Facebook and Its Many Apologies

Facebook and Its Many Apologies

Mark Zuckerberg,CEO of Facebook, lives by the moto “It is easier to ask for forgiveness than to ask for permission”.  If you haven’t checked out Zuckerberg’s “Calm down. Breathe. We hear you” blog, you should. In between the personal success stories are multiple apology letters to the public.  Of course there are going to some unhappy people considering that FB has over 1 billion active users.  But there are legitimate reasons to become angry at the tycoon when it comes to privacy.  

First up, on September 5 2006, Zuckerberg pre-apologized for the changes would be made to Facebook.  Users felt that the mini feed and news feed would reveal too much information.  But he assured the public that “None of your information is visible to anyone who couldn’t see it before the changes.“  Which he was wrong about.  By September 8, he had apologized yet again claiming that he “Somehow  missed this point with News Feed and Mini-Feed and we didn’t build in the proper privacy controls right away”, and immediately updated the privacy controls.

In November of 2007, FB released a new feature called Beacon that allowed users to share information that they find on the web.  It was a good idea, except that Beacon shared information even when the user denied access.  On December 5, Zuckerberg released another letter stating that they “did a bad job with this release, and I apologize for it”. And of course changed the Beacon settings to allow users to opt out on the feature.

In February of 2009 Zuckerberg decided to change the privacy settings once again.  Zuckerberg said “Our philosophy is that people own their information and control who they share it with. When a person shares information on Facebook, they first need to grant Facebook a license to use that information so that we can show it to the other people”, which means that all information is double copied. For example, if you send a message to a user two copies of the text is created, the one that is sent and the one that is received.  Even if the user deactivates their account, the message is still accessible.  Many users were upset with this new change and wanted the old privacy settings back.  Facebook listened and did just that, but after blaming Government regulations on their mistake.

When Facebook first started, there wasn’t a whole lot when it came to the privacy settings.  At first applications could access all information that was already visible to the public like contact information and photo albums.  On May 26 2010, Zuckerberg didn’t really apologize, but instead explained how they are going to fix this problem by adding more options to the settings.

In November of 2011, FB ran into some problems with the FTC (Federal Trade Commission) over an app called Whatsap.  The settlement was over how the company lied to users claiming that their information was private when it wasn’t.  The FTC demanded that FB made it clear to get prominent consent before they shared any information.  Along with the new demand, FB will be obligated to “Biennial privacy audits for the next 20 years”to sure that privacy is being maintained. 

Several apologies have been issued throughout the years including the recent psychological experiment. Facebook secretly manipulated posts that users would see by including negative or positive words to see how emotions are transferred through social media. Over 700,000 users were tested without giving consent or receiving a notice that the study was taking place. This is a serious problem when it manipulating peoples emotions. The manipulation could have caused users to relapse or remember tragic events that happened in their lives. “This was part of ongoing research companies do to test different products, and that was what it was; it was poorly communicated,” said Sheryl Sandberg, Facebook’s chief operating officer, according to The Wall Street Journal.  Both Zuckerberg and Adam Kramer, a co-author of the study, issued an apology but explained that it was necessary.  They also included that ALL users agreed to sign up for study’s when they agreed to the user agreement policy. Which leaves one question: How many studies have taken place without our notice?

In earlier days FB would provide content based on what the user liked or shared. But now, FB is using content tracking information that the user looks at outside of the site. For example, if you liked a single rock band page and then liked five different country band pages, FB may only provide content on country bands. This limits the information that brands can share with people who (by liking their page) have indicated that they are, in fact, interested in those posts.

Is Facebook Still Poised To Be The #1 Social Media Platform For The Future? Some Say Yes, Others Say No

In recent weeks a study was released stating that (according to Google trends), Facebook could lose 80% of its users between 2015 and 2017. The research was done comparing the decrease to that similar of a disease, which fades as people become immune.

Everyone remembers their old MySpace accounts and how addicted they were to those. Now, most people either have no MySpace account or have not even logged into that account in years. At the time, everyone thought that nothing could replace their beloved MySpace. Now, there are many contenders for the top spot of “web sharers”. Google+TwitterInstagramPintrest, and that’s just to name a few. While the latter three are not geared as much towards a Facebook style, Google+ is a very powerful and increasingly popular alternate.

The thing about studies is that it all depends on the quality of data that is being analyzed. Garner Marketing research firm director Brian Blau says that the quality of the research seems “suspect.” If the quality of the research is correct, this paints a grim future for Facebook. You can see by the constant rollouts of new features and the ever unpopular changes to their algorithm that Facebook is doing their best to try to remain popular and profitable.

Facebook, in response, also created its own parody study trying to debunk the Princeton study. Data scientist from Facebook, Mike Develin stated that it served as a “fun reminder that not all research is created equal.” Based on similar data showing a decline in the searches for Princeton the Facebook team predicted “will have only half of its current enrollment by 2018, and no students at all by 2021.”

But, all kidding aside. Facebook will need to focus on making their users and brands that use the platform to reach their followers and customers happy to insure a prosperous future for the company and social platform.


Facebook Adjusts Algorithm To Target Consumers With Feed Advertising

Facebook once stated that there would never be direct advertising in Facebook user’s feeds. It turns out that this is not quite true. After the company went public it has been finding ways to “sneak” advertising into our Facebook feeds.

Disguised as the “Suggested Post”, ads have been rolling into our feeds for quite some time. Also, using the “Promote This Post” feature is Facebook’s way of letting you pay to have your posts show up in more and targeted user’s feeds.

Now, it looks as though Facebook will start serving ads directly into your feed even further. This past Friday the social media giant stated that they have adjusted their algorithm to make sure that only ads that they will find most useful will be served to their feeds. The only drawback to it is that you have to have actually “hidden” posts from your feed previously or this algorithm tweak will not affect what ads you are seeing in your news feed.

So, basically, if you saw an a “Godaddy Suggested Post” in your news feed and actually clicked the right arrow and selected “Hide From Feed”, only then would Facebook’s algorithm stop serving those ads. If you ignored it, you are very likely to see more.

“For marketers, this means we are showing ads to the people who might want to see them the most,” the company wrote in a blog post. “For example, if someone always hides ads for electronics, we will reduce the number of those types of ads that we show to them.”

Facebook looks to calm the advertisers before they start seeing the odd placement of ads in the weeks to come.

“This means that some marketers may see some variation in the distribution of their ads in the coming weeks,” the blog post reads. “Our goal is to make sure we deliver the most relevant ads, which should mean the right people are seeing a specific ad campaign. This is ultimately better for marketers, because it means their messages are reaching the people most interested in what they have to offer.”

Brand marketers that use Facebook to reach their consumers are definitely up in arms as they feel that Facebook adjusted its algorithm to force marketers to pay to reach consumers who have already followed their brand on. A group survey showed that users viewing organic posts from brands they had followed was down by over 38% after Facebook implemented their new algorithm in September of 2012.

Facebook To Start Inserting Auto-Play Video Ads Into Your Newsfeed

According to Bloomberg’s report, the rumors of auto-play video ads in Facebook feeds are true. Facebook has slowly started peppering our Facebook feeds with advertisements calling them “Suggested Posts”. While they initially said that they would never run ads in people’s news feeds, that was obviously a very flexible rule. If those bother you, then the next step will have you pulling your hair out. 15 second auto-play advertisements will be featured and played directly in your feed later this year.

Facebook will be charging between 1 and 2.5 million dollars per day for the ad space. The cost will depend on the number of Facebook members targeted. As you know, Facebook has been keeping track of everything that you “like, comment, and share” and surely use that information to target advertising to “your preferences”. The only question is, do you want commercials (targeted to you or not) playing automatically in your newsfeed? For most people the answer is a resounding, no.

So far, Facebook has yet to respond to the report.

Facebook COO Sheryl Sandburg made a comparison to the world’s largest televised sporting event. She stated that “Facebooks audience is three times that of the Super Bowl and they are there every day”. After a very rough launch when going public, Facebook is still trying to find different ways to monetize they daily usage of the social media platform.

The commercials will play silently (unless toggled by the user) and only 3 times per day. Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg has reportedly delayed the implementation of the ads multiple times due to the fear of destroying consumer experience and hurting Facebook membership. But, with the implementation of the video ads, it’s stated that it might be the investors driving much of this decision.

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Photo via Facebook’s Official Facebook Page

Windows 8 Review

When it comes to using the new OS, Windows 8, There can be some confusion even with experienced windows users. The new interface is set up to be more efficient for tablets and touch screens which can be very frustrating for laptop and desktop users. The greatest complaint Windows 8 has had is, everyone wants their start menu back. Good news for anyone who misses it, you can download it online and get it back. It is called Start Windows 8/StartMenu8, it is free to download and use.

Windows now has a lock screen also, this can be confusing to new users, but it’s as simple as tapping the space bar, touching your screen upward and moving your mouse to show the login screen. All in all windows 8 is faster and more convenient for internet users.There have been a few drastic changes but nothing that can’t be changed back. A great thing to remember is to keep your computer up to date and have updated software compatible with windows 8 for better service.


Free Windows 8 start menu: http://www.iobit.com/iobitstartmenu8.php