Posts Tagged ‘Facebook’

Steve Jobs’s death provokes Internet scams

Wednesday, October 12th, 2011

Whenever tragedy strikes, Internet scammers are close on the trail with a new ruse to reel in the unsuspecting.

Fraudulent donation funds followed the natural disasters of the Haiti earthquake and the Japan tsunami. Amy Winehouse’s death in July prompted a slew of fake Facebook pop-ups. Most recently, Steve Jobs’s passing has given virtual conmen new fodder to work with.

Within just a few hours of the news breaking about Steve Jobs’ death last week, cyber criminals were hard at work littering the Internet with new scams. Facebook is a popular platform for such fraudulent activity, targeting users that are click-friendly and unwary of being duped.

One such Facebook scam involving the Apple co-founder announced the giving away of 1,000 iPads in commemoration of Steve Jobs. As with most scams on Facebook, users are asked to click on a link which then shares the post on their wall.

In order to be eligible for the iPad drawing, people on Facebook were redirected to an advertising site. Each time a visitor went to the site, the scammer’s earnings increased.

Another variation of the Steve Jobs scam asked users to complete an online survey before they could receive their free iPad or other Apple device. The survey required sensitive personal information, such as birth dates and even credit card numbers for shipping purposes.

The deceptive sites also infected computers with malware when users clicked the links. Some of these websites worked on commission, and with an increase in traffic, came an increase in revenue.

Most Internet scams work in the same fashion: They get people to click on links, share the post with others, and give away their sensitive information.

The Better Business Bureau put out a warning against the Steve Jobs Internet scam, and they urged people to be suspicious of any posts advertising free products and asking users to complete online surveys, especially those on Facebook.

Scammers often target Facebook users because of their click-happy and social nature. Facebook is considered to be somewhat of a community where friends share things. If a friend shares a link for free iPads, most assume that they can trust their judgment and sign up for the free stuff as well.

It’s unfortunate that evildoers out there prey on unsuspecting and trustworthy Internet users. To use someone’s death for monetary benefit is a disgraceful act, but it continues to happen each time a newsworthy event occurs.

Facebook has 800 million users, and in the eyes of scammers, they’re all potential prey and sources of income.

In order to steer clear of such situations, it’s important to follow a few key guidelines. Don’t ever give out credit card numbers or personal information, be wary of anything that looks suspicious, and above all, if it sounds too good to be true, then it probably is.

WORKS CITED:

Hart, Janet C. “BBB: Watch Out for Internet Scams Related to Steve Jobs’ Death” BBB http://charlotte.bbb.org/article/BBB-Watch-Out-for-Internet-Scams-Related-to-Steve-Jobs-Death-29901 Accessed 10/11/11

“Steve Jobs’ death spawns scams” channelnewasia.com http://www.channelnewsasia.com/stories/technologynews/view/1158287/1/.html Accessed 10/10/11

Facebook and Spotify: Two, together

Monday, September 26th, 2011

Facebook’s been gearing up to take on the biggest challenge of all: your taste in everything.

The social media giant is growing older and maturing. With 800 million users worldwide, it’s still the top site of its kind, but some changes may be due to its need to stay relevant and compete with the Google+s of the world.

Unveiled in June of 2011, Google+ now has 20 million users – still a far cry from the global domination of Facebook, but its numbers are steadily climbing.

Some changes to Facebook are simply aesthetic – a new “Top Stories” feature, extending the 500-character post limit to 5,000, and an overwhelmingly up-to-date news ticker about all Facebook friends’ activities all the time.

Probably the most important change to Facebook, announced on September 22nd at the F8 developer conference in San Francisco, is their partnership with almost a dozen different music services – including Spotify, Slacker Radio, Soundcloud, Earbits, Vevo, Rhapsody and others.

Launched in 2008 in Sweden, Spotify has gained massive popularity in the past few months, thanks in part to its promotion by Zuckerberg. The new partnership will surely further the music service’s success and possibly establish them as the social media music service of choice.

Integrated to Facebook’s Open Graph app platform, Facebook users can use Spotify to share songs and playlists with friends in real time. Endorsed by Zuckerberg as an excellent way for users to make new musical discoveries and further share interests with friends, Spotify is indeed the most prominent of Facebook’s new batch of musical partnerships.

Facebook users can expect to see play buttons to start popping up on their pages, seamlessly connecting them to music shared by friends and allowing them to stream it on the spot.

Instead of developing their own music service, Facebook decided to be a host to others. By not having to deal with licensing and expansion, the service can continue to focus on its number one priority: growing its user base.

There has been some controversy surrounding Facebook’s partnership with Spotify, but the biggest debate has been over Spotify’s new necessity for users to belong to Facebook in order to create a new music account.

When a user goes to the Spotify page, they are required to have a Facebook account and are prompted to create one if they don’t already. Similar to the game service Zynga’s growth – which was linked to the success of the social network – Spotify is now connected to Facebook in more than just sharing music.

Before their partnership with Facebook, Spotify was its own entity and required no connection to another service. But, now one cannot exist without the other; It’s become a symbiotic Internet relationship.

Whether or not Spotify will rise to such web stardom as its new partner will depend upon Facebook users’ abilities to willingly accept the new integration. At this point, however, it seems like it’s just a matter of time before Spotify does assume a leadership role in the music streaming industry, eventually ousting competitors like Rdio and Grooveshark thanks to it being Facebook’s default music service of choice.

WORKS CITED:

Butcher, Mike. “Controversy as Spotify requires new users to be on Facebook first” TechCrunch http://eu.techcrunch.com/2011/09/26/controversy-as-spotify-requires-new-users-to-be-on-facebook-first/

Roettgers, Janko. “Facebook teams up with Spotify, Turntable.fm to let users share music” Gigaom http://gigaom.com/2011/09/22/facebook-teams-up-with-spotify-turntable-fm-to-let-users-share-music/

Warren, Christina. “Spotify Comes to Facebook” Mashable Entertainment http://mashable.com/2011/09/22/facebook-music-spotify/

Social Media and the Hurricane

Monday, August 29th, 2011

In this day and age, there could never be a natural disaster without a significant amount of social media commentary. According to a recent article by USAToday, people waiting for its arrival and those already affected by Hurricane Irene took to Facebook and Twitter to post comments and share information with the online world.

Some posts were used to share updates about power outages, road closings and other trouble cause by Hurricane Irene. Dozens of pages on Facebook were dedicated to the storm. People took to social media to express concern, inform loved ones of their safety, and show remorse for those who lost their lives.

Yet others chose to use social media to express emotions of a different sort related to the hurricane; irritation. Category 1 was one of the top trending topics on Twitter this past weekend. Posters on Twitter accused the media and local and state officials of blowing the hurricane out of proportion and overreacting, calling it a Category 2 storm instead of Category 1.

Twitter posts from residents of New York City talked about the inconvenience of shutting down the city. The mass transit system in NYC was closed down for the first time in its history to prepare for the hurricane’s landfall upon the city.

Still, as some cared to share their irritation or blast their media over the hurricane, some took to the social media airwaves to urge others to take it seriously. No matter what category the hurricane was or how it compared to storms in the past, Irene still caused billions of dollars of damage up and down the East Coast, left hundreds of thousands without power, and killed at least 24 people.

It’s no surprise that social media sites such as Facebook and Twitter were flooded with comments and posts about Hurricane Irene. Any monumental event such as a natural disaster will provoke social commentary, and the easiest way to share your opinion with the world these days is via social media. If our country was being bombed to pieces, there would still be people running from the path of destruction with a smartphone in their hands, trying to type out a message about the inconvenience of it all with buildings blowing up left and right and jets flying overhead.

The nature of social media is that anyone can post anything they want at any time. This means that we must take the good with the bad. Certain people decided to use Facebook and Twitter to provide useful information to the rest of the world about the hurricane, such as its path of destruction, road closing, power outages, and refuge shelters for those stranded.

But of course, others like to abuse the access and wide broadcast of social media to complain about the media coverage or the inconvenience of having to evacuate. Social media represents all spectrums of society, and if we are going to subject ourselves to the content, we must hear what everyone has to say.

Facebook Modifies Privacy Features

Wednesday, August 24th, 2011

Once again, Facebook has modified its privacy features. After multiple complaints of accidental oversharing and too much accessibility by people other than your friends to what is posted on Facebook, the social media giant has decided to make some more changes.

According to an article from the New York Times, the company announced Tuesday that the new features will help users control what they share and with whom. These new tools to be introduced on Thursday will include specific icons that will appear when adding new content. Pictures, comments and content to profile pages will all be subject to the user’s specifications on who they would like to share it with.

As of right now, users must go to a separate page in order to set controls on who they share with. Facebook hopes that by integrating the sharing options into each new instance of content creation, it will help users become more aware of who they are sharing with and allow them more control.

Recently, the use of facial recognition to identify people in photos was a big concern among Facebook users. Not to mention that when somebody tagged a photo of you, it automatically popped up in you profile images.

With the new changes, any tagged photo of you will require your approval before it is posted to your page. It will still appear on the page of the person who tagged you but not on your own page without consent.

This is an appealing new feature, especially if you have ever been the victim of an embarrassing tag. Perhaps you don’t want that photo of you with your arm around someone other than your girlfriend emerging on Facebook. Or maybe you don’t really care to share that photo of you doing shots at the bar with your parents or employers.

With more than 750 million users, the new changes will make an impact. Facebook denies that the privacy modifications are intended to keep up with the competition that is Google+. Google’s new social media service lets you establish groups of friends that you would like to communicate or share certain things with. With Facebook, if you don’t pay a whole lot of attention to your privacy settings; your info is just out there for the whole world to see.

Oversharing and surprise-tagging can be big sources of embarrassment on Facebook, and in certain cases might even get you into trouble. The simplest solution to this dilemma is to not act like an idiot when you are out in public. Or if you are really worried about your social media image but insist on being an idiot, then maybe you should just not have a Facebook page. Now there’s a crazy concept.

Phone Apps Used for Illegal Purposes

Monday, July 18th, 2011

Phone apps these days are pretty cool. They allow us to play countless different games in the palm of our hand, have access to unlimited information on the web, make cool noises and connect with friends. But as with most other advancements in communication and technology, people have found a way to create and use certain apps for illegal purposes.

One of the most controversial apps that recently came under fire is the DUI checkpoint app. Available from a few different companies, this program alerts drivers of speed traps, red-light cameras and police sobriety roadblocks. Under pressure from Congress, Apple announced last month that they will ban these types of apps in their online store.

Many people argue that they like to use the DUI apps for personal safety and in order to avoid traffic, but Congress argues that it simply allows more drunk-drivers to avoid getting into trouble. Although Apple has vowed to ban these apps, there are always ways around it, and the software can be found for purchase and download on clandestine and alternative sites.

In addition to the DUI checkpoint awareness app, a recent article that appeared in the Los Angeles Times discusses some of the other controversial and potentially illegal apps out there, and some of them are quite ridiculous. Even though Congress likes to persuade certain companies to get rid of or ban these types of apps, the programs are still protected along with books, movies and music by the First Amendment which allows for the freedom of speech.

One of the questionable apps discussed in the LA Times article was one that provided fake ID software for users of mobile devices. In just a few clicks, anyone can have access to realistic licenses from all fifty states. Although the company declares that it is strictly for entertainment purposes, they are basically just cutting out the fake ID middleman. I wish it were that easy when I was in high school.

The Secret SMS Replicator goes above and beyond the invasion of privacy by allowing users to have texts from someone else’s phone forwarded to their own. This is actually legal as long as the other party gives permission to do so. Without permission however, this can be viewed as illegal wiretapping. Although access to the other person’s phone is necessary, it can be installed in just a few moments and done secretly. Any suspicious parent or jealous girlfriend would love this app.

Here’s a good one; the Stalqer. This app lets people keep track of all their friends on Facebook and know their exact whereabouts at any point in time. It obtains location data from Facebook and plots them on a map. Combine this with the text message-obtainer, and parents and spouses will never have to wonder again.

Some of the other and more ridiculous apps mentioned in the LA Times article include the iBlunt, which displays an image of a joint and “puffs” out smoke when you blow into it, and the Police Light app which replicates the sound of a squealing police siren.

Apps can be fun, and apparently quite illegal. Where there’s a will, there’s a way.

Wordpress Powers More than 50 Million Sites

Monday, July 11th, 2011

If you follow this blog at all, you might know by now that I am somewhat of a fiend for social media. Sites like Facebook and Twitter are changing our world and transforming the ways in which we are informed of everyday happenings.

Blogs are also a useful tool in sharing ideas and information. Anyone can create a blog and therefore anyone can share their thoughts with the rest of the world. Right now, you are reading my blog and taking in what I have to say. It might not be breaking news, but if people read it then I have something worth sharing.

If you are reading this blog right now, you are on a Wordpress site. Wordpress is an open source blogging platform that recently reached the accolade of powering more than 50 million different websites. Half of those sites are hosted on the Wordpres.com site, such as this one here.

Every day, Wordpress users create 500,000 new posts and make 400,000 new comments. Wordpress has attracted many users because of its ease and simplicity. You do not have to be any kind of computer geek to create and update a blog. Users can re-arrange widgets without editing PHP or HTML code. It’s so easy, anyone can do it!

Wordpress was released in 2003 and has since made a huge splash in the online world. This open source blog tool and publishing platform is extremely versatile. It can be used to power blogs and many other various types of personal and business websites. Best of all, it’s free.

The idea of a blog is exemplary of the current status of our society. We live in an online, social-networking world, and apparently we care what other people are doing and what they have to say. Twitter and Facebook are both prime examples of how much we invest into other people’s thoughts and actions.

With Twitter, we can follow certain people’s every moves and thoughts they might have. Celebrities attract a lot of attention on Twitter, because for some reason we really care what where they are eating for lunch or what they have to say about current events. In a way, it brings us closer to them and we feel like we know them better by following them on Twitter.

Facebook allows us to exist in a virtual world where everything is wonderful. Posts and pictures on Facebook are usually taken from the highlight reel of one’s life. Everything is great on Facebook, and we like it that way. It’s a perfect world where nothing really goes wrong and everyone is happy. And we can also keep tabs on what our friends are up to at all hours of the day. For the naïve voyeur, this is a utopia.

Blogs are another form of social media, and they enable everyone with a voice. To be able to publish your thoughts and opinions online for others to read makes you feel kind of important – like your thoughts and ideas actually hold some merit tin this crazy world.

The irony is thick here today. I am using my Wordpress blog as a platform to discuss my thoughts on how important blogs have come to be and how Wordpress is dominating that arena. If only somebody would read this…