Saturday 10 December 2016

Colum Kenny: We ignore concerns of internet privacy and porn at our peril

The recent Facebook spam attack reminds us of pornography's central role on the web, writes Colum Kenny

Published 20/11/2011 | 05:00

IMAGES described as "shocking" and "sickening" appeared on the Facebook pages of thousands of people last week. Hackers inserted links to pornographic and violent pictures within the newsfeeds of users who are more accustomed to enjoying scenes of family or friends.

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One Irish user, for example, last week received a message saying "poor lady gaga lol... nice videos :D", but the thumbnail was blatantly pornographic. A photoshopped (falsified) image of teenage pop star Justin Bieber was also circulated. So too were scenes of animal mutilation.

As many as two in five Irish people are thought to use Facebook. Its main attraction is the fact that you can post pictures on it. But last week's spam attack "exploited a browser vulnerability", says Facebook. It was a sharp reminder that social media such as Facebook are very public, even if many who use them frequently forget that fact.

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