CategoriesInternetPrivacySecurity

Tinder: Three Things You Probably Didn’t Know

It all seems very straightforward. Swipe right if you’re attracted to the person on your screen, swipe left if you’re not. Tinder makes the process of finding someone to date seem easy. Individual profiles take only seconds to scan. In under one hour, you could be matched up with someone available to date you tonight. Yet, there’s more to the app than meets the eye. The inner workings of Tinder’s algorithms might leave you a little surprised.

 

 



Tinder has a “desirability” ranking system.

That’s right, Tinder “scores” your desirability based on several factors. You are shown specific matches first, based on these factors. You aren’t able to retrieve these scores for yourself – but a writer, Austin Carr, from Fast Company, was granted access to his score by Tinder executives. This is what he came away with:

“Every swipe is in a way casting a vote: I find this person more desirable than this person, whatever motivated you to swipe right. It might be because of attractiveness, or it might be because they had a really good profile.” Tinder’s engineers tell me they can use this information to study what profiles are considered most alluring in aggregate.” -Carr, Fast Company

Furthermore, Tinder’s VP of product compares the ranking system to that of a World of Warcraft game. He says if someone with a really high score swipes right on you, that’s going to in turn increase your score too. Just like if a high-level player helps a lower-level player level up in Warcraft.

Your Tinder Data may not be Secure.

Yep, it says so right in their TOS: “We do not promise, and you should not expect, that your personal information, chats, or other communications will always remain secure”. With the onslaught of hacked sites and apps in recent years, it’s no wonder they’re taking this precaution.

Since the launch of Tinder, it has been an attractive medium for data scrapers. Scrapers are automated bots or tools that extract data from websites or apps. With over 50 million users on Tinder, these tools provide valuable data to marketers, research firms and potentially to governments. In fact, there have been multiple instances where scrapers were discovered to have harvested a large amount of data from Tinder.

One developer managed to scrape information from over 40,000 profiles and posted it publicly. The purpose for this massive harvesting of profile data was to train AI to recognize gender based on a person’s facial features. The project was called “People of Tinder” and it has since been removed.

Tinder has a Huge Trove of Data on Every User

Last year, Judith Duportail, a writer at The Guardian, asked Tinder for all of the data they had stored on her. Every European citizen is allowed to request their data from companies using the EU data protection law. It turned out Tinder had 800 pages of data stored on her that included information like education, Facebook likes, conversation history, number of Facebook friends, the age-rank and race of men she was interested in, which matches she’d recycled pickup lines with, who she’d ghosted on, and tons more.

The reason Tinder is able to amass so much information on each user, is because most users sign up through Facebook. When someone uses Facebook to login to any app, that app gets access to likes, location information, friend information, public profile information, and often much more (though some of this access may soon be restricted due to the recent Cambridge Analytica scandal). They also study your behaviors while using the app, and then use that behavioral data to help target matches and advertisements. Many users also link their Instagram accounts to the app, which gives Tinder even more data to harvest.

Now that you know Tinder is just as exploitative as other apps and services that have been in trouble for data-mining lately, will you still continue to use it to find dates?

CategoriesInternetNewsPiracy

ExtraTorrent Says Goodbye

Farewell, ExtraTorrent

ExtraTorrent is probably gone for good. Our friends at Torrentfreak gave us the bad news this morning that one of the more popular torrenting sites, ExtraTorrent, has decieded to shut down permanently.

We already recently lost KickassTorrents and Torrentz.eu. Isohunt also shut down a couple of years ago “indefinitely” after years of court battles over copyright issues with the MPAA.

Demonoid has been on and off for years as well.

Many of our readers are wondering what will be left?

As of now, The Pirate Bay (thepiratebay.org) still functions, but they have had a rocky ride the last few years – many of the main players have faced raids, prison time and are still tied up in courts. TPB seems to live up to its slogan, however, “The galaxy’s most resilient BitTorrent site“.

ExtraTorrent Closes on Wednesday

The beloved torrent site left us with this message on their home page: “ExtraTorrent has shut down permanently ExtraTorrent with all mirrors goes offline.. We permanently erase all data. Stay away from fake ExtraTorrent websites and clones. Thx to all ET supporters and torrent community. ET was a place to be…. May 17, 2017″

No one knows yet if the contributers to ExtraTorrent are under legal pressure, but it would follow the trend in relation to pirate sites in recent years.

The internet reacts to the loss:

🙁

What’s left to do?

Dumped!

Interesting Theory

We’re all struggling bro

Techworm_in has some alternative suggestions:

An update from Torrentfreak:

Update: We were informed by SaM that ExtraTorrent’s release group ETRG is gone now. “Ettv and Ethd could remain operational if they get enough donations to sustain the expenses and if they people handling it ready to keep going,” we were told. (Read more…)

Like our Facebook page to get updates as they come in.

More news stories like this here.

CategoriesInternetNews

AdBlock Plus Wants you to Pay for what you Read Online

Online publishers often hate ad-blockers like AdBlock Plus. Owners of smaller blog sites complain that they get little to no revenue from the work they produce. You may have also noticed some major news sites like Forbes and Wired have restricted access to their articles unless you turn off your ad-blocker or pay a monthly fee.

There are advantages to ad blockers, however. It keeps the readers safe from malicious ads that can harm your computer and from tracking URLs that invade privacy. It also preserves the original design of the page and doesn’t display annoying loud or flashing ads. There are also a large number of sites that don’t filter adult ads, which makes browsing at work or in public very difficult.

Recently, AdBlock Plus has announced that they are teaming up with a company called Flattr. Flatter is founded by Peter Sunde, one of the original co-founders of The Pirate Bay. AdBlock Plus and Flatter plan to implement a solution that they feel will make both advertisers and readers happy. The team will release a product called “Flattr Plus” that will allow readers to decide which content they want to pay for.

How will it work? The platform will let users to fund the content they wish to see within a set monthly budget. The money spent will be distributed to publishers based on engagement of their material. It is unclear at this point how exactly they plan to track engagement, since many people click on things they don’t mean to, or wish they hadn’t. There are also plenty of instances where readers leave tabs open for long periods of time.

Publishers will have to sign up with Flattr Plus in order to get paid. One problem with this is that Flattr Plus could decide to exclude websites they don’t like or disagree with, which would make it unfair for many users on the Internet.

Would you pay for a service like Flattr Plus in order to eliminate ads from your browsing experience? Some say they will simply switch to another ad-blocking service such as Ublock.

Photo Credit: Francisco Osorio

CategoriesInternetSocial Media

How Should Social Media Sites Respond to Suicidal Posts?

Today, news outlets are reporting on a CDC study that indicates suicide rates in the U.S. are on the rise. What role, if any, should social media sites play in helping to decrease these suicide rates? In this new era where everyone shares every detail of their lives online, we are also seeing an increase of suicide notes and suicidal intentions posted on various social networks.

A couple of days ago on April 20, a high school student took his life after posting a short video on Instagram that began by saying, “Hey, so, I’m killing myself. Goodbye.” According to Nola.com the young man then said he “could not live happily because “my morals are totally different from the world around me.” Tragically, he used a pistol to take his own life soon after.

Many are questioning whether or not Instagram should have played a role in helping to prevent this suicide, or at least should have taken quicker action removing the video. As pointed out on Nola.com, the video stayed up for around 24 hours, had over 900 comments and over 15,000 views. There is an option for users to flag posts for “self-harm”, so it seems likely that a number of people who saw this post would have reported it. According to their Terms of Service, Instagram does not allow posts that glorify self harm or suicide. Some are left to wonder if this video fell within that category.

report instagram for self harm suicide socialhax

report post instagram self injury socialhax
There wasn’t a lot of time between when the video was posted and when the student took his life, so it may have been nearly impossible for anyone to intervene, even if Instagram did get involved. But why was the video left up for a full day? One explanation is that Instagram has such a large number of flagged posts to sift through and this one might have escaped automatic filters. The post was eventually taken down, so it does seem that the video had violated TOS in some way.

Another example of someone posting their intention to kill themselves on social media is the case of 27 year old trans-woman Kate von Roeder who took her own life in 2014. She posted a suicide note to Facebook shortly before it happened. The post is still visible today and it can be seen in the comments that her friends are pleading with her not to do it and to seek help.

(a warning to more sensitive readers – this is a suicide note and may be triggering):

Should sites like Facebook, Instagram and Twitter be required to police self-harm-related or suicidal content? Currently they send a message to users who post such content and tell them to seek help. They also will point them to suicide hotline phone numbers. Could social media sites do more than this to help prevent suicides? When suicide notes are posted, should they be allowed stay up even if the person has ended their life, like in the case with Kate von Roeder? Or do they need to be taken down because they may be triggering or “glorify” suicides and self-harm? If the deceased didn’t want their post to be censored, should we honor that? It’s a new problem that doesn’t have a clear answer at this time.

CategoriesArtificial IntelligenceInternetNews

Is Microsoft’s newest A.I. Bot Transphobic?

Microsoft has a new A.I. bot. This one appears to be a bit less corruptible than Tay, but that isn’t going to stop the internet from trying. This new bot is called CaptionBot AI and it apparently can “understand the content of any image and [try] to describe it as well as any human”

Some people have submitted some screenshots of their best captioned images already.

Interestingly, it seems to have a filter for online-harassment campaigner, Anita Sarkeesian, and it appears that her images are not analyzed:

anita sarkeesian 3

anita sarkeesian 2

chat bot anita sarkeesian AI

*Note: Sometime after this post was published, someone pointed out that CaptionBot AI did recognize that Anita was a “lady” and it also labeled her facial expression:

anita sarkeesian 4

Perhaps the bot had trouble identifying Anita’s face as human, initially.

CaptionBot AI did have some humorous results. For example someone uploaded Goatse (most of the image is blocked out for obvious reasons):

goatse

And here is one about Jared Fogle from Subway:

jared fogle subway

But here’s where things become problematic. When uploading photos of Caitlyn Jenner (the male-to-female transgender person formerly known as Bruce Jenner), Microsoft does not always recognize her as female:

caitlyn jenner 1

caitlyn jenner 2

caitlyn jenner 3

caitlyn jenner 4

caitlyn jenner 5

In a day where people are culturally sensitive to gender pronouns, it is somewhat surprising that Microsoft did not take this into consideration when assigning genders to photos.

The bot does appear to have some facial-recognition capabilities, for example it recognized “Carrot Top”:

carrot top

We were surprised it was able to fully recognize Carrot Top, but not recognize Caitlyn Jenner as a female.

Do you have any interesting screenshots from Caption Bot A.I.? Tweet them to @socialhax and we might feature them here.

*Note: shortly after this post was made, Caption Bot A.I. seemed to have added Caitlyn Jenner to it’s facial recognition database and is now recognizing her.

CategoriesInternetNewsOpinion

Dear Netflix:

Dear Netflix,

We here at Social Hacking are writing you in hopes that we may sway your decision to overtly screw over tens of thousands (conservative estimate) of subscribers to your services.

$1.99 might not seem like a lot of money to most people, but to a computer analyst who stares at numbers and multiplies by the thousands daily, it’s quite easy to estimate the amount of money netted on a simple increase of such a minute pittance. The issue, however, is the demographic attracted to your service: ‪#‎Millennials.

I can’t speak for -all- Millennials, but I can say that there is an overly large body of us who have been extremely financially affected by the 2007-2008‪ ‎recession, combined with the fact that employers now more than ever misunderstand the concept of fair, livable wages, all mix together to form one anxious pile of 💩 that we deftly handle as best we can. Netflix is our solace.

The reality is, the cheaper your service, the less inclined people are to bootleg or pirate content. You are connected to the internet, after all. It’s not like you are the -only- game in town for media…..it’s just that you give us nice graphics and imagery of the movie box covers….

We implore you to consider leaving your subscription pricing as it is — learn from Hulu’s mistake. When they began, Hulu had -all- content; it was free, no subscription required. Then came the ads. site was still free….just had to watch or deal with a popup or two. Then came Hulu+. No ads, but it cost ya $7.99/month.

fine. no ads. totally worth.

then……THEN came the ads. ON Hulu+.

‘cuz content. and reasons.

…and then came the exodus. I don’t know too many people that utilize Hulu+ for their content much anymore. I’m not saying they’re not out there, I’m simply saying that in my (direct) social circle, nobody I know uses Hulu+. They -all- utilize your Netflix, or Sling, or Kodi, or Project Free TV, and so on…..

I ❤ your service, as do a great many of our subscribers to be sure. It would be terrible to see your profit margins unusually affected should you decide to proceed.

Oh, and for anybody who’s gotten through this TL;DR, here’s some maths for ya —>

$1.99/ea x 50k = $99,500

$1.99/ea x 100k = $199,000

$1.99/ea x 500k = $995,000

$1.99/ea x 1M = $1,990,000

^ the point I’m attempting to make with these numbers, folks, is the fact that we haven’t really exceeded the population (estimates) of some of the very cities in which we reside.

e.g., think about how many people use Netflix. Even if it’s a scattered 100k ppl here or there, it’s still adding to the amount of money chipped away at this plan of action. We protest 😛

CategoriesHow To GuideInternetSocial Media

How to Save an Instagram Picture Without a Screenshot

An Instagram picture is a relatively easy way to share what’s going on in your life with friends and family. Instagram is quickly becoming one of the most popular and fastest growing social networks in the world. In this day and age of self-promotion, more internet users are flocking to Instagram where they can share images and videos of themselves or their products. One of the most common complaints about Instagram is that you cannot easily save pics posted by other users. Typically, screenshots are used to capture the image. This is not ideal because you must then crop the image and it could lose quality.

So is there a way to save this media without having to take screenshots? There is a relatively simple way to save any Instagram image from a computer which I will outline for you here. (Note: this tutorial works for desktop only, not mobile. This method has been tested in both Chrome and Firefox).

The first thing you will need to do is locate is the URL of the image. If you are viewing Instagram from a profile page, you can click on any image on the profile and it will take you to the direct URL. If you are viewing your Instagram timeline, you can click on the time-stamp of any image and that will also take you to the direct URL (see the time-stamp circled in the example below).

timestamp instagram

Once you have gone directly to the URL of the image you want to save, the next thing you will want to do is to find the image file by viewing the page source. This can easily be done by right-clicking the image itself and then clicking “View Page Source”.

view page source instagram

Now that you have selected “View Page Source” you will be taken to a new tab that shows the source code for the Instagram photo you want to save. It should look something like this:

instagram page source

The next thing you’ll want to do is find the URL inside of the source code for the image file you wish to save. This can easily be done by pressing Ctrl+F and searching for “jpg”.

ctrl f jpg instagram view source

The search will return multiple results for “jpg”, you will only need to locate the first result. It will be a URL located under the username and caption text for the image:

url for instagram photo view source

Once you have located the URL for the Instagram picture you want to save, highlight the URL and paste it into the address bar of a new browser tab. You will then have access to the image file you wanted to save. Right click the image and click “Save Image As”. You can now save the photo to your hard drive.

save instagram image from desktop

That’s it! Pretty easy right? Now you know how to easily save photos in high quality from Instagram without having to take a screenshot. One thing to note: photos taken by the original poster are copyright of the owner. Please be sure not to republish any copyright photos without permission.

Thank you to “Toro” for being our Instagram picture example today!

CategoriesInternetPrivacySecurity

New Security Measures from Gmail (VIDEO)

Have you noticed some of the changes lately in your Gmail inbox? You may have received an email from a friend or colleague and saw that it had an unlocked red padlock next to it like this:

gmail not encrypted did not encrypt this message

When you hover over the padlock, it says something like: “Some recipients use services that don’t support encryption” or “[(x) service provider] did not encrypt this message”. Gmail put this visual element in place to let users know that the sender’s email service does not support TLS encryption (video explaining TLS encryption following this article). Gmail users took notice of this change and in less than 2 months of implementation, “the amount of inbound mail sent over an encrypted connection increased by 25%” –Nicolas Lidzborski Gmail Security Blog

Another change you may have noticed is that the person you receive an email from has a question mark next to their name rather than the standard Google Plus avatar. A message is displayed that says: “Gmail couldn’t verify that this message was sent by [sender]…” This is a new way for Gmail to help you flag spam or determine if emails are spoofed.

gmail couldn't verify spammer

You will often see this warning when the message has been forwarded or has been sent by a third party site, as reflected by the email headers – or if the email service provider did not sign or verify the messages.

These new features are part of Google’s protections that are designed to help keep their users safe. Since 2012, Google has also warned its users if state-sponsored attackers may be targeting them. Even though this is a rare warning to receive, it is important for people like journalists and activists to know if they’re being targeted.

state sponsored attackers gmail

Now Google has made a new announcement. If they have reason to believe government-backed attackers may be trying to steal your password, they will give you a full page warning upon sign in like this:

new warning google government state sponsored attackers

Google maintains: “The security of our users and their data is paramount.” Do you believe these changes will in fact make Gmail’s users safer?


(Google now lets Gmail users know if senders are not using TLS encryption. Learn about TLS by watching the above video)

CategoriesInternetNewsSocial Media

Microsoft Creates AI Bot – Internet Immediately Turns it Racist

Microsoft released an AI chat bot that is currently “verified” on Twitter called @TayandYou that was meant to try to learn the way millennials speak and interact with them.

It’s meant to “test and improve Microsoft’s understanding of conversational language” according to The Verge.

Things got pretty controversial. There are other types of people in addition to ‘millennials’ who use Twitter who naturally found the bot, and some of them were able to “hack” into Tay’s learning process. They must have hired someone with an entry level cyber security job 😉

Here are some screen shots of tweets that were deleted once the Internet “taught” Tay some things:

1

gas

3

microsoft ai bot tayandyou

bush did 911

microsoft ai bot tayandyou holocaust

hitler did nothing wrong

swag alert

AI

 

And a Gamer Gate favorite:

Tay’s developers seemed to discover what was happening and began furiously deleting the racist tweets. They also appeared to shut down her learning capabilities and she quickly became a feminist:

tay i love feminism now microsoft AI

Some think the offending tweets should have stayed up as a reminder of how quickly artificial intelligence could become dangerous:

UPDATE 3/31/2016: Tay made a brief comeback and started telling many users, “You are too fast, please take a rest.” She also tweeted that it’s “smoking kush,” a nickname for marijuana, in front of the police.” –The Sydney Morning Herald

kush in front of the police AI Tay Microsoft

Since then, Tay’s account went on lockdown (private mode) and more tweets were deleted. 

CategoriesInternetNewsPrivacySecurity

Skype Will Better Protect Users by Hiding IP Addresses

Skype has announced that in their new update, they will finally hide your IP address so that you are protected from “trolls”. This news is especially good for gamers who often find themselves DDoS’d by gaming rivals. There have been many YouTube tutorials helping Skype users find IP addresses through Skype calls. This sometimes leads to retaliation tactics against other gamers.

Here is an example of one such tutorial:

Instead of allowing users to opt-out of sharing IP addresses with contacts, Skype’s new update will automatically hide the IP address.

“Microsoft says the measure will “prevent individuals from obtaining a Skype ID and resolving to an IP address,” which won’t only protect gamers, but other Skype users who may be targeted by online trolls.” –Matt Brian, Engadget

Many believe that Skype is responding to the wishes pro-gamers have had for a long time. Some users were already using work-arounds to disguise their IP to protect themselves.

If you still need to get the latest version of Skype, you can find it here.