There's been a lot of talk of net neutrality as of late, mainly because the FCC plans to release details of its proposed net neutrality rules this Thursday. Last week the FCC was bombarded with letters frkom net-neutrality opponents urging new FCC chairman Julius Genachowski to take a cautious approach toward the new rules, but not everyone feels this way. The FCC also received another letter, this one in support of net neutrality, signed by several prominent Internet company founders.
"We believe a process that results in common sense baseline rules is critical to ensuring that the Internet remains a key engine of economic growth, innovation, and global competitiveness," the group wrote. "An open Internet fuels a competitive and efficient marketplace, where consumers make the ultimate choices about which products succeed and which fail. This allows businesses of all sizes, from the smallest start-up to larger corporations, to compete, yielding maximum economic growth and opportunity."
Facebook co-founder Mark Zuckerberg and Twitter's Evan Williams added their signature to the letter, as did Digg founder Kevin Rose. So did Amazon.com's Jeff Bezos, Google's Eric Schmidt, and a bunch of other recognizable names included among the 24 CEOs and Internet company founders.
Maybe you're not afraid to fly, but chances are, someone in family or circle of friends probably is. So that means every time you take to the skies, someone out there is worried about you, Put your loved ones at ease by allowing them to follow your flight on Facebook or Twitter.
The updates come courtesy of the new MySkyStatus service, which works with both of the aforementioned social networking sites. All you have to do is input your account information and list your flight details, and MySkyStatus will take care of the rest. While you stretch out in First Class for a mile high nap or pop a pair of earphones in your ears to drown out that whiny brat in Coach, MySkyStatus will keep busy periodically updating your Twitter and Facebook accounts.
DownloadSquad reports that there's quite a bit of branding associated with the service, which includes "powered by Lufthansa" with every status update, so you'll have to decide if that's enough to turn you off to the service or not.
But 36-year-old Shannon D. Jackson apparently believes that poking someone on Facebook is not acknowledged as a form of communication, and so does not violate the protection order against her, which explicitly bars her from communicating with the petitioner – the woman she contacted - in any manner whatsoever: “no telephoning, contacting or otherwise communicating with the petitioner.”
It turns out that Sidekick users aren’t the only ones losing data this week. Several thousand Facebook users that have been unable to access their accounts since last week are finally seeing their profiles return. The only catch? The data from recent profile updates has been lost.
The outage was the result of, “a technical issue with a single database,” according to Facebook. Luckily, only a small fraction of Facebook’s users were affected. Unluckily, Facebook has so many users that the ‘small fraction’ works out to about 150,000. When the profiles were restored, Facebook presented users with a message that read in part, “We have done our best to restore your account to its most recent state, but some data and settings may not be current.” This could include pictures, status updates, and friend list changes, just to name a few.
Overall, the data loss was relatively minor. No profiles have gone missing entirely. So at least on that front they’re ahead of Danger/Microsoft. Most of the complaints arising from the incident seem to revolve around Facebook’s customer service. They said very little about the situation until just recently. A Facebook rep indicated that the company wanted to get the specifics figured out before providing potentially incorrect information. If you rely on Facebook, how much downtime is acceptable? Would you consider keeping important contact info or pictures on it?
Adam Kramer has been working on a project at Facebook aggregating 100 million users’ status updates into a database and parsing it for positive and negative words. When you map this data over a timeline spanning a couple years, what do you have? The Facebook United States Gross National Happiness Index.
They have taken precautions so no one’s privacy is in trouble, but they tally a score each day based upon the status updates’ positive and negative emotion words. Some of the conclusions are obvious and expected: people are much happier (9.7% happier) on Friday than Monday—the saddest day of the week. Further, according to the study, two of the saddest days of the year were the days when Heath Ledger and Michael Jackson died.
The other fairly common spikes fell around major U.S. holidays: Thanksgiving, Christmas, and the fourth of July.
You can check out the index yourself over on the Facebook site. How accurate do you think this type of “polling” can be, and do you think its findings are credible?
From what we understand, the Japanese firm has called into question the use of the very axe that helps break the ice on social networks like Facebook: friendship requests. Mekiki was awarded US Patent #6,879,985 in 2005 for, among other things, “a message communicator configured to communicate a first message from one member to another member and configured to communicate a respective response to the first message from the another member to the one member, the response establishing a relationship between the one member and the another member.”
Boston-based Tele-Publishing Inc also believes that certain Facebook features contravene one of its patents. US Patent #6,253,216 was awarded to Tele-Publishing way back in 2001 and deals with the “method and apparatus” used for serving a personal page. The subject of its patent infringement claim appears to be Facebook’s privacy feature, which protects all the dazzling nymphets and the handsome hunks from the prying eyes of cyber stalkers. In fact, most contemporary social networks let their users specify who gets to view what.
Every gamer’s favorite disbarred lawyer, Jack Thompson, has a new nemesis with which to do battle. This time Facebook is feeling the brunt of his legal threats. Thompson claims that the social networking company allowed defamatory postings about him to remain on the site. He is asking for an eye-popping $40 million in damages.
Jack Thompson gained notoriety (or infamy, if you like) for his crusade against video games, which he referred to as “murder simulators.” This course of action angered many gamers, leading to public campaigns against the overzealous lawyer. He was eventually disbarred by the Florida Supreme Court for his public legal misconduct.
In Thompson’s complaint he says the Facebook postings have caused "great harm and distress." Some Facebook groups bearing his name include “I Hate Jack Thompson” and “Jack Thompson never played Legend of Zelda.” As evidence of discrimination, Thompson cites Facebook’s decision to remove threats against President Obama, leaving anti-Thompson groups on the site. Anyone care to defend Thompson on this?
Your Econ class probably never covered Facbook, but maybe it should. According to the Silicon Alley Insider, Facebook is "beating the s--- out of its numbers," and it's all thanks to Zynga's virtual goods.
Farmville, Texas Hold'em, and other social games are turning out to be cash cows. By some estimates, Zynga is pulling in a staggering $580,000 per day, with a good chunk of that coming from selling its users virtual goods. To ensure the well doesn't dry up, Zynga has spent a reported $50 million on Facebook ads.
"Zynga is an aggressive player in this space … possibly the most aggressive," writes AllFacebook.com. "There is two parts to their strategy. The first is to fund developers that have game ideas, promote them, and for those that are successful, they snatch them up, often at pennies on the dollar. The second is outright acquisition of successful application that they didn’t fund."
While Zynga has proven that selling virtual goods can be booming business, the future looks even brighter. There's talk of Zynga and Facebook teaming up to build a "Pay With Facebook" payment system that would both take on Paypal, and allow the companies to cash in twice on selling virtual goods.
The social web can be harsh on the socially feckless. It is essential that those with a sizable internet audience - even if an unintended, uninvited one - possess a reasonable amount of savoir-faire. The Washington Post will not be assessing its editorial staff’s innate social skills, though.
“When using these networks, nothing we do must call into question the impartiality of our news judgment. We never abandon the guidelines that govern the separation of news from opinion, the importance of fact and objectivity, the appropriate use of language and tone, and other hallmarks of our brand of journalism,” Post executive editor Marcus Brauchli wrote in a staff note.
The paper has advised journalists against “tweeting or posting anything – including photographs or video – that could be perceived as reflecting political racial, sexist, religious or other bias or favoritism that could be used to tarnish our journalistic credibility.”
The folks over at The Register got a response from Facebook about all the flak they’ve been catching about their Mailbox API. Facebook says that their new API is less intrusive than Gmail’s scanning efforts.
Gmail is known to sift through an email and provide targeted ads depending on what it finds. Facebook claims they will white list approved applications and the user will still need to explicitly grant the application access to their information. Also according to Facebook, the fact that they don’t stand to make money (via ads) means their effort is less litigious than Gmail’s.
They offered that the potential applications of the API might outweigh the risks for some users. One likely use will be to expose your Facebook inbox through POP, making it accessible on devices in a similar way as email applications.
It is still debatable whether it is advantageous to give developers access to potentially sensitive data within Facebook. Which do you think is worse: Facebook’s mailbox API or Gmail’s email scanning?