Facebook 2018 Year in Review

Facebook 2018 Year In ReviewFacebook 2018 Year in Review highlights the top ways people are being exploited on Facebook and its subsidiaries like Instagram. Unsurprisingly, most of them are pretty depressing, confirming what we all already knew from previous years – Facebook can’t be fixed.

Reddit user fantastic_comment compiled this information and the post was originally published on Reddit – original link: https://np.reddit.com/r/StallmanWasRight/comments/acuct5/facebook_2018_year_in_review/

Ironic that it was posted on Reddit, since Reddit also had numerous missteps in 2018. Reddit just isn’t nearly as bad as Facebook.



Date Article
2018-01-30 More than 110 child-health advocates have called on Facebook chief executive Mark Zuckerberg to pull the firm’s Messenger Kids app aimed at under 13s, warning of the dangers of social media for children
2018-01-24 Facebook should be regulated like a cigarette company, because of the addictive and harmful properties of social media, according to Salesforce chief executive Marc Benioff
2018-01-23 Facebook enables ‘fake news’ by reliance on digital advertising
2018-01-11 Facebook patents tracking method using dust on camera lenses


Date Article
2018-02-16 Facebook ordered to stop collecting user data by Belgian court
2018-02-12 Facebook personal data use and privacy settings ruled illegal by German court
2018-02-08 Brazil’s biggest newspaper, Folha de S Paulo, has announced that it will no longer publish content on its Facebook page, accusing the social media giant of encouraging fake news and become ‘inhospitable terrain for … quality content’


Date Article
2018-03-29 Facebook scraped call, text message data for years from Android phones without explicitly notifying users
2018-03-29 Growth At Any Cost: Top Facebook Executive Defended Data Collection In 2016 Memo — And Warned That Facebook Could Get People Killed
2018-03-28 Facebook increases lobbying presence on Capitol Hill before Zuckerberg testimony
2018-03-26 Facebook tracking is present in 41% of the most popular Android apps
2018-03-20 WhatsApp co-founder Brian Acton tell us “It is time delete facebook”
2018-03-17 87 million Facebook profiles harvested for Cambridge Analytica in major data breach
2018-03-16 Facebook has been forced to apologise after it spent hours suggesting sexual videos and child abuse content
2018-03-14 The UK’s data protection watchdog has concluded that WhatsApp’s sharing of user data with its parent company Facebook would have been illegal
2018-03-13 ‘Facebook has now turned into a beast’, says United Nations investigator, calling network a vehicle for ‘acrimony, dissension and conflict’
2018-03-09 Facebook Launches Another Deceptive ‘Security’ App Designed to Siphon Your Data. Updated: Facebook Deletes App
2018-03-05 Facebook asks users: should we allow men to ask children for sexual images?


Date Article
2018-04-30 WhatsApp founder Jan Koum announced he was leaving Facebook amid user data disputes
2018-04-19 Facebook moves 1.5bn users out of reach of new European privacy law
2018-04-18 Facebook to start asking permission for facial recognition in GDPR push
2018-04-17 Facebook admits tracking users and non-users off-site
2018-04-16 Facebook ad feature claims to predict user’s future behaviour
2018-04-11 Zuckerberg being grilled on Capitol Hill – Day 2
2018-04-10 Zuckerberg being grilled on Capitol Hill – Day 1
2018-04-05 Facebook secretly deleted messages Mark Zuckerberg sent on Messenger
2018-04-05 Facebook investigated by Australian privacy watchdog over suspected data-sharing
2018-04-05 Facebook admits it discussed sharing user data for medical research project
2018-04-04 Facebook refuses to promise GDPR-style privacy protection for US users
2018-04-03 Revealed: Facebook hate speech exploded in Myanmar during Rohingya crisis
2018-04-03 Facebook apologises for storing draft videos users thought they had deleted


Date Article
2018-05-25 Max Schrems NGO NOYB launches first legal cases under GDPR. Complaints have been filed against Facebook, Google, Instagram and WhatsApp within hours of the new GDPR data protection law taking effect
2018-05-24 Facebook accused of conducting mass surveillance through its apps. Company gathered data from texts and photos of users and their friends, court case claims
2018-05-22 Mark Zuckerberg dodges question from European Parliament on Facebook ‘shadow profiles’
2018-05-22 Facebook’s Mark Zuckerberg meets with the European Parliament
2018-05-11 Facebook hit with class action lawsuit over collection of texts and call logs
2018-05-03 Facebook harvested 3.5 billion Instagram images without warning their owners until today


Date Article
2018-06-27 Facebook Patent Imagines Triggering Your Phone’s Mic When a Hidden Signal Plays on TV
2018-06-27 Facebook, Google and Microsoft push users away from privacy-friendly options on their services in an “unethical” way, according to a report by the Norwegian Consumer Council
2018-06-21 7 Creepy Patents Reveal About Facebook
2018-06-12 Facebook admitted that it collects information from and about computers, phones, and connected devices, including mouse
2018-06-07 Facebook apologizes for privacy glitch that affected up to 14 million users
2018-06-05 Facebook Gave Data Access to Chinese Firm Flagged by U.S. Intelligence
2018-06-03 Facebook Gave Device Makers Deep Access to Data on Users and Friends


Date Article
2018-07-23 Rubens nudes fall foul of Facebook censors (VIDEO)
2018-07-05 Facebook labels declaration of independence as ‘hate speech’
2018-07-02 Facebook gave 61 businesses including Nike, Spotify, UPS and dating app Hinge special rights to access user data after blocking such access more broadly


Date Article
2018-08-27 A report from the United Nations called Facebook a “useful instrument for those seeking to spread hate” in the genocide of Rohingya Muslims in Myanmar and that the company’s response to the crisis was “slow and ineffective.”
2018-08-23 Facebook violates Apple’s data-gathering rules, pulls Onavo VPN from App Store
2018-08-17 Justice Dept. Backs Suit Accusing Facebook of Violating Fair Housing Act
2018-08-06 Facebook has asked large U.S. banks to share detailed financial information about customers as it seeks to boost user engagement
2018-08-02 ‘It’s ridiculous. It’s Picasso’: Facebook reviewing anti-nudity policy after blocking Montreal museum ad


Date Article
2018-09-28 Facebook blocked users from posting some stories about its security breach
2018-09-28 Facebook Security Breach Exposes Accounts of 50 Million Users
2018-09-26 Facebook Is Giving Advertisers Access to Your Shadow Contact Information
2018-09-25 Facebook failing to protect moderators from mental trauma, lawsuit claims
2018-09-24 Instagram founders Kevin Systrom and Mike Krieger announced that they were leaving the company they had sold to Facebook – “no one ever leaves a job because everything’s awesome.”
2018-09-21 Instagram’s new TV service recommended videos of potential child abuse


Date Article
2018-10-30 We posed as 100 Senators to run ads on Facebook. Facebook approved all of them
2018-10-25 Facebook has been fined £500,000 by the UK’s data protection watchdog for its role in the Cambridge Analytica data scandal
2018-10-19 Facebook inflated ad metrics up to 900 percent. Facebook was aware of inaccuracies in the way it measured how many people viewed video on its site for a year longer than it has previously admitted, court documents have claimed
2018-10-12 Facebook says 14m accounts had personal data stolen in recent breach
2018-10-10 Facebook Is Still Thirsty for Your Health Data
2018-10-05 Facebook to release first-party cookie option for ads, pull web analytics from Firefox and Safari
2018-10-04 Instagram prototypes handing your location history to Facebook


Date Article
2018-11-24 Parliament has used its legal powers to seize internal Facebook documents in an extraordinary attempt to hold the US social media giant to account after chief executive Mark Zuckerberg repeatedly refused to answer MPs’ questions
2018-11-21 Facebook criticised for post promoting child bride auction. Company failed to remove post that informed users of auction of 17-year-old girl for several days
2018-11-17 Instagram bug inadvertently exposed some users’ passwords
2018-11-14 Facebook policy chief admits hiring PR firm to attack George Soros
2018-11-13 Facebook bug let websites read ‘likes’ and interests from a user’s profile
2018-11-12 WhatsApp struggling to control fake news in India, researchers say
2018-11-12 Facebook Failed to Police How Its Partners Handled User Data
2018-11-06 Facebook admits failings over incitement to violence in Myanmar
2018-11-02 Facebook Allowed Advertisers to Target Users Interested in “White Genocide” — Even in Wake of Pittsburgh Massacre
2018-11-02 Private messages from 81,000 hacked Facebook accounts for sale


Date Article
2018-12-29 How Apps on Android Share Data with Facebook – Report by Privacy International
2018-12-20 WhatsApp has an encrypted child porn problem
2018-12-19 The attorney general for the District of Columbia filed a lawsuit against Facebook for its role in allowing Cambridge Analytica to harvest the personal information of millions of people without their consent
2018-12-19 Facebook users cannot avoid location-based ads, investigation finds
2018-12-18 Internal documents show that the social network gave Microsoft, Amazon, Spotify and others far greater access to people’s data than it has disclosed
2018-12-15 Facebook is being used to silence bloggers critical of Vietnam’s government, according to Reporters Without Borders
2018-12-14 Facebook disclosed that a bug may have exposed the photos of up to 6.8 million users people had uploaded but chosen not to post
2018-12-10 Facebook Filed A Patent To Calculate Your Future Location based on your historical location data and other parameters
2018-12-07 Italian regulator fines Facebook £8.9m for misleading users
2018-12-06 Facebook emails reveal discussions over call log consent. Employees discussed how to minimise amount of consent they would need to ask for
2018-12-05 Facebook discussed cashing in on user data, emails suggest. Social network staff apparently conversed about removing data restrictions for big ad spenders


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Facebook Usage Declines

42% of Facebook users say they have taken a break from checking the platform for a period of several weeks or more. 26% say they have deleted the Facebook app from their cellphone.

42 Percent of Facebook Users Taking A BreakAccording to Pew Research Facebook users continue to reduce the amount of time they are spending on the platform. Just over half of Facebook users ages 18 and older (54%) say they have adjusted their privacy settings in the past 12 months, according to a new Pew Research Center survey. Around four-in-ten (42%) say they have taken a break from checking the platform for a period of several weeks or more, while around a quarter (26%) say they have deleted the Facebook app from their cellphone. All told, some 74% of Facebook users say they have taken at least one of these three actions in the past year.

The findings come from a Pew Research survey of U.S. adults conducted May 29, 2018 through June 11, 2018.

Younger Facebook Users Adjusting Privacy SettingsThere are, however, age differences in the share of Facebook users who have recently taken some of these actions. Most notably, 44% of younger users (those ages 18 to 29) say they have deleted the Facebook app from their phone in the past year, nearly four times the share of users ages 65 and older (12%) who have done so. Similarly, older users are much less likely to say they have adjusted their Facebook privacy settings in the past 12 months: Only a third of Facebook users 65 and older have done this, compared with 64% of younger users. In earlier research, Pew Research Center has found that a larger share of younger than older adults use Facebook. Still, similar shares of older and younger users have taken a break from Facebook for a period of several weeks or more.

42 percent of the audience not using the platform should translate to fewer daily active users. More than half of the audience changing the privacy settings should mean less opportunity for accurate ad targeting, and lower efficiency of advertising on Facebook.

Full Article at Pew Research.

Facebook Advertising Fraud – Fake Likes

Facebook Fake Likes

It is well known that Facebook’s advertising model has questionable effectiveness. There is substantial evidence to support the statement that Facebook’s revenue is based on fake Likes.

The effectiveness of Facebook as an advertising platform first came into question in 2012 when savvy users started realising that users accounting for 80% of Facebook likes for a page only had 1% of user engagement.

This disconnect in Likes and engagement led to tests conducted by users to understand what was going on with Facebook Likes.

There are two ways to purchase Facebook Likes. The illegitimate way, and the legitimate way that Facebook sells you.

The illegitimate way is to go to a 3rd party website and purchase Likes.

Facebook does not want businesses purchasing “Fake Likes” from 3rd parties, but Facebook themselves are more than willing to sell you as many “Fake Likes” as you are willing to purchase.

This is what Facebook feels is the legitimate way. They call these other websites “scams” for selling Likes for your Facebook Page because these users will not have a genuine interest in what your Page is about.

But the Likes generated from Facebook’s own advertising programs to advertise your page also result in a massive number of Fake Likes and poor engagement.

The US State Department famously paid $630,000 to acquire 2 Million fans, then realized engagement was 2%.

There are a few well known examples of journalists documenting their own experience with this. I am capturing them here for reference in the future.

The case of Virtual Bagel Ltd.

Virtual Bagel Ltd had over 4,000 likes on Facebook. They had a brilliant business model: “We send you bagels via the Internet – just download and enjoy.”

This was a fake Facebook page set up bu BBC Technology Correspondent Rory Cellan-Jones in 2012. He wanted to find out how much a “Like” was worth on a Facebook page.

After creating the fake page, Cellan-Jones created a Facebook advertising campaign. He set a budget of $10 and launched it. Within minutes people were starting to “like” his meaningless Facebook page. Within 24 hours the fake page had 1,600 likes – and he had spent his $10 budget.

Ultimately, the Virtual Bagel page gathered over 4,000 Likes.

Cellan-Jones analyzed where the “likes” where coming from, and looked at what other pages some of these Facebook accounts had liked. It was obvious that face Facebook accounts associated with Click Farms were liking the page, which resulted in zero engagement.

But he had not hired a Click Farm. He paid for Facebook Ads.

In August of that year Facebook announced it had identified and removed over 83 Million fake accounts, but they did not delete the fake Likes.

The article is here: https://www.bbc.com/news/technology-18819338

The case of Virtual Cat

Popular YouTube channel Veritasium launched the fake Facebook page Virtual Cat in February 2014 to test Facebook’s advertising to determine if it still generated fake Likes.

The page had the following description: “Virtual Cat is a virtual pet like none other. Here we’ll post only the worst, most annoying drivel you can imagine. Only an idiot would like this page.”

The Page had one post saying the following: “PLEASE HELP This page is actually an experiment created by Veritasium, a science YouTube channel. If you can see this post please comment briefly and let me know why you liked this page(because this page is intentionally blank and meaningless). The experiment is to find out who would like a page like this and why. Thank you!”

The creator of the page then paid $10 to advertise it on Facebook. He targed the advertisement only to cat lovers in the United States, Canada, Australia, and the United Kingdom. This was done to avoid the countries where click farms commonly operate.

Within 20 minutes the entire marketing budget was spent, and the page had 39 likes.

Upon analysis of the users that had liked the page, they all liked thousands of other pages.

After spending $25 on Facebook Advertising the Virtual Cat page had 262 Page Likes. 8 People saw the post. 0 People engaged.

The video is here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=oVfHeWTKjag

The key learning from these examples is that Click Farms click the Facebook advertisements for free in order to avoid detection by Facebook’s fraud algorithms. Facebook benefits financially from this and isn’t motivated to resolve it.

The article Likes or lies? How perfectly honest businesses can be overrun by Facebook spammers by Jaron Schneider is an excellent article that provides more information on this topic.


Popular Click Farm Locations

Click Farms are typically found in developing countries like India, The Phillapines, Nepal, Shri Lanka, Egypt, Indonesia, Bangladesh where employees are paid $1 for 1,000 clicks of the Facebook “Like” button.