Archive for Facebook

Miles Ahead Marketing Announces Facebook Fan Page Makeover For Non-Profits

Posted in Commentary with tags , on March 17, 2014 by itnerd

Are you a non-profit that’s looking to raise your profile with the public? Miles Ahead Marketing announced this week that they can help you with that. They announced a contest this week where they are awarding one lucky non-profit organization with a strategic Facebook Fan Page Makeover which is a $995 value.

To enter the ‘Facebook Facelift’ Contest that can help win a $995 value Facebook Fan Page Makeover, non-profit organizations simply have to “Like” the Miles Ahead Facebook fan page and comment “Enter me for the Miles Ahead ‘Facelift’ Contest.” They can share the post with friends to qualify for the contest. The winner will be selected at random. There are no purchases to be made and there are no hidden fees or other terms and conditions. The contest ends on March 31, 2014.

Through the contest, Miles Ahead Marketing aims to help one lucky winner expand their social media reach. The winner will be a proud owner of a strong, creatively designed, Facebook Fan Page that can increase visibility, attract new donors and sponsors, and help in building an extremely loyal fan base.

WhatsApp Bought By Facebook

Posted in Commentary with tags on February 19, 2014 by itnerd

The BBC among others are reporting that popular messaging app WhatsApp has been bought by Facebook for an absolutely stunning $19 billion:

In a statement announcing the deal, Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg described WhatsApp’s services as “incredibly valuable”.

It better be incredibly valuable for $19 billion. Here’s why Facebook was interested:

Cathy Boyle, a senior analyst at research firm eMarketer, said WhatsApp was valuable to Facebook for several reasons beyond advertising, including its younger user base and its popularity overseas.

“WhatsApp actually has greater penetration in a lot of international markets than Facebook,” Ms Boyle told the BBC.

She added that it was notable that Facebook’s chief financial officer David Ebersman referred to the telecommunications industry when discussing the firm’s purchase.

“WhatsApp is trying to siphon the billions that the telecom industry would make from [traditional SMS text messaging]” she said.

We’ll see what Facebook does with this. I’m thinking that this won’t be the last purchase of this type that you’ll see from the company.


Facebook Sued Over Privacy Concerns

Posted in Commentary with tags , on January 3, 2014 by itnerd

Facebook is looking down the barrel of a potential class action lawsuit due to some privacy concerns. Here’s what the BBC had to say about it:

The lawsuit, filed earlier this week, cites independent research that, it claims, found Facebook reviews the contents of its users’ private messages “for purposes unrelated to the facilitation of message transmission”.

“Representing to users that the content of Facebook messages is “private” creates an especially profitable opportunity for Facebook,” it says.

It says this is “because users who believe they are communicating on a service free from surveillance are likely to reveal facts about themselves that they would not reveal had they known the content was being monitored.

“Thus, Facebook has positioned itself to acquire pieces of the users’ profiles that are likely unavailable to other data aggregators.”

Oh lovely, here’s another reason for me not to have a Facebook account. Assuming that this is true of course seeing as this hasn’t been proven in court. But there are those who defend Facebook:

Writing on his blog, security expert Graham Cluley said that if the site was not examining links shared privately, Facebook would be failing a “duty of care” to its users.

“If you didn’t properly scan and check links there’s a very real risk that spam, scams, phishing attacks, and malicious URLs designed to infect recipients’ computers with malware could run rife,” he argued.

At this point it’s not clear if that’s what Facebook is doing, or if they are doing something less than honorable. We’ll just have to wait for this to get to court to find out as Facebook has said that these charges are “without merit” which means they’ll be defending themselves.

BlackBerry Met With Facebook: Report

Posted in Commentary with tags , on October 29, 2013 by itnerd

This Tweet popped up on my timeline a few minutes ago:

Needless to say, that got my attention. So off to Google I went to find the details, and here they are:

BlackBerry Ltd. executives flew to California to meet with Facebook Inc. last week to gauge its interest in a potential bid for the struggling smartphone-maker, according to people familiar with the matter.

 It remains unclear whether Facebook is interested in placing a bid. Spokesmen for both companies declined to comment.

Interesting. There have been rumors of a “Facebook phone” for well over a year now, so maybe buying BlackBerry is how they’re going to get there. But that may alienate their core base of users which is government and enterprise. Seeing as that’s where their money is coming from, it would be a #fail to push those users away. Thus, I’m not sure what to make of this report.

How about you. What do you think? Your guess is as good as mine.

#FAIL: Partial Facebook Outage Sends Users To Twitter To Vent

Posted in Commentary with tags , on October 21, 2013 by itnerd

You know you have a problem when you’re a social media company and when you go down, users go to a competitor to vent their frustration. That’s the case today with Facebook. Apparently there are issues with Facebook that prevent users from posting comments, updating or liking statuses, and to the horror of many, tending their crops and livestock on Facebook’s FarmVille app.

That has sent users to Twitter to rage. Simply search for #facebookdown to see what I mean. This isn’t good for Facebook. But it’s great for Twitter.

Are you affected by this? If so, can you share your experience by posting a comment below?

Read The New Terms Of Service For Google? You Should…

Posted in Commentary with tags , , on October 12, 2013 by itnerd

I say that because it has some things in it that may bother you. Namely this according to The New York Times:

Google on Friday announced that it would soon be able to show users’ names, photos, ratings and comments in ads across the Web, endorsing marketers’ products.

Lovely. They aren’t alone. Take Facebook:

Facebook already runs similar endorsement ads. But on Thursday it, too, took a step to show personal information more broadly by changing its search settings to make it harder for users to hide from other people trying to find them on the social network.

That’s added to list of reasons why I don’t have a Facebook account. Here’s why this is bad:

Both companies characterized these changes as minor updates. They are, though, the latest example of the continual push by Web companies to collate the reams of personal information shared online in the chase for profits. As Twitter prepares to go public and faces pressures to become profitable, it too will increasingly need to figure out how to make money from the information it collects.

Google and Facebook say that with the most recent changes, they are trying to offer users more comprehensive and personalized services. The problem, privacy advocates say, is when Web companies use or display the personal information of users in ways the authors did not expect when they originally posted it.

Here’s my take. This is a privacy issue. I, and only I should be the one who decides what these companies get to use. For a company to do this by default is wrong and Google needs to get that message loud and clear. Now Google will say that this could only happen when you take an action (for example, +1 an item on Google+), and your images and name are only visible to contacts already designated for sharing. But that’s not good enough for me.

If you want to see what you’re getting into by using a Google service after November 11th, the full version is already online for your reading pleasure along with a summary. Or you can just not use a Google service and avoid this entirely.

Toronto Staffer In Spotlight For Crude Remarks Made On Facebook

Posted in Commentary with tags on September 25, 2013 by itnerd

I guess that three firefighters being fired for ill advised remarks on social media didn’t make people get the hint that you can’t say anything on social media, This time it’s a Toronto Court Services staffer who’s in the spotlight for all the wrong reasons according to The Toronto Star:

“I hate bikes because they are wreckless (sic), put me at risk and try to bully,” Rob Halas wrote earlier this month on Facebook.

“Don’t worry, some big changes have come to the Highway Traffic Act where we can now suspend your driver’s license for offences on your bike. Love it,” Halas wrote. “I love it more when I do the suspending.”

In a private online conversation initiated by a critical observer, Halas referred to the critic as a “womenly (sic) b—-” and suggested the man had “been smacked like women publickly (sic).” A record of the exchange was provided to the Star.

A LinkedIn profile identifies a Rob Halas of Toronto as an administration employee with the city’s court services department. The Facebook and LinkedIn accounts share the same profile picture, though the photo and information on his professional page have been removed.

Reached by phone, Halas refused to comment after the Star read him the Facebook remarks and asked if he was aware his actions are under review.

That’s right. His employer is reviewing his actions on Facebook. Thus reinforcing the fact that if your employer doesn’t like what you say on social media, they may decide to hold you accountable for it. Thus the take home message is watch what you say on social media if you value your job.

Facebook Planning Facial Recognition Database

Posted in Commentary with tags , on August 30, 2013 by itnerd

This is another reason why I will never have a Facebook account. According to The Toronto Star, here’s what the social networking giant is planning:

Facebook Inc. is considering incorporating most of its 1 billion-plus members’ profile photos into its growing facial-recognition database, expanding the scope of the social network’s controversial technology.

The possible move, which Facebook revealed in an update to its data use policy on Thursday, is intended to improve the performance of its “Tag Suggest” feature. The feature uses facial-recognition technology to speed up the process of labeling or “tagging” friends and acquaintances who appear in photos posted on the network.

Facebook also amended its Statement of Rights and Responsibilities on Thursday to expose users under 18 years to having their personal information taken.

The new rules say children are considered to have already verified that a parent or legal guardian has agreed to allow marketers to use some of their personal information in ads.

The facial-recognition technology now automatically identifies faces in newly uploaded photos by comparing them only to previous snapshots in which users were tagged.

Facebook users can choose to remove tags identifying them in photos posted by others on the site.

How delightful! Actually, I was being sarcastic. It’s not. First of all, this is on by default and users have to opt out. Second, one wonders what else Facebook will use that data for. I am honestly creeped out by this as I perceive it to be very invasive.

What do you think? Am I off base here or is there a legitimate concern? Post a comment and share your thoughts.


Security Researcher Hacks Zuckerberg’s Facebook Page To Make A Point

Posted in Commentary with tags , on August 19, 2013 by itnerd

Say you’re a security researcher and you’ve found a pretty serious bug on Facebook. They you wanted to do the right thing by reporting it not once but twice but no action was taken. What do you do? If you’re Whitehat Palestinian hacker, Kahlil Shreateh, you hack Mark Zuckerberg’s personal timeline, leaving both an explanation and an apology. Here’s the details:

Frustrated, Shreateh decided to use the glitch to hack into Mark Zuckerberg’s profile page. In a post which has since been removed, he apologised for breaking Zuckerberg’s privacy, adding: “I had no other choice… after all the reports I sent to Facebook team”.

In less than a minute, Shreateh’s Facebook account was suspended and he was contacted by a Facebook security engineer requesting all the details of the exploit.

I guess the take home message is that if you want Facebook to take you seriously, all you have to do is hack Mark Zuckerberg’s Facebook page. Though Facebook denies that this the case:

In a Hacker News thread, Matt Jones from Facebook’s security team confirmed that the bug has now been fixed, admitting that the company should have asked more details after Shreateh’s initial report.

“We get hundreds of reports every day. Many of our best reports come from people whose English isn’t great – though this can be challenging, it’s something we work with just fine and we have paid out over $1 million to hundreds of reporters,” he said.

“However, many of the reports we get are nonsense or misguided, and even those (if you enter a password then view-source, you can access the password! When you submit a password, it’s sent in the clear over HTTPS!) provide some modicum of reproduction instructions. We should have pushed back asking for more details here.”

Sorry, but I find this to be a really lame response. If you are serious about security, you have the responsibility to always follow up on security hole bug reports. Failure to do so pretty much makes you incompetent or you don’t care about security. This is a big reason why I do not have a Facebook account and never will. Now I don’t advocate this sort of behavior, but I guess if you’re trying to do the right thing and the organization that you’re trying to help doesn’t care about you doing the right thing, public shame is the only way to go I guess.

Hopefully Facebook learns its lesson and changes their behavior in this regard.

Facebook Launches Video Features In Instagram

Posted in Commentary with tags , on June 20, 2013 by itnerd

When Facebook bought Instagram, people wondered what they’d do with it and how it would evolve. Now we have our answer. Facebook announced today that 15 second videos would now be available in Instagram complete with filters and the other features that Instagram users are used to. A blog entry on the Instagram site give you all of the details.

Eden Zoller, principal consumer analyst at Ovum had this to say about the announcement:

“Since acquiring Instagram in 2012, Facebook has given the distinct impression that it does not know what to do with it, having made little progress with any significant enhancements to the service. Given the importance of mobile and video for Facebook, the prospect of video features in Instagram should come as no surprise. And given the popularity of Twitter’s Vine service, it is perhaps more surprising that Facebook has not introduced video for Instagram sooner.  There is no doubt Twitter will move quickly to up the ante on Vine and this could undercut Facebook’s efforts with video on Instagram.  Facebook will need to come out with something compelling, particularly in light recent lack lustre new initiatives such as Facebook Home, and also ensure that the video features on Instagram are in keeping with the ease of use and simplicity that have made the core photo sharing service so popular.  But new features aside, Facebook still needs to come up with a strategy for how to monetize Instagram which so far it has failed to do.”   

My thoughts? I’m shocked that it took this long for Facebook to do something like this. But I’m dubious about how well this will work. But, millions of Facebook users may yet prove me wrong.

Agree? Disagree? Post a comment and share your thoughts.


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