Discussion in 'Φ QANON & POLITICS' started by Rose, Jul 28, 2018.
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Investigations into Facebook's data handling keep piling up. The New York Times has learned that federal prosecutors are in the midst of a criminal investigation into the data deals Facebook arranged with tech companies. It's not known when the investigation began or just what the focus is, but a New York grand jury reportedly used subpoenas to obtain records from two or more "prominent makers of smartphones." The deals included heavyweights like Apple, Microsoft and Sony.
Facebook acknowledged the investigation to the Times, stating that it was "cooperating with investigators" and was taking probes "seriously."
The deals typically revolved around making it easier to fill out contacts, share content and otherwise integrate Facebook with devices and websites. There's a concern that these deals weren't always transparent to everyday users, though. Microsoft's Bing deal mapped the friends of Facebook users without explicit permission, for instance. The FTC is believed to be negotiating a fine with Facebook over alleged violations of a 2011 privacy agreement, but not necessarily over those deals. Investigators may be using a criminal case to address concerns other agencies haven't already covered.
Whatever the details, the investigation doesn't bode well. Most of those deals have long since ended, and Mark Zuckerberg recently pledged to make a "privacy-focused" social network, but officials aren't likely to care. As with Cambridge Analytica and other scandals, Facebook's past is coming back to haunt it in ways that could have serious repercussions.
A New York grand jury has subpoenaed records from at least two smartphone manufacturers as part of a criminal investigation into Facebook’s data deals with large technology companies.
The story, first reported by the New York Times, cites anonymous sources familiar with the grand jury requests. Federal prosecutors have been looking into the social media giant’s deals with more than 150 firms to share data on hundreds of millions of users. Customers for that reportedly included Amazon, Apple, Microsoft and Sony, each of whom had agreements to see user friends, contact information and other data without consent.
Facebook has allegedly ended most of the partnerships over the past two years. Facebook stated that it is cooperating with investigators. ““We’ve provided public testimony, answered questions and pledged that we will continue to do so.”
Prosecutors from the United States attorney’s office for the Eastern District of New York are behind the investigation, one of several underway against Facebook on various privacy and data issues, centered around access Facebook granted to its business partners on user personal information without consent. That allowed techology companies to harvest vast amounts of user data in order to market services geared toward user friends, interests and tastes.
The serious violations were exacerbated by Facebook’s breach of agreements with the Federal Trade Commission over use of consumer data, and the contridiction of statements by Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg and other executives on its tactics and practices. The Times reported that FTC officials are considering multiple billions in fines for violation of its 2011 agreement.
Facebook has claimed its partnerships were permitted under an FTC agreement covering service providers.
Last week, Zuckerberg publicized a plan he claimed would allow Facebook to put more emphasis on private communications over sharing. The company is also investigating blockchain and cryptocurrency applications, which some view as yet another potential data goldmine that could be harvested.
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California GOP Rep. Devin Nunes filed a major lawsuit seeking $250 million in compensatory damages and $350,000 in punitive damages against Twitter and a handful of its users on Monday, accusing the social media site of "shadow-banning conservatives" including himself to influence the 2018 elections, systematically censoring opposing viewpoints and totally "ignoring" lawful complaints of repeated abusive behavior.
In a complaint filed in Virginia state court on Monday, obtained by Fox News, Nunes claimed Twitter wanted to derail his work on the House Intelligence Committee, which he chaired until 2019, as he looked into alleged and apparent surveillance abuses by the government. Nunes said Twitter was guilty of "knowingly hosting and monetizing content that is clearly abusive, hateful and defamatory – providing both a voice and financial incentive to the defamers – thereby facilitating defamation on its platform."
The lawsuit alleged defamation, conspiracy and negligence, and sought not only damages, but also an injunction compelling Twitter to turn over the identities behind numerous accounts he said harassed and defamed him. The lawsuit is separate from Nunes' work on the House Intelligence Committee, where he is now the ranking member.
“Twitter is a machine," Nunes' personal attorney, Steven S. Biss, told Fox News. "It is a modern-day Tammany Hall. Congressman Nunes intends to hold Twitter fully accountable for its abusive behavior and misconduct.”
Although federal law ordinarily exempts services like Twitter from defamation liability, Nunes' suit said the platform has taken such an active role in curating and banning content -- as opposed to merely hosting it -- that it should face liability like any other organization that defames.
"Twitter created and developed the content at issue in this case by transforming false accusations of criminal conduct, imputed wrongdoing, dishonesty and lack of integrity into a publicly available commodity used by unscrupulous political operatives and their donor/clients as a weapon," Nunes' legal team wrote. "Twitter is 'responsible' for the development of offensive content on its platform because it in some way specifically encourages development of what is offensive about the content."
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As Big Tech’s censorship of conservatives becomes ever more flagrant and overt, the old arguments about protecting the sanctity of the modern public square are now invalid. Our right to freely engage in public discourse through speech is under sustained attack, necessitating a vigorous defense against the major social media and internet platforms.
From “shadowbans” on Facebook and Twitter, to demonetization of YouTube videos, to pulled ads for Republican candidates at the critical junctures of election campaigns, the list of violations against the online practices and speech of conservatives is long.
I certainly had my suspicions confirmed when Instagram, which is owned by Facebook, “accidentally” censored a post I made regarding the Jussie Smollett hoax, which consequently led to me hearing from hundreds of my followers about how they've been having problems seeing, liking or being able to interact with my posts. Many of them even claimed that they've had to repeatedly refollow me, as Instagram keeps unfollowing me on their accounts.