It has been a rollercoaster this past week in terms of what tech giants have been up to and Clicked is here to break it down and make sense of it from Facebook’s apps going down, Instagram privacy blunder to the Apple, Qualcomm court dispute to why Intel is calling it quits on the 5G modem chips business with other tech news you might have missed and the added interesting reads to check out.
With Facebook, user privacy is a myth
Every day, new info and not usually in the interest of users come out of the giant social network and this time around, Mark Zuckerberg and other Facebook executives allegedly used user data to fight rivals and help friends as shown by leaked documents. Facebook execs discussed cutting off access to user data for a rival messaging app that was getting popular. In another scenario, Facebook gave Amazon extended access to user data since the e-commerce giant was spending money on Facebook ads and was partnering with them for the launch of their mobile device, the Fire smartphone.
Intersection of data protection and competition policy. Go there people or the symptoms (financial instability, fraud, brand erosion, disinformation, click-bait, harmful incentives) will continue. https://t.co/jtUZHoJYZI
— Jason Kint (@jason_kint) April 16, 2019
This malpractice of data bargaining confirms that Facebook is more concerned with the financial implications of handling user data than the privacy implications – personal data is a business asset to them.
Early last week, Facebook was also found to have “unintentionally uploaded 1.5 million people’s email contacts(could be in the tens of millions) from users without their permission and knowledge when they first signed up.
gruesome analogy but, yeah. https://t.co/LFD210zfV4
— Tracy Chou 👩🏻💻 (@triketora) April 18, 2019
Users were asked to provide their email passwords when they opened their accounts and this is how Facebook got users’ contact books. The harvested contacts were not only used for its friend recommendation engine but also to “improve ads”.
Just like facemash "unintentionally" violated Harvard undergrads' privacy by uploading school photos to a hot-or-not ripoff site ¯_(ツ)_/¯
Just think: if that stunt hadn't been considered a rousing technological success, we never would've had Facebook!
priorities huh😐 https://t.co/5ibDJD5bSI
— Mar Hicks (@histoftech) April 18, 2019
Action on this revelation is already up as the Irish Data Protection Commission has started engaging with Facebook concerning this recent revelation as it may have violated GDPR and other FTC consent decree in the EU and the US respectively.
Here’s another privacy mishap – Remember the time Facebook revealed that it had stored tens of millions of user passwords unencrypted on their servers – well, they updated the blog to include that they had stored the passwords of millions of Instagram users unencrypted – Facebook had earlier said it was tens of thousands of Instagram users – time to go change that password ASAP.
The social media giant is also getting in the business of voice assistants so you could say, “Hey Facebook” the company is already in talks with smart speaker companies as Facebook gets into the in-home hardware and will complement its Portal device which currently shipped with Amazon’s Alexa. Facebook’s assistant could also be used for the Oculus headsets or other future projects.
- Facebook to introduce live streaming restrictions this month
- 15 Months of Fresh Hell Inside Facebook
- Facebook prototypes a swipeable hybrid carousel of feed posts & Stories
- Facebook Is Stealing Your Family’s Joy
- Facebook accidentally put hidden messages like ‘Big Brother is Watching’ and ‘The Masons Were Here’ in ‘tens of thousands’ of VR controllers
- Facebook spent $20 million last year on Zuckerberg’s personal security, up 4 times from 2016
- Facebook perfects the art of the news dump
- Private Groups Might Be The Last Good Thing About Facebook
Interesting Reads from Instagram:
- Instagram test visualizes hiding ‘Like’ counts from viewers – It’s not public yet, but that’s how these things start.
- Instagram prototypes video co-watching
- How Hedgehogs Became Instagram’s Most Miserable Celebrities
Watch this TED talk where Carole Cadwalladr, the U.K. journalist who first exposed the Cambridge Analytica scandal goes on to blame Facebook and other tech giants for nothing less than the undoing of Western democracy. In the talk, she said she was using it to address the “gods of Silicon Valley.”
Apple settles with Qualcomm as Intel bows down to 5G smartphone modem business
Apple and Qualcomm have been in a bitter court dispute the past couple of months and the Cupertino-based tech giant finally agreed to settle and end all litigation between themselves. A licensing agreement was set that will see Qualcomm supply chipsets, including modems, for iPhones and other Apple products. This quick settlement is speculated to come after Intel called it quits on the 5G modem it was working on with Apple so as to supply the company as it prepares for a 5G iPhone.
Given the announcement’s timing, it’s clear that Intel management lost interest in — or couldn’t deliver —mobile 5G, which forced Apple to settle with Qualcomm, not that Apple’s settlement forced Intel to exit 5G modems.
— Avi Greengart (@greengart) April 17, 2019
Intel will now have to focus its efforts more on 4G and 5G modems for PCs, IoT smart home devices, as well as its broader 5G infrastructure business. This surprise deal changed the power balance in the chip industry but the Intel exit isn’t ideal for Apple too, since they would have preferred to have two modem chip suppliers instead of one.
- Apple and Qualcomm’s Billion-Dollar Staredown – A frosty relationship between Tim Cook and Steve Mollenkopf has deepened a dispute between the companies
- Apple said Qualcomm’s tech was no good. But in private communications, it was ‘the best.’
Twitter set to launch an experimental feature that would allow users to hide replies
This feature would let users hide replies that users felt didn’t contribute to a conversation and will launch in June. The feature would be experimental in that it could be changed or scrapped, based on feedback from users.
— Michelle Yasmeen Haq (@thechelleshock) February 28, 2019
What is worrying is that this feature could silence dissenting opinions or worse, fact-checked clarifications by the original poster but the silver lining is that tweet replies from trolls will be tucked away out of view the way Facebook and Instagram give you the option to delete comments from trolls. Hopefully, this leads to healthy interactions on the platform.
Twitter is also announced that it is working to increase safety for its users and solve issues around online abuse.
1/7 We’ve been focusing on proactive initiatives to make Twitter healthier and keep people safe. A more holistic approach allows us to better address potential rule violations and coordinated attacks before we receive reports. Learn more👇 https://t.co/fIxiTGgCiH
— Gasca (@gasca) April 16, 2019
Twitter admitted that there is more to do and will continue to share its progress in the future.
- Twitter secretly verified Jack Dorsey’s mom and thousands of others despite ‘pause’
- Twitter says it has acquired highlight sharing app Highly
- How Jack Dorsey plans to change Twitter – by shifting the focus from following specific individuals to tracking topics of interest
- Jack Dorsey Is Captain of the Twittanic
Watch Jack Dorsey’s TED talk here:
In Case You Missed It
- Amazon Music’s free ad-supported tier goes live, but only for Alexa users – The only other major streaming music service with an ad-supported free tier is Spotify
- YouTube is finally coming back to Amazon’s Fire TV devices, and Prime Video is adding Chromecast support
- Millions Are Obsessed With Vine Compilations on YouTube. Now There’s a Battle Brewing Over Who Should Get Paid
- High schoolers are inviting thousands of strangers to watch as they get into college — and get rejected
- Google to suggest 10 browser and search engine alternatives for Android users in Europe
- EU countries give final approval to copyright reform aimed at Google and Facebook
- Putting aside the screen issues, the Samsung Galaxy Fold still has a long way to go
Here it is, my Galaxy Fold review. Even if you assume the broken screen issues will be resolved, there are still many issues.
— Dieter Bohn (@backlon) April 19, 2019
- Samsung Galaxy Fold Non-Review: We Are Not Your Beta Testers
- BlackBerry Messenger shutting down on 31 May 2019
- Zoom, Zoom, Zoom! The Exclusive Inside Story Of The New Billionaire Behind Tech’s Hottest IPO
- TikTok Brings Chinese-Style Censorship to America’s Tweens
- Instagram Memers Are Unionizing
- How-to video maker Jumprope launches to leapfrog YouTube
- Foxconn’s Gou: Sea Goddess Tells Me to Run for Taiwan President
- Mutiny at HQ Trivia fails to oust CEO
- Privacy Is Too Big to Understand
- Starz Apologizes for Taking Down Tweets to Torrentfreak Article Following Security Breach
- ‘Shell on’ challenge is the latest dangerous Snapchat trend among teens
- This YouTuber Built a Working PC Out of Pasta
- Watch this influencer parody (documentary)
GDPR is my therapist pic.twitter.com/GqsA7Fbfky
— Vinay Patel Is Not At Home (@VinayPatel) April 16, 2019