Doug Madory is director of internet analysis at Kentik, a San Francisco-based network monitoring company. Madory said at approximately 11:39 a.m. ET today (15:39 UTC), someone at Facebook caused an update to be made to the company’s Border Gateway Protocol (BGP) records. BGP is a mechanism by which Internet service providers of the world share information about which providers are responsible for routing Internet traffic to which specific groups of Internet addresses.
Update, 4:37 p.m. ET: Sheera Frenkel with The New York Times tweeted that Facebook employees told her they were having trouble accessing Facebook buildings because their employee badges no longer worked. That could be one reason this outage has persisted so long: Facebook engineers may be having trouble physically accessing the computer servers needed to upload new BGP records to the global Internet.
Facebook on Monday disclosed that it had taken down a new foreign interference operation targeting the US 2020 presidential elections that appears to be linked to the Russian troll agency, the Internet Research Agency (IRA).
The 50 Instagram accounts and one Facebook account “had the hallmarks of a well-resourced operation”, the company said in a blog post. The accounts had about 246,000 followers, and published nearly 75,000 posts, according to Graphika, a social network analysis company that reviewed the campaign for Facebook.
The campaign included accounts that promoted both “conservative” and “progressive” content, resharing memes and tweets on potentially divisive topics in a manner similar to the IRA’s 2016 social media influence campaign.
While most of the posts were focused on polarizing political issues, some specifically addressed the 2020 election, according to Graphika. These included posts supporting Donald Trump and Bernie Sanders, and attacking Joe Biden. Some also attacked Kamala Harris and Elizabeth Warren.
Facebook is taking on the bonfires of hate and misinformation it has helped fuel across the world, one post at a time. The social network has drawn criticism for undermining democracy and for provoking bloodshed in societies small and large. But for Facebook, it’s also a business problem.
How can Facebook monitor billions of posts per day in over 100 languages, all without disturbing the endless expansion that is core to its business? The company’s solution: a network of workers using a maze of PowerPoint slides spelling out what’s forbidden.
Every other Tuesday morning, several dozen Facebook employees gather over breakfast to come up with the rules, hashing out what the site’s two billion users should be allowed to say. The guidelines that emerge from these meetings are sent out to 7,500-plus moderators around the world. (After publication of this article, Facebook said it had increased that number to around 15,000.)
The Facebook internal team discovered a photo API bug that may have affected people who used Facebook Login and granted permission to third-party apps to access their photos. We have fixed the issue but, because of this bug, some third-party apps may have had access to a broader set of photos than usual for 12 days between September 13 to September 25, 2018.
Affected Facebooks Users?
Currently, we believe this may have affected up to 6.8 million users and up to 1,500 apps built by 876 developers. The only apps affected by this bug were ones that Facebook approved to access the photos API and that individuals had authorized to access their photos.
“Facebook emphasizes the free nature of the service but not the commercial objectives that underlie the provision of the social network service, thus inducing users into making a transactional decision that they would not have taken otherwise,” the ICA said in a notice on Friday.
“The information provided is, in fact, general and incomplete and does not adequately make a distinction between the use of data to personalize the service (in order to connect ‘consumer’ users with each other) and the use of data to carry out advertising campaigns aimed at specific targets.”
The authority also found that Facebook, in violation of Articles 24 and 25, actively sends consumer data to third-party websites and apps for commercial purposes, by default and without express consent. Additionally, when users decide to limit their consent, they are faced with significant restrictions on the use of the social network. Inducing users to “maintain the pre-selected choice” represents “undue influence,” according to the ICA, and prevents users from being able to make a free, informed choice.