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Facebook co-founder says it is time to break-up the company



Facebook co-founder says it is time to break-up the company


“We are a nation with a tradition of reining in monopolies, no matter how well intentioned the leaders of these companies may be.

“Mark’s power is unprecedented and un-American,” Hughes wrote on Thursday.

Facebook owns the largest social network with more than two billion users across the world.

It also owns WhatsApp, Messenger and Instagram, each used by more than one billion people.

Hughes co-founded Facebook in 2004 at Harvard with the company’s Chief Executive Officer Zuckerberg and Dustin Moskovitz.

He quit Facebook in 2007 and later said in a LinkedIn post that he made half a billion dollars for his three years of work.

“It’s been 15 years since I co-founded Facebook at Harvard, and I haven’t worked at the company in a decade.

But I feel a sense of anger and responsibility,” said Hughes, who later was an online strategist for Barack Obama during the 2008 presidential campaign.

The company did not immediately respond to requests for comment.

In one of a number of security and privacy scandals to hit the company, Facebook is accused of inappropriately sharing information belonging to 87 million users with the now-defunct British political consulting firm Cambridge Analytica.

Hughes said he last met with Zuckerberg in the summer of 2017, several months before the Cambridge Analytica scandal broke.

“Mark is a good, kind person. But I’m angry that his focus on growth led him to sacrifice security and civility for clicks,” Hughes said.

“And I’m worried that Mark has surrounded himself with a team that reinforces his beliefs instead of challenging them.”

Hughes is not alone in asking for break-up of Facebook.

Some lawmakers have called for federal privacy regulation and anti-trust action to break up big tech companies.

Science & Technology

Facebook, Red Cross launch digital campaign against COVID-19



Facebook says it has launched “AfricaTogether,” a digital campaign to encourage vigilance against COVID-19 in partnership with the International Red Cross and Red Crescent Movement.

Jocelyne Muhutu-Rémy, Facebook’s Strategic Media Partnerships Manager for Sub-Saharan Africa, said on Monday that as part of the launch, there would be a digital campaign across Africa and a two-day festival on June 4 and June 5 featuring artists.

“With about 100,000 Covid-19 cases on the continent and containment measures easing in many countries, ‘AfricaTogether’ combines musical and comedy performances with information from COVID-19 first responders and fact-checkers from across Africa.

“It will include a festival with performances by artists such as  Femi Kuti, Ferre Gola, Salatiel, Serge Beynaud, Patoranking,  Aramide and Youssou N’dour.

“There will also be a digital awareness campaign with prevention messages developed with Red Cross and Red Crescent health experts targeting simultaneously Facebook users in 48 countries across sub-Saharan Africa.

“The event will be streamed on Facebook Live on  June 4 in English and hosted by the Nigerian popular actor and comedian Basketmouth and in French on June 5 by the renowned media personality Claudy Siar, ” Muhutu-Rémy said in a statement.

She said to watch the live shows, viewers could tune in to the Facebook Africa page, Red Cross and Red Crescent Facebook pages.

“The spike in the use of online tools during the COVID-19 pandemic shows the social usefulness of digital platforms in difficult times.

“We are seeing many incredible initiatives from artists bringing their communities together on Facebook Live.

The ‘AfricaTogether’ campaign will enable people to learn more about fighting COVID-19, while enjoying entertainment from their favourite African performers.

“This event is one of the many ways that Facebook,  the International Red Cross and Red Crescent Movement are  contributing in the fight against COVID-19 across the continent.

”Facebook continues to work with governments across Sub-Saharan Africa, including partnering with organisations such as health agencies and NGOs  to share accurate information about the situation of COVID-19,” she added.

Mamadou Sow, a long-serving member of the International Red Cross and Red Crescent Movement, said the COVID-19 pandemic was an unprecedented crisis, noting that it was affecting everyone regardless of ethnicities and religions.

“African communities so far have responded quickly, but the risk remains very real.

“If we all do our part, we will beat COVID-19. Music is a powerful uniting force and we hope that the ‘AfricaTogether’ festival will bring renewed hope and action against this dangerous disease,” Sow said.

He further said with a network of more than 1.5 million volunteers and staff across the continent, the International Red Cross and Red Crescent Movement was on the frontlines of combating COVID-19 in communities through information campaigns.

Edited By: Chinyere Bassey/Salif Atojoko (NAN)

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Facebook German privacy case referred to European Court



The German Federal Court, on Thursday, referred a lawsuit filed by a consumer protection watchdog, alleging privacy violations by Facebook, to the Court of Justice of the European Union to seek clarification on the applicable law.

The long-running case, brought by the Federation of German Consumer Organisations (vzbv), alleged that the social network had allowed operators of online games to improperly collect the personal data of people who played them.

Facebook declined to comment on the court statement pending the release of a full written judgment.

A lower court ruled in favour of the vzbv and Facebook appealed the decision.

In its written ruling, the Federal Court said it was suspending the case to seek advice from the European Court as interpretations of the applicable law varied.

“This question is disputed both in court judgments and in the literature,’’ the court, based in Karlsruhe, said in a statement.

At issue were online games offered on Facebook’s App Centre back in 2012 in which, by playing them, a user automatically agreed to share personal data including their email address.

At the end of the game, users would see a message saying that the app could post their status, photos and other information.

Such games – including quizzes – were widely used at the time to harvest data on users of Facebook.

The company subsequently overhauled its privacy settings, although they have continued to be a source of controversy.

The European Union’s two-year-old privacy rulebook, the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR), stipulates that any requests to collect personal data should be subject to clear, informed consent.

However, it is not clear, according to the Karlsruhe court, whether organisations that can bring litigation under national law have the necessary standing to press their case under the GDPR.

It is seeking clarification on this matter of principle.


Edited By: Abdulfatah Babatunde (NAN)

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Half of Facebook employees to work remotely in 10 years – Zuckerberg



Facebook’s founder and chief executive, Mark Zuckerberg, says he expects the coronavirus pandemic will have a long-lasting impact on working practices.

Zuckerberg expects that in ten years, about half of the social network company’s employees will be working remotely, he said in an interview with technology news site The Verge.

He emphasised that the 50 per cent figure was his estimate and not an official announcement.

According to a survey of Facebook employees, one in five expressed strong support for working from home permanently, while a further 20 per cent expressed “some interest”.

However, 40 per cent said this would not be practical due to the nature of their jobs.

Zuckerberg expects that in the future, more employees will hired to work from home from the beginning of their contracts.

Other major tech firms, including Twitter, had previously announced their employees could continue to work from home even after social distancing restrictions brought in during the pandemic eased.

Prior to the pandemic, the focus of big U.S. tech companies had been to have all employees working together at huge headquarters, some including Facebook, offering employees bonuses to live nearby.

Facebook had expanded its Menlo Park headquarters with a huge hangar-style campus built by star architect Frank Gehry.


Edited By: Abdulfatah Babatunde (NAN)

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Police arraign man for allegedly beating wife, boasting about it on Facebook



The Police in Lagos on Friday docked one Sulaiman Maiyegun, a.k.a Afobaje, before an Igbosere Magistrates’ Court for allegedly beating his wife and boasting about it on his Facebook page.

Maiyegun pleaded not guilty to the two-count charge of assault occasioning harm and offensive publication.

The Prosecutor, SP. Shinaolu Adeoye, had told the court that the defendant committed the offences on May 5, at 12:13p.m, at Maiyegun town, Jakande Estate, Eti-Osa Local Government.

According to the prosecutor, the defendant unlawfully assaulted his wife, the complainant, one Mariam Gabriel, by beating her with his fist on her forehead.

“The defendant injured the victim on her forehead and posted an inciting and provoking publication about the incident on his facebook page,” Adeoye said.

The prosecutor said the offences contravened Sections 57 and 173 of the Criminal Law of Lagos State, 2015.

The News Agency of Nigeria reports that Section 57 provides as punishment a six months jail term or a fine of N90, 000 while Section 173 provides three years imprisonment on conviction.

Adeoye, however, urged the court to remand the defendant to the correctional centre and asked for an adjournment date for the commencement of trial.

In a swift reaction, the defendant’s counsel, Mr Mustapha Danesi, urged the court to grant his client bail on the most liberal terms, adding that the matter was as a result of family crisis.

In her ruling, Magistrate Mrs Folake Oshin granted the defendant bail in the sum of N500,000 with two sureties who must be a cleric and a family member to the defendant.

She directed the court registrar to verify the addresses of the sureties who must be tax payers in the state.

The case was adjourned until June 22, for mention.

Edited By: Edwin Nwachukwu/Wale Ojetimi (NAN)

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Man who allegedly beat wife, bragged on Facebook to be charged to court



A Lagos-based man, Mr Afobaje Maiyegun, who allegedly battered his spouse and bragged about it on Facebook will be charged to court on Friday.

The Lagos State Domestic and Sexual Violence Response Team (DSVRT) made the disclosure in a statement on Thursday in Lagos. 

The News Agency of Nigeria reports that Maiyegun had on May 5 posted on his Facebook page, “I beat my wife and I am waiting for her police.”

He added  photographs of the allegedly battered spouse to the post.

In the statement issued by its  Coordinator,  Mrs Titilola Vivour-Adeniyi, DSVRT said that immediately the viral Facebook post was brought to its attention, its team reached out to ACP Gbolahan  Odugbemi, Commander, Area J Police Command, Lagos.

ACP Odugbemi ensured that Mr Maiyegun was arrested, and preliminary investigation revealed  that this is not the first time the said Mr  Maiyegun would perpetrate such a dastardly act.

“A partner non-governmental organisation,  HerFessions Initiative, was also on ground to assist with the investigation.

“The case is set to be charged to court on Friday, 15th May, 2020,” Vivour-Adeniyi said.

The coordinator hoped that Maiyegun’s arrest would be a warning to Lagos residents  that Gov. Babajide Sanwo-Olu had zero tolerance for sexual and gender-based violence.

“Perpetrators will face the full weight of the law,” she said.

Edited By: Abdullahi Mohammed/Ijeoma Popoola (NAN)

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Facebook to notify users who have engaged with harmful COVID-19 posts



Facebook said on Thursday that it would start notifying users who had engaged with false posts about COVID-19 which could cause physical harm, such as drinking bleach to cure the virus, and connect them to accurate information.

The social media giant said it had been battling to control large volumes of misinformation such as posts that say physical distancing will not curb the disease.

The pandemic has killed more than 136,000 people globally and infected more than 2 million, while many countries are enforcing strict lockdowns to try and prevent further spread.

Facebook said it has taken down hundreds of thousands of false posts that could be harmful, and last month displayed warnings on another 40 million dubious posts related to the virus.

“We will also soon begin showing messages in News Feed to people who previously engaged with harmful misinformation related to COVID-19 that we’ve since removed, connecting them with accurate information,” CEO Mark Zuckerberg said in a post.

This includes people who had liked, reacted or commented on the posts, Facebook said.

The messages, which it said will start appearing in the coming weeks, will direct people to myths about the virus debunked by the World Health Organisation.

The European Commissioner for values and transparency Vera Jourova welcomed the latest measures but said more still needed to be done.

“We will need more transparency and better access to data for researchers to fully verify the scope and impact of false content.

“And also to be able to assess Facebook’s actions from the perspectives of both public health and fundamental rights,” she said in a statement, adding that others also needed to play a more active role.

“We must focus not only on platforms, but on all fronts, including better monitoring and detection, engaging civil society and improving the cooperation between member states,” Jourova said.

Edited By: Fatima Sule/Emmanuel Yashim (NAN)

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Osun court remands man, 32, over alleged fake news on Facebook



A Chief Magistrates’ Court in Osun on Tuesday ordered the remand of one Akinloye Saheed, 32, in Ilesa Correctional Centre for allegedly publishing a fake news on his Facebook account to incite members of public against the state government.

The Magistrate, Dr Olusegun Ayilara, ordered that the defendant be remanded pending the presentation of a formal bail application on the next date of adjournment, May 14.

Counsel to the defendant, Mr Bamidele Ajibade and Mr Abioye Hasim, had earlier prayed the court to grant their client, who had pleaded not guilty, bail in the most liberal term.

Earlier, Mr Dapo Adeniji, the prosecutor, who is also the acting State Solicitor-General, had accused the defendant of a four-count charge bordering on misinformation and incitement.

The defendant said the prosecutor had on Saturday at about 11:05p.m. in Osogbo, interfered with the executive order of the state by publishing some misinformation to incite the public against the government.

According to the prosecutor, Saheed accused the Osun government on his Facebook account of importing COVID-19 patients into the state just to access fund from the Federal Government.

“The said imported patients are now negative. APC, you are not doing well,” the prosecutor quoted part of Saheed’s post.

The offences, said the prosecutor, were contrary to Sections 61, 374, 59 (1) of the Criminal Code and punishable under Section 24 of the Cybercrime Law.

Edited By: Moses Solanke/Wale Ojetimi (NAN)

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Lagos First Lady disclaims fake Facebook accounts



The Office of First Lady of Lagos State, Dr Ibijoke Sanwo-Olu, says it has come to its notice of parody Facebook accounts opened in the name of the First Lady.

Mrs Olubukonla Nwonah, Assistant Director, Public Affairs, Office of Lagos State First Lady, said on Thursday that such parody Facebook accounts were being operated by some fraudulent individuals.

”They impersonate the first lady with the aim of deceiving unsuspecting members of the public.

”Please be informed that the First Lady of Lagos State, Dr (Mrs.) Ibijoke Sanwo-Olu does not operate or maintain ny personal account on Facebook.

”Her official account known as the Office Of Lagos State First Lady is operated by her Media Unit,” Nwonah said.

According to her, Facebook management and relevant security agencies have been notified of the fraudulent activities of the impostors behind the parody Facebook accounts.

She, therefore, urged the public to beware of the fraudsters.

Edited By: Peter Ejiofor)


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Science & Technology

Facebook expands COVID-19 information centre to Nigeria, 16 other Africa countries



Facebook says it will be expanding its Coronavirus Information Centre to 17 more countries in sub-Saharan African, including Nigeria

Kojo Boakye, Facebook’s Head of Public Policy, Africa, who made the disclosure on Thursday, noted that the information centres form part of Facebook’s effort to help the global fight against the Coronavirus pandemic.

According to him, Facebook will be providing people with the latest news and information from trusted health authorities.

“The COVID-19 Information Centre features at the top of news feed that provides central place for people to get informed about the virus.

“It includes real-time update from national health authorities; organisations such as the World Health Organisation; helpful articles, videos and posts about social distancing and preventing the spread of COVID-19.

“Facebook users can opt in to follow the centre to get notifications and see updates in the news feed from official government health authorities, “Boakye said said in a sttement.

He also said that they had already launched the centre in South Africa and would now expand to the sub-Saharan Africa markets.

The head of public policy  further said  that the centre would be expanded to Benin, Burkina Faso, Cameroon, Cape Verde, Chad, Côte d’Ivoire, Ethiopia and Gabon.

He said other countries were Nigeria, Senegal, Seychelles, the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC), Togo, Guinea, Kenya, Mali and  Mauritania.

“We have built the centres in collaboration with national health partners to ensure that people can get access to information from trusted health sources.

“The launch of the COVID-19 Information Centre on Facebook in more than 17 countries across sub-Saharan Africa aligns with the commitment to make accurate, timely information about the pandemic accessible to all communities,” Boakye said.

Edited By: Chinyere Bassey/Peter Ejiofor)

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