Facebook sues over ‘data-grabbing’ quizzes

Facebook sues over ‘data-grabbing’ quizzes

According to Facebook, malicious quiz apps were used to harvest thousands of users’ profile data. Anyone who wants to take the quizzes are asked to install browser extensions, which then lift data ranging from names and profile pictures to private lists of friends. Facebook reported that these were installed about 63,000 times between 2016 and October 2018.

The quizzes, with titles such as ‘What does your eye colour say about you?’ and ‘Do people love you for your intelligence or your beauty?’, gained access to this information via the Facebook Login system – which enables connections between third party apps and Facebook profiles. While the system is intended to verify that such connections are secure, in this case, Facebook says users were falsely told the app would retrieve only a limited amount of public data from their profiles.

Facebook is suing Andrey Gorbachov and Gleb Sluchevsky, of Ukraine, who worked for a company called Web Sun Group. “In total, defendants compromised approximately 63,000 browsers used by Facebook users and caused over £58,000 in damages to Facebook,” the company said in court documents first published by online news site The Daily Beast. The documents accuse the two men of breaking US laws against computer hacking as well as breaching Facebook’s own terms of use.

www.bbc.co.uk/technews (11th March 2019)

Instagram biggest online platform for child grooming

Instagram biggest online platform for child grooming

A charity has found that sex offenders are grooming children on Instagram more than on any other platform.

Police in England and Wales recorded 1,944 cases of sexual communication with children within six months. Instagram was used in 32% of the 1,317 cases where a method was recorded, Facebook in 23% and Snapchat in 14%.

Instagram and Facebook said they “aggressively” fought grooming, while Snapchat said it was “unacceptable”.

Following pressure from campaigners, sexual communication with a child became an offence in April 2017. In the 18 months that followed, more than 5,000 online grooming offences were recorded by police, according to the data gathered by the NSPCC. The charity said the figures did not “fully reflect the scale of the issue”, as many crimes went undetected or unreported.

Where the police logged age and gender, seven out of 10 victims were girls aged 12 to 15. One in five was aged 11 or under. The youngest victim was five years old.

www.bbc.co.uk/technews (1st March 2019)