Facebook continues to make inroads in the Japanese market and now has four times as many visitors as it did last year, but surprisingly, that still isn't enough to propel the social networking site into the top spot. and dethrone Mixi from its perch.
In November 2008, Facebook recorded around 355,000 unique hits in Japan. That number ballooned to 1.39 million visitors in November 2009, said NetRatings, who added that growth has been trending upwards all year long.
Even still, Facebook remains a distant second. The No. 1 social networking site in Japan claimed more than 9.2 million unique visitors per month, and what's more, users are spending more time on Mixi. According to NetRatings, Mixi users spent four-and-a-half hours on the social networking site, compared to just 36 minutes on Facebook.
The vow most newlyweds agree to is "till death do you part," but it may be Facebook that ultimately ends up doing in their marriage, suggests new research.
Mark Keenan, who carried out the research for website Divorce-Online, studied 5,000 divorce papers and found that Facebook had been mentioned in at least 20 percent of them, most of which complained about spouses engaging in "inappropriate sex chat" with online friends.
"I had heard from my staff that there were a lot of people saying they had found out things about their partners on Facebook so I decided to see how prevalent it was," Keenan said. "I was really surprised to see 20 percent of all petitions containing references to Facebook."
Facebook isn't the only social networking site testing relationships. MySpace, Bebo, and Twitter all were fairly common in the sample of divorce papers as well.
As each year draws to a close, we find ourselves looking back on it all. Facebook is doing much the same, but the difference is that that have a huge pile of data to comb through so they can figure out just what this last year was all about. They’re calling this “Facebook Memology”. By gauging how often a subject was mentioned in status updates, Facebook was able to rank the ideas, or memes, of 2009.
Some entries in the list are specific words, and some are topics that may be signified by multiple words. The first entry on the list is for “Facebook Applications”. Not too surprising that a lot of people were talking about Farmville this year. “Swine flu” was high on the list with terms like H1N1being thrown around in panicky status updates. “Celebrity Deaths” was also not much of a surprise after the summer the rich and famous had. The middle of the meme list is prey standard stuff: family, movies, sports. “Health Care” makes an appearance, as does “Lady Gaga” for some reason. The list ends with the always self-indulgent "I". Fitting, eh?
In a year when social networking became more commonplace than ever, this might have some real value. Have a look at the full list and detailed explanations of each entry at the story link above. Does this list describe your year?
It is so easy to ruin a good thing. Facebook, for example, offers a social networking opportunity for millions of subscribers, who want nothing more than to share with family and friends. But the same networking tools available to them are available to others. Which is fine, until they get abused. Game developers, for example, use “push notifications” on Facebook to promote their apps, and at the same time diminish the experience for those who’d prefer not to be bothered.
Facebook wants to make sure that each party can be accommodated in the chunk of cyberspace it controls, and has announced a redesign that includes a “Game Dashboard”, which will better isolate the gaming and non-gaming communities. The dashboard API, which is now available in limited release, will keep game developers penned into a cyber-walled area that interested Facebook users can enter. Outside the walls Facebook users won’t be pestered by the non-stop game-related announcements.
Dean Takahaski at GamesBeat, sees some plusses and minuses in Facebook’s effort. If it works, life on Facebook for gamers and non-gamers alike will be improved. Non-gamers will be spared the stream of unwanted information about game apps, and gamers will have a place they can go where games will be more easily found and managed.
But, Takahaski warns, if Facebook messes up, it risks alienating both its gamers and game developers (who now have a wait-and-see attitude about the change). Takahaski holds up Microsoft’s attempt to manage games under Vista as a cautionary tale: it didn’t work, making a lot of gamers unhappy.
Facebook has begun rolling out a pretty major feature change, which gives users the ability to send their status updates to Twitter, somewhat of a rival service. According to the detectives over at TechCrunch, this functionality will be built-in directly to Facebook's UI rather than having to install a separate app.
The new service takes advantage of Facebook's recently launched URL shortener, which it uses when posting updates to your Twitter feed. It's a pretty smart move by Facebook, who is looking to steer users back to the social networking site, as well as trying to become the third-party Twitter updater of choice.
This is something MySpace fans have already been able to do, and what's interesting is that unlike MySpace, the data-exchange is one-way only. In other words, you can't publish tweets to your Facebook status without the help of a third-party app.
Using the guise of shielding more of your personal information, and giving you more control over the information you enter into Facebook, it turns out that Facebook is actually making it harder, if not impossible, to shield your personal information, and is making more of that information available to others--whether you like it or not.
The bad, the EFF says, are the abysmal privacy settings recommended by Facebook. While prior default settings limited access to your networks and friends, the new default settings make your information available to everyone, everywhere. Lesson here, says the EFF, don’t accept Facebook’s privacy recommendations.
Still, it doesn’t much matter. EFF gets down to the ugly: a lot of personal information you could once shield is now open to the public, regardless of what you want. And not just your information, but the information of all your friends as well. Facebook says this information was never really private, or that it could be obtained by other means, or that users didn’t really care. EFF doesn’t quite buy Facebook’s explanations. And it worries, given the nature of data mining, the information about you available to anyone and everyone (including third-party app developers--whether you use the app or not), poses risks that you won't realize until it's too late.
For Facebook users it should be caveat utilitor. Facebook’s need to trade on your personal information appears to have trumped your concerns for privacy, so take care.
Well, there you have it--someone's gone and made a desktop client for interacting with Facebook. It sounds a little lame at first glance. Facebook, after all, works quite well across a number of desktop and portable devices. Since you need an internet connection to make any kind of use of the service, be it in a separate client or through the usual Web-based format, what's stopping one from simply eschewing any kind of downloaded application and going straight to Facebook-dot-com itself?
Find out the answer to this, and get a preview of the desktop Facebook application, after the jump!
The rationale behind Coke’s promotion is to emphasize just how much Coke Zero tastes like Coca-Cola Classic--there doubles, get it? What better way to underscore this by letting you find your facial double. Unless, of course, you find the idea of someone else having your face more creepy than fun.
Is big brother watching your every move on Facebook? That's something the Electronic Frontier Foundation (EFF) tried to find out by asking several federal agencies for their policy on the use of social media during investigations. But after being given the cold shoulder, the EFF, along with UC Berkeley's Samuelson Center, have taken the matter to court where they hope the half-dozen federal agencies pinged will be forced to hand over documents relating to social networking as it pertains to investigative procedures.
The short suit gets right to the point and cites the Freedom of Information Act (FOIA), which normally requires that a response be given within 20 days. But the plaintiffs allege that only the IRS responded within that time frame, and that was a request for a 10-day extension.
So why the sudden interest in the first place? The suit points out various news reports from credible sources (The New York Times, for example) indicating that federal authorities have used social networking sites to pursue investigations. And this includes an incident where investigators staked out Facebook and nabbed a fugitive as soon as he set up an account.
Facebook was born upon the idea of people networking. Initial Facebook networks were obvious ones: your school, your community, your country. A bit crude, but easily established and, initially, allowing a modicum of privacy. But, as Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg notes in an open letter to Facebook users, networks have gotten way out of hand. The solution, according to Zuckerberg--get rid of them.
Regional networks are Zuckerberg’s target, and legitimately so. Regional networks have grown to include millions of members. So much for the intimacy initially offered by Facebook. Instead of automatically sharing with a couple hundred people in a network, you share with a couple million.
Zuckerberg says that Facebook will replace networks with greater individual control over who sees your Facebook content. These new privacy controls will allow greater ability to define who family and friends are. They’ll also allow users to control access to bits-and-pieces of their Facebook entries. This will let Facebook users revive the intimacy of their connections, making the social networks they create more meaningful to them.
As the new privacy settings are implemented, Zuckerberg says, users will be notified and asked to review their privacy settings. The changes are scheduled to take place over the next few weeks.