News Leak Centre

After Facebook, Twitter admits of data breach via Cambridge Analytica

If you are still recuperating from the shock how Cambridge Analytica secured data from Facebook and manipulated your voting decisions in elections, the revelations by Twitter will give another shock to you.

Not only Facebook, but the world’s another biggest social media Twitter also sold data to the Cambridge University academic Aleksandr Kogan’s Global Science Research (GSR).

The microblogging site admitted to Bloomberg and said that in 2015, GSR was given one-time API access to a random sample of public tweets between a period from December 2014 to April 2015.

Aleksandr Kogan and his firm are complicit in gaining millions of Facebook Inc. users’ information and later passing to a political consulting firm without the users’ consent.

Twitter explained that it provides public data to certain companies, developers and users through its application programming interfaces (APIs), which often use them to analyze events, sentiment or customer service.

The clients, however, need to explain how they plan to use the data, and who the end users will be.

Amidst this, Twitter also registered a growth of about 20 percent, to $90 million, in “data licensing and other revenue” in the first quarter.

Besides, the microblogging site is under fire over the failure of Twitter preventing misinformation and abuse on its platform which has risen since the 2016 election. In the first quarter, the company deleted more than 142,000 applications connected to the Twitter API that was collectively responsible for more than 130 million “low-quality” tweets during the period.

Recently, Facebook was found itself embroiled in a controversy. Last month, The Observer published the account of a former worker at data firm Cambridge Analytica, who lifted the lid on the company’s relationship with Facebook.

Christopher Wylie revealed how Kogan harvested data from users via a personality quiz on the social network and, through his company GSR, shared it with Cambridge Analytica. Since then, there have been more revelations about both firms and about the way consumers’ data is used.


WhatsApp is now allowing you to download the data it collects

WhatsApp is allowing users to download the data it collects, in compliance with new EU data privacy rules coming into force next month. In wake of the Cambridge Analytica scandal, the popular messaging service owned by Facebook has rolled out the new feature, ahead of the European General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) law that goes into effect 25 May. The Request Account Info feature is now available for Android beta users, and “will be rolling out to all users around the world on the newest version of the app,” the company says.

Earlier this month, amid criticism over data abuse by Facebook, WhatsApp had reassured its users that their data and communications are secured with end-to-end encryption, nobody in between can read messages and listen to calls – not even WhatsApp itself. The company had said that it collects very little data, but speculations suggested that metadata about whom you are talking to, and how often, could still be mined.

With the ‘Request your account information’ feature, WhatsApp is allowing users to request and export a report of their account information and settings, such as contacts, profile photos, and groups, which can be accessed and ported to another app. The report does not include users’ messages. For that, you can export the chat history to your email.

The latest WhatsApp feature is now rolling out to Android beta users. To use the feature, you need to be a WhatsApp beta tester and have the updated app (v2.18.128) installed on the smartphone. If you are looking to join the WhatsApp beta, here are the requisite steps.

Now, open the WhatsApp app and go to Settings. It is available in the three-dotted menu button at the top right corner. Once there, go to Account. Here, you will get a Request account info option. Now, tap on the Request report button. Once clicked, the screen should update to Request sent.

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WhatsApp says, your report will be available roughly 3 days after the date requested. In our experience, we received it within the hour, Users can refer to the Ready by date when waiting for their report. It is worth noting that certain actions such as deleting your account, changing your number or handset, or re-registering your account, will cancel the request.

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When WhatsApp is ready with your report, it will send a notification to your smartphone stating Your account info is ready to download. Also, the Request account info screen will now tell you how much time – a 1-month window – you have left to download the report, before WhatsApp deletes it from the server.

To download your report, go to Settings > Account > Request account info > Download report. This will automatically download a ZIP file in your handset. The file contains an HTML file that is easy to read and a JSON file that can be ported to another app. Once the report is downloaded, users will have to select Export report, as you will not be able to view the downloaded report within WhatsApp. You will have to export the report to a third-party app. You can also permanently delete the downloaded copy from your smartphone, but it will not delete any of your account’s data.

To recall, Facebook, as well as Instagram, have already rolled out similar features on their platform, where you can export your photos, videos, profile, info, comments, and more


WhatsApp added another feature – See how it works

WhatsApp has been quite active in revamping its instant messaging services to make life easy for its 1.5 billion users. After introducing ‘dismiss the admin’ feature, the Facebook-owned instant messaging app has now rolled out ‘saved voice messages’. The new feature has been launched currently been for ‘Google play beta program’ and is update version 2.18.123. After implementing the possibility to not lose a voice message on the iOS version, WhatsApp has finally added the feature in the Android build!

Here is how ‘saved voice messages’ feature works:

Earlier, when a user used the voice recording feature he could not exit the chat, but now when s/he is recording a voice message and something else happens at the same time (for example, you receive a call, or the battery of your phone is low), WhatsApp will save the voice message, so you won’t be forced to record another one again.

If the users want to listen to the voice message before sending it, all they need to is one little thing: go to the Home Screen! Using this way, they’ll be able to listen to the voice message! The report first surfaced on WaBetaInfo.

The feature is already enabled by default, so the WhatsApp Beta users can start to use it immediately right away.

Meanwhile, WhatsApp has updated its ‘Terms of Service and Privacy Policy’ ahead of General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) that comes into effect in Europe on May 25. Soon, the messaging service will let users download the data it collects. WhatsApp has clarified that it is not asking for new rights to collect personal information with the update.

The Facebook-owned company has explained how it uses and protects people’s data. In the European Union, the minimum age for signing up on WhatsApp will now be 16 years, and not 13.


After Facebook, now Instagram will lets you download data it has on you

Following Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg’s congressional hearing over how the company handles users’ data and how the Cambridge Analytica privacy gaffe occurred in the first place, the social network’s sister concern, Instagram, will soon let you download the content you’ve shared on the platform.

That’s the first step it’s taken in giving users more control over their data in recent times, and in providing a simple way to take your content off Instagram, whether to create a personal archive or to move to a different social network.

It’s similar to the Download Your Information tool that Facebook has offered since 2010; that tool offers a more comprehensive package of your interactions on the network and was recently found to include logs of your calls and text messages dating back years.

Instagram says it’ll soon share more details about exactly what your download will contain, and whether it’ll include things like your following and follower lists, comments, and Stories.

That’s not just Instagram being good to its users: it’s also a crucial step in complying with the European Union’s GDPR privacy regulations, which will make data portability mandatory for such services when they go into effect next month.

Instagram hasn’t come under fire for betraying users’ trust the way Facebook has, so it’s mostly in the clear on that front – for now. Offering data portability is a good start, and it should probably audit its inner workings to ensure that people’s data is truly safe and private, before any shit hits the fan.

Here are the 7 takeaways from Mark Zuckerberg’s public hearing

Do you remember the time when you gave your first job interview and how you were feeling? Nerved, fumbling and sweating to give perfect answers so that you can grab the opportunity. Then you can have an idea how the social media giant, Mark Zuckerberg, was feeling when he sat down during a public Senate hearing in the US.

Mark was grilled over Facebook’s content security, privacy, and advertising policies after the aftermath of Facebook’s data leak by the Cambridge Analytica which blew trumpets on the same.

In addition to the Cambridge Analytica data leak, Zuck fielded questions on issues such as data collection, privacy controls, hate speech and political bias, as well as its views on regulation.

Here are some key takeaways from the hearing from the hearing:

1. Compared with his public-speaking performances just a few years ago, Zuckerberg appeared quite composed and polished…and not just because he ditched his trademark hoodie for a suit and tie. Though there were a few uncomfortable pauses along the way, Zuck did a solid job of reiterating Facebook’s talking points about its privacy, data-sharing and content-monitoring policies, and of appearing contrite about prior missteps. He was also more often than not was quick to counter when a Senator took aim at the company’s past or present behaviour.

2. Likely to aid public perceptions of Zuckerberg’s performance: Many of the Senators questioning him were clearly unfamiliar with basic details about how Facebook functions. At various times, Zuck had to point out that Facebook offers privacy controls that let users decide what data is used for ad targeting, that data about individual users isn’t shared with advertisers, that users can delete their Facebook accounts and the data associated with it and that the programming interfaces (APIs) that allowed an app used by just 300,000 Facebook users to get data about 87 million of them were revised in 2014. He even got a question about whether Facebook stores the data it uses for ad targeting, and had to shoot down a conspiracy theory about Facebook recording audio from phones for data-harvesting purposes.

3. But while investors can take heart in Zuck’s PR job, the openness of some Senators to tighter privacy regulations is a cause for a little concern. In particular, multiple Senators signalled they’d support policies similar to the GDPR regulations the EU will begin enforcing in May. Among other things, those rules require consumers to opt into any data-collection that’s done for the purposes of ad targeting. Zuck indicated a willingness to support such regulations, albeit while adding the details need to be worked out.

4. But as others have argued, GDPR-type regulations might indirectly benefit larger platform owners such as Facebook and Alphabet/Google (GOOGL), since it could be easier for them to get user consent for data-tracking than smaller platforms/publishers and independent online ad firms. COO Sheryl Sandberg has previously insisted that GDPR regulations won’t have a big impact on Facebook’s European ad sales, and the company has already promised to make GDPR-type privacy controls available to users globally.

5. One other concern: Some Senators believe the Cambridge leak, and more generally the data-sharing policies Facebook had in place before 2014, put it in violation of a 2011 FTC decree that required the company to obtain user content for any data-sharing beyond what’s approved through a user’s privacy setting. With the FTC already probing the Cambridge leak, it wouldn’t be shocking if Facebook is hit with a hefty fine over the matter before the dust settles. Zuck, for his part, insists Facebook’s pre-2014 policies didn’t violate the consent decree.

6. On several occasions, Zuck stressed the large role that AI/machine learning algorithms will play in helping Facebook automatically flag content going forward, and that much work still needs to be done before the algorithms can more broadly take over from human content-monitors. He noted, for example, that AI is already pretty good at flagging pro-terrorist propaganda, but has a much harder time figuring out what is and isn’t hate speech.

7. One interesting detail shared by Zuck during the hearing: Over 100 billion pieces of content (photos, videos, messages, status updates, etc.) are shared daily on Facebook proper, Messenger and Instagram. For context, Facebook has 1.4 billion daily active users (DAUs) for its core service and Messenger at the end of Q4, and the company has previously said users spend over 50 minutes per day on average across the three aforementioned platforms.


After Facebook data leak, now WhatsApp in question over chat activity being tracked

While data breach seems to be the flavour of the season, a new app was spotted recently that reportedly tracks a user’s chat activity on Facebook-owned WhatsApp.

The app titled Chatwatch reportedly lets people in a user’s contact list know when they are available to chat on WhatsApp, whether one’s messages are being read, and how often one checks the app, all using WhatsApp’s online/offline feature.

As per, the app can gain access to the above data even if a user has disabled WhatsApp’s “Last Seen” feature.

The Facebook-owned instant messaging app has always advocated user privacy and incorporated encryption of data. WhatsApp is encrypted end-to-end, so the contents of the messages can’t be seen.

On a related note, Chatwatch has reportedly been taken down from Google Play Store and Apple’s App Store.

Facebook stocks fall as users spend less time on the social website

Facebook (FB)’s CEO told investors Wednesday that tweaks made to the content it shows users has led to a 5% drop in the total amount of time users spend on the social network.

“In total, we made changes that reduced time spent on Facebook by roughly 50 million hours every day,” Zuckerberg said in a statement with the company’s fourth-quarter earnings report.

The decline is said to come from a decision to show fewer viral videos in the News Feed.

Facebook also reported its first-ever decline in daily users in the U.S. and Canada. It had 184 million daily users in this region in the quarter, down from 185 million in the prior quarter.

David Wehner, Facebook’s CFO, said on a conference call with analysts Wednesday that the North America user decline was caused by product tweaks and is not expected to be “an ongoing trend.”

The stock initially fell as much as 5% in after-hours trading following the report, a rare decline for a company that consistently outpaces Wall Street’s estimates. It later rebounded as the call commenced.

Facebook has rattled investors in recent months with a series of announcements in response the platform’s role in enabling fake news, filter bubbles and foreign meddling in the U.S. election.

On the conference call, Zuckerberg described 2017 as a “hard year” for the company.

“The world feels anxious and divided and that played out on Facebook,” he said. “We have a responsibility to fully understand how our services are used and to do everything we can to amplify the good.”

This month, Facebook announced plans to show users more content from friends in the News Feed and less from brands and publishers in an effort to boost the well-being of users. In particular, Zuckerberg targeted videos and articles that users consume passively, without commenting or sharing.

Zuckerberg previously said the change could lead to a drop in user engagement and time spent on the platform, but would ultimately improve the quality of the user experience.

The move raised concerns among investors about the impact on Facebook’s core advertising business. For now, Facebook continues to be an ad sales juggernaut.

Sales hit nearly $13 billion for the quarter, an increase of 47% from the same period a year earlier. The company now has 2.13 billion monthly active users and 1.4 billion daily users, and advertisers are eager to reach that massive audience.

Earlier this month, Zuckerberg said his personal goal for 2018 is “fixing” Facebook’s many problems. He cited the need to “protect our community from abuse and hate, defending against interference by nation-states” and “making sure that time spent on Facebook is time well spent.”

In November, he said the company is “investing so much insecurity that it will impact our profitability.” That investment includes doubling the number of people who work on safety and security to 20,000.

The announcement came on the same day that executives from Facebook, Google (GOOGL) and Twitter (TWTR) testified before Congressional hearings into how Russian actors used social media to meddle in the 2016 presidential election.

Amid uproar against the cryptocurrency in India, Facebook bans ads promoting them

Facebook has announced a new policy that will ban ads for initial coin offerings (ICOs), cryptocurrencies, and other goods and services that “promote financial products and services that are frequently associated with misleading or deceptive promotional practices.”

According to a blog post, the policy will be “intentionally broad,” and will affect Facebook’s flagship site as well as Instagram and Facebook Audience Network, which runs ad campaigns on third-party sites.

Facebook states it’s introducing the new rules in order to curb predatory schemes. “We want people to continue to discover and learn about new products and services through Facebook ads without fear of scams or deception. It lists the following slogans as examples of the types of ads it intends to stamp out.

The news marks the latest development in a stream of changes the social network has made or committed to. On Jan. 29, Mark Zuckerberg announced on his personal Facebook page that the site would ramp up local news in News Feed. Earlier this month, it announced it would prioritize posts from friends and family over news outlets and brands in News Feed.

Yet this announcement also comes not long after Mark Zuckerberg hinted at an interest in cryptocurrency. In a Facebook post from Jan. 4, he described cryptocurrency as a “counter-trend” to the internet’s centralized systems—which Facebook itself in many ways represents.

With the rise of a small number of big tech companies — and governments using technology to watch their citizens — many people now believe technology only centralizes power rather than decentralizes it.

There are important counter-trends to this –like encryption and cryptocurrency — that take power from centralized systems and put it back into people’s hands. But they come with the risk of being harder to control. I’m interested to go deeper and study the positive and negative aspects of these technologies, and how best to use them in our services.

That’s led some to be sceptical that Facebook is introducing the policy to curb scams, and speculate that the company will launch a cryptocurrency or blockchain product of its own.

This Republic Day buy a feature phone at the cost of Burger

The Indian mobile market has seen a boom in extremely affordable feature phones category, thanks to Reliance Jio JioPhone. One can buy a feature phone for as low as Rs 249 these days. Of course, the devices don’t come with 4G-capabilities but can handle the basic need of calling. So if you’re looking for a cheap feature phone as a backup device for your secondary SIM card, there are a few options to consider like Viva V1, iKall K71, and more. Let us take a look at three feature phones that cost less than Rs 500:

iKall K71

iKall K71 has been exclusively launched on ShopClues and it costs Rs 249. This is a single-SIM device that packs an 800 mAh battery, claimed to offer a talk time of four hours and standby time of 24 hours. iKall K71 features a 1.4-inch monochrome display and ships with FM radio and torch. It supports vibration mode as well. iKall K71 is said to be BIS-certified. The iKall K71 can be bought in neon colour options like Red, Yellow, Blue and Dark Blue. The company is also giving one-year warranty on the phone.

Viva V1

Viva V1 comes at Rs 349, and it is exclusive to Shopclues in India. The 2G feature phone gets a 1.44-inch monochrome display and a keypad. Other features include the vibrator, FM Radio, torchlight, and a 650mAh battery. It comes pre-loaded with Snake game that we saw on the Nokia 3310. Viva V1 is a single-SIM device that supports SMS, phonebook, calculator, calendar, and more. Viva V1 is Made in India and is available in Blue and Orange colour variants. The device also comes with one-year manufacturer warranty by Viva.

Peace P3310

Though Peace P3310 costs Rs 499, it can currently be bought at a discounted price of Rs 349 from Shopclues. The phone sports a bar design, and a 1.44-inch display. Available in orange colour option, the 2G feature phone can be bough in a single SIM variant. Peace P3310 is backed by an 850mAh battery. Other features include FM Radio and LED torch. Peace P3310 gets one-year manufacturer warranty as well.


Credits: The Indian Express

India beats US,takes 2nd spot in most app downloads in 2017

India overtook the US to take the second spot for the number of app downloads in 2017, as per the App Annie 2017 Retrospective report. The report also said a user in India has nearly 80 apps and accesses over 40 of them per month. Globally, the app download exceeded 175 billion, while consumer spending exceeded $86 billion.

China meanwhile surpassed all other app markets in the world on every count. In Q4 2017, Chinese app users spent well over 200 Bn hours in apps across iOS, Google Play and third-party Android. In addition,$1 out of every $4 dollar clocked from the app stores, in; app ads and mobile commerce are generated by the Chinese market.