Archive for Facebook

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.

Facebook Doesn’t Want You To See “Click Bait” Headlines In Your Newsfeed

Posted in Commentary with tags on August 26, 2014 by itnerd

It appears that Facebook is trying to solve the problem of “click bait.” That is an article that has a catch headline, but when you click on the link to read the article there is little to no substance. Here’s what the company is going to do:

One way is to look at how long people spend reading an article away from Facebook. If people click on an article and spend time reading it, it suggests they clicked through to something valuable. If they click through to a link and then come straight back to Facebook, it suggests that they didn’t find something that they wanted. With this update we will start taking into account whether people tend to spend time away from Facebook after clicking a link, or whether they tend to come straight back to News Feed when we rank stories with links in them.

Another factor we will use to try and show fewer of these types of stories is to look at the ratio of people clicking on the content compared to people discussing and sharing it with their friends. If a lot of people click on the link, but relatively few people click Like, or comment on the story when they return to Facebook, this also suggests that people didn’t click through to something that was valuable to them.

This sounds good on the surface. But if you think about it, what Facebook is doing is analyzing what you are doing and reacting to it. Seeing as this company has had problems with privacy issues in the past, that may not end well for them. Another view of this is that this is about viral marketing and Facebook ad revenue. If they orevent people from seeing naturally shared articles, that will prevent things from naturally going viral. In order to get views marketers will need to pay for views. Who would they have to pay? Facebook.

Either way, to quote Han Solo “I have bad feeling about this.”


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.



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