Is Facebook Blocking Google Plus Invite Links?

Facebook is irked about the growth of Google Plus. Google Plus now has over 25 million users, and ever since it was launched, it has had a tremendous growth. Despite that Google Plus is in field test and new registrations to the site can be done via “invite only“, and the fact being that Google had to shut down the invite system because of high demand, it somehow still managed to achieve enormous popularity.

Now that Google allows its Plus users to invite (more people) their friends to experience the new social network, its rival Facebook, seems to be overwhelmed. Of course, currently the best way to interact with friends on the Internet is via Facebook, and thus users are making use of this means by sharing Google Plus invite links on their walls. Users are not just getting themselves a Plus account, but are also attracted to the new social network and slowly migrating from Facebook.

Facebook appears to be piqued about this and is reported to be blocking Google Plus invites from the users’ Facebook news feed. This came into light when the Senior Vice President of social business, Vic Gundotra posted a video on YouTube demonstrating that Google+ invites that have been shared on Facebook did not show up in the news feed of other Facebook users.

The video was posted after which the company had gotten reports of this unusual behavior. “I wonder how widespread this problem is?” Gundotra asked.

In response to Vic Gundotra’s statement, Facebook (obviously) has denied the fact that it is stopping users from sharing the Google Plus invite URL. Facebook noted that they have a display-filtering technology that help prevent spam and thus could exclude certain links from re-appearing on a user’s news feed if it had previously been posted several times.

“Newsfeed is an automated system that is designed to deliver the most relevant content to you and your friends. The technology evaluates hundreds of factors, including your relationship to the poster, the type of content, the click-through rate (where appropriate), and people hiding similar posts from their feed.

In real time, it decides what to display to you and what to filter for both Top News and Most Recent. It also includes systems that attempt to identify and block spam. Links have a history of the most abuse and are given the most scrutiny. As a result of all of these factors, a given link may be shown or filtered to people differently at different times.”

Facebook, are you sure that you truly attemptto identifyand blockspam messages? Well, there are several scams that are out there on Facebook, and practically a new one is born every day. As a matter of fact, scams that were reported months back are still spreading on Facebook.

Nevertheless, after watching the video, I tried the same by sharing a Google Plus invite on Facebook and simultaneously checking with another account if it had updated or not? The results? Well, it successfully posted the invite link in the news feed of the other account.

Google Plus Invite on Facebook

Now the question is whether Google tried to drive attention towards its social network by creating this gimmick or did Facebook really block the invite link? Vic Gundotra, edited his original post and added – they appear to have stopped on Friday

How to Identify and Avoid Facebook Scams

Facebook has become real spammy of late. Scam messages appear on the  Facebook news feed every now and then. We have reported several scam messages spreading on Facebook. Scammers trick users by creating scam messages with titles and thumbnails that make them curious to click. The purpose of creating scams is either drive traffic to scam web sites or earn money.

Scammers go through users’ account and gather publicly available information, and send phishing emails to obtain secured information like credit card number and bank details. Sometimes, they create malware programs that are automatically downloaded on your computer which help them gain access to credentials like email id, passwords and so on.

Avoiding scams on Facebook is not an easy task. Scam messages look like every other message appearing in your news feed. Scams have the ability to draw attention due to the thumbnails and titles used in it. Here is a comparison of a real Facebook message and a scam message. (Both are video messages)

Real Message vs Scam Message - Facebook

There are four major parts you need to notice in order to identify a scam.

  • Title  – Make sure the title of the message is appropriate. Try to avoid scams with keywords – “showing tits“, “exposing breasts“, “dead“, “OMG!!“, “Free Facebook Credits“, “Girl stripping” and so on.
  • Link – Scam messages often come with appropriate titles and  hence it becomes difficult to identify whether it is a scam or not. When such a situation occurs, the next thing to identify is the link. You can see the difference between the links in the above image. It clearly indicates that the second message is a scam.
  • Message/Description Scam messages usually have vague descriptions. Sometimes, it contains a message that “you need to verify your age before you can watch a video”. Facebook does not have any such step where users are asked to verify their age. If you notice such messages, then you should avoid clicking on it.
  • Play Button The play button in a scam message is always small. Clicking on it will open a page in a new tab. However, the real Facebook message will start playing the video then and there itself.
Here’s another example –
Identifying Facebook Scam

Here are more tips on how you can identify and avoid Facebook scam messages –

  • Avoid clicking on short URLs. If you really want to see where the URL leads to, then try using to expand the URL.
  • Avoid strange messages sent to you by your friends. If you feel that the message is inappropriate, then you always have an option to ask your friends and verify it.
  • If you receive messages sent by a user who is not on your friends list, then check for any links and read tip 1.
  • Minimize the use of applications on Facebook. They’re quite useless.
  • If you are asked to grant permissions after clicking on a link, then make sure that you are granting permission to the right application. You can always revoke permissions by going to Account > Account Settings > Applications
  • Bookmark Techie Buzz – Facebook Scams. We always keep you updated with the latest scams spreading on Facebook.

If you were already tricked into a scam despite being careful, then worry not. Here are a few things that might help you get rid of them –

Express Your Life With Pinterest

I have to admit, I am a sucker for the visual arts. I often tell my wife that I am the reason people still spend money on billboards. I am the kind of guy that will nearly run the car off the road looking at billboard signs. You can imagine my thrill when I found a great social networking site geared towards all things visual called “Pinterest“.

Pinterest is a virtual pinboard that “lets you organize and share all the beautiful things you find on the web.” The site seeks to connect people through common interests. People post things they like that they’ve seen on the web to their “boards” and, like Twitter, people can follow your boards and you can follow theirs.

How does it work, you ask? When you first go the Pinterest website, you will be greeted with a montage of stunning images shared from all over the web. Below, you will see a picture of the main page.

Pinterest Main Page

You will notice that there is a button to “Request an Invite” from Pinterest. If you click this button, you will see the screen pictured below.

Sign Up

Shortly after submitting an invitation request, you will receive a greeting in your email with a link to sign up. You will see a screen similar to the one pictured below when you click that link. Pinterest links with an existing Facebook or Twitter account. They claim it makes it easier to find friends and share your interests. I suspect they didn’t want to reinvent the social networking wheel.

Facebook Connect

Once you have connected to your Facebook account, you are taken to a page where you can indicate certain interests that you have. If you look in the picture below, there are several categories from which to choose. Pinterest will automatically sign you up to follow certain people based on the interests that you chose. You have the option to unfollow these people at any time.


You will now have the option create pinboards of your own. Below, you will see the default suggested categories for pinboards. These are merely suggestions and you can add or delete as many as you like. Once you have added all of the pinboard categories you like, click “Create”.

Create Pinboards

Lastly, you will be given the option to install the Pinterest button to your browser. This will allow you to easily pin something to one of your boards from any website. I think this is a good idea. You don’t have to install it if you don’t want to, but then the process of adding pins is a little more manual. When you hit the Pinterest button in your browser, it automatically picks the images off of the page and gives you the choice of which image you want to pin.  Below, you will see a group of images from a website about Ayers Rock.

Pin This

When you click “Pin This” on an image, you will be taken to a dialog box like the one below. You will be given the option to pick which board you want to pin the image to. You also have the options of giving it a description, mentioning Facebook friends, and adding tags. When you are ready, click “Pin It” and you are done.

Create Pin

Pinterest is a unique way to network with people through the sharing of images. You can make wish lists, plan a wedding, plan an interior design, and much more. Frankly, it is only limited by your imagination and creativity. I hope you enjoy using Pinterest.

I would love to hear your thoughts and ideas. Please feel free to comment below.

Twitter Launches HTML 5 Version of Aimed at iPad Users

As time goes on, we see more and more companies embracing the fact that the iPad is a force to be reckoned with. They spend there time developing apps for Apple’s tablet, redesigning content for its form factor, and even creating special versions of their sites for it. We can now add Twitter to the list of sites that have versions specifically for the Apple iPad.

Announced by @twittermobile, there is now a HTML 5 version of Twitter’s website,, aimed specifically for the iPad. While Twitter has had an iPad app for a while now, this new user experience is designed to be used in the tablet mobile browser. It appears to be a hybrid of the desktop site and the HTML 5 based app.  It features a dual column design that is very reminiscent of the current desktop web experience.

If you prefer to use your iPad’s browser over using an app, then this is a great update for you. It is also a great example of how good a mobile web experience can be. I think other companies (Google+) could take a few notes from Twitter. The iPad offers a greater screen real-estate than the typical mobile phone, and it should be taken advantage of.

The timing on this release is pretty interesting. Facebook announced their own HTML 5 web app initiative, Project Spartan, a few months ago. While nothing has come out of that project yet, it is expected to show fruit any day now. Its possible that Twitter felt it was necessary to beat Facebook to a launch, and they have done just that.

According to Twitter, the new version of the site is not currently available to all users. I know that I could not access it just yet, but some users can. It is said to be rolling out to all users over the next week. When I manage to access the site, I will take some screenshots and post them (or someone could send me some.)

Facebook Rewards $500 for Every Bug Reported

Remember Google’s Chrome Bug Bountyprogram? Well, when Google released Google Chrome 12, it announced on its blog that it rewarded developers/researchers who found vulnerabilities (bugs) in its code. Earlier in August 2010, it was reported that Google gave away a total estimate of $10k of rewards. Mozilla too has the bug bounty program which pays $3,000 in hard cash plus a free Mozilla T-shirt for finding bugs!

Facebook has joined Google and Mozilla, and is following the “Bug Bounty” program, by rewarding its security researchers. However, the reward offered is way too less. For security related bugs – cross site scripting flaws, for example – the company will pay a base rate of $500, but if they’re highly significant flaws, Facebook has promised to pay more. However, the company executives haven’t revealed the bonus reward.

“To show our appreciation for our security researchers, we offer a monetary bounty for certain qualifying security bugs,” Facebook stated on its portal.

Facebook launched a new Whitehat hacking portal where researchers can sign up for the program and report bugs. They have also published a list of about 42 researchers who have made responsible disclosuresin the past.

Facebook Bug Bounty Program

With over 750 million  active  users, looks like Facebook is highly concerned about its security issues. Facebook hired a computer hacker who was recently sued by Sony for hacking the online gaming system PlayStation 3, last month.

If a bug has been discovered, the researchers  are asked to provide  as much information as possible. In order to receive the award, a detailed  explanation of steps is  required and all legitimate reports will be investigated.

Here’s the company’s policy –

“If you give us a reasonable time to respond to your report before making any information public and make a good faith effort to avoid privacy violations, destruction of data and interruption or degradation of our service during your research, we will not bring any lawsuit against you or ask law enforcement to investigate you.”

In addition to that, the researcher who reports a bug first is only rewarded. For instance, if two researchers find the same bug individually, the first one who reports it will be eligible to claim the reward.

Facebook’s Bug Bounty Eligibility Rules

In order to be eligible for the reward, researchers must follow to Facebook’s Responsible Disclosure Policy.

  • You must be the first person to responsibly disclose the bug.
  • Give Facebook a reasonable time to respond to your report before making any information public.
  • You must live in a country not under any current U.S. Sanctions.
  • You agree to report issues that may compromise a user’s information including Cross-Site Scripting (XSS), Cross-Site Request Forgery (CSRF/XSRF) and Remote Code injection.
  • Only one payment per bug will be awarded.
  • Bugs in third-party applications, third-party websites that integrate with Facebook, Denial of Service Vulnerabilities or Spam or Social Engineering techniques will not be eligible.

Google, Mozilla and Facebook are not the only ones who reward its security researchers. Microsoft does it too. Microsoft, on the other hand, offers a big reward of US$250,000 to anyone who provides information on a virus culprit who masquerades in the Windows theme.

Facebook Tweaks Account Settings, Again

Facebook might have come under fire on numerous occasions over privacy concerns; however, the fact is that Facebook has always offered fairly granular settings. The trouble has always been with the default settings, and the often convoluted process involved in changing these default settings.

In an attempt to fix this, Facebook has tweaked the accounts settings section on several occasions in the past. The latest refresh was rolled out a few minutes ago. No settings have been added or deleted. Facebook has simply improved the design of the Account Settings page to make editing and updating your account information easier. Perhaps stung by criticism about the closed nature of its service, Facebook is also making it easier to export your own data. Unfortunately, the data that gets exported hasn’t changed and is still pretty limited.


This update is purely a cosmetic change. However, traditionally every little change on Facebook has been met with a vocal backlash. It will be interesting to see if there’s one in this case too. My guess is that most people simply wouldn’t notice the changes as they are quite insignificant, and the loudmouths are busy shouting about the horrendous new chat-bar anyway.

Twitter Activates “Promoted Tweets To Followers”

For some time now, we have heard rumors that Twitter would be bringing ads to our streams. It only made sense that Twitter would have to find a way to monetize outside of promoted trends. The only logical place for that to happen was in the users feeds, and that has now come true.

Announced on the official Twitter blog, Promoted Tweets have started their reign as of today. For the time being, they are only active for a select set of advertisers. Before you grab your torches and pitch forks, let me explain a few things about the new Twitter ad scheme.

Many people feared that promoted tweets would mean the onset of ads you didn’t want, similar to spam emails. Twitter has said that wouldn’t be the case, and it looks like they were telling the truth. For the time being, ads will only come from brands and companies you already follow. They pay for the ability to be at the top of your stream, despite not being the latest tweet you receive.

That may sound horrible, like they could just clog the top of your stream. According to Twitter’s official blog, promoted tweets won’t do that, either. Twitter says that these ads will move through your stream after a period of time, allowing for you to continue to interact with your friends. They also promise that the promoted tweets will only appear once.

If you don’t want to see the ads roll through your stream at the regular rate, you can choose to dismiss them manually. This is good news for those of us who have an active Twitter engagement. I follow a number of active people, and I would hate to miss any of their tweets.

So there you have it. Promoted tweets are going live, and they may not be so bad. What are your thoughts on these new ads? let us know in the comments section.

Gender, No More a Secret on Twitter

When Twitter initially launched its service, users created Twitter handles with nicknames and aliases that did not reveal the gender and it was difficult to identify it. Nevertheless, Twitter still does not have an option to let its users reveal their gender. However, a bunch of researchers has figured out a way to identify, or rather predict the gender of a user on Twitter based on their tweets.

In a paper called Discriminating Gender on Twitter, researchers at the Mitre Corporation have come up with an algorithm and stated that with the help of the algorithm, they could identify a user’s gender by analyzing the tweets.

According to FastCompany, team members – John Burger, John Henderson, George Kim and Guido Zarrella – selected a set of Twitter users whose gender they were sure of. They then narrowed their research to users who linked to major blog services where they revealed their gender. The data obtained showed that about 55% were female and 45% were male. By examining the users’ real name as posted on their Twitter profiles, the computer guessed the gender correctly on around 89 percent of instances. Remarkably, the program was able to guess a user’s gender correctly 65.9 percent of the time by looking at a single tweet.

The team created the algorithm, which suggests that different people use different languages in different ways. They found out that, by looking at certain characters or combinations of characters, the computer could easily guess the gender of the tweeter. For example, if the user used an exclamation mark or a smiley face, it guessed that the user was more likely to be a female.

Twitter Gender Analysis

On other platforms, I have seen users creating fake profiles by updating their gender as female, even if they are male in reality. It’s a human nature that males are more attracted to females, and the majority of male users on the Internet send friend requests or follow female users. Thus, by creating profiles under female gender will bring in more followers or friend requests no matter what.

Perhaps this is why Twitter has not yet introduced an option that lets its users reveal their gender. The other reason could be that there are several organizations and brands on Twitter. Well, one cannot describe the gender of an organization.

Although Google+ does not support brand and organization entities, it recently updated its system by adding an option called Otherin gender. Additionally, if Google Plus users did not want to reveal their gender, they always have an option to disable it or share it with selected people. I think Twitter should consider introducing a similar option, at least to organizations and brands in order to make it easier for other Twitter users to identify whether it’s a brand or a person.

OMG Towel Pulling Prank Sets This Poor Girl Totally Undressed – Facebook Scam

Another new video related Facebook scam is spreading rapidly on . The scam is similar to earlier scams like the Brother rapes and ills sister scam, Girl raped by Teacher in Classroom scam and the Ex Girlfriend Revenge Video scam where pictures of scantily clad women or couple in compromising positions accompany the updates.

OMG Towel Pulling Prank Facebook Scam

The current scam is similar to earlier survey scams, where users are asked to complete a survey before they can watch the video in question. However, after completing the survey no video is shown and instead the user’s wall page is updated with a similar message that they had originally clicked on thus further spreading the scam.

The new scam is going around with messages like:

OMg,, Towel Pilling Prank Sets this poor girl totally undressed scam.

It is totally shocking as well as somewhat humorous

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.

Here is an article about Avoiding Facebook Likejacking and Clickjacking scams. We have also compiled a list of Most Actively Spreading Scams on Facebook on Facebook for you to look through and avoid. You might also want to use a security application for protecting you from Facebook scams. 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.

WARNING: Amy Winehouse Death Video Scam Spreading on Facebook

As with the past Facebook Scams , the scammers on are all out to exploit situations to make money and scam people. Quite recently, they took advantage of the Oslo bombings and spread a Fake Oslo Bombing Video Scam. Earlier they had exploited Ryan Dunn’s death and spread a scam about Ryan Dunn’s LAST WORDS EXCLUSIVE Video.

RIP Amy Winehouse

Today, another tragic incident happened with singer Amy Winehouse dying under unknown circumstances. However, death or bombings do not deter these scammers from exploiting people and they have started to spread a new scam on Facebook related to Amy Whitehouse death.


The scam is spreading under multiple guises including;

  • Leaked Video!! Amy Winehouse on Crack hours before death. Amy Winehouse getting high on crack just hours before she died
  • Amy Winehouse Death film Leaked Attention: Real Video. Leaked Video of Miss Amy Winehouse Death – Watch Now!

This is definitely pathetic, however, with over 750 million Facebook users it is a very good opportunity for these scammers to exploit users and make money. I am really fed-up of the lack of management by Facebook because they can easily put in solutions which can stop such things. Earlier last year, managed to put a perfect solution for tackling and stopping scams and spam from spreading by introducing their own short URLs

Using that facility, they could easily block and control spam URLs and stop users from visiting affected sites. Sadly, the amount of scams spreading on Facebook suggests that Facebook is not doing anything about it.

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.

Here is an article about Avoiding Facebook Likejacking and Clickjacking scams. We have also compiled a list of Most Actively Spreading Scams on Facebook on Facebook for you to look through and avoid. You might also want to use a security application for protecting you from Facebook scams. 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.