Facebook Down; Not Accessible on Web

Just a week after suffered a massive outage, seems to be suffering it’s own outage and is not accessible on the web. The problem seems to be happening only at http://www.facebook.com and not on mobile devices for now.

A couple of years ago, Facebook suffered two similar outages one of which was related to a new feature rollout and one was related to a programmatic error. It looks like the current outage is similar to the previous ones.

The current outage does not affect mobile versions of Facebook, so you can continue accessing and updating Facebook on your mobile devices. As a workaround you can access Facebook using http://m.facebook.com or http://iphone.facebook.com on your web browser.

We have reached out to Facebook for info on this outage and will update this post when we have more to share.

Update: This outage may be restricted to a few users as some users are still able to access Facebook web.

Facebook Testing New “Want” Button for Products

You’ve always had the option to “Like” something on Facebook. But when it comes to products, you may “like” it, but what if you want it and add it to your wish list? Well, a feature something like that might soon appear on Facebook, as the social media giant is testing a “Want” button feature, which will allow you to add the product to your “Want” list, or simply called as a wish list.

The new feature hasn’t been rolled out yet, but was found in the latest Facebook JavaScript software development kit. Developer Tom Waddington, who discovered the new “Want” button tag in the SDK, states that button is currently disabled, however, it does render when used.

Here’s an instance of the new “Want” button (it throws an error):

Here’s the code that was used for the “Want” button:

<div class="fb-want" data-href="...."></div>

The new button will work only with entities that are labelled as “products.” This could be a necessary feature apart from the all-time popular “like” button. People on Facebook “like” products, pages, photos, or any other thing, however, with the new “Want” button, it would allow users to show their interest and desire to purchase a product.

Does Facebook really want a “Want” button?

The data pulled from the Facebook want button is worth a lot, especially for business purposes. Take for instance, you want to own the latest Samsung Galaxy S3. So, you head over to the Galaxy S3 page and add the product to your wish list by clicking on the “want” button.

Now, imagine the same thing done by a thousand other users. Though not every person who clicks on the “want” button may buy it, it will provide an insight to the product distributor on how successful the product is and the number of people wanting to buy the phone.

You may now say that there is no big difference between the “like” and the “want” button. You can “like” anything on Facebook, but “want” is something that is restricted to products only, which shows a user’s desire in purchasing the product. This makes the big difference between the two buttons.

Yet another difference between the two buttons is that, a number of users “like” a product on ecommerce sites, but that doesn’t specify the number of users who already have the product and the number of users who are looking forward to buy it.

With everything considered, the new “Want” button looks promising and will surely be very useful to manufacturers and retailers. So, what do you think of the new “Want” button?


Sheryl Sandberg Joins Board of Directors at Facebook

Sheryl Sandberg Joins the Board of Directors at Facebook

The current COO of Facebook, Sheryl Sandberg is going to join the Board of Directors at Facebook. After serving as COO for four years, Sandberg is the first woman to join the exclusive elite at the social networking giant. Sandberg has been in charge of hectic business operations and has dealt with a variety of areas ranging from HR, marketing, business development all the way to policy making.

In bringing Sandberg to this elite group, Mark Zuckerberg has been a strong advocate of Sandberg’s move to the top-tier as she has stood along with him through thick and thin. Moreover, Sandberg’s role has been elemental in transporting Facebook to the feat where it stands today, concluded Zuckerberg.

The decision was also backed by the fact that by bringing Sandberg into the exclusive elite would bring diversity to the group. As of now, the Board of Director comprises of the following:

  • Mark Zuckerberg, founder and chief executive
  • Marc L. Andreessen, Andreessen Horowitz
  • Erskine B. Bowles, President Emeritus,University of North Carolina system
  • James W. Breyer, Accel Partners
  • Donald E. Graham, chairman and CEO, The Washington Post Company
  • Reed Hastings, chairman and CEO, Netflix
  • Peter A. Thiel, Founders Fund.

Sandberg is going to be number eight in this list. More news will follow soon.

This story was originally shared by TechCrunch.

Facebook Disables ‘Find Friends Nearby’ Feature; Might Get Sued for Stealing the Idea

Earlier today we reported that Facebook quietly rolled out the ‘Find Friends Nearby’ feature, which basically provided users a way to find Facebook users who are close to their location at that very moment. However, the feature has now been pulled back, and of course, that was done quietly too.

There was no official announcement about the release of the ‘Find Friends Nearby’ feature, although no one expected one, since Facebook has been releasing a number of new features without letting its users know about it. Not to forget the very recent change in updating user’s email id to @facebook.com without the permission of its users’.

The ‘Find Friends Nearby’ feature has now been removed (with less than 24 hours) and the URL – fb.com/ffn is no more accessible. According to an update by ABC News, Facebook stated that it was an experimental release and was intended for testing purpose only:

“This wasn’t a formal release – this was something that a few engineers were testing. With all tests, some get released as full products, others don’t. Nothing more to say on this for now – we’ll communicate to everyone when there is something to say.”

But my real concern is about Facebook engineer Ryan Patterson, who claims to have developed the ‘Find Friends Nearby’ feature in a comment on TechCrunch’s site. Ryan had to reveal so much information about the feature, yet Facebook says, “We’ll communicate to everyone when there is something to say.

Here’s the comment added by Ryan Patterson:

I built Find Friends Nearby with another engineer for a hackathon project. While it was originally called ‘Friendshake’, we settled on ‘Find Friends Nearby’ for launch (the URL was a little bit of a homage to the previous iteration).

For me, the ideal use case for this product is the one where when you’re out with a group of people whom you’ve recently met and want to stay in contact with. Facebook search might be effective, or sharing your vanity addresses or business cards, but this tool provides a really easy way to exchange contact information with multiple people with minimal friction.

I don’t know if Facebook is aware of this comment, or has simply ignored it. Nevertheless, it is also possible that Facebook pulled back this feature, after a location-based app maker ‘Friendthem’ decided to sue Facebook for having knowingly steal their idea and ‘trademarked materials’.

An email from Charles Sankowich, CEO of Friendthem, to TheNextWeb claims that Facebook has stolen their idea, which Facebook calls it ‘Find Friends Nearby’. Here’s the email that TNW received:

I was amazed on Sunday to read that Facebook is blatantly stealing our idea with what they are calling, “Find Friends Nearby.”

Facebook engineer Ryan Patterson claims the feature was born at a hackathon as “Friendshake,” but we believe they simply stole trademarked materials of Friendthem.com.

More than two years ago we trademarked “Friendthem” and have had tremendous success and exposure with this concept. Even their language is similar to what has been on our website for year’s now – “Friendthem” is a location-based mobile app designed to help you make connections with people near you. Use the Friendthem app to follow up on missed connections for work and personal.

We are consulting attorneys and assuming this is true and expect to commence a lawsuit very shortly. One would think that Facebook would have learned to play fair after being through the mud previously with legal difficulties, but now they are doing it again.

We may not be billionaires but we are damn tough New York entrepreneurs, and we believe in this idea and will keep working to connect people.

Perhaps this is the main reason why Facebook had to pull their ‘Find Friends Nearby’ feature. Or, maybe it is serious about launching a feature something similar to ‘Friendthem’, but will the company, which claims that Facebook has stolen their idea stay put? Or, perhaps we may see Facebook ending up with an acquisition deal with ‘Friendthem’.

Facebook Changes Your Email Without Your Permission

It’s one of those moves that leaves me scratching my head saying, “What the heck!?!” If you haven’t looked at your Facebook profile lately, you might want to take a minute and check it out. It appears Facebook has decided to switch everyone’s default email address to an “@facebook” account. Problem is, they didn’t even bother telling us of the change, much less asking us for permission to do so.

Not too long ago Facebook rolled out its “Gmail Killer” email service. For most, it was clunky at best and honestly, most people already have a well established email address to begin with. In other words, the service didn’t really catch on. So, much to the surprise of many users, Facebook changed the listed email address on everyone’s profile. They even decided on an email address for you. For instance, if your profile is “http://www.facebook.com/abcdefg”, then your new Facebook email address is “[email protected]” Fortunately, there is an easy way to get your email address back.

Go to your wall or profile and click “About”. On the “About” page there is a section listed with “Contact Information”. See the picture below for an example. Click the “Edit” button to change the default email address displayed.

Facebook Contact Info

When you click the “Edit” button, it will take you to a place where you can edit all your contact information. Find the section at the top labeled “Emails”. See image below for an example.

Find the email address that you would like displayed, and click the dropdown arrow on the right, as displayed in the picture above. Click the selection that says “Shown on Timeline”. If you don’t want people to use your “@facebook” address, then select “Hidden from Timeline”. Then save your settings when you are finished.

This is an outrageous ploy on Facebook’s account and is not something that builds trust. This blogger http://blog.gerv.net/2012/06/facebook-email-mitm/ actually said it best when they described this as a “Man in the middle attack”. That is serious stuff folks. Facebook needs to hear about this from you and me! This isn’t safe, it is sneaky, and it makes me wonder about the future of Facebook and whether they can ever be trusted.


Facebook Recruits ex-Apple UI Manager for Product Design

Facebook has hired former Apple UI designer manager Chris Weeldreyer as its new product designer manager to its Menlo Park HQ, reports The Next Web. Weeldreyer joined Facebook on June 18th, four months after he left Apple. At Apple, he was in charge of designing the company’s iWeb and Numbers software. According to his LinkedIn profile, he specializes in industrial design, interaction design, and user interface design on his LinkedIn profile and also has a number of patent applications registered to the company.

Weeldreyer noted the change on both his LinkedIn and Facebook profiles. He joined Facebook just days after the departure of CTO Brett Taylor, who is going to work on startup projects. Currently, Facebook has been advertising for a new Product Design Manager on its careers website to lead a team of designers and report to the Design Director. This is probably due to the company’s heavy interest and focus on developing new products on the social network.

Recently, Apple announced that it will integrate Facebook into iOS 6, which would suggest that the relationship between the two companies is closer than ever.


Facebook Makes It Easy To Find Nearby Facebook Users From Web And Mobile

“What’s your Facebook profile buddy? Lets add each other on Facebook and be in touch” – asked a recent acquaintance whom I have just met through a mutual friend. This is turning out to be a usual routine for online users, keeping in touch with anyone and everyone no matter how old or nascent the relationship is.

The old fashioned way is to pass on the address of your Facebook vanity URL and tell the acquaintance to send you a friend request. The new way however, is to use “Friendshake”, which lets you find Facebook users who are close to your location at this very moment.

It works like this. Login to your Facebook account and go to fb.com/ffn, you will be greeted with nearby Facebook users who are closest to your location and are also viewing the same page from their mobile or from web. If you’re lucky and have agreed to share your location with Facebook, you may find a Facebook user near you, befriend the person and let the conversation begin.

Here is how the “Find friends nearby” page of Facebook looks on mobile (image courtesy – Techcrunch):


Friendshake although available at m.facebook.com/friendshake , has also been integrated into Facebook’s iOS and Android apps as a built in feature. To find nearby Facebook users on your Android device, open up the official Facebook app, pull down the sidebar menu from left and navigate to apps > Find Friends > Other Tools > Find friends nearby.

This appears to be a friction less way to find people around you but as of now, you have to keep that page open or else nearby users won’t be able to locate you on their “Friendshake” page. Although sounds great but Friendshake can be a huge privacy risk, if not handled carefully. I have many Facebook friends who want to remain “semi -anonymous” on Facebook; they prefer not to “be found” on Facebook, other than befriending close friends and family members.

If you are like them, friendshake is not your cup of tea since the core idea of friendshake is to find strangers who are near your location and are also on Facebook. Kind of fun if you love stalking and stumbling over random people at public places, restaurants and so on. Lets not forget that one month ago, Facebook acquired location based stalking app Glancee whose mission statement was:

We wanted to make it easy to discover the hidden connections around you, and to meet interesting people. Since then Glancee has connected thousands of people, empowering serendipity and pioneering social discovery

Facebook engineer Ryan Patterson told Techcrunch:

I built Find Friends Nearby with another engineer for a hackathon project. While it was originally called ‘Friendshake’, we settled on ‘Find Friends Nearby’ for launch (the URL was a little bit of a homage to the previous iteration).

For me, the ideal use case for this product is the one where when you’re out with a group of people whom you’ve recently met and want to stay in contact with. Facebook search might be effective, or sharing your vanity addresses or business cards, but this tool provides a really easy way to exchange contact information with multiple people with minimal friction.

Ryan says that friendshake uses geolocation to find your GPS co-ordinates when you are on your Friendshake page  and shows you Facebook profiles within a radius around your coordinates. Once you leave the page, you stop showing on others Friendshake page.

Facebook’s recent actions imply that the social site is getting ready to take Facebook to the next level. Recent acquisitions, things like “Friends who have recently logged in” kind of hints towards a real time social discovery system where finding and connecting with someone you have just met wont be too much work.

Meanwhile, RIP Friendthem.com – another social discovery engine which was trying to achieve exactly the same thing which Facebook is now doing in house.

Facebook, Google & Twitter Unify To Combat “Spam”

In the digital world, people are consuming media in a totally new fashion. New patterns emerge where substantial data is gathered to analyze media consumption. The results obtained from such data serve as a tool to understand what type of content people consume, like and share. In order to keep providing content as such, it is imperative to provide exceptional user experience. Companies have understood this and aim to not only maintain the rate of media consumption but increment for increased traffic, revenues and most importantly, a larger volume of consumers. Media companies are constantly challenged to come up with innovative methods to capture the eye-balls of media consumers and are investing heavily in research to understand the essential ingredients that make up an exceptional user experience. To add to the challenge, companies have been battling spam and malicious advertising which has been a major obstacle to this feat. This time around, big names such as Facebook, Google, Twitter, AOL and IAB have joined hands to combat spam once and for all.

Facebook, Google, Twitter Combine Forces

Captioned under the Ads Integrity Alliance, the initiative was launched a week ago under the StopBadWare organization. The objective is to mitigate malicious ads and contribute to better practices, better service. According to Maxim Weinstein, the Executive Director of the organization, no single player can attempt to fight this cause of its own which is why they are unifying the big players in the industry to fight this problem together.

Google’s Public Policy Manager, Eric Davis affirmed that the Ads Integrity Alliance will serve as a platform where companies can work together to protect users from malicious ads. He further added if the user feels deceived, the entire web’s reputation is on stake.

Facebook Enables Comment Editing Feature; Keeps Original Comments in “Edit History”

Facebook is releasing yet another essential feature that many users have craved for all these years – Editing comments. The new “Edit” feature that Facebook is releasing enables users to edit their comments, giving them complete flexibility to rewrite and correct their wrongs in their comments. This eliminates the burden of deleting and rewriting the comments all over again.

Additionally, when you edit a comment, Facebook will keep a copy of the original comment in the edit history, which will be visible to all users. This edit history will contain all the previous versions of your comment. According to Facebook, this is done to ensure “subsequent commenters or likers have the full context of the conversation.”

Facebook is rolling out the feature now and will be made available to all its in a couple of days. Perhaps, you would have already got the feature by now. Go to your Timeline and browse through any of the comments that you have previously added. On the top-right corner, you will see an icon, and clicking it will provide you with two options – Edit, and Delete.

Clicking the edit button will switch the comment in edit mode, and you can continue editing the comment. However, you can simply cancel any edits by pressing the escape button on your keyboard.

Edit Facebook Comments

Facebook displays the following message after you have edited a comment:

Facebook Edit Comments Tip

All this sounds well and good, however, the feature is currently available on the browser version of Facebook. We are not sure if this will also be available in the mobile versions. Additionally, it is not known whether this feature will be available on Facebook’s social commenting plug-in that websites use as their comment box.

Facebook has been releasing a lot of new features, including some updates to its existing features. Here are some of the recently added features and updates that Facebook announced:

Facebook Updates Hovercards; Displays Timeline Cover Photos

Facebook is seriously on fire. Lately, it has been releasing several series of new features and updates which are quite essential, although they are small and unnoticeable. Few moments back we reported that Facebook has added the new emoticons menu in the chat window for better communication among users while chatting.

Yet another new feature update that has been spotted is the hovercards – the small information box that appears when you hover over a profile name or a Facebook page. The hovercards have been upgraded to display the Timeline profile picture along with the cover photo of a user/page when you hover over the name.

Regardless of whether it is a user or a Facebook page, the hovercard will now show a smaller version of the cover photo, providing the viewer with more context on who they are, or what page it is.

The new hovercards are designed to look more like a business card rather than the hovercard itself. Take a look at the examples shown below, shared by Manoj on his blog Most viral Media.

Facebook Hovercards With Cover Photo

From the images above, you can see that the hovercard of a user contains the user’s profile pic, the name, current job/designation, including a thumbnail gallery of mutual friends. At the bottom, there are the two usual buttons – Message and Friends (used to indicate whether you are a friend of that person or not). The Facebook page hovercard on the other hand, contains a thumbnail gallery of users that have “liked” the page, name of the page, location, the fan page picture, including the Message and “Liked”/”Like” buttons.

Here’s how the older version of the hovercards look:

Facebook Old Hovercards

Although it looks pretty much same as the earlier version of the hovercard, the new one particularly has the cover photo displayed in the background. This update is yet to be made available for all users, and users who aren’t using the new Facebook Timeline, will have the older hovercard design, until they switch to Timeline and add a cover photo.

Facebook has been releasing a lot of new features, including some updates to its existing features. Recently, it made some changes to its notifications by allowing users to opt out of the unwanted and annoying notifications. We have also spotted a new feature that shows activity of recently logged in friends.