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How to protect your Facebook privacy – or delete yourself completely.- The Guardian Technology March 20, 2018

Posted by OromianEconomist in Uncategorized.
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How to protect your Facebook privacy – or delete yourself completely

If you found the Cambridge Analytica data breach revelations deeply unsettling, read our guide to the maze of your privacy settings

 

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 Permanently deleting your Facebook account is not as easy at is seems… Photograph: Dominic Lipinski/PA

If the revelations that Cambridge Analytica acquired the records of 50 million Facebook users has you wondering how to protect your own personal information, you may already have discovered the maze of privacy settings the social networking site offers.

First, the good news: the feature that allowed the most egregious data harvesting used by the company that gave Cambridge Analytica its data is no longer on the site.

Before 2016, Facebook apps could ask for permission to access not only your own data, but also the data of all your friends on the platform. That means that around 300,000 people could sign up for a personality test quiz, and in the process hand over information of 150 times that number.

Now, however, Facebook apps are only allowed to gather information from users who have directly signed up for them, greatly limiting their reach. That change was made in 2014, and rolled out to every Facebook app over the course of 2015.

But it’s still the case that apps which you have directly enabled can harvest a significant amount of data from your account – often information which you might be surprised to know you’re handing over.

The app settings page on Facebook is the place to manage the apps you’ve given access to. Clicking on the link will bring up a list of apps under “logged in with Facebook”. Hopefully you’ll recognise most of them – if there’s any you don’t, consider clicking the “X”, deauthorising them from your account.

If that’s not enough for you to feel safe, maybe now’s the time to delete your Facebook account altogether.

That’s somewhat harder to do. If you go through the account settings, Facebook will attempt to push you to “deactivate” your account, which “will disable your profile and remove your name and photo from most things that you’ve shared on Facebook”. Notably, it won’t remove any of your data from Facebook’s servers, and your account lies dormant hoping you will change your mind.

If you actually want to delete your information from Facebook, the real setting is hidden in a help document with the title “how do I permanently delete my account?” Clicking on “let us know” on that page will take users to the real account deletion screen. Clicking “delete my account” will take you to another screen. Filling in your password and proving you aren’t a robot on that screen will finally… deactivate your account. Wait two weeks after that, and then, at long last, Facebook will begin the 90 day process of deleting all your data from the site.

By September, then, you too could be Facebook-free.


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Global Voices: Ethiopian Protester Sentenced to Six Years Behind Bars for Facebook Posts May 27, 2017

Posted by OromianEconomist in #OromoProtests, Because I am Oromo.
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Ethiopian Protester Sentenced to Six Years Behind Bars for Facebook Posts

Yonatan Tesfaye. Photo shared on Twitter by Eyasped Tesfaye @eyasped

This week in Ethiopia, two prominent human rights advocates and critics of the ruling government were given long-term prison sentences for “incitement” on Facebook.

On May 25, Yonatan Tesfaye was sentenced to six years and three months in prison for “inciting” antigovernment protests in nine Facebook updates.

Breaking: fed court sentenced former oppos’n Blue party PR head to six years & 3 months in jail for terrorism

The 30-year-old activist has been an outspoken opponent of government’s violent response to the popular protest movement that has challenged Ethiopia’s ruling party and government since 2015. Yonatan had previously served as a press officer for the leading opposition Blue Party before resigning in 2015.

Yonatan was jailed for nine Facebook posts that expressed solidarity with the protesters, called for open dialogue and pleaded for an end to the violence.

The day before his sentencing, Yonatan’s former colleague Getachew Shiferaw, was found guilty of inciting violence for a private message he sent to colleagues through his Facebook messenger app. The former editor-in-chief of opposition newspaper Negere Ethiopia, Getachew was sentenced to one year and six months in prison:

Breaking- court sentenced , editor-in-chief of Negere Ethiopia NP, to 1yr & half in jail, time he already served

The Facebook message that allegedly contained inciting content made reference to a heckling incident targeting late Prime Minister Meles Zenawi at a 2012 symposium in Washington, D.C. In the message Getachew wrote, “since the political space in Ethiopia is closed heckling Ethiopian authorities on public events [sic] should be a standard practice.”

These cases are among many others of less well-known citizens who have spoken out against the regime’s violent targeting of protesters demanding protections for land rights and other fundamental freedoms. According to Human Rights Watch, at least 800 people have died at the hands of Ethiopian police, and thousands of political opponents have been imprisoned and tortured during the protests.

Facebook is a key tool for activists — and law enforcement

Facebook, along with other social media platforms, has had a central role in interactions between authorities and protesters. Ethiopian authorities have blamed social media for waves of protests that began in April 2014 and have continued ever since. In October 2016, Facebook was blocked in Ethiopia as part of the government’s state of emergency. But activists — and likely Ethiopian law enforcement — have continued to use the platform via VPN.

Although it is difficult to know the precise number of detainees, dozens of arrests appear to have been triggered by a person posting, liking or sharing a post on Facebook. Others have been arrested for communicating with diaspora-based activists through Facebook messages.

These cases have been compounded by an increasingly common practice in which Ethiopian authorities demand that detainees divulge their Facebook logins and passwords. In some cases, people have been arrested before being charged, forced to hand over their Facebook credentials, and then charged based on what authorities find in their accounts.

Police will arrest activists, force them to hand over their Facebook credentials, and then charge them based on what they find in their private message logs.

Getachew was charged with “inciting violence” after he was forced to give his username and password of his Facebook page. The private chat texts on his Facebook message were presented as evidence in his charge sheet.

Whatever the court decides, friends and family members of Yonatan and Getachew wanted the case to end. So, they would learn their fate, to take their fight to the next stage. But their case, like so many others court cases, had been delayed.

In Ethiopia, it is not uncommon for court cases involving bloggers journalists and politicians to take longer than other cases. This causes exhaustion for defendants and brings pain to their loved ones.

Yonatan and Getachew each spent 18 months in jail before they learned their fate. They were brought before the court at least a dozen times. Their private Facebook accounts were laid bare by authorities. Judges failed to appear in court, and police failed to bring defendants to court on their trial days, causing their cases to drag on for 18 months.

Facebook has been a critical platform for Ethiopian activists and rights advocates working to document and communicate human rights violations. This makes the experience of Yonatan and Getachew an especially chilling story for Ethiopians.

THE MESSENGER :Ethiopia state media face scrutiny from Facebook fact-checkers March 2, 2017

Posted by OromianEconomist in Uncategorized.
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“Long before the term ‘fake news’ became part of the everyday lexicon, the Ethiopian government had been actively working to induce the public into a post-truth world where the norm is fake news.”

Ethiopia state media face scrutiny from Facebook fact-checkers

messengerafrica March 2, 2017


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Facing the worst drought in half a century, Ethiopia had managed to avert a crisis without significant foreign aid, boasted a December 27th report on state-run news agency ENA. A day later Eshetu Homa Keno, a U.S.-based online activist, posted on Facebook a figure released by the United Nations showing that the amount of foreign humanitarian aid Ethiopia received in 2016 was more than a billion U.S. dollars while the government’s share was a relatively meager 109 million dollars.

In another post on the same day, Eshetu raised a curious case of a stadium construction project in southwestern Ethiopia. The stadium, initially reported by state media to be finished in two years, was in its eighth year of construction without completion. Earlier that year the ENA told the public that most of the project was completed. However, the image it used in its report to illustrate the progress of the construction was uncovered by Eshetu to have been snatched from a Russian website. Public ridicule followed, forcing the news agency to take the picture down.

Eshetu is among a new breed of online activists working to hold state news agencies in Ethiopia accountable – a task that has grown more important as independent media wither. He has been active on social media for more than eight years but it was only a couple of years ago that he decided to focus on what he calls “exposing the outlandish lies and exaggerated development reports” by state-owned and affiliated-media in Ethiopia.

In addition to fact-checking inflated claims, he frequently monitors reports looking for contradictions and inconsistencies. “I am not a journalist by training,” he says, “I am just doing this to fight back against government-run propaganda machinery.”

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Eshetu annotates state media articles so that his followers can grasp inconsistencies

Close monitoring has raised interesting questions about seemingly bland and straightforward state news items. For instance, Eshetu pointed out last month that a new ENA report on the opening of a hospital in the town of Jigjiga contradicted reports carried earlier by other state-affiliated agencies, Walta and FanaBC, which pointed to an earlier opening date. The underlying inconsistency of these reports raises questions about why the hospital project opened behind schedule, whether there were also cost overruns, and other performance issues not addressed by the state media reports themselves.

Online activism in Ethiopia is also trying to fill a gap left by a lack of vibrant civil society. An online project, Ethio-Trial Tracker, hopes to bring light to the government’s “use and abuse of anti-terrorism proclamation,” by documenting people charged under it.

Ethiopia is ranked as one of the top five worst jailers of journalists worldwide, second only to neighboring Eritrea in sub-Saharan Africa, with 16 journalists imprisoned currently, according to the Committee to Protect Journalists. A 2015 report by human rights watchdog Freedom House claimed that the government employed a variety of strategies to weaken the independence of the press, including legal pressure, censorship of newspapers and the internet, arbitrary detention and intimidation of journalists and bloggers, and heavy taxation on the publishing process.

According to a journalism and communications lecturer at Addis Ababa University, the weakness of the independent media coupled with the government’s tight grip on information creates a fertile ground for fictitious reports to flourish.

“The government has made it difficult, if not impossible, for journalists to independently verify the various claims it makes,” said the lecturer, who wished to remain anonymous. Accordingly, “Long before the term ‘fake news’ became part of the everyday lexicon, the Ethiopian government had been actively working to induce the public into a post-truth world where the norm is fake news.”

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Eshetu Homa Keno

Eshetu argues that the withering of independent media helped social media to grow impactful. Ethiopia has one of the lowest rates of internet penetration in the world. In 2016 only an estimated 4.4 per cent of its 100 million people used the internet. Regardless, Facebook and Twitter are now preferred platforms for Ethiopians as forums for expressing opinions. Eshetu says they are also important places for “disseminating information and exposing human rights violations.”

Pushback

Speaking at United Nations General Assembly summit in September, Prime Minister Hailemariam Desalegn warned world leaders about the dangers of social media. “Social media has certainly empowered populists and other extremists to exploit people’s genuine concerns and spread their message of hate and bigotry without any inhibition,” he said. A couple of weeks later he declared a state of emergency as a response to a yearlong wave of unrest and shut down certain social media platforms including Facebook, Twitter, Viber and WhatsUp, in various parts of the country.

The lecturer at Addis Ababa university says that the prime minister “raised a legitimate concern when he talked about the potential perils posed by social media activism especially in the context of Ethiopia.”

“Most of the activists are based abroad and some of them have a tendency to disregard the truth or to shun responsibility so long as it serves a political end they see.”

One of the early victims of the state of emergency was the Addis Standard, a monthly magazine critical of the government which was forced to stop its print edition in November. Its editor in chief, Tsedale Lemma argues that social media has become a den for extremists but also presents great opportunities for journalists to highlight unreported issues and offer alternative perspectives.

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Tsedale Lemma

“It is easier for the Ethiopian media, with its limited capacity, to get stories breaking on social media and follow the lead for further verification when that’s possible,” she says. The editor cites the example of the anti-government protests that started in November 2015 in Ethiopia’s largest state Oromiya.

Even though this was a big story, “for the first couple of months, there was a  terrifying silence among the established media,” she recalls, “while people on social media were quite vocal often calling out the media to pay attention.”

The government believes that the protests may have been orchestrated from abroad – or at least hijacked by foreign-based activists. In February charges were made against a prominent social media activist based in the U.S., Jawar Mohammed, for his alleged involvement in the protests. For Eshetu, though, “the protests were the result of a continuous abuse of power by the ruling party which left the country’s youth disillusioned and hopeless.” Yet social media gave it some energy, he says.


Four months into the state of emergency, the government has shown no sign of loosening its grip on the media or civil society. But authorities reopened access to Facebook in Addis Ababa in December – a boon for Ethiopian online activism.

With Facebook as their preferred medium, online activists like Eshetu might succeed in eventually eroding popular trust in state-run media. But also possible is that they will spur reforms that will make state outlets more professionalized and responsive. What’s clear is that state media and social media – and not independent media institutions – are the two dominant publishing sectors at the moment and they are likely to continue in uneasy coexistence for some time to come.