Archive for Facebook

#Fail: Facebook To Begin Tracking & Advertising To Non Users Around The Internet

Posted in Commentary with tags on May 27, 2016 by itnerd

I have nothing to do with Facebook for the simple reason that members of Facebook have a long history of being tracked and data mined to death. I really don’t want any part of that. But if Facebook has its way, I will have no choice. You see, the news is out that Facebook is starting to track and toss ads at non Facebook users on the Internet:

Facebook will now display ads to web users who are not members of its social network, the company announced Thursday, in a bid to significantly expand its online ad network. As The Wall Street Journal reports, Facebook will use cookies, “like” buttons, and other plug-ins embedded on third-party sites to track members and non-members alike. The company says it will be able to better target non-Facebook users and serve relevant ads to them, though its practices have come under criticism from regulators in Europe over privacy concerns. Facebook began displaying a banner notification at the top of its News Feed for users in Europe today, alerting them to its use of cookies as mandated under an EU directive.

“Publishers and app developers have some users who aren’t Facebook users,” Andrew Bosworth, vice president of Facebook’s ads and business platform, tells the Journal. “We think we can do a better job powering those ads.”

Now if you don’t want to be part of this, here’s what you need to do. If you don’t have a Facebook account, you can opt-out through Digital Advertising Alliance in the United States and Canada, and the European Interactive Digital Adverting Alliance in Europe. But I think the point is why is Facebook being this aggressive? Of course it’s all about the almighty dollar for them. But I think it crosses a line when they start going after people who don’t even consent to have their every move tracked, monitored, and monetized.

Facebook Android App Looks At Your Clipboard…. What?

Posted in Commentary with tags on April 4, 2016 by itnerd

Early this morning, I was minding my own business when I saw this Twitter post from Dan Levy that got my attention:

I have to admit that this got my attention. So in the interest of confirming or denying this, I grabbed an Android phone and installed the Facebook app (after first creating a Facebook account to test this out with). It took me over an hour, but I was able to replicate this. Not only that, when I was able to replicate this the app was closed at the time which doesn’t exactly give me the warm fuzzies.

Now I know that Facebook is the type of platform where it tries to mine your data in any and every way possible so that they can make a buck or two. Thus you cannot expect any level of privacy. But the fact they are looking at your clipboard takes how invasive they are to a whole new level. Because I am not an avid Facebook user, I had no idea that this was the case. However thanks to some quick research, it is apparent that this is not a new behavior as there’s a Reddit post from October of last year that shows that this behavior was noticed back then and it seems to be cross platform as the iOS version does something similar. Plus there’s another mention of it that seems to back that up from earlier that month.

So, let’s get to the central question. Should you be worried about this? I say maybe you should be. Why? It isn’t clear to me what the company might be doing with anything in your clipboard. Are they using it to simply allow you to add links in your clipboard to posts quickly, or are they mining it somehow? Plus it could be really easy to accidentally post something to your Facebook timeline which could end badly for you. And the fact that this “feature” if you want to call it that works when the app is closed is problematic. Finally, there does not seem to be a way to disable this (But if there is a way to disable it and I am missing it, please comment below and let me know). The bottom line is that while Facebook users should expect that their data is being used, I am not sure if they signed on for this level of invasive behavior. Though I admit that I could be completely wrong and Facebook users are fine with this…. Though Dan Levy who brought this to my attention clearly isn’t a Facebook user who is fine with this. What do you think? Please post a comment and share your thoughts.

Extend The Battery Life Of Your iPhone By Dumping The Facebook App

Posted in Commentary with tags , on February 8, 2016 by itnerd

If you have an iPhone and you have the Facebook app on your iPhone, you might want to dump the app. Guardian tech writer Samuel Gibbs has found that deleting the Facebook app and using Safari instead can boost battery life by up to 15%:

On average I had 15% more battery left by 10.30pm each day. I had also saved space, because at the point I had deleted the Facebook app it had consumed around 500MB in total combining the 111MB of the app itself and its cache on the iPhone.

To make sure that this wasn’t an isolated incident, I also recruited several other Facebook-using iPhone owners to conduct a similar test. They all found similar results, with increased battery life when using Facebook in Safari having uninstalled the main Facebook iOS app.

That’s got to suck if you’re Facebook, who are investigating this report. But you should be advised that this is not the first time Facebook has run into this issue. Battery usage by the Facebook app ran amok last year even when sleeping, an issue the company later resolved. Clearly, there are still issues with the app and battery drain.

Facebook Dumps Adobe Flash For HTML5…. But Flash Isn’t Dead Yet…

Posted in Commentary with tags on December 21, 2015 by itnerd

It is becoming increasingly clear that Adobe Flash is doomed. The latest nail in their coffin is the fact that Facebook is dumping Flash for HTML5. Here’s why they’re doing that:

Moving to HTML5 best enables us to continue to innovate quickly and at scale, given Facebook’s large size and complex needs.

But wait! Doesn’t Facebook use Flash for all those games that people love? Fear not! Flash will still be used for those. At least for now until they figure out a way to move to something else as Flash has a very limited lifespan. Something that this announcement will contribute to.

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?


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