The Scoop On Proximity Services Like Sonar

Screen Shot 2013-02-07 at 8.14.53 AM Every year at SXSW Interactive (one of the largest interactive conferences in the world), the question always comes around to which new technology or mobile app will make a big splash. In the past, Twitter (2006) and foursquare (2009) have dominated conversations at the event where more than 100,000 of the world's most social digerati descend upon Austin, TX. Last year, the belles of the ball were three companies -- Sonar, Highlight and banjo -- which introduced the concept of something called a proximity service. The value proposition with this type of service is that if you connect the [...]

Facebook Vacation: 61 Percent Of Users Say They’ve Taken One

Facebook-Ads A new Pew survey on Facebook usage patterns leads me to want to coin a new term: "Facay" -- for "Facebook vacation." According to survey data collected in December, "61 percent of current Facebook users say that at one time or another in the past they have voluntarily taken a break from using Facebook for a period of several weeks or more." Pew says that its data, based on a survey of 1,006 US adults, "indicate there is considerable fluidity in the Facebook user population." In addition to the above finding, 20 percent of survey respondents say they no longer use Facebook, while 8 percent [...]

Custom Audiences May Be Facebook’s Most Compelling Ad Product

Facebook-Like One of the most powerful advertising vehicles available on Facebook will probably turn out to be its still little-known Custom Audiences tool. Introduced in August last year, Custom Audiences enables Facebook marketers to target their existing users based on Facebook ID, phone number or email address. Facebook says that it has taken pains to prevent user data from "leaking" and to safeguard privacy by hashing phone numbers and email addresses. It doesn't store third party data or otherwise add that data to user profiles. On the surface, the program will potentially seem scary to privacy [...]

Storify Allows Private Facebook Posts To Be Seen Publicly

Facebook Logo If you use popular social content creation site Storify your Private Facebook posts likely aren't so private. AGBeat's Lani Rosales uncovered a serious privacy issue around Facebook posts published to the site by Storify. Using the Storify app or embed code users can see posts (public or private) that have been published to Storify. To test the theory Rosales joined a secret group around health issues and added a post using Storify. Due to Facebook's privacy setting any Facebook friends could not see the post, or the group. However, when the Storify embed code was used, the private pos [...]

How Facebook Tagging Helped Make Randi Zuckerberg’s “Private” Photo Go Public

facebook-tagged-featured Randi Zuckerberg, sister of Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg, wasn't happy when a private photo she shared on Facebook when public. Unhappy to the point of chastising people in general that digital etiquette is "not about privacy settings" but "human decency." Actually, it's a lot about privacy settings, and even Facebook's improved systems makes this hard. The Private Photo That Went Public There are plenty of places covering the background of what happened today. BuzzFeed has one of the best rundowns, showing the picture of the Zuckerberg family all being amused as they try the new Facebook Po [...]

Instagram Updates Privacy Policy, Begins Sharing Data With Facebook

facebook-instagram-logos Mark Zuckerberg initiated Facebook's purchase of Instagram back in April of this year. Today,  Instagram officially "friend-ed" Facebook in its privacy policy. The new updated privacy policy will allow the two social networks to share information between the two groups. These changes will take effect on  January 2013 and will allow Instagram to "share user content and your information" including cookie-data, location data, device data and more with Facebook owned companies. This change comes on the heels of Instagram cutting off access of its photos to Twitter, just weeks be [...]

New Facebook Privacy Changes Feature Simpler Privacy Shortcuts & Request And Removal Tool

facebook-home-page-featured No longer will users be required to navigate through both account & privacy settings pages to manage  sensitive Facebook information. The social networking giant is releasing a series of features that simplifies privacy controls thanks to new tools, a centralized settings page and simple privacy shortcuts. Facebook's privacy has come under fire legally and competitively with the ease of Google+'s selected sharing and straightforward privacy. The new changes being implemented by Facebook will make privacy an elementary procedure for users. Better Privacy Controls & Shortcuts T [...]

1.1 Million Facebook Users’ Email Addresses Purchased For $5, Facebook Claims Data Was Scraped

Facebook Logo Last week the internet was abuzz with the deal that Bulgarian digital rights activist, Bogomil Shopov scored. He managed to purchase 1.1 million user email addresses for the meager price of $5. The majority of the email addresses were from the US, Canada, UK and Europe and featured email addresses, user names and Facebook account numbers. Initially the data was believed to be secured through Facebook apps run by the list seller. The listing stated: "The information in this list has been collected through our Facebook apps and consists only of active Facebook users, mostly from the US, Ca [...]

Your Private Facebook Messages Aren’t So Private: Shared Links Count Towards ‘Like’ Data

facebook-logo See that "Like" button just above this sentence? The majority of folks think that the number displayed is made up of all those who've actually "liked" this article. It's not the case however -- the Like button is an aggregate score from a variety of Facebook actions, including links shared within private messages. TheNextWeb uncovered a bug last week that was actually providing two Likes for data shared privately. Facebook did confirm that the issue of double counts was a bug, but did also confirm that shared messages do count towards the overall "like" data.  In fact the Facebook Develop [...]

Get Real: Facebook Asking Users To Rat Out Friends Who Aren’t Using Real Names

Report-Friends Facebook is serious about using real names for user profiles, so much so that they are now recruiting user to help identify their friends' fake names. Screenshots have surfaced of new prompt that allows a user to confirm, deny or not answer whether or not a friend is using a real name. All responses are anonymous and Facebook states that answers "won't affect your friend's account." Facebook has confirmed that this is a legitimate prompt with TheNextWeb.  They also reiterated that isn't prompt isn't being used for enforcement, rather for a better understanding of Facebook users. Face [...]

FTC Approves Facebook Privacy Settlement Reached Last November

ftc-privacy-security-featured As was widely expected, the Federal Trade Commission has given final approval to the privacy settlement it reached with Facebook last year. The agreement -- unlike the $22.5 million agreement with Google announced yesterday -- doesn't call for any monetary penalty. It does, however, require Facebook to undergo privacy audits from an independent third party every two years for 20 years. Additionally, the company says it will now give consumers "clear and prominent" notice of its privacy practices, obtaining "express consent" before sharing their information beyond the limits to which were or [...]

Norway Investigating Facebook Facial Recognition Tagging

facebook-mask-featured Facebook's automated system of suggesting image tags based on facial recognition has brought the company another formal privacy investigation in Europe, according to Bloomberg. This time it's Norway seeking to determine whether Facebook has violated its privacy rules. Norway’s data-protection agency joins other regulators from the EU investigating the feature. Norway is not an EU member state but is reportedly coordinating its initiative with other states, including an ongoing Irish probe. Germany was also investigating Facebook facial recognition but has suspended its investigation and d [...]

Washington State Partners With Facebook To Help Register Voters

If you live in Washington state a new way to register to vote will soon by available.  A Facebook app will reside on the Secretary of state's page that will exist directly within Facebook.  The AP reports that the app will be the results of collective efforts of Facebook, Microsoft and the state. Washington will be the first state to offer voter registrations on Facebook. Users will have to click on the app and allow Facebook to access their information and will be required to also provide an ID card or drivers licence.  The app will not have access to the state records, rather wil [...]

Senate Hearing To Examine Facebook’s Facial Recognition

facebook-logo-sm Facebook's use of facial recognition technology will be discussed during a Senate hearing on Wednesday. According to The Hill, Facebook will send Rob Sherman, its Washington DC-based Manager of Privacy and Public Policy to meet with a sub-panel of the Senate Judiciary Committee. Senator Al Franken called for the hearing. Sen. Al Franken (D-Minn.), chairman of the Senate Privacy subcommittee, has voiced concern about Facebook not including sufficient privacy protections in the tagging feature. In comments to the Department of Commerce, Franken has written that Facebook likely holds the la [...]

Facebook Changes Displayed Email Addresses To Versions

Historically users chosen a selected email that displays on their profile pages. However, Facebook has recently swept through forcing all displayed email addresses to the option.  The new Facebook messages and email system was launched late 2010, but usage never quite took off. One of the biggest complaints with the change is that it truly changes the way messages are delivered to the user.  The Facebook email addresses send email content directly to the Facebook Message inbox, something that looks nearly identical to traditional Facebook messages. Messages that arrive di [...]

Nobody Tracks Web Users More Than Google & Facebook, Report Says

privacy-security-online-computer When it comes to tracking web users across the web, no one does it more than Google and Facebook. Those two companies filled out the top five spots in Evidon's Global Tracker Report, which was released on Tuesday. The report uses data from the 1.6 million users of Evidon's Ghostery web browser plugin, which monitors what tracking scripts/tags/etc. are installed on web pages. Evidon's data shows that Google products are Nos. 1, 2, 4 and 8 (DoubleClick), as well as No. 17 overall (AdWords). Facebook, meanwhile, has the 3rd and 5th most-prolific trackers. (Image via PC World) It s [...]

Facebook May Consider Letting Children Under 13 Create Accounts

facebook-kids-children-featured This morning the Wall Street Journal reported that Facebook is considering letting those under the age of 13 on the site.  Since day one, Facebook has always been accessible for teenagers or adults.  one of the biggest issues with those under the age of 13 who are using Facebook by using false information is that they do put themselves at risk due to their permission levels.  Giving children significantly reduced permission levels and monitoring could help circumvent issues of  forged accounts. CBS news also reports: The company is testing a way to connect kids' accounts with thei [...]

Larry Page: It’s “Unfortunate” That Facebook Keeps Data Closed & Holds Users Hostage

google-facebook-boxing-featured Google's CEO Larry Page made an apperance on Charlie Rose yesterday, and he didn't have many nice things to say about Facebook.  Rose asked Page about Facebook's competition in search which led to an exchange about Facebook's semi-closed policy on contact information. Page was quick to point out that Facebook users are not aware that they are inputting information in that they can't take out.  Additionally, Page went on to say that this policy was unfortunate and that Facebook may be forced to share this in the near future. In regards to working with Facebook?  The Google CEO st [...]

Facebook IPO Fails To Deliver Anticipated “Pop”

Screen shot 2012-05-18 at 1.52.28 PM I had assumed, as did many others, that Facebook shares would open at $38 and head north from there. In fact I thought demand would be so brisk that the shares might hit $100. Was I wrong. I believed there was considerable pent-up demand for what was the biggest tech IPO ever. But that demand never fully materialized. Everyone that wanted to buy Facebook got a chance. Still, at the close today Facebook was worth roughly $105 billion. And CEO Mark Zuckerberg is worth more than Google's co-founders individually. In the final run up to the IPO, Facebook floated more shares than it had or [...]

Twitter Now Supports “Do Not Track” Capability

twitter-logo-square As announced on the Twitter Twitter account and further explained by the New York Times, Twitter becomes another high-profile publisher that supports Do Not Track. The actual "Do Not Track" functionality is accomplished via the browser. Right now the system is voluntary for publishers, who must recognize and respect the user request to opt out of cookies or other tracking. Internet Explorer from Microsoft offers a similar capability. Chrome does not currently support Do Not Track, though Google has said it will in the future. The Federal Trade Commission's CTO, Ed Felten, just mention [...]

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