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  • Geebo 12:08 pm on December 16, 2016 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: Facebook,   

    Facebook’s fighting fake news again 

    Facebook's fighting fake news again

    It feels like old home week again when it comes to the news. First we had yet another Yahoo hack and now Facebook is implementing new measures to fight fake news, again. This time they mean it.

    According to reports, Facebook is testing new tools for reporting fake news. It’s basically the same tools they have for reporting spam. When some users click the little down arrow that comes with most news stories on Facebook, they’ll be able to flag the story as false or misleading. This is said to trigger a review process that could end up have the story labeled as misleading or disputed.

    While it sounds great in theory, I’m sure there’s no way that the system could be abused. That was sarcasm by the way. This system could remind someone of the ‘community policing’ touted by a certain less than scrupulous classifieds site. While it was originally intended to report scammers and illegal ads, it’s since deteriorated into a tool for petty squabbles and trolling.

    This doesn’t even take into account that Facebook takes money from just about anyone in order to ‘boost’ their post or news article. It almost seems a conflict of interest for Facebook to rake in all this cash while claiming to fight fake news when anyone can pay to be featured.

    It seems like Facebook is trying to be both the cause of and the solution to fake news but logic dictates it can be only one of them.

     
  • Geebo 10:57 am on December 14, 2016 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: Facebook, , Parents Portal,   

    Is Facebook’s Parents Portal any good? 

    Is Facebook's Parents Portal any good?

    Having children in today’s digital age of social media can be trying. It’s always great to have access to resources to help you navigate the social media minefield for your children. That’s why I’m sure some parents were relieved to hear that it’s been announced that Facebook now has what they call a Parents Portal. The question remains, is it actually helpful? Well, that depends on who you ask.

    The Getting to Know Facebook section basically tells you how to use Facebook, which kind of everybody already knows. One would imagine that the most important section one would be the Parenting Tips section, however it reads like someone from a previous generation trying to explain to their parents how not to make the VCR continually flash 12:00. The tips they provide are very basic common sense tips to the point where they almost seem condescending. The problem is that some people need these common sense tips though as they’re either too trusting of the internet or their own children.

    The highlight of the Parents Portal is that on its Expert Advice page, it provides links to legitimate resources for parents that require more information on how to work with their kids when it comes to their social media behavior.

     
  • Geebo 10:51 am on December 9, 2016 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: Facebook, pyramid scheme, , wine   

    ‘Tis the season to get scammed on Facebook 

    'Tis the season get scammed on Facebook

    With Christmas fast approaching the scam artists have come out in full force, and where better to scam someone then where fake news rules supreme. In case you’re wondering, I mean Facebook.

    Reports are coming in about secret gift exchanges, such as the ‘Secret Wine Bottle Exchange’. In this particular Facebook post the poster asks for 6 to 36 wine lovers to buy a bottle of wine and send it to someone on the gift exchange list. Then your guaranteed to receive 6 to 36 bottles of wine yourself. While not quite on the level of Bernie Madoff, this is nothing more than a pyramid scheme. Once the person at the top of the pyramid receives their 6 to 36 bottles of wine, they have their ill-gotten booty and the rest of the pyramid is left holding the wineskin. For pyramid schemes to work you have to keep recruiting more and more participants. Eventually it becomes increasingly difficult to recruit more people and the lower tiers of the pyramid are left empty-handed while the top levels have already abandoned this set of marks and have moved on to something new.

    It’s not just wine exchanged though. These scams could appear with a myriad of titles, most referring to some type of ‘secret’ gift exchange promising you unreal returns. If you see someone on your Facebook feed sharing these posts you may want to politely let them know that they’re being scammed.

    While Christmas is a time for sharing and giving, it’s also the most wonderful time of the year for scammers and con artists as they love to prey on people’s spirit of generosity during this season.

     
  • Geebo 10:56 am on December 1, 2016 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: Facebook, ,   

    Fake news is a problem, but is it Facebook’s problem? 

    Fake news is a problem, bus is it Facebook's problem?

    A lot has been made about Facebook and its problem with fake news articles appearing on its social network. We even started discussing this back in August. Ever since Facebook eliminated its human curation staff the site seems to have flooded over night with fake or misleading headlines.

    In a blog post on Quartz, they discuss a study that shows that a majority of traffic to these fake, or what they call hyperpartisan news sites, comes from Facebook. As you may have surmised, hyperpartisan news sites are specifically designed to garner traffic from members of whatever political party they tend to represent For example, a site called ‘Occupy Democrats’ gets almost 80% of traffic from Facebook alone while the New York times only gets 11%.

    While Facebook’s former curation team would have prevented stories like this from ending up in their trending topics, it’s ultimately up to the Facebook user who shares and spreads this disinformation or hyperbole. Again, there are too many people on Facebook and the internet in general, who are too eager to share articles that reinforce their confirmation bias no matter how outlandish the premise of the story may be.

    While Facebook’s fake news quandary is indeed a problem, ultimately it’s not really Facebook’s problem. As a wise man once said “We have met the enemy and he is us.”

     
  • Geebo 10:09 am on October 13, 2016 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , Facebook, ,   

    Facebook gives rise to new voters, but are they informed? 

    Facebook gives rise to new voters, but are they informed?

    Facebook is being credited with sparking a spike in voter registration thanks to their campaign to get their US users to vote. It really should come as no surprise as Facebook has become a daily utility that has almost become a public service. Providing easy access to state voter registration resources more than likely encouraged many people who may have not registered otherwise.

    While this is encouraging that more people are registering to vote in such a pivotal election that could have repercussions for generations, Facebook is not really the ideal environment for political discourse and learning. When it comes to discussing politics on Facebook, it’s usually nothing more than the reposting of meme, shouting into the echo chamber, or the sharing of misinformed or even completely fake articles.

    While mostly everyone has the right to vote are we raising a generation of misinformed voters? While the internet gives us access to much of the world’s information it also allows us to engage in our biases and surround ourselves in comfortable lies rather than inconvenient truths.

     
  • Geebo 9:57 am on October 11, 2016 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: Facebook, Free Basics,   

    What is Facebook’s ‘Free Basics’ and why is it controversial? 

    What is Facebook's 'Free Basics' and why is it controversial?

    In a move that may seem philanthropic Facebook has plans to bring its Free Basics internet service to the US. Free Basics is a plan to bring free but limited internet to rural and poorer areas. Facebook sees it as a way to be able to bring much-needed access to government and health services to low-income families. Facebook tried to bring this service to India, however the service was largely rejected because of what Facebook limited the service to.

    Opponents see Free Basics as another way of Facebook trying to keep its users in their walled garden. Facebook has an alleged reputation of trying to keep its users on Facebook without going to other websites or apps. Since Facebook just happens to be one of the services offered in their Free Basics that fear may not be unjustified.

    However, Facebook has almost become a public service with its safe notifications when natural disasters or major tragedies occur. In that maybe a limited internet is better than no internet at all.

     
  • Geebo 9:41 am on October 4, 2016 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: Facebook, ,   

    Facebook Marketplace already showing abuses 

    Facebook Marketplace already showing abuses

    Facebook recently relaunched its Marketplace section. In a nutshell it’s a space on the Facebook app that allows people to buy and sell various goods to each other. The problem is that it didn’t take long for illegal items and items against Marketplace’s guidelines to be offered for sale on the Facebook App. Drugs, guns, dogs and ‘adult services’ have all been offered for sale on the revamped app.

    Facebook has been slow to remove these ads but has said that in the future they’ll use a combination of community policing and employee moderation to keep future objectionable ads off their site. If history is any indicator it doesn’t seem like Facebook will remove these ads in time. If they take their usual 36 hours to remove an ad, that illegal item could have already been sold. More than likely Facebook will rely heavily on community policing, which if you look at craigslist’s community policing it will be more like the inmates running the asylum.

    Another problem with Facebook Marketplace is that Facebook is trying to keep you in their ‘walled garden’. That means they’re trying to be all things to all people in order to keep them on their site or app for as long as possible. Facebook doesn’t want you to go to any other site besides Facebook. The problem with walled gardens is that walls collapse and gardens die. The more Facebook tries to contain their users the closer it gets to being AOL of the 1990s, and who still uses AOL?

    Instead of using an unreliable service, your best bet is to use Geebo, the safer community classifieds. Here at Geebo we moderate our ads to make sure that nothing illegal or harmful is sold. As a socially conscious service, not only did our CEO Greg Collier eliminate the personals section to protect against human trafficking and other related crimes, but he also eliminated the sale of animals to discourage the use of puppy mills and animal related scams.

    While some online classifieds say that they’re socially responsible, Geebo not only talks the talk but it walks the walk as well.

     
  • Geebo 11:59 am on September 28, 2016 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: Brad Pitt, Facebook, ,   

    The rumors of Brad Pitt’s death have been greatly exaggerated, but the news of it will infect your device 

    The rumors of Brad Pitt's death have been greatly exaggerated, but the news of it will infect your device

    Whether you wanted to know it or not, you’ve no doubt probably heard the news of Hollywood couple Brad Pitt and Angelina Jolie are getting divorced. The power couple, nicknamed Brangelina, are calling it quits after an 11-year-relationship, two of which they were married. Facebook news feeds filled up with links announcing the split, usually followed by people saying they don’t care while posting the link.

    However, even this minor news story has brought some hoaxsters out in full force. In your Facebook news feed you may see a story that claims Brad Pitt has committed suicide in the wake of his recent talks of divorce. Not only is the story not true, the link is disguised as a Fox News link to send you to a hoax page. (Insert your own joke about Fox News and hoax page here.) The fake page is designed not only to get your Facebook details but to also inject malware into your device.

    If your Windows computer does become compromised with malware many tech experts recommend downloading anti-malware protection. Malware Bytes is one of the most trusted anti-malware tools in the industry. If you have been infected by malware, ,start your computer in safe mode by pressing the F8 key while your machine boots up. Then run your anti-malware program to clean out your system.

    To modernize an older quote, don’t believe everything you see and only half of what’s posted on Facebook.

     
  • Geebo 10:00 am on September 12, 2016 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: 9/11, Facebook, Napalm Girl   

    Facebook is having trouble pleasing all the people all the time 

    Facebook having trouble pleasing all the people all the time

    It’s been said that heavy is the head that wears the crown, and despite some reports Facebook is still the king of social media. With over one billion users, Facebook has the daunting task of trying to keep all of those users happy. The problem is that it’s almost impossible to make every user happy, especially with how fickle the internet in general can be. So it should come as no surprise that Facebook made headlines over the weekend for not just one controversy but two of them.

    The first one came when a Norwegian newspaper used the famous image of a young girl during the Vietnam War who had removed all her burning clothes after a Napalm attack. It’s an iconic photo (WARNING: Link contains photo that some may consider graphic) that personified the horrors of the Vietnam War. Facebook had a judgement call to make. Should they let the photo remain or should they remove it since it violates their policy on graphic or explicit images. At first, Facebook removed the photo which led to worldwide outcries of censorship. After much deliberation Facebook reversed their decision with the following statement.

    “An image of a naked child would normally be presumed to violate our community standards, and in some countries might even qualify as child pornography,” Facebook said in a statement Friday. “In this case, we recognize the history and global importance of this image in documenting a particular moment in time.”

    Their second controversy of the weekend came once again from their trending topics section, this time it revolved around the 15th anniversary of 9/11. It would be no surprise that 9/11 would be a top trending topic over the weekend, however the fallout came from one of the top articles they promoted. The article, entitled “September 11: The Footage that ‘proves bombs were planted in the Twin Towers'”, was from a British tabloid that appears to be just a short step up from the infamous Weekly World News. The conspiracy laden link was eventually removed with Facebook once again releasing another mea culpa.

    “We’re aware a hoax article showed up there,” a Facebook spokeswoman said in a statement on Friday, “and as a temporary step to resolving this we’ve removed the topic.”

    Due to the massive audience of Facebook it relies on algorithms, and no matter how complex the algorithm might be, it’s not going to be perfect. These are not conscious decisions as much as they are glitches. Even if human curation is restored to the back-end of Facebook mistakes will be made. The problem is our reactions to these mistakes, as they are almost always met with outrage. With a platform that is so ubiquitous mistakes will be made and they will continue to be made. Instead of the weeping and gnashing of teeth, maybe we should reserve our outrage for situations that really deserve it, instead of a website that basically amounts to a water cooler.

     
  • Geebo 10:02 am on August 30, 2016 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: Facebook, Megyn Kelly, , trending topics   

    Facebook’s new trending topics backfires 

    Facebook's new trending topics backfires

    Facebook has had some controversy when it came to its trending news topics. At one point they were criticized for allegedly suppressing news from conservative news sites. They’ve also recently said that they would be cracking down on clickbait articles that continue to pollute people’s newsfeeds. That’s not to mention the amount of fake news that gets posted to Facebook everyday that sends droves of us to Snopes.com. So this past Friday, Facebook fired its human curation staff and replaced them with what was supposed to be an impartial algorithm. So what did the algorithm do? It made a fake clickbait story a top trending story.

    The story in question claimed that Fox News personality Megyn Kelly was being fired from the conservative news outlet for backing Democratic Presidential candidate Hillary Clinton. The problem, besides the story being absolutely not true, was that the website featured for the story was a blog, that quoted another blog, that quoted another website, that took a quote from a Vanity Fair article out of context in one of the more weird instances of the telephone game.

    In the grand scheme of things this will have little to no effect on Facebook in general. Facebook is one of those companies that neither do no right nor do no wrong because they have no competition. Where else are you going to go to know what your friends and family are up to? Until someone comes up with a better product than Facebook, with its over 1 billion users they can make all the wacky experiments they want on their website and we’re all just tiny little specimens in their petri dish unable to do anything about the mad scientists who are poking and prodding them.

     
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