The machine always wins: what drives our addiction to social media

The long read: Social media was supposed to liberate us, but for many people it has proved addictive, punishing and toxic. What keeps us hooked? We are swimming in writing. Our lives have become, in the words of the author and academic Shoshana Zuboff, an electronic text. Facebook for just 99 days. Many of these determined quitters couldnt even make the first few days. And many of those who successfully quit had access to another social networking site, like Twitter, so that they had simply displaced their addiction. Those who stayed away, however, were typically in a happier frame of mind and less interested in controlling how other people thought of them, thus implying that social media addiction is partly …

Counselors reportedly pressured to share private info about Facebook moderators

Managers at a company that oversees some of Facebooks content moderators reportedly pressured trauma counselors to reveal private information about the staff, the Intercept reports. Texas-based company Accenture oversees roughly 1,500 peopleall of whom are tasked with moderating everythingfrom extreme violence to animal abusefor Facebook. Accenture provides counselors, referred to internally as wellness coaches, for workers who become overwhelmed or traumatized by viewing countless hours of graphic content. Even though counseling sessions are protected by confidentiality laws, a letter given to the Interceptby company whistleblowers alleges that Accentures managers have pressured its wellness coaches to reveal what employees are saying in their sessions. At least one counselor is said to have refused, although a manager pushed back by arguing that …

ICE deported a Detroit man who came to the U.S. as a baby. He died in Iraq without insulin

with essentially no notice has reportedly died because he couldnt access his diabetes medication. PoliticoAccording to Edward A. Bajoka, an immigration attorney who reportedly knew Aldaoud, he likely died because he couldnt access insulin. In a video shared by Imran Siddiqi on Twitter, Aldaoud is seen explaining his circumstances from the streets of Iraq. This man, who had lived here since he was 6 months old died as a direct result of Trump and ICE. This video of him sitting on the streets of Iraq with nowhere to go and no access to the insulin he needed should haunt us forever. #JimmyAldaoud pic.twitter.com/707eLexV1V — Imraan Siddiqi (@imraansiddiqi) August 8, 2019 I said Ive never been there, Ive been in this …

Researchers spotlight the lie of anonymous data

Researchers from two universities in Europe have published a method they say is able to correctly re-identify 99.98% of individuals in anonymized data sets with just 15 demographic attributes. Their model suggests complex data sets of personal information cannot be protected against re-identification by current methods of “anonymizing” data — such as releasing samples (subsets) of the information. Indeed, the suggestion is that no “anonymized” and released big data set can be considered safe from re-identification — not without strict access controls. “Our results suggest that even heavily sampled anonymized datasets are unlikely to satisfy the modern standards for anonymization set forth by GDPR [Europe’s General Data Protection Regulation] and seriously challenge the technical and legal adequacy of the de-identification …

We just clicked: why I set out to find a new group of friends online

Can a friendship app, a digital neighbourhood noticeboard or Facebook really help me discover a new bestie? This year started with a bang. It burst into life with fireworks and kisses, and then came the sound of a spoon tapping on a wine glass. Since were all together, said my friend, I wanted to say its been an honour knowing you while Ive been in London. Another leaving speech. I have heard many over the past few years, watching loved ones leave in search of job opportunities or housing security, or as a cure for homesickness. Later, as I lay in bed, I thought about my rate of friend attrition. How long until I found myself totally alone? Five years? …

UK Facebook users now have a tool to report scam ads

Facebook has launched a tool for U.K. users to report ads they suspect of being scams. The feature can be accessed by clicking the three dotsin the top-right corner of each ad on Facebook, then selecting ‘Report ad,’ then ‘Misleading or scam ad’ and finally ‘Send a detailed scam report.’ So if you want to think of it as a reporting “button,” it’s a button that actually requires four presses to function as intended… tool where anyone can report ads — and they are reviewed manually by our Trust & Safety team. With regards to donation, we are looking forward to chatting to Martin and the team to learn more about the initiative at this point.” In another recent change to its ads …

As FTC cracks down, data ethics is now a strategic business weapon

Daniel Wu Five billion dollarsWhile many believe the sum is simply a , it’s still the largest amount the Federal Trade Commission has ever levied on a technology company.  51%“delete Facebook”20%While incumbents like Facebook are struggling with their data, startups in highly-regulated, “” industries can take advantage by using a data strategy one would least expect: ethics. Beyond complying with regulations, startups that embrace ethics look out for their customers’ best interests, cultivate long-term trust — and avoid billion dollar fines.  Established, highly-regulated incumbents often use slow and unsystematic data compliance workflows, operated manually by armies of lawyers and technology personnel. Agile data governance systems, in contrast, simplify both these workflows and the use of cutting-edge privacy tools, allowing resource-poor …

Facebook had a secret tool for tracking memes about the company

Facebook developed two secret tools to both track its public image and to combat hoaxes and memes targeting its company, Bloomberg reports. One of those tools, known as Stormchaser, was used by the social media giant to follow false information about its platform and even jokes about its founder. Since its deployment in 2016, Facebook has used the tool to track a wide array of content including posts that claim it listens to users through their phones and that company CEO Mark Zuckerberg is an alien. In certain cases, the company took action in order to stop the spread of hoaxes. Just one month before the 2016 U.S. presidential election, Facebook alerted users who spread a false claim that peoples …

Senators Want Facebook to Put a Price on Your Data. Is That Possible?

In these days of anti-tech ire, it’s a popular cocktail hour topic: How much is Facebook making off my data? Last year, I spent a month trying to find out, hawking my personal data on blockchain-based marketplaces. I came away with $0.003. On Monday, when Senator Mark Warner (D-Virginia) announced a proposal to force tech companies to tell users the value of their data, he was slightly more generous, ballparking the average at $5 a month. In truth, it’s probably only Facebook or Google (and their advertisers) who could hazard a good guess. “The cards are really stacked against us,” says David Carroll, a professor of media design at the New School known for his extensive quest to reclaim his …

Facebook pivots to what it wishes it was

In Facebook’s dreams, it’s a clean and private place. People spend their time having thoughtful discussions in “meaningful” Groups, planning offline meetups with Events or laughing together in a Facebook Watch party. In reality, Facebook is a cluttered mess of features that seem to constantly leak user data. People waste their time viewing inane News Feed posts from “friends” they never talk to, enviously stalking through photos of peers or chowing on click-bait articles and viral videos in isolation. Facebook will never shake this reputation if it just keeps polishing its old features. Functionally, FB5 means placing Groups near the center of a freshly tabbed interface for both Facebook’s website and app, and putting suggestions for new ones to join …