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Facebook and Instagram disable features in Europe

The company says some of its messaging features may need to be adapted to comply with EU rules.

From 21 December, messaging apps will fall under EU rules known as the ePrivacy directive.

There’s nothing in the ePrivacy directive that bans the use of fun stickers or polls in messaging apps, so Facebook’s move to disable them is a bit puzzling.

Source: Facebook and Instagram disable features in Europe – BBC News

Facebook lawsuits: the biggest tech battle yet, and one that is long overdue

Facebook is facing perhaps its greatest existential threat yet as the company prepares to battle two antitrust lawsuits brought by the US government and more than 40 states. But while analysts are calling the crackdown an important step, whether the social media giant can be reined in remains to be seen.

The lawsuits brought against Facebook on Wednesday accuse the company of wielding its “monopoly power” to crush and overwhelm its rivals. The cases tackle Facebook’s acquisitions of Instagram and WhatsApp in particular, deals which federal regulators now say should be unwound.

Source: Facebook lawsuits: the biggest tech battle yet, and one that is long overdue

Irish data watchdog investigates Instagram’s use of children’s data

Irish Data Protection Commission (“DPC”) has opened an inquiry into processing of children’s data by Instagram. Instagram platform is owned by Facebook Ireland Limited.

First inquiry will assess Facebook’s reliance on certain legal bases for its processing of children’s personal data on the Instagram platform.

Second inquiry will focus on Instagram profile and account settings and the appropriateness of these settings for children. Amongst other matters, this Inquiry will explore Facebook’s adherence with the requirements in the GDPR in respect to Data Protection by Design and Default and specifically in relation to Facebook’s responsibility to protect the data protection rights of children as vulnerable persons.

Source: Data Protection Commission’s two statutory Inquiries into Facebook’s processing of children’s data on Instagram (opened in Sept 2020) | 19/10/2020 | Data Protection Commission

European privacy laws to blame for continued self-harm content, says Instagram

Content that breaks Instagram’s own rules on promoting and glamourising eating disorders and self-injury can still be found on the platform, an investigation has revealed.

But Instagram’s head of policy for Europe and the Middle East, Tara Hopkins, said:

“In the EU and the UK, we use image-based technology to find graphic self-harm… outside the EU, we’re able to use a more sophisticated range of technology. [..] There are questions about whether this more sophisticated technology is allowed under GDPR, because it’s considered to be potentially making a judgement on someone’s mental health.”

Source: European privacy laws to blame for continued self-harm content, says Instagram

Instagram Sued For Privacy Violations Over Unauthorized Camera Access

On Thursday in the Northern District of California, Brittany Conditi filed a class-action complaint against Instagram and its parent company Facebook for invasion of privacy alleging that Instagram accessed users’ smartphone cameras when not using features that would require camera access, despite the defendants’ representations to the contrary.

According to the complaint, Instagram “has access to a user’s smartphone camera for the limited purpose of allowing users to directly take a photograph or video and then post that content to its platform.” Furthermore, Instagram “claims to only access users’ smartphone cameras with user permission, such as when a user is interacting with the Instagram application’s…camera feature.” According to the complaint, Instagram stated it does not access a user’s camera when the camera feature is not in use. However, the plaintiff proffered that Instagram “does more than it claims.”

Source: Instagram Sued For Privacy Violations Over Unauthorized Camera Access – Tech

Facebook says Apple’s new privacy rules could spare its own apps but hit smaller companies

Facebook warned that privacy changes coming from Apple could hurt smaller developers such as gaming companies disproportionately but will likely leave its own apps mostly unscathed.

Facebook said it was making a change to its own apps – which in addition to its flagship app also include WhatsApp and Instagram – that would likely spare them from having to ask iPhone users for data-tracking permissions that many advertising industry insiders believe users will refuse.

Source: Facebook says Apple’s new privacy rules could spare its own apps but hit smaller companies – Reuters

Instagram Faces Lawsuit Over Illegal Harvesting Of Biometrics

Facebook is facing allegations it illegally harvests the biometric data of users, this time in a lawsuit that targets Instagram.

In the lawsuit, filed in state court in Redwood City, California, the company is accused of collecting, storing and profiting from the biometric data of more than 100 million Instagram users, without their knowledge or consent.

Source: Instagram Faces Lawsuit Over Illegal Harvesting Of Biometrics

Facebook sues websites that sold Instagram likes and scraped Facebook user data

Social media network Facebook has filed two lawsuits this week against the operators of two websites that abused its platforms to sell Instagram likes and harvest passwords and information on Facebook users, respectively.

The lawsuits are just the latest in a long series of litigations the company has filed over the past one year and a half.

Source: Facebook sues websites that sold Instagram likes and scraped Facebook user data | ZDNet

Teens have figured out how to mess with Instagram’s tracking algorithm

Teenagers are using group accounts to flood Instagram with random user data that can’t be tied to a single person. If you wanted to confuse Instagram, here’s how.

First, make multiple accounts. You might have an Instagram account dedicated to you and friends, or another just for your hobby. Give access to one of these low-risk accounts to someone you trust.

Then request a password reset, and send the link to that trusted friend who’ll log on from a different device. Password resets don’t end Instagram sessions, so both you and the second person will be able to access the same account at the same time.

Finally, by having someone else post the photo, Instagram grabs metadata from a new, fresh device. Repeat this process with a network of, say, 20 users in 20 different locations with 20 different devices? Now you’re giving Instagram quite the confusing cocktail of data.

Source: Teens have figured out how to mess with Instagram’s tracking algorithm – CNET

Facebook is building more secure Instagram messaging app 

Facebook is launching Threads, a new camera-first messaging app from Instagram for keeping up with your close friends in a dedicated space.

Facebook claims it is built with privacy in mind, so that you can feel comfortable using the app to communicate with your close friends.

Read more: Privacy Matters: Threads | Facebook Newsroom

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