Tag: facebook

The Facebook Messenger Scam

There are numerous Facebook based scams with people pretending to know you or trying to get you to click a link to something containing malware.


This latest one involves the scammer impersonating someone you know and sending you a Facebook messenger message such as “Is this really you in this video”.

The scammer wants you to click the link to see what video is being talked about.


If you do click, your get a screen asking you to login to Facebook.


This is fake of course – if you input your login and password these are sent to the scammer who can then change your password and takeover your Facebook account.


It can be easy to just click a link from a ‘friend’, but it can be dangerous and scammers know to pretend to be someone you trust.

Scammers have a variety of ways of getting your friends email addresses so take the time to read messages from friends and do not assume they are genuine unless you check.

Be very careful before clicking any link in an unsolicited email message or Messenger message, text message or any other online message.

If you have any experiences with these Facebook scams do let me know, by email.

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Facebook and Bad Adverts

Facebook seems to be a little worried about the abundance of fake and/or misleading adverts on its platform.

These adverts usually occur when a scammer takes over someone’s Facebook account and pays for a lot of adverts using the stolen account.

Those adverts can be anything, but are typically for:

  • Fake products
  • Real products but of very poor quality
  • A pop-up business that will disappear before customers have time to complain
  • Scam pages that pretend to be government or FBI or major retailers but simply steal the users confidential information
  • Clickbait pages

Facebook say the problem is ‘low quality’ adverts  and they give three examples:

  1. Engagement Bait

These are your typical ‘like and share’ posts, re-purposed as adverts. Facebook does not like them as they can show false popularity.

  1. Withholding Information

Adverts designed to make people click by using clickbait are also disliked as they are fake content.

  1. Sensationalized Language

Adverts which use exaggerated headlines or lead to content not matching the headline are poor. The use of superlatives is fine where they are justified by the content.

Facebook says it will penalise anyone who infringes the rules.


Facebook say that adverts considered to be low-quality will see reduced distribution in the advert auction, or will be disapproved.

Multiple adverts marked as low-quality may impact the performance of all adverts from that advertiser.

If you are running a Facebook campaign and use what Facebook consider to be low quality adverts then your campaign will likely cost more and perform worse than if you create better more honest adverts.

If you have any experiences with Facebook scams and problems do let me know, by email.

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International Grand Committee

Facebook came under fire from lawmakers from nine countries at the inaugural hearing of the “International Grand Committee on Disinformation” held in London.

The landmark event saw 24 representatives from Argentina, Belgium, Brazil, Canada, France, Ireland, Latvia, Singapore, and the UK meet to debate issues including data protection, online disinformation and fake news.

The social network’s founder Mark Zuckerberg was repeatedly asked to attend but refused and sent Richard Allan, the company’s vice president of public policy for Europe, the Middle East and Africa.

Facebook is under investigation in various countries for reasons including Russian interference in the American elections, data privacy issues, unfair treatment of companies competing with Facebook, secret deals and more.

Referring to a report from a Facebook engineer that Russian IP addresses were accessing three billion data points a day on the network, committee chair Damien Collins, asked Allen: “If Russian IP addresses were pulling down a huge amount of data from the platform was that reported or was that just kept, as so often seems to be the case, within the family and not talked about?”

Allen said that the claim was misleading and taken out of context, but Facebook later issued a statement confirming the issue was looked into and told The Guardian “the engineers who had flagged these initial concerns subsequently looked into this further and found no evidence of specific Russian activity”.

The New York Times recently published an in-depth investigation which claimed senior Facebook executives had “ignored warning signs” about the negative impacts of its social network, and in some cases even sought to suppress or deflect criticism about its practices.

A representative from each of the seven parliaments participated in a formal signing ceremony for a set of ‘International Principles for the Law Governing the Internet’.

It seems there is much to do to bring Facebook’s behaviour into the open and force it to become an honest company.

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What Facebook Must Do To Regain Trust

In the beginning, Facebook was a simple online service for people to connect to others – from their college, neighbourhood, shared interests etc. but it grew huge and into a monopoly position.

Rather than trying to be a force for good in the world, Facebook has been all about self-interest, money, greed, destroying any opposition and growing ever more dominant.

At the same time, it has deliberately ignored warnings over damaging content and damaging practices, ignored user privacy concerns and ignored its negative impact on society. Facebook has repeatedly been disgraced for bad behaviour but still continues in the same way.


Facebook must transform itself and its people.

  1. Understand that the content created by the users belongs to the users not to Facebook. We choose to let Facebook use that content but for our benefit not for allowing greed to grow ever worseand our privacy to be undermined.
  2. Respect theuser’s wishes over use of their content.
  3. Do not use data for reasons other than specified to the users.
  4. Do not track users on websites or services other than those owned by Facebook.
  5. Stop trying to make Facebook more addictive or appealing to teenagers and children.
  6. Protect children from damaging content and use panels of citizens to determine what material should and shouldn’t be allowed.
  7. Make all processes over advertising clean and transparent.This will give away a little of Facebook’s advantage but it is necessary.
  8. Facebook is not a publisher in the same sense as a newspaper, radio or TV station, but it is publishing content and must share responsibility for that content and any damage that may come from inadequate controls on content and access.
  9. Be open, honest and transparent about challenges and what is being done to fix them.
  10. Stop targeting ‘competitors’ – you must not abuse your monopoly position. Use it to help people not to destroy businesses you don’t like

Now is the time for Facebook to transform itself from a pariah into a respected business.

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Facebook Secret Emails

The UK parliament has been trying to hold Facebook to account following its lack of control on data sharing and the massive data breach in 2017 which affected 87 million people.

Cambridge Analytica

The Facebook–Cambridge Analytica scandal in early 2018 revealed that Cambridge Analytica had harvested the personal data of millions of people’s Facebook profiles without their consent and used it for political purposes. This was a shock to many people and showed Facebook had no regard for its user’s privacy or confidential information.


Six4Three are the makers of the app Pinkini and Pinkini was one of many businesses that shared data with Facebook until 2015, when Facebook changed its policies on how information was shared and this meant developers of the app were restricted in accessing data and culminated in the loss of business for Six4Three.

Six4Three then began a year long battle with Facebook.

The company claims Facebook misled developers by encouraging them to build applications based around promised access to data controls and privacy settings and then restricted access to that data.

Emails written by Facebook’s chief and his deputies show the firm struck secret deals to give some developers special access to user data while refusing others.

It is also clear that Facebook deliberately made it difficult for users to be aware of privacy changes to its Android app.

Damian Collins (UK Government chairman of the Commons Digital, Culture, Media and Sport (DCMS) Committee)

There was believed to be a secret cache of emails between Mark Zuckerberg and other executives that shows that Facebook knew about flaws in its privacy policy and allowed them to be actively exploited before the Cambridge Analytica scandal.

MPs discovered the documents were in the possession of an American software executive visiting London on a business trip and sent an official from the House of Commons to his hotel to retrieve them.


It appears from documents that Facebook had been aware that an update to its Android app that let it collect records of users’ calls and texts would be controversial. To mitigate any bad PR, Facebook planned to make it as hard as possible for users to know that this was one of the underlying features.

Facebook is also known to have used data provided by the Israeli analytics firm Onavo to determine which other mobile apps were being downloaded and used by the public. It then used this knowledge to decide which apps to acquire or otherwise treat as a threat


Another example of how Facebook ignore their user’s right to privacy in the belief that the information provided by the users belongs to Facebook and that Facebook can do anything it wants with that data and can treat other businesses as badly as it wishes to.

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Data Sharing by APPS Out of Control

Oxford researchers looked at nearly one million APPS on Google Play Store and found that almost 90% of free APPS collect data and send it to Google, plus almost 40% collect data and send it to companies owned by Facebook.

Some of this is legitimate and necessary e.g. collecting and sending data on APP failures which helps the software maker to improve their product and Google Analytics data enables website owners to track their online usage via Google and so on.

But it does seem that a lot is to do with advertising.

The concept of free APPS is of course a tricky one as the APP makers have to make money somehow and passing data to potential advertisers is one way that many users won’t mind. But some of us do mind that our data is shared without our permission and this should not be allowed.

The sort of data collected can include age, gender, location, list of other installed APPS etc.

The research also found that 33% of the APPS send data to Twitter, 26% to Verizon (Yahoo, Tumblr etc.), 22% to Microsoft, 18% to Amazon etc.

These third-party trackers were mostly prevalent in news apps and apps aimed at children and young adults. By tracking user data – which includes information like age, location, gender, buying habits, and other miscellaneous information- companies can form a profile of users. This can then be used to send target specific ads, influence a user’s buying habits or even send political campaign messages.

Used in this manner, profiling of children without attempting to obtain parental consent, is illegal.

Do review the privacy settings on your APPS and delete any APPS you believe are sharing your data without your consent.

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