Justin Osofsky (Facebook vice president):
"Twitter launched Vine today which lets you shoot multiple short video segments to make one single, 6-second video... Unless anyone raises objections, we will shut down their friends API access today. We've prepared reactive PR, and I will let Jana know our decision."
Mark Zuckerberg (Facebook chief executive):
"Yup, go for it."
"Hey, don't leave a papertrail about 'crushing' or 'destroying' competitors. We do not seek to monopolize markets and run afoul of antitrust laws. Instead, talk about how your product can better satisfy users and meet a demand."
(Another common theme I remember was that you shouldn't route stuff through Switzerland to get around export controls.)
 I contracted there via a startup.
Sketchy stuff comes up on a list? "Let's take it offline", not "no, stop this now".
That kind of thing. It was systemic.
The implication was "don't do anticompetitive behavior, we don't need to", but the warnings were given.
Shutting this down is just good management.
Not that it makes Google's actions any better. But nowadays I doubt every single self proclaimed independent entity.
These people should be in a cell.
The camera a detective I know was issued was a Canon Elph from 2003. They all use personal smartphones because the institutional equipment is limited and junky.
Corporations have already maxed out their capacity in terms of production efficiency; it's just really hard for them to coordinate so many employees efficiently. If coordinating large numbers of people was easy (and didn't become exponentially harder relative to number of people), we'd probably all be wealthy communists.
Instead of focusing on how to do their own job better, corporations have shifted their focus towards how to make it harder for competitors to do theirs.
Vine was launched in January 2013. Back then FB and Twitter were significantly more competitive than they are now.
Twitter must have been terrifying to Facebook. Of course they would shut down their API access for Vine. It's a no brainer.
The point of building a platform is to create more value for your users, your partners, and your own business. Not to make it easier for your competition to catch up...
Imagine if Microsoft just came along one day and literally banned any office software, including LibreOffice etc. from running on it's OSs.
Imagine if Nissan bought up a bunch of gas chains in the US and refused to sell gas to ... to let's say ... GM cars.
Or the electric company, which had invested in some solar panel outlays, decided to ban all other 3rd party solar panels from the grid.
These things are always a little fuzzy, but they are real.
Also - the lack of user clear consent is another one ie telling users that apps 'cannot extract their data' but in reality, they are selling it to Netflix.
FB can legitimately explain a way a lot of issues lately, but this one is bad. I think it's far worse than the Cambridge Analytica scandal in which case they weren't really doing anything wrong, just late to maybe close off said APIs.
A free online service running on hardware you don't control isn't obligated to provide free service for everyone indefinitely. Same as "No shirt, no shoes, no service". A proprietor can refuse dealings with toxic customers.
- "No shirt, no shoes, no service" is a rule that applies to all customers, same with blocking customers that develop toxic behavior.
- Specifically targeting and dropping service for someone who launched a different competing service, for that reason, is anti-competitive.
The example I'm thinking of is Microsoft with Internet Explorer, where users were unable to use a browser of their choice. Here a company is not being allowed to use an API, but users are not prevented from using the product if they'd like. They just won't get all the functionality of Facebook within that company's product.
Facebook's behavior seems more comparable to Apple disallowing use of privileged iOS APIs in competing mobile browsers rather than Microsoft not allowing users to install competing browsers. But I'm not an expert on monopolies, so I'm happy to be corrected here.
1. NB - I'm not making a claim or observation about ethics or what ought to be, I'm asking about what is, legally.
I'd gather that the same might apply to sale/no sale and not just prices, i.e. you can't not sell something to someone purely for competitive reasons, there has to be 'some reason'.
Full disclosure: I'm definitely not a lawyer.
So that's not a good example.
We're talking about a store arbitrarily discriminating between customers on terms of it's own choosing.
... which is what makes it harder.
As for your 'software sold after the fact' ... welcome to iOS / AppStore to see who 'controls' what :)
First of all, let's see the facts.
- Sharing user's friendship data with all applications was wrong decision. There were a lot of bad actors.
- So Facebook decided to stop this practice. But in the process some good actors are also burned, so they implemented some system to share some limited data considering:
- You have some critical mass of users
- sign a special agreement to promise you will not use this data in a bad way
- if having not access to this friendship data breaking your app's model
- and probably your app is not competing with facebook's business model
so twitter came, agreed on this terms, got whitelisted. Then probably stepped over fb's toe with vine, and facebook revoked their access.
The thing is facebook didn't remove because it was competitive, they didn't allow competitive in the first place. This is not different from Apple not allowing another browser engines, or another app stores in their ecosystem.
It was not an open, rules-based scenario.
For example, there's no reason that 'Vine' did anything to breach the 'good actor' scenario - FB banned them for competitive reasons.
'Bumble' got special access because FB is an investor. (Did OkCupid? Tinder?)
Moroever, it seems that users were not properly notified of the 'good actors use' of their data.
The key point is 'equitable value exchange'.
If I am building a social network, leaching user/data from facebook, it is different than creating an app inside facebook ecosystem. This is the main distinction I guess.
I think you misread the article. Facebook wasn't an investor in Bumble. Badoo was an investor in Bumble along with owning other dating services which were whitelisted. Facebook was also not (that I can find online) an investor in Badoo.
It's one of the reasons Amazon won't admit to dropping AppleTV and Chromecast from their entire store because the products compete with their Firestick. Instead Amazon says that users are confused when trying to buy their firestick, so they're blocking even the third party sellers from listing it. Note that Amazon allows thousands of competing goods to sell in their store that users can equally get confused about.
Facebook kind of screwed up here, since the EU/UK does not require a company to be market-dominant to be eligible for anti-competitive fines.
Sure, from a competitive perspective, that makes perfect sense. However, FB is at this point a global surveillance operation aimed at inserting itself as an essential utility in everyone's life, with the only apparent limit on their intel collection being fear of bad PR.
If you don't have enough sense to stop playing chicken with gray-areas when you're big enough that playing rough can hurt those outside of the game, then you deserve to be regulated, if not attacked by regulators and sued until it really, seriously hurts, maybe kills.
I mean, what do you call it when a tech company puts serious energy and effort into hiding that they're harvesting text messages and phone calls from Android users incautious enough to trust them? Facebook is the world's largest malware infestation to date.
 To be exceedingly generous to a firm as slimy and invasive as FB.
When real monopolies exist and are dangerous, we need to be able to tell them apart.
Facebook is still far from the textbook definition of monopoly, but this anti-competitive behavior is not good.
acting with the knowledge that they can stem the growth of a competitor and flipping the switch
Although if it is or not a monopoly and an abuse of market power is dubious, but it clearly is anti-competitive.
This is similar to Amazon shutting off Google Products from any retailers using its platform. It is anti-competitive, but the jury is out on whether it is abusing market power.
TL;DR: you can try to shut off your competitors from the market, as long as you're not abusing your market power to do so.
PS: The Hacker News definition of monopoly has nothing to do with the economics, policy and antitrust definition of monopoly.
But taking anti-competitive actions by itself isn't necessarily an issue, but it is a problem if you're deemed to have significant market power in a defined market.
Essentially: if Facebook is deemed to have significant market power, this could be a problem, if it doesn't have, then it isn't a problem.
Anti-trust relies heavily on the precise definition of a market (which is a subject that Hacker News comments generally ignore when crying wolf, I mean, monopoly).
Removing the access of a competitor in retaliation for them competing with you, when you give it to other players is anti-competitive by definition.
The data collection and selling --that's what people should be upset about and lobby against. This kind of thing is a sideshow and will only interest the most hard-core anti-FB people. To get regular folks on board with changing the culture around user data, talk about user data and privacy, concentrate on that.
I would be interested if theirs any information on a big tech company rolling out a FB replacer or if Mark did something to really anger someone. From what I can tell most posts seems to be around Britain releasing information. Not trying to start a conspiracy just trying to understand why all the posts today.
Facebook is in the middle of a media scapegoat frenzy: https://jakeseliger.com/2018/11/14/is-there-an-actual-facebo.... So we're going to keep seeing anti-Facebook articles for a while; it's more attractive to blame Facebook than it is to examine the media's role in the 2016 election or to look carefully at underlying forces, a la The Revolt of The Public and the Crisis of Authority in the New Millennium by Gurri.
If you look at the stock charts alone, your friend is probably correct. The date, specifically, seems to be Thursday July 26th.
A better question might be how did they get away with... I don’t know any of it really, for so long?
Don't have any opinion on it, just wanted to read other people's takes.
IMO, neither. The media in general does have a large amount of anti-FB fervor that is substanceless (this article isn't one though the exact same link was posted already ). However, regardless of frequency on HN, the crowd here is too niche to affect FB's sustainability.
0 - https://news.ycombinator.com/item?id=18608658
Cambridge Analytica? Soros? This clusterfuck? What was substanceless?
* Cambridge Analytica: A company accessed friends lists via an api and sold them to another company. Friends lists are pretty much public on every other service. Very low quality data. Happened years ago. Original company accessed the data legitimately via api.
* Soros: Billionaire investor in FB starts publicly bad mouthing FB. FB hires team to find out why. Non-story.
* This story (strategic use of data with various partners): Literally every company that sells data does this. Some shady user practices, yes, but nothing out of the ordinary.
Altogether these are pretty minor things but the media coverage would have you think FB is causing the world economy to collapse.
My theory is that this is happening for two reasons:
1. Old media business models continue to deteriorate. FB is the new gatekeeper so the old gatekeepers are attacking it.
2. Extreme left-wing political bias in major media companies is still looking for a scapegoat for the 2016 election results and trying to to stop platforms that can circumvent their narrative.
Again, FB has a lot wrong with it, but to not view this as a coordinated attack from a handful of centralized mainstream media players is to miss the real story here.
Personally, I'm happy that the media is finally starting to pay attention. Facebook has been doing shady, unethical, user-hostile stuff for a long time - since way before 2016. This has been building for a while now and I think the attention is entirely deserved.
And I'm not even part of the Elite Secret Socialist George Soros-Funded Left-Wing Media Cabal.
- "Facebook Used People’s Data to Favor Certain Partners and Punish Rivals, Documents Show" 
- "A Hot Seat for Facebook, an Empty Chair for Zuckerberg and a Vow to Share Secret Files" 
- "On Thanksgiving Eve, Facebook Acknowledges Details of Times Investigation" 
All three strike me as substantive. Yes, the NYT opinion section is a bit fluffy, and yes, that strikes me as a problem in a world where folks are increasingly unable to distinguish between journalism and editorial, but at the end of the day commentary like that is what the "opinion" label is for.
This is an OPPORTUNITY for HN readers in general to take a critical look at what this particular incarnation in Internet future-history is.
We should be documenting every detail and aspect of what is happening in tech, SV, FB, Goog, appl, etc all around us - as - how will we reflect on everything come 5, 10, 20 years from now.
# ASK HN: is anyone working on the forensic cyber-#archeologist path? Who?
We can't just assume "media" is doing it... HOLY CRAP - what was his name who fell from grace - the Micheal-something/AOL/Gawker?/WTF-was-his-name - who was ousted as a jerk and now we can't even recall his name... frak.
AH... the internet helped me:
yeah -- we need to keep tabs.
FB will not be around forever (maybe?) but their footprint shall -- so we need to learn how to divine the right path.
UK: No, you can't.
This totally works for me. If FB doesn't negotiate in good faith, strong-arm is exactly what's called for.
You know that person who types out an 8 sentence email, but really the first 6-7 sentences are about how they are “just thinking about everything out loud” and “this could totally be wrong but I think that”. It’s just that, email after email.
Excellent point and responses like this are why come to Hacker News.
there are people that won't leave the office until you leave and will take every random idea you have as a canonical decision
thats how you know you are the boss, to them, whether you wanted it that way or not
Did you mean that to be such a concise description of the problem here?
Now, your original point that small indirect suggestions can be amplified greatly by the network of reports eager to execute on the boss's mandate... This is true and I have seen it in large and small scale. I am merely poking fun of "absolute power".
As an ex-employee, I can’t say that I’m surprised. It’s never really subtle, too.
Antonio G-M (the author of _Chaos Monkey_ where he details his experience as the PM who started Custom audiences) joked today on twitter that Advertising has some bogger bodies buried. I’m not sure: when he left Custom Audience and related programs were a bit of a Far West. Most issues were rapidly addressed, some more recently. “Why am I seeing this”, facebook.com/ads/preferences and the more recent ad transparency for political campaigns show more integrity than anyone else.
I believe that Facebook could be (statically) profitable without the Growth tactics exposed here. The company was based on the express idea that they will be replaced soon, in a race, which makes slow expansion unacceptable. It was true up until recently, but I don’t think that it still is.
That's because some news organizations have invested in bringing Facebook down. If you pay attention, you'll notice those same organizations have also tested the waters with Google and Amazon, and to a lesser extent, other SV companies and the SV community itself.
I barely ever use FB. I really don't care what happens to the webapp (although I do very much appreciate the open source tools they've built, such as react and pyTorch). But I am concerned that these media companies are attacking the tech community, and are basically opposed to any platform that circumvents their role as gatekeepers of information.
One recent example of a TechCrunch guide on News Feed  where “Creator” is actually coefficient or a more recent official version . There was a very early “How does Facebook work?” company blog post that explained a surprisingly large amount of things. It was the only official resource for a long time. The explanations were clear, if read the euphemism “how well you know them” as (a rather obvious for data-engineers) “we batch-compute a rating on a dyadic graph at regular intervals (yes, that means weekly)”. Without that idea that all those phrases correspond to the same constant, that blog post and its successor are rather unhelpful.
Coefficient-ranking is indeed omnipresent internally, to the point employees regularly use the word in front of civilians without realising you are not meant to, almost daily. Explaining the concept and or even saying it’s called “coefficient” is fine: those blog posts are considered clearly explaining those by the PR team. You are simply advised to phrase things in a more humane way, like the blog posts do, because that helps people understand (it doesn’t: admitting a single constant number is imperfect helps a lot people understand the issues they have with the News Feed).
It’s mainly used both in front-end for suggesting interactions and as a data-engineering filter: the list of every friendship is a trillion long.
Michael LeBeau – ‘He guys, as you know all the growth team is planning on shipping a
permissions update on Android at the end of this month. They are going to include the ‘read
call log’ permission, which will trigger the Android permissions dialog on update, requiring
users to accept the update. They will then provide an in-app opt in NUX for a feature that
lets you continuously upload your SMS and call log history to Facebook to be used for
improving things like PYMK, coefficient calculation, feed ranking etc. This is a pretty highrisk
thing to do from a PR perspective but it appears that the growth team will charge ahead
and do it.’
Yul Kwon – ‘Based on their initial testing, it seems this would allow us to upgrade users without subjecting them to an Android permissions dialog at all.'
- Unethical use of UI dark patterns to make users (mostly the young and the elderly) unwittingly over-share.
- Unethical design of the news feed algorithm to bias certain kinds of consumer behavior.
- Unethical stewardship of private data harvested from users (this article is an example)
- Abuse of market share toward anti-competitive ends.
- The absence of warrant canaries on individual accounts, and compliance with questionable law enforcement requests for private data.
And then the new upcoming one:
- Unethical modification of the news feed algorithm to promote political views deemed favorable, and demote political views deemed unfavorable.
and I quote: "It is unlawful for a company to monopolize or attempt to monopolize trade, meaning a firm with market power cannot act to maintain or acquire a dominant position by excluding competitors or preventing new entry. It is important to note that it is not illegal for a company to have a monopoly, to charge “high prices,” or to try to achieve a monopoly position by aggressive methods."
"It is illegal for businesses to act together in ways that can limit competition, lead to higher prices, or hinder other businesses from entering the market."
- Federal Trade Commission on Anticompetitive Practices.
And a relevant tidbit on FTC investigation into FB for user privacy: https://www.bbc.com/news/technology-43546100
What is wrong with this part?
It'd be like if Apple bought Appannie, matched the behavior with their existing customer database, and then used the data to delist Spotify from their app store because it competes with iTunes.
SOP for these situations is to license the data from the agency, so you can say that you're using third-party data which is also available to your competition. Level playing field and all that. Acquiring the entire company is a risk because it closes it off to competition and isn't necessary to just use the data.
The difference is they are not using their dominance, like for example, putting something in facebook app to check which other competitors installed on user's phones and spy.
Nature maintains balance because it is not invested in the future of any species in particular. Nature cannot be manipulated emotionally. No psychological tricks work.
Society is supposed to play the same role. However, society delegates this responsibility to an elected few. Neither the society nor the elected few are immune from manipulation at different levels.
Summary: The governing system has to be unemotional, like Nature. In such a system, anti-competitive (or any other type) behaviors may yield results in short-term, but over a period of time, such a system becomes a great leveler.
For example, even with all our progress and monopoly over earth's resources, we are just one great flood away from going back to stone age.
Hence the recurring theme of "Data Reciprocity" in the U.K. acquired docs. FB needed something, if not revenue, to justify the Developer's ongoing use of platform.
Obviously FB has nobody on their "side" but themselves, but I for damn sure am not on the UK government's side here. Comes off as look-what-we-can-do strong-arm tactics when you don't show up when they want you to. And the publishing appears to be just gloating. Shameful and I would hope others see it this way regardless of their feelings towards FB. Sadly, the less-principled masses care more about who it's targeted towards than the actions.
I wonder if the CA judge will formally censure the UK government or encourage others with sealed documents in hand to not travel to places like this. Cry "exceptional circumstances" all you want, but we declare non-guilt on harsher crimes for much less egregious discovery violations than this.
Not sure what you mean about a formal censure. I'm not familiar with any legal mechanism for a state judge to formally object to foreign parliamentary procedure; how would that even work between a republic and a commonwealth?
I don't. Just like I don't like some things FB does that are legal.
> Not sure what you mean about a formal censure
I just meant denouncing the action as part of a written statement during findings or other rulings on discovery here. I didn't mean to imply there is a legal mechanism that I am aware of. I would at least expect a judge requiring a seal of material in similar cases henceforth to say that it cannot be transferred to anyone on English soil (e.g. an assisting legal team or expert witness) for fear of similar occurrence. At the very least, if I was defense counsel I would ask the judge to make such a restriction while clutching this precedent of taking discovery documents then publishing them to the world.
Six4Three's CEO is possibly on iffy legal grounds taking a bunch of sealed docs overseas unnecessarily and then handing them over, though.
Yeah, this is weird. I've taken confidential documents overseas, but they were either on an encrypted device, or stored securely in our cloud and pulled down over a VPN after I arrived. Not printed out in my luggage. I'd expect to be fired if I did that and a government got access at customs.
Are you really complaining about a breach of 'trust' when data in possession of one entity ended up in the hands of another without the subject's permission?
In a thread about Facebook?
I think FB is so use to pumping money into DC lobbying that encountering a functional government investigation shocked and awed them.
> about Facebook
But everyone is right when quoting one's self.
’The Growth team is now exploring a path where we only request Read Call Log
permission, and hold off on requesting any other permissions for now.
’Based on their initial testing, it seems this would allow us to upgrade users without
subjecting them to an Android
permissions dialog at all.
‘It would still be a breaking change, so users would have to click to upgrade, but no
permissions dialog screen.’
Looks like FB became the scapegoat of the entire industry.
- Intent analysis
- Sentiment influence
- Data sculpting
- Information engineering
- Data engineering
- Stream management
- Cognition coordination
blah blah blah.
Labels are now the things of the commentary artists, howver, how do we regulate and police things when they are many layers of abstraction.
For example, at what point do we have API exploitation police? Statutes against very specific cyber-crimes?
At what point does spoofing overlap with identity theft?
What I find really interesting - and completely neglected as a source of directional inspiration - is that Anime has been dealing with these tropes and issues for decades.
The writers of Anime series with such concepts in mind should be sought, encouraged, spoken-to to start thinking about such ripple effects of tech.
We will have a cyber 9/11 very soon.
Zuck: Yeah so if you ever need info about anyone at Harvard
Zuck: Just ask.
Zuck: I have over 4,000 emails, pictures, addresses, SNS
[Redacted Friend's Name]: What? How'd you manage that one?
Zuck: People just submitted it.
Zuck: I don't know why.
Zuck: They "trust me"
Zuck: Dumb fucks.
And I'd like to keep them around to bring them up over and over again out of context.
But I wouldn't dismiss the episode itself as irrelevant to assessing how Zuckerberg thinks. If anything, it should be a well known bit of history and already long baked into people's opinions.
And therefore it will always be "in context" when updating your opinion on Zuckerberg's (specifically) and Facebook's (broadly) trustworthiness.
Think about how different the world was 15 years ago. Think about how different of a person you are today versus just 4 years ago.
And on top of that, I'll share my opinion on the specific incident in question: the people who volunteered their personal information into a random web form distributed by a random student they didn't know...is by all measures...stupid. A 19 year old me might have even used the words "dumb fuck". So there you go.
My goal is not to defend Zuckerberg here. My goal is to defend people's right to be 19 and stupid/inexperienced. I'm also defending people's right to grow over the years.
I'm not much older than 19 now, maybe you can use this conversation for your purpose.
"The documents were obtained by a legal discovery process by a startup that’s suing the social network in a California court in a case related to Facebook changing data access permissions back in 2014/15.
The court had sealed the documents but the DCMS committee used rarely deployed parliamentary powers to obtain them from the Six4Three founder, during a business trip to London."
Um, what? This is bullshit. I'm much more concerned about the misuse of government power to seize documents in court cases outside of the country of jurisdiction than I am of Facebook.
Whether or not these acts of populism are genuine, governments that abuse their power are just as bad as companies that skirt the law.
If I were to sue them for anything, do I have any grounds?