Facebook Faces Threats from Lawmakers, Shareholders, Activists

Republicans and Democrats threatened to restrain Facebook through competition laws and to open investigations into possible campaign finance violations. Shareholders ramped up calls to oust Mark Zuckerberg as Facebook’s chairman. And activists filed a complaint to the Federal Trade Commission about the social network’s privacy policies and condemned Sheryl Sandberg, the chief operating officer, for overseeing a campaign to secretly attack opponents.

Instagram Says Security Flaw May Have Exposed Passwords

Instagram notified some users of a new security flaw that could have inadvertently exposed their passwords to public view, raising questions among security researchers about the effectiveness of Instagram’s security measures. The security flaw was tied, ironically, to a tool Instagram introduced in April to let users see how much of their personal data the site had collected.

SEC Settles with Two Tech Companies Selling Digital Tokens

The U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission settled charges with two technology companies for improperly offering digital tokens, mandating that they register their offerings as securities and reimburse investors. The action marked the first time the SEC has imposed penalties against tech startups that skirt the regulator’s rules through “initial coin offerings.”

Judge Refuses to Dismiss Lawsuit Against Publisher of Neo-Nazi Website

A lawsuit accusing the publisher of the neo-Nazi site Daily Stormer of coordinating a “terror campaign” of online harassment against a Jewish real estate agent cannot be dismissed on First Amendment grounds, a federal judge in Montana ruled. In his ruling denying a motion to dismiss the lawsuit, Dana L. Christensen, the chief judge for United States District Court in Missoula, Mont., wrote that the real estate agent, Tanya Gersh, was a private citizen, not a public figure, and that the publisher, Andrew Anglin, incited his followers to harass her as part of a personal campaign.

Democratic Senators Want Facebook Probed Over Retaliation

A group of Democratic senators urged the Department of Justice (DOJ) to investigate Facebook following allegations that it attempted to discredit critics who pushed for the company to be regulated. Sen. Amy Klobuchar (D-Minn.) spearheaded a letter signed by fellow Democratic Sens. Richard Blumenthal (Conn.), Chris Coons (Del.) and Mazie Hirono (Hawaii) pressing DOJ to probe the company in the wake of a New York Times report detailing how the company retaliated against its detractors amid the fallout from scandals at Facebook since the 2016 election.

Facebook Reports Removing 1.5 Billion Fake Accounts

Facebook said it had removed more than a billion fake accounts and taken action against millions of posts, photos and other forms of content that violated its prohibition against hate speech, terrorist propaganda and child exploitation, the latest sign that the social-networking giant faces an onslaught of online abuse as it builds new tools to spot it. The report shows that Facebook still struggles to identify hate speech and bullying, in particular, even at a time when social media companies are grappling with the rising tide of racist, sexist and anti-Semitic content online and the United States is experiencing a rise in hate crimes.

Pro-Trump Accounts Post Home Details for Florida Elections Supervisor

Several pro-Trump Facebook pages and one Twitter account posted the home address and phone number of the Broward County, Fla., election supervisor who has been the target of blistering criticism from the president and other Republicans amid highly politicized vote recounts. Posting the home address of Elections Supervisor Brenda Snipes — a tactic called “doxing” — often is a step toward harassment of people in the public spotlight and is prohibited by Facebook, Twitter and most other online platforms.

Senators Want FTC to Probe Ads in Apps Aimed at Children

A trio of Democratic senators is pushing for the Federal Trade Commission to probe manipulative advertising practices on phone apps aimed at children. “The FTC has a statutory obligation to protect consumers from unfair and deceptive advertising practices. That responsibility is all the more urgent when the potential victims of such practices are children,” Sens. Edward Markey (D-Conn.), Tom Udall (D-N.M.) and Richard Blumenthal wrote (D-Mass.) in their letter to FTC Commissioners.

Google's G Suite Twitter Account Victim of Bitcoin Scam

Google’s official G Suite Twitter account is the latest victim of an ongoing bitcoin scam that has been plaguing the social media platform for the last few weeks, joining companies like Target, via The Next Web. G Suite might be the highest-profile target of the scam yet, which saw fake, promoted tweets that appeared to originate from the G Suite account pop up in users’ timelines, directing them toward a scammy bitcoin address as part of a “giveaway.”

Lawmakers in Five Countries Pressuring for Zuckerberg's Testimony

Members of parliament in five different countries are pressuring Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg to testify in an “international grand committee” after he previously snubbed Canadian and British lawmaker requests to testify. “We were very disappointed with this dismissive response,” the members wrote of Facebook’s response to the British and Canadian requests for Zuckerberg to testify.

German Finance Minister Pushing for EU Deal on Digital Taxes

German Finance Minister Olaf Scholz said he favors getting a binding deal on a European Union digital tax at a meeting of EU finance ministers in December and that he supported the French model. “If the negotiations continue the way that they have been going, we’ll still be in talks in 100 years. That is why I support the French model and want to offer the proceeds to the EU,” news weekly Der Spiegel quoted Scholz as saying.

Facebook to Let French Regulators Study How It Fights Hate

Facebook will open its doors for French regulators to study its approach to combating hate speech online, marking the latest attempt by governments around the world to figure out new ways to thwart toxic, derogatory content from spreading on social media. Under a six-month arrangement, French investigators will monitor Facebook’s policies and tools for stopping posts and photos that attack people on the basis of race, ethnicity, religion, sexuality or gender.

20 Percent of U.S. E-Commerce Sites Exposing Customer Information

The personal information of American charity donors, political party supporters, and online shoppers, has continued to quietly leak onto the internet as a result of poor website security practices, new research shows. As many as one in five e-commerce sites in the U.S. are still leaving their customers exposed, Philadelphia-based search marketing company Seer Interactive said.