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If there's a way to force non-FB group users into the fold, Facebook is going to find it. Within the past few days, it has removed one of the most useful features of Instagram: the ability of millions of mobile users to "lurk" and read comments posted on a page. Why? Because it's failed to force them to sign up by an utterly obtrusive "splash screen" that's a bugger to remove because the X is in the wrong place. For now, it's latest change does not affect desktop users but, just as FB itself has made it increasingly difficult to access supposedly public information without an account, surely that's going to change.

Mark Zuckerberg is great at making things up but over the weekend, he's proved that he's also great at coming up with other people's ideas. How do I know? Because the other people whose ideas he's come up with is me and I published them in a book in 2015 that leaned on material I'd published, originally, in the late 1990s.

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It's pretty much an established truth that Mark Zuckerberg and his senior team cannot be trusted but their latest wheeze is of such monumental importance to everyone that's it's time every one left each and every one of various parts of the Facebook empire. Some parts will be more difficult than others, some things will involve value judgements as to the lesser evil but, at the end of the day, one keeps coming back to the fact that Facebook cannot be trusted and it's about to get worse. Messenger, Instagram and WhatsApp are to become a unified surveillance and reporting tool and every user is the target.

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The UK's Information Commissioner's Office has ordered Facebook to pay a penalty (it's not a fine because there has been no criminal prosecution and only the Crown, via the Criminal Courts, can levy fines) of GBP500,000. The amount will not trouble Facebook - it's less than the annual tax the company doesn't pay the UK as a result of its cross-border arrangements. But the principle should send shock waves through the raft of American companies that operate in Europe and think they can do as they please. Four letters are at the heart of the grenade that the ICO just sent across the pond: GDPR. The next fine will hurt - and it will hurt over and over again.

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On 4th April, Mark Zuckerberg was in full PR mode: he'd posted family photos on Facebook, carefully emphasising that in his house both Jewish and Christian festivals are marked with food but no sign of frivolity and he'd been seen looking suitably tired. He'd brushed off, at least so far as America is concerned, his refusal to appear before a British Parliamentary Committee. And he'd had a bit of the news agenda taken away from his own, and Facebook's bad news stream by the shooting at YouTube. And so, on a conference call with media selected by Facebook's PR people, when he began to present what he calls "Hard Questions: Q&A with Mark Zuckerberg on Protecting People’s Information" he was not expecting anything like the BBC's Hard Talk. And so it proved: he set the agenda, questions were soft and answers were nebulous.

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It's the American dream: little lonely kid with only a handful of people who appear to like him talks with one or two of them and they come up with a geeky idea : let's put our college yearbook (a curiously American thing) into a database and let everyone in it tell everyone in it what they are doing, and let them read what everyone else is doing. Then, as the others, one by one, find out that the reason he's the little lonely kid is that he's a sociopathic egotistical self-absorbed autocrat, he ends up alone and somehow sitting on something that generates thousands of millions of dollars in share value. Then someone spills the saucer full of secrets and Americans are shocked out of their stupor and they don't like it.

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Facebook is a distribution channel for child pornography but it's young Danes who are being prosecuted after Facebook identified the material, told US authorities who reported the distribution to the police in Denmark.

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I don't have a Facebook account, or at least I wouldn't have one if Facebook didn't adopt a fascist approach to me and my data and refuse to let me close the one I stupidly opened several years ago.

But they won't leave me alone, says Nigel Morris-Cotterill

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A Facebook campaign, apparently by a Hindu who seems to be acting alone or with a tiny number of supporters has tried to cause intra-faith trouble in Malaysia for the festival of Thaipusam.

in Understanding Suspicion in Financial Crime Nigel Morris-Cotterill* says that only three facts are needed for the genesis of suspicion.

Now, with the acquisition of LinkedIn by Facebook, three US companies know far more than three facts, actually almost everything, about you, wherever you are in the world. Move over NSA: the Google-Microsoft-Facebook axis of evil is the real threat to personal privacy and security.

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Mark Zuckerberg has still not quite got a handle on what it means to run a public company. He announces policy on the hoof and before even Facebook's Press Office and even the markets are informed. His latest whoopsie relates to suggestions that Facebook carried sufficient "fake news" to influence the 2016 US Presidential Election.

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While the average article focusses on the announcement of WhatsApp's about-face regarding the implementation of advertising, its founders having repeatedly assured user that the messaging platform would never carry advertising, the bigger issue is this: Facebook, which bought WhatsApp and authorised those assurances, and guaranteed users privacy, is about to plunder WhatsApp user data and to make it available to third parties. USers have a stark choice: try to sort out a complex opt out (that depends on whether Facebook can be trusted and history repeatedly demonstrates otherwise), to accept the total loss of privacy in messaging or to leave WhatsApp entirely.

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Lots of small - and not so small - businesses place their primary web presence on Facebook. While the social networking aspects can bring benefits, there are serious disadvantages.

It's taken a while but Facebook has faked concern over the TimeLine debacle - basically it now has a three column layout: the stuff you want to post; the stuff FB wants to publicise about you and the stuff others want to pester you with. Firefox users have had some fixes but this one is the best yet.

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