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Mistake costs U.K. newspaper its credibility, Facebook $20,000

by Tiffany Gibson Modified: July 3, 2013 at 8:28 am •  Published: July 3, 2013

Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg speaks at Facebook headquarters in Menlo Park, Calif., Thursday, March 7, 2013. Zuckerberg on Thursday unveiled a new look for the social network's News Feed, the place where its 1 billion users congregate to see what's happening with their friends, family and favorite businesses.(AP Photo/Jeff Chiu) ORG XMIT: CAJC102
Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg speaks at Facebook headquarters in Menlo Park, Calif., Thursday, March 7, 2013. Zuckerberg on Thursday unveiled a new look for the social network's News Feed, the place where its 1 billion users congregate to see what's happening with their friends, family and favorite businesses.(AP Photo/Jeff Chiu) ORG XMIT: CAJC102

It’s a short week due to the Fourth of July holiday, so I’ll keep today’s column brief.

Mark Zuckerberg had to part with $20,000 this week.

Facebook gave the money to a UK-based security researcher as a reward for reporting a bug that hackers could have used to take over users’ accounts.

Business Insider reports researcher Jack Whitton found a way to hack into accounts by sending a text message to Facebook.

Facebook has now fixed the flaw, which was found in a service that allows users to link their mobile phones with their accounts.

By doing this, you could text Facebook, and the company would send back the authorization code that ties the user’s device to the account.

The good news is that the bug is fixed, but it raises concerns of privacy and security online. Millions of accounts could have easily been hacked if Whitton hadn’t found the flaw.

And this isn’t the first time lately that Facebook has dealt with security issues.

Business Insider reports the company acknowledged a bug in June that caused it to accidentally share contact information for about 6 million users.

Developer Nir Goldshlager also found a flaw in the company’s code in February that made it possible to hijack accounts.

In other news, Guardian Media Group received some backlash this weekend after one of its papers splashed a front-cover story Sunday on the NSA that turned out to be a fake scoop.

The Observer was criticized for citing a single source named Wayne Madsen and not looking into his background.

Madsen is known as a “paranoid conspiracy theorist” online and has publicly stated theories about President Barack Obama’s gay past and his “classified feces,” according to The Daily Beast.

It was a hard blow for Guardian Media Group, especially after one of its papers, The Guardian, broke the story of the NSA surveillance program a month ago. The paper also had an exclusive interview with Edward Snowden, the man who leaked the information to the press.

The Daily Beast reports Observer editors pulled the story from its website but not before its print edition had been loaded onto trucks and delivered to newsstands.

Finally and unfortunately, The Los Angeles Times has cut more employees in what the paper called Friday a “modest round of staff reductions,” The Wrap reports.

The announcement comes on the heels of a quarterly earnings report with profit down by 41 percent. According to the report, no parts of the multimedia company did well.

The Wrap obtained a copy of a letter sent out to the newsroom. In the letter, Editor Davan Maharaj and managing editor Marc Duvoisin called the layoffs “difficult” before describing a plan for an overhaul of the website.

The details of the redesign haven’t been released yet, but it’s a site to keep your eye on.

Until next week,

- Tiffany

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by Tiffany Gibson
News Online Editor
Tiffany Gibson has worked for the Oklahoman since August 2011 and is a member of the digital news team. In addition to writing and web editing, she also creates multimedia features for the website and maintains social media accounts. A Tennessee...
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