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    Facebook sued for overstating advertising reach - court expanded the pool of plaintiffs to include more than 2 million small ad buyers

    Danie van der Merwe · news.movim.eu / gadgeteerza-tech-blog · Wednesday, 30 March - 09:06 · 1 minute

Dismissing what he called a “blunderbuss of objections” by the company, a federal judge in San Francisco ruled that the case can proceed as a class action on behalf of small business owners and individuals who bought ads on Facebook or Instagram since Aug. 15, 2014.

The decision is another setback for the social networking giant after court filings in 2021 revealed that its audience-measuring tool was known by high-ranking Facebook executives to be unreliable because it was skewed by fake and duplicate accounts.

LinkedIn is facing a suit accusing it of inflating video-viewing metrics to lure and overcharge advertisers. Snap Inc., the parent of the Snapchat social-media app, was sued in 2017 by a former employee who claimed the company was inflating growth metrics ahead of its initial public offering.

The moral of it seems to be that where the social network (business) is driven by profit, then those metrics are going to be maxed out. “For years, Facebook repeatedly confronted a choice between telling customers the truth or preserving its revenue: at every turn, Facebook chose its revenue,” lawyers for the ad buyers said in a court filing.

I logged into my mom's FB account this week to delete it this week (she has not used it in over two years), and a quick glance at the friends showed also no posts for months to a year plus, apart from one younger family member who seemed to still have posted a month ago.

MySpace at least died a lot quicker, but that death was driven by its users deserting it for a new, better platform. Our challenge in 2022 is we have too many alternatives, but better to choose a federated platform, than another walled garden like Facebook.

See https://mybroadband.co.za/news/internet/439268-facebook-sued-for-overstating-advertising-reach.html

#technology #socialnetworks #deletefacebook #classaction

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    EU ministers say life without Facebook is great, after Meta warned it may pull its services from Europe

    Danie van der Merwe · news.movim.eu / gadgeteerza-tech-blog · Friday, 11 February - 13:30 · 1 minute

"After being hacked, I've lived without Facebook and Twitter for four years, and life has been fantastic," German Economy Minister Robert Habeck said at a press conference in Paris.

French Finance Minister Bruno Le Maire, who spoke alongside Habeck, said: "I can confirm that life is very good without Facebook and that we would live very well without Facebook."

I can testify to the same thing. I deleted my Facebook account a good two years back now. It's true that many businesses still use Facebook (because of status quo) and that Facebook Marketplace is used by many scammers, but there is also Craigslist and other local online classified that be used that offer better protections to sellers and buyers.

It seems the youth anyway are migrating to TikTok and similar platforms as their numbers are way down on Facebook, and advertisers are starting to change their adverts to suite the TikTock environment.

Now Meta has pulled back a bit, stating this was just a business risk they were highlighting, but hopefully the EU stands firm. The world needs to move on from networks that exploit users' personal data at all costs.

See https://www.businessinsider.co.za/confirm-life-very-good-without-facebook-eu-ministers-meta-pullout-2022-2

#technology #deletemeta #socialnetworks #EU #privacy

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    SpaceHey is a retro MySpace (THE pre-Facebook) clone focussed on privacy without algorithms

    Danie van der Merwe · news.movim.eu / gadgeteerza-tech-blog · Friday, 12 November, 2021 - 09:10

Created by a young German coder identifying himself as An the Maker, SpaceHey is a faithful recreation of the spartan social experience in the early years of online media, triggering nostalgia in some users and curiosity in others. MySpace was the most popular social service on the web before Meta Platforms Inc.’s Facebook surged ahead.

Part of the attraction may be explained by the absence of intrusive advertising and big corporate overseers. SpaceHey promises “no algorithms, no tracking, and no personalized Ads – Feeds on SpaceHey are chronological and there is no suggested content begging for your attention.”

It is a centralised model (not peer-to-peer or federated), and although it uses some open-source libraries it does not appear to be open-source itself. The blogs, groups, and forums though are publicly accessible to read without login, so this is great for bloggers. Blogs also have RSS feed links, which is useful for replication elsewhere, or for followers who are not on SpaceHey.

See https://mybroadband.co.za/news/internet/422560-myspace-clone-blows-up.html

#technology #socialnetworks #alternativeto #SpaceHey

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    Apple’s app tracking policy reportedly cost social media platforms nearly $10 billion - Shows what just your metadata, not messages, are worth to advertisers

    Danie van der Merwe · news.movim.eu / gadgeteerza-tech-blog · Monday, 1 November, 2021 - 10:56 · 1 minute

An investigation by The Financial Times found that Snapchat, Facebook, Twitter, and YouTube lost around $9.85 billion in revenue following Apple’s changes to its privacy practices. Last year, Apple announced the App Tracking Transparency (ATT) policy that requires apps to ask permission to track users’ data. The policy went into effect in April, barring apps from tracking users if they opt out.

Your metadata (even anonymised) is not the content of your posts or messages, but describes things about you and your behaviour whilst using the platform. So what you click to read, where you pause momentarily while scrolling, your location, what times of the day you are active, whether you use public transport or sit in the traffic in a vehicle, who you follow, how many followers you have, and lots more are all of use to advertisers to see where their campaigns work, and to help predict whether your behaviours may match their product or service.

So one strategy is to try to block some of that metadata at the phone level, or another is for you to try one of the alternative social media sites which do not engage in these practices such as Mastodon, PixelFed, Lemmy, or the many others on the Fediverse. The big centralised social media sites rely heavily on advertising revenue to keep themselves going if they are to offer you their services for "free".

See https://www.theverge.com/2021/10/31/22756135/apple-app-tracking-transparency-policy-snapchat-facebook-twitter-youtube-lose-10-billion

#technology #privacy #socialnetworks #advertising #tracking

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    The Fediverse is a collection of independently run federated servers used for web publishing and social networking, connected by open standards

    Danie van der Merwe · news.movim.eu / gadgeteerza-tech-blog · Saturday, 23 October, 2021 - 14:42

The Fediverse is an ensemble of federated (i.e. interconnected) servers that are used for web publishing (i.e. social networking, microblogging, blogging, or websites) and file hosting, but which, while independently hosted, can communicate with each other. On different servers (instances), users can create so-called identities. These identities are able to communicate over the boundaries of the instances because the software running on the servers supports one or more communication protocols which follow an open standard.

As an identity on the fediverse, users are able to post text and other media, or to follow posts by other identities. In some cases, users can even show or share data (video, audio, text, and other files) publicly or to a selected group of identities and allow other identities to edit other users' data (such as a calendar or an address book).

These communication protocols, which implement open standards, are used in the fediverse: ActivityPub, Diaspora Network, OStatus, and Zot. The diagram on the linked page shows really well how these services connect through the different protocols which they support.

See https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Fediverse

#technology #openstandards #opensource #Fediverse #socialnetworks

  • Fediverse

    The Fediverse (a portmanteau of "federation" and "universe") is an ensemble of federated (i.e. interconnected) servers that are used for web publishing (i.e. social networking, microblogging, blogging, or websites) and file hosting, but which, while independently hosted, can communicate with each other. On different servers (instances), users can create so-called identities. These identities are able to communicate over the boundaries of the instances because the software running on the servers supports one or more communication protocols which follow an open standard. As an identity on the fediverse, users are able to post text and other media, or to follow posts by other identities. In some cases, users can even show or share data (video, audio, text, and other files) publicly or to a selected group of identities and allow other identities to edit other users' data (such as a calendar or an address book). History In 2008, the social network identi.ca was founded by Evan Prodromou. He published the software GNU social under a free license (GNU Affero General Public License, AGPL). It defined the OStatus protocol. Besides the...

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    The Fediverse - It's about Protocols, not Platforms (Just pick any Social Network and Connect)

    Danie van der Merwe · news.movim.eu / gadgeteerza-tech-blog · Monday, 11 October, 2021 - 20:00

An interesting blog post below about someone being "forced off" Facebook (a centralised monolithic platform) and discovering the Fediverse of different social networks, all connected together by the ActivityPub protocol. Nothing even stops you self-hosting your own social network node and managing that yourself for family or friends.

Not only do the decentralised nodes of one social network all interconnect, but so do completely different social network platforms. So Mastodon connects with PixelFed, which connects with Bookwyrm, Friendica, Hubzilla, PeerTube, and more, and so it goes on.

See https://fediverse.blog/~/ExploringTheFediverse/Protocols,%20not%20Platforms!/

#technology #activitypub #fediverse #deletefacebook #socialnetworks

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    The Largest Autocracy on Earth - Facebook is acting like a hostile foreign power without allegiance to any nation; it’s time we treated it that way

    Danie van der Merwe · news.movim.eu / gadgeteerza-tech-blog · Wednesday, 29 September, 2021 - 16:51 · 1 minute

In 1947, Albert Einstein, writing in this magazine, proposed the creation of a single world government to protect humanity from the threat of the atomic bomb. His utopian idea did not take hold, quite obviously, but today, another visionary is building the simulacrum of a cosmocracy.

Mark Zuckerberg, unlike Einstein, did not dream up Facebook out of a sense of moral duty, or a zeal for world peace. This summer, the population of Zuckerberg’s supranational regime reached 2.9 billion monthly active users, more humans than live in the world’s two most populous nations—China and India—combined.

To Zuckerberg, Facebook’s founder and CEO, they are citizens of Facebookland. Long ago he conspicuously started calling them “people” instead of “users,” but they are still cogs in an immense social matrix, fleshy morsels of data to satisfy the advertisers that poured $54 billion into Facebook in the first half of 2021 alone—a sum that surpasses the gross domestic products of most nations on Earth.

GDP makes for a telling comparison, not just because it gestures at Facebook’s extraordinary power, but because it helps us see Facebook for what it really is. Facebook is not merely a website, or a platform, or a publisher, or a social network, or an online directory, or a corporation, or a utility. It is all of these things. But Facebook is also, effectively, a hostile foreign power.

See https://www.theatlantic.com/magazine/archive/2021/11/facebook-authoritarian-hostile-foreign-power/620168/

#technology #deletefacebook #socialnetworks

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    Facebook Internal Research: People tended to comment on and share controversial content, and in the process they apparently made Facebook in general angrier

    Danie van der Merwe · news.movim.eu / gadgeteerza-tech-blog · Wednesday, 15 September, 2021 - 17:51

Today, The Wall Street Journal posted leaked reports from Facebook after it boosted “meaningful social interactions” on the platform. While Facebook framed the move as helping friends connect, internal reports said it had “unhealthy side effects on important slices of public content, such as politics and news,” calling these effects an “increasing liability.”

Today’s report delves into the fallout of a 2018 decision to prioritize posts with lots of comments and reactions. Facebook allegedly made the change after noticing that comments, likes, and reshares had declined throughout 2017.

The issue that many people have with Facebook, apart from selling access to personal and usage information, is the tweaking of algorithms to favour Facebook's business interests. It's probably why so many people who left Facebook have rather opted for networks with straight chronological algorithms which show only the profiles they are following.

See https://www.theverge.com/2021/9/15/22675472/facebook-wsj-leaks-news-feed-social-media-politics-polarization

#technology #deletefacebook #socialnetworks #polarisation #misinformation