Friday Social: YouTuber Reported, Facebook VOD, and WhatsApp Security

  • Social Media

Our #FridaySocial is a weekly round-up of the key social media news stories from the previous seven days.  Let us know your thoughts in the comments or via Twitter – @Umpf

YouTuber Reported to LAPD Over Animal Cruelty Claims

YouTuber Brooke Houts has published a statement this week following claims that she hit and spit on her dog in accidentally-released footage.

In the footage – which was unedited and apparently accidentally uploaded – Houts can be seen reacting when her pet, Sphinx, jumps up while she’s filming.

The backlash was immediate, with viewers including controversial influencer Logan Paul speaking out against Houts.

The LAPD has confirmed that it is investigating.

Facebook Offers Video Subscriptions

Facebook is reportedly testing selling video-on-demand services to users, aiming to compete with the likes of Amazon and Roku.

Currently only available to users in the US with an initial pilot comprising BritBox, CollegeHumour Dropout, MotorTrend App, and Tastemade Plus, the feature will be rolling out over the next few weeks.

Facebook will process payments for the partners, which vary from $2.99 to $6.99 a month. It hasn’t confirmed the cut it’ll be taking for doing so.

WhatsApp Hacking Flaw

Security firm Check Point Research has discovered a flaw in WhatsApp that allows hackers to manipulate messages – letting them “put words in [someone’s] mouth”.

A release from the firm reads –

“Towards the end of 2018, Check Point Research notified WhatsApp about new vulnerabilities in the popular messaging application that would enable threat actors to intercept and manipulate messages sent in both private and group conversations, giving attackers the power to create and spread misinformation from what appear to be trusted sources.

The Check Point Research team observed three possible methods of attack exploiting this vulnerability – all of which involve social engineering tactics to fool end-users. A threat actor may:

Use the ‘quote’ feature in a group conversation to change the identity of the sender, even if that person is not a member of the group.

Alter the text of someone else’s reply, essentially putting words in their mouth.

Send a private message to another group participant that is disguised as a public message for all, so when the targeted individual responds, it is visible to everyone in the conversation.

WhatsApp fixed the 3rd vulnerability which enabled threat actors to send a private message to another group participant disguised as a public message for all. But, we found that it is still possible to manipulate quoted messages and spread misinformation from what appear to be trusted sources.”

A Facebook spokesperson responded:

“We carefully reviewed this issue a year ago and it is false to suggest there is a vulnerability with the security we provide on WhatsApp. The scenario described here is merely the mobile equivalent of altering replies in an email thread to make it look like something a person didn’t write. We need to be mindful that addressing concerns raised by these researchers could make WhatsApp less private, such as storing information about the origin of messages.”