The FTC is investigating Facebook’s privacy practices

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US government regulators have been watching with interest as Facebook’s troubles keep piling up, and now the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) is adding to them. The agency, which is tasked with protecting consumers from abusive business practices, has announced that is has opened an investigation of Facebook’s handling of user privacy.

According to the FTC, there is an ongoing non-public investigation of the social network. As such, details of the investigation are scarce. However, the FTC notes the issue is related to recent media reports of Facebook’s lax privacy practices.

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It’s Official: The FTC Is Investigating Facebook

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This week is already shaping up to be another rough one for Facebook. This morning, the Federal Trade Commission (FTC), a bipartisan federal agency designed to protect consumers and promote competition, is investigating the embattled company.

Rumblings of such an investigation began March 20, when The Washington Post reported that the FTC was beginning an investigation into the social media platform in the wake of news of its involvement with Cambridge Analytica, a data mining company.

However, WaPo cited a source not authorized to speak on the record, and an FTC spokesperson simply said the agency was “aware of the issues that have been raised but cannot comment on whether we are investigating.”

Today, Tom Pahl, Acting Director of the FTC’s Bureau of Consumer Protection, made it official. He released the following statement:

The FTC is firmly and fully committed to using all of its tools to protect the privacy of consumers. Foremost among these tools is enforcement action against companies that fail to honor their privacy promises, including to comply with Privacy Shield, or that engage in unfair acts that cause substantial injury to consumers in violation of the FTC Act.

Companies who have settled previous FTC actions must also comply with FTC order provisions imposing privacy and data security requirements. Accordingly, the FTC takes very seriously recent press reports raising substantial concerns about the privacy practices of Facebook. Today, the FTC is confirming that it has an open non-public investigation into these practices.

The FTC Facebook investigation most likely centers on a 2011 consent decree Facebook signed with the agency, numerous news outlets have speculated. That decree required Facebook to get permission from users before it could share their personal data beyond the limits set by their privacy settings. Facebook may have violated that when it allowed Cambridge Analytica to scrape personal information from upwards of 50 million Facebook users without this explicit permission. Cambridge Analytica is now facing its own legal woes for how it used that information to influence U.S. elections.

As for Facebook, the company has so far tried to downplay its involvement with Cambridge Analytica, with CEO Mark Zuckerberg claiming the company “already took the most important steps a few years ago in 2014 to prevent bad actors from accessing people’s information in this way.”

However, that’s clearly not enough to satisfy the FTC. A single violation of Facebook’s 2011 agreement with the agency can carry a fine of up to $ 40,000. That means Facebook could be facing a $ 2 trillion penalty from the FTC for these violations — perhaps enough to bankrupt the company. Unsurprisingly, mere minutes after Pahl’s statement hit the internet, the company’s stock plummeted by 5 percent.

It’s difficult to say how long the FTC Facebook investigation could take. But by the time it’s over, we should have a clearer picture of Facebook’s responsibility for the incident with Cambridge Analytica, and whether it was the only one like it.

The post It’s Official: The FTC Is Investigating Facebook appeared first on Futurism.

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Samsung investigating Galaxy S9, Galaxy S9+ touchscreen issues

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While Samsung Galaxy S9 and S9+ might sport the world’s best-performing smartphone display, numerous complaints are now surfacing over Samsung forum, Reddit and XDA about the touchscreen dead spots. Users claim that the touchscreen won’t respond to touch input.  Samsung Galaxy S9 and S9+ users complain that the display won’t register the touch and dead zones in the top or the bottom of the screen. Meaning that it doesn’t seem like a problem that is limited to one area. It’s unclear if this is a widespread issue or one that affects a small number of phones. There are reports about users fixing the issue by cranking up the touch sensitivity and by factory resetting. However, for many, the problem persists despite wiping and increasing the touch sensitivity. While users have also started getting replacements directly from Samsung as it covers the 1-year warranty for the device. Samsung can’t afford to have another scandal up its sleeves after the Note7 fiasco. However, Samsung was quick to respond to the issue and said that it is investigating and it is currently seeing only a limited number of reports. Commenting on the issue, Samsung spokesperson said: At Samsung, customer satisfaction is core to our business and we aim to deliver the …
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Samsung investigating Galaxy S9 and S9+ touchscreen dead spot issues

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Samsung Galaxy S9 Midnight Black

The Galaxy S9 and Galaxy S9+ are premium, flagship smartphones, but unfortunately for some people, their expensive new phone is having some issues.

Some Samsung Galaxy S9 and S9+ owners are reporting issues with their touchscreens. Specifically, those people have large dead zones on their displays. Some owners are having issues near the top of their touchscreen, making it difficult to pull down their notification shade, while others are having problems closer to the bottom of their display.

In searching for a fix, some S9 and S9+ simply turned up the touchscreen sensitivity of their device. One person says that a factory reset fixed their issue.

Samsung has chimed in to say that it’s aware of a “limited number” of reports of Galaxy S9 and S9+ touchscreen dead spot issues and that it’s looking into them. Here’s Samsung’s full statement to Engadget:

“At Samsung, customer satisfaction is core to our business and we aim to deliver the best possible experience. We are looking into a limited number of reports of Galaxy S9/S9+ touchscreen responsiveness issues. We are working with affected customers and investigating.

We encourage any customer with questions to contact us directly at 1-800-SAMSUNG.”

Having touchscreen dead spots is a big deal, as they can hinder you from using your device normally. While it’s unclear exactly how widespread this issue is, hopefully Samsung figures out what’s happening with these affected units and takes care of their owners.

Does your Samsung Galaxy S9 or S9+ have any touchscreen responsiveness issues?

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Samsung investigating Galaxy S9 touch screen problems

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Samsung has issued an official statement saying the company is looking into reports of Galaxy S9 having touch screen issues. The company says the reports are currently limited in number, and affected users are being encouraged to contact Samsung directly. Here’s the complete statement: At Samsung, customer satisfaction is core to our business and we aim to deliver the best possible experience. We are looking into a limited number of reports of Galaxy S9/S9+ touchscreen responsiveness issues. We are working with affected customers and investigating. We encourage any customer with…

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[Update: Official response] Google investigating battery drain bug on Pixel 2 and Pixel 2 XL

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Over the past few weeks, many owners of the Pixel 2 and Pixel 2 XL have reported battery drain problems. The February security update appears to be the likely culprit, but since so many Android components are updated outside of system upgrades, it’s impossible to know for sure.

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Google actively investigating battery drain bug on Pixel 2 and Pixel 2 XL

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Over the past few weeks, many owners of the Pixel 2 and Pixel 2 XL have reported battery drain problems. The February security update appears to be the likely culprit, but since so many Android components are updated outside of system upgrades, it’s impossible to know for sure. Regardless of the cause, it has certainly made plenty of Pixel owners frustrated.

If you’re experiencing this problem with your device, there’s finally some good news – Google is actively looking for a solution.

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Apple Investigating Issue of AirPods Billowing Smoke and Blowing Up in Florida

Forget exploding iPhones, a Flordia man claims that smoke started billowing out of his AirPods while he was listening to music on it. The smoke was coming out of the right AirPod, and as soon as Jason Colon saw it, he removed them from his ear and placed it on a workout equipment. Continue reading
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Apple Investigating AirPods That Allegedly Caught Fire in Florida

Florida resident Jason Colon was listening to his AirPods while at the gym this week when they started to malfunction, and a white smoke allegedly started pouring out.

According to Colon, he then left the AirPods sitting on a piece of gym equipment and ran to get help, and when he got back, one of the AirPods was charred and destroyed.


“It was already like this. It was already popped. I didn’t see it happen, but I mean, it was already fried! You can see flame damage,” Colon told a local channel 8 news station.

It appears no one else at the gym was around to see what happened to the AirPod, so it’s not clear if the device did spontaneously explode. There have been no prior reports of issues with AirPods, but it is not uncommon for iPhones and other devices to see one off battery issues that can result in fire.

According to an Apple spokesperson, Apple is investigating the incident and will be reaching out to Colon to figure out what happened.

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Apple investigating claim that AirPods started smoking & burst open

A Florida man claims that one of his AirPods started smoking while he was listening to music. As reported by WFLA, Tampa resident Jason Colon was working out at his local gym when he noticed his right AirPod “billowing” smoke…

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