5 hours ago
British newspapers discussed the “post-Facebook world”, as well as the consequences of “hacking” the phone of Jordanian Princess Haya Bint Al Hussein, the ex-wife of the ruler of Dubai.
We start with the Financial Times, which published an opinion piece by John Thornhill entitled “Time to think about a post-Facebook world.”
The writer said that with 2.8 billion Facebook users, representing about 60 percent of the world’s connected population, the company has become “too big to manage, let alone set regulations.”
Despite this fact, he added, a range of measures could still help “push social media in a better direction”.
The writer considered that the “painful testimony” presented by former Facebook official, Frances Hogan, before the US Senate this week, “further evidence that the company is harming society, which needs a response.”
He pointed out that the most prominent accusation is that the company’s leadership was aware of the problems caused by Facebook and the company’s Instagram application, “but preferred its large gains to people.”
“There seemed to be a rare bipartisan consensus in the Senate hearing on the urgency of the issue and the need to intervene,” Thornhill said. “Some drew comparisons between Facebook and the tobacco and auto companies, all of which denied that their products were causing serious harm until lawmakers concluded otherwise.”
And he considered that “senators should summon Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg to respond to Hogan’s testimony and encourage more independent research into the impact of the company’s services and the ways in which its algorithms work.”
“They should also support legislation to protect children, defend privacy, and review free speech and antitrust laws,” he added.
“Facebook has no chance of fully dealing with toxic content,” the writer said.
“How can Facebook monitor the flood of harmful content in dozens of languages and cultures it does not understand? In Myanmar, and elsewhere, the company is accused of allowing its services to be used to incite ethnic violence,” he asked.
“The best hope may lie in reining in the company by providing more competition and more local networks,” he concluded. But he cautioned that this might not work if the new platforms worked the same way.
Princess Haya’s case
Newspapers focused in their reports on covering the decision of the British Supreme Court, which stated that the ruler of Dubai, Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, ordered the “hack” of the phone of his ex-wife, Princess Haya Bint Al Hussein, and other people.
The Guardian newspaper published a report written by Defense and Security Editor Dan Sabbagh.
The report indicated that, according to the decision of the British court, the ruler of Dubai ordered the hacking of the phone of his ex-wife, the phone of the most famous divorce lawyer in Britain, Fiona Shackleton, and her partner, in addition to three other people, against the background of a custody battle between the two parties.
It is believed that the espionage was carried out using NSO’s Pegasus software.
Pegasus software is sold by this company to governments, ostensibly for use against terrorists and organized criminals. The program has the ability to remotely control a person’s phone, secretly read and download data, and even secretly turn on the microphone to record nearby conversations.
The Guardian report spoke of repeated accusations that countries have misused Pegasus against a wide range of targets – including journalists and dissidents.
The newspaper pointed out that Princess Haya had previously successfully argued before the British judiciary that there were questions to be asked about the treatment of the ruler of Dubai for two of his other daughters: Shamsa, who is believed to have been kidnapped from the United Kingdom in August 2000 after she tried to separate from her family, and Latifa, who She was arrested by the Indian commando while trying to escape from Dubai.
The report spoke of Princess Haya’s fears that agents of Sheikh Mohammed were seeking to buy a property near Windsor overlooking a house she owned nearby, which had been left to her by her father, King Hussein of Jordan.
NSO made statements to the court saying it believed its software “has been misused to target both Princess Haya and Shackleton”.
The company told the court that it had terminated its contract with the “client” – a country, most likely Dubai, not the United Arab Emirates.
The author of the report pointed out that there are questions about the broader political implications of the court’s decision, noting that the UAE remains “a close political ally of the United Kingdom.”