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Facebook ‘exploited’ Australian kids for advertisers 




Sydney, May 1: Facebook monitored the posts of Australian children and used algorithms to identify and exploit them by allowing advertisers to target them during their “most vulnerable moments”, media reported, evoking criticism against the social media giant.

A confidential 23-page Facebook document prepared by company’s two top Australian executives outlines how the social network can target “moments when young people need a confidence boost” in pinpoint detail, The Australian reported on Sunday.

Facebook collected the information on a person’s moods including feeling “worthless”, “overwhelmed” and “nervous” and then, it divulged the same to advertisers who use it to target them.

Facebook admitted it was wrong to target the children and apologized.

“We have opened an investigation to understand the process failure and improve our oversight. We will undertake disciplinary and other processes as appropriate,” a Facebook spokeswoman told The Australian.

“While the data on which this research is based was aggregated and presented consistent with applicable privacy and legal protections, including the removal of any personally identifiable information, our internal process sets a standard higher than required by law,” she added.

Facebook’s tactic violates the Australian Code for Advertising and Marketing Communications to Children guidelines.

The revelation also points towards the how Facebook can be used for covert surveillance which most of the social networking sites claim to be fighting against.

There have been rumours about Facebook’s advertising sales methods but there was no proof until now that could corroborate that.

“The document is an insight on how Facebook gathers psychological insights on 6.4 million ‘high schoolers’, ‘tertiary students’ and ‘young Australians, New Zealanders… in the workforce’ to sell targeted advertising,” the report noted.

The document states that the detailed information on mood shifts among young people is “based on internal Facebook data, shareable under non-disclosure agreement only, and is not publicly available”.

Facebook has not disclosed if the similar practices exist elsewhere.

This practice is similar to a 2014 psychological experiment conducted by Facebook on its 600,000 users without their knowledge.

Facebook had then tweaked the News Feed of users to highlight either positive or negative post from their friends. The social media giant then monitored the users’ response to study the impact of their friends’ attitude.



Social media scrolling can make you feel worse, says Facebook




San Francisco, Dec 16: Facebook has said that passively scrolling through posts on the social media platform can make people feel worse — while active engagement on the platform may have the opposite effect.

Citing scientific research on well-being and social media, Facebook on Friday highlighted the two sides of using social media — the good and the bad.

“According to the research, it really comes down to how you use the technology,” Facebook said in a blog post.

For example, on social media, you can passively scroll through posts, much like watching TV, or actively interact with friends — messaging and commenting on each other’s posts.

“Just like in person, interacting with people you care about can be beneficial, while simply watching others from the sidelines may make you feel worse,” wrote Facebook’s Director of Research David Ginsberg and its Research Scientist Moira Burke.

The researchers cited one experiment in which University of Michigan students randomly assigned to read Facebook for 10 minutes were in a worse mood at the end of the day than students assigned to post or talk to friends on Facebook.

A study from University of California San Diego and Yale found that people who clicked on about four times as many links as the average person, or who liked twice as many posts, reported worse mental health than average in a survey.

Why it is so is not clear, but researchers believe that reading about others online might lead to negative social comparison — and perhaps even more so than offline, since people’s posts are often more curated and flattering.

Another theory is that the Internet takes people away from social engagement in person.

“On the other hand, actively interacting with people — especially sharing messages, posts and comments with close friends and reminiscing about past interactions — is linked to improvements in well-being,” the Facebook post said.

A study Facebook conducted with Carnegie Mellon University found that people who sent or received more messages, comments and Timeline posts reported improvements in social support, depression and loneliness.

The positive effects were even stronger when people talked with their close friends online, the study found.

“In sum, our research and other academic literature suggests that it’s about how you use social media that matters when it comes to your well-being,” Ginsberg and Burke wrote.


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Facebook adds a ‘Snooze’ feature to ‘mute’ friends




San Francisco, Dec 16: Social Media giant Facebook has rolled out “Snooze” feature in News Feed to temporarily unfollow a person, Page or group for 30 days.

The feature will mute content without unfriending, unfollowing or leaving them forever.

“By selecting ‘Snooze’ in the top-right drop-down menu of a post, you won’t see content from those people, Pages or groups in your News Feed for that time period,” Shruthi Muraleedharan, Product Manager at Facebook, said in a blog post late on Friday.

“We’ve heard from people that they want more options to determine what they see in News Feed and when they see it. With ‘Snooze’, you don’t have to unfollow or unfriend permanently, rather just stop seeing someone’s posts for a short period of time,” she added.

“The people, Pages, and groups you snooze will not be notified. You will be notified before the ‘Snooze’ period is about to end and the setting can also be reversed at any time,” the post read.

With features like Unfollow, Hide, Report and See First, Facebook has consistently been working toward helping users to manage their News Feed.

“As News Feed evolves, we’ll continue to provide easy-to-use tools to give you the most personalised experience possible every time you visit Facebook,” the post asserted.


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Ransomware biggest threat for most Indian companies: Report




New Delhi, Dec 15: As cyber attacks grow, 69 per cent of the organisations in India said that ransomware is a significant risk to them while 43 per cent revealed they have experienced ransomware attacks in the past year, a KPMG survey said on Friday.

Nearly 79 per cent organisations identified cybersecurity as one of the top five business risks while 81 per cent have cybersecurity budgets of less than 10 per cent of total planned budgets, said KPMG in India’s cybercrime survey report 2017.

“Cybercrime has moved from corporate espionage and theft of Intellectual Property to use of advanced technology and malicious software, with the intent of holding companies to ransom and the threat of sabotaging brand reputation with data security breaches,” said Akhilesh Tuteja, Partner and Head-Risk Consulting for KPMG in India.

About 58 per cent organisations have included cyber risk as part of the boardroom agenda which has moved up from 41 per cent as recorded in the 2015 KPMG survey.

The survey, that included CIOs, CISOs, CIAs, COOs, security professionals, top law enforcement officers and end users from all over India, highlighted that for 40 per cent of end users, cross-country jurisdictions being involved is a hindrance in lodging a complaint with the cyber cells.

“Not surprising then that a mere 3 per cent of the organisations have reported cyber incidents to a local law enforcement agency,” the report noted.

“Cyber breaches should no longer be looked upon as isolated incidents linked with IT or IT security. Organisations should consider it as an indicator to a potential cyber fraud and be vigilant online,” said Sudesh Anand Shetty, Partner-Risk Consulting, KPMG in India.

Organisations are increasingly adopting different measures to combat cybersecurity risks which include development of a thorough cybersecurity framework, risk assessment, cybersecurity awareness training, etc.

However, only 18 per cent organisations are of the opinion that they are fully prepared to withstand and respond to large scale cyber-attacks.

“Cyber-attacks are a reality in today’s world and there is a need for an organisation to have balance between the protect and response measures, currently the preparedness on response to cyber-attacks need to be enhanced significantly,” said Atul Gupta, Partner IT Advisory and Leader-Cyber security, KPMG in India.


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