Tag facebook

Don’t Be Like Bill

be-like-jayneYesterday was International Data Privacy Day. Ironically, 1 in 10 people reading this post probably had their data stolen yesterday through a malicious Facebook app. Maybe this one, maybe not — depends on which source you believe — but data-stealing apps are out there and being used constantly by unaware, or unsavvy, FB users.

You should avoid those apps-of-the-month, but if abstinence from FB apps just isn’t something you can practice, here’s a good rule of thumb to identify the bad’uns: If you are ON Facebook, and click on an app or post that then asks you to log into Facebook before continuing, you can bet the mud farm that it’s about to record and misuse your login and personal info.

Depending on how enthusiastic you are in populating your Facebook profile with personal data about yourself, and/or how lax you are with passwords, that info can give the bad guys the ammunition they need to impersonate you on FB, steal your identity, even discover and access your financial accounts. Trust me, if they aim to misbehave, you would be very surprised at how easy it is to do so once you have clicked and given them permission.

Assign A Legacy Contact For Your Facebook Page

facebook-redFacebook now lets you assign someone to take over your Facebook page in the event you pass away or otherwise become incapacitated.  This is actually some useful news from FB — a change from the usual, certainly.  Read more about this addition in this article from CNN, (inaccurately and over-sensationally) titled “Facebook Now Lets You Post When You’re Dead.”

Your legacy contact will be able to write a pinned memorial post, update your profile and cover photos, respond to friend requests, and even download all of your prior posts and photos if you so choose. They cannot log in as you, remove any prior posts, photos, or friends, or read any of your messages. And Facebook will require them to verify you are dead, if that is the case.

A morbid subject, yes, but one that several of my friends have already had to deal with.  I would suggest you take advantage of this option now, rather than make your loved ones do it later.  To read more about memorializing Facebook accounts and legacy contacts, click here.  BTW, you can also do the same for your Google+ accounts, not that anyone cares… 🙂


Let The “I Hereby Declare…” Nonsense Begin!

10734305nIf you are a Facebook user, you’ve probably experienced this more than once: Facebook announces they are making changes to (some/any) policy, and suddenly a spate of posts pop up everywhere with folks announcing that they hereby declare they aren’t putting up with this $#&%!  By God, Facebook can’t do this, and they can’t do that!  Well, guess what? Facebook is making another policy change, so you can expect yet another round of nonsense to begin.

Why do I call it “nonsense”? Well, firstly, to expect Facebook to make changes to anything that are not to Facebook’s advantage in some way, shape or form is just ridiculous.  Facebook is a business, not a gift from Mark Zuckerberg to all of us wonderful people out here, and as such, is in business to earn money. Every policy change they have ever made is a step towards making more money, and every change they ever will make will be the same.

Secondly, by signing up for an account on Facebook, you agree to their Terms & Conditions, and no amount of “I hereby declare…” legalese, no matter how many times you post it, is going to override the fact that you agreed to abide by their rules. Period.  Next time you’re in the grocery store, try this: Pick up a loaf of bread, state “I hereby declare that I will not pay for this bread!”, and walk out.  Okay, so it’s not a perfect metaphor, but the end result is the same — you’re wasting your time and breath.

You, and only you, are in charge of how much you share on Facebook, and with whom you share it. If you don’t like what Facebook does with your information/posts/photos/whatever, then don’t share that information! Again, you are given the tools by Facebook to be “social”, but only on their terms, whether you read them or not. In any case, I highly suggest that you carefully review all of your privacy and security settings. If you need more information, you can start here: Facebook Privacy Basics. Or, if you have specific questions, we are always glad to help!

Facebook Giveth, Facebook Taketh Away

Fbook-IconThough in this case, I suppose, the order of the above should be reversed.  Facebook just announced that it has (once again) tweaked its News Feed algorithm.  The new change gives Business Pages more reach, by allowing posts tagging another Page to potentially appear in both Pages’ feeds.  According to this post over on Mashable.com, the new change “means brands will have greater reach than ever.”

Of course, this comes less than a year after Facebook devalued Business Page posts almost to the point of non-existance, in order to force more businesses to choose Facebook’s “Boost Post” monetary option.  Hence the title of this post.  And Business Pages have always been able to tag other Pages.  Though the potentiality of showing up in both News Feeds is something new, you’ll pardon me if I don’t go all gaga over the latest “upgrade”.

Still, any advance in potential eyes-on-posts is better than no advance at all.  A couple of notes about this change: It will not work for individuals tagging Pages (just as Pages cannot tag individuals), and don’t expect to start tagging Google’s (or Facebook’s) Facebook page and see your post views multiply astronomically.  The News Feed algorithm will still take account the relevancy of each post to both Pages to decide what to show.

In any case, we’ll certainly be giving it a shot. What are your opinions on this change?

Well, Facebook Is At It Again (Part One)…

Many of you may know (and just as many may not) that Facebook is once again updating its privacy policies. This time it’s the Data Use Policy, and the changes are scheduled to go into effect sometime around the end of this week. (What’s that, you say? You didn’t vote on any changes? Well, thanks to the apathetic response by users during the last update, Facebook has now successfully eliminated the need to put changes to a public vote, and thus eliminated the need to care about what the public thinks, as well.) The majority of the updates this time around focus on photo tagging and relevant ad placements. We’ll focus today on tagging, and save the ads for a later column.

Facebook’s Photo Tagging Example

So, what’s the story with this new update? Essentially, Facebook is advancing its “facial recognition” feature beyond where it currently stands, and plans to start adding your profile photo(s) to its facial recognition database, in order to make it easier for your friends to tag you whenever, and wherever, a photo of you might be uploaded to FB. That ability for friends to tag you has been in play for quite a while, as has the suggestion by Facebook of whom to tag in a photo. Where the big change is occurring is that previously, FB only scanned photos of you that were already tagged to add to its database. Now, FB says it “may” start scanning your profile photos, by which it means, of course, that it will.

Reading between the lines, what Facebook is really doing is adding another source of identification of you, yes you, to their database, which in turn will help them more easily identify who your friends are, where you go, what you do… and the end result of all of that identification helps them figure out what ads to show you (and therefore gives them additional selling power to the providers of those ads). Ultimately, it’s just the next logical step in Facebook’s facial recognition agenda, and not that shocking of a step at that, but it does bring to light once again the necessity for all FB users to learn, know, and control their privacy settings.

Facebook’s Tag Suggestion Example

In this case, there are two that are essential to visit, both found within the Account Settings / Timeline and Tagging header. (By the way, the information I’m dishing out here pertains specifically to accessing Facebook via your desktop computer. Things can, and almost certainly will, be slightly different when going through a smartphone or tablet app.) Look for the third section here, entitled “How can I manage tags people add and tagging suggestions?” Check, and change, the following two items to the settings you are comfortable with:

1) Who sees tag suggestions when photos that look like you are uploaded?

I would HIGHLY suggest you set this to “No One”. (This may say “Only Me” on a phone/tablet.) This won’t stop your friends from tagging you if/when they upload photos with you in them, but it will keep FB from suggesting to friends (or anyone else) that it might be you in a photo. To control tagging, go on to the next step.

2) Review tags people add to your own posts before the tags appear on Facebook?

If this isn’t already, you should strongly consider setting this to “On”, to allow you to review any and all photos that are tagged with your name, before they appear on Facebook. Unfortunately, this does not mean the photo can’t be added or seen by others, it just means that it can’t be tagged with your name, or added to your Timeline. You can always request your friend to take the photo down if you really don’t want it to be seen.

One final caveat: While these two settings will help you limit potentially unwanted photo-exposure on Facebook, they will NOT keep Facebook from scanning your profile photos to add to their facial recognition database. Profile photos (and cover photos) are always set to “public” viewability by default, and this cannot be changed. So, for the more paranoid of you out there, that leaves you with one option — not using a picture of yourself as your profile photo. (Keep in mind that by signing up for Facebook, you are voluntarily agreeing to allow all of your personal information to be seen and/or used; you always have the option to delete your account.)

I certainly hope that this information has proved useful to you! If you think it has, why not share this post with your friends, whether they are on Facebook or not. You might also suggest that they sign up on our blog for future updates, and Like our Facebook page, as well. Thank you!

Tracking Your Personal Data Online

EVERY website has the ability to track certain basic data about you when you visit, such as time and date, your IP address (and therefore general location), and third-party referrer data (meaning how you got there from here). For the majority of websites, this information is merely passively collected and rarely, if ever, used.

If you’ve ever had experience with Google Analytics, you know that this data-tracking can be expanded much further, to include your computer’s operating system, type of browser, what you looked at on the site, where you went when you left the site, and so on. Many businesses (ostensibly) use this expanded information set to improve your user experience when you visit their site.

But you might be surprised to learn exactly how MUCH data is collected about you when you go to the 5 biggest (and most-visited) technology company sites on the ‘Net: Google, Facebook, Apple, Amazon, and Yahoo. Check out the infographic below to see what’s collected, and what that information is actually being used for. And remember, in most cases you provide, or allow, this information to be collected…


Article source: VentureBeat Infographic source: Baynet

Men Are From LinkedIn, Women Are From Facebook

And here we always thought that “Men are from Mars, women are from Venus”! Not according to this infographic from InternetServiceProviders.org, which breaks down social media usage by sex.   Most of the stats fall into the “expected” category, i.e. females make up the lion’s (or lioness’) share of Pinterest users, and so on.

Among some of the more surprising conclusions:

1) Pinterest drives more business referral traffic than Google+, LinkedIn, and YouTube combined.

2) Even though Google+ is dominated by male users (or maybe because of that), the average time spent PER MONTH on Google+ is only 3 minutes!

What stats from this graphic make you go hmmmm?

Social Gender Infographic

Facebook, Privacy, and You (Part 3) — The REALLY Important Part!

Anyone who has used Facebook for any length of time at all has surely seen (and maybe even reposted) those legalese-blurbs that start out with “In response to the proposed changes to Facebook’s Privacy Policy, I hereby blah blah blah blah blah blah blah.”  Each and every time a rumor goes around that Facebook is making policy changes (whether or not the rumor is true), the same posts start popping up all over everyone’s Timelines — and they do not one bit of good. None. Zip. Zero. Zilch. Nada.

The fact is, when you signed up for an account on Facebook, you agreed to Facebook’s terms (as outlined in their Statement of Rights and Responsibilities and Data Use Policy), whether or not you actually read them.  By agreeing to these terms, you essentially signed a contract that will remain in force as long as you use your account, and be governed by whatever version of the SRR/DUP is currently in place. So, attempting to negate that contract by posting a dubious piece of verbiage* on your Timeline is akin to writing “I will no longer pay income taxes!” on a sticky note and plastering it to your forehead.  It doesn’t mean a thing and just makes you look silly. 🙂

That does NOT mean that you shouldn’t be aware of, and react accordingly to, changes that occur to Facebook’s policies.  Case in point: Facebook actually IS making changes to their existing SSR/DUP terms that WILL affect your rights, and these changes will take place on December 11,  2012.  Now, Facebook updates their policies all the time (the last major revision was this July), and the large majority of those changes are benign for their users.  And we don’t have the time nor space to go intent to the full extent of this particular set of revisions.

HOWEVER, there is one extremely important change that will occur as the result of this update: Facebook proposes to remove your right as a user to vote on future changes.**  Currently, the system in place allows for a vote, open to all Facebook users, on any proposed revisions to the SRR/DUP policies.  Should 30% or more users vote against any revisions, those changes will not go into affect.  Should LESS than 30% vote against, all Facebook has to do is consider the naysayers vote as advisory.  (Which means, in essence, nothing.)  With this change, your right to vote against future changes will be removed altogether, unless the proposed revisions are voted down.

Now, Facebook currently stands at approximately 1 BILLION users.  That means, to retain our right to vote on future changes, AT LEAST 300,000,000 people will need to vote AGAINST the current changes.  (Technically, you must vote to retain the current SRR/DUP policy, which translates to voting against accepting the proposed revised policy.)  I voted this morning — one of just under 65,000 who have done so since voting began yesterday, December 3rd.  Voting ENDS at midnight PST on December 10th.  That means 240,935,000 people still need to weigh in or the option TO vote will go away.  For good.

Here is where you need to go to vote:


Again, vote to retain the CURRENT policies.  And, please, share this with your Friends — the voting app will allow you to do this, so please don’t pass up the opportunity to retain our rights.

Thank you.




*For further information/explanation on this particular Facebook rumor, visit the Snopes website at www.snopes.com/computer/facebook/privacy.asp.  In fact, I would highly recommend that you check Snopes before believing (and definitely before passing along) ANY kind of online rumor, whether about social media, politics, or just about anything. They do a terrific job of separating the facts from the innuendo.

**Here is the actual text showing the current policy and proposed revision. Highlights are mine.

Current policy:

14.  Amendments

  1. We can change this Statement if we provide you notice (by posting the change on the Facebook Site Governance Page) and an opportunity to comment.  To get notice of any future changes to this Statement, visit our Facebook Site Governance Page and “like” the Page.
  2. For changes to sections 7, 8, 9, and 11 (sections relating to payments, application developers, website operators, and advertisers), we will give you a minimum of three days notice. For all other changes we will give you a minimum of seven days notice. Comments to proposed changes will be made on the Facebook Site Governance Page.
  3. If more than 7,000 users post a substantive comment on a particular proposed change, we will also give you the opportunity to participate in a vote in which you will be provided alternatives. The vote shall be binding on us if more than 30% of all active registered users as of the date of the notice vote.
  4. If we make changes to policies referenced in or incorporated by this Statement, we may provide notice on the Site Governance Page.
  5. We can make changes for legal or administrative reasons, or to correct an inaccurate statement, upon notice without opportunity to comment.
  6. Your continued use of Facebook following changes to our terms constitutes your acceptance of our amended terms.

Revised policy:

14. Amendments

  1. Unless we make a change for legal or administrative reasons, or to correct an inaccurate statement, we will provide you with seven (7) days notice (for example, by posting the change on the Facebook Site Governance Page) and an opportunity to comment on changes to this Statement.  You can also visit our Facebook Site Governance Page and “like” the Page to get updates about changes to this Statement.
  2. If we make changes to policies referenced in or incorporated by this Statement, we may provide notice on the Site Governance Page.
  3. Your continued use of Facebook following changes to our terms constitutes your acceptance of our amended terms.


Facebook, Privacy, and You! (Part 2)

Today we will focus on the Facebook security setting that deals with Active Sessions.  Each time you log in to Facebook, a “session” is started, and certain information is recorded: date, time, approximate location, and device being used to log in. Note that the word “approximate” could really be replaced with “best guess at” for reasons we’ll discuss below. Now, unless you physically log OUT of a session, it will remain open for quite some time.  And each device that you use (phone, tablet, computer) will result in a new session being started, again for reasons we’ll discuss in a moment.

So… it’s quite possible for any one Facebook user to have several, even dozens, of sessions open at the same time.  Don’t believe it?  Why not check your account right now? Simply click the little drop-down arrow in the upper right corner of your (computer) screen, then click “Account Settings”.

Next, click “Security” on the left hand side of the next screen. The last setting will be Active Sessions, and will show where you are currently logged in, as well as the number of other active sessions currently associated with your account.

Click the Edit button to the right, and voila!  There are all your Active Sessions, displayed for your enlightenment.  Surprised?  I was, the first time I looked, particularly when one of my locations was Joplin, and another Tulsa, OK.  So, how do we account for all of these sessions?

When you sign in to Facebook, a small text file called a “cookie” is placed in your browser’s cache by Facebook’s software. Each physical device you use receives its own cookie. This cookie identifies you to Facebook, and remains until you log out, at which time the software automatically deletes it.  Guess what happens when you close your browser without logging out? The cookie stays. And stays. A little checking shows that the cookie will not expire by itself for TWO years.  For the tech-oriented, even clearing your browser cache (and thus deleting the cookie from your system) will not close a session.  In fact, there are only two ways that you can close an active session.

The first, obviously, is by logging out of Facebook each time you open it, from each device that you use.  Not just closing your browser or app, but actually clicking or tapping the words “Log Out”. Of course, logging out means you’ll have to log back in every time you need to use Facebook, and who wants to do that? To be truly security-conscious, you should, especially if you have logged in from a public location via wi-fi.  But there is another, easier way — simply do as we have already done to pull up your Active Sessions, then click “End Activity” next to each session.

This method is actually more secure than simply logging out, as it allows you to monitor your log-in locations as well, and identify anything that looks suspicious.  As we’ve discussed (and will do further shortly), location accuracy can be hit-and-miss, but if you notice a session that says your location is Papua, New Guinea, or something equally ridiculous, you can safely assume that your account has been hacked. End that session, and immediately change your Facebook password.

Now, a friend of mine who lives in NYC recently updated her status, and Facebook displayed her location as New Brunswick, CAN — roughly 600 miles away as the crow, or Canada goose, flies. Not very accurate, true, but probably not an indication of a hacked account. So, how did that happen?  Facebook approximates location through your device’s IP address (a unique set of numbers that identifies each device attached to a network), and, as it happens, there are many factors that can affect your IP.

Let’s start with the obvious: mobile.  When you log in to Facebook from your smartphone (over your cell network, not wi-fi), your signal is picked up by the closest tower, and, depending on cell traffic at the time, could be routed through several other towers until it is officially logged. Which means your location could be pegged incorrectly by a wide margin.  Example:  My cell phone, on the desk next to me, currently shows as logged in to Facebook from Olathe, KS!

Next, consider wi-fi.  Of course, if you’re logging in from a restaurant halfway across town, the session that results should still show the same city name, right? Not necessarily.  Think about this — if the restaurant is part of a chain, and the chain franchise controls all of its network traffic by routing T-1 lines (big data pipes) from a central location… then your log-in at Panera in Springfield could show you as being in St. Louis!  That’s just an example for illustration purposes — I have no idea if Panera’s data goes through StL. 🙂

Okay, but what about the good old PC sitting at my house, connected to my cable company’s network — that will always be accurate, right? Not so fast! My own IP address changes two or three times a year, solely due to network updates by my Internet access provider. And oftentimes when such changes occur, the location assigned to a particular IP isn’t updated in the system right away, and could reflect another locale altogether, even one that is hundreds of miles away! I would guess that is the likely cause for the sudden displacement of my New York friend.

If you’re curious, you can mouse-over each location in your Active Sessions list to see what the IP address is for each.  And yes, you should monitor your sessions on a routine basis, and end those that are not actually being actively used. Remember to always log out of Facebook (or any other app, for that matter) if you have logged in from a public wi-fi location.  If you see anything that you feel isn’t right, change your Facebook password — it’s always better to be safe than sorry (and you should change it regularly, anyway).

That’s it for this post!  Sorry for the incredible length, and thank you if you have read this far.  We’ll return next time with another post that’s more concerned with privacy than security.  (And a new look for the blog!) In the meantime, Happy Thanksgiving from Diamond Mind Web Design!

New ‘Amazon Pages’ In Time For The Holidays

Looks like Amazon is capitalizing (some might say “finally”) on the Social Media craze, by rolling out something new: Amazon Pages, which will allow companies set up their own pages on Amazon.com as “custom destinations,” in other words, landing pages.  These new pages will come with www.amazon.com/brandname URLs and dynamic designs with large photos and social media links.

So far, just an enhanced version of what is already available to businesses using Amazon for e-commerce.  The BIG news is that Amazon will be integrating what they call “Amazon Posts,” to allow companies to engage their audiences and market themselves across both Amazon AND Facebook.  And finally, they will offer Amazon Analytics as a way to track marketing efforts and sales results.  For more on the specifics, visit the Amazon page here.

One can assume that it’s only a matter of time before other social media sites like Twitter and Pinterest are added to the mix.  Even though the new Pages are as yet somewhat limited in what they offer, given Amazon’s huge stature in the online world, early adopters are likely to see a large (if temporary?) jump in their search engine rankings.  And it’s all free, so why not take advantage of the possibilities?  For a more detailed examination of this news, you can read the Telecrunch article here. Or to go ahead and get started, call Diamond Mind Web Design at 417.496-9905.

Facebook, Privacy, And You! (Part 1)

Control Your Facebook PrivacyOdds are, you have a Facebook page, or if you don’t, someone in your immediate family does.  After all, more than 150 MILLION Americans use the site (as of June 2012), and in October, Facebook topped the 1 BILLION mark worldwide. That’s a lot of people, which also means a LOT of information being shared, in large part unintentionally public.

Did you know that, according to a recent Huffington Post online poll, over 25% of Facebook users don’t know how to change, or even view, their privacy settings?  Nearly another 10% almost never look at, or make any changes to, their settings.  That means 1 in 3 of us have little or no control over how the information we post to Facebook is shared, or seen by others.

Tomorrow, we will be starting the first in a series of posts designed to help you take charge of how you share your information on Facebook. For the most part we will be covering Facebook’s privacy settings, though we will also touch base on some security settings as well.  We’ll be using screenshots whenever applicable, and will try not to force our readers to hold a PhD in computer lingo just to understand what’s going on!

One important caveat: The information in these posts is good today. Due to the frequency with which Facebook updates their operating system, we cannot guarantee that it will be good a month from now, or even tomorrow!  It is up to you, once you have become familiar with how privacy settings work through these posts, to assume the responsibility of reviewing them on a fairly frequent basis.

Facebook’s creed is “More sharing!” so it’s very unlikely that any changes they make will work to add more protection to your privacy, despite what they might publicly state.  Never the less, Facebook is still a valuable means to connect with friends past and present, and a useful tool for business as well.  Like any tool, it is safest when used correctly. So, stay tuned!  Tomorrow’s post will be on Active Sessions, or, why your status update shows you are in Tulsa when you’re really in Springfield!

Well, You’ve Got To Start Somewhere…

…so this is where I’ll begin:  Eight (8!) years ago this month, the metaphorical doors of Diamond Mind Web Design opened, and since we are still alive and kicking, I thought that maybe it was time to start my own blog.  Not my first, actually, as I’ve been blogging for about three and a half years over at Business Power Network, but for the first time I’ll be able to focus on topics specific to the web world.

What you will find here: Posts about the dos and don’ts of web design, posts about social media in general, Facebook and LinkedIn in particular, posts about SEO and profile management, and more.  Some will be more technical in nature, some will not; hopefully all will be useful, or at least interesting.  You’ll also find some humor, I hope, though the odds are it will be of a more Pythonesque nature than anything else.

What you won’t find here: Posts about finance, religion, or politics.  Not only did my momma tell me to avoid those subjects in polite conversation, as I have no expertise in any of those fields, I choose not to blather on about any of them.  You can find plenty of that elsewhere; you’ll find none of it here.

Wait, did I say “none”?  Oh, yes, well, one, anyway.  The candidate I endorse in this fall’s election is…

Craig For Prez!

Yes, that’s right — Craig Ferguson for President!  I don’t care if he wasn’t born in this country.  He speaks with a Scottish accent, and that alone makes him trustworthy! 🙂  Okay, I’ll quit now while I’m still ahead.  Encourage your friends to sign up for the blog; we’ll have a kick-off contest soon.  Until next time!