Facebook says Russian firms ‘scraped’ data, including users’ photos to build facial recognition profiles for Russian government

“On the same day Facebook announced that it had carried out its biggest purge yet of American accounts peddling disinformation, the company quietly made another revelation: It had removed 66 accounts, pages and apps linked to Russian firms that build facial recognition software for the Russian government,” Jack Nicas reports for The New York Times. “‘Facebook has reason to believe your work for the government has included matching photos from individuals’ personal social media accounts in order to identify them,’ the company said in a cease-and-desist letter to SocialDataHub that was dated Tuesday and viewed by The New York Times.”

“As Facebook is taking a closer look at its own products amid increasing scrutiny and public outcry, it is finding more examples of companies that have been exploiting its global social network for questionable ends,” Nicas reports. “SocialDataHub and Fubutech also present another challenge because, Facebook said, at least some of their data collection occurred through web scraping.”

“Artur Khachuyan, the 26-year-old chief executive of SocialDataHub and Fubutech, said in an interview Friday that Facebook had deleted his companies’ accounts unfairly. Fubutech does build facial-recognition software for the Russian government and uses Facebook data, but it scrapes Google search results for that information — not Facebook, he said,” Nicas reports. “He said Fubutech scraped data from the web, particularly Google search and the Russian search engine Yandex, to build a database of Russian citizens and their images that the government can use for facial recognition. ‘We don’t know exactly what they do with it,’ he said.”

Read more in the full article here.

MacDailyNews Take: Facebook, Google – they’re one in the same intuit their users (suckers) are the product.

Don’t be a sucker. #DeleteFacebook

As we’ve written previously, “If you trust Mark Zuckerberg to be the keeper of your photos, contacts, political views, religious beliefs, etc., you’re batshit insane.”

Instant messages sent by Mark Zuckerberg during Facebook’s early days, reported by Business Insider, May 13, 2010:

Zuckerberg: Yeah so if you ever need info about anyone at Harvard
Zuckerberg: Just ask
Zuckerberg: I have over 4,000 emails, pictures, addresses, SNS
[Redacted Friend’s Name]: What? How’d you manage that one?
Zuckerberg: People just submitted it.
Zuckerberg: I don’t know why.
Zuckerberg: They “trust me”
Zuckerberg: Dumb fucks

We use FaceBook as an RSS feed. Our CMS automatically reposts our article headlines and links them back to our website. That is our only interaction with Facebook and has been our only interaction with Facebook for years. We deleted our personal accounts [which we opened only so we could understand the Facebook phenomenon] many years ago.

If you want to share photos and videos with friends, text them using Apple’s end-to-end encrypted iMessage service. You need to control your social networking, not cede it to a gatekeeper like Facebook. – MacDailyNews, March 19, 2018

As per Alphabet/Google: This ‘don’t be evil’ mantra: It’s bullshit.Steve Jobs, 2010

Apple allows users to easily switch to the privacy-respecting DuckDuckGo search engine on Safari:

1. Click Safari in the top menu bar.
2. Select Preferences.
3. Click on Search.
4. Select DuckDuckGo.

1. Open Settings.
2. Navigate and tap on Safari.
3. Tap on Search Engine.
4. Select DuckDuckGo.

FBI investigating Facebook security breach where attackers accessed 30 million users’ personal information – October 12, 2018
Google exposed user data, did not disclose to public fearing repercussions – October 10, 2018
After trying and failing to hide the issue, Alphabet pulls plug on Google+ after bug exposes data from up to 500,000 users – October 8, 2018
Facebook discovers security breach affecting 50 million users – September 28, 2018
Facebook is giving advertisers access to users’ shadow contact information – September 27, 2018
42% of U.S. users have ‘taken a break’ from Facebook; 28% have deleted the Facebook app in the past year – September 5, 2018
Researchers find Google harvests more data from Android – and Apple iOS – users than most people think – August 21, 2018
Google hit with lawsuit accusing them of tracking phone users regardless of privacy settings – August 20, 2018
Google tracks users movements even when explicitly told not to – Associated Press – August 13, 2018
Mark Zuckerberg loses $16 billion in record Facebook fall – July 26, 2018
Facebook stock plunges as users vanish – July 25, 2018
Apple highlights user privacy as Facebook exec steps down – June 14, 2018
The 18 things you may not realize Facebook knows about you: Firm reveals the extent of its spying in a 454-page document to U.S. Congress – June 12, 2018
Facebook confirms sharing users’ personal data with Chinese companies – June 6, 2018
Apple’s macOS Mojave removes integration with third-party internet accounts like Facebook – June 6, 2018
Apple borks Facebook’s pervasive personal data-harvesting operation – June 5, 2018
Apple requested ‘zero’ personal data in deals with Facebook – CEO Tim Cook – June 5, 2018
Facebook CEO blasts Apple’s latest privacy protections as ‘cute virtue signaling’ – June 5, 2018


  1. I think Facebook is of course obfuscating, they are of course trying to deflect blame from themselves to the usual scapegoats, in this case Russia. I think the more they try to cover their tracks, the more chances they’ll wind up getting themselves regulated… which is its own can of worms..

  2. But that’s a pittance compared to the vast amounts the NSA purloined from FB. FB is part and parcel of the domestic NSA.

    Facebook is not disclosing that for fear of offending and attracting wrath from its partner.

  3. AMZN is already selling its (imperfect) facial recognition technology. Casinos have been using that tech for years, and DHS has deployed it at multiple venues. China is already using it to regulate citizen behavior

    I suspect that in less than a few years Target will stop using your cellphone to track you around the store and rely on facial recognition instead, so Airplane mode and paying in cash will no longer protect you there.

    Amazon’s new “no cashier” stores aren’t about convenience of not checking out, they are about gathering ever gaze, every breath of consideration of every product you look at so they can sell that information to whatever unknown parties they want without your knowledge or permission. No doubt they are also trying to use remote heart rate monitoring, breathing rate etc. on top. And Alexa is will be listening. Wonder if you will be able to buy your tinfoil hats on Amazon?

    We are waaaaaay behind on regulating this dystopian technology, and it will be far too late to do anything once it takes even partial hold. In fact, it’s must like anthropogenic climate change; a realization that this can’t end well and too little will or effort to do anything about a coming tidal wave of repercussions. We’re all just frogs in a slowly warming pot with little to no recourse because too many sheep are following the monied few’s bidding.

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