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Tag: Facebook

Facebook’s Announcement: Big News or Much To Do About Nothing?

Posted by KL Tech Muse at 7:00 PM on January 15, 2013

Facebook Today Facebook announced the new Graph Search. This is not a keyword search like Google it is more of an asked a question search. For example you might ask; “what disaster movies do my friends like”.  Facebook will then come back with an answer to that query. It will only give you information that has been shared publicly and with you by your friends. I thought it looked interesting and it had possibilities but until I actually get to try it myself I will not make a final judgment on it.

I have to say that my first thought when I was following the live blog this morning was that this was just another way to get people to stay on Facebook even more. In another word this is just another brick in the wall.  The fact that this graph search will be integrated with Bing makes this even more so. A question just occurred to me if I should share something to a friend does that information then become available to their friends in a search query. I believe it will, which is all the more reason to be careful on what you share on Facebook. I also think that people need to retrain themselves on how to do search. They are going to have to learn how to search by asking questions. Some analyst see this as a challenge to Google and Amazon

Julien Blin, an analyst covering consumer electronics and mobile broadband for Infonetics, took the argument a step further. He told CNET that Graph Search could become a major threat to Google and Amazon once it becomes available on mobile phones and incorporates the Facebook Gifts product.
“We could imagine a case where a Facebook user is searching for ‘friends who bought shoes in San Francisco.’ Then [Graph Search] would pull up a list of shoe stores with comments and reviews from friends,” he said. “The Facebook user would have the option to click on the Facebook ‘Want’ button to buy the items, or even gift the item to other users via Facebook Gifts. This type of service would compete directly with Amazon.”-Cnet.

I am skeptical, I may search Facebook for the local restaurants my friends like, but I am going to also see what the critics say about it. I love my friends but their idea of what is good and mine are definitely not the same.

There is a limited beta rolling out on January 16 a limited number of English-speaking Facebook users. It will take several months before becomes available to the general public.

Time to De-Clutter Your Social Media

Posted by JenThorpe at 5:07 PM on December 30, 2012

bigstock-Window-cleaner-using-a-squeege-30983438Happy New Year! Now is a time when many people make New Year’s Resolutions. This year, instead of making one that you know you won’t follow through with, try something that you can easily achieve. Clean up your social media!

Social media can be fun, but it can also be a time waster. One way to make it work for you is to do a little gardening. Keep the healthy “plants”, and get rid of the “weeds”. When you get done, you will have crafted your social media into a more pleasant and enjoyable place to visit.

Start with your Facebook account. There are a couple of helpful apps that can quickly remove or replace unwanted posts from your Facebook page.

Tired of looking at countless photos of the brand new baby of your friend from high school? Unbaby Me will replace the baby photos with cat photos. (You can select something other than cats if you prefer).

Social Fixer got a lot of use during the recent presidential election, as people used it to eliminate all those political posts. If your Facebook friends are still stuck in November, you may want to give Social Fixer a try. You can set it to remove posts that contain a series of words of your choosing, (which could be something unrelated to politics if you prefer).

My way of de-cluttering my Facebook account was to completely and entirely delete it. Those of you who are still on Facebook might want to read a Forbes article that was written by Elisa Doucette. She walks you through a variety of ways to use the tools within Facebook to tailor what you see from your Facebook friends.

I’ve learned a lot about how to make my Twitter experience a happier one. Go to a particular Twitter user’s page. Find the button with the silhouette of a person on it. This is where to find the helpful tools in Twitter.

Got a friend who re-tweets a bunch of stuff that you have absolutely no interest in? You can turn off their retweets. There is also a button that you can use to block Twitter users whom you do not wish to hear from – ever.

I use this one when I find a Twitter user who appears to be using his or her account specifically to start fights, encourage drama, and to generally be a person who “does not play well with others”. How do I find these people? Usually, they get re-tweeted into my Twitter feed. The people you block lose the ability to communicate with you on Twitter.

You can also make lists on Twitter. Put all of your family members into a list. Check that instead of your main feed for important news and updates from your loved ones. Make a list of podcasts that you listen to, or of the Twitter friends who all play a certain video game. Narrowing down what you see can save you a lot of time!

Image Stock Photo Window Cleaner Using a Squeegee to Wash a Window by BigStock

This Message Will Expire in Ten Seconds

Posted by JenThorpe at 1:30 AM on December 23, 2012

Poke AppFacebook has a new app called Poke. The name was inspired by the Facebook feature called Poke that has been a part of Facebook since 2004. The functionality of the app, however, is something that people are comparing to SnapChat.

If you log into your Facebook account you can select a friend to Poke. I’ve never entirely understood the purpose of this function, but I suspect it is used as a means to let someone you have “friended” … I suppose be reminded that you still exist and want to communicate with them. Whatever happened to a friendly message that starts with “hello”?

The Poke app, is not the same as the Poke feature in Facebook. The Facebook Poke app was released on December 21, 2012, and is a mobile app. Right now, it is only for iOS devices. One might assume that there could eventually be an Android version, (but there isn’t one right now). You can download it onto your iOS device for free.

The Poke app allows users to send a message, a photo, or a video to their Facebook friends who also are using the Poke app. Which, I suppose, can tell you which of your “friends” are using iOS mobile devices.

The message, photo, or video you send will last for a specific time that you set. You can have it appear for 1 second, 3 seconds, 5 seconds, or 10 seconds. Your friend (or friends, as you can choose to send something to multiple users, or groups, at the same time), must press the screen and hold it in order to see the message you sent. After the time expires, the message disappears.

It is easy to see why Poke is being compared to SnapChat. There is some concern that people will use Poke to send messages, photos, and videos, that are of the “not safe for work” variety, (since it has been said that people use SnapChat specifically for that purpose). Facebook sort of acknowledges this potential. It says:

If you ever see something you’re uncomfortable with, you can click the gear menu and report it.

Facebook adds new features to its Android app

Posted by Alan at 6:59 AM on December 7, 2012

This morning Facebook quietly pushed a fairly major update to it’s Android app. The company has been largely taken to task over it’s mobile app due it’s lack of functionality and poor performance. This new update certainly doesn’t fix all of the problems and it won’t make customers suddenly happy, but there are a few nice new functions added.

First up there is the ability to share items from your news feed. It’s about time! You will now see a small share button at the bottom right of each item. You can click this and then write a comment to go along with your share.

You can also create albums now by clicking the “Photo” button above the timeline. This brings up a page that displays all of the photos stored on your device. By default all of them are checked, which is a bit of a hassle because it means you need to uncheck most before getting started.

Finally, Facebook has made some improvements to photo tagging and included a fix for a status update failure affecting some users.

The changes do help to improve the experience, but the app still doesn’t feel native to Android. In fact, Facebook has recently been coaxing it’s employees to begin using Android phones in order to better know how the app works with hopes of making more improvements.

Judge Approves Facebook “Sponsored Stories” Settlement

Posted by JenThorpe at 10:11 PM on December 3, 2012

There has been an interesting update to the settlement of a class-action lawsuit that was about Facebook’s “Sponsored Stories”. This is the lawsuit that was filed in federal court in San Jose, California, by five Facebook members who were upset after seeing their likenesses appear on one of Facebook’s “Sponsored Stories” without their permission.

In short, the five people said that Facebook violated California law by publicizing when a user clicks “like” on pages of certain advertisers and when Facebook puts that information into its “Sponsored Stories” feature. At the time, Facebook was not giving users a way to opt out of having their likenesses included in advertisements in this way, and it was not paying users whose likenesses or opinions were placed into an ad.

Earlier this year, U.S. District Judge Lucy Koh decided that the Facebook users who filed the lawsuit were able to show “economic injury could occur through Facebook’s use of their names, photographs, and likenesses”. The result was that Facebook was going to have to pay $10 million dollars to a charity. As far as I can tell, the exact charity was never named.

Today, the details of the settlement have been changed. Instead of Facebook giving $10 million dollars to a charity, Facebook is going to have to set aside $20 million.

That money is to be used to provide payments of up to $10 dollars to each Facebook user who has objected to being included in the “Sponsored Stories”. Facebook has also agreed to create new controls that will give users the ability to opt out of being put into “Sponsored Stories”.

The new details of the settlement have been approved by U.S. District Judge Richard Seeborg. Both Facebook and the users who filed the class-action lawsuit have agreed to the new settlement.

The story is not completely over, though. Attorneys for the Center for Public Interest Law want Facebook to be required to obtain affirmative consent from parents before Facebook uses the name or photo of any Facebook user who is under the age of 18 in the “Sponsored Stories”, (or anywhere else). The current settlement does not include that protection. There is the possibility that an objection to this settlement will be filed.

Image: Stock Photo Ten Dollars by BigStock

Facebook buys up “Facebook live staging” domains

Posted by Alan at 6:47 PM on December 1, 2012

While this may or may not have anything to do with the earlier Facebook-Zynga news, the company has quietly bought up several new domains. A major internet company buying up domain names may not be normally news, but when it’s Facebook and it comes on the heels of other major news surrounding the company, it becomes magnified.

On November 30th (yesterday) Facebook registered the domain names FacebookLiveStaging.com (WHOIS), FacebookLiveStaging.net (WHOIS) and FacebookLiveStaging.org (WHOIS). The domains were all registered though the internet brand protection company MarkMonitor.

At the moment none of these domains lead to any site or even a place marker. So what does the social media giant have in mind for these URL’s? Only time will tell and there is really no point in speculating at this time. Does anyone have any ideas? Let us know in the comments below.

Zynga and Facebook Change their Relationship Status

Posted by JenThorpe at 7:57 PM on November 30, 2012

It’s not yet “Facebook official”, but it looks like game maker Zynga and the social media website Facebook have talked about changing their relationship with each other. The two have been together for years, and I never expected them to consider revising their partnership. However, it seems that they have had “a talk”.

The two companies have reached a new agreement that amends the one they created together in 2010. They aren’t going to do a complete and total “we are never, ever, getting back together” breakup. It’s more like they have each become interested in a more open relationship than what they previously had with each other. Each appears to want have less inter-dependence with the other.

It seems that at least some of the changes will become effective on March 31, 2013. Facebook is going to stop giving what has been seen as a “privileged status” or as “preferential treatment” to Zynga. The 2010 agreement provided Zynga with guaranteed promotions of certain Zynga games on Facebook. Instead, Zynga will be governed by the same rules and policies as the rest of the game companies that are on Facebook.

Facebook will be allowed to develop its own games. Word has it that the company feels it “was not in the business of building games” and doesn’t have plans to start creating them.

Zynga is going to have more freedom to operate its own, standalone, gaming website. They can choose not to display Faecbook’s ads on Zynga.com. They can also choose to not to collect revenue for games on Zynga.com in favor of using Facebook’s payment system. If it goes that route, Facebook will take a 30% cut of that revenue.

Those of you who are playing Zynga games on Facebook need not worry. Games like “Farmville” and “Mafia Wars” are staying put. The difference is that the games will stop featuring cross-promotions that direct you to Zynga.com. At the same time, you won’t be able to play at Zynga.com and tap into your friends who are connected to the games through Facebook.

Personally, I think this is good news. The changes could, potentially, make it possible for people like me, who play games but do not want a Facebook account, to be able to check out some of Zynga’s games.

Image: Stock Photo Broken Heart by BigStock

Playdom Games Don’t Require Facebook

Posted by JenThorpe at 12:18 AM on November 29, 2012

I used to have a Facebook account. Earlier this year, Facebook stopped being fun (to make a long story short). I have since deactivated my Facebook account, for good, and have no intention of returning. The problem, though, is I have started to miss playing some of the little “time waster” games that I used to log into Facebook to play.

Zynga might be best known for their Farmville game, but they also have several others to choose from. Some of their games are accessible through Zynga.com. Hidden Chronicles is one of those “find the hidden object” type of games that I started playing when I was still on Facebook. Farmville isn’t part of Zynga.com, but they do have something new called Farmville 2. It sounded interesting.

This is when I encountered a big problem. It turns out that you cannot play any of Zynga’s games on the Zynga website unless you have a Facebook account. You can’t even log in without one. Clearly, Zynga doesn’t have any interest in attracting gamers who don’t happen to use Facebook.

Personally, I found this to be disappointing. I’ve already decided that I am done with Facebook. Zynga’s games are fun, but they aren’t important enough to me to convince me to get involved with Facebook again. It’s not worth it!

Fortunately, Zynga’s competitor is accepting all gamers, (even those without Facebook accounts). You can go to Playdom.com and sign in with an email address.

Two of the three games that you can play on Playdom’s website, Gardens of Time, and Blackwood and Bell Mysteries, are ones that I used to play on Facebook. Both are the “find the hidden object” type of games that I enjoy. I missed playing Gardens of Time more than I realized!

The games at Playdom, and the games at Zynga, can be played for free. However, it is possible to spend real world money in order to get something especially cool to use in a particular game. Right now, the only game I spend money on is World of Warcraft.

There is potential that someday, I will decided to spend a few bucks on one of these “time waster” games. Zynga has made it absolutely impossible for me to consider giving them money. Playdom, on the other hand, has been very welcoming. It is obvious which company has the chance to get some real world money from me, and which company does not.

Freedom of Speech in the UK

Posted by Andrew at 3:37 AM on November 17, 2012

Law GavelIn the latest podcast, Todd rightly asks about the apparent lack of freedom of speech on social media in the UK. Undoubtedly, it’s a complex issue but it is becoming increasingly clear that the right to free speech is under threat here in Britain. In this post, I’ll look at some of the issues, but to start with, I am not a lawyer (thank goodness) and this doesn’t constitute legal advice.

Unlike the USA, the UK does not have a written constitution guaranteeing rights. The closest the Britain gets to this is the Human Rights Act (1998) which only came into force in 2000. The Human Rights Act is the embodiment in UK law of the European Convention on Human Rights (pdf).  The ECHR’s Article 10 provides the right to freedom of expression but as will be noted from part 2 of the article below, there are plenty of possible exceptions. I’ve embolden the part that is relevant to the discussion here.

“The exercise of these freedoms, since it carries with it duties and responsibilities, may be subject to such formalities, conditions, restrictions or penalties as are prescribed by law and are necessary in a democratic society, in the interests of national security, territorial integrity or public safety, for the prevention of disorder or crime, for the protection of health or morals, for the protection of the reputation or rights of others, for preventing the disclosure of information received in confidence, or for maintaining the authority and impartiality of the judiciary.”

Obviously, the UK police do not pro-actively monitor social media looking for offensive posts. A complaint has to be received by the police based on someone taking offence at a posting on social media. The UK law has increasingly moved away from “offence intended” to “offence taken”. This was primarily done to increase the power of law in areas of discrimination, where people could avoid convictions by claiming that sexually or racially offensive language wasn’t intended in the way it was taken. Now the law supported those who were offended by the sexual or racial innuendo, regardless of intention. However, the “offence taken” law has grown out of its discriminatory roots to take hold in almost any area of offence.

Much as the compensation culture has grown, a similar one has arisen that “bad things” are always someone else’s fault and they have to pay. Although it started with physical hurt, this has gradually extended to psychological hurt and finally simple feelings. Instead of “sticks and stones will break my bones”, it’s “I’m going to tell on you.”

Finally, both the police and the legal system have increasingly taken a view of what’s legal and illegal rather than what is right and wrong. Consequently, instead of the police looking at the social media post with a bit of common sense and telling the complainant to grow-up, the police are now obliged to follow procedure and take up the complaint.

Overall, these changes in the law and approaches to policing now mean that abusive and offensive comments are taken much more seriously than before.

Let’s take a look at three cases that show the variety of circumstances.

The first tweet to come to widespread notice was Paul Chamber’s tweet in response to his local airport being shut because of snow. “Crap! Robin Hood airport is closed. You’ve got a week and a bit to get your (expletive deleted) together, otherwise I’m blowing the airport sky high!!” He was initially found guilty in May 2010 of sending a “menacing electronic communication” but fortunately eventually won his challenge in July of this year. The whole incident was farcical and made the law look stupid.

The second isn’t a tweet but a T-shirt worn in response to the shooting of two police officers that said, “One less pig perfect justice”, pig being an abusive slang term of the police. Barry Thew was jailed for four months for this, but many would have seen this as political commentary, particularly as it was about to be revealed that the police covered up their incompetence in a sporting disaster in which 96 people died by disgracefully blaming football fans killed and injured in the incident.

And finally, Britain has been embroiled in child sex abuse scandal involving a well-loved (but now dead) BBC TV personality. In the wake of this, a living person was named on Twitter as being a paedophile when he was wholly innocent and completely blameless. He’s now suing everyone who repeated the lie unless they apologise.

As can be seen, it’s a complex issue with both the freedom of speech under threat and the rights of others needing to be protected. The Crown Prosecution Service has recognised that there is potentially a problem and is intending to consult with the legal profession and social media companies. The Director of Pubic Prosecution, Keir Starmer, QC, has said that “People have the right to be offensive, they have the right to be insulting, and that has to be protected.

In a recent statement about another tweeting case, the DPP said, “Social media is a new and emerging phenomenon raising difficult issues of principle, which have to be confronted not only by prosecutors but also by others including the police, the courts and service providers. The fact that offensive remarks may not warrant a full criminal prosecution does not necessarily mean that no action should be taken. In my view, the time has come for an informed debate about the boundaries of free speech in an age of social media.

There’s hope yet.

Courtroom Gavel photograph courtesy of Bigstock.

Facebook is Phasing Out Questions

Posted by JenThorpe at 4:31 PM on October 22, 2012

It appears that Facebook is starting to phase out its Facebook Questions feature. You may have used the feature to answer a question in a poll that one of your Facebook friends put together. The Facebook Questions feature was something that everyone on Facebook could use in order to get a “crowd sourced” answer to a specific question. It could also be used to set up a poll. Ask a question, set up a few, specific, options for potential answers, and wait to see which one got selected the most.

Recently, Facebook made a slight change to the Facebook Questions feature. Pages, events, and groups are still able to use it. However, individual users are not. The option no longer is available to them.

If you are one of the many people who has created Facebook Pages or Groups for your podcast, guild, book club, or school club, then you can still use Facebook Questions. The difference is that individual users cannot ask questions from the top of their News Feed anymore. You should still be able to see questions that you’ve asked in the past by going to your Activity Log.

Personally, I never used the Facebook Questions feature. I think my husband set up a couple of polls for one of our podcasts, just for fun. I just never saw the purpose of setting up a poll on my personal Facebook page. To be honest, my first choice for getting a “crowd sourced” answer to a question is Twitter, not Facebook.

In short, the Facebook Questions feature still exists, but in a more limited fashion. There is some speculation that perhaps Facebook is getting ready to launch an actual search product. There really aren’t any solid details about what, exactly, that is going to look like or how it will function as of yet.

I think it would be cool if Facebook would create a functional search engine that would let you easily find all the coupons that are scattered through Facebook. I also think it might be a bit of a privacy invasion if random people could search for, let’s say, a political party, and have their results show the comments that various Facebook users have made in regards to that topic.

Image: Stock Photo 3d Question Mark by BigStock