San Francisc, Aug 31 (AP/UNB) — Hackers briefly gained control of Twitter CEO Jack Dorsey's account Friday, sending racist and vulgar tweets to his 4.2 million followers.
Some of the tweets were up for about 30 minutes before Twitter took them down.
The tweets included messages such as "Hitler is innocent" and, using a vulgarity, asked "bald skeleton head tramp," apparently referring to Dorsey, to unsuspend certain accounts.
Twitter says it's investigating.
The San Francisco-based company suspended accounts that the hacker or hackers retweeted while they had control of Dorsey's account. It also suspended the account that appeared to be responsible for the hack.
Based on some of the tweets sent from Dorsey's account, a group called Chuckle Squad was likely responsible. Other than getting accounts unsuspended, the group has not said why it hacked Dorsey's account.
The answer may be simply that it could. Even if Dorsey used two-factor authentication for his Twitter account, hackers have learned how to get around this extra security measure. Twitter declined to comment when asked if Dorsey used a two-factor login for his account.
The incident comes as Twitter and Dorsey have promised to improve the "health" and civility of discourse on the social media service, cracking down on hate speech and abuse. Long criticized for allowing bad behavior to run rampant, Twitter has been trying to rein in the worst offenders, banning accounts that violate its terms and making others less visible.
While Twitter says it is making progress, it has met with criticism both from those who say it's not doing enough and from others who say it's going too far in limiting speech. Conservatives also complain of bias. Last year, the company permanently banned right-wing conspiracy theorist Alex Jones and his Infowars show, citing abusive behavior.
This is not the first time Dorsey has been hacked. In 2016, his account was taken over by the hacker group OurMine, which also attacked other high-profile social media leaders, including the Facebook account of CEO Mark Zuckerberg.
San Francisco, Aug 29 (AP/UNB) — Facebook is tightening its rules around political advertising ahead of the 2020 U.S. presidential election, acknowledging previous misuse. But it's not clear if it will be enough to stop bad actors from abusing its system.
The changes include a tightened verification process that will require anyone wanting to run ads pertaining to elections, politics or big social issues like guns and immigration to confirm their identity and prove they are in the U.S. Beginning in mid-September, such advertisers confirm their group's identity using their organization's tax identification number or other government ID.
The verified group name will be listed on the "paid for by" disclaimers that disclose the backers of ads. Facebook says it will verify this information against government records and will note in the disclaimer for confirmed ads that they're placed by a "confirmed organization."
That process won't apply to everyone, as Facebook says it would bar some smaller but legitimate groups from advertising. But a loophole that will allow small grassroots groups and local politicians to run political ads could also continue to allow bad actors to take advantage of the process.
Advertisers who don't have tax ID numbers, government websites or registrations with the Federal Election Commission will still be able to post ads by providing an address, verifiable phone number, business email and website. These advertisers won't get a "confirmed" designation. Previously, only a U.S. address was required. But it's not inconceivable that bad actors will find a way to spoof phone numbers and email addresses.
"We've acknowledged that these tools will not be perfect," Sarah Schiff, a Facebook product manager, said in an email. "But we are committed to making it more difficult for bad actors to misuse and abuse our platform" without penalizing smaller organizations.
Schiff also reiterated the company's calls for regulation of online political advertising. Critics have said that Facebook's attempts at self-regulation are merely a way for the company to pre-empt stricter government crackdowns.
Last month, Facebook was ordered to pay a $5 billion fine to the Federal Trade Commission over privacy violations. It also faces a series of other investigations into its privacy practices in Europe and across the U.S., in addition to new investigations into its allegedly anticompetitive behavior, such as the social network's habit of buying would-be rivals like Instagram and blatantly duplicating features introduced by competing services.
While the company has beefed up its fight against misinformation and coordinated attacks by malicious nation-states, the same can be said for those trying to game its systems. After revelations that that Russians bankrolled thousands of fake political ads during the 2016 elections, Facebook and other social networks faced intense pressure to ensure that doesn't happen again.
In late 2017, Facebook said it will verify political ad buyers by requiring them to confirm their names and locations, the latter by receiving a postcard with a confirmation code at a U.S. address. Page administrators also had to be verified.
But critics said the rules were easy to evade. Last fall, for instance, Vice News was able to place ads on behalf of the likes of Vice President Mike Pence and the Islamic State, which were all approved by Facebook.
Chattogram, Aug 21 (UNB) – A court here on Wednesday sent Tasnuva Anwar, creator and an admin of Facebook group Girls Priority, to jail in case filed under the Digital Security Act.
Chattogram Metropolitan Magistrate Abu Saleh Mohammad Noman passed the order when she surrendered before his court on expiry of the High Court bail.
Tasnuva turned up before the court on expiry of her eight-week bail granted by the High Court in the case, said Additional Deputy Commissioner of Chittagong Metropolitan Police (Prosecution) Quamruzzaman.
Ishtiak Hasan, a resident of the city, filed the case with Panchlaish Police Station on May 26 accusing Tasnuva Anwar and three other admins -- Amena Chaity, Salman Mohammad Wahid and Nadia Aktar Rumi -– of harassing Facebook users through blackmailing after hacking their pages, personal IDs and groups.
Of the other accused, Rumi has been on bail while Salman in jail and Chaity on the run.
San Francisco, Aug 20 (AP/UNB) — Soon, you could get fewer familiar ads following you around the internet — or at least on Facebook.
Facebook is launching a long-promised tool that lets you block the social network from gathering information about you on outside websites and apps.
The company said Tuesday that it is adding a section where you can see the activity that Facebook tracks outside its service via its "like" buttons and other means. You can choose to turn off the tracking; otherwise, tracking will continue the same way it has been.
Formerly known as "clear history," the tool will now go by the somewhat awkward name "off-Facebook activity." The feature will be available in South Korea, Ireland and Spain on Tuesday, consistent with Facebook's tendency to launch features in smaller markets first. The company did not give a timeline for when it might expand it to the U.S. and other countries, only that it will be in "coming months."
Blocking the tracking, which is on by default, could mean fewer ads that seem familiar — for example, for a pair of shoes you decided not to buy, or a nonprofit you donated money to. It won't change the actual number of ads you'll see on Facebook.
Facebook faces increasing governmental scrutiny over its privacy practices, including a record $5 billion fine from the U.S. Federal Trade Commission for mishandling user data. Boosting its privacy protections could help the company pre-empt regulation and further punishment. But it's a delicate dance, as Facebook still depends on highly targeted advertising for nearly all of its revenue.
CEO Mark Zuckerberg announced the "clear history" feature more than a year ago. The company said building it has been a complicated technical process, which is also the reason for the slow, gradual rollout. Facebook said it sought input from users, privacy experts and policymakers along the way, which led to some changes. For instance, users will be able to disconnect their activity from a specific websites or apps, or reconnect to a specific site while keeping other future tracking turned off.
You'll be able to access the feature by going to your Facebook settings and scrolling down to "your Facebook information." The "off-Facebook activity" section will be there when it launches.
The tool will let you delete your past browsing history from Facebook and prevent it from keeping track of your future clicks, taps and website visits going forward. Doing so means that Facebook won't use information gleaned from apps and websites to target ads to you on Facebook, Instagram and Messenger. It also won't use such information to show you posts that Facebook thinks you might like based on your offsite activity, such as news articles shared by your friends.
"We do think this could have an impact on our revenue," said Stephanie Max, product manager at Facebook, adding that this will depend on how people will use the tool. But she added that giving people "transparency and control" is important.
Off-Facebook activity is one of many pieces of information that Facebook uses to target ads to people. The changes won't affect how your actions on Facebook are used to show you ads. It also won't change the metrics Facebook sends back to advertisers to tell them how well their ads work.
Washington, Aug 20 (AP/UNB) — Twitter says it has suspended more than 200,000 accounts that it believes were linked to the Chinese government and a disinformation campaign targeting the protests in Hong Kong.
The company also says it will prohibit ads from state-backed media companies that have amounted to propaganda.
A senior Twitter official tells The Associated Press that both actions are part of a broader company effort to halt malicious political activity on the widely used platform. The official spoke on condition of anonymity because of security concerns.
The accounts linked to the Chinese government sought to portray Hong Protesters as criminals who don't represent the majority of the semi-autonomous region.
The official says the Chinese accounts also spread tweets from fake English and Chinese news sites to spread disinformation.