Wednesday, November 16, 2011

Facebook Spam Interview with CNYCentral

I was interviewed by CNYCentral on the recent Facebook spam outbreak see the video and read the article courtesy of CNYCentral below...

Facebook is battling a cyber attack after hackers spread graphic, violent and pornographic images on your facebook pages. With more than 75 million users, that spam is spreading quickly.

SU iSchool student Isaac Budmen has seen it firsthand. It starts with a simple click. "It's a link that has a provocative title and my understanding is it's an application that goes in, messes with your privacy setting and floods your newsfeed with these graphic images."

And from there it shows up to everyone, but you. You tell us the images are disturbing. Many of you are sounding off on our CNY Central Facebook page about what you've seen. It's everything from inappropriate pictures of animals, to hardcore pornography and other graphic, violent photos.

Mike Fratto writes about security on the web and says this spam attack is different from others we've seen. "A lot of the spam that we've seen in the past is more along the lines of people trying to get you to buy something. This is more just a malicious attack, someone is doing this to harass," he said.

Facebook is now fighting back and says most of the material has been removed.

In the meantime, you have to protect yourself. Perhaps most important, be careful what you click on and be wary of links that look suspicious.

Also, closely manage your account security, and application settings so you are protected.

Make sure your browser, like Firefox or internet explorer, is up to date and has adequate security settings.

And when you see something offensive, report it, so Facebook officials can take it down.

Tuesday, November 15, 2011

Blogger Debate: The Pros and Cons of Facebook Timeline

See this piece over at the Information Space Blog...

Editor’s Note: This post is an opinion piece by two of our bloggers debating about Facebook Timeline. Our first writer, Isaac, believes that the new feature is a stylized way to curate our personal content. Our second writer, Manan, counters that argument by discussing the negative effects of Facebook timeline.

PRO: Our Story Told Beautifully with Facebook Timeline, by Isaac Budmen

At Facebook headquarters they examined the question “What is it that patrons use Facebook for?” the answer to that question? To tell their story. I have a professor that tongue in cheek calls our Facebook Profiles “Shrine’s to Ourselves” given that we curate the information thats on there to fit the image of ourselves that we want to see or, in other words, tell our story the way we want it told. Timeline takes the information that we already have carefully curated, or not so carefully, and streamlines it in a gorgeous new interface that provides an exciting and incredibly intuitive new experience.

In a Nutshell

What Timeline does is it takes all the pieces of data that Facebook has on us and quite literally displays it in the fashion of a timeline (remember those things you had to make back in 4th grade for social studies?). On that timeline it lists everything from events we attended, to friends we added, to photos we were tagged in, to jobs we worked. In a nutshell it takes our time and activity as users of Facebook and streamlines all of it so that it in a very visually pleasing way tells our story.

Awesome New Feature: Life Event

Timeline adds some excellent new storytelling feature called Life Event which gives users the ability to now show your achievements and promotions at work, the purchasing of a new vehicle, or weight loss and more. Life Event has five catagories: work and education, family and relationships, living, health and wellness, milestones and experiences. This adds a very unique human element to the page where you can add the various hurdles and achievements that you have overcome in your life as part of your story, very much like the main characters of our favorite novels. Want to show off that new tattoo? Now you can attach a photo and story to it. Just went on a first date with your Soul-mate? Now there is an milestone badge for that too. The Life Event category brings in the very unique story telling elements of each of our lives and allows us and our friends to piece together our story in a way that is, ironically and very impressively, both standardized and unique at the same time.

More then just a New User Interface

Facebook’s Timeline is at it’s very basic aesthetic a gorgeous new interface that uses cutting edge new coding, technology and browser features from the brilliant developers at their headquarters. Although, some people will chock Timeline up to simply a new user interface, ultimate, I believe Timeline is much bigger then the sum of its parts and is a fresh start in the world of social interaction, personal branding, and above all storytelling.


CON: Facebook Timeline is Just Another Annoying Change, by Manan Kakkar

Zuckerberg and company have redesigned Facebook’s layout several times since it’s inception, but the introduction of Timeline is fundamental. Facebook has been our online identity, and it is now a visual timeline of our life. As someone who spends several hours on the Internet, opening and closing the Facebook tab is part of my workflow. I subscribe to several news websites and tech enthusiasts on Facebook to follow what’s happening. I share articles I write and the ones I find interesting. Essentially, Facebook’s not as much to stay in touch with friends or be a farmer for me as much it is a social news feed.

Facebook’s Inconvenient Alteration

The new changes in Facebook affect my news feed and user profiles in a way I find to be an annoyance. The articles I share are now split on two sides with images a little bigger and lesser focus on the text. When I visit someone’s profile to read what they’ve shared I get lost. It was quicker, easier and more convenient to go through content on a profile in the old format—list view with latest first. My news feed is now controlled by Facebook’s algorithm. I often get a profile picture of my friend as the latest story a few days later because someone posted a comment on it. I don’t care. I spend enough time on Facebook to know if a friend I care about changed his profile picture.

Timeline Changing our Priorities

Gawker Media’s Nick Denton once said that Facebook’s the social news paper that we’ve all wanted, and I agree; but Facebook’s algorithms now keep showing photos of my friend’s ex with a new guy instead of articles from my friends about Apple’s decision to not port Siri to older iPhones. My priorities have been changed by Facebook and I don’t appreciate that. Talking about Facebook’s representation of timeline itself isn’t better than another timeline tool, Memolane; it doesn’t even come close. Facebook’s ever-growing page slows my browser, while Memolane’s horizontal view is convenient to browse through.

Which side are you on? Let us know in the comments! Contact Isaac via email at or on Twitter @Ibudmen. Contact Manan via email at or on Twitter @Manan.

Thursday, November 10, 2011

Quora: Crowd-Sourced Q&A

How many times have you typed in a question on google like "What is new and exciting in the tech world?" or "What are the best home remedies for a sore throat?" more often then we'd like to admit right? It would seem though, every time you do type one of these questions in, almost without fail, Yahoo Answers pops up with an answer to that very question, and chances are there is one maybe relatively* (I use that term very lightly) accurate answer that addresses the question at hand, more likely though is there is a slew of inappropriate remarks that have the wherewithal of a thirteen year old boy and his buddies trying to sneak the words no0b and FCUK in as often as they can. Not exactly the most reliable of sources for accurate information.

Crowd-Sourced Answering

Enter from stage left, Quora, a new social platform that allows people to pose questions, and write crowd sourced answers. Crowd-Sourced Answers whats that mean? It means that any user can pose a question, and any user can respond, but, the difference lies in that others vote up the best answers, ignore the bad ones, and can make recommendations for edits to the best answers as to make them more accurate.

Why Quora?
Beyond the crowd-sourced accuracy model that Quora adopted from Wikipedia, which helps to ensure quality, reliable, and correct answers to the questions, Quora provides individualized features that help you aggregate information on all the topics you are interested in. Quora allows you to follow topics, specific questions, and specific users which allows users to very quickly find information they otherwise wouldn't have been privy to.

Quora is proving itself as a strong startup through their crowd-sourced accuracy model, their easy and intuitive subscription model and the appeal of the wealth of knowledge that the user base collectively has. If you haven't tried Quora yet, get on over there and start asking questions, if you can't think of any here's a suggestion: "Why is Quora becoming to popular?" I'm sure it's users will have something to say.

Tuesday, November 1, 2011