Facebook is under criminal investigation by federal prosecutors for data dealings with some of the world’s largest technology companies, according to a Wednesday report.
“A grand jury in New York has subpoenaed records from at least two prominent makers of smartphones and other devices, according to two people who were familiar with the requests and who insisted on anonymity to discuss confidential legal matters,” the New York Times said. “Both companies had entered into partnerships with Facebook, gaining broad access to the personal information of hundreds of millions of its users.”
The report said that the Facebook partners subpoenaed are among 150 or so companies that purchased data from Facebook. The social network, better thought of as a data mine, allowed these companies access to private information of its users, sometimes without the consent of the users.
“It is not clear when the grand jury inquiry, overseen by prosecutors with the United States attorney’s office for the Eastern District of New York, began or exactly what it is focusing on,” the report said. “Facebook was already facing scrutiny by the Federal Trade Commission and the Securities and Exchange Commission.”
Facebook is reportedly cooperating with investigators.
The tech giant is trying to shake off an abysmal 2018, which was riddled with scandals.
The company was outed for allowing Netflix and Spotify to read users’ “private messages,” and leaked millions of users’ photographs to third parties without the knowledge of the users. Facebook also allowed a third party to lift information from 87 million accounts in the most serious scandal in the company’s history.
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PewDiePie Supposedly Shadowbanned by YouTube, Fans Say Hundreds of Videos Didn’t Appear in Search Results
YouTube issued a denial, but not many are buying it.
Google-owned YouTube recently shadowbanned PewDiePie, according to his fans. If true, it would represent the latest act of censorship by a Big Tech company.
PewDiePie, for those who are unfamiliar, hosts YouTube’s second-largest channel. He has accumulated over 107 million subscribers in his ten years on the platform. He is extraordinarily popular but also receives flak from some quarters because he can be politically incorrect at times.
YouTube addressed the allegation that they shadowbanned PewDiePie in a tweet today:
— TeamYouTube (@TeamYouTube) October 22, 2020
The denial naturally did not convince PewDiePie’s fans, many of whom said that they weren’t receiving notifications of his new videos and couldn’t find hundreds of previous videos after using the search function:
— KEEM 🍿 (@KEEMSTAR) October 22, 2020
The issue seemed to be resolved as of Friday. Still, how many times do we have to go through this with Big Tech platforms like YouTube and Twitter and Facebook? The cycle is utterly predictable: massive account shadowbanned or suspended, platform denies any blatant censorship, account privileges restored.
PewDiePie’s real name is Felix Kjellberg. Big League Politics last posted about him when he announced a $50,000 donation to the anti-free speech Anti-Defamation League (ADL) and then again when he rescinded it:
“Usually when I pick a charity, I take my time, I find a charity that I’m really excited about and actually passionate to donate to, so when I uploaded the video talking about the charity, it was very brief, and people could tell something was off,” PewDiePie explained while laughing.
“To be fair, I saw it as an opportunity to put an end to these alt-right claims that have been thrown against me. It wasn’t to try and clear my name or save grace. If it was, I would have done it years ago, but after the Christchurch tragedy, I felt a responsibility to do something about it because it’s no longer just about me. It affected other people in a way, and I’m not okay with that,” PewDiePie said explaining his motives.
PewDiePie said that he announced the ADL donation with noble intentions, but the backlash from his fans helped him to see the error of his ways.
“I’ve struggled to figure out how to do that, but this was not the right way to go about it,” PewDiePie said. “I knew it wasn’t perfect, but I also didn’t know a lot of things that surfaced throughout this whole thing about the charity that doesn’t fit at all, so I understand why people had concerns about it, and these are things that I would have known myself if I had just taken my time.”
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