Archive for Facebook

Facebook Wants To Troll Your Camera To Find Your Friends….. Holy Lack Of Privacy!

Posted in Commentary with tags , on November 10, 2015 by itnerd

I’m not on Facebook. Why? Because when you’re on Facebook, you’re the product as it mines virtually everything that you do so that it can sell that data to whomever wants it. I don’t like to be the product. This is being reinforced by the fact that Facebook is testing a feature in its Android app that will scan a user’s recent images for photos that look like their friends. If it spots a match, it’ll ask if the photos should be shared with other people in them. This little tidbit popped up in, to nobody’s surprise, a Facebook post from David Marcus who is the VP of Messaging Products for Facebook that linked to a Tech Crunch article. For whatever reason, Australian users get this feature first, then iOS users will join their Android brothers in having this feature by the end of the week. At that point, assuming that some really wicked backlash over this really intrusive feature doesn’t take place, the US and then the rest of the planet will get this feature. Sure they will have the obligatory opt-out feature. But I’ve always argued that features should be opt-in as that gives you choice and control.

I’m glad I’m not on Facebook.

Two Tech Innovations That Will Make Canadians Safer

Posted in Commentary with tags , on May 26, 2015 by itnerd

If you’re Canadian, you might want to pay attention to this as there are two things that hit the streets that will make you or someone you love safer.

First up is Facebook which is bringing it’s Amber Alert system to Canada. The will send Amber Alerts to Facebook Users in the first critical hours after a child has been abducted. Comprehensive information including a photograph and all available details about the abducted child will be provided on Facebook’s mobile News Feed. The Alert will only appear in the feeds of people who are in the designated search area and users will be able to share the Alert easily and instantly with friends and family.

Here’s Jordan Banks, Global Head of Vertical Strategy and Managing Director with more on this via a video that requires Flash.

Next up is the CRTC. They announced today that they were awarded the Innovative Team Award from the Association of Professional Executive of the Public Service of Canada (APEX) for the organization’s work on Text with 9-1-1 services. This new service enables hearing and speech-impaired Canadians to access emergency services. The rollout of Text with 9-1-1 started this spring and will finish up by the end of this year.

Both of these will make Canadians safer by either giving more people the ability to get help, getting help to our kids in their hour of need. Kudos to the organizations that are bringing these innovations forward.

Facebook Introduces Friend To Friend Payments Via Messenger

Posted in Commentary with tags on March 18, 2015 by itnerd

As part of Facebook’s plan to be everything to everyone,the social media company has announced that their Messenger app will now allow you to send money to your friends after they’ve connected information from their MasterCard or Visa debit card accounts. Users activate the feature by tapping a dollar sign while chatting with a friend in Facebook’s Messenger app. Based on what’s in this document, it looks very easy to use.

Now, I’m pretty sure that this got the attention of execs at Apple, Samsung and Google who are battling it out for supremacy in the mobile payment space. Anyone want to take bets on how long it will take for a similar feature to appear in their messaging apps?

Facebook & Instagram Go Down…. World Goes Bonkers

Posted in Commentary with tags on January 27, 2015 by itnerd

You might have noticed that between 6:10 AM and 7:10 AM GMT that Facebook and Instagram were down. That also took down anything that used Facebook credentials to log in. That caused many on the web to comment on Twitter:

One interesting thing that happened is that the infamous hacker group know as “The Lizard Squad” claimed responsibility for the outage:

However, Facebook came out with a statement denying any sort of attack. Here’s what they said via CNBC:

“Earlier today many people had trouble accessing Facebook and Instagram,” a company statement, emailed to CNBC, said.

“This was not the result of a third party attack but instead occurred after we introduced a change that affected our configuration systems. We moved quickly to fix the problem, and both services are back to 100 percent for everyone.”

So, did Facebook get pwned and they’re not admitting to it, or did they really screw up? Only Facebook knows the truth on that front. But at least they’re up and the world can relax and can go back to reading mundane status updates and having their personal data mined to help to line Facebook’s pockets.

Facebook “Year In Review” Feature Highlights Painful Memories

Posted in Commentary with tags on December 30, 2014 by itnerd

Facebook today issued apologies because its “Year In Review” feature reminded people of events that they would rather forget. Here’s an example from the Daily Mirror:

With the death of his six-year-old daughter, Rebecca, Eric Meyer had suffered a year of heartache and loss, one that will take him many more to get over.

So the web designer from Cleveland, Ohio, was ill-prepared to have that grief dragged up again when he logged on to Facebook to discover a picture of her, with the cheery message: ‘Eric, here’s what your year looked like.’

Well, that’s a #fail. Here’s a few examples from Twitter:

That’s another #fail. Let’s go over to The Washington Post to see how Facebook responded to this:

Jonathan Gheller, the product manager for Facebook’s “Year in Review” app said he has reached out to Meyer and is personally very sorry for the pain the preview feature caused Meyer.

“[The app] was awesome for a lot of people, but clearly in this case we brought him grief rather than joy,” he told the Post. The team behind the app is considering ways to improve it for next time and will take Meyer’s concerns into account, he said, although he did not comment on if they would follow Meyer’s specific suggestions.

“It’s valuable feedback,” Gheller said. “We can do better — I’m very grateful he took the time in his grief to write the blog post.”

The number of interactions and pictures and image gets on Facebook was among the strongest signals in determining which pictures were used for the “Year in Review” product, he said.

Now I think it is safe to say that neither of these examples were deliberate. But maybe Facebook who are experts at mining data and telling you all sorts of things that you never knew about yourself so that they can make lots of money might have put a bit more thought and effort into this feature to avoid this scenario?

Another Reason I Hate Facebook: They Consider You To Be The Product

Posted in Commentary with tags on December 7, 2014 by itnerd

You might recall that last September Apple rolled up a new privacy page where they said this among other things:

Our business model is very straightforward: We sell great products. We don’t build a profile based on your email content or web browsing habits to sell to advertisers. We don’t “monetize” the information you store on your iPhone or in iCloud. And we don’t read your email or your messages to get information to market to you. Our software and services are designed to make our devices better. Plain and simple.

At the time, I thought this was a swipe at Google. But Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg clearly feels this is a shot at Facebook. In an interview with Time Magazine this past Thursday he had this to say:

“A frustration I have is that a lot of people increasingly seem to equate an advertising business model with somehow being out of alignment with your customers,” Zuckerberg says. “I think it’s the most ridiculous concept. What, you think because you’re paying Apple that you’re somehow in alignment with them? If you were in alignment with them, then they’d make their products a lot cheaper!”

Clearly the Apple privacy page stings because he has a business built around harvesting and selling as much data about you as possible so that you can use Facebook for free. That’s something that he confirms when he talks about upstart social networking site Ello:

I asked him about Ello, an upstart for-pay social network built on the premise that it doesn’t show you ads and doesn’t harvest your personal information. When a social network does those things, Ello’s manifesto argues, “You’re the product that’s being bought and sold.” Zuckerberg’s take was, as usual, practical: whatever ethical merits it might have, the business model won’t scale. “Our mission is to connect every person in the world. You don’t do that by having a service people pay for.” I suggest that Facebook’s users are paying, just with their attention and their personal information instead of with cash. A publicist changes the subject.

At least the publicist was smart enough to change the subject to try and keep Zuckerberg from highlighting the fact that you are indeed the product if you use Facebook. I for one do not wish to be the product if I can possibly avoid it. Thus I do not use Facebook nor will I ever use Facebook. Tim Cook has got this one nailed. If you are using something for free, then chances are that you are the product and the real customers are the advertisers.

The truth hurts doesn’t it Mark?

Why Facebook Should Worry About Ello

Posted in Commentary with tags , , on September 29, 2014 by itnerd

There’s a new social network out there. It’s called Ello (as in the way that some from the UK say “hello”) and it’s currently an invite only platform. Now, you’re likely saying that there’s a new Facebook clone popping up every week. Why should you care about this one? Here’s why. This is what the creators of Ello have to say when you scroll down their landing page:

Your social network is owned by advertisers.

Every post you share, every friend you make and every link you follow is tracked, recorded and converted into data. Advertisers buy your data so they can show you more ads. You are the product that’s bought and sold.

We believe there is a better way. We believe in audacity. We believe in beauty, simplicity and transparency. We believe that the people who make things and the people who use them should be in partnership.

We believe a social network can be a tool for empowerment. Not a tool to deceive, coerce and manipulate — but a place to connect, create and celebrate life.

You are not a product.

That’s a clear shot at Facebook who’s known for not exactly being the best at balancing the needs of users privacy with its need to make a buck. That’s the main reason why I steer clear of Facebook and will never get an account on that platform. But will the fact that Ello advertises itself as being the exact opposite of Facebook resonate? It does for me and I suspect it will for many others out there as well. That’s a problem for Facebook as it makes most of its cash from collecting data on its users and selling it. Unless it can somehow wean itself off that addiction to making money in that manner, it will be under threat by a service like Ello. Thus Facebook will have to adapt or perhaps face the possibility that it may lose users.

My advice? Let’s see how this plays out. It will be very interesting to watch what happens as I really think that Facebook truly has something to worry about.


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