Facebook, Consumer Financial Protection Bureau, Sri Lanka Attacks, More: Monday Afternoon ResearchBuzz, April 22, 2019


Search Engine Journal: Facebook is Testing Upvotes and Downvotes for Comments . “Facebook has been spotted testing the ability for users to upvote and downvote comments. This test appears to be limited to the Android app, which is common when tests like these are spotted in the wild.”

Reuters: New U.S. consumer watchdog chief to continue review of complaints database, fair lending. “The new director of the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau will continue with reviews, begun by her predecessor, of its public complaints database and how the agency enforces discriminatory lending laws, she told Reuters.”

Washington Post: Sri Lankan government blocks social media and imposes curfew following deadly blasts. “The Sri Lankan government blocked access to social media platforms on Sunday in the wake of explosions that killed more than 200 people on the holiest day of the Christian calendar. The blasts, which targeted churches during Easter Sunday services and luxury hotels, also prompted the government to impose an immediate nationwide curfew.”


TechCrunch: Add Craigslist to the tech platforms Russians used to manipulate the 2016 election. “In one of the weirder revelations to come out of the Mueller report released this morning, it seems that Craigslist was yet another tech platform used in Russia’s election influence campaign. Facebook? Sure. Instagram? Yup, that too. YouTube? Twitter? Oh my, yes. Even Tumblr makes an appearance (LOL. Tumblr). But Craigslist?”

New York Times: After Social Media Bans, Militant Groups Found Ways to Remain. “Hezbollah is among dozens of groups classified by the United States as terrorist entities that have learned how to stay a step ahead of the social media giants. In the past, Facebook, YouTube and Twitter have taken down the official pages of these militant groups dozens of times and banned their accounts. But Hamas and Hezbollah, in particular, have evolved by getting their supporters to publish images and videos that deliver their message — but that do not set off the alarm bells of the social media platforms. ”

Ars Technica: Facebook fights to “shield Zuckerberg” from punishment in US privacy probe. “Federal Trade Commission officials are discussing whether to hold Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg personally accountable for Facebook’s privacy failures, according to reports by The Washington Post and NBC News. Facebook has been trying to protect Zuckerberg from that possibility in negotiations with the FTC, the Post wrote.”


ZDNet: Source code of Iranian cyber-espionage tools leaked on Telegram. “In an incident reminiscent of the Shadow Brokers leak that exposed the NSA’s hacking tools, someone has now published similar hacking tools belonging to one of Iran’s elite cyber-espionage units, known as APT34, Oilrig, or HelixKitten. The hacking tools are nowhere near as sophisticated as the NSA tools leaked in 2017, but they are dangerous nevertheless.”

BetaNews: Millions of people still have pathetically weak, easily hacked passwords. “Analysis carried out by the UK’s National Cyber Security Centre (NCSC) found that huge numbers of people are still — despite continued advice — using weak, easy-to-guess passwords to secure their accounts. The most commonly used password on breached accounts was found to be 123456, and there were plenty of others that were similarly insecure. The NCSC, in conjunction with Have I Been Pwned’s Troy Hunt, has also published a list of the 100,000 most common passwords globally.”


Slashgear: Facebook Clear History tool: One button, no show. “It’s been 352 days since the Facebook Clear History button was announced, and still we have no such button. What’s the holdup? Why would Facebook announce a button that could wipe out an individual’s files and history on the social network’s servers, then not deliver? The answer is clear: They probably never intended on delivering such a button.”

Techdirt: Don’t Force Web Platforms To Silence Innocent People. “The U.S. House Judiciary Committee held a hearing last week to discuss the spread of white nationalism, online and offline. The hearing tackled hard questions about how online platforms respond to extremism online and what role, if any, lawmakers should play. The desire for more aggressive moderation policies in the face of horrifying crimes is understandable, particularly in the wake of the recent massacre in New Zealand. But unfortunately, looking to Silicon Valley to be the speech police may do more harm than good.” Good afternoon, Internet…

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