data
More Internal Facebook Documents Leak Online, Revealing How Facebook Planned to Sell User Data

At the end of 2018, in a dramatic series of events, lawmakers in England had a sergeant-at-arms storm to an American tech executive’s hotel room and insisted on the release of confidential documents from his company’s ongoing lawsuit against Facebook. Then, in the style of vigilante hackers, the lawmakers posted many of those court-sealed records, exposing hundreds of pages of internal Facebook emails and revealing how the company actually feels about issues like user privacy. Read More >>

apple
Apple Is Removing ‘Do Not Track’ From Safari

Do Not Track is apparently dead, and Apple is now taking steps to shed itself of the failed privacy project. Read More >>

google
Life Without the Tech Giants

Amazon, Facebook, Google, Microsoft, and Apple collectively make products that we love, products that we hate (but can’t stop using), and products that dictate how we communicate and how we are seen. Their devices and services make our lives easier than they’ve ever been before, yet more complicated in unforeseen ways. They are so ubiquitous and fundamental to our lives that their offerings have replaced core functions of our brains. We’re now realising it’s as possible to get addicted to these buttons, clicks, screens, and scrolls as it is to get hooked on nicotine or heroin. Who, after all, can deny the high that comes from an Instagram like? Read More >>

privacy
Amazon and Facebook Reportedly Had a Secret Data-Sharing Agreement, and It Explains So Much

Back in 2015, a woman named Imy Santiago wrote an Amazon review of a novel that she had read and liked. Amazon immediately took the review down and told Santiago she had “violated its policies.” Santiago re-read her review, didn’t see anything objectionable about it, so she tried to post it again. “You’re not eligible to review this product,” an Amazon prompt informed her. Read More >>

facebook
Turning Off Facebook Location Tracking Doesn’t Stop It From Tracking Your Location

Aleksandra Korolova has turned off Facebook’s access to her location in every way that she can. She has turned off location history in the Facebook app and told her iPhone that she “Never” wants the app to get her location. She doesn’t “check-in” to places and doesn’t list her current city on her profile. Read More >>

facebook
How Facebook Schemed Against Its Users

Last year, I was trying to solve a mystery. Facebook’s “People You May Know” tool was outing sex workers’ real identities to their clients, and vice versa, and I was trying to figure out how. A sex worker using the pseudonym Leila told me she had gone to great lengths to hide her identity from clients by using an alternate name, alternate email address, and burner phone number—contact information she didn’t provide to Facebook—yet Facebook was still inextricably linking her with her clients, suggesting them to her real-name account as people she might want to friend. Read More >>

facebook
Facebook Was Fully Aware That Tracking Who People Call and Text You Is Creepy But Did It Anyway

Back in 2015, Facebook had a pickle of a problem. It was time to update the Android version of the Facebook app, and two different groups within Facebook were at odds over what the data grab should be. Read More >>

privacy
Be Warned: Customer Service Agents Can See What You’re Typing in Real Time

Next time you’re chatting with a customer service agent online, be warned that the person on the other side of your conversation might see what you’re typing in real time. A reader sent us the following transcript from a conversation he had with a mattress company after the agent responded to a message he hadn’t sent yet. Read More >>

privacy
‘Do Not Track,’ the Privacy Tool Used by Millions of People, Doesn’t Do Anything

When you go into the privacy settings on your browser, there’s a little option there to turn on the “Do Not Track” function, which will send an invisible request on your behalf to all the websites you visit telling them not to track you. A reasonable person might think that enabling it will stop a porn site from keeping track of what she watches, or keep Facebook from collecting the addresses of all the places she visits on the internet, or prevent third-party trackers she’s never heard of from following her from site to site. According to a recent survey by Forrester Research, a quarter of American adults use “Do Not Track” to protect their privacy. (Our own stats at Gizmodo Media Group show that 9% of visitors have it turned on.) We’ve got bad news for those millions of privacy-minded people, though: “Do Not Track” is like spray-on sunscreen, a product that makes you feel safe while doing little to actually protect you. Read More >>