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Lawsuit Claims Facebook and LinkedIn are Engaging in Illicit Surveillance of Zoom Video Chat App

The lawsuit accuses Facebook, Zoom and LinkedIn of acting like Big Brother.

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Facebook, Zoom and LinkedIn are being sued for alleged privacy violations related to data sharing. The corporations are being accused of soaking up data, including electronic communications between users, and sharing it between tech platforms.

Civil rights firm Loevy & Loevy made the announcement in a press release on Monday that a 17-count class action lawsuit has been filed against Facebook, Zoom and LinkedIn to hold them accountable for invasive policies.

“Zoom, Facebook and LinkedIn violated American citizens’ fundamental right to privacy, a right that is of heightened importance as millions shelter in place and communicate primarily on-line during the pandemic,” said attorney Scott R. Drury, one of the lawyers handling the lawsuit against Facebook and LinkedIn.

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“This action seeks to right those wrongs and let the Defendants know they cannot trample on people’s rights,” he added.

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California resident Todd Hurvitz is listed as the plaintiff on the lawsuit. He is alleging that Facebook and LinkedIn have gathered data through Zoom to gain details on individuals to develop advertisements targeting them specifically. Hurvitz’s legal team will argue in court that these practices are exploitative and illegal.

Big League Politics reported last month on how Zoom, a Chinese-owned company, is selling out the data of their users to other Big Tech entities:

Zoom, a company that offers a popular video conferencing app that is taking off due to the coronavirus shutdown, is funneling the personal data of its users over to Facebook, as the service is weak on protecting the privacy rights of its customers.

VICE Motherboard analyzed Zoom’s iOS app for cell phones and determined that it was sending information to Facebook. This is because of Zoom’s use of Facebook’s software development kits (SDK) in order to improve the features on the app. This is a common way that Facebook funnels data from other apps into their systems to bolster their monopoly in the tech sector.

“That’s shocking. There is nothing in the privacy policy that addresses that,” said Pat Walshe, an activist from Privacy Matters who has analyzed Zoom’s privacy policy, to VICE reporters on Twitter.

Zoom users are likely blissfully unaware of the app’s data-sharing agreement with Facebook. Facebook may be collecting data from individuals who do not even use their software, showing how the monolithic corporation’s tentacles are extremely pervasive and difficult for consumers to avoid.

Facebook is informed anytime a Zoom user opens the app on their mobile phone. Facebook is also made aware of the cell phone model, the city and time zone the user is in while connecting, the phone carrier of the user while accessing the app, and a unique identifier that can be used to target the specific individual in an advertisement buy.

“I think users can ultimately decide how they feel about Zoom and other apps sending beacons to Facebook, even if there is no direct evidence of sensitive data being shared in current versions,” said Will Strafach, who founded the privacy-centered app Guardian, to VICE reporters.

Representatives from Facebook, Zoom and LinkedIn will be in court soon to atone for their Orwellian schemes to harvest user data.

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Twitter Launches Crowdsourced Fact-Checking System Called “Birdwatch” to Fight “Misinformation”

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Twitter has rolled out a new feature to fight what they consider to be “misinformation.”

The new feature, released Monday, is called Birdwatch. In a post on the Twitter Blog, Vice President of Product Keith Coleman writes that Birdwatch will allow people to identify information in tweets that “they believe is misleading” and to write notes “that provide informative context.”

We believe this approach has the potential to respond quickly when misleading information spreads, adding context that people trust and find valuable,” Coleman said.

As of now Birdwatch is a standalone site, though Twitter claims they will eventually make notes posted to Birdwatch directly visible on certain tweets.

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VP of Product Coleman continues: “In this first phase of the pilot, notes will only be visible on a separate Birdwatch site. On this site, pilot participants can also rate the helpfulness of notes added by other contributors. These notes are being intentionally kept separate from Twitter for now, while we build Birdwatch and gain confidence that it produces context people find helpful and appropriate. Additionally, notes will not have an effect on the way people see Tweets or our system recommendations.”

The format of Birdwatch will supposedly combine elements of Wikipedia and Reddit’s moderation tools, according to NBC News. Birdwatch users will be able to flag tweets from a dropdown menu on Twitter itself, but discussion about the flagged tweets will only be able to take place on the Birdwatch site. Birdwatch will also implement a rating system that will allow users to upvote or downvote the notes of others.

This is the logical development of Twitter’s commitment to identify and suppress content they deem “false” or “dangerous.” Keep an eye out for more such features in the future.

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