Tag: Facebook

Facebook is worth $227 billion to the globe

globe-museum03Social not working site Facebook is worth $227 billion worth to the world and created 4.5 million jobs in 2014.

A report from beancounters Deloitte & Touche, which was commissioned by Facebook, claimed that with 1.35 billion users of its Internet social network, Facebook  would rank as the world’s second-most populous nation if it were a country.

Deloitte & Touche based its figures on the businesses that maintain pages on  Facebook as well as the mobile apps and games that consumers play on Facebook and measures all the economic activity that result. It also considered the demand for gadgets and online connectivity services that are generated by Facebook.

Some of the cash, such as when a company advertises to customers on Facebook, can be directly attributed to Facebook. However, when consumers donated $100 million for research into amyotrophic lateral sclerosis during this summer’s Ice Bucket challenge, Facebook’s auto-play video ads were a key factor.

Facebook Chief Operating Officer Sheryl Sandberg claimed Facebook was helping create a new wave of small businesses in everything from fashion to fitness. She cited a group of young women in Bengaluru, India, who started a hair accessory business using Facebook and a mother in North Carolina who started the Lolly Wolly Doodle line of clothing, selling to customers through Facebook.


Facebook buys into video

thumb-mark-zuckerberg-facebook-pro-4566In a bid to outdo Google’s YouTube, Facebook said yesterday it had bought San Diego company QuickFire.
QuickFire is a private company so financial details of the deal are unavailable.
The company makes technology that reduces the bandwidth to look at films online without compromising on quality.
Mark Zuckerberg’s Facebook said in a prepared statement that video was an “essential part” of Facebook which currently has 1.3 billion people online which use it.
The 20 strong team will move into Facebook’s HQ in Menlo Park, California.
According to Facebook itself, more people now upload videos to the social networking site. Facebook is looking for advertising dollars – YouTube turns in a pretty penny for its owner Google by leveraging video ads as lead ins to music and videos.


Twitter becomes urban planning tool

  Layout of businesses, nightlife and leisure areas in Madrid using Twitter are illustrated here. The uncolored part corresponds to residential areas.Computer scientists believe that Twitter is a good way to aid urban planning and land use.

Brother and sister scientists Enrique and Vanessa Frias-Martinez have ussyed a report suggesting that geolocalised tweets can be used for urban planning. Vanessa is a scientist at the University of Maryland while her brother works for Spanish telco Telefonica.

According to Enrique Frias-Martinez, geolocalised tweets are useful for planning because of the number of people tweeting on where they are and what they’re up to.

He said: “Thanks to the increased use of smartphones, social networks like Twitter and Facebook have made it possible to access and produce information ubiquitously.”

He said that Twitter can include latitude and longitude and information can be captured more efficiently than by using questionnaires.  It’s also far cheaper and more accurate than using traditional methods, he said.

The pair have mapped land use in New York, Madrid and London. The pair have published their paper in the journal Engineering Applications of Artificial Intelligence.

Putin gets Facebook page blocked

Vladimir Putin - Wikimedia CommonsA page on Facebook has been pulled in Russia after a state comms regulator asked the social networking corporation to pull it down.

The pages were promoting a rally to be held on January 15th supporting an opposition politician called Alexey Navalney.

According to Bloomberg, Navalney faces a 10 year charge and has been on house arrest since this February.  He is a popular figure and is an anti-corruption activist.

Earlier this year, Russian president Vladimir Putin signed off on laws that gave him and his regulator more power over the internet. The government already controls much of the media including the press and TV.

Bloomberg quotes a Navalny spokesperson as saying that the opposition was surprised by how quickly Facebook blocked the page from its 10.5 million or so users in Russia.

Facebook had nothing to say on why it took the decision to take down the pages.

Navalny faces sentencing on the 15th of January, the day of the proposed rally.  He personally has no access to either the internet or the telephone.

Facebook thinks about dislike button

Mark Zuckerberg - WikimedaPeople have asked for a dislike button on Facebook for quite some time, but now it looks as if founder Mark Zuckerberg has given the thumbs up to the idea.

The BBC reports that Zuckerberg, speaking in a conference at California, said the thumbs down feature was the most requested feature that Facebook gets.

If Facebook implements it, that means that when somebody is going through a tough patch they won’t have to “like” iit, like they currently do.

But Zuckerberg has some concerns and doesn’t want people to use it to diss people’s posts, the BBC said.

Zuckerberg wants Facebook users to be able to express a wider range of emotions.

One of the obstacles is that Facebooks revenue model is based on advertising. Large brand names mostly have Facebook pages and the last think Zuckerberg would want to see is tens of thousands of people disliking soda or candy.

Facebook stops you posting pics drunk

zuckerberg-drinkSocial notworking site Facebook is creating an artificial intelligence tool that will warn people when they are about to do something they might regret.

Apparently the tool can detect if you are about to upload an embarrassing photo of yourself or other people.

Yann LeCun, who heads the Facebook Artificial Intelligence Research lab, and his team are laying the basic groundwork for the tool.

He sees the AI tool as a Facebook digital assistant that recognises when you are uploading an embarrassing photo from a late-night party and tells you that this is probably not a good idea.

LeCun said this assistant would tap you on the shoulder and say: “Uh, this is being posted publicly. Are you sure you want your boss and your mother to see this?”

The tool would rely on image recognition technology that can distinguish between your drunken self and sober self. Which is interesting, because a few can’t remember their sober selves and have never met them for a long time.

The larger aim, LeCun said, is to create a tool that can self-censor stuff posted to Facebook. They are also looking at AI systems that can understand FB data in ways that are more complex.

LeCun also envisions a Facebook that instantly notifies you when someone you do not know posts your photo to the social network without your approval. Or posts adverts for Sunglasses.

The only problem with this tool is if you are off your face you think it is a good idea to  post a picture even if your AI assistant tells you it is a bad one.





Families frightened of social media

facebokTwo thirds of people in the UK won’t share their photographs online because they’re worried about privacy.

That follows widely publicised hacks of different social networking products including Twitter and Facebook.

A survey conducted by Berland on behalf of KatchUp showed that while 82 percent of families believe keeping in touch with each other is most important, the most common way people share photos using email, at 59 percent.

Other worries about sharing photos online include the time taken to filter photographs (49%), a fear of their data being collected by the social media (33%) and a dislike of advertisements (17%).

Two out of five people said they were worried about what the rest of their family could come across on social networking accounts.

As many as 59 percent of British people only want an inner circle of people to see photographs on social media.

And 38 percent and 30 percent of people thought it was “inappropriate” to share christening and photos of children.

Social media no guide to human behaviour

humanoidsWhile researchers are mining social media in an attempt to understand human behaviour, some scientists are warning there are big pitfalls using the data.

Scientists at McGill University and Carnegie Mellon University say that thousands of research papers are based on data from social media and used to make decisions in both industry and government.

But there are serious problems using such data.  The researchers point out that Pinterest is dominated by women between the ages of 25 to 34, and other social media attract different users.

Researchers don’t know when and how social media providers filter their data streams while the way some of the social media websites are designed dictate how people behave.  Facebook’s absence of a dislike button skews the measurement of positive versus negative responses.

Attempts to discover the political attitude of people on Twitter only work with 65 percent accuracy while some studies claim 90 percent accuracy for gauging such views.

The researchers say that all of these factors should be borne in mind when attempting to use the data to discover how humans think.

Social networks under fire over soldier’s murder

facebokFacebook is under attack in the UK because it failed to supply information needed which might have prevented the murder of Fusilier Lee Rigby.

Michael Adebowale, one of the killers of the soldier, had 11 Facebook accounts but GCHQ has only seen six of those despite requests.

A parliamentary committee said yesterday that Adebowale used Facebook to communicate with a Yemeni Al Qaeda operative but the social network’s auto warning system didn’t register the conversations.

The sister of Lee Rigby claims Facebook has “blood on their hands”.  The committee said Facebook had failed to turn over all the information GCHQ requested.

But it’s not just Facebook that was criticised in the parliamentary report –  Twitter, Apple, Microsoft, Yahoo, Google and Blackberry don’t accept the UK has any jurisdiction over content.

PM David Cameron has joined in on criticising Facebook but this morning a former senior civil servant at MI6 said that policing Facebook is “almost impossible” because of the amount of data posted on a daily basis.

Facebook said it doesn’t allow terrorist content on its site and stops people using the social networking site for such purposes. The problem appears to be that the US legal jurisdiction prevents US companies from sharing this type of information with foreign powers.

Facebook games are good for families

Queen Victoria and family - WikimediaYou might think that Facebook games are an enormous distraction and getting loads of requests from your friends on FB are really very annoying.

Well, think again. Because a team of scientists at Concordia have published research that suggests playing these time wasting games can actually improve family life.

In an unlikely turn of events, researchers at Concordia said that if you play Farmville on Facebook along with your mummy, your daddy or your auntie Carmen, you strengthen the bonds within the family.

Mia Consalvo, Canada Research Chair at Concordia claimed that social network games (SNGs) “offer family members a meaningful way to interact and meet social obligations”.

The researchers polled a number of people to see what SNGs do for a family.  Apparently “these online games offer families a common topic of conversation and enhance the quality of time spent together”.

Well, we’ve all come across situations where people in families don’t talk to each other.

The researchers said: “It’s not just siblings in their early 20s using SNGs to connect. Grandfathers are playing online games with granddaughters, mothers with sons.  These multi generational interactions prove social networks are tools that break down both communication and age barriers.”


Facebook takes on Linkedin

Mark Zuckerberg - WikimedaSocial networking site Facebook is apparently readying a rival to Linkedin – a site that some people occasionally use for work to share resumes and the like.

The Financial Times originally broke the news and claims that Facebook, which has already lost popularity with younger people, will let people tie up with their professional contacts and chat to their colleagues.

It’s not only Linkedin that Facebook may compete against – the report suggested that Microsoft’s Yammer and Google are in Facebook’s sights too.

But Facebook faces increasing criticism that material posted by people worldwide form the basis of a marketing initiative that breaches personal privacy and can cause unexpected consequences.

In view of this, business professionals may feel it’s a bit much to trust their resumes/CVs into the hands of a company that’s already facing criticism because of privacy concerns.

Facebook made no comment at press time but is continually looking at ways to stretch its global database reach.  Wouldn’t it make more sense to just buy Linkedin, which is a publicly listed company?

Governments want more from Facebook

Facebook's Mark ZuckerbergSocial networking company Facebook said in a statement that requests by different governments round the world sharply rose during the first half of this year.

Governments requested 34,946 requests while Facebook said limits on some content to comply with local legislation increased by 19 percent during the same period.

Facebook said in a statement that it looks at every government request it gets and it “pushes back hard” if it finds deficiencies in the requests or if the requests are too broad.

It said that over the last year it has challenged bulk search warrants in New York that demanded it hand over data from the accounts of close to 400 people.

“We’ve argued that these overly broad warrants violate the privacy rights of the people on Facebook and ignore constituional safeguards against unreasonable searches and seizures,” the satement continued.

It is appealing these warrants.

Facebook also said it works with the IT industry and partners to “push governments for additional transparency and to reform surveillance practices necessary to rebuild people’s trust in the internet.”

All government data requests should be narrowly tailored, proportionate, and subject to judicial oversight.

GCHQ head hits out at IT companies

GCHQ buildingThe newly appointed head of spy outfit GCHQ has said computer companies like Facebook and Twitter are not doing enough to help security services catch criminals and terrorists.

Robert Hannigan went a little further than that and accused technology outfits of being “command and control networks for terrorists and criminals”.

The Islamic State, for example, used the web as a channel to promote itself, frighten people and radicalise new recruits.

Hannigan said: “But increasingly their services not only host the material of violent extremism or child exploitation, but are the routes for the facilitation of crime and terrorism.”

He also criticised the security of communications saying that encryption methods which were once the domain of nation states are now commonplace.  For example, Apple and Google include encryption in their mobile operating systems as a way of protecting people’s security and privacy.

He wants the tech companies to provide more support.

Use Facebook to talk to your heating

washingmachineA report suggests that pretty soon now we’ll be friending our washing machines, heating, lights and cars and telling them what we’ve had for breakfast. If we didn’t already know.

Scientists from the Federal University of Bahia in Brazil suggest that interfaces of social networking sites are likely to change to allow us to interact with things connected to the internet.

The internet of things, say the authors, could hook up with weather feeds so that your heating turns on when snow is expected.

And as things get ever more connected, you might even find that your gadgets defriend you because you’re not really needed at all.

The scientists at Bahia say that we will soon find ourselves waking up to what they dub a “social web of things”.  Think, for example, that in the future you can send a text message to your house to fiddle about with the heating. You will not be necessary in the future, and, says the team: “The archicture could be extended to remove the intermediate, us, from the equation and so give us domestic bliss with minimal intervention.”

EU programmers are rubbish

euTop technology companies including Microsoft, Facebook and SAP have written a stiffly worded missive to the EU to complain that the blocs’ programmers are rubbish.

The open letter said that kids of today are not being given the skills to flourish in tomorrow’s digital economy and society and are not learning to code.

“It is undeniable that Europe needs more computer scientists and engineers if it is to prosper and compete – the number of unfilled ICT vacancies in Europe is expected to reach 900,000 by 2020,” the letters said.

Coding was not just for “geeks” or those destined for a career in ICT. A plethora of interesting, creative jobs all depend on a degree of coding ability. Whether analysing healthcare data, designing security software or creating special effects for movies, coding is the red thread that runs through Europe’s future professions, the letter said.

“The spread and sophistication of coding teaching in Europe remains too limited. Code is easy to learn but not widely taught in schools. Only 20 per cent of Europe’s school children are in schools which have adopted over-arching formal policies covering the use of ICT across all subjects.”

Part of the problem is that ICT and computer science skills are seen as niche, with little relevance to other fundamental academic pursuits. In Europe, fewer than 15 per cent of students have the opportunity to use the kind of higher level ICT in school that would help them develop ’21st century skills’ such as collaboration, self-regulation and problem-solving.

Teachers have the power to awaken passions and inspire ideas. And they are enthusiastic adopters of technology, keen to implement digital skills in their classroom. However, they receive little to no structured ICT training, it said.