Category Archives: Social Media

News, views, analysis and tips on Social Networking and Social Media. News from Twitter, Facebook, MySpace, Orkut, Digg, Reddit and more.

Cleanup Your Facebook and Other Network Profiles with MyPermissions Cleaner

While Facebook’s one-click login button makes it really easy for users to signup for new apps and services, it also makes it ludicrously easy for malicious entities to get their hands on your private info. All they need to do is to create a quiz to lure you into sharing your Facebook profile data.

In a previous article we reviewed Privacyfix, which automatically identifies and highlights security issues in your Facebook and Google settings. One of the threats that Privacyfix identifies is app permissions. However, it doesn’t provide a quick way to withdraw access you have previously granted to various apps. Chances are that over the years you have allowed hundreds of apps to access your Facebook profile. Manually delisting them is likely to take quite a while. Thankfully, there is another browser extension, which can take care of this problem.

My-Permissions-Cleaner-Facebook-Scan

MyPermissions Cleaner is a handy extension for Chrome, Opera, and Firefox, which scans your Facebook profile and lists all apps that have access to your Facebook information, and allows you to revoke access to all apps with a single click. Ideally, you will not want to revoke access to all apps. For example, if you are an avid Instagram and Tweekdeck user, it makes sense to let these apps be. Thankfully, MyPermissions allows you to add select apps and services to a whitelist (Trusted Apps) with just a couple of clicks. Once you have whitelisted the apps you need, you can get rid of the rest of them with a single click. However, if you have several hundred apps in your list, then it might be easier to simply revoke permissions for everything and add back the apps that you use as and when required. MyPermissions Cleaner does a good job at exposing exactly what sort of info each app has access to, and allows you to filter apps by their access levels. The only trouble is that the extension doesn’t always work perfectly, and sometimes gets stuck while deleting an app. However, a page refresh generally takes care of the issue.

My-Permissions-Cleaner-Facebook-App-List

It’s not just Facebook alone, MyPermissions Cleaner currently also supports Twitter, Google, LinkedIn, Yahoo, Dropbox, Foursquare, Instagram, Flickr, AOL, and Windows Live. For each of these services the app works in an identical manner, and offers to cleanup your app permissions. If you have never bothered to look into the apps that have access to you profiles on various networks, go ahead and do it now. Let this be your little end of the year cleaning.

[ Download MyPermissions Cleaner ]

Lock Down Your Facebook and Google Accounts with Privacyfix

Way back in 2010, just as the controversy surrounding Facebook’s Open Graph was exploding, we had reviewed a nifty bookmarklet called ReclaimPrivacy that could automatically scan your Facebook settings and highlight areas of concern. Recently I came across a Firefox and Chrome extension called PrivacyFix, which does the same thing, but better.

As soon as you install the extension, it will scan your currently-logged-in Facebook and Google accounts, as well as your browser cookies to identify privacy threats. Once it finishes scanning, you will see a neat report, which highlights potential areas of concern. Privacyfix explains each of the identified issues, and assists you in fixing them.

Privacy-Fix-Facebook-Privacy-Settings-Recommendation

Privacy Fix also maintains a database of popular websites that track and retain user data. For websites with an opt-out policy it offers to send a mail requesting to opt-you out. Additionally, it can delete existing tracking cookies, and block tracking cookies from being placed in the future.

Privacy-Fix-Facebook-Privacy-Settings-Configuration

Privacyfix is a simple, hassle-free solution that goes a long way towards avoiding accidental privacy breaches on social networks. Both Facebook and Google offer great privacy tools. Unfortunately, they are either difficult to find, or too confusing for most users. By automatically identifying and highlighting potential issues, Privacyfix makes things easier for the user. It’s a tool that even your parents could use with confidence. Go ahead and download it. There is no reason not to.

Privacy-Fix-Health-Bar

[ Download Privacyfix ]

Facebook Testing $1 Fee for Messages to Non-friends

The social networking giant Facebook has figured out yet another way to monetize the site. According to Facebook, it is testing a new service that will enable advertisers (or anyone) to send messages to Facebook users with whom they are not connect with, and guarantees that this message will be delivered right into the users’ inbox, rather than the rarely-visited folder “other.”

That sounds like “premium” spam messages to me.

Facebook launched the “other” folder back in 2011, which was basically used to store messages that were sent from a non-Facebook friend. In other words, the “other” folder acts pretty much like a spam folder. However, with the new service, users will be able to pay $1 to route their messages to the inbox.

Facebook states that this will benefit both the sender and the receiver:

“For example, if you want to send a message to someone you heard speak at an event but are not friends with, or if you want to message someone about a job opportunity, you can use this feature to reach their inbox.”

“For the receiver, this test allows them to hear from people who have an important message to send them.”

Also it worth noting that messages sent to [email protected] from your regular email services like Gmail will also end up in the “others” folder.

Facebook said the new $1 fee could help reduce spam or irrelevant messages from being sent to inboxes. They have said the option will only be presented to a “small number” of users in the U.S. at this point, and people will be limited to one paid message per week to start.

Instagram Apologies and Reverts to Old Advertising Terms

The news about Instagram’s change in privacy policy and terms of service that broke out earlier this week caused an outcry by users, thinking that the new policy would allow the photo-sharing giant to sell images without the individual permission of users.

However, the update won’t be effective anymore as Instagram reverts to old advertising terms. In a blog post, Instagram co-founder, Kevin Systrom stated that they have discarded the new advertising terms and are going back to the original version that has been in effect since we launched the service in October 2010. Yes, that means you don’t have to close or migrate to another photo-sharing service. Your photos on Instagram won’t be used for advertising.

Earlier this week, we introduced a set of updates to our privacy policy and terms of service to help our users better understand our service. In the days since, it became clear that we failed to fulfill what I consider one of our most important responsibilities – to communicate our intentions clearly. I am sorry for that, and I am focused on making it right.

The concerns we heard about from you the most focused on advertising, and what our changes might mean for you and your photos. There was confusion and real concern about what our possible advertising products could look like and how they would work.

Because of the feedback we have heard from you, we are reverting this advertising section to the original version that has been in effect since we launched the service in October 2010.

You also had deep concerns about whether under our new terms, Instagram had any plans to sell your content. I want to be really clear: Instagram has no intention of selling your photos, and we never did. We don’t own your photos – you do.

The three major points addressed by Systrom are Advertising on Instagram, Ownership Rights and Privacy Settings. In brief:

  • Instagram has no intension to sell your photos, however, they have plans to experiment with innovative advertising methods and monetize the photo-sharing service in an effective manner.
  • “Instagram users own their content and Instagram does not claim any ownership rights over your photos.”
  • As for privacy settings, nothing has changed. You still have control over who can see your photos.

Along with that, the company also pushed an update to iOS and Android platforms. It includes a new photo filter called “Mayfair”, now making a total count of 20 filters supported by the service. Also, the update provides users the ability to log in to Instagram via Facebook, without having to connect the two services in your settings.

Instagram Mayfair Filter

Facebook Bans Popular Extension F.B. Purity, Again!

FB-PurityWith the turf war between social media services heating up, these services are getting more and more hostile. Startups that were once proud of their open gardens have begun constructing walls to keep out competitors. Recently we saw Instagram pulling support for cards from Twitter, possibly in reaction to Twitter blocking Instagram’s friend import feature. Facebook and Google had earlier tussled over access to contacts data. Now, in a controversial move, Facebook has slammed the ban hammer on F.B. Purity.

F.B. Purity, which stands for Fluff Busting Purity, is a browser extension (actually an userscript) that promises to get rid of all the bloat from Facebook. It filters out the annoying and irrelevant pieces in your newsfeed, such as application spam, ads, and sponsored stories. F.B. Purity’s relationship with Facebook has always been tenuous. Facebook had threatened to ban F.B. Purity as far back as 2010 for infringing on its trademark. However, the developer managed to reach an agreement with Facebook and the script survived.

Now, Facebook is outlawing F.B. Purity because “Facebook’s terms specifically prohibit interference with the way Facebook is rendered to its users”. It also alleges that the script breaks Facebook’s ToS as it doesn’t connect via Facebook API, which is the approved method for interacting with Facebook’s services. Last time around Facebook tried sniffing F.B. Purity to render it useless. However, the developer managed to quickly find a workaround. So, this time Facebook didn’t even try. Instead, it banned the developer’s Facebook account, imposed a site-wide ban on the fbpurity domain, and threatened legal action.

Of course, a cursory investigation of the way F.B. Purity works is sufficient to unravel Facebook’s allegations. F.B. Purity is neither a Facebook client nor a Facebook application. It’s an userscript or an browser extension. It doesn’t directly access Facebook’s services. It’s a client-side script that modifies the page after the browser has downloaded it. In some ways it can be considered to be a browser feature. Hence, its ridiculous to force F.B. Purity to use Facebook’s APIs.

Facebook owns its services, and as such is free to do whatever it feels like. However, its latest complaint against F.B. Purity is simply thinly veiled bullying. If courts start buying Facebook’s logic, pretty much all browser extensions and scripts including ad-blockers and pop-up blockers will become illegal. I can appreciate that Facebook is trying to protect its interest. But, it is doing so by clearly inconveniencing the users and stepping on their freedom. It should be up to the user to decide how he wants the pages to be parsed by his browser, not Facebook.

Tumblr Accounts Hacked with Malicious Spam Post

Update: Looks like the issue has been resolved and everything is back to normal.

Tumblr engineers have resolved the issue of the viral post attack that affected a few thousand Tumblr blogs. Thanks for your patience.

Tumblr has been hacked and nearly 8600 unique user accounts have been compromised, with thousands of blogs defaced. The hacking attempt was successfully carried out by a notorious anti-blogging Internet-trolling group called GNAA or the ‘Gay Nigger Association of America’, best known for having trolled several prominent websites and Internet personalities including Slashdot, Wikipedia, CNN, and Barack Obama’s campaign website.

The following message is posted on the defaced blogs:

Tumblr Accounts Hacked

Dearest `Tumblr’ users,

We have taken the liberty of upgrading your (rather tasteless, we must say) blog to our premier GNAA Deluxe Gary Niger (pictured to the left) Signed Edition! This is in response to the seemingly pandemic growth and world-wide propagation of the most FUCKING WORTHLESS, CONTRIVED, BOURGEOISIE, SELF-CONGRATULATING AND DECADENT BULLSHIT THE INTERNET EVER HAD THE MISFORTUNE OF FACILITATING. However, we do not believe you are beyond redemption! All you have to do is DRINK BLEACH AND DIE YOU EMO, SELF-INSISTING, SELF-DEPRECATING, SELF-INDULGENT EMPTY HUSKS OF HUMAN BEINGS. REPEAT AFTER ME: I WISH I WAS PROFOUND, BUT I’M NOT! I WISH I WAS ORIGINAL, BUT I’M NOT! I WISH MY IMPENDING DEATH WAS OF ANY CONSEQUENCE, BUT IT IS MOST CERTAINLY NOT! Your last chance for redemption hinges upon your death; your death which was most fortunately prescribed by your most unfortunate birth. Fret not, dear emo, your death will be regarded as a sacrifice to humanity; to die a martyr is a glorious death, and will likely be your highest contribution to society.

P.S. Attempting to delete these posts will delete your tumblr account ;] But, by all means, go ahead!

If you’re blog is one among the compromised accounts, we recommend you to change your password immediately. Tumblr officials have responded and have said that they’re working on an immediate fix:

Tumblr has responded with the following statement:

There is a viral post circulating on Tumblr which begins “Dearest ‘Tumblr’ users”. If you have viewed this post, please log out of all browsers that may be using Tumblr immediately. Our engineers are working to resolve the issue as swiftly as possible. Thank you.

Meantime, we advise you not to click on any of the links to Tumblr pages, and visit your Tumblr mass editor and delete all the posts that were not published by you. Also, avoid visiting individual Tumblrs’ and stay back on to the dashboard itself.

The hack is still being investigated, and we’ll update this article as soon as we obtain more information.

Rumor Has It That Facebook is Looking to Buy WhatsApp

Everybody’s been questioning if Facebook is actually going to acquire the Internet’s most loved and poplar messaging tool WhatsApp. No one from Facebook (or the WhatsApp developers team) has replied to any of the queries about the acquisition. However, with no official confirmation, this still remains a rumor.

The news was first reported by TechCrunch earlier today leaving several users on the Internet wondering if it’s really going to happen, and if it does so, it would be one of the worst things to happen, as WhatsApp users tweet out of frustration on Twitter.

Facebook, in fact, is currently looking forward to boost and improvise mobile experience for Facebook users, and perhaps this deal could make some ‘sense’ to them, however, if the deal goes through, I think it is neither right for Facebook, nor it is right for WhatsApp. However, what Facebook can learn from WhatsApp is making its current Facebook mobile services a lot better, very much similar to WhatsApp offers, rather than making it the other way round, if they have any plans to do so.

Facebook to Buy WhatsApp

The cross-platform instant messaging application was developed in 2009 by Santa Clara, California based company, and is available for Android, BlackBerry, iOS, Symbian, and Windows Phone, delivering text messages as well as images, audio, and video messages. The app, however, is ad-free and reportedly has about 100 million daily users, with a presence in 250 countries on a variety of platforms.

The developers of WhatsApp have their own reasons and explicitly disallow adverting on WhatsApp. However, that said, it could change if the deal is trough. There are possibilities that if Facebook takes control over the app, they could even use it to sell mobile ads as the company is currently looking to effectively optimizes advertisements for its mobile service.

The social networking company’s current most high profile acquisition is the photo-sharing company Instagram, which it finalized the deal for a whopping $1 billion. Well, we still aren’t sure if Facebook is really going to acquire WhatsApp, and we also do not have any details on how much Facebook is looking to spend.

WhatsApp Status Unavailable Error Message Causes Panic

WhatsApp users are sharing a false message with their friends indicating that their account will deleted if they do not share the same message with their entire contact list. A similar message states that WhatsApp will cost money if they don’t send the message to their friends.

This false message started to circulate when users found out that the status of WhatsApp users has disappeared and were greeted with an ‘Error: Status Unavailable’ message. The problem, which was noticed just a few hours ago, has created a lot of panic among several thousands of users.

In fact, users have also started to post on social networking sites like Facebook and Twitter notifying their friends about the WhatsApp Status Unavailable error message issue, and have been asking them to share the message immediately to avoid termination of their WhatsApp account.

WhatsApp Status Error Message

One of the messages spreading is as follows:

”Whatsapp is shutting down on 28th jan Message from Jim Balsamic (CEO of Whatsapp) we have had an over usage of user names on whatsapp Messenger. We are requesting all users to forward this message to their entire contact list. If you do not forward this message, we will take it as your account is invalid and it will be deleted within the next 48 hours. Please DO NOT ignore this message or whatsapp will no longer recognise your activation. If you wish to re-activate your account after it has been deleted, a charge of 25.00 will be added to your monthly bill. We are also aware of the issue involving the pictures updates not showing.

We are working diligently at fixing this problem and it will be up and running as soon as possible. Thank you for your cooperation from the Whatsapp team..:) FINAL WARNING! If your WhatsApp status is error:status unavailable then you are not frequent user and by 5:00pm C.A.T WhatsApp will start charging you. To become a frequent user send this message to 10 people who receive it.”

Yet another similar false message that is spreading:

“Hello everyone, it seems that all the warnings were real, the use of WhatsApp cost money from summer 2012. If you send this string to 18 different on your list, your icon will be blue and will be free for you. If you do not believe me see tomorrow at 6 pm ending WhatsApp and have to pay to open it, this is by law This message is to inform all of our users, our servers have recently been very congested, so we are asking your help to solve this problem. We require our active users forwarded this message to each of the people in your contact list to confirm our active users using WhatsApp, if you do not send this message to all your contacts WhatsApp, then your account will remain inactive with the consequence of losing all their contactsMessage from Jim Balsamic (CEO of Whatsapp) we have had an over usage of user names on whatsapp Messenger. We are requesting all users to forward this message to their entire contact list.

If you do not forward this message, we will take it as your account is invalid and it will be deleted within the next 48 hours. Please DO NOT ignore this message or whatsapp will no longer recognise your activation. If you wish to re-activate your account after it has been deleted, a charge of 25.00 will be added to your monthly bill. We are also aware of the issue involving the pictures updates not showing. We are working diligently at fixing this problem and it will be up and running as soon as possible. Thank you for your cooperation from the Whatsapp team” WhatsApp is going to cost us money soon. The only way that it will stay free is if you are a frequent user i.e. you have at least 10 people you are chatting with. To become a frequent user send this message to 10 people who receive it (2 ticks) and your WhatsApp logo should turn Red to indicate a frequent user. Am sorry had no option! And check now the status of every individual contact is showing : Status : error”

Please stop sharing this message as it is completely false. The reason why you are seeing ‘Error: Status Unavailable’ message is due to some technical and status functionality issues. WhatsApp developers are aware of this issue are trying to provide a fix as early as possible.

According to WhatsApp’s Twitter and Facebook update, “WhatsApp status functionality is currently not available. We are working on resolving it soon.”

WhatsApp Status Error - Twitter Update

Don’t Bother About Facebook Privacy Notice That Your Friends Are Sharing – It’s False

Several number of Facebook users are posting and sharing about Facebook privacy notice that declares their copyright ownership of all content they post on the social networking site. If you are wondering what the fuss is all about, then don’t bother about it, as the message shared by your friends and other users is simply a hoax.

This isn’t the first time that this hoax message is spreading on Facebook. Earlier in July, we had reported that a fake “Facebook privacy notice” spreading across the network, with users copy-pasting the message on their Timeline. The message reportedly confers copyright privileges to individual Facebook users that are different than the ones they agreed to when using the service.

False Facebook Privacy Notice

This is one of the biggest problems with Facebook. Users blindly update their Timeline with such hoax message, which eventually creates a controversy. It illustrates how little users know about their digital rights and wanting to take control over what they post on Facebook.

The so-called “privacy notice” that users are spreading across the network reads as follows:

In response to the new Facebook guidelines I hereby declare that my copyright is attached to all of my personal details, illustrations, graphics, comics, paintings, photos and videos, etc. (as a result of the Berner Convention). For commercial use of the above my written consent is needed at all times!

(Anyone reading this can copy this text and paste it on their Facebook Wall. This will place them under protection of copyright laws. By the present communiqué, I notify Facebook that it is strictly forbidden to disclose, copy, distribute, disseminate, or take any other action against me on the basis of this profile and/or its contents. The aforementioned prohibited actions also apply to employees, students, agents and/or any staff under Facebook’s direction or control. The content of this profile is private and confidential information. The violation of my privacy is punished by law (UCC 1 1-308-308 1-103 and the Rome Statute).

Facebook is now an open capital entity. All members are recommended to publish a notice like this, or if you prefer, you may copy and paste this version. If you do not publish a statement at least once, you will be tacitly allowing the use of elements such as your photos as well as the information contained in your profile status updates…

The message mentions that any violation of user’s privacy is punishable by law – Uniform Commercial Codes “UCC 1-103 1-308,” which is nowhere related to Facebook’s privacy policy. This clearly makes its inclusion irrelevant, and the entire message a fake.

Facebook has made an official announcement stating that the above spreading message is a rumor:

There is a rumor circulating that Facebook is making a change related to ownership of users’ information or the content they post to the site. This is false. Anyone who uses Facebook owns and controls the content and information they post, as stated in our terms. They control how that content and information is shared. That is our policy, and it always has been. Click here to learn more – www.facebook.com/policies

This rumor is very much similar to “Facebook or its third-party advertisers to user photos in ads“, which also has been reportedly spreading rapidly on the social networking giant.

Facebook Testing Notifications with Sound

It appears that the social networking giant Facebook is testing a sound to alert users whenever they receive a new notification on the site. As usual, Facebook selectively or randomly rolls out such test features for users to test and provide feedback.

According to Meredith Chin, Facebook Manager of Corporate Communications, said the notification sounds were “currently just a test,” and there is no update on if or when they would be rolled out to all users. Depending on the feedback provided by users, Facebook will then decide whether to implement and roll out the feature to all users or not.

At present, Facebook notifications are displayed below the globe icon on the top-left corner, with a small red box and a number appearing on top of it indicating the number of new notifications. You are notified when your Page or content receives a Like or comment.

Now, each of this notification might be accompanied by a sound, which is showed in the video below.

To enable this feature, or check if you’ve got the feature, go to your Account Settings and select Notifications. From there, click “View” on the top tab and uncheck the box that says “Play a sound when each new notification is received.”

Facebook Notifications Sound

If the above mentioned option isn’t available, then there is no other way of getting the sound notifications. Don’t bother installing any Facebook apps to test similar feature.