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Last Week Online #34 – There's always yet another way to hack someones phone

Anna Loverus
Anna Loverus
3 min read

This week every one working at AT&T realised their hidden power.

YouTube continues to break new records – this time in settlement sums

The US Federal Trade Commission has voted to fine Google between $150 and $200 million after accusations from advocacy groups that YouTube illegally collected personal information about children.

The settlement would be the most significant civil penalty collected by the FTC in a children's privacy case. It makes the previous record fine of $5.7 million against TikTok (previously Musically) look like pocket money.  The settlement will also end the FTC investigation into whether YouTube violated the Children's Online Privacy Protection Act (COPPA) by collecting data about children under the age of 13.

YouTube is supposedly planning to ban targeted ads on videos directed at children. But it's unclear if YouTube's decision to do so is related to the FTC settlement. The case might also have significant consequences for other popular platforms used by young children in the United States.

Hackers compromised Jack Dorsey's Twitter account after SIM-swapping

Twitter CEO Jack Dorsey got his account hacked on Friday. The attackers, calling themselves the "Chuckling Squad," took over his Twitter account for 20 minutes and used it to broadcast a series of racist messages and bomb threats. Within an hour, Twitter removed the offending tweets and suspended accounts associated with the hackers. The company also stated that its systems were not compromised.

Later, Twitter blamed Dorsey's cell carrier, saying that "the phone number associated with the account was compromised due to security oversight by the mobile provider." Previous targets of Chuckling Squad hacks (including several famous YouTubers) had their accounts compromised after hackers got control of their phone numbers doing a SIM-swap.

A SIM-swap is when a hacker convinces or bribes an employee at a carrier to switch the phone number associated with a SIM card to another device. This means they will get any text message with two-factor authentication codes needed to log-in to an account. (In this case, the hackers didn't even have to log in, you can tweet by sending texts from your phone to 404-40 from the phone number linked to your Twitter account.)

After a bumpy ride since the last presidential election, Facebook is preparing for 2020

Facebook is preparing for the 2020 presidential election in the United States, extending its rules on who is allowed to show political ads. The new process for which groups and people who can be verified to place political advertising on the platform is part of the plan to reduce the spread of disinformation online.

Late last year, Facebook demanded advertisers who were buying political ads to disclose the name of the political organisation responsible and for the teams behind the scene to provide their identities. Facebook created the policy after it was clear that Russian operatives had used Facebook ads to alienate voters in the 2016 American presidential election.

Under the new rules, advertisers also have to show that they are registered with the United States government. This requires submitting an employer identification number, a Federal Election Commission identification number or a government website domain as proof.

Good to know

Gmail launches feature where you will see if someone is OOO even before sending them an email.

Tool of the week: Tailwind

Have you ever heard of an Instagram-pod? A chat with people liking each other's posts to make them prioritised by the algorithm. Well, Tailwinddoes the same thing, but for Pinterest – and it's a lot more advanced than your own chat group will ever be.

Tailwind makes it possible to schedule pins, and it can create "loops" – re-posting evergreen content by taking the oldest pins on your board and pinning them back on top. It also lets you participate in and create "tribes", where users collaborate with each other to get their content more exposure on the platform.

It sure ain't the prettiest tool I've seen. But it's functional, and it's a great way to step up (or start) a Pinterest presence. And sure, it has some features for Instagram too, but those are not very competitive compared with other tools.

Last Week Online

Anna Loverus Twitter

Thinker and doer. Loves running, wine, and human behaviour.


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