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You can kiss your privacy goodbye

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July 15 · Issue #43 · View online
iAfrikan Daily Brief
Please take a few seconds to add [email protected] to your contacts list to ensure you always get the iAfrikan Daily Brief in your inbox. Otherwise it could end up in your spam folder. - Tefo Mohapi

Every time a new privacy scandal is revealed about Facebook, I first feel a sense of relief and a wry smile forms on my face. This is because I somehow feel vindicated for completely deleting all my content on Facebook and then deleting my account on the social media platform about two years ago. Secondly, I keep wondering what else are they doing that we are yet to learn of. Then, lastly, and very quickly, that smile is wiped off my face as I remember that Facebook tracks people even if they do not have a Facebook account.
I’m mentioning this because over the past few days, a security researcher based in Australia, Edin Jusopovic, discovered that Facebook is “embedding tracking data inside photos you download.” This makes it easy for them to track the photos even outside the Facebook platform and across the web. At least that’s what we hope they only use the tracking data for.
Every time Facebook is accused of a user privacy violation, I can't help but imagine Mark Zuckerberg reading the news on his phone laughing at all of us "minions" so outraged.
Forgive me for being skeptical on Facebook’s intentions when it comes to user data because, over the years, since inception, the social media platform seems to have been built specifically to violate people’s privacy.
"Embarrassing And Damaging" Zuckerberg IMs Confirmed By Zuckerberg, The New Yorker. Source: Business Insider
Take for example, 9 years ago, during 2010, when an Instant Messaging chat between Mark Zuckerberg and his friend Jose Antonio Vargas was leaked in which “Zuck” speaks freely about sharing Facebook user data with a friend and how Facebook users are dumb for trusting him with their personal data and photos. What makes it even worse is that Zuckerberg would confirm the exchange as real and authentic, further saying that he “regrets” having said all that.
However, it didn’t just stop there. Over the years we’ve witnessed the Cambridge Analytica Facebook data leak and numerous others. To make matters even more interesting, it seems Zuckerberg himself doesn’t trust Facebook and the state of web platforms currently.
A photo taken in 2016 of Mark Zuckerberg celebrating Instagram reaching the milestone of 500 million monthly active users. He unintentionally revealed more about himself in this photo than immediately meets the eye (if you look closer). Source: Facebook
In 2016, while celebrating Instagram reaching 500 million monthly active users, Zuckerberg took a photo which, upon closer inspection, revealed that he had applied tape to both his laptop’s camera and microphone. This raised questions on his paranoia (perhaps paranoia based on what they do at Facebook?) and whether or not the rest of us should be worried as well. It was a few months after this that I quit Facebook.
When you zoom in, you can see that Zuckerberg has tape over his laptop's camera and microphone.
Back to the latest privacy violation at Facebook.
The recent revelation by Jusopovic has some serious implications when you consider that Facebook owns WhatsApp and Instagram. Imagine uploading and then downloading a family photo you had posted on Facebook (now containing a tracking code). You share it with more family through WhatsApp. Now, Facebook knows a few more of your contacts (and their mobile numbers). It can now better target advertising to you and them and as we’ve seen with the Cambridge Analytica saga, it can take this a step further and allow for political messaging to be targeted at you because it can now estimate, with some accuracy, that based on people you regularly share photos with, you probably have the same interests. Throw in the fact that Facebook has software that can detect and tag faces in photos automatically, you can see why this becomes a big concern.
Now, we have a company that:
  • Has your personal information
  • Your photos and videos
  • Probably already knows your mobile number (WhatsApp)
  • Knows your interests
  • Knows who you are related to and chat to often
  • Knows the places you visit regularly
  • Is about to know how you use money (Libra)
I think given all this, you can kiss your privacy goodbye.
🔭 In what is a violation of users’ privacy, it’s been discovered that Facebook embeds tracking data inside photos that users download allowing it to possibly track them around the web. Facebook could use this (if it isn’t already doing this) type of image tracking to understand who your friends and family are considering that it owns WhatsApp and Instagram. (…and don’t forget, even if you are not on Facebook, Facebook collects data on you and has a shadow profile created for you.) Link
🙌🏿 President Idriss Deby of Chad has instructed Internet Service Providers in the country to lift social media restrictions he had initially instructed them to implement. This comes after more than a year later that people in Chad have had no social media access. Link
🎥 Nigeria’s ROK has been acquired by France’s leading audio-visual entertainment company, CANAL+ Group. The IROKO Ltd-incubated ROK is expected to enhance Canal+’s local original content development. Link
🎭 Mary Njoku, founder of ROK, speaks to us about telling Africa’s stories, the CANAL+ acquisition and more. Njoku also shares some information on her business journey. Link
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