Facebook Gets HTTPS Support and Social Authentication

Earlier this month, was playing around with a new setting which allowed users to switch to HTTPS on their website. The feature was eventually pulled out, however, you can always visit Twitter at https://www.twitter.com to use a secure connection.

Facebook HTTPS

, today announced their continued attempts at providing security to their users by allowing users to switch to secure browsing using HTTPS on the site. The new feature is opt-in and users will have to visit their "Account settings" page to turn on HTTPS browsing on Facebook.

Facebook Account Security HTTPS

To enable HTTPS support on Facebook, head over to this page and click on the "change" link next to "Account Security". You will be shown an option to turn on secure browsing for Facebook. Click on the checkbox next to the option and then hit the Save button to start browsing Facebook securely.

Facebook Social Authentication

Please note, the secure browsing option is not yet available to all users and will be rolled out gradually. In addition to providing users with secure browsing. Facebook is also going to change the captchas on their site to social authentication. So instead of displaying you with a captcha while adding links or during other activities on Facebook, you will now be shown a picture of your friend and will be asked to identify them.

Instead of showing you a traditional captcha on Facebook, one of the ways we may help verify your identity is through social authentication. We will show you a few pictures of your friends and ask you to name the person in those photos. Hackers halfway across the world might know your password, but they don’t know who your friends are.

The new social authentication is a step towards is to thwart attempts by hackers who could easily crack your passwords but might not know who your friends are. Social Authentication is a beta feature and is being tested out currently, so don’t expect it to be perfect.

Facebook Removes Suggest Fan Page To Friends Feature

You might see a considerable drop in the number of fan page requests from Facebook friends, the next time you login to your Facebook account. It turns out, Facebook has recently removed the “Fan page suggestion” feature for all members of any fan page.

If you are the administrator of a Facebook Fan page, you can still see the “Suggest page to friends” link; while normal members can’t. It’s gone!

Sadly this shouldn’t stop those, who  befriend  random strangers on Facebook just for the sake of suggesting their website’s official fan page to their entire friend list. Page admins can still suggest their fan page to all friends, which should have been removed too.

However, this should put an end to the cross fan page promotions, which is sometimes very spammy in nature. Mike suggests John’s fan page to his friends, John suggest Mike’s and eventually a large group of page admins join hands to spam their friend list with unnecessary fan page promotion.

image credit

For non bloggers and Facebook addicts, this is a huge loss. You have to manually email the link of the fan page to friends or post it on your Facebook wall.

Note: Removal of the “Suggest” button from fan pages can also be a part of bug fixing, as detailed in this post

What about you? Can you still suggest any fan page to your Facebook friends using the “Suggest” button? Share your thoughts in the comments below.

My Total Facebook Views Scam Spreading On Facebook

Just a couple of days after the Facebook surprise message scam was unleashed another new Facebook scam is currently underway where users are posting messages on their profile saying "My total facebook views are: xxx. Find your total profile views link".

Facebook Profile Views Scam

The new Facebook scam is similar to another one which we had unearthed earlier where people were enticed to click on a link to know "who checked your Facebook profile". Both these scams are similar in nature as to providing users with data that does not provide them with.

However, you are better off staying away from clicking on the links accompanied with this message. All Facebook is reporting that the number accompanied with the update are inflated and that the survey users are forced to take is basically a waste of time. However, for the developer of the said app, it could mean a lot of money. Remember how Zynga asks users to  complete surveys to getting additional virtual money for their games?

So if your friend has updated their profile saying that their profile has been viewed so many times, kindly tell them about the scam and ask them to delete the update from their profile, lest someone else clicks on it.

Enhance Your Facebook Experience In Google Chrome

By now you might have already known that is my favorite browser and I use it day in an day out on my Dell XPS as well as on the dedicated CR-48 netbook Google sent me.

Facebook

I am also a very keen social networking user and use both and extensively. However, there are few things which could be done better with both of these services. Alas, it depends on Facebook or Twitter developers to make those changes, and many things I want in them wouldn’t be considered.

However, there are several out there which can easily enhance your experience with Facebook. In this post, I will try and list out the extensions I use on Facebook to enhance my experience with it. If you are looking for a desktop tool, don’t forget to check out the most Awesome desktop app for Facebook.

Beautify Facebook

Facebook Profile Beautifier

Tired of being forced on how you can view your profile without having the options to change colors or move widgets around? The Beautify Facebook extension will come in handy then.

The Beautify Facebook extension allows you to change the background for Facebook, apply transparency to content and more. It also allows you to tweak Facebook by allowing you to hide requests, Advertisements and more.

It also provides you with handy shortcuts for accessing frequently used pages. For example, you can use the Shift + h shortcut key to quickly go to the Facebook homepage from any other page, or Shift + p to go to your profile or Shift + i to to your inbox and so on. Overall, this extension is definitely worth trying out.

You will find the Options to edit the settings for Beautify Facebook extension when you visit Facebook.com.

Download Beautify Facebook CR Edit. If you want to try out other options check out Facebook Stylist and Facebook Themed extensions.

How To Import Facebook Contacts To Gmail

I know that there are several ways to import your contacts to , one of which includes first importing them into Yahoo, and then exporting the address book, and then importing it into Gmail. However, that process is pretty long.

If you really want to import your Facebook contacts to Gmail, a   will come in pretty handy. The Chrome extension  called Facebook Friends Exporter provides users with an option to export their friends information from Facebook as a CSV file. The information you can export includes your Friend’s name, emails, phone numbers, screen names and websites. The good part about the extension though is that it also allows you to import these contacts into Gmail in a single click.

Export Facebook Friends

Once you have installed the extension, you will see an addition menu item called "Export friends!" in Facebook. Clicking the link will advice you to go to your friends page, however, the extension can also do that automatically for you.

On the next page, you will be shown a message about Facebook owning your friends and disclaimers which you have to accept. Once you do that, you can Get started with importing your friends and storing it locally.

Import Facebook Contacts to Gmail

The extension will then cache all your friends in and start importing them one by one. The process might take a while if you have a lot of friends and takes breaks in between (after it has accessed 60 of your friends profiles, otherwise Facebook will start displaying images for email address). Once the entire import process has been completed, you will be given an option to import your Facebook contacts into Gmail.

Facebook has been very strict about any script accessing contact information about your friends and have even banned users, so you might want to tread with caution here. Nevertheless, the script works and it’s hassle free, so go ahead and try it out if you really want to import your Facebook contacts to Gmail.

Download Facebook Friend Exporter

Motorola Gets Questioned About Their Locked Down Bootloader

If you can remember when the Motorola Milestone launched, which was ages ago in the technology world, it came with chip technology called “e-Fuse”. For all intents and purposes, this was a blatant attempt by Motorola to stop hackers and developers from booting custom firmware on their devices and protecting their own intellectual property, such as MotoBLUR. Some of the reasons that people purchase Android devices, is solely because they have much more open access to the hardware than they would compared to an iPhone, Windows Phone 7 or webOS device. HTC seems to understand this and provides a way for users to unlock their devices albeit forgoing their warranty. Perhaps this is why Google chose HTC as their OEM for the Nexus One and it was a big hit with the community.

Today, a user posted a question to Motorola’s YouTube account asking about dock support for the up and coming Atrix 4G. The poster was met with a response – @tdcrooks if you want to do custom roms, then buy elsewhere, we’ll continue with our strategy that is working thanks. Moments after the AndroidCentral member posted it to their forums, Motorola removed all the comments off their page and started on damage control.

They posted up a Note on their Facebook page apologizing for the comment made by one of their employees. They are also claiming that there will be a work-around for their future devices in order to allow developers to use devices “as a development platform” but still giving them the ability to “protect our users’ interests”. Keeping in mind that because Texas Instruments has eFuse embedded in a lot of their chips, Motorola does have the power to re-program the “fuse” on the fly – this means that Motorola could ship out binaries to requesting developers, which would allow them to bypass the fuse and give them lower level access to the hardware.

There are many choices out there if you’re looking for an Android handset. If you disagree with the practices of Motorola, the best option would be to vote with your wallet.

Facebook Surprise Scam Spreading Through Facebook Messages

I have seen tons of Facebook scams which have been part of my feed, but for the first time today I came across a new "Facebook Surprise" scam which was sent through a direct message on Facebook.

Facebook Message Scam

With the new Facebook message scam, one or more of your contacts will send you a Facebook message saying "I got u surprise random website". The random website could be any website which then redirects you to a page which displays a message similar to the screenshot below.

Facebook Surprise Scam

First off, don’t click on the URL in the message, and secondly don’t click on the Get A Surprise Now message since it will not only send all your contacts a message with the link to the surprise, but also download a nice little surprise to your PC, which could contain Malware or Virus. STAY AWAY FROM IT.

As I have always suggested, don’t click on random links on Facebook. It is very hard to resist, but in the end you are not just affecting yourself but also putting all your Facebook friends in danger of passing it along.

How to Keep Kids Safe Online – Talk to Them

parent-childYou’ve heard about the danger. It’s out there in many places, such as Facebook, Twitter, Chat rooms, Texting, and File Sharing. What do you know about safe online practices? How can you help protect your kids?

According to many experts, the best thing you can do to protect your kids is to talk to them about internet safety. Two websites can help you and kids avoid the worst dangers on the web. You’ll find plenty of advice at On Guard Online and Net Smartz.

onguardonline top-ncmec netsmartz-logo

Below, I’ll offer a few tips I’ve found. However, if you have time, take a look at this video: Chatting with Kids About Being Online.

Chatting with Kids About Being Online

More videos from OnGuard Online

Videos from NetSmartz

Why do you need to talk to kids?

At NetSmartz, I ran into some survey stats from 2006, showing how important it is to influence your kids online behavior.

33% of 13- to- 17-year-olds reported that their parents or guardians know very littleor nothingabout what they do on the Internet.

48% of 16-17s said their parents or guardians know very littleor nothing.

Fully 22% of those surveyed reported their parents or guardians have never discussed Internet safety with them.

On the other hand, 36% of youth—girls and younger teens most notably—said that their parents or guardians have talked to them a lotabout online safety, and 70% said their parents or guardians have discussed the subject with them during the past year.

Most importantly:

Fewer teens whose families have talked to them a lotabout online safety have an IM name or pictures of themselves on the Internet, compared to kids whose families have not talked to them at all. More teens who’ve talked to parents or guardians also ignore messages from unfamiliar people, refuse to reply or chat, block unknown senders, and report these occurrences to trusted adults.

How can you get a conversation started?

I also found some good questions to get you started. (from NetSmartz)

Can I take a look at what you have been posting online?

Does anyone else have access to your passwords?

What information is okay to share online?

What information should you keep private?

What could someone learn about you from what you post online?

How might they use this information?

Have you ever regretted anything you posted online?

What advice should you give? What actions should you take?

I also found this advice at NetSmartz.

Make sure that your child takes advantage of the privacy settings on social networking sites.

Pre-approve the pictures and videos your child posts online.
Remind your child never to post e-mail addresses or cell phone numbers.

Tell your child that passwords should only be shared with parents and guardians.

Teach your child not to respond to any e-mails requesting personal information and to delete e-mails from unknown senders.

Discuss how to keep screen names and e-mail addresses gender-neutral, appropriate, and free of any information that could reveal identity.

Encourage your child to tell you right away if anything happens online that bothers or frightens him or her.

I’ve only covered a tiny part of the help and advice available to parents. Be sure to take a look.

On Guard Online / NetSmartz


Flip Toast Is An Awesome Desktop App for Facebook

There are several apps available to access on the desktop, however, sadly I haven’t found anything worthwhile. That is until today when I came across an App recommended by Manan called Flip Toast.

Facebook Notification Flip Toast

Flip Toast is an app based on and is by far one of the best Facebook Desktop apps I have ever come across. The app has a neat interface and provides users with an option to drag and drop images to upload them to Facebook along with giving you an option to catch up with your Facebook feed and also Facebook notifications.

Facebook Upload Photos, Update Status from Desktop

Flip Toast provides and intuitive interface which looks great and does the job pretty well. For example, you can click on the update icon and update your status or click on the photos icon to drag and drop photos and upload them to your Facebook profile.

Flip Toast also display your feed updates through small notification blurbs which disappear after a few seconds. However, you can also like or comment on posts from your desktop itself.

Overall this is one of the best desktop apps I have ever seen, however, make sure to install the app from their Facebook page at http://www.facebook.com/apps/application.php?id=166111553400149 as the app installer on their website comes with several unwanted things.

Go ahead and use this app, I am very sure that you won’t be disappointed with it.

Facebook Apps Developers Can Now Call You Or Snail Mail You Too

Be ready to get more marketing calls and marketing mails in your mailbox soon. has updated their platform to allow App developers access to your Phone Number and Current Address.

Facebook Phone Number and Address Permissions

This new announcement was made on the Facebook Developer Blog (source) where they said that new updates to the User Graph object will now allow app developers access to user’s phone number and current address.

Why this information is being made public is not yet known, but it could definitely be used to pass on your data to advertising companies who will then start calling or sending your postal mails. This information is highly paid for in the market since it allows companies to send personalized flyers to your mailbox.

Though Facebook policies state that an app can only access information which is critical to running an app, you can never trust putting such information in the hands of other people. Nevertheless, there might be apps which genuinely require this information too. To be on the safe side make sure to check what permissions an app is requesting from your account before you click the Allow button.