Tagged: Facebook

Facebook ordered to explain why it deleted the profile of a dead user without permission

Facebook has found itself in a new interesting user data-related predicament. This time around, Facebook removed the profile and Facebook page of a well-known musician after he passed away, and denied to explain to his significant other why it acted so. No family member of the deceased requested the action.

A judge in the UK ordered Facebook to explain why the profile had been deleted. It’ll be interesting to see whether Facebook will be able to restore it.

Facebook acted on a request per The Times (via BBC), but declined to reveal to the family who issued the request.

The musician died of a heart attack in 2016, and his profile and page were deleted some six months later with no explanation.

So does that mean anybody can request the profile deletion of a user who just passed away?

“It’s that feeling, you lose someone you love and you try to hang onto everything, and then something happens and you can’t explain that either and nobody knows, none of the friends, none of the family,” Mirza Krupalija’s partner Azra Sabados told the BBC.

“Lots of Mirza’s profile included me and our travels, our photos, music he shared, some for me, some for friends, his profile stated that he was in a relationship with me – they could have dropped me an email to check [before deleting it],“ she added.

She is confident that it wasn’t a family member to request the removal of the profile. Sabados spent a year talking to Facebook before suing the company.

Facebook already has in place policies that explain what can happen with a user’s profile after he or she passes away. Here are the available options:

You can choose to either appoint a legacy contact to look after your memorialized account or have your account permanently deleted from Facebook.

If you don’t choose to have your account permanently deleted, it will be memorialized if we become aware of your passing.

Did Mirza Krupalija request his account to be deleted in case of death?

If not, will Facebook be ordered to restore the profile? It’s too early to tell. But should Facebook do it, this would raise additional questions about user data. After at least a year since Facebook deleted the profile, does the company still have that data?

Facebook stock hits new all-time high as company seeks to move past prior scandals

To say that the past few months have been incredibly challenging for Facebook would be a gross understatement. Not only has the company had to address a myriad of privacy concerns from pundits and users alike, the company’s entire ad-based business model has been called into question. And though Facebook and Mark Zuckerberg seemingly handled the fallout resulting from the Cambridge Analytica scandal as best they could, it sometimes seems as if new privacy controversies are emerging every few weeks.

Nonetheless, Facebook shares have rebounded completely from the lows they experienced in the immediate aftermath of the Cambridge Analytica debacle. At the time, Facebook shares plummeted by nearly 20%, dropping down to a low of $152 in late March. Since then, Facebook shares have steadily been on the rise. This week, Facebook stock — for the first time in history — managed to hit the $200/share threshold.

At the close of trading on Wednesday, Facebook shares were trading at $202, representing a brand new all-time high for the company. As to the root cause behind the stock’s recent rise, investors seem to be moving past the company’s data privacy issues and are now paying more attention to the company’s financials. And in that respect, there’s a lot to like about the current health of Facebook’s business.

During the company’s most recent earnings report, the social networking giant bested Wall St. expectations and posted a quarterly profit of $4.99 billion. Revenue, meanwhile, jumped by nearly 50% year over year. What’s more, Facebook’s user base increased by about 3.5% compared to the previous quarter. In short, all of the speculation regarding a massive exodus of Facebook subscribers didn’t pan out in the slightest.

Instagram announces new IGTV app for long-form content

Instagram on Wednesday announced that it has developed a new app called IGTV. The app is aimed squarely at YouTube and other long-form video services, allowing creators to upload full-screen, vertical videos up to 1-hour in length.

Of course Facebook was going to ruin Messenger with autoplay video ads

Facebook says it will start placing video ads inside the social media giant’s standalone Messaging service next week, an outgrowth of the company saying it’s run out of how many ad units it can squeeze into the main newsfeed and elsewhere in the app as it looks to wring value out of every monetizable hole that it can.

That means ads everywhere from slotted in-between Stories in Instagram to Facebook’s Marketplace service to, now, video ads that potentially interrupt private chat exchanges between friends and family.

Stefanos Loukakos heads up Messenger’s ad business for Facebook and told Recode that the company will be watching to see how users react and if the presence of video ads turns them off or makes them dial down how much they use Messenger.

Loukakos told the publication the user experience is “top priority for us.”

“So we don’t know yet [if these will work],” he said. “However, signs until now, when we tested basic ads, didn’t show any changes with how people used the platform or how many messages they send. Video might be a bit different, but we don’t believe so.”

As of May, Messenger was ranked as the third most popular mobile social networking app, with a monthly mobile audience reach of almost 106 million. The service has managed to remain somewhat untouched thus far by the money-making ambitions of Facebook’s ad service, though I’ve seen the occasional static ad inside Messenger myself. It’s been a little jarring to notice one pop up, though that may have something to do with the infrequency until now. It’s also easy to see why Facebook wants video ads inside Messenger, as those are bigger money-makers for the company.

In unrelated Messenger news, Facebook pushed out an update to the app in recent days that was meant to fix instances of it crashing every time you try to open it. The company has also said it will be doing something about all those annoying “You are now connected on Messenger” notifications. Today’s news, meanwhile, underscores how the service is increasingly taking a prominent role on the Facebook ecosystem.

Bottom line: Messenger users may have enjoyed a mostly ad-free experience until now, but don’t expect that to last forever.