If you don’t have anything better to do on Sunday morning, and I do mean really early on Sunday, you may as well tune in on Facebook for an exceptional Live experience. A hacker just promised that he’d take down Mark Zuckerberg’s Facebook page with the world watching.
It’s unusual for a hacker to pull off such stunts, but Chang Chi-yuan is a different kind of Facebook, a so-called “white hat” hacker, an expert in hunting bugs in software, including Facebook.
“Broadcasting the deletion of FB founder Zuck’s account,” he posted on Facebook, where he has more than 26,000 followers. “Scheduled to go live.”
It’s going to be 6:00 PM local time in Taiwan when Chang will start streaming, or 6:00 AM EST.
The hacker does have plenty of experience looking for bugs and earning a living from it. “I don’t want to be a proper hacker, and I don’t even want to be a hacker at all,” Chang said recently on Facebook. “I’m just bored and try to dabble so that I can earn some money.”
He’s a minor celebrity in Taiwan, Bloomberg explains, where a local bus operator sued him after hacking system and purchasing a ticket for just NT$1, which is around 3 cents. He also attacked Apple and Tesla, the report notes, although his claims haven’t been verified. His Facebook account was listed among the eight “special contributors” in Line Corp’s 2016 bug-hunters’ hall of fame.
Will he be able to delete Zuckerberg’s page? We’ll have to wait until Sunday to see — here’s where you can follow Chang’s endeavor.
Mark Zuckerberg sums up a lot of the challenges Facebook has been confronted with this year in a new post he published today to his Facebook page that, after you read it, can almost make you feel like a lot of what the company has been dealing with lately is sort of your fault.
Facebook, according to its billionaire founder, is having to build systems and tools to fight misinformation that you’re not smart enough to avoid or see through yourself. The company is also having to significantly ramp up its investment on everything from content moderation to security because there’s, well, lots of bad people who keep trying to use Facebook to wreck Facebook.
“What I’ve learned so far is that when you build services that are used by billions of people across countries and cultures, you will see all of the good humanity is capable of, and people will try to abuse those services in every way possible,” Zuck writes. “It is our responsibility to amplify the good and mitigate the bad.”
Zuckerberg famously sets a personal challenge for himself each year, which in the past has included things like learning Mandarin but which this year is the much simpler-sounding but infinitely more complex task of fixing … Facebook. Which is another way of saying, when you really think about, fixing the things some of us either broke or are misusing.
There’s also an implied trade-off, Zuckerberg continues in his post today, to be found in this work. Many of the company’s hardest decisions mean having to weigh competing principles. Like, for example “giving people a voice is at the heart of our mission. But we also have a responsibility to keep people safe. Encryption increases privacy and security for individuals but makes it more difficult to fight misinformation and hate at scale. Requiring verification for ads and pages makes election interference more difficult, but it also creates roadblocks for dissidents and smaller, less well-funded groups engaging in those debates.”
These and other recent efforts, problems, and self-inflicted mishaps are certainly weighing on the company, shares of which slipped almost 3 percent on Thursday. Enough to result in a 16 percent quarter-to-date loss in its share price — Facebook’s second-worst since going public in 2012.
The “Delete Facebook” movement is also picking up steam, as we reported this week. According to a Pew Research Center study, more than 1-in-4 people have deleted the Facebook app from their phones, a figure that gets a lot higher when you focus just on 18- to 29-year-olds, 44 percent of whom say they’ve done so.
After showing up for two rounds of questioning in front of Congress back in April, and after refusing to appear in front of the UK Parliament to do the same thing, Mark Zuckerberg went to Europe to not answer any relevant questions about Facebook’s way of doing things.
Facebook did release the main statements Zuckerberg was supposed to make well before the event started. The event was also streamed online for everyone interested in how Facebook works, especially when it comes to privacy in light of the Cambridge Analytica breach and the imminent GDPR privacy protections.
Zuckerberg, however, failed to answer many questions posed by the MEPs, and Europeans Parliament members are angry. The problem with the whole thing was the format.
Some of the questions parliament members asked were pretty tough, and some of them were follow-ups to questions Zuckerberg had avoided in the US back in April. Most questioners had a better grasp of the issues too, as Gizmodo points out.
But somehow the format was chosen in such a manner that Zuckerberg came out a winner. Rather than have each Member of Parliament ask their own questions that Zuckerberg could answer, everyone asked the questions at the beginning. Yeah. That happened in a market where privacy regulations are about to become even tougher.
Gizmodo put together a concise list of the questions Zuckerberg didn’t manage to address; reading through all of them makes you realize just how much Zuckerberg had to dodge.
Facebook’s F8 even could not have arrived at a better time for the company, as the Cambridge Analytica scandal is almost forgotten. Mark Zuckerberg announced a bunch of new features for Facebook and all its other products, while mildly addressing the elephant in the room. The Cambridge Analytica mess may be forgotten, but Facebook users probably — hopefully? — care about privacy more than ever.
Facebook did unveil a rather surprising feature to help you safeguard your privacy. And it sounds almost too good to be true.
Called Clear History the new Facebook will let you instruct Facebook’s servers to forget everything it collected about you from websites and apps. You’ll be able to see what websites and apps that sent Facebook data about you and prevent the company from associating it with your account. From the blog post, emphasis ours:
Today, we’re announcing plans to build Clear History. This feature will enable you to see the websites and apps that send us information when you use them, delete this information from your account, and turn off our ability to store it associated with your account going forward. Apps and websites that use features such as the Like button or Facebook Analytics send us information to make their content and ads better. We also use this information to make your experience on Facebook better.
Facebook will still store that information, but it won’t associate it with your account. What Facebook will do is to remove “remove identifying information so a history of the websites and apps you’ve used won’t be associated with your account.” It won’t stop collecting that data, however. We already know that Facebook is collecting data about users and non-users and that it’s not going to offer anyone the ability to opt out.
Clear History isn’t available just yet, and Facebook says it needs a few months to build it. The company will work with privacy advocates, academics, policymakers, and regulators on the matter.
On the surface, this looks like good news from Facebook. The company does acknowledge that it’s now clear users want better privacy. “The past several weeks have made clear that people want more information about how Facebook works and the controls they have over their information,” the company says.
But given that Facebook disappointed users more than once when it comes to privacy, we’ll just have to wait and see.