Tag Archives: Social Media

Facebook Drops Unsubscribe Option For Likes and Comments Notifications

A couple of months ago, had rolled out a new feature to unsubscribe from notifications received when you commented or liked a certain post. However, it looks like they have dropped the feature now.

Facebook Removes Unsubscribe From Notifications

As of today, users no longer see the unsubscribe option when they like or comment on someone’s post. Removing the notification unsubscription option from Facebook is definitely a bad move and would probably anger few users who have come to like this feature.

So why did Facebook get rid of a feature that would help users comment and like more things on Facebook? Possibly because it was decreasing the pageviews they got because of less notifications being sent out. However, as a user I would definitely want to see the feature brought back. What do you think? Will you miss the notification unsubscription feature or can you live without it?

(h/t Commentator)

What’s Facebook Going to Announce Tomorrow? Facebook Phone, Email or Skype Acquisition?

will be making a big announcement tomorrow and there are wild speculations of what they could be announcing tomorrow. There are few big things doing the round of rumor mills today including a deeper integration with Skype to bring voice and video chat to Facebook, announcement of Facebook Phone or the resurrection of Project Titan, an email service from Facebook.

facebook

So which of these sound more realistic? Let’s take a look at each situations and how it would work out for Facebook.

Acquisition of Skype or Deeper Integration With It

Facebook provides users with an option to chat with their friends, but it is limited to text right now. Adding voice and video chat to Facebook would definitely be a win win situation for them, because most Facebook users would love to interact and share through these mediums rather than having to just do text. Facebook would also be able to capture a huge market of instant messaging users if they add this feature.

Facebook Skype

So where does Skype fit in? Skype is definitely one of the most popular voice and video software which is heavily used for individual chat, group chats, conferencing and podcasting among other things. Integrating it with Facebook would bring a much needed feature to site, allowing users to do something for which they have had to use separate clients.

Recently also added a feature to allow users in US to call mobile phones and landlines in US for free and to make calls to other countries for a small charge. Imagine giving 500 million Facebook users the same benefits and you would have more and more users and advertisers running towards them.

This makes me very optimistic that Facebook would announce some sort of partnership with Skype tomorrow.

Facebook Phone

Facebook Phone

The smartphone market has exploded and there are tons of players in it. There were rumors about the Facebook Phone which were later confirmed. However, announcing a phone which just tightly integrates with Facebook is not going to bring in customers.

If Facebook is doing a phone it has to do a lot more than just contacts and events. It has to allow users to make use of the entire Facebook platform including games and apps.

For example, if the Facebook event app could integrate with the Calendar, it would make it easier to schedule events and then invite contacts from your phone itself. However, I am now very keen on seeing a Facebook Phone tomorrow.

Facebook Email – Project Titan

Facebook Email

Project Titan was a secret project rumored to being developed by Facebook. According to people who were in the know about the project, it is an email system similar to several available today and would allow users to access email through POP or IMAP and send email through SMTP.

Users would be get a @facebook.com email address to send and receive emails. Though not much information is available about this project, it could definitely be something Facebook would want to do.

Take a look at some stats. Hotmail has 360 million users, Yahoo Mail has ~303 million users and Gmail has ~200 million users. Now, Facebook currently has over 500 million users, if they launch email they become the biggest email provider in the world, albeit if all of their users actively use it.

The email system combined with voice and video chat would ensure that people would get everything they want on Facebook itself, rather than having to use multiple services. This also has huge revenue potential for Facebook, because people would spend more and more time on the site to check emails, chat and have fun too.

Note: Yahoo and Gmail email users are estimates from Wikipedia and other sources. Hotmail users is actual count sourced from a recent Microsoft press release.

All of these are mere speculations, but looking at how Facebook has grown in the past few years, they might hit their peak at one point of time, and adding some or all of these features definitely make sense for them, both for growth as well as for revenues.

So what do you think will Facebook reveal in their announcement tomorrow? Any wild guesses?

Twitter Launches Promoted Accounts and Gets a New CEO

While 2009 was the year in which Twitter really made it big, 2010 is shaping up to be the year in which Twitter really grew up as a product. Gone are the days when the disruptive social networking service used to be mocked for its (lack of a) business model. During the course of this year, Twitter has launched “Promoted Trends” and has announced “Promoted Tweets”. Now the company has rolled out “Promoted Accounts”.

“Promoted Accounts” is currently available to only select brands, but might be offered to individuals later. The concept behind Twitter’s latest monetization effort is simple. As shown in the screenshot embedded below, the promoted twitter accounts will show up in the “Who to follow” section of Twitter’s website. Twitter will be suggesting relevant promoted accounts to its users algorithmically. Carolyn Penner, Twitter communications, explains, “For example, a lot of people who follow several gaming-related accounts also follow @xbox. If someone follows gaming-related accounts, but not @xbox, Twitter may recommend @xbox to that person”.

Twitter-Promoted-Accounts

In related news, the startup is now 300 employees strong, and has just announced the selection of Dick Costolo as its new CEO. Ev Williams has stepped down to concentrate on envisioning new product ideas. Like his partner Biz Stone, Williams now simply holds the title of co-founder. Costolo, who was previously Twitter’s COO, has revealed that Twitter will not be filling the vacancy in the near future.

12Seconds.tv Shutting Down on October 22nd

It looks like it is the month of deadpool for several services which were once popular. After Windows Live Spaces and XMarks, popular video sharing network 12Seconds.tv is now shutting down on October 22nd.

12seconds which was dubbed as the of videos, was a popular service which allowed users to record and upload 12 second videos with their friends. The service took off in the earlier stage along with Twitter, however, sadly they are now wrapping up and shutting shop.

In an email sent by Sol Lipman, the founder of 12seconds, the company stated revenue generation as the main reason on why 12seconds was shutting down;

Today we are announcing the end of 12seconds.

Why?  As you probably know, everything has a life cycle.  12seconds is in its twilight.  After all the new product launches and attempts at a revenue model, fundraising with VCs and late night coding sessions with Jacob hunched over his monitors – it’s time to call it.  It is time to end 12seconds.

Users will be able to download all their videos in the coming weeks. Make sure to download them before October 22nd, which is when 12seconds will cease to exist.

So long then, adios to 12seconds.

Google Gets @Gmail Account On Twitter, Did They Buy It?

Last July, Google went more social with their offerings by opening up accounts on . I had reported on the news and also noted that Google did not own the account on Twitter.

First Gmail Tweet on Twitter

However, today I did see that the @Gmail account on Twitter is now owned by Google and is already verified. All the old tweets from the account were deleted and a new tweet was posted 3 hours ago.

Now the interesting question out here is whether Google bought the account from the squatter or whether Twitter themselves sold it to them after reclaiming it from the squatter. Last year CNN had purchased their account from a squatter too.

In other Twitter related news, Ev Williams has now stepped down as CEO and will be replaced by Dick Costolo. You can read about the news at the official Twitter blog post #newtwitterceo.

No Facebook IPO Till 2012, Facebook Investor Peter Thiel Confirms

, which has been growing exponentially will not offer an Initial Public Offering (IPO) till 2012. This was confirmed by Peter Thiel, who is a board of director on Facebook to FOX Business Network.

facebook

In an interview on FOX Business Network, Peter Thiel confirmed that Facebook will not offer an IPO, at-least until 2012. The revelation was made during an Regulation and Innovation interview at FOX Business.

Thiel who was also the first investor in Facebook said:

Facebook will not IPO for awhile. I think we will follow the example of Google which is you do not go public until very, very late in the process. This is a by-product of Sarbanes-Oxley. At least two years. I think the company is on record saying it will not go public until 2012 at the earliest.

Watch the video of the conversation below:

Google: Orkut’s “Bom Sabado” Worm Did Not Compromise User Information

Yesterday, Orkut was paralyzed and transformed into a booby trapped minefield by the “Bom Sabado” worm that spread like wildfire. While most of the world was oblivious to the attack, its effect was felt in countries like India and Brazil where Orkut has a sizable presence.

Orkut-Hacked

As suspected, the worm exploited an XSS (cross-site scripting) vulnerability present in Orkut, to load a third-party JavaScript that automatically sent scraps to everyone in an affected user’s friend list. However, contrary to popular belief, user’s cookies weren’t stolen or poisoned.

A Google spokesperson issued the following statement:

We took swift action to fix a cross-site scripting (XSS) vulnerability on orkut.com that was discovered early Saturday. We were aware of a script being used to spread messages on orkut, but our analysis of the script code did not reveal any evidence of users’ accounts becoming compromised; nonetheless, the issue is now resolved. We’re in the process of cleaning affected profiles, and we are studying the vulnerability to help prevent similar issues in the future.

Twitter Starts Selling Wine to Help Promote Literacy in India

What does Twitter and alcohol have in common? Apparently a lot. A year back, Twitter started accepting pre-orders for 2009 vintage wines under the label Fledgling Wine. Now, they are finally ready to start shipping the first lot of wines.

According to the website, these wines are being made using some of the best vineyards in California by the acclaimed winemaking team at Crushpad. Twitter is currently offering two variants –

2009 Fledgling Pinot Noir: A suave rendition of Pinot Noir produced from top-flight California vineyards.
2009 Fledgling Chardonnay: A pure expression of brilliant California Chardonnay from acclaimed vineyards and a superb vintage.

A single bottle (750 ml) will set you back by $25, while an entire case (12 bottles) will cost $300.00. But, all of this is for a good cause. The revenue generated from Fledgling Wine will be donated to Room to Read, which will be working with children in Uttarakhand, India to promote literacy. Twitter says, “For each bottle you buy, $5 will be donated to Room to Read, a transformational non-profit that brings books, libraries and ultimately literacy to people in the poorest areas around the world”.

Orkut Gets Flooded with ‘Bom Sabado’ Scraps

If you are amongst the few who still give a damn about Orkut, you might have noticed something fishy going on over the past few hours. A large number of users are randomly flooding their friend’s scrapbooks (Orkut’s equivalent of Facebook Wall) with the following message:

Orkut-Hack-Bom-Sabado

It doesn’t take a genius to figure out that the “Bom Sabado!” messages are automatically generated by a script. However, it is not clear if this is simply a script exploiting vulnerability in Orkut, or have the accounts sending the automated scraps been compromised.

If you are amongst those affected, it’s highly recommended that you follow the steps highlighted below:

  • Switch to the “older version” of Orkut.
  • Log out of Orkut.
  • Clean your browser’s cache and cookies.
  • Log in and change your password and security question.

If you haven’t been affected yet, it is strongly advised that you avoid Orkut until the issue has been resolved. I managed to trigger the same exploit while researching this article. Recently other high profile websites like Twitter and YouTube also fell victim to XSS attacks.

This is a developing story; we will update this topic as soon as we learn more. In the meanwhile, stay tuned to Techie Buzz and don’t forget to share your experience, if you have also been affected.

Update 1: The worm appears to have originated in Brazil, where Orkut is still exceptionally popular. Many of the affected users are noticing the Brazilian flag on their status messages. Additionally, the word ‘Bom Sabado’ means ‘Good Saturday’ in Portuguese, which is the official language of Brazil. We are still awaiting an official response from Google.
Update 2: ‘Bom Sabado’ is now trending on Google.

Bom-Sabado

Update 3: Google has finally responded. An update posted on the official forum claims that the ‘Bom Sabado’ bug has been contained.

We’ve contained the “Bom Sabado” virus and have identified the bug that allowed this and have fixed it.
We’re currently working on restoring the affected profiles.

However, we are seeing new variants of the worm (such as ORKUT 3XPL0!T5) appear, which suggests that the underlying vulnerability is yet to be plugged.

Update 4: Google has officially confirmed that the attack did not lead to any compromised user account information. For more information check our follow-up post.

Kaspersky: Opera’s Community Website Is Being Used to Distribute Malware

MyOpera – Opera’s official community website, is being misused to distribute malwares, according to a researcher at Kaspersky Labs.

My-OperaThe Norwegian browser maker allows anyone to sign up and host photos, upload files, publish blogs, participate in discussions and more at myOpera. Unfortunately, the ease of creating an account is being exploited by malware developers to host PHP based IRC botnets on myOpera.

In the recent past, malwares were discovered on Mozilla and Google Code’s servers also. Although I am still awaiting an official response from Opera regarding the security measures they currently have in place, by Kaspersky’s own admission, the problem isn’t very widespread. Dmitry Bestuzhev, the expert from Kaspersky who made the discovery, has so far found less than hundred malwares hosted on myOpera, which has more than 5 million registered members.

Incidents like this goes on to prove that staying careful alone can’t always protect you. XSS vulnerabilities in popular websites like Twitter and YouTube, HTML injection attacks in popular blogs and untrusted files on community websites like myOpera are just some of the techniques being used by malware creators to fool even savvy internet users.

Facebook "DNS Failure" Outage Takes Over Google Search Trends

If you thought that "DNS Failure" outage earlier today only affected Facebook, take a look again. 15 of the top 16 top Google search trends in USA today include Facebook not being accessible to users.

Facebook DNS Failure Google Search Trends

As you can see from the screenshot above, "DNS Failure" which was shown as an error message when people visited Facebook was the most searched term today, followed by 14 others which were either related to the Facebook outage or to Facebook in general.

It is understandable when one or two terms end up as "Hot searches", however, having almost 16 out of 20 shows how important Facebook has become in people’s lives. I saw the same trends in several other countries where Facebook went down during non-earthly hours.

Social networking is definitely good, but it has become a part of lives that we could not do without it for a few hours. Several users took to when Facebook went down, and Facebook also used their official Twitter account to update users about the outage. Similarly, people take to Facebook when Twitter goes down.

Someone on my timeline also joked, what if Facebook and Twitter goes down at once? That would definitely not be a joke in reality, since it would definitely void a huge part of our lives, isn’t it?

Facebook Down, Suffers Huge Outage

Looks like servers aren’t able to handle the load of their 500 million users and have been out for a while now. If you head over to this search for "Facebook Down", you will see tons of users complaining about Facebook being down.

facebook_down

I can confirm that Facebook is down for me too and is displaying an error saying that "An error occurred while processing your request".

This definitely looks like a big outage for Facebook, more updates to follow soon.

Update: Facebook just tweeted that the issue should be fixed for everyone, no updates on what caused it though.

We’ve resolved the tech issues that caused the site to be unavailable for some people. Everyone should now have access.

Update 2: Facebook has released a response on why the problem occurred, it turns out that it was more of a programming error which caused flooding of the DB. Read more about the details on the outage here.

Facebook Alternative for Kids – Try Togetherville

togetherville-logo Most of you know that kids under 13 are not supposed to use Facebook. However, you also probably know that there are lots of kids cheating on that limit. Some of them are doing so with their parents’ knowledge. I don’t think it’s a good idea. I could argue that it’s not safe for adults on Facebook, because of all of the privacy problems that they’ve had in the past.

Now there is a new service called Togetherville. They promise to make it safe for kids to share online. Here’s a short video about the service.

Click here if you can’t see the video.

So why is it safer? I’m not sure that it’s completely safe, but the first layer of defense is that the kids can’t sign up themselves. In order to create an account, an adult must sign in using a Facebook account, then set up the accounts for the kids they are responsible for. There’s nothing to prevent kids already in Facebook from creating adult accounts at Togetherville, but this first requirement will help prevent it.

Togetherville also tightly controls the video and game content on their service so that the kiddies won’t see frightening and weird stuff. If they make sharing and gaming attractive enough to the kids, this new service may be a big help for parents.

This new service may not be perfect, but it’s a lot better than letting your 11 year old use Facebook.


Twitter Instant Follows YouTube Instant and Google Instant

It looks like we have to start bracing ourselves to hear the word "Instant" overdone in the next few weeks and months. After was launched a Stanford student created YouTube Instant and almost landed a job with .

twitter_instant

Now, behold, someone has gone ahead and created a Instant search (http://beached.org/twinstant/) which works on the same fundamentals, results change as you type. However, it still has a lot work to do as far as the "guessing before you type" feature which both YouTube Instant and Google Instant have.

The author of Twitter Instant is riding the Instant wave and asks whether he should now ask for a job at Twitter. Twitter Instant aside, the fact that social media was leveraged and used to do something and then get a job offer in return will now see many such kickoffs where people do something interesting with a company’s product and then pitch it to them through social media in hope of a job or maybe just for fun.

Social media has definitely come a long way since it’s inception where people just wanted to keep in touch in friends. These days it has been used and sometimes overused for a variety of things including getting jobs, proposing to your girl/boy friend, pitching a product and more.

So are you going to follow the "Instant" wave and created something to please a company in hopes of landing a job? Considering the job market, this looks like the fastest way to land one, right?

(Source: TNW)

"YouTube Instant" Lands Stanford Student Job at YouTube on Twitter

Just a day after was released, a Stanford Graduate created something called as YouTube Instant which allowed for instant search and play of videos.

YouTube Instant Job Offer

The service which can be seen at http://feross.net/instant/ works pretty well and has apparently impressed the YouTube CEO who offered the Stanford student a job with YouTube. The entire conversation happened on and goes like this.

@Chad_Hurley, the YouTube CEO first tweeted:

Hey @FreeTheFeross! Loving YouTube Instant…http://feross.net/instant/ Want a job? ;)

To which Feross replied:

Hey @Chad_Hurley. Glad you liked YouTube Instant! Is that a for-real job offer? ;)

This prompted another reply from Chad, which read:

@FreeTheFeross Are you ready to leave school? :) I’ll send you a DM.

There was no response from Feross after this, however, it looks like they took their conversation private to direct messaging. This is definitely an interesting incident on how Twitter or social media can be used to spot talent and make job offers. So who is on the hiring list next?

(Source: Venture Beat / Techmeme)