Category Archives: social networks

Facebook banned Archimedes Group, misinformation made in Israel

A new political misinformation campaign was uncovered and blocked by Facebook, this time it was not operated by Russia but Israel’s Archimedes Group

Facebook uncovered and blocked a misinformation campaign powered by Israel’ Archimedes Group, the corporation used fake accounts to manipulated political campaigns.

According to Facebook, the Archimedes Group used hundreds of pages, accounts, and groups in the attempt to influence the public sentiment on political discussions.

The misinformation focused on specific countries in Africa (Nigeria, Senegal, Togo, Angola, Niger, and Tunisia), Latin America and Southeast Asia. The operators behind this campaign posed themselves as local people and organizations to fuel the debate on specific political events.

“Today we removed 265 Facebook and Instagram accounts, Facebook Pages, Groups and events involved in coordinated inauthentic behavior. This activity originated in Israel and focused on Nigeria, Senegal, Togo, Angola, Niger and Tunisia along with some activity in Latin America and Southeast Asia.” wrote Nathaniel Gleicher, Head of cybersecurity Policy at Facebook. “The people behind this network used fake accounts to run Pages, disseminate their content and artificially increase engagement.”

Facebook banned Archimedes Group and all of its subsidiaries from its social media platforms.

Facebook shared some interesting details about the efforts of the corporations in spreading fake news to change the perception of the reality:

  • Presence on Facebook and Instagram: 65 Facebook accounts, 161 Pages, 23 Groups, 12 events and four Instagram accounts.
  • Followers: About 2.8 million accounts followed one or more of these Pages, about 5,500accounts joined at least one of these Groups and around 920 people followed one or more of these Instagram accounts.
  • Advertising: Around $812,000 in spending for ads on Facebook paid for in Brazilian reals, Israeli shekel, and US dollars. The first ad ran in December 2012 and the most recent ad ran in April 2019.
  • Events: Nine events were hosted by these Pages. The first was scheduled for October 2017 and the most recent was scheduled for May 2019. Up to 2,900 people expressed interest in at least one of these events, and a portion of their accounts were previously identified and disabled as fake. We cannot confirm whether any of these events actually occurred.

Facebook provided an example of the type of content that was removed, the following image is related to Martin Fayulu, leader of the Engagement for Citizenship and Development party in the Democratic Republic of the Congo.

screenshot-2019-05-17-at-07-17-23.png

Archimedes Group invested a total of $812,000 on Facebook ads, these figures could give you an idea about the strategic importance of social networks in misinformation campaigns.

“It has repeatedly violated our misrepresentation and other policies, including by engaging in coordinated inauthentic behavior,” Facebook says. “This organization and all its subsidiaries are now banned from Facebook, and it has been issued a cease and desist letter.”

Now the question is, who paid this campaign?

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Pierluigi Paganini

(SecurityAffairs – Facebook, Archimedes Group

The post Facebook banned Archimedes Group, misinformation made in Israel appeared first on Security Affairs.

Twitter inadvertently collected and shared iOS location data

Twitter confirmed revealed that a bug in its iOS app it the root cause for an inadvertent collection of location data and sharing it with a third-party.

A new story of a violation of the user’s privacy made the lines, Twitter revealed that due to a bug is collected and shared iOS location data with a third-party advertising company,

Fortunately, only one partner of the micro-blogging firm was involved and the data collection and sharing occurred in certain circumstances.

“We have discovered that we were inadvertently collecting and sharing iOS location data with one of our trusted partners in certain circumstances.” reads the security advisory published by Twitter.

“Specifically, if you used more than one account on Twitter for iOS and opted into using the precise location feature in one account, we may have accidentally collected location data when you were using any other account(s) on that same device for which you had not turned on the precise location feature,”

Twitter admitted having failed into removing the location data from the information shared with the trusted advertising partner that was accessing it during real-time bidding process. 

The company pointed out that location data its shared could not be used to track individuals because it had implemented technical measures to “fuzz” the information. Twitter explained that shared was no more precise than zip code or city (5km squared).

Twitter did not share users’ handles or other unique account IDs, this means that it was impossible to link the identity of a specific user to a geographic location. 

“The partner did not receive data such as your Twitter handle or other unique account IDs that could have compromised your identity on Twitter.” continues the announcement.

“This means that for people using Twitter for iOS who we inadvertently collected location information from, we may also have shared that information with a trusted advertising partner,”

Another good news is that the partner did not retain the data that was deleted “as part of their normal process.” 

Twitter

Twitter has already fixed the issue and notified the incident to all the impacted users, anyway it did not reveal the extent of the incident either for how long it shared the data with its partner.

“We invite you to check your privacy settings to make sure you’re only sharing the data you want to with us. We’re very sorry this happened. We recognize and appreciate the trust you place in us and are committed to earning that trust every day,” concludes Twitter.

Pierluigi Paganini

(SecurityAffairs – privacy, data leak)

The post Twitter inadvertently collected and shared iOS location data appeared first on Security Affairs.