The social network seems to have decided to host content itself rather than send users to other websites. What are the chances you came to this article after picking up your phone and opening the Facebook app? The probability is pretty high and its rising fast. That's bad news for most traditional publishers. Facebook can, almost single-handedly, make or break media companies: if it sends you traffic you're golden; if it takes it away, you're toast.
The attraction of the extreme north for many tech companies is both practical and environmental. In the tiny sub-Arctic town of Lulea, Facebook has operated a 30,000 square meter server farm since 2013 -- its first such facility outside the U.S.. TeliaSonera is currently laying down Skanova Backbone North, a 1,250-kilometer (776-mile) fiber cable that will serve mobile and communications networks as well as provide the digital infrastructure that data centers in northern Sweden require. Lulea will soon host another large data facility for UK-based data-storage specialist firm, Hydro66, while the nearby town of Boden welcomed Bitcoin mining group KnCMiner earlier this year. Across the border in Finland, Google runs a similar operation in the town of Hamina.
Why are we outraged by the suggestion that Facebook users’ messages should be screened for potential terrorist threats yet we accept that airline passengers are screened for terrorist threats before boarding a plane? What’s the difference between moving people or information around the world? This is the question raised by the UK parliament’s intelligence and security committee when it suggests Facebook and other internet platforms should “take responsibility” for detecting terrorist activity online.
The social media firm’s latest big idea is to allow users in developing nations free net access if they use its app. The goal of public policy everywhere should be to increase access to the internet – the whole internet, not some corporate-controlled alcove – for as many people as possible.
Facebook has modified its privacy and data use policies, effective January 1, 2015. Facebook will now allow advertisers to include a “buy” button directly on targeted advertisements on a user’s page. Facebook will also allow advertisers to use the location data gathered from tools like “Nearby Friends” and location "check-ins” to push geolocation-based targeted advertisements. For instance, a Facebook user who checks in near a restaurant that partners with Facebook may now be shown menu items from that restaurant. Last month, the Dutch data protection commission announced that it planned to open an investigation into Facebook’s policy modifications. In July 2014, EPIC and a coalition of consumer privacy groups urged the FTC to halt Facebook’s plan to collect web-browsing information from its users. Facebook is already under a 20 year consent decree from the FTC that requires Facebook to protect user privacy. The consent decree resulted from complaints brought by EPIC and a coalition of consumer privacy organizations in 2009 and 2010. For more information, see EPIC: Facebook Privacy; and EPIC: FTC.
The Guardian describes a new Facebook feature to protect private information. Facebook is developing artificial intelligence that will ask if users really want to post pictures of themselves and friends under the influence. The aim for Facebook’s “digital assistant” is that it will analyse every action by a user with the social network, beyond photos to videos and interactions, and give them more control such as notifications when other users post unauthorised photos.