Facebook Freezes App Developers Working in Messenger

Author Note. Last year we created the area’s first ChatBot for getting information on Michigan’s Thumb. It’s been used 100’s of times and development continues. Overnight we were informed that Facebook is placing a “pause” on any new Bot development. Its uncertain if ThumbBot will be affected. For the record ThumbBot does not collect any user data other then your username. 

Yesterday, Ime Archibong, VP Platform Partnerships and the head of Facebook’s Messenger platform made an announcement yesterday that will affect the Bot developer community.

Facebook is putting a pause on approval reviews on those applications under development that utilize Messenger and link to Pages. Facebook is undergoing an investigation of all applications installed prior to 2014. At that time, Facebook placed restrictions on applications access to Facebook user data. The social network is looking for applications that have access and misuse personally identifiable information. (PII) collected from users on the platform.

Privacy Concerns With the World’s Largest Social Network

The application pause is likely due to the fallout to a story that ran on in the New Zealand Times Herald which told of a developer discovering that phone calls and texts made with his Android phone was being collected by Facebook.

This latest news is on top of reports last week of Facebook user data collected by the UK firm Cambridge Analytica during the 2016 US Presidential election. During the election, the Trump campaign allegedly used a Cambridge Analytica Facebook App to collect the personal data of 50 million users. Over this past weekend, Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg took out ads in newspapers in the U.S. and UK to apologize for the Cambridge Analytica scandal. According to the Federal Trade Commission, Facebook faces potential fines up to $40,000 per user for personal data accessed without their permission.

Facebook also outlined that other changes will be made to the Messenger platform to protect user data. One new change is that users are informed if an application they are using is found to have misused their personal data. Developers and applications will have to agree to stronger Terms and Conditions along with tougher encouragement for users to manage their data.

Bot Development on Facebook Messenger Affected

Bot development platform Chatfuel informed their users overnight about this development. Chatfuel posted a notice to its base of users indicating, “Facebook is asking developers to temporarily disable the ability for their apps to connect new bots to pages.” It noted that all Messenger Bots currently connected to a Page will not be affected.

Next Steps for Messenger Uncertain

Facebook has not offered a timetable as to when investigation will conclude and pause lifted.

The official notice from Facebook is below.


A Bottle of Beer May Be More Healthy Than Water

Imagine yourself at the beach on a bright sunny late morning. It is hot. The kids are playing in the sand. A cool breeze comes in from Saginaw Bay. Time for a refreshing drink. You open the cooler. You have a glass bottle of frosty beer or a plastic bottle of ice-cold water. Which do you chose?

Shock! No Water from Tap or Bottle is Really Clean

Water Nestle

New research by Orb Media, a nonprofit journalism organization based in Washington, D.C., showed that a single plastic bottle of water contains from a few dozen to thousands of strands of microscopic plastic. Researchers at the State University of New York at Fredonia conducted the study. Their results showed that on average, a plastic liter bottle of water contained about 10.4 microplastic particles about the width of a human hair.

The groups earlier work on the level of plastic found in tap water inspired the study. The University showed the “ubiquitous plastic contamination in tap water across the globe, with the highest rate found in the U.S”

The study sampled bottled water from various locations around the globe. They pointed the cause of contamination was partly the result of plastic packaging, and partly the fault of the bottling process. The survey included brands like Nestle, Aquafina, San Pellegrino, Dasani and Evian. Nestle has a bottling plant in Michigan that is currently embroiled in a controversial plan to double the amount of water from Michigan’s underground water aquifer.

Plastic Micro-Pollution is Global

In 2017, the United Nations issued a report that noted that more than a quarter of all fish now contain plastic. They analyzed the guts of fish sold at markets in Indonesia and California.


Great Lakes Severally Affected 

microplastics great lakes

Cosmetic and home product companies, including Clarins, Estée Lauder and Proctor & Gamble have pledged to halt the sale and cease utilizing ‘microbeads’, small plastic pieces used as an exfoliating agent in soap and make-up. In 2012 we published a story that a study was conducted showing that microplastic was found in Lake Huron and Saginaw Bay. The 2012 study, was conducted by the 5 Gyres Institute headed by Dr. Sherri Mason SUNY College at Fredonia New York. Water samples were taken in the Lakes Superior, Huron, Erie and Ontario and showed an average abundance was approximately 43,000 microplastic particles/km2.

No Way to Stop Micro-Pollution?

Synthetic fibers released into the Great Lakes and oceans occur even after the water has been treated. The tiny fibers seep to the lakes from laundry water from artificial fabrics like fleece and polyester. This is the source and one of the biggest causes of plastic pollution in the ocean.

Microplastic Effect on Humans Uncertain – But It Doesn’t Look Good

The plastic pollution problem may be even worse in the Great Lakes than in the oceans. The University of Wisconsin-Superior found that the number of microparticles — which are more harmful to marine life because of their small size — was 24 percent higher in the Great Lakes than in samples they collected in the Southern Atlantic Ocean. 65 million pounds of fish are caught in the Great Lakes each year. Dr. Lorena Rios Mendoza, an assistant professor of chemistry at the University of Wisconsin-Superior, said that the bits of plastic have a great capacity to attract persistent pollutants to their surface. “Plastics are not just acting as mimic food, but they can also cause physical damage to the organism,” she said. The EPA warns that Persistent, bioaccumulative and toxic (PBTs) chemicals or substances pose a risk to the marine environment because they resist degradation, persisting for years or even decades. PBTs are toxic to humans and marine organisms and have been shown to accumulate at various levels through the food chain.

Clearly more work needs to be done to ascertain the effect on health and to develop processes to clean and prevent this micro-pollution.


NAFTA Renegotiation Could Affect Huron County


Recent statements by President Trump on to exit the NAFTA trade agreement is rising concerns of Michigan farmers. In October 2017, Jamie Clover Adams, director of the Michigan Department of Agriculture and Rural Development stated, “Trade with Canada and Mexico is absolutely vital for agriculture in Michigan,” said Clover Adams. “As our federal governments continue to negotiate a modernized NAFTA, it is imperative that the gains agriculture has made under NAFTA are preserved and that we ‘do no harm’ so that agricultural trade with our North American neighbors can continue to grow and prosper.”

Huron County is one of the largest exporters of Black Beans to Mexico. If the NAFTA trade deal is scraped or severely amended there is concern it could impact Michigan farmers directly with loss of markets. 

North American food industry experts indicated that nearly $43 billion in food and agricultultural goods were sold to Canada and Mexico in 2016. In November 2017 the US Department of Agriculture secretary Sonny Perdue told reporters in Washington that he’s working with the White House and Congress to come up with a plan to protect farmers in the event of a NAFTA pull-out.


Films Made in Michigan

Below is a list of select films made in Michigan in 2011. The Michigan Film Board reported on 46 productions took place in Michigan from 2010-2012.


Oz Great and Powerful – A small-time magician with questionable ethics arrives in a magical land and must choose between becoming a good man or a great one.


Sparkle – Set in the 1960s, three sisters form girl group and soon become local sensations with major label interest, but fame becomes a challenge as the close-knit family begins to fall apart.


Spy Kids All the Time in the World 4D– A retired spy is called back into action, and to bond with her new step-children, she invites them along for the adventure to stop the evil Timekeeper from taking over the world.

Margarine wars

Margarine Wars – 60’s Psychedelic Counterculture clash during the “Summer of Love,” when an aspiring hippie Afro-Jew from New York dupes the son of a Swedish dairy farmer into smuggling illegal margarine into butter rich Wisconsin.


Dogman – Hanklin Purvis enjoys the outdoors, and he loves to hunt. He and his wife, Dorothy, live on a farm in the rural midwest. For some reason, during the season before autumn, things start to happen.

The movie is based on ‘The Legend’ by Steve Cook for an April Fool’s day joke, which was made up of different sightings of ‘dogman’ – there is such a thing as ‘the Michigan Dogman’, which was first reported all the way back in 1887.


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