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I have been restricted from Facebook groups for a quarter of an eon

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I have a confession. I’m kind of a jerk on Facebook.

It’s not that I have some fundamental desire to be a jerk, or I even like being a jerk; I just am a jerk. And when I say jerk, I mean opinionated.

On my own Facebook feed, I try to limit my posts and comments to food, science fiction stuff, random things my pets do, and links to my articles. This is because most people enjoy that. But I also participate in lots of groups, usually about restaurants, cooking, and food. 

Well, people don’t like me in those groups. Why? Because people say really incorrect, misinformed things. They are just wrong; they opine about stuff in which they lack any kind of expertise. So when their opinions are wrong, I correct them civilly. I don’t engage in ad hominem attacks; I don’t break any group rules. 

Despite the fact what I do simply falls under knowledge transfer and adding value to the overall discussion, my tone is considered “attacking” due to my desire to correct people, as these folks fundamentally do not understand that civil discourse with tens of thousands of other people is not just forums to agree with everything everyone says. So I frequently am blocked by a lot of participants. I get reported a lot, too, because I am a big mean jerkface.

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Facebook rarely contacts me with a “you did something that goes against our standards” message and removes a comment or a post. I’ve never been in Facebook jail or suspended. But on occasion, I do get thrown out of groups because a group administrator doesn’t seem to know how to enforce their rules consistently, or I have just been deemed such a colossal pain in the ass from members complaining about my relentless desire to tell people in the most civil manner possible that their opinions are worthless that they need to get rid of me. 

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Yes, I get thrown off because they do not like me. And when it happens, it doesn’t surprise me, and I move on.

Well, last night, it looks like Facebook has had enough of me telling people in groups that they are wrong. Late yesterday evening, after trying to post a comment in one of the groups I belong to, I received this ominous message:

202507757-10159616898434810-731519707726580706-n-1.jpg

This doesn’t look good.


Jason Perlow/ZDNet

I’m restricted from posting or commenting in groups that I do not manage myself until December 4? Six Months? My God, that seems rather extreme.

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But after putting down my evening cocktail and adjusting my glasses, I looked at the number next to December 4: 219250468. Well, that has to be code for something. Maybe it’s an expression of 64-bit UNIX epoch time? I inquired with a few colleagues about it. Ed Bott ran it through Python, and well, he got the year 219,250,468 at 10:30 am.

Well, the good news is, at least I’ll be able to post by lunch. And by that time, not only will the UK and EU have Brexit figured out because Novopangea will have formed, but also, where I live in South Florida, I will be able to drive to the tip of South Africa or Caracas, Venezuela, for lunch, and be back in time for my afternoon Zoom calls. 

That must be a silver lining. At the very least, I won’t have to tell people in South Florida that their food opinions are worthless, because from what I understand, the cuisine in Praetoria and Johannesburg is fantastic; I will be able to get legit braai, bobotie, and bunny chow in just a 30-minute drive from my home.

It does feel like a bit of extreme punishment for being an opinionated pain in the ass. Indeed, other people have been incarcerated for less time than this. 

I mean, our former president has only been suspended for two years — now granted, I can still post in my groups and on my feed, but I can’t post anywhere else until what seems like the heat death of the universe.

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Okay, I exaggerate. Maybe not that long. But General Zod, the planet Krypton’s most notorious criminal, and his henchmen were sentenced to the Phantom Zone for a paltry 300 Kryptonian sun-cycles of “somatic reconditioning” for using a duplicator ray to create a private army of Bizarros to overthrow the government. For sedition. My sentence is like, 730,000 times worse than General Zod’s. 

But how long is 219 million years, anyway? I mean, it is longer than we have to wait for the next season of Star Trek: Picard or The Expanse, but what does that look like in terms of our fundamental understanding of referenceable events throughout history? 

Well, yes, geologically, it’s long. It’s about a quarter of an eon (a billion years) and half the current Phanerozoic Eon length, which started 540 million years ago. So the Yellowstone supervolcano will erupt at least 300 times in that timeframe because it happens every 725,000 years or so. And all life on earth will be made extinct at least two or three times more, because on average, it appears to be happening at least every 30-50 million years, depending on what caused it. But yeah, statistically, at least one more big asteroid. And perhaps a nearby Gamma-Ray Burst (GRB) or another mass attack by farting microbes.

So yeah, I am a jerk, but maybe Facebook should lighten up on the group restrictions. A bit.

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Facebook-Meta Earns the ‘Worst Company of 2021’ Title in This Survey

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Facebook has had its share of controversies this year. The company was under more scrutiny after whistleblower Frances Haugen leaked a series of internal documents.

Facebook parent Meta has been named the Worst Company of the Year (2021) by Yahoo Finance respondents. According to the publication, an “open-ended” survey was published on Yahoo Finance on December 4 and 5, where 1,541 respondents participated. Facebook received 8 percent of the write-in vote, but respondents were seemingly mad about the Robinhood trading app as well. Electric truck startup Nikola, which was named last year’s worst company by the same publication also faced respondents ire.

Yahoo Finance notes, “Facebook has had its share of controversies this year.” Starting in January, Meta-owned WhatsApp got caught up in a huge controversy after the messaging app announced a new privacy policy (Terms of Service). WhatsApp said it would collect user information and share it with third-party apps for a better user experience. However, the app gave users no choice but later made modifications to the policy under pressure. Similarly, the company was under more scrutiny after whistleblower and former Facebook employee Frances Haugen leaked a series of internal documents showing the company’s problematic practices. It was revealed that Meta-owned Instagram had a negative impact on teenage girls, but the company did almost nothing to rectify the problem.

Yahoo Finance even highlights, “At the same time, some critics, including conservatives, say Facebook over-policed the platform’s speech and stifled their voices.” Critics also blame Facebook and other social media platforms for not curbing hate speech that led to Capitol Building riots.

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However, around 30 percent of Yahoo Finance readers said that Facebook or Meta could redeem itself. One respondent suggested that the company could issue a formal apology for negligence and donate a sizable amount of its profits to a foundation to help reverse its harm.

On the other hand, respondents chose Microsoft as the Company of the Year (2021). The Satya Nadella-led company touched the trillion-mark this year and introduced notable upgrades. The most notable is the Windows 11 OS update that succeeds Windows 10.

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Facebook pays 1.7 Cr fine to Russia after failing to delete content Moscow deems illegal

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In the latest legal tussle with Russia over controversial social media regulation laws, Facebook paid 17 million roubles (Rs 1.7 Crore) for failing to remove content deemed illegal by Moscow. With a threat of potential larger fines looming, Facebook parent company Meta, owned by Mark Zuckerberg, is scheduled to face court next week over repeated violations of Russian legislation on content, Interfax News Agency reported. As per the latest updates, the social media giant could be fined a percentage of its annual revenue.

In October, Moscow sent state bailiffs to enforce the collection of 17 million roubles. Meanwhile, as per Interfax report citing a federal bailiffs’ database, on Sunday, there were more enforcement proceedings against the company. Apart from the popular social media app, Telegram has also paid 15 million roubles in fines for failing to comply with the Russian social media legislations that came into force in 2016.

Facebook pays $53k to Russia for refusing controversial social media laws

It is pertinent to mention that Facebook has locked horns with Moscow earlier in November, resulting in it paying 4 million roubles ($53,000) over its refusal to adhere to Russian data localisation laws, the Moscow Times reported. The Moscow court on November 25 had said that Facebook paid the fine levied in February, following which all proceedings against the US-based social media giant. The payment comes against the litigation filed against the company in 2018, alongside Twitter. The tech companies were also forced to pay an additional 3000 rubles ($40) for failing to comply with user data sharing rules as per the law. The Russian authorities have also previously blocked LinkedIn, owned by Microsoft, for failing to abide by the laws.

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Russian social media laws

As per Moscow Times, under the Russian social media regulation laws, all foreign technology companies are required to store data related to Russian customers and users on servers located in Russia. Additionally, the Russian tech companies will also have to share encryption data with the federal authorities as well as record user calls, messages and civil society group conversation records. The apparatus is said to be a severe breach of privacy rights and unfettered back-door access to personal data that could be used to harass Kremlin critics.

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Facebook Messenger Is Launching a Split Payments Feature for Users to Quickly Share Expenses

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Facebook Messenger Is Launching a Split Payments Feature for Users to Quickly Share Expenses

Meta has announced the arrival of a new Split Payments feature in Facebook Messenger. This feature, as the name suggests, will let you calculate and split expenses with others right from Facebook Messenger. This feature essentially looks to bring an easier method to share the cost of bills and expenses — for example, splitting a dinner bill with friends. Using this new Split Payment feature, Facebook Messenger users will be able to split bills evenly or modify the contribution for each individual, including their own.

The company took to its blog post to announce the new Split Payment feature in Facebook Messenger. 9to5Mac reports that this new bill splitting feature is still in beta and will be exclusive to US users at first. The rollout will begin early next week. As mentioned, it will help users share the cost of bills, expenses, and payments. This feature is especially useful for those who share an apartment and need to split the monthly rent and other expenses with their mates. It could also come handy at a group dinner with many people.

With Split Payments, users can add the number of people the expense needs to be divided with and, by default, the amount entered will be divided in equal parts. A user can also modify each person’s contribution including their own. To use Split Payments, click the Get Started button in a group chat or the Payments Hub in Messenger. Users can modify the contribution in the Split Payments option and send a notification to all the users who need to make payments. After entering a personalised message and confirming your Facebook Pay details, the request will be sent and viewable in the group chat thread.

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Once someone has made the payment, you can mark their transaction as ‘completed’. The Split Payment feature will automatically take into account your share as well and calculate the amount owed accordingly.


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Tasneem Akolawala is a Senior Reporter for Gadgets 360. Her reporting expertise encompasses smartphones, wearables, apps, social media, and the overall tech industry. She reports out of Mumbai, and also writes about the ups and downs in the Indian telecom sector. Tasneem can be reached on Twitter at @MuteRiot, and leads, tips, and releases can be sent to tasneema@ndtv.com.

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