Sunday, November 28News That Matters

Tag: Facebook Inc

Ifeoma Ozoma Blew the Whistle on Pinterest. Now She Protects Whistle-Blowers.

Business
Last month, Gov. Gavin Newsom of California signed a bill to expand protections for people who speak up about discrimination in the workplace.A new website arrived to offer tech workers advice on how to come forward about mistreatment by their employers.And Apple responded to a shareholder proposal that asked it to assess how it used confidentiality agreements in employee harassment and discrimination cases.The disparate developments had one thing — or, rather, a person — in common: Ifeoma Ozoma.Since last year, Ms. Ozoma, 29, a former employee of Pinterest, Facebook and Google, has emerged as a central figure among tech whistle-blowers. The Yale-educated daughter of Nigerian immigrants, she has supported and mentored tech workers who needed help speaking out, pushed for more legal protect...

Adam Mosseri, Instagram’s Head, Agrees to Testify Before Congress

Technology
Adam Mosseri, the head of Instagram, has agreed for the first time to testify before Congress, as bipartisan anger mounts over harms to young people from the app.Mr. Mosseri is expected to appear before a Senate panel during the week of Dec. 6 as part of a series of hearings on protecting children online, said Senator Richard Blumenthal, who will lead the hearing.Mr. Mosseri’s appearance follows hearings this year with Antigone Davis, the global head of safety for Meta, the parent company of Instagram and Facebook, and with Frances Haugen, a former employee turned whistle-blower. Ms. Haugen’s revelations about the social networking company, particularly those about Facebook and Instagram’s research into its effects on some teenagers and young girls, have spurred criticism, inquiries from p...
Apple Sues Israeli Spyware Maker NSO Group

Apple Sues Israeli Spyware Maker NSO Group

Business
An opening for Apple’s lawsuit emerged in March, after NSO’s Pegasus spyware was discovered on the iPhone of a Saudi activist. Citizen Lab discovered that NSO’s Pegasus spyware had infected the iPhone without so much as a click. The spyware could invisibly infect iPhones, Mac computers and Apple Watches, then siphon their data back to government servers, without the target knowing about it.Citizen Lab called the zero-click infection scheme “Forced Entry” and passed a sample of it to Apple in September. The discovery compelled Apple to issue emergency software updates for its iPhones, iPads, Apple Watches and Mac computers.The sample of Pegasus gave Apple a forensic understanding of how Pegasus worked. The company found that NSO’s engineers had created more than 100 fake Apple IDs to carry ...

Imagine Not Living in Big Tech’s World

Technology
This article is part of the On Tech newsletter. Here is a collection of past columns.I want to flash back to the rise and fall of a once popular storytelling website called Upworthy. It is one of a zillion examples of the power of Facebook and other technology superstars to make or break other companies’ dreams.I recently spoke to one of Upworthy’s co-founders, Eli Pariser, about the company’s history. It’s relevant because nearly a decade after it started, we are still grappling with the risks and rewards of a handful of technology companies serving as gateways to success online.Pariser is now part of a project that has compelling but difficult-to-imagine ideas to get out of this trap.Upworthy’s tale isn’t new or particularly unusual, and that’s the point. Just about everyone trying to ma...

How Fake News on Facebook Helped Fuel a Border Crisis in Europe

Technology
BRUZGI, Belarus — After more than a week sleeping in a frigid encampment on the border between Belarus and Poland, and an abortive foray across the frontier repelled by pepper spray and police batons, Mohammad Faraj gave up this month and retreated to a warm hotel in Minsk, the capital of Belarus.Soon after, however, he watched with surprise and excitement a video report on Facebook claiming that Poland was about to open its border and urging all those who wanted to enter the European Union to gather at a gas station near the encampment that the migrants had nicknamed “the jungle.”Mr. Faraj, a 35-year-old ethnic Kurd from Iraq, rushed back to the squalid camp he had just left, traveling 190 miles from Minsk to the gas station just in time for the opening of the border in early November tha...

Instagram Faces Investigation Over Mental Health Impact on Teens

Technology
A bipartisan group of state attorneys general said on Thursday they had opened an investigation into Meta, the company formerly known as Facebook, for promoting its social media app Instagram while knowing of mental and emotional harms caused by the service.At least 11 states are involved in the investigation, including California, Florida, Kentucky, Massachusetts, Minnesota, Nebraska, New Jersey, New York, Oregon, Tennessee and Vermont, as well as the District of Columbia.Maura Healey, the Massachusetts attorney general and one of the leaders of the investigation, said the states were examining whether the company’s actions violated state consumer protection laws and put the public at risk.“Facebook, now Meta, has failed to protect young people on its platforms and instead chose to ignore...

The Secret to Great Online Communities

Technology
This article is part of the On Tech newsletter. Here is a collection of past columns.We know that gatherings of humans on the internet can be either snarky and insensitive or welcoming and informative. On Tech is hosting a virtual event this week for New York Times subscribers to talk over what makes healthy online communities tick and how to get more of them.One essential ingredient is people like Kate Bilowitz.Bilowitz is a co-founder of a Facebook group called Vaccine Talk, which describes itself as an “evidence-based discussion forum” for people with varying beliefs about vaccinations to better understand one another.You might imagine raging shout fests, but I’ve been watching Vaccine Talk since I read about the group in The Washington Post, and I’ve mostly seen discussions that are em...
Facebook’s Meta: How Designers View the New Logo and Brand

Facebook’s Meta: How Designers View the New Logo and Brand

Technology
When Mark Zuckerberg announced last month that Facebook was changing its name, the company published a sleek animation online that showed logos of all its apps and products fusing together to form a shimmering vision of the future: a two-tone blue infinity symbol next to the word “Meta.”The new symbol and name change were nods to Mr. Zuckerberg’s plans to refocus the Silicon Valley giant toward what he sees as the unification of disparate digital worlds into the so-called metaverse, the immersive, interconnected online space largely enabled by augmented and virtual reality. “The metaverse is the next frontier in connecting people,” he said in an announcement.To design experts, the change by a scandal-plagued company was the latest example of efforts by corporate America to create brands th...
Meta Plans to Remove Thousands of Sensitive Ad-Targeting Categories

Meta Plans to Remove Thousands of Sensitive Ad-Targeting Categories

Technology
SAN FRANCISCO — Meta, the social media company formerly known as Facebook, said on Tuesday that it planned to eliminate advertisers’ ability to target people with promotions based on their interactions with content related to health, race and ethnicity, political affiliation, religion, sexual orientation and thousands of other topics.The move, which takes effect on Jan. 19, affects advertisers on Meta’s apps such as Facebook, Instagram and Messenger and the company’s audience network, which places ads in third-party apps. The Silicon Valley company said it was making the changes to limit the way that its targeting tools can be abused. In the past, these features have been used to discriminate against people or to spam them with unwanted messaging.“We’ve heard concerns from experts that tar...

An 8-Year-Old Explains the Metaverse

LifeStyle
But I can do awkward parties in real life. I wanted a headier glimpse of our supposedly fantastical future in the metaverse, so we logged onto Adopt Me!, a confection of a game with Candy Land-esque graphics, where users collect and tend for pets, some ordinary, some mythical, spawned from eggs. “I just got offered a fluffy kitten,” Anton said, moments after logging on. “That’s how kid-friendly it is.”On the surface, the game seemed to offer enough emphasis on early childhood development and affordable health care (you actually get paid to take your pet to the hospital, Anton told me) to please any red-rose progressive.Understand the Facebook PapersCard 1 of 6A tech giant in trouble. The leak of internal documents by a former Facebook employee has provided an intimate look at the oper...