All posts by Joel Fernandes

Joel Fernandes (G+) is a tech enthusiast and a social media blogger. During his leisure time, he enjoys taking photographs, and photography is one of his most loved hobbies. You can find some of his photos on Flickr. He does a little of web coding, and maintains a tech blog of his own - Techo Latte. Joel is currently pursuing his Masters in Computer Application from Bangalore, India. You can get in touch with him on Twitter - @joelfernandes, or visit his Facebook Profile for more information.

A Giant Snake Swallows Up a Zookeeper Facebook Scam

A new scam message is reportedly been spreading on Facebook, where users are enticed to click on a link which promises to show them a video of a snake eating a man. Although the message has been flagged as a scam, many users on Facebook are still clicking on the scam link, which then automatically “likes” and “shares” it on their Facebook Timeline.

The scam message is spreading with the following title and message –

Title: [Video] Snake Eats Man

Message: CAUGHT ON TAPE- A Giant Snake Swallows Up A Zookeeper in Front of Hundreds of People!

Here’s a screen shot of the above spreading message –

Snake Eats Man - Facebook Scam

Clicking the message link will take the user to a page that is designed to look very similar to a Facebook Page. The page contains a fake YouTube video player, and clicking on the “play” button, your Facebook account will be like-jacked.

Likejacking is a malicious technique of tricking users of a website into posting a Facebook status update for a site they did not intentionally mean to “like”.

Snake Eats Man - Facebook Video Scam

Once the message has been posted on your Facebook Timeline, you will be redirected to another page where you will be presented with a set of online surveys. The scammer indicates that after you have completed the surveys, you can watch the video. However, there is no such video shown.

It is recommended that you DO NOT click on such links or scam messages on Facebook. If you come across this scam message, please delete/remove the scam from your Facebook news feed immediately. Alternately, you can report the scam to Facebook Security.

Also, as a precautionary measure, always check which applications you use and remove unwanted or suspicious ones. If you aren’t sure how to do it, you can always check our guide on removing apps from Facebook. In addition to that, don’t forget to check out our article about Avoiding Facebook Lifejacking and Clickjacking scams.

With over 800 million users on Facebook, the social networking giant has always been the main target for spreading scams. It is quite difficult to identify scams on Facebook. Here is a post on How to Identify and Avoid Facebook Scams. Bookmark Techie Buzz Facebook Scams or Subscribe to Scam Alert Feed. We always keep you updated with the latest scams spreading on Facebook.

Play Facebook Games Directly From News Feed

Apart from sharing photos and videos with friends, Facebook apps and games too have helped the social networking giant to evolve and grow bigger. It has also enabled users to come back more often and stay a while longer on site. Ever since Facebook introduced Open Graph, everything on Facebook has evolved to a greater extent. When it came to social games, be it a developer or a Facebook user, the number of users spending time playing games on Facebook has drastically increased.

Now, things will get more interesting and a lot more fun as Facebook has announced a new feature that will enable users to try out games directly within the News Feed. Facebook calls the new feature as “Feed Gaming,” which enables developers to create a short demo of their game that users can play when they see it mentioned in News Feed and Timeline.

Facebook "Feed Gaming"

The best part about this is that users need not have to authorize or install the app to play the game, and no user information is collected. This is more like a demo version, where users can try out the game beforehand, and if they like it, they can go ahead and play the game completely. Once the user has completed playing the demo, they are prompted to play the full version of the game.

“We’re launching the ability for people to try games directly in news feed. Feed gaming enables developers to share a playable version of their game within news feed and timeline stories, reaching new users through some of our main distribution channels,” Facebook said.

Featured games like Idle Worship, Angry Birds, and Bubble Witch Saga are already using feed gaming to increase engagement and drive acquisition.

Advantage That Developers Can Take

Facebook suggested more ways for developers to engage with potential game players in a post on its developer blog:

  • Competing with friends: Angry Birds encourages people to challenge their friends to beat their high score on a specific level.
  • Rewarding engagement: Bubble Witch Saga offers a higher reward of “coins” for better game play, encouraging people to play and then click through to install the game and collect their coins.
  • Track performance of feed gaming stories: To track performance for these stories, pass in a ref param (for example, “ref=feed_game_a”) when publishing the story, and Facebook will begin tracking that story type in insights for your app.

Developers can know how effective their games are, including the number of players. With the Facebook app insights, it will now show the number of impressions, clicks and CTR of each feed game story. Developers can find more details in Facebook’s documentation here.

Feed Gaming is a great feature, at least for users who are addicted to games on Facebook. Also, for new users, staying anonymous and trying out the game is a great advantage. However, demo games are not something new. We have already seen downloadable demos offered for Xbox 360 since its launch, and not to forget the trial version PC games which were available for free download.

Nevertheless, do you think the new feature would benefit you in any way? Would trying a game on Facebook make you more likely to install it? Let us know by adding your comments below.

All Facebook Profiles Must Be Verified – Facebook Scam

A new scam message is spreading across the social networking giant Facebook, where users are asked to verify their Facebook account before the 1st of June. Failing to do so will force the Facebook team to “terminate” the account. The message indicates that the process of verification is done in order to avoid scams under the Stop Online Piracy Act (SOPA).

The message is spreading as follow –

WARNING : Announcement From FACEB00K Verification Team. All Profiles Must Be Verified Before 1st June 2012 To Avoid Scams and Scams Under SOPA ACT. The Unverfied Accounts Will Be Terminated. Verfiy Your Accounts Soon at bit.ly

Facebook Account Verification - Scam

By looking at the misspelled words in the message, one should understand the message is a fake. Also, if in case there was anything as such, then Facebook would never user bit.ly’s URL shorter, since it has its own URL shortner fb.me

Verifying your Facebook account enables you to take advantage of Facebook’s features. For instance, once your account is verified you can upload videos and personalize your profile (timeline) URL by adding a username to your account.

This, however, doesn’t mean that if do not verify your account, your account will be disabled or “terminated.”

Now, clicking on the link in the above spreading scam message will take you to the following Facebook application installation screen:

Facebook verification App

This is rogue application, and associating the app with your Facebook account will give the developers of the app access to your complete profile information, including all your photos, and also post updates on your behalf. Along with that, it will also enable them spam the scam message to all your friends by tagging them in post updates.

How to Verify Facebook Account?

If in case you’re curious to know on how you can verify your Facebook account, follow the steps mentioned below:

  • Once you have created a Facebook account, you can verify your account by adding a mobile number to it. Enter your mobile number, starting with the country code (ex: 1 for US numbers).
  • Facebook will then send you a confirmation code as a text message. Enter this code into the space provided to verify your account.
  • You can also do this from your Mobile Settings page (Account > Account Settings > Mobile).

Note that you can only use your mobile phone to verify one account. To know more about verifying your Facebook account, then click here.

Facebook Testing New Design for Timeline

Facebook unveiled the Timeline feature back in September last year, and ever since, I have heard nothing good about it. Although it’s been several months after the release of Timeline, many users continue to hate it and are still looking out for ways to disable or delete it. In the course of time, the Timeline put Facebook into a little trouble when a small venture capital-backed Chicago company Timelines.com, sued the social networking giant for trademark-infringement.

Despite all this, the social networking giant is making an attempt to redesign the highly controversial feature. According to Talking Points Memo, Facebook is testing a new design for the Timeline feature, in which the user’s information like name, occupation, education, and location are placed on top of the cover photo, while the carousel of thumbnail images which include, “Summary”, friends, photos, and others are placed right below the cover photo.

Here’s a screen shot of how the new Timeline feature looks like –

Facebook Timeline Redesign

The current Facebook Timeline design –

Facebook Timeline

Although the changes to the Timeline are subtle, it makes the profile layout more presentable. You can notice two new things – “Summary” and “Favorites.”

According to the site, clicking on the “Summary” tab will show a list of the major “Life Events” of the user.  The “Favorites” is perhaps the new name for “Likes”, which shows a list of items that the user has “liked”.

The new design and features are currently being tested out, and has been released only to a few number of users. However, it is still unclear whether the new design will be rolled out to all. If the test is successful and generates positive feedbacks from the test users, then it will be released for all users very soon.

Facebook had its IPO just a few days back with an initial price of $38, however, the stocks tumbled down unexpectedly and are currently trading at around $31 a share. A huge debate over the Internet included that the first of day of Facebook’s share will close anywhere between $45 and $50, however, that didn’t seem to happen.

If you are a current Facebook user who hates the Timeline feature right from the beginning, then let us know your views on the new design (redesign) by posting your comments below.

Chrome Surpasses Internet Explorer to Become the World’s Most Popular Web Browser

It’s been over several months since I last used Internet Explorer. Perhaps it could be the same case with you as well. Over the last two years, Internet Explorer has not only lost momentum, but the number of IE users have drastically dropped. Right from the first day of Chrome’s release, it has been a serious threat to the future of Internet Explorer, and today we see the fate of once-upon-a-time popular browser — Internet Explorer, going down the drain.

According to the latest figures from StatCounter, for the first time ever, Google Chrome has become one of the most popular Web browsers worldwide, surpassing Microsoft’s Internet Explorer. Chrome has taken an overall lead with 32.76 percent share, while IE has drastically dipped to 31.94 percent.

Chrome Become's World's Most Popular Web Browser

Back in March this year, Chrome had surpassed IE, however, that was just for one single day over the weekend. The browser reached 32.7 percent of the global rankings on March 18. Chrome was pushed back behind, as IE continued to dominate in the market.

Exactly a year back, IE dominated the Web browser market with a 43 percent share, which was followed by Mozilla Firefox with 29 percent share. Chrome, which was picking its pace slowly, was at the third position with just 19 percent share. Today, IE has lost almost 12 percent market share while Google’s Chrome has grown by 13 percent to the dominate IE and Firefox.

StatCounter’s data is based on over 15 billion page views per month (4 billion from the US; 850 million from the UK) to the StatCounter network of more than three million websites. StatCounter’s statistics are prominently considered to be reliable, however, stats shared by NetMarketShare are quite radical and differ widely. NetMarketShare’s stats show that Internet Explorer had 54.09 percent share this month followed by Firefox with 20 percent share, and Chrome placed in the third position with 18.85 percent.

Browser Market Share

It is known that most of Chrome’s traffic share is from Asia and South America, however, IE and Firefox are still dominating in North America and Europe. In India, Chrome has already achieved the number one spot with 8 percent lead over Firefox. On the other hand, IE continues to rule in Japan, China and South Korea with nearly 50 percent of traffic share.

[Updated] Anonymous Takes Down Congress and Supreme Court Website

UPDATE: A recent tweet by @opindia_revenge reveals that Anonymous has successfully managed to take down the Department of Telecom’s website – dot.gov.in

UPDATE: Looks like both the sites – supremecourtofindia.nic.in and aicc.org.in are back in action again! However, @opindia_revenge has tweeted with the following message:

Anonymous Takes Down Indian Govt. Websites

Anonymous group has successfully taken down the website of Supreme Court of India (supremecourtofindia.nic.in) and the official website of the All India Congress Committee (aicc.org.in). The reason being due to the fact that the Indian Government is taking Internet Censorship quite seriously, and has ordered most of the Indian ISPs to block websites including, Vimeo, ThePirateBay, Pastebin, Dailymotion, and many others.

Since yesterday, many users on Twitter were reporting that popular file sharing and torrent sites were blocked by major ISPs like Airtel, Reliance, MTNL and You Broadband ISP. Upon visiting the blocked sites, the following message is displayed – “Access to this site has been blocked as per Court Orders.”

Anonymous

Within hours, the government websites were taken down by Anonymous, an act of revenge, due to the very fact that the Indian Government had ordered ISPs to block ThePirateBay and other sites.


Anonymous Takes Down Govt. Sites

The first tweet came in from @opindia_revenge indicating that they’re going to “paralyze” the two websites. An hour later, a confirmation tweet followed stating – “We have successfully taken down our main enemy –>> http://dot.gov.in Department of telecom +1 for #opindia”

Although they mentioned that they had managed to take down the Department of Telecom’s websites (dot.gov.in), but at the time of writing this article, the website was fully functional.

The government websites are reportedly down since 17th May 2012, 15:30 IST

Back in June 2011, Anonymous has successfully hacked the National Informatics Centre’s (NIC) websites due to the action taken against Baba Ramdev’s anti-corruption campaign by the Delhi Police. They also managed to hack the Indian Army’s website, which was down for an hour or so.

In response to this, the Indian Twitter and Facebook account of Anonymous were suspended and all videos from its YouTube account were removed completely.

Google Celebrates Mother’s Day with a Beautiful Doodle

God could not be everywhere and therefore he made Mothers.

The above quote reflects the importance of mothers and motherhood, who is one of the greatest living teachers on Earth. It is said that being a mother is a one of the highest salaried jobs, since the payment is pure love. In significance to the love and sacrifice called motherhood, the entire world today celebrates Mother’s Day, a great opportunity to thank and give love to the lady who has done everything that is possible from her hands.

To honor and celebrate Mother’s Day, the search engine giant – Google, has come up with a very lovely and beautiful doodle highlighting the love and affection between a mother and her kids. In the animated Google Doodle, you will see two children give their mother a flower and big hug.

Happy Mother's Day - May 2012

The animations begins with the two children (the two Os in Google) opening a door and stealing a look to see if their mother (the letter “L” in Google) is there. The mother notices the two children coming inside and gets anxious. The children then run to their mother with a flower and give her a big fat hug. The characters then line up to form letters in the Google logo.

Since 2000, Google designs a doodle on the occasion of Mother’s Day every year, and replaces the classic logo on its home page with the doodle to compliment to mothers all over the world. As usual, clicking on the doodle will take you to the results page that details the significance, purpose, and its traditions.

While Mother’s Day is celebrated in different part of the world on different days, it is generally the second Sunday of May (May 13, 2012) that is most widely celebrated. The origin of Mother’s Day can be dated back to 1908 in the United States, when Anna Jarvis held a memorial in remembrance of her mother Anna Reeves, who spent over 20 years teaching at a Sunday school.

With this memorial, Anna Jarvis began a campaign to make “Mother’s Day” a recognized holiday in the United States. By 1914, she was successful enough and the day was known to many people around the States. However, she began hating the very idea of the holiday thing due to extensive commercialization as early as the 1920s. This, however, is considered to be the modern holiday of Mother’s Day.

Today, almost the entire world celebrates Mother’s Day on the second Sunday of May. This includes Canada, Australia, Brazil, most parts of Europe, India and other parts of Asia, as well as many countries in Africa.

Also Read: Google Celebrates International Women’s Day with a Symbolic Google Doodle

Watch the Google Doodle in action –

Happy Mother’s Day to moms all over the world!

Single and Ready to Mingle? Spotify Can Help You Find Potential Partners

Yes, you heard that right! The digital music service provider Spotify has teamed up with two dating websites and has released two new apps called Tastebuds and Fellody, basically to create a social dating platform that not only matches and filters out users with similar tastes in music, but also provides matches based on their personalized playlist.

By installing the new Spotify apps, users can find their potential partners based on their musical likes and dislikes. Both the apps work in a similar fashion. Once you are connected with Facebook or with a unique username, the apps examines through your music playlists and library to find your favorite artists and songs.

Once this is done, the app then presents you with a list of profiles (Spotify users) with similar taste in music. This search can, however, be refined based on your preferences like gender, age, and location. This match-making feature has been provided by the two dating websites, Tastebuds.fm and Fellody.com.

For instance, here’s how the Fellody app will work. It uses a mechanism, or rather a technique in finding your potential partner. It first begins by dropping your music library on the app, and will start rating potential love interest. Along with that, the app will generate a ‘compatibility’ score, and also enables you to send a ‘flirt’ (very much similar to Facebook’s Poke feature), while browsing your matches’ tastes.

Fellody

The Tastebuds app on the other hand will help find a user his/her potential partner based on the artists they’ve been listening to on Spotify. It also scans through the user’s playlists. The app then filters out a list of profiles based on matches by gender, age and location, and message matches in real-time. Users can also arrange an offline meet-up by showing their tracking with the Songkick Spotify concert app.

Tastebuds.fm helps you ‘meet people who share your love for music’. Of late, Tastebuds.fm has been creating a lot of buzz around the Web with an increasing number of users, mainly in the UK. The social dating site was founded by two musicians – Alex Parish and Julian Keenaghan from London, who are the founder members of the band Years Of Rice And Salt.

Tastebuds - Connect Through Music

According to Tastebuds.fm co-founder Alex Parish, 43% of first messages get a reply on Tastebuds. He also states this is “a much higher response rate than non-music based dating sites.”

Fellody founder Robin Simon says, “After our successful launch with Spotify in Germany, we are now very happy to welcome all Spotify users on Fellody, where they might get more groupies with their taste in music than Robbie Williams during the 90’s.”

So, all you single fellas out there, are you all set to mingle?

Facebook Adds File-sharing Feature for Groups

Facebook plans to bring in the file-sharing feature to all Facebook Groups as the company made and announcement that it will soon roll out the new file sharing feature to all Groups, enabling members to send and receive files to each other.

The new feature started to roll out yesterday to a small number of Facebook groups, and will eventually be rolled out to all Groups in the next few days, according to Kate Freeman of Mashable. As Freeman got in touch with Facebook, the company said that groups that don’t yet have the file sharing abilities will get it “soon,” perhaps in by next week.

Users can upload files up to 25 MB in size and make the uploaded files available to anyone inside a group, however, music and executable files are not allowed to be uploaded. E-books, comics, and video files are fine up to 25MB.

Facebook File-sharing for Groups

The restriction to 25MB is to eliminate users from uploading copyrighted video, and also not allowing them to upload music files is probably because the social networking giant seems to be trying to avoid being associated with any disreputable activity like piracy. It is also trying to keep hackers at bay by eliminating executable files from being uploaded.

Like its conventional feature where users can report problems, users can as well be able to report files as a way for the social network to try to prevent sharing of copyrighted or malicious files.

Earlier in April, Facebook launched Groups for Schools, and Facebook did mention about the file sharing feature then. The file sharing service is designed “to make it even easier to share lecture notes, sports schedules, or class assignments,” according to the announcement. Now it pretty much looks like all Groups are getting the feature.

Also Read: Why Facebook Groups is a Powerful Tool for Teachers

Facebook acquired the file-sharing service Drop.io for around $10 million in October 2010, but that didn’t last for a long time. The company had to close down the site’s operations in December in the same year. On that note, Mashable speculates that Facebook will use Drop.io’s services to add a conference calling service to groups, but before predicting anything further, its best that we wait and see on that one.

Image Credits: Mashable

Receive Disney Land Tickets FREE (Limited Time Only!) Facebook Scam

A new scam message has been spreading across the social networking giant Facebook, trying to trick users by providing their personal information as well as financial details. The message spreading promises the user with free tickets to Disneyland, however, there is no such offer, and the message spreading is a fake.

The scam is spreading with the following title – “Receive 4 Disney Land/Disney World Tickets FREE (Limited Time Only!)” along with the message – “Few Disney Tickets Remaining”.

Free Tickets to Disneyland - Facebook Scam

Clicking on the message link will take you to a bogus page where you will see a picture of person holding two entry tickets to Disneyland. At the bottom of it, you will notice a fake countdown, which indicates the number of remaining tickets.

In order to claim the free tickets, the scammer urges you to “share” the bogus page with your friends on Facebook and also “like” a Facebook page. The “like” button is an image and not the actual data from Facebook. Upon viewing the source code of the page, you will find the direct URL to the image. Once you have finished the steps, you will be taken to another page where you are asked to complete an online survey.

There are similar such scams that we have reported in the past. Some of them include, Two Free JetBlue Airline Tickets, FREE Tom’s Shoes: 24 Hours Left, and free Southwest Airline Ticket. It is recommended that you do not click on any of these as they might include malicious programs that could harm your computer.

If you come across this scam message, please delete/remove the scam from your Facebook news feed immediately. Alternately, you can report the scam to Facebook Security.

With over 800 million users on Facebook, the social networking giant has always been a main target for spreading scams. It is quite difficult to identify scams on Facebook. Here is a post on How to Identify and Avoid Facebook Scams. Bookmark Techie Buzz Facebook Scams or Subscribe to Scam Alert Feed.

We always keep you updated with the latest scams spreading on Facebook. Alternatively, you can follow our dedicated scams page on Facebook – Techie Buzz Scam Monitor.