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Posts tagged ‘Social Network’

How Facebook Design Is Tricking You Into Sharing Info

A Great Must Read Article for Boing Boing and Gizmodo about Facebook Privacy.

You already know that Facebook and privacy don’t really get along, but many “improvements” to the service are making it easier and easier to share everything without even knowing. Avi Charkham rounded a bunch of these tricks up over at TechCrunch, and they’re as subtle as they are sketchy.

Some of the changes seem to play on psychology, like swapping out the old pair of “Allow, Don’t Allow” buttons for just one that says “Play game” that you either click, or don’t. Others, are sort of flagrant once you’ve noticed them. One Charkham describes as the “The Tiny Hidden Info Symbol Trick” is of those ones. From TechCrunch:

In the old Design Facebook presented a detailed explanation about the “basic” information you’re about to expose to the apps you’re adding. In the new design they decided to hide that info. If you pay careful attention you’ll see a tiny little “?” symbol and if you hover over it you’ll discover that this app is about to gain access to your name, profile pic, Facebook user ID, gender, networks, list of friends and any piece of info you’ve made public on Facebook. Quite a lot of info for a 20×10 pixel tiny hidden info symbol don’t you think?!

Facebook is a free service so you are the product; none of this should really come as a surprise. Still, its interesting—if also a bit scary—to see the design choices intended to make you part with your personal information. [TechCrunch via Boing Boing]

The Resurrection of MySpace – MySpace Adds 1 Million New Users

According to a comScore report the site has signed up one million new users and is adding an average of 40,000 new users each day. The site has been recovering since adopting new owners last June.

Facebook and Apple race to $1 trillion?

Breakingviews editors discuss the social network‘s and iPod maker’s respective valuation trajectories.

They Like Me! They Really Like Me! – Facebook Sued Over ‘Like’ Ads

Facebook is facing a lawsuit over how they do advertisements using “likes” and friends on the social networking site.

Mark Zuckerberg Hacked; Private Photos Leaked Because of Facebook Glitch

Mark Zuckerberg‘s Facebook page was hacked in the latest privacy breach on the social networking site. A series of 14 personal photos were posted on the website Imgur under the heading ?It?s time to fix those security flaws, Facebook.? They include one picture of the Facebook CEO holding a dead chicken. Facebook says the glitch resulted from a bug in one of its tools that lets users report inappropriate images and that the site was vulnerable for only a short period of time. The breach comes a week after Facebook reached a settlement with the Federal Trade Commission, agreeing among other things to make sure that the privacy of users? information is protected.

Brazilian security researcher discovers how to “friend” anyone on Facebook within 24 hours

(ars technica) If there’s any doubt how social networks have presented hackers with a wealth of social engineering tools, a Brazilian security researcher recently demonstrated how he could “friend” even allegedly more wary Facebook users in less than 24 hours. At the Silver Bullet security conference in São Paulo, UOLDiveo chief security officer Nelson Novaes Neto showed how he leveraged LinkedIn, Amazon, and Facebook to convince a target—a Web security expert he called “SecGirl” using social engineering.

Novaes created a fraudulent Facebook account, “cloning” the identity of the manager of the target. He then sent friend requests to friends of friends of the manager from the cloned account—sending out 432 requests. In just one hour, 24 of those requests were accepted, even though 96 percent of them already had the legitimate account of the manager in their contact list. He moved on to 436 direct friends of the manager, using his connections from LinkedIn—getting acceptances from 14 of them in an hour. Seven hours into the experiment, his cloned account’s friend request was granted by SecGirl.

With the information obtained by friending someone, it’s possible, Neto said, to then take over a legitimate Facebook account using Facebook’s “Three Trusted Friends” password recovery feature. Through the password recovery tool, a hacker can change both the password and the contact e-mail address for an account. The hacker could then use that hacked account for social engineering attacks on other accounts.

In an interview with Brazil’s UOL Noticias, Neto said, “People have simply ignored the threat posed by adding a profile without checking if this profile is true. Social networks can be fantastic, but people make mistakes. Privacy is a matter of social responsibility.”

A Facebook spokesperson told Ars Technica by email that Neto’s approach is a clear violation of the company’s policies, and that Facebook encourages users to report any account they think may be using a false name. “When a person reports an account for this reason, we run an automated system against the reported account,” the spokesperson said. “If the system determines that the account is suspicious, we show a notice to the account owner the next time he or she logs in warning the person that impersonating someone is a violation of Facebook’s policies and may even be a violation of local law.” The warning also requires the user to confirm his or her identity “through one of several methods, including registering and confirming a mobile phone number,” the spokesperson said; if they fail to respond within a certain amount of time, the account is automatically disabled. Facebook’s spokesperson also said that “Trusted Friend” system includes safeguards that lower the probability a recently friended person would be chosen as one of the friends used for password recovery.

By  / ars technica

original article appears here

Newest WikiLeaks release are ‘spy files’ which show global surveillance industry

WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange launched the website’s new project Thursday, the publication of hundreds of files it claims shows a global industry that gives governments tools to spy on their citizens.

The Federal Trade Commission’s Toothless Settlement with Facebook

Today the FTC and Facebook finally reached a long awaited settlement on the social networks very dubious privacy practices. As part of settlement Facebook will now be required to get users consent before they make changes to their privacy settings, and must submit themselves to a privacy audits for the next 20 years. They’ll also be forced to block users from accessing accounts that have been deleted after 30 days.

Facebook’s New Groups Demystified: What They Are and How to Use Them

Facebook Groups

Facebook, for many users, has always been something of a digital mosh pit — an amorphous sphere where friends, family and acquaintances from all corners of our lives converge to form the silky strands of our social webs. Simply browsing through a News Feed, to a certain extent, is like leafing through the pages of a living scrapbook. One minute, you’re carefully deciphering your ex-girlfriend’s passive-aggressive status update. The next, you’re clicking through a bevy of wedding photos recently posted by that quiet guy who sat behind you in algebra class.

With Facebook’s new Groups feature, however, that could all change.

CEO Mark Zuckerberg unveiled the revamped product last week and proudly declared that the new tool “will change the way you use Facebook and the Web.” By now, of course, many observers may have already grown immune to the hyperbolic PR circus surrounding “The Latest Earth Shattering Facebook Feature.” (Remember Instant Personalization? Or Open Graph, anyone?) The site’s seemingly infinite redesigns and aesthetic tweaks now go unnoticed by the millions of users who’ve grown accustomed to living with a constantly shifting, perpetually dynamic Facebook.

Facebook Groups, however, isn’t your average feature, and it certainly isn’t just another redesign. It’s an instrument that’s been fine-tuned to influence the ways we interact with friends, and even the ways we conceive of online “friendship.” With Lists and Pages, “Likes” and Groups, we struggle to decode who means what to us now… or whether we should just disconnect entirely. Like it or not, we’ll all be forced to interact with Facebook Groups at some point, so here’s a nifty guide to navigating the feature now.

Facebook Groups Explained

Groups Explained

Groups are groups. They include people of similar interests sharing information, and that can’t be too complicated, right? Well, yes and no. The first generation of Facebook groups was largely geared toward bringing disparate people together under a common interest or cause. Now, this batch of Groups is oriented around users organizing and streamlining their preexisting online circles.

True, the company already boasts a “Lists” feature, which allows users to divide their friends lists into more manageable categories. When used appropriately, a list can keep out Mom and Dad while letting your friends know where the rager is tonight. But, with only 5-percent of the Facebook community actively using the tool, Zuckerberg & Co. clearly felt that users needed an easier and more engaging way to create their own little cabinets of friends.

When a user creates a Group, he or she can independently anoint any or all of their friends as charter members. These new members can then add their pals to the circle, and, before long, the social snowball is well on its path downhill. The redesigned Group page, moreover, is noticeably more interactive than previous forums, and provides an infinitely more vivid user experience than does the Lists feature.


Here, members can post links and messages on the Group Wall, as they can on most community pages, but they can also share and collaborate on collective documents. Groupies can chat with each other via a dialog box, whereby each member of the mini-community can instantly converse with everyone else. A system of mailing list-style notifications (turned on, by default), meanwhile, keeps all group members up to date with the latest posts and activity within their clique. Users customize what they see: whether to follow a post, user or picture, or not follow anything at all.

Unlike earlier versions of Facebook Groups, the new Groups are designed to be limited; people who aren’t friends of any members can request to be added to the Group, but administrators themselves cannot singlehandedly add them.

Therein lies the most fundamentally distinct quality of Facebook’s new Groups: the fact that they’re about micro — not macro — communities. As Facebook explains on its Help Center, new Groups are “optimized for small groups of people; broader movements around public affiliations and causes are better suited for Facebook Pages.” If you’re looking to rouse support for gay rights, then, you’re better off creating a page. If you’re trying to reunite your high school class of ’74, on the other hand, this Groups 2.0 option is for you.

Fortunately, new Groups are closed by default, although an administrator can always adjust a group’s privacy level by selecting from three basic options:

  • closed openClosed Groups (default): Everyone on Facebook can see the names and members of closed Groups, but only members can see what actually goes on behind its closed doors.
  • Open Groups: With an open Group, the entire Facebook community not only can view its name and members, but can browse through all the photos, posts and images that the members share.
  • Secret Groups: Groups listed as secret will not show up in a search for similarly named groups, nor will it even appear on member profiles. For everyone on the outside, then, it’s as if the Group doesn’t exist at all.

By making Groups automatically closed, Facebook is essentially attempting to curry favor with users troubled by the site’s notoriously sketchy privacy policy. Instead of sharing thoughts or links with their entire network, for example, users can now choose to share items with more intimate circles of friends — meaning, theoretically, that you’ll no longer have to worry about your Grandma stumbling upon your salacious, late night photo albums or drunken Wall posts. Assuming you have a group of friends that dowant that info flooding their inboxes, that is…

Drawbacks and Pitfalls — and How to Avoid Them

Ostensibly, then, Facebook Groups seem like a panacea for online privacy concerns; the feature allows users to create cliques on their own terms, and can guarantee safeguarded privacy for those who want it. There are, however, a few major caveats you should know before diving headfirst into ‘Fuzzy Wuzzy Kitty Wuvvers,’ your feline fan Group.

Opting-In vs. Opting-Out

For one, Facebook Groups are opt-out, not opt-in. What this means is that whenever one of your friends adds you to the group, you’re automatically in it, whether you approve or not. The idea, apparently, is to render the process of creating your social bunker as easy and instantaneous as tagging your friends in a photo. The problem, of course, is that any one of your friends could punk you by putting you in an embarrassing group — which is exactly what a guy named Jon Fisher did to Mark Zuckerberg.

In an attempt to expose what he believes to be a glaring weakness in the Facebook Groups system, Fisher created a group for NAMBLA (a pro-pedophilia advocacy group), and added his friends, TechCrunch founder Michael Arrington and Mahalo founder Jason Calacanis, as its inaugural inductees. (Without anyone’s consent, obviously.) Alarmed by Facebook’s apparent loophole, Arrington then decided to add his pal Zuckerberg to the mock group, in order to draw his attention to the feature’s potential for abuse.

The stunt, in this case, was relatively harmless and entirely pedagogical, but it wouldn’t be hard to envision a scenario in which a competitive coworker or vindictive ex-lover uses the feature to target and embarrass someone with more veritable malice. “Imagine you are traveling to the United States from overseas, and your friends find it amusing to add you to a group that looks terrorist related,” speculates Sophos’ Chester Wisniewski. “You might find a welcoming committee from the border patrol that you weren’t expecting.”

Facebook, however, has thus far been unsympathetic to such early protests. “If you don’t trust someone to look out for you when making these types of decisions on the site, we’d suggest that you shouldn’t be friends on Facebook,” a spokesperson told PC World. But if the thought of dumping your prankster friends makes your blood curdle with fear, you could simply opt-out of any suspicious groups whenever someone subscribes you to them.

leave groupAll you have to do is click on the ‘Leave Group’ option at the top right-hand corner of the group page, and your name will instantly vanish from the list of members. The downside, though, is that you won’t be able to rejoin the group unless you explicitly request membership later on down the road. And, as All Facebook points out, sifting through all your notifications and removing yourself can be a hassle. Yet until Facebook comes to its senses and allows users to approve Group memberships, it’s really the only option we have.


As hypothetically cool as the Group chat feature sounds, some users have found it to be a bit unwieldy. If you find yourself in the middle of a small collection of close friends, the constant chatter probably won’t bother you. If, on the other hand, you’re in the epicenter of a mega Group, the constant notifications and persistently flashing browser tabs may very well send you into an epileptic fit. The only way to turn off the Group chat, though, is to deactivate Facebook chat entirely — a sacrifice some may be hesitant to make. You could, of course, pop-out the chat box into a separate window, and then hide it behind other windows… but why waste all that energy?


It’s not just crowded browsers and hyperactive windows that Facebook users must now worry about. Groups can all too easily flood our personal inboxes, as well. Receiving an e-mail notification each time you’ve been added to a Group is obviously necessary if you want to avoid involuntarily joining any NAMBLA-esque factions. But is it really crucial to notify users each time an individual member adds his two cents to the Group Wall? Sure, your most frequently visited Groups will always appear at the top of your home page, but that certainly won’t prevent your least-frequented Groups from littering your personal space with unwanted mail. Click ‘Edit Settings’ at the top right of the Group page, and tone down the notification frequency.

Oh, and as for all those Groups you spent hours curating prior to last week’s announcement, they’re pretty much irrelevant now. Lists are still useful for managing privacy and fine control over general status updates, and they do still appear in chat. While pre-existing Groups will remain part of the Facebook pastiche, they will not be converted into the social network’s new format, effectively relegating them to the Facebook basement for the foreseeable future.

Wasted time and energy aside, Business Insider’s John Rae-Grant seems perplexed as to why Facebook couldn’t combine its lists, groups and pages into a more elegant, user-friendly design. “If Facebook wanted to really fix Groups, why didn’t they sit back, refactor all of the ‘groupy’ objects in Facebook, and really solve the problem,” he asks. “This is another example of Facebook changing things — perhaps for good reason — but not delivering on the rationale and migration path, and thereby leaving the users, and the third parties in the dust.”

Going Forward

So, how can Groups be successfully employed? A tool to keep out prying eyes it is not, but using the new platform as a solution to keep tightly bound persons together may be helpful. We’ve created a sort of “litmus test” to demonstrate how the new Groups may benefit you, and to point out instances in which you may want to skip it altogether.

Groups DO NOT work for:

  • Time-based events, like birthdays or upcoming shows and parties.
  • Where large groups of strangers are hoping to receive information, like businesses or fan clubs.
  • When participants aren’t all acquainted.
  • If you are anticipating a large number of updates or inside conversations between members. The continually updated ‘pings’ can get annoying, quickly.
  • Would the group be encouraging friends to invite other pals? If so, are you sharing anything private? For instance, if a Group is debating whether or not zoning areas in a city should be changed, you may not want your political opinion being broadcast to strangers.
  • Any situation where you expect to have total privacy.

Groups DO work for:

  • Sharing memories and keeping tabs on a small group of people: camp friends, a graduating class, coworkers.
  • Extremely close friends on an intimate level: “AMAR’S BEST FRIENDS” or “PEEPS WHO’VE KNOWN EACH OTHER FOR 800 YEARS.”
  • Sharing a documentable, long-term event with loved ones. Maybe all of Facebook doesn’t want to see prenatal pics or your trip to Belize, but inviting Mom and Aunt Sally to the Group isn’t a bad idea.
  • Topics you might send out in a large e-mail, but don’t want to litter inboxes (e.g., graduation announcements or music critiques).
  • Specialty shops or clubs that want to broadcast new wares or pieces to interested members, allowing an exchange of feedback between shoppers and buyers.

For large groups of people, we suggest checking out our rundown of Facebook Pages. And, if you really want to edit what Nana sees, check out our friends at Engadget’s handy walk-through for setting up simple lists to manage your privacy.

At the very least, then, Facebook’s new Groups function definitely add a sense of clarity to the site’s crowded slate of features. For one, the revamped features provide a clear delineation between Groups and Pages, which, in recent years, have often been interpreted and treated as one and the same. At the same time, it offers users a way to more actively engage with the segments of their friends they’ve already demarcated with the site’s Lists feature.

We, as users, may not know how drastically this Groups tool will alter Facebook’s landscape, but, for the moment at least, the site’s topography has definitively changed. Instead of spending our online hours with virtually every person we’ve ever met, we may soon find ourselves huddled around digital campfires, with smaller entourages of drinking buddies, co-workers or family members. That is, of course, how we socialize in reality. But is that necessarily how we want to socialize on Facebook?

by Amar Toor on October 13, 2010 at 02:15 PM

edited for the 1000yr old Man by Richard Emanuel


What Your Facebook Profile Photo Says About You

Choosing a Facebook profile photo is very serious business. It’s the visual that will greet high school acquaintances, jealous exes, and your parents’ friends when they search you out. The image you project is entirely determined by your photo choice.

What Your Facebook Profile Photo Says About You

While people think that the photo they choose is some sort of individual statement, they’re usually wrong. Here are the 10 most misguided approaches that people take when picking out a profile photo. Each sends out all sorts of information that the person may not have intended. And while there are some sub-genres and lesser known variations, most of the pictures on the social networking behemoth fall into one of these categories.

What Your Facebook Profile Photo Says About You

The Portrait

How to Spot It: A clear photo of the subject from the waist (or higher) up and includes the entire face.
What It Says About You: That you are a normal, well-adjusted adult who is confident in your appearance. Basically, you’re pretty boring. However, if it is a headshot, author photo, or other promotional material, it means you are a narcissistic careerist. If it is a self portrait, you are slightly annoying. If the photo is of you in your bathing suit, you are probably hot and insecure.

What Your Facebook Profile Photo Says About You

The Far and Away

How to Spot It: The subject is so far from the camera that you can discern there is a person in the frame, but can’t pick out any details of his face or appearance.
What It Says About You: You are a private person who doesn’t want any old gawker knowing what the hell you look like. You are probably slightly shy and reserved until people get to know you. Either that or you got fat or had a botched Lasik surgery and you don’t want the mean girls from college knowing about your gut/lazy eye.

What Your Facebook Profile Photo Says About You

The Up Close and Impersonal

How to Spot It: The subject is so close to the camera that you can only see part of her face or appearance.
What It Says About You: You want people to think that you don’t want to be recognized on Facebook, but you really do and you mask that in pseudo artiness. You had an imperfection when you were younger (lazy eye, acne, stutter, irredeemably bad haircut) and still haven’t gotten over being teased. Now you’re the kind of person who is alone at parties not because you’re shy, but because once people talk to you, they get annoyed.

What Your Facebook Profile Photo Says About You

The Scrapbook Photo

How to Spot It: A picture of the subject when he was in his childhood, whether a candid shot or a school picture he made his mother dig out of a box in her attic.
What It Says About You: You are the type of person who thinks that everything in the past is better than it is now. You still listen to the same music, wear the same clothes, and love the same things you did back in high school/college, and you’ll probably never change. You haven’t amounted to much, and you looked much better as a child.

What Your Facebook Profile Photo Says About You

The Pet Show

How to Spot It: A photo of the subject’s pet, usually without the subject.
What It Says About You: It depends on what kind of animal it is. Cat: You are a woman without a boyfriend. Dog: You are a gay without a boyfriend or Michael Vick. Snake: You are a teenage boy or death metal devotee. Fish: You watch too much The Real World. Dolphin: You have a tramp stamp. Gerbil or Hamster: You are Richard Gere. Unicorn: You are awesome. Rabbit: Who has rabbits as pets? You are a freak!

What Your Facebook Profile Photo Says About You

Family Photo

How to Spot It: A photo of the subject’s children and/or baby usually without the subject.
What It Says About You: The only thing you have accomplished in your adult life is having children. You used to be fun and fabulous and have lots of friends, but now all you can talk about is play dates, potty training, and Dora the Explorer. But don’t worry, being a mother/father is the most important job there is. No really. We mean that. Yup, totally.

What Your Facebook Profile Photo Says About You

The Wedding Photo

How to Spot It: Man, woman, dress, tux—you know, the usual. Even if it’s a gay wedding, you know a wedding picture when you see it.
What It Says About You: You want everyone to think that you are a grown-up. You have settled down to a life of calm normalcy and Family Guy reruns. You’re not playing the field and slutting it up anymore. No, you are married! Also, you are entirely defined by your relationship and don’t have any friends of your own anymore. You probably spent too much on the ceremony and your mother-in-law hates you.

What Your Facebook Profile Photo Says About You

The Pop Culture Reference

How to Spot It: This comes in many forms: a picture of a fictional character, concert, a movie poster, a book cover, reality star, musical act, or a celebrity. Basically it is anyone who is not the subject. Even if done ironically, it’s all the same.
What It Says About You: You have no personality of your own. You define yourself (and others) completely by their entertainment choices, whether they be television, music, sci-fi, literary, or otherwise. Talking to you like reading a list of movie quotes from an IMDb page and you are full of useless knowledge on your favorite subjects. You own at least two T-shirts with stupid slogans on them.

What Your Facebook Profile Photo Says About You

The Art Portfolio

How to Spot It: A photo that somehow tries to be artistic and usually fails. This can contain the subject or not. It is often in black and white.
What It Says About You: You tell people that you are an actor, writer, photographer, or artist, but you are really a waiter, blogger, bartender, Whole Foods checkout person, or trust fund baby. Unless you have a trust fund, you will probably never make more per year than the cost of the liberal arts college you attended. You are also at risk for herpes.

What Your Facebook Profile Photo Says About You

The Party Picture

How to Spot It: The subject, often with someone else, clearly at a party. She may be holding a drink, drinking a drink, smoking a bong, holding a joint, playing beer pong, dancing on a banquette, or giving duck lips and gang signs.
What It Says About You: You are young and stupid and will be fired from at least one job for something you posted on Facebook. You are susceptible to peer pressure and have used a bathroom stall for something other than peeing at least three times in the past year. You will one day regret this picture and replace it with a wedding picture, and then pictures of your children.

[Photo, top, via AP. All other photos via Facebook]

Send an email to Brian Moylan, the author of this post, at

Original Article here

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