5 Revelations From Facebook Documents Seized by UK Parliament

Almost 250 pages of internal documents from social media giant Facebook were posted online this Wednesday. The confidential documents, which detail the 2012-2015 growth period for Facebook, were released online by a U.K. parliamentary committee that obtained them last month from the plaintiff in a California lawsuit.

We don’t want to say the bombshell revelations buried in the documents are totally unscrupulous, but judging from what has been shared, scruples do seem in short supply.

Here are the top five biggest news items from the cache of documents.

1: Zuck Signed Off on Choking Vine

Twitter’s much beloved video-based social network Vine was shuttered in October 2016. Twitter mismanaged it plenty, but Facebook may have taken out a virtual hit on it behind the scenes as well.

In 2013, Vine needed to grow, and was pulling users’ Facebook friend user data in order to connect Vine users will people they knew.

Facebook vice-president Justin Osofsky wrote that “unless anyone raises objections, we will shut down their friends API [application programming interface] access today,” adding that “We’ve prepared reactive PR.”

CEO Mark Zuckerberg’s reply: “Yup, go for it.”

Granted, the news that Facebook wasn’t letting Twitter pull Facebook friend data for Vine isn’t news. It was public information in 2013, and if you were in the know, you could easily have guessed the mercenary logic behind the move. But seeing it in print crystalizes the cut-throat mentality behind growing the world’s biggest social media network.

I’ll just quote The Social Network tagline here: You don’t get to 500 million friends without making a few enemies. (It’s two billion friends now, but the point still works).

2: They Knew User Data Collection Was a “High-Risk” Move

Maybe Zuckerberg and Osofsky’s interchange was aimed at protecting their users’ data, which was and is the driving force behind Facebook’s revenue. But another internal document doesn’t appear to corroborate that theory.

“This is a pretty high-risk thing to do from a PR perspective but it appears that the growth team will charge ahead and do it,” one email says, referencing the developer data that eventually turned into a PR crisis for Facebook thanks to Cambridge Analytica.”We think the risk of PR fallout here is high […] it gets press attention, and enterprising journalists dig into what exactly the new update is requesting, then write stories about ‘Facebook uses new Android update to pry into your private life in ever more terrifying ways’.”

3: Zuckerberg Gives Us a Lesson In Leverage

That’s not to say they gave their user data away for free. Instead, they used it to get even more data from others.

As Mr. Zuckerberg wrote in 2012 about the need to get data in exchange from developers hoping to access Facebook’s data: “It’s not good for us unless people also share back to Facebook and that content increases the value of our network. So ultimately, I think the purpose of platform — even the read side — is to increase sharing back into Facebook.”

Again, this isn’t anything that business barons haven’t espoused in the past. It’s just a reminder that capitalism is about the bottom line and nothing else, straight from the one of world’s most powerful CEOs.

4: They Considered Lowering Data Transparency Even More

The level at which users’ data has become a commodity has always been high, and the general public is increasingly aware of this fact. In 2018, it’s pretty well known that the massive startups, social media companies and search engines of Silicon Valley all operate under terms and conditions agreements reminiscent of Faustian pacts. Just yesterday, the New York Times published an article on the granular knowledge of your very geographic location known to multiple apps on most people’s phones.

According to one internal email, Facebook considered reducing their data transparency even farther by introducing an upgrade that wouldn’t come with a permissions dialog notification.

“The Growth team is now exploring a path where we only request Read Call Log permission,” the email states, “and hold off on requesting other permissions for now. Based on their initial testing, it seems that this would allow us to upgrade users without subjecting them to an Android permissions dialog at all. It would still be a breaking change, so users would have to click to upgrade, but no permissions dialog screen.”

Facebook has since clarified to the Guardian that this conversation “was not a discussion about avoiding asking people for permission.”

5: Facebook Giveth Data, Facebook Taketh Away

The confidential documents mention two occasions when Facebook discussed which companies they would allow to access more data (Lyft, Airbnb and Netflix made the cut) and which competitors they would issue restrictions to, once Zuckerberg signed off on it.

“We will be whitelisted for getting all friends, not just connected friends,” Netflix clarified with Facebook at one point, while an internal note explained Zuckerberg’s involvement, saying “[w]e maintain a small list of strategic competitors that Mark personally reviewed. Apps produced by the companies on this list are subject to a number of restrictions outlined below. Any usage beyond that specified is not permitted without Mark level sign-off.”

Facebook spokespeople have responded to the cache of documents, holding that the legal case in question is “baseless” and that the internal documents “are presented in a way that is very misleading without additional context.”

However, there’s no word on what their latest internal documents said about the matter.

The post 5 Revelations From Facebook Documents Seized by UK Parliament appeared first on TechCo.

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Ask a Hero: My Parents Can’t Get PLUS Loans Anymore — How Can I Pay for College?

Dear Student Loan Hero, My parents have been taking out PLUS loans to help pay for my college. But my school just told me that now that I’m 24, I cannot use PLUS loans for this academic year. I was unaware of this, and now I am stuck not knowing how to pay for my […]

The post Ask a Hero: My Parents Can’t Get PLUS Loans Anymore — How Can I Pay for College? appeared first on Student Loan Hero.

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The new exercise guidelines: Any changes for you?

Originally Posted Here: https://www.health.harvard.edu/blog/the-new-exercise-guidelines-any-changes-for-you-2018121415623

It’s likely you already know that regular exercise helps prevent chronic disease, such as diabetes and heart problems, while improving your overall health, mood, and quality of life. It can sharpen mental function, boost concentration, and help you sleep. And the new exercise and physical activity guidelines issued by the federal government’s Office of Disease Prevention and Health Promotion show that the dose required to gain these benefits is not hard to achieve. The new guidelines are better tailored for age and ability, too.

What should your exercise goals be?

The amount of exercise and mix of activities recommended varies depending on age and ability, as described more fully below. It ranges from a high of three hours daily — for preschoolers, who tend to love activity — to 150 minutes a week.

Unfortunately, 80% of the population is not meeting the guidelines. Each year in the US, an estimated 10% of premature deaths and $117 billion in healthcare costs are associated with inadequate physical activity.

Besides saving money on healthcare, there are many personal benefits to staying active. The new guidelines highlight other new evidence-based findings related to physical activity and exercise.

What changed in the new exercise guidelines? Overall, move more, sit less. Work toward reducing the amount of time you spend sitting every day. If you have a desk job, get up to walk around regularly, or try chair yoga or a few desk exercises. All activity counts toward the recommended goals — not just 10-minute bouts of activity, as past guidelines recommended. Younger people and older people may benefit in different ways from exercise. It facilitates normal growth and development for preschoolers through teens, strengthening bones and muscles and improving cardiovascular health. Older adults who participate in regular exercise have better balance, and lower risks of falling and injury, thus improving their ability to remain independent.

The new guidelines base your dose of physical activity on relative intensity: how much effort a given exercise takes compared with your capacity for exercise. A brisk walk counts as moderate physical activity (think: fast enough so that you can speak comfortably, but not sing). The speed of this walk will be much faster for someone who is in shape than for someone who is just starting to exercise or getting back to activity after a break. But no matter where the starting line is, most people can safely improve their fitness and health. Begin with lower amounts of exercise and slowly increase duration, intensity, and frequency.

For example, if you:

Have been bed-bound, start by walking two minutes every 10 to 15 minutes (during commercial breaks when watching TV or listening to the radio). Typically walk for exercise, try adding an extra block to your regimen once a week. Jog, try going at your regular pace for five minutes, then increasing it for one minute. What stayed the same in the new exercise guidelines? Exercise is safe for almost everyone — even people with chronic disease and disabilities. Different types of exercise have complementary benefits: Aerobic activity, like walking, running, or cycling, improves cardiovascular health. It involves movement of the large muscles of the body for sustained periods of time. Muscle-strengthening activity, like resistance training with elastic bands or weight lifting, improves muscle strength, endurance, power, and mass. Bone-strengthening activity, like running, playing basketball, resistance training, or jumping rope, improves bone health and strength. Balance activity, like walking backwards, standing on one leg, yoga, and tai chi, can reduce fall risk. Multicomponent physical activity, like running, dancing, or playing tennis includes at least two of the above types of activity. Rating the intensity of activities is simple. During: Light activity, you don’t feel like you’re exerting yourself. Moderate activity, you can talk comfortably, but not sing. Intense activity, you can say a few words, but not full sentences. Within the guidelines, one minute of intense activity is roughly equivalent to two minutes of moderate activity. New exercise recommendations by age and ability Preschool-age (3 through 5 years): physically active throughout the day with the goal of three hours of activity daily Children and teens (6 through 17 years): at least 60 minutes daily of moderate-to-vigorous physical activity; include vigorous activity, muscle-strengthening, and bone-strengthening activity three times a week Adults:at least 150 to 300 minutes weekly of moderate-intensity aerobic activity, or 75 to 150 minutes weekly of vigorous-intensity aerobic activity, or an equivalent combination of both, plus muscle-strengthening activities on at least two days a week Older adults:multicomponent physical activities that mix balance activities, aerobic activities, and strength training can help prevent falls and injuries; reduce overall sitting and replace it with light (or when possible, moderate) activity Pregnant and postpartum women:at least 150 minutes weekly of moderate-intensity aerobic activity Adults with chronic conditions or disabilities:follow adult guidelines as able, including both aerobic and muscle-strengthening activities

 

The post The new exercise guidelines: Any changes for you? appeared first on Harvard Health Blog.


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