If you're using one of those dodgy social media services that promises you more likes and comments and a thin veneer of internet popularity, you might be trading away more than you think. A security company has found thousands of otherwise legitimate Facebook accounts — ones that signed up for a boost in their own online presence — leaving spam comments promoting the service on popular Facebook pages.
Open up a web browser or power up a smartphone — pretty much essential for modern-day living — and you're walking straight into a privacy minefield. That much you know. Especially after the news earlier this week that Unroll.me, a popular service that lets you unsubscribe from multiple email lists with a single click, was selling data it had mined from all your mail. What you might not realise is that your surrendering of your privacy isn't just an accident — it's the purposeful design of a particular breed of app makers and web designers employing a practice known as "dark patterns."
Earlier this month, Reddit pulled off one of its greatest accomplishments ever: getting users to spend 72 hours painstakingly making art together one pixel at a time. Now, one Redditor has created an atlas that documents the stories of each individual art project that contributed to this glorious mess.
Merriam-Webster's dictionary has been flirting with the thin line between cheekily relevant and irritatingly attention seeking lately. The evolving compendium of the English language has garnered headlines recently with its social media swipes at the Trump administration. And now, the dictionary is trolling Apple fans by using them as an example of the term "sheeple".
Well, it took 100 days but the Environmental Protection Agency in the US has finally removed the climate change section of its website. An agency spokesman explained that the information that has been collected on the page over the last 20 years posed a problem because it contradicted the administration's denial of man-made climate change.
The Australian Federal Police have accessed the metadata of a journalist without properly complying with Australia's new metadata retention laws, AFP commissioner Andrew Colvin has revealed.
The breach of legislation happened earlier this year, and involved Australian police investigating the phone call records of a journalist without obtaining the correct warrant for the release of that information.
Earlier this week, FCC Chairman Ajit Pai announced his plan to repeal the 2015 Open Internet Order, which prevented internet service providers (ISPs) from blocking or prioritising certain traffic, and reclassified providers as "common carriers". Up to that moment, Pai had kept reasonably quiet about how he planned to dismantle net neutrality, saying only that he favoured an open internet but opposed the reclassification of ISPs as common carriers.
The distance between expectation and reality makes fools of us all, but it made the well-heeled attendees of an exclusive music festival in the Bahamas look particularly moronic late last week and into the weekend.
For tickets that ranged up to $US12,000, the young and rich signed up for passage to the doomed Fyre Festival, hyped for months by millennial supermodels and influencers on social media along with co-founders tech entrepreneur Billy McFarland and rapper turned aspiring mojito mogul Ja Rule.
Back in January, Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg said he was "quite proud of the impact that we were able to have on civic discourse", doubling down on his stance that the rise of misinformation, spread of outright propaganda, and rapid erosion of trust in the fourth estate were anyone's problems but his. A whitepaper from the world's largest social media platform — where an estimated 66 per cent of the site's American users get their news — casually mentions that Facebook is also fertile soil for "subtle and insidious forms of misuse, including attempts to manipulate civic discourse and deceive people".
Barack Obama may have been the first president with a Twitter account, but Donald Trump will definitely be remembered by history as the first social media president. President Trump tweets morning, day, and night — eliciting plenty of love from his supporters and torrents of hate from his detractors. But Trump's constant tweets have presented a new challenge for the US Secret Service. Namely, how to tell when a threat made against the President is credible.
Upcoming film The Circle appears to be about a bearded white guy who runs a technology company that (I guess, based on the trailers) preaches connectivity and positive disruption but exists as a front to mine personal data. Haven't seen it yet. Jack Dorsey, the white, bearded CEO of Twitter, decided to host a Periscope livestream with members of the cast earlier this week, ostensibly to prove he has a sense of humour about his position as a dystopian tech lord. Could this be any more tone-deaf? Yes. Because Jack Dorsey tried to dodge a question by saying an astonishingly stupid thing.
The New York Times Magazine has an interesting story out this week about Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg, fake news and Facebook's role as the world's most prominent information distributor. It's all part of Facebook's ongoing public relations freak out surrounding the prevalence of fake news and hoaxes spread on the platform. The company is trying to fix the problem now, but it sure is funny to see Zuck constantly rolled out to do a series of interviews on something he brushed off as a "crazy idea" just a few months ago.
The agonising wait is finally over. Today, United States FCC Chairman Ajit Pai announced his plan to dismantle net neutrality. During a speech in Washington, DC at the conservative nonprofit Freedomworks, Pai outlined his plan to roll back the 2015 Open Internet Order. The order established the principles of the open internet in US law, reclassifying internet service providers (ISPs) as "common carriers" under Title II of the Telecommunications Act; it also banned them from violating certain "bright line" rules, like blocking or prioritising traffic to certain websites.
You may have noticed in your travels around the internet that your browser's address bar occasionally turns green and displays a padlock — that's HTTPS, or a secure version of the Hypertext Transfer Protocol, swinging into action. This little green padlock is becoming vitally important as more and more of your online security is eroded. Just because your ISP can now see what sites you browse on doesn't mean they have to know all the content your consuming. Below is the rundown on HTTPS, so you can better understand this first, and easiest line of defence against potential snoopers and hackers.
Twitter announced its Q1 2017 earnings on Wednesday, and good news, everyone: The company isn't performing as poorly as it was last quarter!
The hacker's name is Janit0r. You've probably never heard of him, but perhaps you've heard of his work. Janit0r is reportedly the one behind a particularly gnarly but undeniably fascinating form of malware called BrickerBot. BrickerBot, as the name implies, will brick internet of things (IoT) devices that fail a simple security test. This is surely illegal, but I love it.
For years now, people have been letting Unroll.me read the contents of their email inboxes, to help them unsubscribe from email spam. The service was endorsed by our sister site Lifehacker in 2011 for its effectiveness in finding and cleaning out unwanted subscriptions (and Gizmodo wrote about its iOS app release last year).
But a New York Times profile of Uber this weekend revealed, in passing, that Unroll.me, which is owned by a company called Slice Intelligence, isn't just in the business of tidying up customers' inboxes. Slice makes money by scanning its users' email for receipts, then packaging that information into intel reports on consumer habits. Uber, for example, was paying Slice to find users' Lyft receipts, so it could see how much they were spending each month, "as a proxy for the health of Lyft's business."