Facebook was one of the main companies affected by Apple’s new privacy policies, which now require iOS apps to ask users if they want to be tracked by third parties. During the Q4 2021 earnings report on Wednesday, CEO of Meta (Facebook’s parent company) Mark Zuckerberg said that Facebook is “rebuilding” its ads infrastructure due to the iOS changes.
According to Zuckerberg, Facebook’s ad infrastructure is being rebuilt so that the company can continue to deliver “high-quality personalized ads” to iOS users.
Ever since Apple implemented App Tracking Transparency in iOS, Facebook has been openly criticizing Apple as the social network’s revenue relies heavily on advertisements that are based on data collected from users. However, that’s not the only thing that worries Zuckerberg.
As regulators around the world are investigating Facebook for privacy concerns, the company has been forced to change how it delivers ads based on user data. Earlier this year, lawmakers in the European Parliament voted to ban online advertising platforms from showing content based on “intimate information” such as health, religion, or sexual orientation.
Zuck: "With Apple's iOS changes and new regulation in Europe, there's a clear trend where less data is available to deliver personalized ads….So we're rebuilding a lot of our ads infrastructure so we can continue to grow and deliver high quality personalized ads."
As reported by CNBC, Facebook shares dropped more than 20% after the announcement of last quarter’s results due to “disappointing” results. The company reported revenue of $33.67 billion, which was above expectations of $33.4 billion for the quarter. However, the number of monthly active users was 2.91 billion, down from the previously predicted 2.95 billion users.
While Meta insists heavily on the “metaverse,” the company continues to lose money on the segment. The Reality Labs division, which is responsible for the Meta Quest virtual reality headset, lost more than $10 billion in 2021. Executives at Meta have already said that it may take more than 15 years before the metaverse business becomes profitable, but it’s hard to imagine that investors will wait that long.
The full transcript of Meta’s investor call can be found here.
During its Connect 2021 conference keynote today, Facebook spent a lot of time diving into the “metaverse” – its in the works mixed-reality platform. And along with that, as expected, it announced a major rebrand to “Meta” with the goal of the new name to “encompass everything” it does.
CEO Mark Zuckerberg and a variety of other executives led the Connect 2021 keynote. Much of the time was spent diving further into the details of what Facebook Reality Labs is envisioning with its mixed reality metaverse.
That includes how the platform could offer new ways to experience work, play, exercise, entertainment, and much more. The metaverse isn’t something that will be launching all at once or right away, but will be developed over the next decade. Notably, Zuckerberg said the company aims to have 1 billion metaverse users in ten years.
The other big part of the keynote today was the major rebrand from Facebook to Meta. Zuckerberg said the name best represents what it’s working towards, being a metaverse company.
As part of this, it’s time for us to adopt a new company brand to encompass everything that we do. To reflect who we are and what we hope to build. I’m proud to announce our company is now Meta.
The existing apps, Facebook, Instagram, WhatsApp, etc. all remain with Meta being the umbrella they all live under instead of Facebook.
Facebook and Michigan State University have revealed a new method for identifying deep fake images and tracing them back to their source. Or, at the very least, tracing back to which generative model was used to create the images. The new system, according to reports surrounding the reveal, uses a complex reverse engineering technique. Specifically, to identify patterns behind the AI model used to generate a deep fake image.
The system works by running images through a Fingerprint Estimation Network (FEN), to parse out patterns — fingerprints — in those images. Those fingerprints are effectively built from a set of known variables in deep fake images. With generative models leaving behind measurable patterns in “fingerprint magnitude, repetitive nature, frequency range, and symmetrical frequency response.”
And, after feeding those constraints back through the FEN, the method can detect which images are deep fakes. Those are then fed back through a system to separate the images via “hyperparameters” which are set to guide the system to self-learn various generative models.
This is still in its infancy but it does move one step closer toward identifying and tracing deep fake images
One of the big setbacks to the current iteration of the system serves to highlight that this is still new technology. It’s nowhere near ready for primetime. Namely, it can’t detect fake images created by a generative model that it hasn’t been trained on. And there are countless such models in use.
What’s more, this is by no means a finalized method for identifying deep fake images from Facebook and MSU. Not only is there no way to be sure that every generative model is accounted for. There aren’t any other research studies related to this topic. Or, at the very least, there are no data sets to build up a baseline for comparison. Summarily, there’s no way of knowing, for sure, just how good the new AI model is.
The team behind the project indicates that there is “a much stronger and generalized correlation between generated images and the embedding space of meaningful architecture hyperparameters and loss function types.” And it compares that to a random vector of the same length and distribution. But that’s based on its own, self-created baseline.
So, without further research, the only takeaway is that the model detects AI-made deep fake images and their source better than a straightforward guess.
What could this be used for?
The goal of the project, as presented by the team, is to generate a way to trace deep fake images back to their source after identifying them. That could potentially serve to make enforcement of misinformation policies and rules easier. Particularly, as that pertains to social media sites and the still-rampant spread of misinformation.
Deepfakes aren’t a big problem on Facebook right now, but the company continues to fund research into the technology to guard against future threats. Its latest work is a collaboration with academics from Michigan State University (MSU), with the combined team creating a method to reverse-engineer deepfakes: analyzing AI-generated imagery to reveal identifying characteristics of the machine learning model that created it.
The work is useful as it could help Facebook track down bad actors spreading deepfakes on its various social networks. This content might include misinformation but also non-consensual pornography — a depressingly common application of deepfake technology. Right now, the work is still in the research stage and isn’t ready to be deployed.
Previous studies in this area have been able to determine which known AI model generated a deepfake, but this work, led by MSU’s Vishal Asnani, goes a step further by identifying the architectural traits of unknown models. These traits, known as hyperparameters, have to be tuned in each machine learning model like parts in an engine. Collectively, they leave a unique fingerprint on the finished image that can then be used to identify its source.
Identifying the traits of unknown models is important, Facebook research lead Tal Hassner tells The Verge, because deepfake software is extremely easy to customize. This potentially allows bad actors to cover their tracks if investigators were trying to trace their activity.
“Let’s assume a bad actor is generating lots of different deepfakes and uploads them on different platforms to different users,” says Hassner. “If this is a new AI model nobody’s seen before, then there’s very little that we could have said about it in the past. Now, we’re able to say, ‘Look, the picture that was uploaded here, the picture that was uploaded there, all of them came from the same model.’ And if we were able to seize the laptop or computer [used to generate the content], we will be able to say, ‘This is the culprit.’”
Hassner compares the work to forensic techniques used to identify which model of camera was used to take a picture by looking for patterns in the resulting image. “Not everybody can create their own camera, though,” he says. “Whereas anyone with a reasonable amount of experience and standard computer can cook their own model that generates deepfakes.”
Not only can the resulting algorithm fingerprint the traits of a generative model, but it can also identify which known model created an image and whether an image is a deepfake in the first place. “On standard benchmarks, we get state-of-the-art results,” says Hassner.
But it’s important to note that even these state-of-the-art results are far from reliable. When Facebook held a deepfake detection competition last year, the winning algorithm was only able to detect AI-manipulated videos 65.18 percent of the time. Researchers involved said that spotting deepfakes using algorithms is still very much an “unsolved problem.”
Part of the reason for this is that the field of generative AI is extremely active. New techniques are published every day, and it’s nearly impossible for any filter to keep up.
Those involved in the field are keenly aware of this dynamic, and when asked if publishing this new fingerprinting algorithm will lead to research that can go undetected by these methods, Hassner agrees. “I would expect so,” he says. “This is a cat and mouse game, and it continues to be a cat and mouse game.”
Facebook continues to panic about upcoming privacy changes in iOS 14. The company has sent a new email to businesses today informing them that it has no choice but to comply with the iOS 14 App Tracking Transparency feature. Otherwise, Apple could remove Facebook from the App Store completely.
As first reported by iMore, Facebook has sent another round of emails to businesses informing them that while it disagrees with Apple’s planned changes, it has no choice but to follow them. Facebook says that the App Tracking Transparency feature, which requires apps to obtain consent from users before tracking them across other websites and apps, will have “hard-hitting implications across targeting, optimization, and measuring campaign effectiveness.”
The company also says that it believes “personalized ads and user privacy can coexist,” which is also a claim Apple has made. The two companies clearly have different versions of what constitutes “user privacy,” though.
Apple’s requirement that all apps in the App Store show a prompt to iOS 14 users in accordance with their AppTrackingTransparency framework will have hard-hitting implications across targeting, optimization, and measuring campaign effectiveness for businesses that advertise on mobile devices and across the web. Apple’s changes will benefit them, while hurting the industry and the ability for businesses of all sizes to market themselves efficiently and grow through personalized advertising. We believe that personalized ads and user privacy can coexist.
Also in the email, Facebook tells businesses that it has “no choice” but to show the prompt seen at the top of this story. Otherwise, Facebook tells businesses that it believes Apple could block Facebook and its other apps from the App Store completely.
Facebook told businesses that whilst it disagrees with Apple’s solution, it has ‘no choice’ but to show the opt-in prompt and to continue using Apple’s device identifier for advertising. The company states that it believes Apple could block Facebook and its other apps from the App Store if it doesn’t comply, bringing ‘further harm to the businesses and users that rely on our services.’
Finally, Facebook says that if users do opt out of tracking, there could be a reduction in “ad effectiveness and limitations on measurements.”
This is not the first time Facebook has warned businesses about the potential impact of the new iOS 14 App Tracking Transparency feature. Last month, Facebook was warning users about the impacts on marketing efforts. Facebook also took out a full-page ad in US newspapers to slam Apple’s changes.
The ads claim that Facebook is standing up to the iPhone maker on behalf of small businesses …
Facebook has published a blog post with more details. It also says it will back Epic Games in its ongoing legal battle over the App Store.
Facebook Inc. attacked Apple Inc. in a series of full-page newspaper ads Wednesday, claiming the iPhone maker’s anticipated mobile software changes around data gathering and targeted advertising are bad for small businesses.
The ads, slated to run in the New York Times, Wall Street Journal and Washington Post, carry the headline “We’re standing up to Apple for small businesses everywhere.” They home in on upcoming changes to Apple’s iOS 14 operating system that will curb the ability of companies like Facebook to gather data about mobile users and ply them with advertising.
The attack relates to the fact that iOS will next year force apps to ask for permission if they want to use ad-tracking. It’s expected that most users will refuse, which will mean apps won’t be able to easily offer personalized ads. Ads reflecting user interests earn more money for app developers than generic ads.
The change will significantly impact Facebook, as the ads it carries in the app will be worth less. The social network claims, however, that it doesn’t have its own interests in mind: it is instead standing up for small businesses.
The ad reads:
We’re standing up to Apple for small businesses everywhere
At Facebook, small business is at the core of our business. More than 10 million businesses use our advertising tools each month to find new customers, hire employees and engage with their communities.
Many in the small business community have shared concerns about Apple’s forced software update, which will limit businesses’ ability to run personalized ads and reach their customers effectively.
Forty-four percent of small to medium businesses started or increased their usage of personalized ads on social media during the pandemic, according to a new Deloitte study. Without personalized ads, Facebook data shows that the average small business advertiser stands to see a cut of over 60% in their sales for every dollar they spend.
While limiting how personalized ads can be used does impact larger companies like us, these changes will be devastating to small businesses, adding to the many challenges they face right now.
Small businesses deserve to be heard. We hear your concerns, and we stand with you. Join us at fb.com/SpeakUpForSmall
This is an unconvincing tack the company has taken before. Back in October, CEO Mark Zuckerberg made the claim while warning investors of the likely hit to its own ad revenues.
Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg took aim at Apple on Thursday over its plans to limit advertisers’ ability to track iPhone users, suggesting the proposed changes could hurt small businesses and, by extention, the broader economy.
During Facebook’s quarterly earnings call, Zuckerberg told investors that “actions planned by platform companies like Apple could have a meaningful negative effect on small businesses and economic recovery in 2021 and beyond” […]
Zuckerberg argued that “personalized advertising is helping small businesses find customers, grow their businesses and create jobs,” and that measures to limit targeted ads, such as those by Apple and lawmakers in the European Union, would hurt those businesses’ ability to reach customers.
It follows the company yesterday taking a swipe at Apple in a statement to Reuters about planned European legislation known as the Digital Markets Act (DMA), which would force Apple to offer a more level playing field between its own apps and third-party ones.
“We hope the DMA will also set boundaries for Apple,” a Facebook spokesman said. “Apple controls an entire ecosystem from device to app store and apps, and uses this power to harm developers and consumers, as well as large platforms like Facebook,” he said.
Some are suggesting that Facebook is trying to divert attention from its continuing privacy woes over its spyware app pitched as a free VPN service. Reuters reports that Australia plans to fine Facebook over the app.
Sources close to Apple tell us the company is not opposed to ad-tracking, but simply wants it to be transparent to users.
The App Tracking Transparency feature will roll out sometime in early 2021. Apple had originally hoped to launch it with iOS 14 in September, but it ended up delaying the feature to give developers more time to prepare.
a coalition of eight civil and human rights organizations penned an open letter to Apple CEO Tim Cook regarding the company’s decision to delay the release of the new App Tracking Transparency feature in iOS 14.
Apple has now responded to that letter, doubling down on its privacy practices and offering more color on the decision to delay the App Tracking Transparency feature in the first place.
In a letter sent to the Ranking Digital Rights organization, Apple’s Jane Horvath, senior director of global privacy, reiterated that the company believes that “privacy is a fundamental human right.” Horvath explains that Apple delayed the App Tracking Transparency (ATT) feature in an effort to give developers more time to prepare for the changes.
The letter also confirms that the App Tracking Transparency feature, which is designed to allow users to disable tracking between different applications, is still coming next year. Once in effect, developers will also be required to ask for permission before tracking a user across apps or websites.
“We delayed the release of ATT to early next year to give developers the time they indicated they needed to properly update their systems and data practices, but we remain fully committed to ATT and to our expansive approach to privacy protections. We developed ATT for a single reason: because we share your concerns about users being tracked without their consent and the bundling and reselling of data by advertising networks and data brokers.”
Horvath goes on to emphasize that App Tracking Transparency features don’t prevent advertising, but rather encourages advertising that respects privacy:
“Advertising that respects privacy is not only possible, it was the standard until the growth of the Internet. Some companies that would prefer ATT is never implemented have said that this policy uniquely burdens small businesses by restricting advertising options, but in fact, the current data arms race primarily benefits big businesses with big data sets. Privacy-focused ad networks were the universal standard in advertising before the practice of unfettered data collection began over the last decade or so. Our hope is that increasing user demands for privacy and security, as well as changes like ATT, will make these privacy-forward advertising standards robust once more.”
Furthermore, Horvath has sharp criticism for Facebook, saying that the social network has “made clear” that its intent is to “collect as much data as possible” on its users:
“By contrast, Facebook and others have a very different approach to targeting. Not only do they allow the grouping of users into smaller segments, they use detailed data about online browsing activity to target ads. Facebook executives have made clear their intent is to collect as much data as possible across both first and third party products to develop and monetize detailed profiles of their users, and this disregard for user privacy continues to expand to include more of their products.”
On the flip side, Facebook has criticized the App Tracking Transparency feature and said it could cause ad revenue to drop as much as 40%. Facebook has reportedly met with advertising partners to discuss the impact the change will have on advertising when users have the ability to easily opt-out of cross-platform tracking.
Apple emphasizes again today that advertising that protects user privacy is possible. For example, Apple gives users the ability to disable ad personalization based on first-party data in the Settings app. For users with Personalized Ads enabled, Apple groups together users with similar characteristics, which ensures that a campaign can’t identify a given user.
Once available in 2021, the App Tracking Transparency feature will be accessible by opening the Settings app, then looking for the Privacy menu, and looking for the Tracking section. Apple also says that its new “nutrition labels” for app privacy will be required in the App Store starting on December 8.
The end is officially here for Adobe Flash. As previously announced, Adobe has confirmed that it will no longer provide support for Flash Player after December 31, 2020, and it will block Flash content from running in Flash Player beginning on January 12, 2021.
The writing has been on the wall for the end of Adobe Flash for years. Way back in 2017, Adobe announced its plans to drop support for the Flash plug-in by the end of 2020, and it is now making good on that promise.
As Adobe has worked to wind down Flash over the last three years, Apple’s message has been consistent. The company emphasized on its WebKit blog at the time of Adobe’s announcement that the transition from Flash began in 2010 for Apple users:
Apple users have been experiencing the web without Flash for some time. iPhone, iPad, and iPod touch never supported Flash. For the Mac, the transition from Flash began in 2010 when Flash was no longer pre-installed. Today, if users install Flash, it remains off by default. Safari requires explicit approval on each website before running the Flash plugin.
But of course, the relationship between Apple and Adobe in regards to Flash had been strained for years, ever since Steve Jobs famously published his “Thoughts on Flash” piece back in 2010 to address what was a major point of criticism at the time for iPhones and iPads as computer replacements.
I wanted to jot down some of our thoughts on Adobe’s Flash products so that customers and critics may better understand why we do not allow Flash on iPhones, iPods and iPads. Adobe has characterized our decision as being primarily business driven – they say we want to protect our App Store – but in reality it is based on technology issues. Adobe claims that we are a closed system, and that Flash is open, but in fact the opposite is true.
In the letter, Jobs bemoaned Flash for its many flaws, including things like reliability, security, battery life, and performance. While Adobe contested Jobs’ claims at the time, Apple never did bring Flash to the iPhone and iPad, and Flash’s downfall began shortly thereafter.
Adobe has a website dedicated to providing information about the end-of-life plans for Flash, saying that users should uninstall Flash from their computers immediately to “help protect their systems.”
Since Adobe will no longer be supporting Flash Player after December 31, 2020 and Adobe will block Flash content from running in Flash Player beginning January 12, 2021, Adobe strongly recommends all users immediately uninstall Flash Player to help protect their systems. Some users may continue to see reminders from Adobe to uninstall Flash Player from their system.
Since Adobe will no longer be supporting Flash Player after December 31, 2020 and Adobe will block Flash content from running in Flash Player beginning January 12, 2021, Adobe strongly recommends all users immediately uninstall Flash Player to help protect their systems.
Some users may continue to see reminders from Adobe to uninstall Flash Player from their system. See below for more details on how to uninstall Flash Player.
UPDATED: December 2, 2020
As previously announced in July 2017, Adobe will stop supporting Flash Player after December 31, 2020 (“EOL Date”).
Open standards such as HTML5, WebGL, and WebAssembly have continually matured over the years and serve as viable alternatives for Flash content. Also, major browser vendors are integrating these open standards into their browsers and deprecating most other plug-ins (like Flash Player). See Flash Player EOL announcements from Apple,Facebook,Google,Microsoft and Mozilla.
By providing more than three years’ advance notice, Adobe believes that there has been sufficient time for developers, designers, businesses, and other parties to migrate Flash content to new standards. The EOL timing was in coordination with some of the major browser vendors.
After the EOL Date, Adobe does not intend to issue Flash Player updates or security patches. Therefore, Adobe will continue to prompt users to uninstall Flash Player and strongly recommends that all users immediately uninstall Flash Player.
To help secure users’ systems, Adobe will block Flash content from running in Flash Player beginning January 12, 2021.
Major browser vendors will disable Flash Player from running after the EOL Date.
Flash Player may remain on your system unless you uninstall it. Uninstalling Flash Player will help secure your system since Adobe does not intend to issue Flash Player updates or security patches after the EOL Date. Adobe will block Flash content from running in Flash Player beginning January 12, 2021 and the major browser vendors will continue to disable Flash Player from running after the EOL Date.
Click “Uninstall” when prompted by Adobe in Flash Player, or follow these manual uninstall instructions for Windows and Mac users.
Since Adobe is no longer supporting Flash Player after the EOL Date, Adobe will block Flash content from running in Flash Player beginning January 12, 2021 to help secure users’ systems. Flash Player may remain on the user’s system unless the user uninstalls it.
As the EOL Date approaches, the number of Flash-supported browsers and operating systems will continue to decrease so Adobe strongly recommends that all users immediately uninstall Flash Player.
Apple Safari version 14, released for macOS in September 2020, no longer loads Flash Player or runs Flash content. Please visit Apple’s Safari support for more information.
Apple is delaying its new rules around in-app tracking in iOS 14, postponing the controversial disclosure requirement that set it at odds with Facebook. Announced at WWDC 2020, the new feature was intended to make explicit that software could use data to deliver personalized adverts, and indeed track users across multiple apps and websites.
Users would be presented with the option to allow such tracking, or ask the app not to track them. At the time, Apple was praised by privacy advocates for taking the step, which could prevent iPhone and iPad users from unwittingly having their digital lives tracked and comprehensive profiles built on them for more specific advertising purposes.
However it was less popular with ad providers and networks. In August, Facebook called out the iOS 14 feature as having the potential to undermine its partner ad business. The change could leave its so-called Audience Network system “so ineffective on iOS 14 that it may not make sense to offer it on iOS 14,” Facebook said at the time.
Clearly someone at Apple has been listening to the feedback. Now, while iOS 14 will still support the new notification and the prompt to permit in-app tracking, developers won’t be penalized if their apps don’t show it. Instead it won’t be until sometime early in 2021 before Apple makes supporting the notification a requirement.
“We believe technology should protect users’ fundamental right to privacy, and that means giving users tools to understand which apps and websites may be sharing their data with other companies for advertising or advertising measurement purposes, as well as the tools to revoke permission for this tracking. When enabled, a system prompt will give users the ability to allow or reject that tracking on an app-by-app basis. We want to give developers the time they need to make the necessary changes, and as a result, the requirement to use this tracking permission will go into effect early next year”Apple
The technology relies on IDFA, or Identification for Advertisers, which sees each iOS device being given a unique code. That can be shared with advertisers, and used to personalize campaigns shown to a user across different software and websites. Audience Network, for example, is used in numerous apps and sites, and many people may not realize that they’re all keeping track of visits and sharing that data in aggregate in the background.
Making it more visible, Facebook and others have warned, could pull the rug out from under effective campaigns. Without a comprehensive user profile, targeted promotions will be trickier to finesse. “Like all ad networks on iOS 14, advertiser ability to accurately target and measure their campaigns on Audience Network will be impacted,” Facebook explained last week, “and as a result publishers should expect their ability to effectively monetize on Audience Network to decrease.”
Apple’s decision comes as it faces criticism from multiple quarters about its policies. In August, Epic Games led a revolt around in-app purchases and the so-called “Apple tax” applied to developer revenues made through the App Store. Apple responded by pulling Fortnite from its store, with Epic going on to sue the Cupertino firm – and Google – over the situation.
Apple says it will have more information on when, exactly, app publishers will need to start asking permission around tracking, later this year. “More information, including an update to the App Store Review Guidelines, will follow this fall,” the company told developers.
facebook reveals more details about recent hack that affected 30 million accounts
When Facebookrecently confirmed that a major hack had accessed the platform, it said that upwards of 50 million accounts were affected by the security breach.
Now, after further investigation, there is some good news in a mess of bad. Namely, 20 million fewer accounts had their tokens stolen than what Facebook originally projected. Still, that leaves 30 million users out there that potentially have some of their sensitive information in a less-than-secure situation.
Today Facebook has published an update on what happened, what’s happened since, and what’s going to happen next. To start, Facebook recounts the past hack, starting with the code that was available between June 2017 and September 2018. Software bugs impacted the “View As” feature in Facebook, which allowed for hackers to access the secure tokens for Facebook accounts, which allows those individuals to take over Facebook accounts as they see fit and access the data therein.
Facebook says that while they believed 50 million accounts had their access tokens exposed to the breach, only 30 million people “actually had their tokens stolen”. Facebook then goes into some detail on how it all went down, which starts with the attackers already having access to some accounts. From there, they used an automated technique that gave them access to the friend’s list, which allowed them to move from one account to the next and access the tokens, which eventually led to the attackers gaining control of 400,000 accounts.
That access let the attackers see the profile of each account, including the News Feed, what people would post to their timeline, names of recent Messenger conversations, and more. “Message content was not available to the attackers”, unless you are the Admin of a page that had its access token stolen.
As for what was stolen, data-wise, this is the most important part so we’ll let Facebook spell it out:
“For 15 million people, attackers accessed two sets of information – name and contact details (phone number, email, or both, depending on what people had on their profiles). For 14 million people, the attackers accessed the same two sets of information, as well as other details people had on their profiles. This included username, gender, locale/language, relationship status, religion, hometown, self-reported current city, birthdate, device types used to access Facebook, education, work, the last 10 places they checked into or were tagged in, website, people or Pages they follow, and the 15 most recent searches. For 1 million people, the attackers did not access any information.“
Some of the alerts you might see in the Facebook app.
Facebook says users can see if they were affected by the attack by accessing the Help Center. And the social network will be sending out personalized messages to those who were affected to explain what information was ascertained by the attackers.
Facebook is quick to point out that this breach did not reach Messenger itself, or Messenger Kids, Instagram, or a plethora of other Facebook-owned platforms and services. The company does note that it is not ruling out “small-scale attacks”, either, and is investigating.
Checking your account’s status
For Facebook users that are concerned that their data isn’t safe, there’s a way to tell if it was stolen in the massive hack. All you have to do is visit this security notice page on Facebook. Scroll down to the bottom of the page and you should see a blue box detailing whether your account was hacked.
Here’s what the message looked like on my account:
Hackers were able to get their hands on “access tokens” in Facebook which allowed them to access compromised users’ accounts and scrape their data. On 14 million of the hacked accounts, attackers had access to name, contact details , gender, locale, relationship status, religion, hometown, self-reported current city, birthdate, device types used to access Facebook, education, work, the last 10 places they checked into or were tagged in, 15 most recent searches and more.
“We’re cooperating with the FBI, which is actively investigating and asked us not to discuss who may be behind this attack,” wrote Facebook exec Guy Rosen in a blog post.
Facebook says the attack didn’t impact Messenger, Messenger Kids, Instagram, WhatsApp, Oculus, Workplace, Pages, payments, third-party apps, or advertising or developer accounts.
5 Companies you didn’t know uses AI to do business
Yes, you use them a lot of times now. But some of them can’t really function without the help of Artificial Intelligence? Here’s the list.
You use them everyday, they get the job done for you. They give you instant gratification. But did you know that all these companies were able to deliver services like social media interaction and giving you a good deal for your orders using Artificial Intelligence?
Amazon was the biggest online retail service provider around and have since been so with the help of artificial intelligence. Their Amazon Machine Learning platform provides companies with the ability to predict and find patterns using data. Additionally, Amazon Echo brings artificial intelligence into the home through the intelligent voice server, Alexa.
Google has been on the frontier of artificial intelligence and having acquired 9 AI startups, Google is deeply invested in furthering artificial intelligence capabilities. Their main research focus is on machine learning which helps advance Google’s language, speech translation, visual processing, ranking and prediction capabilities.
Yup, the social media service with more than 3 billion users around the world, Facebook has made strategic investments in artificial intelligence to operate more efficiently and to make sense of the data being shared on the social media network. To date, Facebook has opened three artificial intelligence labs — its newest lab opened in Paris last year. In addition to their AI labs, Facebook have acquired two AI companies — Face.com, a face recognition company, and Wit.ai, whose technology lets developers create text or voice based bots.
Intel has acknowledged the importance of artificial intelligence and their desire to stay ahead of the curve through backing and investing in AI technologies. The company touts its commitment to open source with optimized machine learning frameworks and libraries, as well their acquisition of Nervana systems, enabling them to take advantage of their machine learning experts.
Twitter has invested significant funds into artificial intelligence. They have acquired 4 AI companies to date. Their latest acquisition of the AI tech startup, Magic Pony, cost them a cool $150 million. Twitter plan to harness the expertise gained through these acquisitions to become a key player in the video space.
With the rising popularity of Facebook Live as a main choice for those looking for a free and easy live streaming medium, Faceook is monetizing it by sprinkling some ads to live streams.
Facebook is now testing short video ads that will play during breaks in Facebook Live broadcasts so when you are watching some Live Streams, expect some of these popping out during breaks. This won\’t be a surprise for anyone who follows Facebook. Video ads are lucrative for Facebook and a Live product devoid of ads would cause the company to miss out on tons of potential ad revenue.
Apparently, a small group of publishers can insert a short ad break in the Live videos to make this thing work. These short ads can appear every after 5 minutes or so within a live stream. Bad news is it can last to up to 15 seconds. Skipping ad option is still unconfirmed. If this become successful, advertisers will soon be able to make custom ads dedicated to be shown during Live broadcasts.
Ads will be of the same theme as the video topic, so don\’t expect watching a totally different ad from the subject of the video that you are watching. Payments to the publishers will still be arranged in the future.
It’s also not clear yet if publishers will be able to set a designated “commercial break” where all viewers see an ad at once, or if Facebook will randomly commandeer a Live stream with a 15 second ad. If it’s the former and publishers can initiate a designated commercial break (and potentially generate revenue), it could actually be an ad product that publishers and content creators ends up liking.