Facebook Faces Another PR Disaster

By - CTL
March 23, 2018

By Dorothy Thompson

You may not be immediately familiar with Job, the Biblical character whose faith was deliberately tested by God with misfortunes.

First, marauders stole his oxen and donkeys and killed his servants. Not satisfied with this, God had a wind sweep through the land, collapsing his house and killing his children. As if that wasn’t enough, he then was afflicted with painful sores from the soles of his feet to the top of his head.

Job cursed the day he was born; “Sighing has become my daily food … My groans pour out like water.” 

One wonders if Mark Zuckerberg is some long-lost descendent of the unfortunate Job. What has he done to offend the Gods?

The accident prone creator of Facebook is staring down yet another public relations disaster, with tech experts warning of public backlash to a new facial recognition tool secretly being rolled out that could prompt more people to dump the site.

The tool lets users identify people in any photos they post, whether they’re friends or not. It also trawls its database to recommend the identities of people not tagged.

“The new facial recognition notification tool … could be used to harass or bully people,” online tech bible The Verge has warned.

“Users will be notified even when they appear in photos uploaded by someone they’re not friends with — they simply need to have … the photo’s ‘audience’” (Facebook’s term for who can or cannot seecontent)

“So, a harasser who isn’t able to directly message their target could upload a picture with them in it, perhaps Photo-shopped to include a nasty or abusive joke, and Facebook will recognise their face and ping that user, doing the harasser­’s work for them.

For profile photos, users don’t even need to have mutual friends to be sent a notification.”

The latest controversy comes as a social media site called Vero has emerged as the first legitimate rival to Facebook in a long time. Tech sites ­have already dubbed it a potential “Facebook killer”.

From their website:

“As an Advertising platform, we don’t view addiction to our service as a measure of success. We want Vero to enhance your life, not detract from it.

That’s why we stay away from using methods like sending notifications about things we ‘think’ you may be interested in just to get you back into the app.

Whilst Vero has not been designed to be addictive, digital addiction is rampant and many of us struggle to find a balance when using technology – particularly social apps.

Vero is proud to be the first social network to show users how much time they are spending on the platform.

We hope this information will help you keep Vero a positive experience that adds value to your life instead of detracting from itUsage Info can be enabled in Settings.

Vero was offering lifetime subscriptions to its first one million users but was forced to extend the deal due to “extraordinary demand”. The website is subscription based, which it boasts means that it isn’t beholden to advertisers.

It also claims it doesn’t “manipulate­” or “curate” a person­’s timeline. And people can’t pay to “boost” posts.

The start-up reached the top position on the App Store last month. As its growth has surged, Facebook’s share price has tumbled. Its market value has plummeted by $52 billion over the past two days alone.

A #DeleteFacebook campaign was sparked after revelations lobbying firm Cambridge Analytica was able to harvest users’ personal information for use in US President Donald Trump’s 2016 campaign.

Facebook is now facing potential action from the US Federal Trade Commission­, a British parliamentary committee, and a class-action lawsuit lodged by shareholders yesterday who alleged­ the company did not disclose the data breach — leading to artificially inflated share prices.

But the social network is yet to see regulatory action from Australia and could avoid it entirely.

While Australian Information and Privacy Commissioner Timothy Pilgrim said his office was “making inquiries with Facebook” to determine whether Australians were affected by the data breach, the ACCC declined to say whether the issue would be ­investigated as part of an upcoming digital inquiry.

Mark Zuckerberg’s woes look set to continue.

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