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Postby Shinigami » Tue Mar 08, 2011 3:23 am

Facebook May Bust Up the SMS Profit Cartel
"Fortune had an interesting article recently about wireless providers and their exorbitant profit margins for SMS handling, especially when looking at modern data plans. 'Under the cell phone industry's peculiar pricing system, downloading data to your smartphone is amazingly cheap — unless the data in question happens to be a text message. In that case the price of a download jumps roughly 50,000-fold, from just a few pennies per megabyte of data to a whopping $1000 or so per megabyte.' A young little application called Beluga caught the attention of Facebook, which purchased the company a Thursday. The app aims to bring messaging under the umbrella of data plans, and features group messaging, picture and video messaging, and integration with other apps. The author argues that, if successful, Beluga (or whatever Facebook ends up calling it) could potentially be the Skype/Vonage or Netflix-type competitor to the old-school cellular carriers and their steep pricing plans."


Basically Google Voice, without the nice features.

Source:Slashdot.org

Facebook adds Samaritans suicide risk alert system


Facebook is launching a system that allows users to report friends who they think may be contemplating suicide.

The feature is being run in conjunction with Samaritans, which said several people had used it during a test phase.

Anyone worried about a friend can fill out a form, detailing their concerns, which is passed to the site's moderators.

It follows reports of several cases where Facebook users announced their intention to commit suicide online.

The reporting page asks for the address (URL) of the Facebook page where the messages are posted, the full name of the user and details of any networks they are members of.

Suicide-related alerts will be escalated to the highest level, for attention by Facebook's user operations team.


Read More at BBC News
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Re: Facebook

Postby Happy Mom » Wed Apr 27, 2011 9:15 am

Facebook Facial Recognition Could Get Creepy
PC World


In early April, Engadget posted a short article confirming a rumor that Facebook would be using facial recognition to suggest the names of friends who appeared in newly uploaded photos. You’d be allowed to opt out of tagging, and only friends would be able to tag each other in albums. Nevertheless, a commenter beneath the story quipped, “Awesome! Now I can take pictures of cute girls at the grocery store or at the park, upload them and Facebook will tell me who they are! (I'm pretty sure that’s not [how] it works but I’m sure it will get there.)”

The commenter’s confidence says a lot: Facial recognition may be just one more way for Facebook to push the visual part of the social graph (photos of us) toward being more public and far less private. Facebook has a history of asking for forgiveness after the fact instead of asking for permission in advance, and its new face-recognition feature could become the latest example of a seemingly innocuous development morphing into a serious threat to the privacy of our (visual) data. And as usual, some Facebook users will like the convenience of the new features so much that they will forget the privacy trade-off altogether, or just choose not to worry about it.

Features You Didn't Know You Had

As it stands, Facebook’s current feature uses facial recognition technology to pick out faces in your photos. Once you’ve uploaded your album, Facebook will take you to a new screen where you can enter the name of each person below their face. Sometimes (depending on your privacy settings and the clarity of the photo), Facebook will go a step further: If a face matches one you previously tagged in another album, Facebook may suggest that person’s name for you. Facebook quietly added the feature to the Privacy Settings, allowing users to disable the peppy-sounding 'Suggest photos of me to friends' option. Most Facebook users probably don’t know that the extra privacy setting is there.

Technological advances in the last 10 years are making it possible for computers to match images and names with impressive accuracy. Though every company using the technology handles it a little differently, the president of Applied Recognition, Ray Ganong, shared some insight into how his company’s product Fotobounce gets the job done: “We scan each image as a bitmap and look for potential face images that qualify. We try to see the two eyes, and based on the eye location we reorient the face and then generate a digital signature, based on that face.” Many builders of facial recognition technology base their matches on “faceprints” of people, where an engine synthesizes information using many photos of the same person from different angles or with different lighting to make a more accurate match. Given that Facebook users had uploaded 60 billion photos by the end of 2010, the prospects for accurate facial recognition on the social network are better now than ever before.

Facial recognition in a social networking context is not particularly new. Third-party app builders have been offering face detection on Facebook since Face.com entered the scene in 2009 with its Photo Finder app, which scanned thousands of photos to find images in which the user appears but isn’t tagged. But the difference between third-party apps and Facebook’s new recognition feature is that the former have always required participants to actively opt in to the feature, whereas at Facebook the feature is turned on by default and requires the user first to learn that it's in use, and then to expressly opt out. Even then, Facebook’s servers don’t lose the information they've acquired for associating your face with your name. They just comply with your request not to use it for the time being.

Despite the service's need to make users feel at ease about these changes, some comments from Facebook's management over the past few months have been confusing and a little defensive, adding to the impression that the company is easing in a feature that could generate negative reactions later.
In September 2010, Facebook revealed that it would recognize and group similar faces together. During a public announcement regarding the new features, Sam Odio, the newly hired product manager of Facebook Photos, said "This isn't face recognition […] Picasa and iPhoto--they'll detect a face and say, 'This is Sam,' and they'll suggest that it's Sam. We're not doing that. We're not linking any faces to profiles automatically. Right now, we want to stay away from that because it's a very touchy subject." Apparently the subject wasn’t quite so touchy four months later, when Facebook started suggesting the names of friends in uploaded photos.

Some might argue that the facial recognition tagging feature actually gives users more privacy by increasing their chances of being tagged, and in that way discovering where their image is appearing and how it’s being used. But for some, the worry is less about how friends might use your photos and more about how Facebook could use your information--and give others access to it. Even if you choose to disable the 'Suggest photos of me to friends' option, Facebook will still have the technical ability to connect your name with your image. And even when Facebook doesn’t suggest the name of your friend, picking out a face and asking you to tag it is essentially the same thing as offering the name of your friend, except that it enlists you as a participant in the process. “Facebook is being really clever about it […] they're not assigning names with it, but the minute you assign a name to it you've completed the recognition,” says Marisol MacGregor, head of marketing at Viewdle, a company that specializes in making lightweight facial recognition technology.

Safe Now, But What's Coming?

In the hands of smaller developers like Viewdle and Fotobounce, which keep little if any personal information on their company’s servers, face recognition could be minimally worrisome. But in the hands of Facebook, which sits on a monster database filled with dense detail about the personal lives of more than 500 million people, the technology has the potential to be creepy.

Of course, as far as we know, the company is not going any farther with its current technology than suggesting that you tag people you are already friends with in newly uploaded photos. But could Facebook ever identify people you’re not friends with and suggest that you become friends with them? “Absolutely, it would be easy to do. All that data would be on that server farm. Technically, it's totally possible to expand that,” says Applied Recognition's Ganong.

It’s not hard to imagine Facebook’s “Suggest photos of me to friends” privacy setting becoming "Suggest photos of me to friends of friends" and then “Suggest photos of me to others”--essentially allowing you to take photos of strangers on the street and request a friendship. No other company except Google could realistically offer a feature that tells you the name of a complete stranger you’d seen in the park or at a concert. In 2008 the company offered face recognition on Picasa, Google’s photo-sharing site, but it recently removed face-finding tech from its Google Goggles app until privacy issues could be resolved. It turns out that algorithmically finding faces is cool, but sharing faces can get scary.

Though Google is a giant company, one reason why its facial recognition feature in Goggles may not work is that Google doesn’t have the kind of built-in emphasis on friendship and sharing that Facebook has. Facebook’s ubiquity, and its financial interest in getting people to connect, makes it perhaps the only company in the world that could roll out the ability to recognize strangers, and get users to accept it. Some people might relish the idea of being spotted and of making connections with new people, but being able to identify a face with nothing more than a camera could have serious adverse consequences. “Facial recognition is especially troubling because cameras are ubiquitous and we routinely show our faces. And of course, one can take pictures of crowds, so it scales a bit better than, say, fingerprints,” says Lee Tien, Electronic Frontier Foundation senior staff attorney, via e-mail.

Misidentification is another problem. Gil Hirsch, CEO of Face.com, says that his company set up a very high threshold of recognition to confirm face matches on its Photo finder app. “We don't want to send you a message saying ‘Hey Megan we found a photo of you’ and it's not really you," he explained. But that threshold of recognition will be different with every system, Facebook’s included. Nevertheless, better and faster algorithms are slowly whittling down the likelihood of erroneous identifications. Compared to being accurately identified to a stranger, misidentification may register as a lesser concern. Tien of EFF notes, “If Facebook misidentifies someone, the consequences are not the same as when a police video-camera misidentifies you as a suspect.” True, unless a misidentification implicates you in dubious activities. The imagination reels.

From a business perspective, it's important to Facebook that its users tag themselves and each other in as many photos as possible. These tags create more page views, which is valuable to Facebook’s advertisers. But it could go much further. If you are tagged in a photo with three friends, advertisers could tailor information to what they think you might want based on your friend’s preferences. Though perhaps not at the level of an infringement of legal privacy rights, facial recognition in the hands of Facebook does permit advertisers an unprecedented level of information about how to get a message across to you.

Facial recognition is a cool technology that Facebook is using to add more convenience to the act of tagging people in photos. The technology may indeed create more connections between friends, and so far it seems to pose little real threat to privacy--because for now it's all among friends. But that could change. If you are uncomfortable with facial recognition, pay a visit to your Facebook privacy settings and opt out of the feature. In the broader view, it's important that we all keep a close eye on Facebook's use of this powerful technology, and that we let tech privacy groups and lawmakers know if the technology is being abused to enrich social networking sites and their advertisers, at the expense of our privacy.

http://news.yahoo.com/s/pcworld/2011042 ... Jvb2tmYWNp
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Re: Facebook

Postby Shinigami » Wed Apr 27, 2011 9:53 am

Great, now everybody will know where I went out on the weekend and the girls I was seen with in my photos were actually strippers.
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Re: Facebook

Postby Yorktown » Tue Aug 02, 2011 1:03 pm

Status update: Cops say man fired gun over Facebook fight

The Times By Jeff Burton

PORTAGE | A virtual argument over comments posted on the social networking website Facebook turned dangerous Sunday night when a man pulled out a gun and fired it during a confrontation.

Brandon Melcic, 24, Portage, faces criminal recklessness and firearms charges.

According to Portage police, shortly before 10 p.m. Sunday, Melcic's family reported a man outside throwing rocks at their home in the 5700 block of Buttercup Avenue.

When police arrived, a 26-year-old California man standing on the sidewalk told officers he came to Melcic's house to confront him over some derogatory comments Melcic posted on Facebook.

He said during the argument, Melcic pulled out a .38-caliber semiautomatic handgun and twice fired it at the ground.

http://www.nwitimes.com/news/local/port ... z1Tt8LfSv0


Some people are complete lunatics.

:?
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Re: Facebook

Postby South Bender » Wed Aug 03, 2011 4:00 pm

Yorktown wrote:
Status update: Cops say man fired gun over Facebook fight

The Times By Jeff Burton

PORTAGE | A virtual argument over comments posted on the social networking website Facebook turned dangerous Sunday night when a man pulled out a gun and fired it during a confrontation.

Brandon Melcic, 24, Portage, faces criminal recklessness and firearms charges.

According to Portage police, shortly before 10 p.m. Sunday, Melcic's family reported a man outside throwing rocks at their home in the 5700 block of Buttercup Avenue.

When police arrived, a 26-year-old California man standing on the sidewalk told officers he came to Melcic's house to confront him over some derogatory comments Melcic posted on Facebook.

He said during the argument, Melcic pulled out a .38-caliber semiautomatic handgun and twice fired it at the ground.

http://www.nwitimes.com/news/local/port ... z1Tt8LfSv0


Some people are complete lunatics.

:?


Well, if the guy had just helped out harvesting the crops on his "Farmville" game, then none of this would have gone down. :D
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Re: Facebook

Postby Yorktown » Wed Aug 03, 2011 4:02 pm

South Bender wrote:
Yorktown wrote:
Status update: Cops say man fired gun over Facebook fight

The Times By Jeff Burton

PORTAGE | A virtual argument over comments posted on the social networking website Facebook turned dangerous Sunday night when a man pulled out a gun and fired it during a confrontation.

Brandon Melcic, 24, Portage, faces criminal recklessness and firearms charges.

According to Portage police, shortly before 10 p.m. Sunday, Melcic's family reported a man outside throwing rocks at their home in the 5700 block of Buttercup Avenue.

When police arrived, a 26-year-old California man standing on the sidewalk told officers he came to Melcic's house to confront him over some derogatory comments Melcic posted on Facebook.

He said during the argument, Melcic pulled out a .38-caliber semiautomatic handgun and twice fired it at the ground.

http://www.nwitimes.com/news/local/port ... z1Tt8LfSv0


Some people are complete lunatics.

:?


Well, if the guy had just helped out harvesting the crops on his "Farmville" game, then none of this would have gone down. :D


You're probably right.

:lol:
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Re: Facebook

Postby Yorktown » Thu Aug 04, 2011 8:18 am

Facebook 'Friending' Illegal

Missouri has passed a law making it illegal for state teachers to friend their students on Facebook.

Governor Jay Nixon signed Missouri State Bill 54, which bans students and teachers from communicating and being "friends" on the social networking site. The law was created to prevent inappropriate relationships between children and teachers.

"Teachers cannot establish, maintain or use a work-related website unless it is available to school administrators and the child's legal custodian, physical custodian or legal guardian," the law states. "Teachers also cannot have a non work-related website that allows exclusive access with a current or former student."

The law is not limited to Facebook and applies to any social networking site. Although Facebook fan pages will still be allowed, direct communication between teachers and students on the site will be banned.

Although some critics have said the concept sounds positive on the surface, they worry it may imply that teachers may not be trusted on the site without legal intervention.

Others worry that restricting sites such as Facebook could hinder the educational process in the future.

"Legislators should use caution when regulating online tools that can be instrumental for educational purposes," said Rainey Reitman, activism director at the San Francisco-based Electronic Frontier Foundation (EFF). "We may find a time when Facebook and other similar services can be used as a valuable teaching tool and it would be a shame to see it squashed by short-sighted legislation."

In 2010, Lee County school district in Florida advised teachers not to friend students on social networking sites, claiming that teacher-student communication through this medium is "inappropriate."

This was the first school district in the state of Florida, possibly even the country, to issue teacher-protocol guidelines for social media.

School officials issued a list of guidelines to all district employees suggesting they not correspond with students through sites such as Facebook, MySpace and Twitter. The guidelines also warned employees to be careful when using online communication to prevent legal or workplace issues that could surface.

The guidelines weren't issued from a punitive standpoint, but a proactive one, according to Joseph Donzelli, director of communications and printing services at Lee County Public Schools.

"We don't want teachers and students to do something they might regret," Donzelli told TechNewsDaily.

"We've heard stories from across the country about people posting things on Facebook that have come back to haunt them. We aren't the Internet police or Big Brother, we just want our teachers and students to make good decisions – and these guidelines will help them do so," Donzelli added.

http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/43992926


I guess I agree with that. It's not the primary role of the teacher to be "friends" with the students. Plus, it can lead to inappropriate situations ...
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Re: Facebook

Postby Happy Mom » Thu Aug 04, 2011 8:43 am

I had a lot of my students (3rd grade) want to befriend me and I explained to the class, as a whole, why that was not going to happen. I also used the situation to explain the dangers of social media.
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Re: Facebook

Postby Yorktown » Thu Aug 04, 2011 8:47 am

Happy Mom wrote:I had a lot of my students (3rd grade) want to befriend me and I explained to the class, as a whole, why that was not going to happen. I also used the situation to explain the dangers of social media.


3rd graders are on Facebook? Really?

:?
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Re: Facebook

Postby Happy Mom » Thu Aug 04, 2011 11:26 am

Yorktown wrote:
Happy Mom wrote:I had a lot of my students (3rd grade) want to befriend me and I explained to the class, as a whole, why that was not going to happen. I also used the situation to explain the dangers of social media.


3rd graders are on Facebook? Really?

:?

I've known Kindergartners having Facebook accounts....with PICTURES!!! (A pedophiles dream) :naughty: :hand: :roll: :shock:
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