BC Supreme Court Okays Class Action Suit Against Facebook

facebook eyeThe BC Supreme Court  has given the go ahead today to a class action suit against Facebook. The BC class action lawsuit covers the period from January 1, 2011 to today. Unless they opt out of the lawsuit, anyone covered by the criteria is included in the class action. Continue reading

Auto posting to social media sites or not?

peopleBy joining social networks we agree to be notified of new posts published by a select group of “friends”. It’s a common routine. Publish a post on your blog and use an aggregation app like Publicize, Hootsuite, TweetDeck, or Buffer to have the title and link automatically posted to multiple networks, including G+ Facebook pages, Facebook Profile, Twitter, LinkedIn, Tumbler, etc. Continue reading

Twitter sets a May 7th kill date for TweetDeck Android, iPhone, AIR and Facebook integration – The Next Web

Today is the momentous day for some. Twitter set a May 7th kill date for TweetDeck Android, iPhone, AIR and Facebook integration  Twitter sets a May 7th kill date for TweetDeck Android, iPhone, AIR and Facebook integration – The Next Web. Are you among the bloggers affected by the kill switch? if so which alternations did you explore and which one did you select?

Blogging, Bean Counting and Social Networking

In Late February WordPress.com Staff implemented brilliant little change at the bottom of our posts. They introduced nesting of the gravatars of “like” button clickers behind a link that we bloggers can click to see them all. I am happy the big blocks of gravatars which are not representative of actual page view stats are now nicely tucked away. But there were bloggers who are not and they posted to the support forums  to say so.  They wanted to see the gravatars for all their “friends”. Continue reading

Weekend Blogging Reads and Resources

weekend readingI had a productive and satisfying week and hope you did too. I kept to my schedule. I completed my month end contracted work 2 days in advance of the deadline. I used that time to clean up my computer files on all 3 computers preparatory to the big computer switch over, which was scheduled and cancelled once again. Being on call for the 3 computer switch over is nerve wracking because it means they must be ready to be carted off at a moment’s notice. Continue reading

Content farming fertilized by Facebook

Facebook has a page spam definition:  anything intended “to confuse, mislead, surprise, or defraud users.”  But does it go far enough?

What is spam and what is misleading?  Why doesn’t Facebook  consider filling your account with images you’ve stolen from other sites so you can spam links to an otherwise empty blog and sneak in affiliate links to be misleading? Click in and read this informative article revealing how content farming is fertilized by Facebook. Continue reading

Facebook’s New Graph Search and You

facebook eyeIt’s no surprise that Facebook, which is arguably  among the largest data mines based on voluntary content submission there is online has announced a BETA social search feature ie Graph Search as it’s  making a lot of noise.  Facebook members can search for other users and filter the results based on  interests, education, age, location  and much more.  If you make it into the BETA program you may be surprised or even shocked at what you find when you use Facebook  Graph Search. Continue reading

Cloud Computing, Dropbox and Data Backup

dropboxNobody wants to think about it but calamities do happen. Many of the things need the most when disaster strikes are stored on your computer. Experienced computer users know that there are two types of people: those who have already lost data and those who will lose data in the future.   Backups are the only way of getting your computer back to exactly how it was and the place to store your data is in the cloud. Continue reading

Facebook and Your Activity Log

facebook eyeToday Facebook began rolling out a new feature that lets you see a history of everything you’ve searched for on the social network. A list of search queries now appears intermingled with all the Likes, comments, and wall posts that appear inside the Activity Log — a private section of your profile that only you can view. via Facebook now saves all your searches to your private Activity Log Continue reading

Social Networks Update

Social media has evolved rapidly and we have seen the emergence of social networks that did not exist months ago. According to comScore in 2011 social networking sites reach 82% of the world’s online user population. Social networks and mobiles have combined to turn people into social media addicts. You’re on Facebook. You’re on Google Plus. You’re on Twitter. So let’s explore what’s happening in those social networks.  Continue reading

Facebook, Google, Yahoo and India’s Laws

India, the world’s largest democracy is the third country after Brazil and Germany  expecting that Twitter,  Facebook and Google will block objectionable content or Government will take action on it.  Indian regulations oblige Internet companies to remove material that is “grossly harmful” or “ethnically objectionable”.  Some web giants may be allegedly committing the offence punishable under section 292 (sale of obscene books etc), 293 (sale of obscene objects to young person etc) and 120-B (criminal conspiracy) of the IPC. Continue reading

Facebook Fan Page Reach Decreasing

facebook iconsFacebook News Feed appears on your homepage highlights what’s happening in your social circles on Facebook.  Facebook Mini-Feed appears in each person’s profile and updates a personalized list of news stories throughout the day. For Facebook to be an effective social media tool your posts have to show up in your fans’ News Feeds. New data has revealed that many fans aren’t receiving your updates.  They don’t return after clicking the “like” button and your reach per post is slowly decreasing. Continue reading

Mobile risk to Facebook’s growth

What’s the biggest risk facing Facebook? Hint: it may be in the palm of your hand. Half of the social network’s 845 million users now access the site through their cellphones, and that number is surging. Problem is Facebook currently receives virtually no display advertising revenue from small screens. The rapid shift to mobile Internet usage could be Mark Zuckerberg’s biggest threat – and he knows it.  via Analysis & Opinion | Reuters.

YouTube gets a makeover

Image representing YouTube as depicted in Crun...

Image via CrunchBase

On December 1, 2011 YouTube got a makeover inluding  a new homepage, Channel design and a fresh coat of digital paint. Here are three ways these updates aim to improve your YouTube experience:

1.  A new homepage – You can now create your own, personal, customizable YouTube Channel line-up,  customize your homepage’s feed; even link your YouTube account to Google+ and Facebook.

2.  Simpler, customizable Channels – There’s a new Channel design and now there are four new Channel templates too.

3.  A new overall design -  Feedback  on the  experimental design called Cosmic Panda insulted in a cleaner and simpler design, with a consistent gray background, bigger video thumbnails and a more streamlined watch page.

Get More Into YouTube

Discussion:

What do you think about these new features? Have they improved your YouTube experience?

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Facebook and eBay Social Shopping Experiences

online mallToday the executive of eBay, the world’s largest internet marketplace, and the executive of Facebook, the world’s largest social-networking platform, unveiled a new partnership.  Facebook, is tapping eBay’s commerce platform to create new social shopping experiences for hundreds of millions of consumers. Continue reading

Facebook or Google Plus?

google plus iconIf you are a regular reader of this blog then you are well aware of my antipathy when it comes to Facebook. However, I have been considering joining Google Plus. For the last month I have been reading all I could find on both so I had some information upon which to make an informed decision. Below are excerpts from some articles I would like to share. What I’m looking for now is feedback from those readers who do have a Google Plus account. Continue reading

Between My Ears: Why Facebook’s ‘Frictionless Sharing’ violates HTTP

“Why Facebook’s ‘Frictionless Sharing’ violates HTTP

Facebook has this new feature, whereby the act of simply reading a web page, under certain conditions, gets it posted to your news feed, for your friends to see. Here’s how ReadWriteWeb puts it:

With these apps you’re automatically sending anything you read into your Facebook news feed. No “read” button. No clicking a “like” or “recommend” button. As soon as you click through to an article you are deemed to have “read” it and all of your Facebook friends and subscribers will hear about it. That could potentially cause you embarrassment and it will certainly add greatly to the noise of your Facebook experience.  Facebook calls this ‘frictionless sharing’.” Continue reading

IE Flaw Access to Facebook, Gmail, Twitter Accounts

IE9 IE  [Internet Explorer] Flaw Could Allow Hackers Access to your Facebook, Gmail, Twitter Accounts -  A security researcher discovered a ‘cookiejacking’ flaw in all IE versions that could allow an attacker to steal your session cookies and then log onto your password-protected sites such as Gmail, Facebook or Twitter.

via Privacy and Security Fanatic: IE Flaw Could Allow Hackers Access to your Facebook, Gmail, Twitter Accounts.

Microsoft claims even though Valotta said it was easy to do there is little risk a hacker could succeed in a cookie jacking scam like that and the issue is not one the company calls a high risk.

Social Media Speed-Marketing Tools

facebook vs twitter infographic Click for full size infographic  and witness the dramatic rise in the importance of Facebook and Twitter and YouTube to marketers  as companies and brands embrace social media across the board in a number of ways to reach potential customers.

An active social media program will make your business locations more prominent in sources across the web, and prominence is a primary factor used by Google in local search rankings.

Build a fan base on Facebook. Forty percent of Facebook users also follow a brand. More than half of these Facebook users will move on to purchase that brand. Facebook ‘likes’ are a speed-marketing tool that virally spread brand awareness by delivering information to the news feeds of everyone befriended by your brand fans.

via 6 Ways to Use Social Media to Boost Local Search Results – Search Engine Watch (#SEW).

Business Blogging: Where’s social networking taking us?

2 people water coolerSocial media and blogging are means to become generally more interested in the world around us, more open to creating new relationships, and more connected. Social media and blogging connections through social media sites like Facebook and Twitter, and interactive blog discussions can be a boon to a business. Both are effective ways to promote yourself as an expert and inform a wide audience what you have to offer.

A company blog is a useful tool for small businesses hoping to give others a glimpse into the company while also promoting the company’s products and services. — 5 Excellent Small Business Blogs To Learn From

  • Showcase Products With Visual Creativity
  • Say It With A Video
  • Think Big
  • Invite Guest Writers
  • Get Social & Personal

Markey Industy Report and Constant Contact Survey

Social media and blogging may be the the most effective pairing of communication tool humans have invented. Numbers and statistics are hard to refute. The 2011-Social Media Marketing Industry Report highlights the benefits of using social media:

  •  72 %  said social media increases website traffic;
  •  62% – improved search rankings;
  •  59% – new partnerships;
  •  48% – better sales;
  •  59% reduction in marketing costs  for self-employed;
  •  58%  reduction in marketing costs  for small businesses;
  •  respondents were twice as likely to increase leads using social media.

According to a survey by Constant Contact Social Marketing Takes Hold, But Traditional Marketing Still Thrives.  That survey reveals 73% of small businesses use social media, and more than half of those who do not intend to start using it next year.

The reasons for initiating or the increasing use of social media and blogging are personal preferences and connections. People like to buy products and services from qualified and competent people they know.  This personal connection is important during the process leading up to purchase, and social media and blogging are effcitive ways to get answers to questions and advice.

Not surprisingly, Facebook is still the most popular small business social media choice, and 82% of users said that it is effective up which is up from 51% a year ago. No reduction in the use of other forms of marketing was detected. The survey indicated business owners are using social media campaigns to improve rather than replace traditional marketing,.

  • 83 % percent stated email is the first tool they check when going online for their business each day
  • 72 %  check their email six or more times a day
  • 13 % check Facebook six or more times a day;
  • 6 % check news six or more times a day;
  • 4 %  check Twitter more than six times per day.

Social Media and Blogging – Content and Distribution

In the beginning we thought social media might replace blogging but Twitter and Facebook provide great distribution for blogs. Social media site updates inform your friends you have published a new post, and they tell their friends, and so on.

Where’s social networking going to take us? It’s hard to predict. Social networking has become something done out of  pocket, whenever you have a spare 30 seconds, rather than something you sit down at your desk to work at, and the growth of mobile is going to explode.

Preparing to Pair Social Media and Blogging

If you have a small business social media can help by building a blog centered community around your business.  Take a look at demographics and scout out where your potential audience. Then,  register social media acounts so  you can connect with them  and start blogging. Through publication of useful information, and/or sharing tips and how-to’s on your blog, you can build your readers’ confidence in your brand.

By following these 7 Steps to Disciplined Business Blogging your small business can take the first steps towards a highly successful business blog:

  1. Define the business goals of your blog
  2. Identify your target audience
  3. Allocate resources
  4. Create your editorial calendar
  5. Carve out time to write
  6. Listen to your audience feedback and adjust accordingly
  7. Get the word out

Facebook collects personal information from users, Insights can provide some useful demographics information for  you. The “Users” graph allows you to see who “likes” your page according to age and gender. You can also see what countries and cities your followers come from as well as the languages they speak. David Hartstein wrote a detailed post on Mashable outlining how you can get the most out of Facebook Insights for small business.

Related posts found in this blog:
Business Blogging, Freshness, Indexing and Google Caffeine
Business Blogging Poised for Growth
Business and Blogging Trends

Google Ad Probe & Facebook Security Breach

brokenlock None of us want to become a victims of personal information disclosure or cyber crime but most of us don’t want to hear about it. We just want someone else to fix it for us and restore trust that our our personal and private information is kept private.   As I said in my earlier article  Social Networks Siphon Personal Information there’s no doubt about it. Also note the information in Facebook Connections and Reputation Management. This brief synopsis of articles constitutes an update I’d like to refer to my readers.

Google Advertising and Privacy Issue

Government investigation into online advertising and privacy issues results in regulatory filing.  In a regulatory filing this afternoon, Google disclosed that it was taking a $500 million charge in the first quarter, apparently to potentially settle charges related to a Department of Justice investigation of the company. — Google Discloses DOJ Ad Probe

Facebook Security Breach

A security vulnerability on Facebook gave advertisers and other third parties a way to access users’ accounts and personal information, for years, according to security firm Symantec Corp. … As of April, Symantec estimated that the flaw affected close to 100,000 Facebook apps—and that since Facebook introduced apps in 2007 potentially hundreds of thousands of applications may have inadvertently leaked millions of access tokens to third parties. Facebook has fixed the leak, but it’s recommended you change your Facebook password to render any leaked tokens useless . — Facebook Security Flaw Exposed User Accounts

Finger points back to Facebook

I wrote a very long examination of the issues that Facebook employed a PR firm to publicize, about how Facebook feels Google may be violating privacy with its Google Social Search product. Here’s a shorter look, especially from the angle of how Facebook itself has enabled Google to do what Facebook is now complaining about. — How Facebook Enables The Google Social “Scraping” It’s Upset About

Do Not Track Bill

Privacy groups and consumer rights advocates have enthusiastically endorsed the Do Not Track bill introduced by U.S. Sen. John D. Rockefeller. Rockefeller (D-W. Va.) introduced an online “do not track” privacy bill that would give consumers the ability to block Internet companies from tracking their online activity. The proposed law already has the endorsement of several major consumer advocacy and privacy groups. The framework would allow the Federal Trade Commission to define the rules within a year of the bill being signed into law. -- Privacy Groups Applaud Rockefeller’s Do Not Track Bill

Extended Validation SSL (EV SSL) Certificates

For the past three years, the Online Trust Alliance (OTA) has published an annual online safety report that examines the adoption of proven countermeasures against deception and identity theft that help protect online brands and consumers. … The report underscores measures that mitigate account takeovers, breaches, email spoofing, and phishing attacks. The adoption of Extended Validation SSL (EV SSL) Certificates was one of the solutions highlighted by the report. 2011 Online Trust Alliance Trust Scorecard Highlights Increase in EV SSL Adoption

Canada a Country of Choice for Cybercriminals

The American online-security company Websense found that Canada’s reputation as a law abiding country is making it a preferred location from which to launch cyber attacks, with Canada ranking No. 6 worldwide among countries hosting cybercrime, up from 13th place last year.  Patrik Runald, Websense senior security researcher, said that while the United States still ranks No. 1 among the top 10 countries in hosting phishing sites -used by cyber criminals to trick computer users into downloading malicious software or divulging passwords, financial information and other confidential data. — Canada new breeding ground for cybercrime

From Facebook Wall to Mug Shot

facebook eye Facebook’s half billion active users disseminate over 30 billion pieces of content. But even though Facebook users have privacy options to control who sees what content, From Facebook to Mug Shot: How the Dearth of Social Networking Privacy Rights Revolutionized Online Government Surveillance by Junichi P. Semitsu, University of San Diego School of Law, concludes that every single one of Facebook’s 133 million active users in the United States lack a reasonable expectation of privacy from government surveillance of virtually all of their online activity.

Based on Facebook’s own interpretations of federal privacy laws, a warrant is only necessary to compel disclosure of inbox and outbox messages less than 181 days old. Everything else can be obtained with subpoenas that do not even require reasonable suspicion. Accordingly, over the last six years, government agents have worked the beat by mining the treasure trove of personal and confidential information on Facebook.

The Article concludes with an urgent proposal to revise the ECPA and reinterpret Katz before the Facebook generation accepts the Hobson’s choice it currently faces: either live life off the grid or accept that using modern communications technologies means the possibility of unwarranted government surveillance.

Note: The Supreme Court’s 1967 decision in US v. Katz – finding that privacy attaches to a person, not a place – has yet to be extended to electronic communications.

In 2011, The New York Times published “1986 Privacy Law Is Outrun by the Web,” highlighting that:

Last year, for example, the Justice Department argued in court that cellphone users had given up the expectation of privacy about their location by voluntarily giving that information to carriers. In April, it argued in a federal court in Colorado that it ought to have access to some e-mails without a search warrant. And federal law enforcement officials, citing technology advances, plan to ask for new regulations that would smooth their ability to perform legal wiretaps of various Internet communications.

The analysis went on to discuss how Google, Facebook, Verizon, Twitter and other companies are in the middle between users and governments. This is worth watching > Does what happens in the Facebook stay in the Facebook?

EFF recently launched a campaign calling on companies to stand with their users when the government comes looking for data. (If you haven’t done so, they are requesting you to sign their petition urging companies to provide better transparency and privacy.) Click to see how the companies are doing.

Related posts found in this blog:
Facebook Connections and Reputation Management
Social Networks Siphon Personal Info

Internet Access Blockouts Costly and Futile

Blocking internet access has been a common government tactic used to censor information and opinion flow.  Several countries come to mind but China, Iran, and Saudi Arabia are believed to extend greater censorship over the net than any other countries in the world. What the most recent blockout in Egypt demonstrates is that internet censorship leads to innovation. Use of Facebook by users from Egypt has surged following the restoration of Internet service to the country.

egyptInterent access blocked in Egypt

Due ongoing protests, Egyptian president Mubarak ordered a shutdown of all Internet access for five days, from January 28 to February 2, but social media and news continued to flow in and out of the country due to those dedicated to keeping the information flowing.  When Egypt cut off Internet access last month in a bid to quell anti-government protests, Google joined forces with Twitter to create a speak to tweet tool that lets Egyptians “tweet” by telephone.

sphinxMasses of users in Egypt used other technological solutions to access blocked sites such as Twitter, Facebook and Google. The tools have become one of the key technologies Egyptians have relied on to stay connected, communicate with each other, coordinate protests and deliver their messages to the world. The cost of  Egypt’s Internet Blackout – The Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development has come up with a figure of $90 million for the financial cost of the Egyptian Internet blackout. It may be much higher.

China’s surging social-networking market

china flog google logoThe top social-networking service in the world’s biggest internet market was created by graduates of a prestigious university to help students communicate with one another. And it’s not Facebook. Renren.com leads China’s surging social-networking market with more than 160 million registered users.  Competitor Kaixin001.com has more than 93 million.

All the major corporations in China, including telecommunications and media companies, are state owned entities or are majority owned by the state. This exerts a significant level of state influence on how people receive and send information. Chinese government censors monitor the internet and block access to content deemed unacceptable. Facebook and Twitter access are blocked. No such forums are found on Renren or Kaixin social networks.

Interent access blocked in China

The Chinese government is blocking access to searches for the word “Egypt” on social networking Internet sites in China. Sina.com public relations officer Ma Taotao confirms that Chinese searches for Egypt are blocked on its instant messaging site, Sina Weibo.

internet block country flagsBreaking down the internet blocks

A growing number of China’s 420 million interent users are turning to services that connect them to servers outside the country so they can access sites blocked by China’s extensive filtering software, known as the Great Firewall. Most computers connected to the Internet are assigned a unique number, or IP address, to route users quickly to the right destination. AnchorFree’s software assigns an anonymous address that can be traced back only to the company and not to the user.

Accessing blocked sites is possible via VPN (Virtual Private Network) — a network technology that provides constant encryption of all internet traffic regardless of the applications in use. The following 5 free anti-censorship client software tools are the most powerful tools and popular methods used past years, to access the information in the free world from inside the closed society, they are UltraSurf, FreeGate, GTunnel, FirePhoenix and GPass.

The US government has engaged a special email tool to break through the censorship filters of foreign governments in order to deliver news and other information. The federal Broadcasting Board of Governors claimed to have used the email tool, known as Feed Over Email, or FOE, to send HTML links to sites that would otherwise be censored by China’s government.

To use FOE, a user just needs access to an e-mail service hosted outside of a censoring country, and the FOE client. FOE is able to fetch content from censored sites without requiring the user to visit those sites to set up the feed. Once FOE fetches the content, it encrypts it and sends it via e-mail much like an attached file. The user’s client gets decrypts the feed and displays it on the local machine.

Discussion

If the country you lived in blocked internet access would you look for and use workarounds to connect to your blog and your readers?