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Vox Sentences: Facebook status: in deep trouble

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Congress calls for an investigation into Facebook; Venezuela is hit by a tuberculosis outbreak.


Facebook’s Cambridge Analytica problems are only getting worse

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  • Facebook is in deep trouble over new revelations of how the personal data of 50 million users was accessed and used in the runup to the 2016 election. [Vox / Zeeshan Aleem]
  • The problems for Facebook started when the New York Times and the UK Observer published reports this weekend revealing that Cambridge Analytica collected the data of tens of millions of users without their permission. [NYT / Matthew Rosenberg, Nicholas Confessore, and Carole Cadwalladr]
  • The analytics firm is owned by conservative hedge fund billionaire Robert Mercer, and at the time of the data leak, it was headed by Trump’s key adviser Steve Bannon. [UK Observer / Carole Cadwalladr and Emma Graham-Harrison]
  • Whistleblower Christopher Wylie, who helped found Cambridge Analytica, characterized the data leak as a bid to use a massive amount of Facebook data to target political ads and posts to users, to “exploit what we knew about them and target their inner demons.” [UK Observer / Carole Cadwalladr and Emma Graham-Harrison]
  • That’s all the more interesting because Trump’s 2016 campaign used Cambridge Analytica, paying them $5.9 million. (Ted Cruz’s campaign used the firm as well.) [Vox / Emily Stewart]
  • What Wylie is saying is that Mercer, Bannon, and other right-wing figures were using data to essentially wage a new “culture war” online, targeting people’s fears in campaigns. [Guardian / Carol Cadwalladr]
  • It’s important to note that this wasn’t a hack. And the news about the Facebook data breach isn’t really news; it’s been around for years. [Vox / Aja Romano]
  • But with the political implications of what the firm was able to do with the data, lawmakers in the US and the EU are furious and are calling for further investigations. [Vox / Zeeshan Aleem]
  • Beyond the question of what this means for our data, there are huge implications for Facebook’s business. The company’s stock took a nosedive amid the recent reports. [Vox / Emily Stewart]

Financially embattled Venezuela is experiencing a tuberculosis outbreak

  • Economically devastated Venezuela is facing a new crisis: a new outbreak of tuberculosis, which public health officials had been getting under control until recently. [NYT / Kirk Semple]
  • There are not a lot of official statistics from the government (which has been keeping disease data under wraps), but health centers in the capital city of Caracas reported the number of new patients who tested positive for tuberculosis increased 40 percent or more just in the past year. [NYT / Kirk Semple]
  • The disease outbreak comes at a time when the country’s medical system is already being pushed to its breaking point. Hospitals lack basic supplies, and power outages are frequent. [Reuters / Alexandra Ulmer]
  • Even more basic things like food and water are in short supply, mirroring the severity of the country’s economic crisis. The crumbling economy and authoritarian government of President Nicolás Maduro have caused many to flee to neighboring countries. [Washington Post / Rachelle Krygier]

Miscellaneous

  • Black men earn less, no matter their background, according to new data from Harvard and Stanford researchers. [NYT / Emily Badger, Claire Cain Miller, Adam Pearce, and Kevin Quealy]
  • The former president of France is in police custody in connection with claims that he received millions of euros’ worth of illegal campaign contributions from Libyan dictator Muammar Qadaffi. [Time / Samuel Petrequin]
  • Are hackathons — the marathon all-night coding session where small teams of “hackers” build tech products — just a form of exploitation covered up with positive-sounding jargon? A team of sociologists studying the events think so. [Wired / Erin Griffith]
  • If you’ve ever wondered why babies kick in the womb, we finally have an answer for you. [Inverse / Sarah Sloat]

Verbatim

“Teachers should teach by looking at our faces and not our body.” [A female student in India protests a male teacher’s comment that women at the school were exposing their chests just like “slices of watermelons on display” / Times of India]


Watch this: Women are not as divided on #MeToo as it may seem

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