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Submission + - Facebook's Doing Face Recognition Again and This Time America Doesn't Care (vice.com)

pigrabbitbear writes: "At the end of last week, Facebook quietly rolled its Tag Suggestions tool back out to American users. Just like the first time around, the social network talked up the new tool's ability "to help [users] easily identify a friend in a photo and share that content with them." Given the backlash from a couple years ago, you'd think that Facebook would make a few adjustments to the software like, say, not turning facial recognition on for everyone by default. (Opting out is a three step process, explained here) But that's not the case. The tool is virtually exactly the same as it was before, and Facebook doesn't seem at all interested in changing it. "If this new feature is as useful as Facebook claims," Rep. Ed Markey pointed out the last time around, "it should be able to stand on its own, without an automatic sign-up that changes users' privacy settings without their permission.""

Submission + - One-Third Of Young America Now Tweets On The Toilet (vice.com)

pigrabbitbear writes: "A new report is out, and it shows that a third of all American youth are already using social media extensively while they're in the bathroom.

Everyone's poring over this new 'How-we-use-social-media-in-modern-America' study that Nielson just put out, and Will Oremus points us to the good stuff:

"You've got gender disparities in the amount of time spent on social media," he writes in Slate. "You've got the rise of Twitter as a second screen . You've got Pinterest as the fastest-growing social network . But most importantly by far, you've got nothing short of a paradigm shift in how Americans use the bathroom. Yes, according to Nielsen, 32 percent of young Americans between the ages of 18 and 24 report that they engage in social networking while on the pot.""


Submission + - Angry Celebrities Aside, Facebook's Promoted Posts Are Its Path to Redemption (vice.com)

pigrabbitbear writes: "Facebook has been getting a lot of flack lately over EdgeRank, its algorithm that decides who will see your latest post show up in their Newsfeed. After the formula was rejiggered in September, some have seen their reach plummet as much as 50 percent. Enter Like-gate.

Power users aren’t pleased. Star Trek alum and social media all-star George Takei — he’s got 3 million Facebook followers — is dedicating an entire chapter in his new book Oh Myyy on his status update travails. “I am curious as to why interactivity rates on my page appear to fluctuate so much when I have done nothing different,” writes Takei (on Facebook of all places). And then a couple weeks ago Dallas Mavericks owner Mark Cuban threatened on Twitter to quit Facebook altogether.

Much of the uproar hinges on the belief that Facebook is strategically shackling engagement to tempt users into ponying up for promoted posts in the company’s post-public search for profits. Facebook claims the network is fiddling with filters to battle spam. For Cuban, that means paying $3000 to reach 1 million fans — which is apparently intolerable. So much that Cuban is threatening to move the Mavericks along with the 70 or so companies he’s invested in onto new platforms. (Notice that there’s no mention of Google+.)"


Submission + - Why Do So Many Liberals 'Like' Mitt Romney on Facebook? (vice.com)

pigrabbitbear writes: "Mother Jones reports that "In recent weeks, a host of liberal types have complained that their Facebook accounts have erroneously “liked” Romney’s page, and some are floating the theory that the Romney campaign has deployed a virus or used other nefarious means to inflate the candidate’s online stature. This conspiratorial notion has spawned a Facebook community forum, and its own page: “Hacked By Mitt Romney” (cute url: facebook.com/MittYouDidntBuildThat)"

So what’s going on? Is the Romney campaign engaging in some tech wizardry to hijack Americans’ Facebook pages? Seems unlikely, tech wizardry of any kind coming from the not-so-online-savvy campaign, but Romney did somehow manage to acquire millions of fake Twitter followers. And sure, Romney probably feels a bit envious of Obama’s 30 million ‘likers’, seeing as how he only has 8 million. But it looks like the Romney campaign isn’t behind this one — Facebook and its crappy mobile app is."


Submission + - Facebook Hits 1 Billion Users, Celebrates With Horrible Ad (vice.com)

pigrabbitbear writes: "Remember when you were in college and Facebook was this strange new thing that everybody was talking about? And then somebody would mention it in section, and the grad student TA would be all, “What’s this Facebook thing you kids are talking about?” And then you’d be like, “Don’t you know?”

People don’t have these kinds of conversations anymore, because Facebook is the biggest website on the Internet. (You had a nice run, Google.) On Thursday, Mark Zuckerberg announced in a rare Note on his profile page that his social network had finally hit the incomprehensible one billion user mark. (One billion! ) Attached to the bottom of the note — which is kinda weird and includes the churchy-sounding phrase "Today, we honor this tradition " — there’s a little video. It’s Facebook’s first ever ad, one that probably cost about a million dollars to make and it finally answers that nagging question: What is Facebook? Ever seen a chair? Facebook is kind of like a chair."


Submission + - What Happened to Diaspora, the Facebook Killer? It's Complicated (vice.com)

pigrabbitbear writes: "Created by four New York University students, Diaspora tried to destroy the notion that one network could completely dominate the web. Diaspora – "the privacy aware, personally controlled, do-it-all distributed open source social network,” as described on their Kickstarter page – offered what seemed like the perfect antidote to Zuckerbergian tyranny. The New York Times quickly got wind. Tired of being bullied, technologists rallied behind the burgeoning startup spectacle, transforming what began as a fun project into a political movement. Before a single line of code had been written, Diaspora was a sensation. Its anti establishment rallying cry and garage hacker ethos earned it kudos from across an Internet eager for signs of life among a generation grown addicted to status updates.

And yet, the battle may have been lost before it even began. Beyond the difficulty of actually executing a project of this scope and magnitude, the team of four young kids with little real-world programming experience found themselves crushed under the weight of expectation. Even before they had tried to produce an actual product, bloggers, technologists and open-source geeks everywhere were already looking to them to save the world from tyranny and oppression. Not surprisingly, the first release, on September 15, 2010 was a public disaster, mainly for its bugs and security holes. Former fans mockingly dismissed it as “swiss cheese.”"


Submission + - Why Hasn't Congress Stopped Your Boss From Asking for Your Passwords? (vice.com) 2

pigrabbitbear writes: "Imagine you’ve made it into the second round of interviews at a prospective employer, and they ask for your Facebook password in order to have a look around. (Yes, this actually happens.) Unless you’ve been poised for a career in politics (or you are a total lame-o), you’re probably not too pumped on what they are about to see. And from a legal perspective, it sure sounds like an intrusive proposition.

In some states, such conduct would be illegal. California is the latest state to enact a law that prevents employers from requesting access to an employee’s or a prospective employee’s social media account. Already, Delaware, Maryland, and Illinois have enacted similar legislation, and in 2012 alone 14 states have considered laws that would restrict employers from requesting access to social networking usernames and passwords of applicants, students, or employees."


Submission + - The Latest Trend at Facebook: Mediocrity (vice.com)

pigrabbitbear writes: "Sometimes it seems like everybody on Wall Street wants Facebook to fail as a public company. After the company’s meteoric rise from a dorm room vanity project to a $104 billion company in just eight years, it seemed like nothing could stop Facebook from tearing down the gates at Nasdaq and doubling its stock price overnight. That didn’t happen. In fact, the company lost about $35 billion in the days after its IPO. And now, on the day of its first ever earnings report, Facebook stock is taking yet another nose dive, dropping 16 percent in early trading on Friday. Why? Because the social network has become terribly mediocre."

Submission + - This Is the Way Facebook Ends (vice.com)

pigrabbitbear writes: "For the past eight years, Facebook has been the central neural network of the Internet’s link-sharing brain. But as the site has grown, so have our needs. Now that the company’s public, it’s crunch time, and the skeptics and haters are lining up to talk about how it might all end. One thing’s for certain: whether it’s a bang or a whimper, Facebook is not forever. How could it collapse? Let me count the ways."

Submission + - Users Spend More Time on Myspace Than Google+ (vice.com)

pigrabbitbear writes: "Google is boasting that more than 90 million people have signed up for its Google+. Those are pretty impressive numbers. I mean, if you had 90 million people at your disposal, you could do anything. You’d rule the Internet. Except there’s one little problem: No one is using the site.

The Wall Street Journal has the hard, unfiltered truth: According to comScore numbers, users spent an average of 3 minutes on G+ in the entire month of January. Facebook users spent 405 minutes, or nearly 7 hours, on the site. People managed to find 17 minutes to spare to add connections on LinkedIn. Hell, even MySpace users — many of whom are probably ghost accounts — surfed for eight minutes over the month. Three minutes, Google+? You have got to be kidding me."


Submission + - The Alternate Reality Facebook That Almost Happened (vice.com)

pigrabbitbear writes: "What if da Vinci had built that flying machine he was always rambling on about? What if Tesla got the upper hand over Edison and gave us all free energy? What if Harry Lewis had invented Facebook in 1997?

Up until a couple days ago, that last one wasn’t a question alternate-historians had spent much time with. But thanks to revelations in an obscure blog post, it might be time to start pondering a massively different course social media came close to taking.

Lewis — a venerated 64-year-old Harvard computer science professor and former dean of Harvard College — has long been known as part of Facebook’s pre-history: Mark Zuckerberg took a class of his and created a proto-Facebook one-off site in January 2004 called “Six Degrees to Harry Lewis.” But years before that, Lewis came close to inadvertently snuffing Facebook before it could even become a glint in Zuck’s Exeter-trained eye"

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