Facebook is the king of social networking with more users than any other web 2.0 site. With all those users, it’s also an attractive place for scammers that want access to lots of eyeballs. After a few embarrassments, Facebook is promising to take a stronger stance against deceptive advertising.
Facebook has gotten a bit of a black eye in the press lately after some companies using the platform were accused of scamming users. These scams often come in the form of special offers and surveys within games. Facebook’s Nick Giano wrote in a blog post that the site was aware of the problem and was actively working on it.
Users of the site also encountered a rise in stimulus scam ads earlier in the year; Facebook notes that they were quickly removed from the site. Hopefully this new wave of scams can be dealt with in the same manner. Facebook claims that over 100 developer applications have already been removed or “brought into compliance" so far. Have you noticed any fishy behavior on Facebook?
If only spammers had the dough to pay their court-appointed fines, Facebook could make a full-time living in the courtroom. The social networking site slapped Internet marketer Sanford Wallace with a lawsuit alleging he was accessing Facebook accounts without permission and posting fake messages on users' Walls. The judge didn't take kindly to Wallace's actions and awarded Facebook with a little over $711 million in damages.
Not a bad day in court for the social networking site, but Facebook doesn't stand to receive anywhere close to that amount, and it knows that.
"While we dont' expect to receive the vast majority of the award, we hope that this will act as a continued deterrent against these criminals," said Sam O'Rourke in a company blog post.
Maybe it will, maybe it wont. Last November, Facebook won an $873 million judgment against Adam Guerbuez and Atlantis Blue Capital for a phishing scheme, but has yet (if ever) to collect on that. And therein lies the problems with these judgments.
Getting back to Wallace, the exorbitant fine may not be the only thing he has to worry about. The judge in the case referred Wallace to the U.S. Attorney's Office requesting that he be prosecuted for criminal contempt, so it's possible he could serve some jail time.
What a wonderful world that open and closed platforms have created on the World Wide Web. I can have an untold number of features and applications inserted into my Web browser without having to lift much more than a finger to access them. I can take my favorite Web platforms and expand their usefulness by linking them to other Web-based services. I can even download a variant of my Web browser of choice that bridges the best of two worlds under one new roof: new innovations mixed with standard familiarity.
So, what happens when these architectures fight back?
It's a stupid thing to say on its face, because I don't believe that it's up to a particular program or application to breach your defenses and fight its way into your cyber-life. Most, if not all instances of malware, spoofing, and hijacking (to name a few) can be directly traced to user stupidity in some fashion. Either a person leaves the ol' back door unlocked, fails to frisk the guests as they enter the home, or actively invites a heap of trouble to come on over for a party.
Simplified examples, perhaps, but the underlying fact remains a constant: You are the gatekeeper for your PC. Unfortunately, as we begin to adopt an "everyone's allowed" mindset for Web integration, we're only making it easier for the bad guys to do what they do best. Unfriendly, if not downright hostile bits of malware can be pushed back with but a few simple changes in behavior--are you as security-focused as you should be in today's cross-platform world?
Facebook has taken a pot shot at Digg’s URL popularity service. The social networking giant has upgraded its Share button to display sharing statistics.
The Share button has been around for quite some time and was one of the first Facebook Connect features. It has had overwhelming success in turning Facebook into one of the best to share popular internet content—effectively making services like Digg obsolete.
Facebook also opened all of the analytics associated with the sharing habits of its Facebook users. Inevitably, this will change the way advertisers and media publishers tailor their content to fit the interests of their respective demographics. “We hope you’ll create tools to help analyze and understand how users interact with your content on Facebook,” said Mark Kinsey on the Facebook developer blog about the new analytics.
This is yet one more step Facebook as taken to continue its headstrong effort on becoming the all-in-one solution to the internet. Do you use Facebook Share? Do you (or did you) use Digg?
So, we’re all tired of hearing about Twitter, right? Well, strap yourself in because it isn’t going away anytime soon. It seems that ComScore showed a 6.7% worldwide rise in Twitter visitors in September. This amounts to 58.4 million visitors, and a 949% increase in the last twelve months. That’s a lot of tweets. Curiously, US visits have been flat since June.
None of this data includes applications that only access the API, so these figures may even be underreported. While these numbers seem staggering, they are nothing compared to Facebook, with its 411 million visitors in September.
Twitter’s best bet is the recent deal with Bing and Google to provide its “firehose” of tweets to the search engines. This should drive more hits to the social networking site. Even with the help of Google, can Twitter avoid being crushed by the behemoth that is Facebook?
Hard times come quickly for social networking sites. One minute you’re on top, popping open bottles of vintage sparkling mineral water and picking up the tab for another round of tofu burgers. The next you are head-in-hands wonder how it all went so horribly wrong. Today’s patient on the couch is MySpace, with parent company News Corp. none to pleased with what’s going on.
Jonathan Miller, who keeps the watcher’s eye on News Corp.’s Internet services, put it pretty plainly: "The thing you see in this space more than anything else is that if you don't keep innovating and moving forward, you get in trouble. You can't stop. And MySpace stopped." MySpace’s stopped and, since being number one in 2006, has been outpaced by more popular alternatives: Facebook and Twitter.
Time, again, to reinvent the wheel, according to Miller, and return to what MySpace does best: music and gaming. MySpace recently purchased the online music provider iLike. And it has announced a new music video service which will allow labels and artists to see how well their music is doing on MySpace.
To expand gaming opportunities, Miller believes MySpace must open up its system to external developers. He also hinted that some paid premium services to be in the offing.
"Everybody in the company is upset that we didn't keep going when we had the real momentum. Regaining momentum is always much harder than keeping momentum going,” Miller stated. That, and keeping an eye on your rearview mirror to see who’s about to overtake you.
Sid Meier plans to take advantage of Facebook’s social networking for a new entry into his Civilization game franchise. Dubbed Civilization Network, Meier states that the game “will allow you to join together with your friends to create the world’s most powerful, richest, smartest, or just plain coolest civilization.” Better yet, the game will exist in a “fully persistent environment,” and you’ll be able to play as much as you like for free.
Meier says that testers will be needed for a closed beta, and that the full game is expected to launch in 2010. You can join Meier’s Facebook page for updates.
Sheryl Sandberg, Facebook’s chief operating officer, was quick to offer some assurances about what would, and what would not become public. According to Ms. Sandberg “only people who have agreed to share their updates with everyone on the web will have their updates streamed to Bing.”
Facebook, which tallies over 45 million status updates per day from 30 million unique visitors, is following a path forged by Twitter, which earlier announced a deal with Microsoft and Google to make tweets searchable. Unlike the Twitter deal, however, Facebook says no money will be changing hands between it and Microsoft.
We knew Facebook was planning to overhaul it's "gift shop" feature, but what we didn't know -- nor did anyone else, it seems -- was to what extent. Speculation suggested it would mainly transform into a music-swapping front, and while music is part of the gift shop, there's also a whole bunch more.
"We now are unveiling a newly stocked and redesigned Gift Shop, with new categories of gifts and additional gifts for charity, music, and sports from developers," Facebook's Will Chen wrote in a blog. "With so many gifts available, we also introduced a new design to make it easeir for you to browse and purchase gifts with different gift categories."
U.S. residents will be able to purchase songs as gifts for friends in the "Music and MP3s" section, which will contain over 8 million songs through a partnership with Lala, Chen said. Web songs will cost a single credit (equivalent to 10 cents), while downloadable, DRM-free tunes will run 9 credits each.
In the sports section, Facebook buffs will have access to officially licensed gifts from the NBA, MLS, and several college sports teams.
Facebook's gift shop will also deal with "Real Gifts," "Charity," "Virtual Gifts," and "E-Cards."
If you visit this site, odds are, you’re a power user. You’ve listened to your mother/sister/grandmother drone on about their progress in Sorority Life II: Vampire Farmville or whatever it’s called, but you were too busy thinking about real games to care. Real games like Sid Meier’s Civilization… which is coming to Facebook in 2010.
“I wanted to let you know we’ll soon be looking for beta testers to help us develop a unique new way to play Civilization. Ever since we finished Civilization Revolution last year, I’ve been looking at ways of expanding the Civ gameplay experience to include solo, competitive and cooperative play to take advantage of the uniqueness of social networks. We’re calling this project Civilization Network and the full game will be available next year on Facebook,” said series creator Sid Meier.
The sure-to-be horrendously addictive game will allow players to join hands or cross swords en route to establishing the ultimate civilization. Nothing’s off-limits here – not even the vilest, most underhanded form of warfare ever conceived: Facebook notification spam.
Blech. Thank goodness for Twitter. Oh, hey ImaReeLGuRL24576, how are you today?