Cambridge Analytica scandal that erupted over the weekend has
snowballed into the biggest threat to CEO and founder Mark
Zuckerberg's rule since the company's 2012 IPO.
noted earlier, the
manner in which Cambridge Analytica allegedly leveraged the data it
purportedly "stole" from Facebook (or rather, refused to
delete after receiving it from an intermediary who himself had
improperly accessed it, according to the company) isn't all that
unusual. Case in point, Carol Davidsen, Obama's director of
integration and media analytics during his 2012 campaign, revealed
that Facebook knowingly helped the Obama campaign collect as much
user data as possible - even from the friends of users who may not
have explicitly consented to the data collection.
Facebook found out about the data mining for political purposes - the
same thing they just banned Cambridge Analytica for doing - they
"didn't stop us," the Obama staffer said. Representatives
from Facebook even traveled to Obama campaign headquarters and
candidly told campaign workers, including Davidsen, that
they were allowing the Obama campaign do things they wouldn't have
allowed other developers to do.
forward nearly six years and Facebook Security Chief Alex Stamos is
planning to leave the company in August after clashing with
executives over their refusal to prioritize policing how user data is
accessed and manipulated over ever-expanding advertising profits.
now, another former Facebook employee has come forward to reveal
that, before the company started tightening its data security
practices after its IPO, the type of "unauthorized" access
that Facebook suspended Cambridge Analytica for was routinely carried
out by app developers. The reason? Facebook's advertising business
can increase profits by offering more data to advertisers and
developers. And the more successful games like FarmVille and Candy
Crush become, the more money Facebook - which takes a piece of
developers' profits - stands to make.
these factors created a powerful incentive to look the other way.
what kind of control Facebook had over the data given to outside
developers, he replied:
Absolutely none. Once the data left Facebook servers there was not
any control, and there was no insight into what was going on."
employee, Sandy Parakilas, first accused Facebook of prioritizing
data mining of consumer safety in a New
York Times op-ed
published in November, when the scandal surrounding a "Russian
troll farm's" alleged purchases of Facebook ads and promoted
posts was still in full swing.
the company insists that it has strengthened its oversight in the
years since Parakilas's departure, the degree of negligence described
by Parakilas is staggering nonetheless. If he had to guess, Parakilas
would say that, in reality, the majority of Facebook users have
probably had their data improperly sold or shared.
said he "always
assumed there was something of a black market" for
Facebook data that had been passed to external developers. However,
he said that when he told other executives the company should
proactively "audit developers directly and see what’s going on
with the data" he was discouraged from the approach.
said one Facebook executive advised him against looking too deeply at
how the data was being used, warning him:"Do
you really want to see what you’ll find?" Parakilas
said he interpreted the comment to mean that "Facebook was in a
stronger legal position if it didn’t know about the abuse that was
added: "They felt that it was better not to know. I found that
utterly shocking and horrifying."
developer feature that allowed a UK-based psychology professor to
access data from 50 million Facebook users is called "Friends
feature was a boon to outside software developers who, from 2007
onwards, were allowed to build quizzes and games that were hosted on
the platform. Parakilas says the company could've easily disabled
this feature - which helped developers sneakily hoover up the data of
friends of assenting users - but it chose not to.
apps proliferated on Facebook in the years leading up to the
company’s 2012 initial public offering, an era when most users were
still accessing the platform via laptops and computers rather than
took a 30% cut of payments made through apps, but
in return enabled their creators to have access to Facebook user
does not know how many companies sought Friends Permission data
before such access was terminated around mid-2014. However,
he said he believes tens or maybe even hundreds of thousands of
developers may have done so.
estimates that "a majority of Facebook users" could
have had their data harvested by app developers without their
knowledge. The company now has stricter protocols around the degree
of access third parties have to data.
any attempts at reconciliation or reform might be too little, too
late: Lawmakers are demanding a scalp - somebody to blame for
President Trump's improbable electoral triumph over the "eminently
qualified" Hilary Clinton.
Amazon's Jeff Bezos walks his new dog and remains head and shoulders
above everyone else in the world in terms of net worth, Facebook's
is sliding down the ranks to a lowly 5th on the world's richest
the carnage in Facebook's shares, CEO Zuckerberg lost $5 billion
yesterday and another $4 billion today (and is down around $14
billion from his highs)...
knocked him back below Amancio Ortega into just 5th place on the
"world's richest" list...
after today's bloodbath, Zuck may end up in 6th place... or even 7th
Bezos (and his new pet dog) remain uber alles...
of those Facebook shares FB, -2.56% before
Tuesday ended up saving about $70 million, according to Securities
and Exchange Commission filings and some arithmetic by MarketWatch.
At Tuesday’s close, the 5.4 million shares Zuckerberg has sold this
year under a predetermined plan would be worth $910 million.
Zuckerberg made about $980 million selling those shares, according to
calculations using average weighted prices reported to the Securities
and Exchange Commission.
spokeswoman Vanessa Chan said in an email that the stock sales are
intended to fund the Chan-Zuckerberg Initiative, the philanthropic
investment organization the Facebook
founder set up with his wife in 2015.
In an SEC filing in September, Zuckerberg said that he plans to sell
at least $6 billion in Facebook stock over the next 18 months to fund
the organization’s efforts.
year, Facebook abandoned its plan to create a new class of nonvoting
shares that was concocted to allow Zuckerberg
to retain voting control of the company.Zuckerberg
said at the time that the stock’s gains over the past couple of
years would allow him to retain control of the enterprise and still
sell enough stock to fund his philanthropy without the new stock
the past year and a half, Facebook’s business has performed well
and the value of our stock has grown to the point that I can fully
fund our philanthropy and retain voting control of Facebook for 20
years or more,” Zuckerberg wrote at the time. “As a result, I’ve
asked our board to withdraw the proposal to reclassify our stock —
and the board has agreed"
key parts of Facebook’s model come into play: gathering data from
people in order to profile them, designing systems that allow that
data to be used to target people, then allowing third parties to use
the data and those targeting systems for their own purposes
Cambridge Analytica 'Utterly Sleazy'
the Real News
Channel 4 details the dirty tricks that Cambridge Analytica, the
data-mining company owned by billionaire Robert Mercer, uses to sway
elections around the world. If the story is true, it would mean the
company is not only sleazy, but also blatantly criminal, says
white-collar criminologist Bill Black
44th president of the United States of America landed in Auckland
International Airport at 12.13am on Wednesday after spending two days
his arrival a police presence was noted at Air Centre One, a
designated area for corporate private jets. An access road was being
blocked by police.
on motorcycles and in mufti-uniform were also there.
motorcade with Obama left the airport about 12.30am with police in
front and behind.
understood to be flying in a Gulfstream jet, was expected to spend
the night in Auckland before heading north this morning to play golf
with former New Zealand Prime Minister Sir John Key.
would not reveal where they would play but they are set to visit more
than one course - possibly Kauri Cliffs at Matauri Bay, owned by
Julian Robertson, and the Carrington golf course on the Karikari
is tipped to stay at The Landing luxury home in Northland tonight
before returning to Auckland tomorrow for an official welcome at
he will experience his first powhiri and hongi - it is understood
officials have been asked to send detailed information about the
process and meaning of the hongi for him.
will hold a private meeting with Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern.
only event open to media is the official powhiri at Government House.
Sam Neill has now revealed on Twitter that he is the moderator for
Obama's speaking event tomororw night.
the secrecy surrounding the trip and lack of public opportunities,
the Government is providing some support for the visit because of
bombings: Person injured in new Austin 'incident'
agents collect evidence at a FedEx Office facility following an
explosion at a nearby sorting center in Sunset Valley, Texas.FBI
agents secure evidence from a FedEx depot earlier in the day. Photo:
authorities here in Rostov-On-Don, Russia, have just now done a
massive nuclear attack drill. They not warn us about drill just
suddenly there is massive military and helicopters and some type
vehicles not seen before."
give us leaflets and tell us to prepare for nuclear attack. The
leaflet not give much instruction just say to stay in if attack
late 2017, troops from the Syrian Army and other allied ground forces
liberated parts of the eastern province of Deir ez-Zor, effectively
reestablishing a land route stretching from Iran to Syria and
Lebanon, where the formidable Hezbollah political party and militia
to Sputnik reporter Suliman Mulhem, a Syrian analyst reported that a
largescale US military operation is set to be launched against the
Syrian Army near the Syria-Iraq border "very soon."
US is planning a large attack against the Syrian Army very soon to
capture Syria's border with Iraq, especially near al-Tanf and perhaps
even parts further inland," the analyst told Sputnik, citing
informed military sources stationed near the al-Tanf US military
of an upcoming escalation with the US are also circulating on social
US-led coalition is planing for an all in attack against the SAA very soon, the attack will be very large and aimed at capturing the border with Iraq and even possible positions near Homs-Damascus highway ... almost full invasion like Iraq 2003
11:50 AM - 19 Mar 2018
military operation would strengthen the US' position in Syria and,
depending on the scale of the attack, could result in US-backed
forces seizing more oil fields in eastern and central Syria.
US-backed militants already control around 70-80 percent of Syria's
proven oil reserves.
more importantly, this escalation could sever the strategic
Iran-Iraq-Syria-Lebanon land route, which will not only diminish
Iran's ability to funnel funds and armaments to Hezbollah, but will
also adversely affect Syria's ability to trade with Iraq and Iran,
and could complicate Syria's post-war reconstruction plans.
by the Russian Air Force (RuAF), the Syrian Army has made significant
progress against hardline Islamist militants across the country, and
is currently in the process of ousting militants from Damascus.
military escalation by the US would undermine Syria's sovereignty,
and threaten the progress the Syrian Army has made in stabilizing
many parts of the country.
marks the 15th anniversary of the US-led invasion of Iraq. As the
country has been plagued by violence and instability ever since, it's
not surprising that most Syrians are dreading the prospect of further
US military involvement in Syria.
Syria be the Battleground for All-Out War Between Russia and America?
is not about Syria nor about the war on its soil : it is all
about an open war between the axis led by United States of America,
Europe and their allies in the Middle East against the axis led by
Russia and its allies. It’s a war about control, influence and
dominance in the Middle East and the rest of the world.
is natural for the US to resist the loss of its unilateral dominant
status that has held since the collapse of the Soviet Union, from
1991 until 2015. September 2015 is the date when Moscow decided to
send its air force, navy and some ground special forces to the Levant
to announce its presence to the world there and give birth to its
superpower capability after decades of absence.
is therefore natural that the US defends its world unilateralism and
tries to block the awakening of the Russian genie by mobilising all
its energies and those of its western and arab allies to push back
against the (successful) attempts by Russia to prove its diplomatic
skills and military power through the window of the Levant.
it is indeed natural that the US should try to hit the weakest link
(Tehran) in the Russian-Chinese-Iranian alliance by attempting to
thwart the nuclear agreement signed by the United Nations and the
five permanent members of the Security Council plus one (Germany).
this is caused by the successful (in Russia’s view) outcome of the
war in Syria, in which the US failed in its attempt to redraw the map
of the Middle East, divide Iraq and Syria, hit Hezbollah in Lebanon
and extract parts of northern Syria for itself and Turkey, and the
southern region for Israel.
has benefited from the religious and sectarian slogans circulated by
the “Islamic State” (ISIS) and al-Qaeda, insinuating that the
conflict in Syria is just “among Muslims of different sects”. The
fake message was as follows: ”these Muslim Arabs miss no
opportunity to quarrel among themselves and to kill each other in the
name of Allah”. Whereas the truth is otherwise: it is a struggle
for power, control and dominance. This allows hits under the belt and
the use of all kinds of twisted means and excuses, including
”religious extremism,” to prevent the return of Russia to the
Middle East and be able to divide the region.
did the Washington hawks succeed in their quest? The simple answer
would be: No, they didn’t.
these US hawks are still exploring various avenues to accuse Russia
of supporting the Syrian President Bashar al-Assad, discredited for
years by the restless hammering of mainstream media (which has
become an obvious tool in the hands of decision makers) who painted
al-Qaeda as “moderates” for all the seven years of war.
US aimed to discredit Moscow’s leadership at the UN to
intimidate and to halt the efforts of President Vladimir Putin to end
the war in Syria and stop the partition of the Middle East, and to
prevent Russia from completely eliminating the bulk of Jihadis In
Iraq and Syria.
required Moscow to use 11 “vetoes” at the UN to reject multiple
attempts by Washington and its allies to strike Syria and topple
President Assad. Russia played very cleverly its diplomacy in Syria
by creating de-escalation and de-confliction areas in the north,
around the capital, and in the south to cut Syria into squares and
freeze the war in different strategic areas so that it could devote
enough forces to striking ISIS first and then al-Qaeda and its
has been reduced to a small pocket under US protection in north-east
Syria. Actually, this area situated east of the Euphrates is today
ISIS’s safe haven and it is therefore forbidden for Russia and the
Syrian governmental forces to strike the terrorist group. Previous
attempts resulted in the US heavily bombing local forces and their
Russia has given enough time to the Syrian government to gather its
forces, strike al-Qaeda and clear various enclaves, limiting the
control of al-Qaeda and its allies to the vicinity and the city of
Idlib, around Damascus (al-Ghouta and Yarmouk) and in the south
(Daraa and Quneitra).
Syrian army managed to divide the Ghouta areas despite the frenetic
anti-Russian campaign mounted by mainstream media and the failed US
attempts at the United Nations to stop the war on al-Ghouta and to
keep this enclave as a sore thumb at the back of the main capital
US’s anger at the Syrian-Russian attack on al-Ghouta needs to be
made clearer here: the US occupation of al-Tanf Syrian-Iraqi borders
aimed to create a launching platform for its military operations
towards Deir al-Zour in the north and al-Ghouta in the east. The US
plan was to occupy the city of Deir al-Zour and al-Qaim north-east
and the capital Damascus. But Iran went around the area where the US
forces were positioned, isolating these in the al-Tanf pocket, and
made a qualitative leap to liberate Deir al-Zour and al-Qaim by
defeating ISIS forces, who withdrew towards the US area of influence
east of the Euphrates.
Al-Ghouta is a clear demonstration of the US’s failed plan to
attack Damascus. The strategic military planning and link between
al-Tanf and al-Ghouta was possible had the Syrian Army and Russia not
intervened on time to surround it and attack jihadists to force these
to surrenderer and pull out to Idlib. The US thought to create a real
menace against Damascus and at least prevent the parliamentary
and presidential elections due next year. By controlling Ghouta,
jihadists were supposed to keep up the pace of bombing to render the
Syrian capital “unsafe”.
US and the International community tried to stop the battles of
al-Ghouta to no avail. This prompted Washington to exercise its
favourite hobby of imposing sanctions on Russia, without succeeding
in stopping the Syrian army (fighting without its allies – except
Russia) from recovering its control over Ghouta. The answer came
immediately from Moscow by bombing Daraa and hitting al-Qaeda’s
area of influence in an indication as to where the future theatre of
military operations is expected to be.
events are moving very fast: the US response came quickly through its
UK ally when Britain took advantage of the poisoning of the former
Russian spy Sergey Skripal in London to accuse Moscow of being behind
his assassination. The message here is clear: all means are
legitimate for the control of the Middle East, specifically Syria.
followed by demanding the return of the UNDOF troops, withdrawn
in August 2014 following the abduction of 47 UN peacekeepers by
al-Qaeda (the ransom for their liberation was paid by Qatar). The
Israeli demand coincided – I have learned from well informed
sources – with the gathering of forces of Syria’s allies,
including Hezbollah, in Daraa, in preparation for future wide scale
military operations. The
US considers that the battle of Daraa is directly against itself and
its Israeli ally, especially as it is party, along with Russia and
Jordan, to the agreement to reduce the escalation there, to serve
Israel and secure its security in southern Syria.
this tense political climate it requires no imagination to link the
issue of the Russian former spy to the aggressive statement of
President Vladimir Putin and other Russian officials who threatened
to use military force against the US and any other country in Syria
Syrian war is far from being a normal one. It is THE war between two
superpowers and their allies, where US and Russian soldiers are
directly involved on the ground in a war of domination and power. The
lack of victory in the US eyes is worse than losing a battle. Even
more, the victory of Russia and its allies on Syrian soil in any
battle is therefore a direct blow to the heart of Washington and its
understood the US, UK and NATO’s message, including that of the
mainstream media, and had no other choice but to escalate the pace of
war in Syria as harshly as possible.
superpowers are on the verge of the abyss, so the danger of falling
into a war of cosmic proposition is no longer confined to the
imagination or merely a sensational part of unrealistic calculations.
Damascus be the door of a major war that destroys everything? Asking
the question is very important : but it is a very difficult
question to answer.
to your weather screwed up by human-caused climate change.
River Brings Landslide Risk to California
than normal ocean surfaces in the range of 0.5
to 2.5 C hotter than average are
bleeding off an excessive volume of moisture across the Northeastern
Pacific today. These elevated moisture levels are, in turn, forming
into a train of rain-bearing systems aimed fire-hose like at
California. This atmospheric river is expected to produce storm after
storm after storm. Systems that are predicted to dump between 1 and
locally 10 inches of rain over sections of Southwestern California
and parts of the Sierra Nevada Range over the next few days.
atmospheric river takes aim at California. Image source: MIMIC-TWP.)
warm sea surfaces off the U.S. East Coast and in the Gulf of Mexico
are providing an extra intensity boost to nor’easters forming
across the region. Storms that according to recent science were made
two to four times more likely by climate change associated polar
warming events. Image source: Earth