Posts Tagged ‘facebook’

Facebook is the Laboratory, and You are the Rat

The Wall Street Journal reported today that in 2012, Facebook performed a little experiment with it’s 600,000+ users.  For a week they carefully omitted certain content that could be seen as having either positive or negative emotions, to see if it would cause users to be more positive or negative in their own posts.

Well, I can tell you THIS post should bring negative emotions to you.  Rather than just let you read posts that you would expect to see, Facebook was intentionally attempting to manipulate your emotions in what they allowed you to read.

I think Facebook involving its users in a psychological experiment without permission is reprehensible.  At the very, least, install an ad blocker like Adblock-Plus into your browser and that will stop the ads from showing up along the right side of your page in Facebook – at least that way you’re not contributing to them financially by seeing their ads. 

Here’s the entire article on the WSJ:

So Far Over 45,000 Facebook Users Hit with the Ramnit Virus

imageActually, Ramnit is a worm that steals your login credentials, then transmit malicious links to their “Friends” with the intent the link will get clicked on, infect the friend’s computer and continue to spread in the same fashion.

Since most people (hopefully not those of you who regularly read my blog) tend to use the same password for everything, the bad guys, after getting your Facebook login information now probably have your email login.  With your email they can find out a lot about you, like where you bank, your credit card holders, etc.

Facebook is downplaying the significance of Ramnit, however they do say “People can protect themselves by never clicking on strange links and reporting any suspicious activity they encounter on Facebook. We encourage our users to become fans of the Facebook Security Page ( for additional security information.”  Since this is ALWAYS good advice, it’s hard to find fault with a response like that.

This is a variant of a virus that first appeared almost two years ago and is designed to steal information.  If you haven’t read my November, 2010 article on how to avoid viruses and malware, you can read it here:

Check Your Facebook Security (Yes, AGAIN!)

Facebook is almost evil for how they are always mucking around with your security settings.  I checked mine and what do you know?  They had changed!  Things that were once marked for Friends (or my eyes) only were now marked “Everyone”.  So whether you’re reading this directly on my blog (, on Facebook, Twitter, Linkedin or Google+, go NOW to your Facebook page and click the down arrow in imagethe upper right corner and click on “Privacy Settings”.  This will take you to a page (that has changed since I was last there) and go through each and every item to make sure it is STILL what your thought it was.  I recommend you keep most things to your “Friends”.  Making information about yourself to “Friends of Friends” or worse “Everyone” makes more information about you available to the world than you probably would like if we ran through it line by line.

Facebook makes its money by selling YOU, literally.  Information about you is worth money and the more information about you they can sell, the happier they are.  Take control of your personal privacy and check those settings now.

Be Careful Who You’re “Friends” With

imageFox Business has an interesting article about how con artists are using social networking sites like Facebook to separate you from your money.  They “friend” someone, then get them to invest and make sure they get lots of money back – then get them to tell their friends, and they take all the friends money.  Good idea to be aware of this:

Does Using Facebook Encourage Your Teen to Abuse Drugs and Alcohol?

image The National Center on Addiction and Substance Abuse at Columbia University says it does.  Not only that, they say it “constitutes child abuse”.

Personally, I think they’re going a little overboard, but their point is that with today’s social networking sites like MySpace (who still uses that) and Facebook is it easy for kids to see pictures of their friends who are passed out drunk or using drugs.  According to the study (that they sponsored) half of the teens who used social networking sites have seen pictures of other teens drinking, passed out or using drugs.

I’m always skeptical of studies and the article is PC magazine also mentions the comments of some who question the study.  I DO believe parents have a role in knowing what their children are doing online and frankly, in life in general.  If you don’t know who your children’s friends are in the real world then you CERTAINLY don’t know who their friends on the Internet.

Here’s the link to the PC Magazine article:

Free Facebook Apps Warns You of Malware & Spam

imageMyPageKeeper is a free app you can add to Facebook to warn you if spam or a malicious post has been added to your page.  Often a friend’s account may be compromised and a post may show up on your page that links to a malicious page.  MyPageKeeper will let you know about it and allow you to remove it.

If you use Facebook, this would be one of the apps to use.  Here’s the link to their web where you can add it to your Facebook account:

Don’t Ask Why, Just Go Change Your Facebook Password Now, Really! All of You!

imageI changed mine before writing this post.  This is so far the most UNDERREPORTED security issue in the last several weeks, and if your reading this then you want to know why.  It’s technical and you’ll probably be sorry you asked, but as simply as I can put it, there was a flaw in Facebook’s old API (application programming interface) that is used by 3rd party applications in authenticating your Facebook credentials.  The problem is that the tokens used by the 3rd parties exposes your login token in the URL sent to advertisers, and is stored in their referrer logs (webs sites know how you got to them, what browser you use, what operating system you use, etc.)  These logs are easy for hackers to obtain and with the logs they can then impersonate you on Facebook, creating posts that can invite your friends to visit web sites filled with malware.  Changing your password will invalidate the old tokens, and will prevent someone gaining access to your account.  Facebook has fixed the problem so it won’t occur going forward, but those referrer logs sitting on advertisers’ servers last forever, never expire and if you don’t change your password that is all a bad guy needs to access your account.

That’s as simple and non-technical as I can make it.  It you’re a glutton for punishment, then you can go to Symantec’s Security Response blog page with a full description of the leak:

Facebook Has Changed What the “Like” Button Does


Yesterday Facebook changed how the “Like” button works when you click it on a web site outside of Facebook.  TECHi has written a good article about it, calling it “bait and switch”.  You might want to think twice before liking a web site you’re on.  Here’s the link to the article:

Facebook adds Facial Recognition Tags to Photos

imageFacebook is adding facial recognition technology to help identify the people in your photos.  This will be rolling out over the next week.  If you don’t want to be tagged in photos, you can set it in your privacy settings.  Here’s the article from Mashable:

Get Your Texts and Facebook Messages in OnStar

image If you have a GM vehicle with OnStar installed, you might like this.  Soon, by connecting your Android and iPhone device to OnStar via bluetooth, OnStar will be able to READ your text messages and Facebook feed to you.  You will also be able to respond via voice as well.  Ford already has this capability in their “Sync”, so GM is playing catch-up at this point, but if you already have a GM with OnStar, this might be a good reason to keep it.

Here’s the article at Gizmodo:

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