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Facebook knows Instagram harms teens. Now, its plan to open the app to kids looks worse than ever

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facebook knows instagram harms teens now its plan to open the app to kids looks worse than ever
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Facebook is in the hot seat again.

Wall Street Journal published a powerful multi-part series on the company this week, drawing from internal documents on everything from the company’s secretive practice of whitelisting celebrities to its knowledge that Instagram is taking a serious toll on the mental health of teen girls.

The flurry of investigative pieces makes it clear that what Facebook says in public doesn’t always reflect the company’s knowledge on known issues behind the scenes. The revelations still managed to shock even though Facebook has been playing dumb about the various social ills it has sown for years. (Remember when Mark Zuckerberg dismissed the notion that Facebook influenced the 2016 election as “crazy?”) Facebook’s longstanding PR playbook is to hide its dangers, denying knowledge of its darker impacts on society publicly, even as research spells them out internally.

That’s all well and good until someone gets ahold of the internal research.

One of the biggest revelations from the WSJ’s report: The company knows that Instagram poses serious dangers to mental health in teenage girls. An internal research slide from 2019 acknowledged that “We make body image issues worse for one in three teen girls” — a shocking admission for a company charging ahead with plans to expand to even younger and more vulnerable age groups.

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As recently as May, Instagram’s Adam Mosseri dismissed concerns around the app’s negative impact on teens as “quite small.”

But internally, the picture told a different story. According to the WSJ, from 2019 to 2021, the company conducted a thorough deep dive into teen mental health, including online surveys, diary studies, focus groups and large-scale questionnaires.

According to one internal slide, the findings showed that 32% of teenage girls reported that Instagram made them have a worse body image. Of research participants who experienced suicidal thoughts, 13% of British teens and 6% of American teens directly linked their interest in killing themselves to Instagram.

“Teens blame Instagram for increases in the rate of anxiety and depression,” another internal slide stated. “This reaction was unprompted and consistent across all groups.”

Following the WSJ report, Senators Marsha Blackburn (R-TN) and Richard Blumenthal (D-CT) announced a probe into Facebook’s lack of transparency around internal research showing that Instagram poses serious and even lethal danger to teens. The Senate Subcommittee on Consumer Protection, Product Safety, and Data Security will launch the investigation.

“We are in touch with a Facebook whistleblower and will use every resource at our disposal to investigate what Facebook knew and when they knew it – including seeking further documents and pursuing witness testimony,” Senators Blackburn and Blumenthal wrote. “The Wall Street Journal’s blockbuster reporting may only be the tip of the iceberg.”

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Blackburn and Blumenthal weren’t the only U.S. lawmakers alarmed by the new report. Sen. Ed Markey (D-MA), Rep. Kathy Castor (D-FL), and Lori Trahan (D-MA) sent Facebook their own letter demanding that the company walk away from its plan to launch Instagram for kids. “Children and teens are uniquely vulnerable populations online, and these findings paint a clear and devastating picture of Instagram as an app that poses significant threats to young people’s wellbeing,” the lawmakers wrote.

In May, a group of 44 state attorneys general wrote to Instagram to encourage the company to abandon its plans to bring Instagram to kids under the age of 13. “It appears that Facebook is not responding to a need, but instead creating one, as this platform appeals primarily to children who otherwise do not or would not have an Instagram account,” the group of attorneys general wrote. They warned that an Instagram for kids would be “harmful for myriad reasons.”

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In April, a collection of the same Democratic lawmakers expressed “serious concerns” about Instagram’s potential impact on the well-being of young users. That same month, a coalition of consumer advocacy organizations also demanded that the company reconsider launching a version of Instagram for kids.

According to the documents obtained by the WSJ, all of those concerns look extremely valid. In spite of extensive internal research and their deeply troubling findings, Facebook has downplayed its knowledge publicly, even as regulators regularly pressed the company for what it really knows.

Instagram’s Mosseri may have made matters worse Thursday when he made a less than flattering analogy between social media platforms and vehicles. “We know that more people die than would otherwise because of car accidents, but by and large, cars create way more value in the world than they destroy,” Mosseri told Peter Kafka on Recode’s media podcast. “And I think social media is similar.”

Mosseri dismissed any comparison between social media and drugs or cigarettes in spite of social media’s well-researched addictive effects, likening social platforms to the auto industry instead. Naturally, the company’s many critics jumped on the car comparison, pointing to their widespread lethality and the fact that the auto industry is heavily regulated — unlike social media.

TechCrunch

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Rätten beslutar om uppskov med massuppsägningar av Facebook-moderatorer

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Rätten beslutar om uppskov med massuppsägningar av Facebook-moderatorer

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. 

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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.

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The complainants alleged this inaction resulted in the murder of a university professor in Ethiopia and called for the creation of a $1.6 billion fund to compensate the victims. 

AFP is involved in a partnership with Meta providing fact-checking services in Asia-Pacific, Europe, the Middle East, Latin America, and Africa.

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Twitter-användare upptäcker konstig anti-ukrainsk annons på israelisk Facebook – Israel News

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Twitter-användare upptäcker konstig anti-ukrainsk annons på israelisk Facebook - Israel News

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. 

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.

Problems with Facebook’s approval process

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” 

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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.



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Hur Facebook samlar in din information i hemlighet även om du inte har registrerat dig

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Hur Facebook samlar in din information i hemlighet även om du inte har registrerat dig

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)

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CLICK TO GET KURT’S FREE CYBERGUY NEWSLETTER WITH SECURITY ALERTS, QUICK TIPS, TECH REVIEWS, AND EASY HOW-TO’S TO MAKE YOU SMARTER 

How does Facebook use the data it receives?

Facebook’s privacy policy explains in great detail what they do with the information they receive. According to its website, there are three main ways in which they use the information they get from other websites and apps: 

  • 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. 

HOW TO CHANGE YOUR PASSWORD ON FACEBOOK  

How do I remove my information?

If you’re not currently or have never been a Facebook user, here’s what you can do.  

  • Gå till Meta Help Page where there is information for people who do not use Meta products
  • Go to the heading that says How Non-Users can exercise their rights
  • There will be a link that says Click Here, which will take you to a webpage where you can ask Meta to remove your contact information.
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Select the type of information you want to remove. Choose from a mobile number, landline, eller email address, then hit Next

  • Enter your phone number and/or email address to get a confirmation code
  • Select the platform you want it removed from (Facebook and Messenger or Instagram), or select All
  • Klick Next and enter the confirmation code on the next screen. Hit Next one last time
  • If something is found, hit Confirm to delete the data
  • Hit Stänga on the next screen, or use the link to search for another number or email.

IS FACEBOOK LISTENING TO YOU? 

If you’re a Facebook user, here’s how to adjust your contact settings. 

  • Log in to your Facebook account
  • Click your Profile picture
  • Klick Settings & privacy
  • Klick inställningar
  • 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
  • Klick Settings & privacy
  • Klick inställningar
  • Klick 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. 

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Kurt’s key takeaways 

CLICK HERE TO GET THE FOX NEWS APP

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. 

För fler av mina tips, prenumerera på mitt kostnadsfria CyberGuy Report Newsletter genom att gå till CyberGuy.com/Newsletter. 

Copyright 2023 CyberGuy.com. All rights reserved. 

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