Siva Vaidhyanathan

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From October to March, Facebook deleted 1.27 billion fake sites, the company’s chief operating officer, Sheryl Sandberg, told legislators on Wednesday. Credit Tom Brenner for The New York Times

“As of this morning, the Facebook community is now officially two billion people!” Facebook’s chief executive, Mark Zuckerberg, wrote on his Facebook page in July 2017. “We’re making progress connecting the world, and now let’s bring the world closer together.”

It was a monumental achievement. But on Wednesday, Sheryl Sandberg, Facebook’s chief operating officer, revealed a number that was almost as startling. She told the Senate Intelligence Committee that from October to last March, Facebook deleted 1.3 billion fake accounts. In other words, an alarming portion of those more than two billion users — more than the company had publicly acknowledged — were fake.…  Seguir leyendo »

This Russian Company Knows What You Like on Facebook

Not long ago, debates about privacy and surveillance were theoretical. What’s the harm if Amazon and Google and Facebook know my thoughts and desires? They serve me better if they do, and they don’t run prisons or secret police forces.

Those of us who pushed for stronger protections from surveillance have often invoked hypothetical situations in which oppressive states use private data to profile and target undesirable populations or individuals.

We no longer need to conjure hypotheticals. On June 29, Facebook revealed to congressional investigators that it granted Mail.ru, a Russian internet company with close ties to the Kremlin, a special extension of the Facebook policy that allowed thousands of application developers access to massive amounts of user data.…  Seguir leyendo »

Don’t Delete Facebook. Do Something About It.

On March 16, as the buzzer sounded in perhaps the worst upset in N.C.A.A. tournament history, and my beloved University of Virginia went down to the 16th-seeded University of Maryland, Baltimore County, I had one thought: I need to deactivate my Facebook account. I did not want to endure the taunts and trash talk of my friends who cheer for Duke.

I do this often. When I need to focus on a project or relax a bit, I turn off the noise that comes from Facebook — the constant stream of disturbing faces, angry comments and shallow pulls on my precious attention.…  Seguir leyendo »