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RSN™ Special Report: Revisiting Facebook Insanity – Giving African Developers Access To Your Data!

You All Remember Cambridge Analytica, Right?

What If African Scammer Cartels Had Access To All Of Your Real Information Just Like Cambridge Analytica?

They could know in detail how to use social engineering to target you based on what ads you look at, what groups you join, and friends you have! In short, they could target victims based upon  every bit of data that Facebook has on you!

Do You Think This Sounds Insane?

Guess what they ARE ALREADY DOING IT!

Two Years Ago The Following Appeared In Forbes:

Meet The Man Building Facebook’s Free Basics Apps in Africa

When Facebook announced a new way to provide free information services last November, CEO Mark Zuckerberg specifically named a remarkable South African company that will help people build their own apps.

Calling it “a big day for connecting Africa,” Zuckerberg wrote in a Facebook post: “Connecting people across the African continent is critical to our mission. We’re going to keep pushing forward to develop new ways to bring people online until the whole world is connected”. Specifically, Facebook launched a service called Free Basics, which is part of its larger initiative “to introduce people to the internet and demonstrate how it adds value to their lives”.

“We’ve also partnered with the Praekelt Foundation to give developers the tools they need to build free basic services to reach people just coming online,” Zuckerberg added. He has 42-million followers on Facebook.

The Praekelt Foundation is the non-profit arm of Praekelt Consulting, a Johannesburg company that is at the forefront of providing health services via cellphones and now smartphones. Formed in 2006, the Praekelt Foundation has provided health information and services to over 100 million people across 30 countries in Africa.

The remarkable company is the brainchild of a brilliant South African entrepreneur Gustav Praekelt, who had carved a niche in the early 2000s for developing services in the pre-app, pre-smartphone world before the iPhone ushered in large touchscreens. These so-called feature phones still predominate through Africa and Praekelt has proved adept at using the basic features and achieving noteworthy results.

The for-profit Praekelt Consulting “helps organisations leverage this mobile opportunity by building population-scale systems to help them transact in the developing world,” he says. Its clients includeBarclays , Nedbank, DStv, Telkom, Investec, Volkswagen and Guinness.

“The foundation grew out of this work when we realised there was this unbelievable opportunity to deliver life-saving services utilising the same core technology that we developed to help business grow,” says Praekelt.

“Mobiles allow us to have very large scale impact through low cost interventions. For instance, MomConnect. This is a SMS service that is the first universal free maternal health service launched in the world, where every mother and every child is being registered by the ministry of health; and being sent personalised information on their mobile phone in 11 languages throughout the pregnancy and the first year of the baby’s life”.

“It has been running for a year in South Africa and has registered over a million mothers,” adds Praekelt, who has won numerous awards for social good and tech innovation; and is a regular speaker at major conferences around the world.

Mobile health services (often called mHealth) has been a particular focus for Praekelt’s company, which now has offices in Nigeria, India and New York.

“Our first-ever service was the first HIV Aids service where patients are reminded of their ARV treatment by SMS. And it’s still running eight years later,” Praekelt says proudly. Started in 2007, it is a partnership with the Helen Joseph hospital in Johannesburg. “When I launched this I had to cold call the hospital. They thought I was a crank. I had to go there and convince them that we could use mobile phones to drive change in patient behaviour. They didn’t believe me.”

Now, apart from Facebook, the Praekelt Foundation – which has become the go-to organisation for mobile health services in Africa – works with the ministries of health in South Africa, Nigeria and Uganda: World Health Organisation, Unicef, Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, Nike Foundation, Johnson & Johnson, and Pierre Omidyar’s foundation, the renowned Silicon Valley philanthropist and founder of eBay. Praekelt is negotiating to launch maternal health services in a further seven other countries next year.

Facebook recently announced it was launching a satellite with Eutelsat to provide internet coverage across sub-Saharan Africa from next year.

Praekelt is part brilliant entrepreneur, part philosophical do-gooder. In the best possible sense. He is a design aesthete, with a keen eye for good design. Born to German diplomat parents, he lived in Germany until he was eight and has lived in South Africa since.

A smart early-adopter of technology, he started his first company – Delapse – while still finishing his honours degree in computer science. Delapse was a pioneer in high-end motion graphics and 3D motion capture animation and helped produce ” the first animated children’s channel in Africa”.

Of working with Facebook, Praekelt says: “Free Basics will allow any social impact organisation to deliver information for free to a potential audience of 1-billion people in over 19 countries. It’s huge.”

He’s proved he has the big match temperament for the challenge.

By: Toby Shapshak, Contributor to

That was a lot to plow through, but the bottom line is that this is one of the thousands (tens of thousands) of African created apps that connect into the Facebook ecosystem to access user data (your data), and just like Cambridge Analytica – god only knows if anyone is aware their data is being used, how much is used, what it is used for, and much less gave their permission. Thank god that the Europeans are on top of this problem. THE U.S. CONGRESS IS TOTALLY ASLEEP!

Now Let’s Paint A Proper Nightmare Scenario

There Are Apps Created By The Major Scammer Cartels.

There actually are: Just remember, the cartels are real businesses that from the outside look like normal outsourcing or media companies employing thousands of people from Liberia to Mauritius, and everywhere in between (yes dear that includes Nigeria too).

In addition, let’s assume the Cartels place moles inside Facebook’s own operations in Nigeria – how easy is it to acquire the right people, pre-train them, and then provide the kind of academic and business references to guarantee that Facebook hires them? Remember that Scamming in Nigerian is a multi-billion dollar business! It is so large that it doesn’t even care that organizations like our exists! Facebook can’t even keep their own employees from spying on their ex’s, we should assume that Facebook’s HR department in Africa is easy to game!

The African cartels are connecting into the advertising databases that Facebook holds, they don’t need your name, they only need your behaviors because this is what will tell them how likely you are to fall for the multiple types of scams they offer!

We have noticed for example, that a significant percentage of American Romance Scam Victims belong to “Buy & Sell” Facebook groups! This is exactly the kind of information that the cartels need, so they put up “honey trap” ads to appear in these groups to get you to click through to some page they have created so they can actually get your identity. They also create groups and pages themselves and victim fall for them in droves.

Once they have your identity in their lists, they hand these out to their teams to strike. They will know so much about you that you are essentially powerless to resist. This is not unusual, marketers do this billions of times a day right now. Criminal cartels eventually grow up and begin to use mainstream technologies. Just look at the marijuana industry in the U.S. – it converted in just a decade from illegal to mainstream legal! It was just marketing and proper targeting to change public and political will. We are not commenting on the correctness of that change, just the mechanism.

This Is Not Science Fiction
This Is Now
Right Now And Not Even Hard!

For Example:

Yet Another Massive Facebook Fail: Quiz App Leaked Data On ~120M Users For Years


Or Another Here:

Facebook Suspends ~200 Suspicious Apps Out Of “Thousands” Reviewed So Far [But Tens Of Thousands Still To Go]


Even More Concerning Is How Facebook Shares Data With All Of Its Business Units Such As Instagram And WhatsApp!

Whatsapp To Share User Data With Facebook For Ad Targeting — Here’s How To Opt Out


Facebook-owned messaging giant WhatsApp  has announced a big change to its privacy policy which, once a user accepts its new T&Cs, will see it start to share some user data with its parent company — including for ad-targeting purposes on the latter service.

“By coordinating more with Facebook, we’ll be able to do things like track basic metrics about how often people use our services and better fight spam on WhatsApp,” WhatsApp writes in a&n