Facebook cannot guarantee interference-free EU elections: Zuckerberg

Facebook Inc is much better than it was in 2016 at tackling election interference but cannot guarantee the site will not be used to undermine European Parliament elections in May, Chief Executive Officer Mark Zuckerberg said on Tuesday.

Chastened since suspected Russian operatives used Facebook and other social media to influence an election that surprisingly brought Donald Trump to power in the United States, Facebook has said it has ploughed resources and staff into safeguarding the May 26 EU vote.

Zuckerberg said there had been a lot of important elections since 2016 that have been relatively clean and demonstrated the defenses it has built up to protect their integrity.

“We’ve certainly made a lot of progress ... But no, I don’t think anyone can guarantee in a world where you have nation states that are trying to interfere in elections, there’s no single thing we can do and say okay we’ve now solved the issue,” Zuckerberg told Irish national broadcaster RTE in an interview.

“This is an ongoing arms race where we’re constantly building up our defenses and these sophisticated governments are also evolving their tactics.”

U.S. intelligence agencies concluded that Russia ran a disinformation and hacking operation to undermine the American democratic process and help Republican Trump’s 2016 campaign. Moscow denies interfering in the election.

Under pressure from EU regulators to do more to guard against foreign meddling in the bloc’s upcoming legislative election, Facebook toughened its rules on political advertising in Europe last week.

It also announced plans to ramp up efforts to fight misinformation ahead of the vote and will partner with German news agency DPA to boost its fact checking. 


Facebook to be reoriented towards user privacy and encryption says Mark Zuckerberg



On Wednesday, Facebook’s CEO, Mark Zuckerberg put forth a reoriented model of privacy for the social media platform which has continued to encourage generation after generation to share what’s up with their life via pictures and status updates.

In an essay Mark posted on his account, he announced his future plans regarding Facebook which are focused on safety, interoperability, private interactions, encryption, secure data storage and reducing permanence.

After consistently being in news for security issues, the company has finally decided to appropriately position itself for an unknown time which is yet to come. Seemingly, the plan of action has been fuelled by the descending trust of the users and ongoing arguments with regulators across the globe.

Explaining the new model, Zuckerberg told that Facebook would be subjected to a change which would remodel the platform after a living room, where people will have complete control over who can communicate with them and a trust that no one else can access what they share, which is in contrast to the initial model which was based into broadcasting information to large sections.

Referencing from Zuckerberg’s Facebook post, “Public social networks will continue to be very important in people's lives -- for connecting with everyone you know, discovering new people, ideas and content, and giving people a voice more broadly. People find these valuable every day, and there are still a lot of useful services to build on top of them. But now, with all the ways people also want to interact privately, there's also an opportunity to build a simpler platform that's focused on privacy first.”

“In a few years, I expect future versions of Messenger and WhatsApp to become the main ways people communicate on the Facebook network. We're focused on making both of these apps faster, simpler, more private and more secure, including with end-to-end encryption. We then plan to add more ways to interact privately with your friends, groups, and businesses. If this evolution is successful, interacting with your friends and family across the Facebook network will become a fundamentally more private experience.”

The subtle and skeptical reactions to Mark’s announcement included privacy advocates questioning about the data that is collected for Facebook’s benefits, they asked if the practice will be minimized. Meanwhile, they asserted on the CEO’s need to talk beyond encryption and prioritize answering the questions on data collection for business purposes.

Referenced from the statements given by Jess Chester, executive director of a nonprofit privacy advocacy group in Washington, “Why does it always sound like we are witnessing a digital version of Groundhog Day when Facebook yet again promises — when it’s in a crisis — that it will do better,”

“Will it actually bring a change to how Facebook continually gathers data on its users in order to drive big profits?" He added.

Commenting on the matter, Jennifer Grygiel, assistant professor of communications at Syracuse University, questioned, “What’s not clear is how they are going to make this transition safely. We have already seen the risks associated with WhatsApp and private encryption in India, for example, where misinformation has led to mobs and the loss of life,”

Studies suggest that consumer trust in Facebook took critical hits due to continuous exploitation of users’ data. In terms of reputation among 100 highly visible public companies, Facebook fell from being 51st to 94th last year. Moreover, certain Facebook user polls implied people entirely getting rid of the app by uninstalling it.

While acknowledging the reduced trust quotient in his post, Zuckerberg wrote, “I understand that many people don’t think Facebook can or would even want to build this kind of privacy-focused platform — because frankly we don’t currently have a strong reputation for building privacy protective services, and we’ve historically focused on tools for more open sharing,” he said. “But we’ve repeatedly shown that we can evolve to build the services that people really want, including in private messaging and stories.”


To Zuckerberg’s proposal of a future which would look different, Twitter bore witness to another skeptical remark as Ashkan Soltani, a former Federal Trade Commission official and privacy researcher, said “This move is entirely a strategic play to use privacy as a competitive advantage and further lock in Facebook as the dominant messaging platform.”

Facebook to bring “Video Matching Technology” to control Piracy


Here comes a good news for those video creator who are fed up with the video piracy especially on social networking sites as Facebook is planning to launch a “Video Matching Technology” which will inform the real video owners that those videos are uploaded by others. 

A news report published in ReCode, confirms that in order to control the video piracy on Facebook, the company has decided to come up with the technology.

“We’ve heard from some of our content partners that third parties too frequently misuse their content on Facebook,” Facebook posted in its blog. “It’s not fair to those who work hard to create amazing videos. We want creators to get credit for the videos that they own.”

It is said that the company and its partners have started testing the new technology, which requires content owners to upload the clips they want to protect into Facebook’s system.

“It is the first step to creating the equivalent of YouTube’s Content ID system, which the video giant built up over years as a response to its own copyright/piracy problems. After years of ignoring video, 
Facebook is now a major player, so this kind of effort was obvious and overdue,” the news report reads.

“Facebook’s response comes after video makers and distributors have grown increasingly vocal about pirated videos, which by one estimate accounted for more than 70 percent of Facebook’s most popular videos. In May, Jukin Media, a video licensing agency best known for “Fail” clips, described Facebook’s copyright problems as “massive.” In June, Fullscreen CEO George Strompolos, who runs one of the biggest YouTube video networks,tweeted that he was “getting very tired of seeing our videos ripped there with no way to monitor or monetize,” the news report reads.

Now Facebook says Jukin and Fullscreen are two of its initial launch partners for the new technology, along with Zefr, a service company that helps content owners track their clips on YouTube. Facebook says it is also working with major media companies on the effort, but won’t identify them.



Facebook introduces "Trusted Contacts" for recovering hacked account


Facebook updated the feature that allows users to recover the hacked account with the help of three Facebook friends.  In the past, Facebook sent secret code to 3 facebook friends you choose.  Using those secret codes, you can retrieve your account.

But this feature was abused by BlackHat hackers to compromise the victim's account by becoming friend from three different profiles.

To overcome this problem, Facebook introduced a new feature called "Trusted Contacts" that allows users to select 3 to 5 friends to receive the secret code to recover your account.

"It's sort of similar to giving a house key to your friends when you go on vacation--pick the friends you most trust in case you need their help." Facebook security update reads.

Simple steps to add trusted contacts to your account:

  • Go to your Security Settings
  • Click on the Trusted Contacts section
  • Click Choose Trusted Contacts
  • Choose 3-5 friends and confirm your choices

However, there are few risks in using this feature.  If friends decided to have fun with you, they are able to access your facebook account.  

I don't know why Facebook is not providing the two-step authentication like Google Does.