#86 I’m Just Gonna Send It, With Firefox

So it turns out that Firefox Send is the new standard in sending large files securely. That along with Zuckerberg pulling damage control for Facebook, Jade Raymond joining the VP ranks at Google and Fortnite players on Switch looking to be matched with mobile players moving forward. All coming up, so settle in…

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#42 Speedrunner Breaks Impossible Super Mario Bros Record Time

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Meet Meltan, Pokemon Go’s Weird New Creature; Here’s What We Know

The Pokemon Company has confirmed that the strange, Ditto-like monster is a brand-new species of Pokemon called Meltan. In a new trailer the company shared, Professor Willow from Pokemon Go calls Professor Oak, the most prominent researcher from the main series, with news that Ditto masquerading as an unidentified Pokemon had been sighted recently. Oak says he recalls seeing the monster in ancient texts and that it’s a Mythical Pokemon known as Meltan.

Mark Zuckerberg Blamed for Instagram Founders’ Departure

On Monday, the founders of Instagram announced they were leaving to focus on new opportunities. To the surprise of no one, it’s looking like the problem was the CEO of Instagram’s parent company, Facebook. And with those meddlesome founders out of the way, users should worry about a Facebook-ified Insta.

Apple Alienates the World’s Second-Largest Smartphone Market

The iPhone X was a really expensive product in India. It launched at a base price of around $1,400 in India last year, way higher than the U.S. retail price of $999. In fact, India was the second most expensive country in which to buy an iPhone X, thanks to import duties and a weak currency. Not surprisingly, Apple lost its footing in India’s premium smartphone market last year. During the second quarter, the company’s share of premium smartphones in India fell to 13.6% compared to 29.6% in the prior-year period, according to Counterpoint Research. Apple has shipped 40% fewer iPhones in India during the first six months of 2018 as compared to a year ago, with OnePlus’ and Samsung’s phones occupying the top two spots thanks to a smart pricing-and-product strategy.

Speedrunner Achieves ‘Impossible’ Super Mario Bros. Record Time

The original Super Mario Bros. is tightly optimized, as far as speedruns go. Runners have been shaving off milliseconds using highly-skilled play and glitches, all in the hopes of someday reaching a theoretically perfect run. Previously, this was only achievable using special programs, but last night, a runner did what some people thought impossible, matching those computer-assisted performances with nothing but grit and skill.

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Facebook Simplifies Its New Two-Factor Authentication Process

Social media giant Facebook is now taking an aggressive direction to enhance its app security features. It can be recalled that in the previous months, Facebook was heavily criticized for data protection issue.

Learn about Facebook’s Two-Factor Authentication

 

Earlier this week, the social media giant has announced the improvements it has for the app ’s two-factor authentication process for users. One of the major changes it implemented is the removal of the phone number for the users to use the popular security feature.

“We previously required a phone number to set up two-factor authentication, to help prevent account lock-outs. Now that we have redesigned the feature to make the process easier to use third-party authentication apps like Google Authenticator and Duo Security on both desktop and mobile, we are no longer making the phone number mandatory,” Facebook wrote in a blog post.

 

According to Facebook, it improved the two-factor authentication in two ways:

• It made easier than ever to enable two-factor authentication with a streamlined setup flow that guides you through the process.

 

• It also expanded how you can secure your account with a second factor by ensuring that people can enable two-factor authentication without registering a phone number.

 

It can be recalled that Facebook has received a public backlash because of its two-factor authentication which required users to enter a phone number. Some Facebook users complained that they had been spammed with this requirement.

 

“I can just say that we’ve gotten the feedback that people want it to be easier, people do take security seriously,” according to Pete Voss, Facebook’s security communications manager when he told Wired in an interview.

 

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Play Facebook and Instagram Videos Within Your Whatsapp App

WhatsApp’s latest update now allows Instagram and Facebook video links to open in PiP mode.

Following last week’s F8 keynote address on WhatsApp from Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg, the latest update for iOS has finally been released.

The chatting app’s update 2.18.51 brings the ability to watch Instagram and Facebook videos in-app. Which means users can now view those videos along with YouTube videos while on their chat window.

Previously, when a link from Instagram or Facebook is clicked, WhatsApp opens the respective app installed on their phone. Once you finish watching, you would have to click on the back button on the upper left corner to reopen the chatting app. Another way to go back would be to double press the home button to access the recently used apps list.

The picture-in-picture mode (PiP) also allows users to continue watching the video while navigating through the chat. The video bubble can be moved within the screen and comes with play/pause, close, and fullscreen buttons.

This PiP mode is described within the change log of the update but is not functional yet as of this writing. The feature however suggests that it would be enabled within the next few weeks.

At the F8 event, Zuckerberg also announced the group video calling feature will come to the app soon. Up to four friends can simultaneously join and see each other in split-screen mode. The app will also get support for third-party stickers created by developers in the near future.

 

Facebook Says Its New Online Dating Service Won’t Have Ads

Social media giant Facebook said that its in-app dating feature wouldn’t be including ads. The social media giant has assured its million users across the globe that the service would be ad-free.

 

An ad-free dating service feature?

It can be recalled that just last week, Facebook said it is targeting close to 200 million Facebook users who classified themselves as “single” to use the social media app’s dating feature.

Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg, who addressed the audience of the company’s F8 conference, emphasized that the dating service would focus on “real long-term relationships” and not just “hookups.”

 

Just recently, Facebook was involved in the latest data breach controversy with Cambridge Analytica. The company was heavily criticized for allowing third-parties to mine data and use for political agenda. This begs the question if such dating feature would do the same—sharing private data with other parties without the user’s approval and knowledge.

 

But Facebook also pointed out, in a statement sent to Recode, that it does not plan to run ads. The company said that it doesn’t have any intensions or plan to use data that is associated with user’s dating profile. This also includes the user’s behavior that would potentially target them with ads.

 

Regarding Messaging, the company also said that the app’s dating feature has a separate messaging platform. This means that users won’t be using WhatsApp or Messenger unless both users would decide to use exchange numbers or usernames.

 

Meanwhile, Facebook said that the testing of the dating service is expected to begin this year. And the result of the test would determine the official launching of the app’s dating feature.

Facebook, Instagram: Here’s What Product Features To Expect

Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg has delivered a keynote speech at F8 yearly developer’s conference. Held on Tuesday, Zuckerberg has explained that the company is exerting efforts to solve the problems like the data privacy scandal, electoral issues, fake news, among others.

 

Here’s What To Expect in Instagram, Facebook  Apps

In an attempt to stem the tide of these issues, he also announced the soon to be launched product features of Instagram and Facebook, among others.

 

“We are all here because we are optimistic about the future,” Zuckerberg told the audience at F8 Developers Conference. “We have real challenges to address, but we have to keep that sense of optimism too. What I learned this year is we have to take a broader view of our responsibility.”

The Facebook CEO then announced that the social media app would add a dating features. He claims that around 200 million Facebook users are single on Facebook.

 

“This is going to be for building real long-term relationships, not just hookups. It’s going to be in the Facebook app, but it’s totally optional. It’s opt-in. We have designed this with privacy and safety in mind from the beginning. You will only be suggested people who are not your friends,” Zuckerberg said.

 

Also, Facebook would be getting a new privacy feature that would allow its million users to clear the browsing history. This privacy feature would include the websites that users have visited outside the social media app.

 

 

For Instagram, the app would also be getting new features like a group video chats added in its messaging tool. Apart from this, the photo-sharing app would have an augmented reality overlays from developers. Of which, Instagram users could post directly to both Instagram and Facebook. There’s also a tool that would filter comments such as comments that qualify as bullying.

 

 

Facebook Doing a Tinder Cum Match.com and Other Features Soon!

F8, the developers’ annual 2-day conference hosted by Facebook in San Jose, California will have Mark Zuckerberg facing the public live post-Congressional inquiry. The public (and the U.K. Parliament) will be intently watching as this comes weeks after the Cambridge Analytica scandal that saw Facebook founder, Zuckerberg alternately pictured both as a victim and a lizard who made money through unauthorized acquisition and sale of user data. Last year, the focus was on augmented reality and virtual reality but this year, expectations are high over security measures and the Oculus Go, the standalone $199 VR.

When high caliber minds meet in a caucus such as this, hopes are high that the discussions will seed innovation that is useful, or at the very least, enjoyable. In his keynote address, Zuckerberg made a perfunctory (almost breezy) “mea culpa” over the security breach scandal and stressed that countermeasures will ensure the sanctity of private data and prevent the proliferation of fake news.

Foremost among the changes is tighter control on how developers can access some data on the Facebook platform. Aside from the expected discussion about its tools like React, React Native and GraphQL, there was keen interest on where Facebook was headed as Zuckerberg announced that it was re-opening its app review process. It was a not-so-subtle signal that Facebook considered itself out of the woods as far as security and trust issues were concerned.

Zuckerberg (even before Facebook) had a reputation for capitalizing on other people’s ideas and true to form, these announcements the FB CEO made at F8 might strike a familiar chord because it’s either a rehash of its own features or a clone of a competitor:

  1. Facebook wants to create meaningful communities through the new Groups tab and plugin. According to Zuckerberg, “In a community, you can meet new people who share your values – for some, this might be a support group for new parents. For others, it might be about a disease you have. For others, it might be about finding people to come together and volunteer.” The Group tab makes it easy for you to find all your groups and interact with the members more intimately. For instance, as a group, you get to hang out together (like in brick-and-mortar spaces) and watch a video together. Live commentating, where you are up there on the screen is something that you expect to love and hate in equal measures. it can be distracting and annoying or engaging.

The Groups plugin can be added to websites and emails by developers and admins,             making it easy to invite people.

2. Facebook is now encroaching on Tinder’s social space by introducing a dating feature predicted to change a lot of “statuses” in the future. It is private in a sense because it doesn’t embarrass by announcing to friends and non-friends that you had expressed some interest in meeting or dating someone. With this new feature, you can opt to create your dating profile which isn’t visible to friends. It has an algorithm for potential matches based on your preferences and mutual friends making it like a more covert Match.com. FaceDate, anyone?

3. Facebook in a move to give Snapchat a dose of its own medicine has given Instagram video capabilities. More significantly, it has become very aggressive about sharing its stories. Currently, users of Spotify, Go-pro and other third-party apps can now share their stories on Facebook Stories and Instagram Stories. These aren’t just screenshots that are shared but stories, videos, and songs that can be edited, posted and shared on Facebook. Musically, a very popular lip synching app and Meitu a selfie editor will also debut very soon. For those of us at the sidelines, this is a most interesting year to watch!

Facebook To Roll-out ‘Unsend’ Feature in Messenger?

Social media giant Facebook is planning to roll-out an “unsend” feature to Messenger. The announcement came after an online report claims that retracting messages is possible. This feature is not actually availed by common Facebook users.

 

Messenger will have ‘unsend’ feature soon

 

The social media giant said that the Messenger’s unsend feature would be made available to all its users in the coming months. It also confirmed that it is now building this kind of product. While such feature is being built, Facebook vowed that it would not retract Zuckerberg’s messages anymore.

 

 

But now Facebook tells me it plans to make an “unsend” feature available to all users in several months and has already been considering how to build this product. Until the Unsend feature is released for everyone, Facebook says it won’t unsend or retract any more of Zuckerberg’s messages.

 

 

Tech users viewed the unsending of Zuckerberg’s messages to other company executive as a breach of trust. Now, Facebook’s plan to release the unsending feature could stem the tide of this new wave of controversy.

 

Meanwhile, a Facebook spokesperson, in a statement, told TechCrunch that the unsend feature is similar to the encrypted version of Messenger.

 

 

“We have discussed this feature several times. And people using our secret message feature in the encrypted version of Messenger have the ability to set a timer — and have their messages automatically deleted,” the spokesperson said.

 

“We will now be making a broader delete message feature available. This may take some time. And until this feature is ready, we will no longer be deleting any executives’ messages. We should have done this sooner — and we’re sorry that we did not.”

Facebook Retracting Messages, Breaches, and Digital Rape

Have you ever experienced having mail sent to you retracted and mysteriously disappearing into the air without as much as a polite “Please ignore this email…”? Well, I have and in one particular case, it felt like a punch in the solar plexus. It would have been fine if the email was trivial or unread, unfortunately, it was sent by the Senior Vice-President of a huge telecommunications company to whom I had entrusted concerns about service level and other confidential matters.

This was not a Google email (or a similar one) that can be recalled five minutes after sending if you realized you had sent it to the wrong account or sent inaccurate information. The operative word is “UNREAD” so you actually don’t know what you’ve missed. However, this particular series of emails was conducted over a period of two weeks and had many ccs and replies from top executives. Yet, one day, it was totally gone – including crucial replies from those who were in the loop.

Many e-mail systems, including the widely used Microsoft/Outlook Exchange Server and IBM Lotus Notes/Domino Server, offer a Message Recall feature. This feature is supposed to delete unread copies of the recalled message from the recipients’ inboxes so they never see it. — AmeriCan Bar Organization

It is enough to get one paranoid about conspiracy theories because it leaves you totally defenseless as the proof or trail of messages that could support your claim is gone. That happened years ago but I have gotten into the habit of actually printing-out mail and sending important ones to another account. The privacy violation still leaves a bad taste in the mouth, like some sort of digital rape, simply because there was no consent.

It makes you wonder, who DOES own the information: the sender, the receiver, or in the case of Facebook, the conduit? It makes you wonder if all mail sent by “big names” have tracers capable of erasing their existence; just like a digital Mission Impossible message that self-destructs.

The technology was mastered years ago but is now in the focus of interest after news broke out that messages sent by Mark Zuckerberg, Facebook CEO and other executives were retracted from user inboxes. This breach comes hard on the heels of the Cambridge Analytica scandal affecting up to 87 million users – something so big that it goes beyond political implications.

In the past, Facebook did not allow messages to be unsent or removed from conversations or inboxes; so if you sent a message too soon or to the wrong person, you had to live with it, apologize or unfriend the other person. The last option does not guarantee that the message was not read. When Techcrunch broke the news of disappearing mail from Zuckerberg and company, Facebook grudgingly admitted to deleting messages but justified this as a corporate action to protect executives’ communication,”We did so in full compliance with our legal obligations to preserve messages.” Self-destructing mail, however, is not totally new to Facebook. In fact, although the public may not have used it much, encrypted and disappearing Secret Conversations have already been around for over two years on Messenger.

Now, Facebook finds itself again in the midst of public scrutiny because of the perceived breach of trust since the recipients were never informed of the removal of the messages from their user inbox. Zuckerberg’s replies disappeared although the conversation thread remained, making it a one-way conversation. Talk about “reading between the lines”! This time, Mark Zuckerberg did not apologize for the special treatment. Reportedly, Facebook will make this “unsend feature with an expiration timer” available to the public in the coming months. In an effort to appease public anger over this latest privacy breach, even Mark Zuckerberg is not allowed to unsend in the regular mode until the public roll-out out of this feature.

In an act of corporate responsibility and to regain the trust of its 1.3 B users, Zuckerberg will appear before the U.S. Senate Judiciary and Commerce committees on April 10 and the House Energy and Commerce Committee the day after. For sure, there will be sanctions and clipping of wings. Facebook has already revised privacy controls for the user to protect the sanctity of information. Questions remain like will WhatsApp, bought by Facebook in 2014 continue to share your phonebook on Facebook? But ultimately, the power rests on one button, delete or forever keep your peace.

“And you say what harm could a deep intelligence in the network do? Well, it could start a war by doing fake news and spoofing email accounts and fake press releases and just by manipulating information. The pen is mightier than the sword.” — Elon Musk

Facebook Amidst Privacy Crisis: Delete or Not?

Facebook may be facing its biggest challenge yet as the Cambridge Analytica data scandal continues to cast a spell of doubt over the site’s security despite public reassurance from CEO Mark Zuckerberg. As in the recent fake news epidemic, Facebook claims to take all steps necessary to protect the public but the big fish aren’t biting. Already, there seems to be an exodus of big companies (who like Tesla deleted their Facebook page) after it was revealed that the personal data of around 50 million Facebook users were collected without their knowledge or consent. Although the general public is more forgiving, it’s perplexing how this could be an “innocent mistake” from a tech giant in a world where the option for two-factor authentication has become prevalent. Surprisingly even WhatsApp co-founder Brian Acton, whose company was bought for a whopping $19B by Facebook tweeted about supporting the #deletefacebook movement!

As expected, the leading social media platform’s popularity plummeted when it was revealed that Facebook was used to steal private information during the Trump campaign. One recent study showed that 48% of users no longer had a favorable view in contrast to only 30% who did. That being said, it was also a big surprise why most U.S. users have not yet changed log-in credentials – knowing fully well that there is no sanctity of data. According to Reuter’s 86% have not changed their log-in credentials in social media including Facebook and an appalling 78% have not switched to private mode on their browser. Going incognito can be done on the fly but it takes a little more effort to physically cover your device or laptop camera. Something that can’t be shrugged off because half of the adult users admit to logging on daily.

This breach of trust is something that could have been expected if we were more discerning when downloading the app. In a statement to the Guardian, it said, “Contact uploading is optional. People are expressly asked if they want to give permission to upload their contacts from their phone—it’s explained right there in the apps when you get started.” Surreptitious or not, the amount of call or SMS data is astounding and when you realize that it is free to use, then it looks like our collective data becomes part of the product for data miners – but is it a fair trade-off?

“It’s also our responsibility to tell you how we collect and use your data in language that’s detailed, but also easy to understand. In the coming weeks, we’ll be proposing updates to Facebook’s terms of service that include our commitments to people.”          Erin Egan, Facebook

If you think Facebook is indispensable because you are too attached to your social friends and had gotten used to the noise and trivia, you don’t have to delete your account. In a move to regain trust, Facebook itself has taken additional steps so users have better control of their security settings:

  1. Data settings and controls have been streamlined and easier to find – and accessible from one location.
  2. What can be shared with apps are now more explicit.
  3. Outdated settings have been removed or revised.
  4. New Privacy Shortcuts menu was introduced; one that is simpler, more visual, and gives you better control of ads, personal information, and who sees your profile, posts and information.

5. Two-factor authentication,

6. Tools for downloading and deleting Facebook data including contacts, photos, posts, pages, apps, comments and the like. You can also download and/or delete data about friends, followers, and who you are following.

 

“We’ll also update our data policy to better spell out what data we collect and how we use it. These updates are about transparency – not about gaining new rights to collect, use, or share data.”

Photo from https://newsroom.fb.com/news/2018/03/privacy-shortcuts/