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Major investigation into role of social media in Buffalo shooting

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New York’s top prosecutor has launched an investigation into the role social media played in the recent Buffalo mass shooting

New York state’s governor says tech firms have questions to answer to and even share some blame for the attack.

The inquiry will examine how social platforms were used to “stream, promote, or plan” the event.

The suspect is accused of killing 10 people in a supermarket located in a predominantly black neighbourhood in Buffalo.

Police allege he posted a manifesto on Google and livestreamed the whole event.

Attorney General Letita James says the terror incident has once again revealed the depths and danger of online forums spreading hate.

The stream was taken down by Twitch within two minutes of the shooting beginning, but has been duplicated and shared on other platforms.

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Meta responsible for a massive data leak

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Meta responsible for a massive data leak as Irish regulator imposes fine

Irish regulator, the Data Protection Commission, has fined Meta $275 million dollars for breaching rules to protect user data.

An investigation found Meta’s Facebook was guilty of allowing sensitive user data to be accessed from the platform. After being downloaded it was later uploaded into an online hacker forum.

Users throughout 2018 and 2019 were most at risk of their private personal data being accessed and shared.

Meta admitted tools it had created to allow people to find their friends using their phone numbers was to blame. The function was removed from the platform soon after the breach was discovered in 2019.

Worldwide, the investigation also found that data was scraped from 533 million Facebook users from 106 countries. This included over 32 million records pieces of information form users in the U.S. and 11 million in the UK.

Even though the data is three or more years old, it may still be of use to cybercriminals keen to impersonate people to procure credit cards, mobile phones and make other online purchases.

This is yet another example of social media platforms being unable to adequately protect their users by devising and implementing preventative pre-emptive security measures.

While governments attempt to hold social media platforms like Meta accountable for the content they allow on their platforms and their lax data security measures, it remains to be seen whether the platforms will actually pay the fines being imposed. Moreover, will the fines result in any genuine change?

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Tech

Russian hacker takes down Vatican website

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The official Vatican website was taken offline following an apparent hacking attack.

The suspect hack came after Russia criticised Pope Francis’ latest condemnation of the country’s invasion of Ukraine.

In an interview with a Jesuit magazine, the Pope had singled out troops from Chechnya and other ethnic minorities in Russia for their particular cruelty during the war.

Technical investigations into the hack are ongoing.

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Business

META scales back its New York office

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Social media giant Meta has opted to scale back its presence in New York, as the company tries to reduce costs through a slowing online ad market.

The company revealed it will be subleasing a small portion of its facilities at a commercial tower at Hudson Yards.

A statement from the company says:

“The past few years have brought new possibilities around the role of the office, and we are prioritising making focused, balanced investments to support our most strategic long-term priorities and lead the way in creating the workplace of the future.”

In October, Meta issued a weaker-than-expected forecast for the fourth quarter and indicated revenue will drop for the period.

As well, the company revealed it was laying off over 11,000 workers, taking steps to become a leaner and more efficient company.

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