New Video on YouTube!

April 30, 2011

Hey everyone! Here’s a new video I’ve finished that is a quick how-to guide for privacy and account settings!


Video Argument

April 7, 2011

Hey all- this is a short video I made in Windows Movie Maker to throw together some ideas I had- enjoy!

Careful what you post!


Do Not Track

March 21, 2011

One thing that Facebook is very good at: OBA: Online behavioral advertising. This is what most current privacy conversations are about- the ability of web sites to track users’ behaviors in an effort to better aim advertisements at these users. Facebook is VERY good at this- sponsored stories are one way, and even just the advertisements Facebook puts on your page use OBA to better target certain users.

This video explains the new tools web browsers are developing using HTTPS and cookies to make OBA impossible when a user chooses to opt-out. This would make OBA an opt-out feature- unless the user selects to use the do not track tools, OBA will affect them.

The US Congress is looking to standardize web browsers with the Do-Not-Track idea, hoping to secure internet privacy for Americans through making OBA obsolete. So I’m going to ask you all another question, poll style:

Personally, I think that the Do Not Track option should be available to all web browsers, but I’m not sure if it should be mandatory. A lot of times my online experience is enhanced by these types of advertisements- but sometimes I do feel weird when I see an ad for an item I removed from my latest Forever 21 cart online. And then other times, I see deals and specials, as well as non-commercial advertisements, that lead me to a new site or provide me a huge benefit.

Money Doesn’t Buy Happiness

February 24, 2011

… But it keeps a social networking site like Facebook in our lives. How else does the company support the sheer magnitude of management that is required of the world’s largest social networking site? Buying the office space alone has become a task, as Facebook is expanding and moving into new physical locations all over the globe. Server space, hosting, salaries, all of it- it all costs money. So how does a free-to-join, free-to-use site like Facebook generate the green?

This is an interesting video describing the brief process of how Facebook makes money, using your information. Even just the simple information, like your gender and your age, are enough for Facebook to take and sell to other parties. Do I think this is a big deal? Not really. I don’t think it’s super important that a third party knows that I am one of countless 21-year-old females using the social networking site. But when these other parties compile all the information they can about me and track it back to my personal identity, that could be a problem.

So just an interesting insight on how the Facebook world turns. It’s honestly a simple business model, that most social networking sites or site in general deploy, but specific to Facebook and the additional information you can share, it packs a mightier punch.

Sponsored Stories

February 10, 2011

Maybe lately you’ve been seeing a side bar addition to the usual advertisements Facebook has had in the past called “Sponsored Stories.” And maybe that’s your boyfriend who was somewhere grabbing coffee, or your best friend who just facebooked about buying a pair of sexy heels for this weekend on Zappos. Here’s what Facebook has to say about this new feature:

For instance, I just refreshed my home page to find that three of my friends on Facebook “like” the Special Olympics. Going out on a limb, maybe, to suggest that these three friends of mine didn’t expect Facebook to broadcast their click of the like button next to “Special Olympics” throughout their friend list on the site.

For businesses everywhere, this concept makes sense. In fact, it does better than just make sense. Recent surveys and advertisers have said that this past Sunday’s Superbowl advertisements actually made a bigger splash on social networking sites, mainly Facebook, than they did on the actual television broadcast. This is logical when you think about all the re-posting of YouTube versions of this year’s  funniest commercials on the site. Some research also showed that the social networking aspect allowed many users to not just re-post the commercials in a positive manner, but also in a negative manner. Groupon’s controversial commercials ranked as near the bottom of the list of notable commercials, not because they weren’t Facebooked, but because they were- a lot- and with negative remarks.

So I propose a new motto (within the context of your own personal privacy settings): You are what you post. You are what you like. You are what you do on your Facebook. If you “check-in” to a local hot spot and post about it in a positive manner, Facebook now has the capability to take that feed and process it as an advertisement dubbed a “Sponsored Story” on your friends pages.

Zuckerberg on Privacy

February 3, 2011

Let’s hear it from the source, ladies and gentlemen. Facebook does not sell your information, nor does it allow applications or advertisers to sell your information. And what happens when they do?

Zuckerberg asserts, “we shut them down [if they do].”

If you’ve ever watch any interviews with the less than charasmatic CEO of Facebook, you know he’s not the most eloquent man on earth. He gets flustered and frustrated, and his personality at times is so dry that you wonder what’s wrong with him. I have always attributed it to his genius: while he can program and hack his way out of a paper sack, his interpersonal skills are not so honed. So it comes as no surprise to me, nor should it to anyone, that when Zuckerberg interviewed with Kara Swisher it became the notorious “sweatapalooza” mentioned in this video. My take: So Zuckerberg got “pwned.” Swisher had an agenda, and in this 60 Minutes interview, it is clear that Zuckerberg is capable of firmly stating his position on his site’s privacy reputation.

You always hear the terms “hidden motive” and “take your information to make money” in terms of Facebook and privacy. And maybe Facebook does make its money through the distribution of personal information. Facebook is, fundamentally, a social networking site. Social networking sites cannot exist without the free flow of personal information from one user to another. This seems logical.  But does it seem like the site is deliberately dispersing my personal information to whoever asks, just to make a buck?

According to Zuckerberg, the problem is third parties. I will explore this more later, especially more in depth, but let’s get one thing straight: I do not believe that Facebook is maliciously taking my information in order to increase its bottom line. I do believe, however, that certain parties that I can make privy to my information on Facebook are doing that exactly.

And though Zuckerberg states  firmly that the site shuts them down, can Facebook really get to them before they get to us?

%d bloggers like this: