. Obsessed with everything!

musicares person of the year tribute to joni mitchell arrivals

Frazer Harrison//Getty Images

May 16, 2012

Brandi and Catherine walked their first red carpet at the 2012 Donor Of The Day Celebration at The Whitney Museum of American Art in New York. 😭❤️

2012 donor of the day celebration

Gary Gershoff//Getty Images

September 15, 2012

Only a few months after their red carpet ~debut~, the duo tied the knot in Boston during a ceremony in front of family and friends. At the time, Brandi took to Facebook to share everything that went down, including some truly wow moments you couldn’t make up if you tried.

brandi carlile and catherine shepherd

Facebook

“See I’m sure all weddings have an insane week preceding the event but me and Catherine might have won that contest,” the singer wrote on Facebook. “Bailey (the dog) had to be rushed to the vet on our wedding day, and the day before the wedding we had to put down one of our goats (RIP Tim). To top it all off our priest didn’t show up! Ha ha! (Not her fault but it’ll be one of those funny stories well be telling for years). My church friends Jason and Mandy were there and Jason performed the perfect ceremony with 15 minutes notice!” she continued.

Even with all this happening, Brandi maintained, “It was truly one of our best days, completely awkward and human and beautiful. I’m married to my best friend and nothing has ever brought me more joy than that.” Obsessed!

February 2013

“The more the merrier” was clearly the wedding theme for Brandi and Catherine, because they wound up following their Boston wedding with a ceremony in Brandi’s home state of Washington before heading to England for a civil ceremony in front of Catherine’s friends and family.

In another Facebook post, the Grammy winner mused the following alongside an image of herself and Catherine at their wedding venue: “We had our London ceremony at the famous Chelsea Old Town Hall. It was one of our best days and when the officiant asked if anyone could think of a reason we should not be married, a four-year-old guest wisely shouted NO!”

brandi carlile and catherine shepherd

Facebook

June 15, 2014

Congrats were in order for the stunning couple, who welcomed their first child, daughter Evangeline Ruth, in 2014. Brandi shared an adorbs photo of the bb with the caption, “Please allow me to introduce Evangeline Ruth Carlile, Born June 15th. Welcome to the world kid! xobc.”

The couple opened up about having IVF treatments to get pregnant, and Brandi was super honest about the process.

“I made peace with knowing that there was some pioneering involved in what we were doing, to the point where there wasn’t even a two mother template on a birth certificate yet,” she confessed to People. “There is now, but psychologically, all these things are really hard. And the high dive into parenting is a complicated leap to take anyway…I’m hoping people see through my story that there’s no right or wrong way to evolve into a parenting role in either heterosexual or same-sex relationships.”

February 15, 2016

Brandi and Catherine looked amaze during their appearance at the 58th annual Grammy Awards. The night was especially meaningful, as it also marked Brandi’s first year being nominated for Best Americana Album for The Firewatcher’s Daughter.

brandi carlile and catherine shepherd

Larry Busacca//Getty Images

January 6, 2017

The duo realized a bucket list goal after attending a farewell party at the White House for former President Barack Obama. Always a Facebook girly, Brandi took to the platform to reflect on the evening: “We had the unbelievable privilege of spending the evening at the White House with the first family and friends in what will no doubt go down in history as a legendary party! It was so diverse and beautiful, full of all walks of life and an amazing sense of strength and community.”

March 18, 2018

Brandi and Catherine welcomed baby number two, a daughter named Elijah.

On Instagram, the singer noted that the newest addition to their family was 9 pounds, making Catherine “a beast.” Truly loving the sense of humor these two have. 😂

February 10, 2019

The couple stepped out to attend the 61st Grammy Awards, where Brandi delivered a legendary performance of her song “The Joke.”

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Brandi Carlile – The Joke (LIVE at the 61st GRAMMYs)

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Oh, and she also happened to be the most-nominated female artist of the night, NBD. (But actually, Very Big Deal.)

April 6, 2021

Brandi released her memoir, Broken Horses, which topped the New York Times bestseller list shortly after its release. I mean, what can’t she do?!?!?

. ‘Broken Horses: A Memoir’

'Broken Horses: A Memoir'

. ‘Broken Horses: A Memoir’

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Credit: Amazon

June 1, 2021

Though Catherine doesn’t have an Instagram, she cheekily did a takeover on her wife’s account to celebrate her 40th birthday, and it could not be any cuter. “Happy 40th birthday to my beautiful, brilliant and fearless wife Brandi. I woke up this morning thinking about us falling in love on the eve of your 30th birthday 10 years ago in New York City. We were both tortured poets, too thin and unaware of the remarkable life that we were about to build together.”

P.S. Should you choose to read the whole post (you’re doing yourself a serious disservice if you don’t), you’re gonna wanna break out a box or two of Kleenex.

May 8, 2022

Brandi posts a sweet Mother’s Day vid to Instagram. Cue the waterworks again!

August 10, 2022

Brandi and Catherine decide to launch their monthly radio show, Somewhere Over the Radio.

A few months later, the singer posts a clip of herself and Catherine goofing off in the studio alongside the caption, “My wife Catherine took me to work with her today. I took it very seriously because I’m a professional, she on the other hand… 🤪. For those of you who’ve been living under a rock these past few months, my wife and I have a radio show! Celebrating queer brilliance in music!”

October 14, 2022

The couple beautifully sang Brandi’s song “You and Me on the Rock” for a live IMAX event.

Literally no words, just seconding *the* Mandy Moore’s comment: “Damn! Of course you both sound like magic together. So beautiful!!!!”

And that’s about it! This timeline will be updated with the next sweet installment of Brandi and Catherine’s relationship.

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