This morning, news broke that a massive data breach has exposed the personal information of 50 million Facebook users to hackers. A company blog reports that nearly 90 million users were forced to log out out of their accounts as a security precaution and provided little detail on what personal information attackers were able to access.
Shortly after, reports began to circulate on Twitter that Facebook was blocking a Guardian story about the breach from being posted on its platform:
Within minutes, additional reports began to circulate that an Associated Press story about the breach was being blocked as well:
Internet users and journalists struggled to make sense of why Facebook was censoring this massive news story for over an hour until reports once again surfaced on Twitter suggesting that the block had been resolved:
While it appears as though Facebook’s effort to block the story was an anti-SPAM glitch, it’s hard to imagine how this day could have gone much worse for Facebook.
The breach and censorship news comes on the heels of multiple privacy scandals for the social media giant, including a new SEC investigation into Facebook’s statements regarding Cambridge Analytica, and revelations that advertisers could target phone numbers used to enable two-factor authentication that makes online accounts more secure.
Civil liberties and digital rights groups have long demanded tech companies like Facebook minimize the amount of data they store on users. Today’s news is a powerful reminder of why this is so important, and adds new urgency to calls for federal lawmakers to consider strict penalties and new liabilities for companies who fail to adopt technical safeguards for sensitive user data—like those in California’s new privacy bill.
Facebook’s data harvesting business model just put 50 million people in danger. Rather than shoring up their security, companies like Facebook have been spending millions lobbying against real privacy and data security protections for Internet users. We need real laws that protect people, not ones that the companies write themselves behind closed doors.
Companies need to minimize the amount of data they collect and be held accountable when they put people at risk. That’s the only thing that will prevent them from collecting this much data in the first place. The tech industry is facing a reckoning. It needs to change.
We must push back on corporations or governments that try to undermine our human rights to privacy, security, and liberty. Join us in making this a reality at SecurityPledge.com.
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: September 28, 2018 Contact: Evan Greer, 978-852-6456, email@example.com
Internet users are demanding change from tech companies, and call on federal lawmakers to pass laws that will actually protect users from dangerous data breaches.
News broke Friday that a massive data breach has exposed the personal information of 50 million Facebook users to unknown actors. A company blog reports that nearly 90 million users were forced to log out out of their accounts as a security precaution and provided little detail on what personal information attackers were able to access. Digital rights group Fight for the Future has long demanded tech companies like Facebook minimize the amount of data they store on users, and is urging federal lawmakers to consider strict penalties and new liabilities for companies who fail to adopt technical safeguards for sensitive user data like those in California’s new privacy bill.
The news comes on the heels of multiple data breach scandals for Facebook, including a new SEC investigation into Facebook’s statements regarding Cambridge Analytica, and revelations that advertisers could target phone numbers used to enable two-factor authentication that makes online accounts more secure. In a press conference held Friday morning, VP of Product Management Guy Rosen stated the company is now working with the FBI and European data protection authorities as required under GDPR.
In response, Fight for the Future’s deputy director Evan Greer [pronouns: she/her] had this to say:
“Let’s make this perfectly clear: Facebook’s data harvesting business model just put fifty million people in danger. Rather than shoring up their security, companies like Facebook have been spending millions lobbying against real privacy and data security protections for Internet users. We need real laws that protect people, not ones that the companies write themselves behind closed doors. Companies need to minimize the amount of data they collect and be held accountable when they put people at risk. That’s the only thing that will prevent them from collecting this much data in the first place. The tech industry is facing a reckoning. It needs to change.”
In April, Fight for the Future joined with other civil liberties organizations to launch the SecurityPledge.com campaign, which outlined concrete steps technology companies can take to ensure their products are not used to undermine democracy. Specifically, the pledge calls for companies to:
Limit the amount of data they collect in the first place, and give users control over how it is shared.
Offer end-to-end encryption by default to ensure that users’ communications are protected from corporate and government surveillance
Provide users with full transparency about what data is collected, how it is used, and what measures are in place to prevent it from being abused.
Support legislation and policy reforms that limit government access to user data except with a warrant and judicial oversight.
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: 9/27/18 Contact: Evan Greer, firstname.lastname@example.org, 978-852-6457
The day after bringing a “detention center” to Dreamforce, activists projected massive messages above Dreamfest concert, prompting company to agree to a meeting
Last night, attendees of Salesforce’s big “Dreamfest” concert––featuring Metallica and Janet Jackson––were greeted by a massive message projected on the side of the venue and nearby buildings calling out Salesforce’s multimillion dollar contract with US Border Patrol and directing viewers to a text-in number where they could take action.
During the action, a Salesforce representative offered to arrange a meeting with company executives in exchange for stopping the projections. Fight for the Future will agree to a meeting under these conditions:
Immigrants rights groups including Mijente and RAICES are invited to the meeting to represent directly affected communities
The meeting is on the record and allowed to be recorded
The meeting is with CEOs Marc Benioff & Keith Block
Fight for the Future will continue to escalate until the meeting is officially scheduled and these conditions are agreed to.
The projections, which clearly got Salesforce’s attention, highlighted the #CancelTheContract hashtag, which has spread during the Dreamforce conference. Another directed viewers to “Text BENIOFF to 384-387 to learn his secret.” Texting the number triggers a response with information about Salesforce’s contract with border patrol and a link to take action.
The latest protest comes just one day after Fight for the Future, Mijente, and other groups made a splash at Dreamforce with a 14-foot tall, 800-pound, Salesforce branded cage that represented a Border Patrol detention center. Fight for the Future, a digital rights organization, has been running a campaign at DropSalesforce.com, calling on Salesforce to cut ties and stop supporting human rights violations.
During his keynote remarks at Dreamforce on Tuesday, Salesforce co-CEO Marc Benioff warned tech companies against leaving criticism and feedback from customers and consumers unacknowledged. Benioff says, “If trust is not your highest value…your employees and executives are going to walk out.” The statement is feels a bit empty, given that Salesforce is continuing to maintain a multimillion dollar contract with US Border Patrol despite the backlash of customers, partners, immigrant rights groups and employees.
“Marc Benioff and other Salesforce execs can pretend to model a socially conscious tech company all they want,” said Jelani Drew, campaigner with Fight for the Future, “But until Salesforce drops their contract with Border Patrol, they actively providing a tech foundation to enable human rights violations. Salesforce is getting real backlash. It’s time for Benioff to decide if trust is his highest value and what legacy he wants to have. He acknowledges that Salesforce isn’t perfect. We’re not asking them to be perfect. We’re just asking them to listen to the people who are affected by their decision to maintain this contract.”
Human rights and Internet freedom groups are demonstrating at Salesforce’s Dreamforce conference with a huge metal cage and a mobile billboard calling on the company to #CancelTheContract
Activists have constructed a 14 foot tall metal “detention center” outside Dreamforce–– Salesforce’s flagship conference in San Francisco, and have deployed a mobile billboard, which is circling the convention area, calling on the company to drop its multimillion dollar contract with US Border Patrol. A growing coalition of national and local organizations including Fight for the Future and Mijente have been pressuring Salesforce co-CEOs Marc Benioff and Keith Block to cancel the contract, following widespread reports of human rights abuses carried out by US immigration authorities. .
(These photos and video are available for use by press. Credit: Courtesy Fight for the Future. Check back soon for more as we’ll be adding to the galleries as they come in.)
The 14 foot detention center cage was created by artist Marcos Ramirez, and first appeared at the Burning Man festival. Today at Dreamforce it was adorned with banners reading “DETENTION CENTER, powered by Salesforce” and “Locking thousands of children away, powered by Salesforce.” The message is amplified by a 20 foot mobile billboard towed from a truck, which reads, “Salesforce is helping Border Patrol violate human rights.”
Dozens of organizations, and more than 300,000 people, have echoed the call for Salesforce to stop providing an operational backbone for US Border Patrol’s activities. Salesforce executives have continually refused, made excuses, and attempted to sweep the issue under the rug. In response, RAICES, one of the nation’s leading immigrants rights groups, recently refused a $250,000 donation from Salesforce, and Wrecking Ball Coffee Roasters pulled out of catering Dreamforce. Fight for the Future and other groups launched DropSalesforce.com and are planning additional protests online and off surrounding the Dreamforce conference.
Leaders from the coalition behind today’s protest issued these statements:
“Salesforce is providing an operational base for CBP to carry out it’s border activities. And right now, as we have seen in the news, those activities include ripping families apart as they seek asylum and detaining more children than ever before” said Jelani Drew, campaigner at Fight for the Future, “Salesforce can either the ”
“CEO Marc Benioff continues to deny Salesforce’s role in upgrading Trump’s deportation machine as Trump grows his Border Patrol workforce with the help of Salesforce’s Community Cloud. Stop downplaying your role in the suffering of our communities, and cancel the contract,” said Marisa Franco, co founder of Mijente.
“We urge Marc Benioff and Salesforce to cancel the contract with customs and border patrol and to stop profiting from the forced separation and detention of innocent families on our borders,” said Maria Noel Fernandez, campaign director at Silicon Valley Rising.
“Salesforce today is acting no different than any other mechanism of ICE’s enforcement tyranny,” said Jonathan Ryan, the executive director of RAICES. “These policies cannot be enacted without people, and Salesforce drives the recruitment of those committing these abuses. Cancelling this contract would send a clear message heard by other companies around the world.”
“You don’t get to claim you are a socially responsible corporation while profiting off of human misery,” said Sue Udry, executive director at Defending Rights & Dissent. “We will be at Dreamforce to expose Salesforce’s hypocrisy, and will continue to call them out until they cancel their contract with CBP.”
"While Salesforce is partying at Dreamforce, children separated from their families at the border are having their dreams crushed. We’re making our presence known at Dreamforce and inviting their headline speakers Al Gore and Will.i.am, their employees, and their clients to join our chorus and tell Marc Benioff: Cancel The Contract,” said Tihi Hayslett of Demand Progress.
“Salesforce, through its contract with Customs and Border Patrol, is complicit in the forcible separation of families and in the racist detentions and deportations of black and brown immigrants. This is unacceptable,” said Reem Suleiman, Senior Campaigner at SumOfUs. “Speakers at Dreamforce, Salesforce’s annual conference, are in effect endorsing this relationship with CBP by not speaking out against this abuse. Shame on them.”
“Salesforce has said many times that they are a socially responsible tech company but their work with CBP is in clear contradiction to their stated value,” said Scott Roberts, Senior Campaign Director with Color of Change. “Actions speak louder than words. Thousands of family have been torn apart and Salesforce continues to profit in the process. Everyone at Dreamforce this week needs to reflect on their responsibility for ending the cruel punishment, targeting and criminalizing of immigrants.”
“Salesforce and its CEO Marc Benioff should not be in the business of caging our families and destroying our democracy,” said Matt Nelson, Executive Director of Presente.org, the nation’s largest online Latinx organizing group. “Salesforce cannot ask for our business by day and help lock up our families at night. We’re demanding real leadership — not just platitudes from the Salesforce cloud — and our hundreds of thousands of members across the country will only support companies who are not afraid to protect our human rights.”
Vote For Net Neutrality campaign will enlist the entire Internet to pressure lawmakers facing tight races to sign CRA discharge petition or face the consequences
Kicking off on National Voter Registration Day, one of the most prominent open Internet advocacy groups, Fight for the Future, has launched Vote For Net Neutrality, an explosive campaign that seeks to educate millions of people about where Senate and House candidates stand on restoring net neutrality ahead of the midterm elections, enlisting the entire Internet in the mission of pressuring incumbent lawmakers who are facing tight races to do the right thing or face the Internet’s wrath on election day. The campaign makes use of cutting edge mobile technology, including a chatbot flow that allows Internet users to register to vote, sign up for voting reminders, and find out where candidates in their area stand on net neutrality, all from their phones using SMS messages.
Participants will be encouraged to focus their collective energy to pressure sitting members of Congress in tight races who have failed to take action to restore net neutrality and are facing off against challengers who say they would do so were they elected. Local action teams in key districts are planning protests, lawn signs, and voter education at the polls. Internet users who don’t live in one of the priority districts will be encouraged to join a volunteer texting team to educate as many voters in those districts as possible about where the candidates stand before they head to the polls.
“Net neutrality is going to be an issue in the 2018 elections,” said Evan Greer, deputy director of Fight for the Future, “We’re harnessing the power of the Internet to educate voters on a mass scale and turn up the heat on sitting members of Congress to do the right thing or face the consequences in November. We’ll make sure that every sitting member of Congress knows that if they ignore their constituents on this issue and side with some of the most power hungry and unpopular corporations in the world, their constituents will know about their betrayal when they go to the polls.”