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Facebook tracking bug admitted, but wording isn’t clear

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Belgian scholars have accused Facebook of illegally tracking non-Facebook users and Facebook users who have opted out of being tracked last week. According to Belgian researchers, Facebook was releasing a cookie each time somebody visited one of its domains, now being called the Facebook tracking bug. This Facebook tracking bug would track a user’s activity and extract personal information from their device, even if they were not a Facebook user, or had the done opt-out. This Facebook tracking bug only affects European users, as the Belgian team found that US and Canadian users did not have the cookie injected on their gadgets.

Facebook has admitted to the Facebook tracking bug in a blog post yesterday, but says that the EU’s accusations of the social network being in violation of EU privacy laws is unwarranted. Actually, the term Facebook tracking bug is now in effect because Zuckerberg and co. say that the activation of the cookie was not intentional, but a bug in their systems. Nice save, Facebook! Even though the cookie would be activated the moment when an EU citizen accessed any Facebook page or website that uses Facebook share handles or integration, even if they weren’t members of the Facebook community, the social network is confident that it was just a bug.

The EU were angry at these alleged privacy violations after they were uncovered, and Facebook would have probably faced a lawsuit if it turned out that the social network was willingly tracking these individuals. Now, it seems that the Facebook tracking bug is just “standard web impressions” and that the tracking is in compliance with the law, at least according to Facebook. Although people are not quite getting to a consensual conclusion about this problem, the EU does not seem to be convinced that the Facebook tracking bug should be there for those who don’t want it. This fiasco will eventually be settled between the authors of the report from Belgium and Facebook. That is, until the EU passes new privacy laws which will send hefty fines towards companies that don’t comply with them.

The conclusions we can draw at this moment are as follows: Facebook thinks the tracking bug in its present state is a bug; Facebook doesn’t think that it is in violation of EU privacy laws, even though people who have opted out of tracking are still being tracked; the EU has not come to a conclusion as of yet, as there is an ongoing investigation into the matter; Facebook might be sued, once again.

As part of the editorial team here at Geekreply, John spends a lot of his time making sure each article is up to snuff. That said, he also occasionally pens articles on the latest in Geek culture. From Gaming to Science, expect the latest news fast from John and team.

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Threads finally starts its own program to check facts

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Meta’s latest social network, Threads, is launching its own fact-checking initiative after leveraging Instagram and Facebook’s networks for a brief period.

Adam Mosseri, the CEO of Instagram, stated that the company has recently implemented a feature that allows fact-checkers to assess and label false content on threads. Nevertheless, Mosseri refrained from providing specific information regarding the exact timing of the program’s implementation and whether it was restricted to certain geographical regions.

The fact-checking partners for Threads—which organizations are affiliated with Meta—are not clearly specified. We have requested additional information from the company and will revise the story accordingly upon receiving a response.

The upcoming U.S. elections appear to be the main driving force behind the decision. India is currently in the midst of its general elections. However, it is improbable that a social network would implement a fact-checking program specifically during an election cycle rather than initiating the project prior to the elections.

In December, Meta announced its intention to implement the fact-checking program on Threads.

“At present, we align the fact-check ratings from Facebook or Instagram with Threads. However, our objective is to empower fact-checking partners to evaluate and assign ratings to misinformation on the application,” Mosseri stated in a post during that period.

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Mark Zuckerberg reports that Threads has a total of 150 million users who engage with the app on a monthly basis

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Threads, Meta’s alternative to Twitter and X, is experiencing consistent and steady growth. During the Q1 2024 earnings call, Mark Zuckerberg stated that the social network currently has over 150 million monthly active members, which is an increase from 130 million in February.

Threads made significant progress in integrating with ActivityPub, the decentralized protocol that powers networks such as Mastodon, during the last quarterly earnings conference. In March, the firm granted U.S.-based users who are 18 years of age or older the ability to link their accounts to the Fediverse, enabling their posts to be seen on other servers.

By June, the business intends to make its API available to a broad range of developers, enabling them to create experiences centered on the social network. Nevertheless, it remains uncertain whether Threads will enable developers to create comprehensive third-party clients.

Meta just introduced their AI chatbot on various platforms like Facebook, Messenger, WhatsApp, and Instagram. Threads was conspicuously omitted from this list, perhaps because of its lack of built-in direct messaging capabilities.

Threads introduced a new test feature on Wednesday that allows users to automatically archive their posts after a certain length of time. Additionally, users have the ability to store or remove specific postings from an archive and make them accessible to the public.

Threads is around nine months old, and Meta has consistently expanded its readership. Nevertheless, Threads cannot be considered a viable substitute for X, as Instagram’s head, Adam Mosseri, explicitly stated in October that Threads will not “amplify news on the platform.” However, Meta’s social network continues to grow in popularity. According to app analytics company Apptopia, Threads now has more daily active users in the U.S. than X, as Business Insider reported earlier this week.

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TikTok Shop is now introducing its collection of pre-owned high-end fashion items to customers in the United Kingdom

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TikTok Shop, the social commerce marketplace of TikTok, is introducing a new section dedicated to secondhand luxury items in the United Kingdom. This move positions TikTok Shop in direct rivalry with existing platforms such as The RealReal, Vestiaire Collective, Depop, Poshmark, and Mercari. The offering has been present at TikTok Shop U.S. for a duration exceeding six months.

The addition of this new category enables clients in the United Kingdom to conveniently buy second-hand luxury garments, designer purses, and various accessories from within the TikTok application. Upon its inception, the platform offers a selection of only five British brands, namely Sellier, Luxe Collective, Sign of the Times, HardlyEverWornIt, and Break Archive.

Since its introduction in 2022, TikTok Shop has generated sales of approximately $1 billion or more in merchandise value. Nevertheless, despite its triumph, some contend that TikTok Shop is undermining the short-form video-sharing platform, alleging that counterfeit and substandard merchandise are inundating the market. The purchase of pre-owned luxury goods online carries the greatest danger of encountering counterfeit products, even for major e-commerce platforms such as Amazon, eBay, and others, which also struggle with ensuring authenticity.

TikTok Shop, like other resale marketplaces, implements an anti-counterfeit policy that ensures a complete reimbursement in the event that a seller is verified to have sold a counterfeit item. Bloomberg has disclosed that the corporation is engaged in discussions with luxury goods company LVMH to enhance efforts to combat counterfeiting.

Every secondhand brand on TikTok Shop in the U.S. must possess certificates from third-party authenticators. TikTok collaborated with authentication providers Entrupy and Real Authentication to verify the authenticity of designer handbags available on the platform.

Concurrently, a representative from TikTok informed me that the five British brands each possess their own internal verification procedure. They declined to provide the commencement date for accepting secondhand brands other than their own.

TikTok Shop’s introduction of a used luxury category is a calculated maneuver to access the expanding market for previously owned high-end goods. The secondhand luxury market is a prosperous industry valued at around $49.3 billion (€45 billion) in 2023, with global sales of pre-owned designer items.

Moreover, this expansion is in line with the growing inclination of individuals towards adopting preloved fashion, and it creates new opportunities for secondhand brands in the U.K. to access a broader client demographic. The prevalence of secondhand fashion on TikTok is apparent, as seen by more than 144,000 TikTok postings utilizing the hashtag #secondhandfashion, resulting in nearly 1.2 billion views.

Today’s statement follows closely after the U.S. House of Representatives passed a bill mandating that ByteDance sell TikTok or else risk a ban in the U.S. This bill seems to be gaining favor in the Senate. An embargo would have a significant impact on American merchants who sell their products on the application. As per the company’s statement, the brief video-sharing application produced a total of $14.7 billion in revenue for small- to mid-size enterprises in the year 2023.

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