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Offline Thucydides

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After Facebook
« on: May 21, 2012, 21:50:24 »
I obviously use anti social media, but it drives me insane to see people logging onto Facebook at work; especially given the total lack of privacy and respect that the company shows its users, not to mention stupid OPSEC and PERSEC tricks. Even as Facebook is making its much hyped IPO ($100 million despite the lack of monetization on the platform?), people are starting to look beyond Facebook.

Here are some social media apps that might take social media to the next level (and don't worry, I'm not partaking on these either):

http://www.wired.com/gadgetlab/2012/05/social-networking-apps/

Quote
7 Social Networking Apps for When Facebook Jumps the Shark

    By Christina Bonnington
    Email Author
    May 21, 2012 |
    6:30 am |
    Categories: apps

You can't even escape Facebook on Google+. Photo: Ariel Zambelich/Wired

According to a recent poll by the Associated Press and CNBC, 46 percent of respondents think Facebook will “fade away as new things come along.” That’s an ominous data point for a company whose IPO dominated the news cycle last week, and claims some 900 million worldwide users.

Facebook seems to be infiltrating every facet of our lives. “Like” buttons appear on every website. “Like us on Facebook!” shouts at us during TV commercials. And more and more apps rely on Facebook to simply log in. It’s starting to feel more than a little oppressive — it’s like we’re living in a blue-and-white-painted jail cell.

And all this IPO madness is just foul icing on the cake.

So where do you turn when the world’s been stricken with Facebook fever? We rounded up seven apps that could satisfy your social networking needs should Facebook go down the tubes — or you just can’t take it anymore.

Google+

As Facebook fervor dies down, Google’s social networking attempt could rise up to the occasion, and — dare we say it — eventually take its place.

The popularity of Google+ is definitely on the rise. A number of commenters pointed out in our hands-on with Google’s redesigned iOS app that they are fervent users of the network, finding it a great source for quality content minus the “moronic posts” that litter Facebook feeds.

Speaking of the redesign, Google+’s updated iPhone app (see photo above) features an attractive, almost post-modern aesthetic and a much-improved user experience. The Android version is set to get a facelift in the near future, too. Google+ is one of the few social networks that has both a robust mobile and web experience, making it a strong contender for those tired of that other social network.

Viddy

For something a little different, how about a social network based entirely around sharing video? That’s Viddy.

You can take a video using the app’s camera, which has adjustable white balance, exposure, and focus settings. You can also grab a video already in your camera roll, and upload it to Viddy. From there, you can go hog-wild with Instagram-like creativity, adding one of a handful of different filters — Vintage, Black & White, and Crystal are default options, with more available as free in-app downloads. You can also add music, transitions, and other visual effects.

With one click you can share your videos to other platforms like Twitter or YouTube. Or you can just stay in the app and like, comment, and re-share others’ videos. The videos you can upload are bite-sized — 15 seconds max — so it’s easy and fun to hop from one video to the next.

Viddy launched in February this year, and now has 36 million monthly active users, or “Viddyographers.”

Path

The Path app is available for iPhone and Android. Photo: Ariel Zambelich/Wired

For an exclusively mobile social networking experience, Path could be your bag. It lets you share your life in the form of a “simple, private journal.” Because it has no web component, I find it’s much more of an “in the moment” kind of sharing than a platform for long status update tirades, or ubiquitous link-sharing.

The design is charming and intuitive, and is one of the main draws of the experience. Similar to Facebook, you get to set a background “cover” image for your profile, and choose a personal profile photo for yourself. Your postings as well as those of your friends (including status updates, photos, check-ins, and the music you’re currently listening to) are uploaded in a straightforward, reverse-chronological timeline, and you can react to posts with a heart, one of four different smiley faces, or with a comment.

It’s available on iOS and Android.

Pair

If it’s just you and your significant other who you care about constantly connecting with, you don’t need a massive social network like Google+, or even Path. Instead, you need Pair.

Oleg Kostour, Pair cofounder and CEO, told Wired the app offers a more personal way to talk to someone significant in your life — and it’s entirely private.

The app centers around a conversation between you and your loved one, but besides SMS-style messaging, you can share photos, drawings, and video, as well as location check-ins. You can also collaborate on art (for a simultaneous game of tic-tac-toe for instance), or use the app’s trademark feature, the thumb kiss: You and your partner place your thumbs on your respective smartphone screens at the same time, and when they’re pressed against identical spots onscreen for a couple of seconds, the screen bursts and you’ve virtually “kissed.”

Since the app is designed to be used between only two people, it’s a bit of a small, nontraditional social network, if it can really even be classified as such.

Instagram

Instagram is now available on both iOS and Android. Photo: Ariel Zambelich/Wired

Wait. Instagram is… part of Facebook now? F7U12.

Even so, Instagram is still our favorite way to share square-cropped photos colored by fun, often retro-inspired filters. The $1 billion photo-sharing community is rich and active, and most of all, incredibly addictive. Once you start using Instagram, you start seeing the world in a different way — as moments you’d like to capture and enhance with a filter effect to amplify a particular mood.

Because Instagram is more of a niche social network, it would never fully take the place of a larger network like that of Facebook or Google+. Nevertheless, it provides a fun, friendly way to see the world through smartphone lenses across the globe.

Instagram is now available on both iOS and Android.

EveryMe

EveryMe is both an amalgamation of your existing major social networks — Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, and Instagram — and a complete departure.

The app is all about circles of contacts, each of which is private. There’s no option for public sharing at all in this app. Because of this, you shouldn’t have to worry about privacy settings being changed on a whim, or private posts suddenly appearing to all of the interwebs.

Once you’ve synced with your favorite existing networks, the app automatically creates circles of contacts (pulled from your smartphone contacts). You can edit these so-called “Magic Circles,” or create your own. If you have people you want to stay in touch with who don’t have a social media presence, that’s OK too. You can add them with an e-mail address or a phone number so they can stay in the loop.

You can then interact with people in those circles, posting status updates, check-in information, and photographs. Anything you update to one circle is exclusive to that circle — so you don’t have to worry about grandma and grandpa stumbling upon those photos of you doing a kegstand from last weekend, unless you know, you post them in the wrong circle.

Twitter

Wait, Facebook is, like, a “thing”? That’s funny, because at Gadget Lab, we gravitate to Twitter more often. We rely on it daily — hourly, really — for news alerts and socializing. Between the app, website, and the handful of very successful third-party clients, Twitter has solidified itself into an expedient, convenient social media mainstay that complements other more robust sharing services.

Sure, it’s more about news, and less about social networking, but it’s the one social network we’d be least inclined to ever give up.
Dagny, this is not a battle over material goods. It's a moral crisis, the greatest the world has ever faced and the last. Our age is the climax of centuries of evil. We must put an end to it, once and for all, or perish - we, the men of the mind. It was our own guilt. We produced the wealth of the world - but we let our enemies write its moral code.

Offline The Crowe

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Re: After Facebook
« Reply #1 on: May 21, 2012, 22:14:20 »
Gotta crawl out of the duct work every once and a while...  :)

I'd love to see Facebook crash and burn - It's a bloated POS that allows stupidity to run rampant while worthy content is stifled. In saying that it's something that is going to be around for a long time; It has become the social network standard. I love virtually every feature of G+ but it suffers a grand failure... No one I know uses it. Everyone has become too comfortable with Facebook and it's nestled into the hearts of people that can't care to move on just like the Internet Explorer fanbase.

I'll cut my rambling short. That's my stance on all of this.
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Offline Sythen

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Re: After Facebook
« Reply #2 on: May 21, 2012, 22:22:50 »
Reading this made me think of an article I read the other day. Basically outlines a lot of good reasons Facebook isn't going anywhere.

http://www.cnn.com/2012/05/17/tech/social-media/facebook-gallaga/index.html?hpt=hp_bn11

Though I hate Facebook, I still use it on a fairly regular basis simply because there is no better way to keep in contact with some people. I really don't need to hear from people on  day to day basis, or keep up with their every move and thought.. But its nice to get an email that someone has posted a message in one of the closed groups I am in on Facebook every so often.
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Offline Thucydides

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Re: After Facebook
« Reply #3 on: May 23, 2012, 19:46:20 »
My daughter complained about using Facebook for a similar reason, many of the people in school simply do not have email accounts and this is the only means of communication outside of texting. (oddly, no one seems to use the voice transmission functions on cell phones anymore). She is well aware of some of the pitfalls of Facebook, including internet stalkers, scam artists and the fact that Facebook simply has no respect for the rights of the user.

This isn't the only system with hidden (or not so hidden) threats to the user, Apple's Siri program isn't the benign digital assistant advertised either:

http://www.wired.com/wiredenterprise/2012/05/ibm-bans-siri/

Quote
IBM Outlaws Siri, Worried She Has Loose Lips
By Robert McMillanEmail Author May 22, 2012 |  7:01 pm |  Categories: Security, Software as a Service

Siri doesn't work on IBM's internal networks. (Image: Flickr/Photo Giddy)
If you work for IBM, you can bring your iPhone to work, but forget about using the phone’s voice-activated digital assistant. Siri isn’t welcome on Big Blue’s networks.

The reason? Siri ships everything you say to her to a big data center in Maiden, North Carolina. And the story of what really happens to all of your Siri-launched searches, e-mail messages and inappropriate jokes is a bit of a black box.

IBM CIO Jeanette Horan told MIT’s Technology Review this week that her company has banned Siri outright because, according to the magazine, “The company worries that the spoken queries might be stored somewhere.”

It turns out that Horan is right to worry. In fact, Apple’s iPhone Software License Agreement spells this out: “When you use Siri or Dictation, the things you say will be recorded and sent to Apple in order to convert what you say into text,” Apple says. Siri collects a bunch of other information — names of people from your address book and other unspecified user data, all to help Siri do a better job.

How long does Apple store all of this stuff, and who gets a look at it? Well, the company doesn’t actually say. Again, from the user agreement: “By using Siri or Dictation, you agree and consent to Apple’s and its subsidiaries’ and agents’ transmission, collection, maintenance, processing, and use of this information, including your voice input and User Data, to provide and improve Siri, Dictation, and other Apple products and services.”

Because some of the data that Siri collects can be very personal, the American Civil Liberties Union put out a warning about Siri just a couple of months ago.

Privacy was always a big concern for Siri’s developers, says Edward Wrenbeck, the lead developer of the original Siri iPhone app, which was eventually acquired by Apple. And for corporate users, there are even more potential pitfalls. “Just having it known that you’re at a certain customer’s location might be in violation of a non-disclosure agreement,” he says.

But he agrees that many of the issues raised by Apple’s Siri data handling are similar to those that other internet companies face. “I really don’t think it’s something to worry about,” he says. “People are already doing things on these mobile devices. Maybe Siri makes their life a little bit easier, but it’s not exactly opening up a new avenue that wasn’t there before.”

But other companies have been pressured by privacy groups over the way they store customer data. Google, for example, has come under fire in the past for the way it handles a massive database of user search data. But IBM doesn’t ban Google. An IBM spokesman declined to comment further on the Technology Review story, saying “we prefer to let the story stand on its own,” but there are a couple of important differences between Siri and Google that may have IBM worried: For one, Siri can be used to write e-mails or text messages. So, in theory, Apple could be storing confidential IBM messages. Apple couldn’t immediately be reached for comment Tuesday.

Another difference: After being dogged by privacy advocates, Google now anonymizes search results — making them difficult, if not impossible, to trace back to an individual user — after nine months.

Maybe if Apple agreed to do something like that, Siri would be welcome over in Armonk, New York.

This story has been updated to include a statement from IBM.
Dagny, this is not a battle over material goods. It's a moral crisis, the greatest the world has ever faced and the last. Our age is the climax of centuries of evil. We must put an end to it, once and for all, or perish - we, the men of the mind. It was our own guilt. We produced the wealth of the world - but we let our enemies write its moral code.

Offline Dkeh

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Re: After Facebook
« Reply #4 on: May 24, 2012, 09:18:44 »
I use Facebook simply because it is the most convenient way to get ahold of people, period. Whatever I put up there, I assume everyone can see it, from the Government, to the Queen, to my mother. If one of those people would not approve, it doesn't go on Facebook.

Along with the privacy rights... something has always confused me. If you have nothing to hide, why do you care if people know everything about you? I'm not asking to be patronizing, I am asking because I have never heard a good explanation, other than "I don't like big brother looking at everything I do".
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Offline Ignatius J. Reilly

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Re: After Facebook
« Reply #5 on: May 24, 2012, 10:20:44 »
Gotta crawl out of the duct work every once and a while...  :)

I'd love to see Facebook crash and burn - It's a bloated POS that allows stupidity to run rampant while worthy content is stifled. In saying that it's something that is going to be around for a long time; It has become the social network standard. I love virtually every feature of G+ but it suffers a grand failure... No one I know uses it. Everyone has become too comfortable with Facebook and it's nestled into the hearts of people that can't care to move on just like the Internet Explorer fanbase.

I'll cut my rambling short. That's my stance on all of this.

I entirely concur. I recently went so far as to unfriend everyone on my fakebook. I just couldn't stand the minute drivel that folks post when they feel they don't have enough to write an email. In point of fact, I only maintain my facebook account for the sole reason of playing AfghanOPs.
Strange, but true.

Though, it must be said, that Google + is catching on. Slow, but sure. I particularly enjoy the video hangout option. Far better usability & audio/video quality than Skype.
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Offline Journeyman

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Re: After Facebook
« Reply #6 on: May 24, 2012, 10:31:06 »
...oddly, no one seems to use the voice transmission functions on cell phones anymore....
...unless they're driving....or loudly when they're standing in a check-out line.

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Re: After Facebook
« Reply #7 on: May 24, 2012, 10:45:15 »
...unless they're driving....or loudly when they're standing in a check-out line.

You forgot in restaurants, right at the table next to you......   ::)
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Offline cupper

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Re: After Facebook
« Reply #8 on: May 24, 2012, 22:27:25 »
What I find amazing is that they will even text each other while they are in the same room. ::)
It's hard to win an argument against a smart person, it's damned near impossible against a stupid person.

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Offline Thucydides

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Re: After Facebook
« Reply #9 on: May 25, 2012, 00:50:12 »
Along with the privacy rights... something has always confused me. If you have nothing to hide, why do you care if people know everything about you? I'm not asking to be patronizing, I am asking because I have never heard a good explanation, other than "I don't like big brother looking at everything I do".

You might change your mind at some point about what you posted. You might even think that deleting your posts will erase the offending item, only to discover Facebook put it back up on your page when they rolled out the timeline feature. There is nothing in the EULA to prevent them from doing this at any time, without any notice or warning to you.

More menacing, your information is out there where people can compile that information for such purposes as identity theft, or noxious marketing schemes (the actual reason for the IPO, incidentally; the only marketable asset Facebook has is detailed records of your behaviour to develop marketing profiles). Military members should also be aware that massive database files of Facebook postings can and do exist, and can be "mined" by search engine programs to develop PERSEC and OPSEC information by aggregating millions of snippets of information.
Dagny, this is not a battle over material goods. It's a moral crisis, the greatest the world has ever faced and the last. Our age is the climax of centuries of evil. We must put an end to it, once and for all, or perish - we, the men of the mind. It was our own guilt. We produced the wealth of the world - but we let our enemies write its moral code.

Offline Dkeh

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Re: After Facebook
« Reply #10 on: May 25, 2012, 09:32:52 »
I am well aware of these issues, however it is not just Facebook. Everyone leads a life that has been digatalized theses days- felonies, tickets, address, phone numbers, relatives. Everything is right there at your fingertips, if you know where to look.

EULA's are another matter entirely. As a gamer, they outrage me. As a customer, they infuriate me. In the end, I buy it / use it anyways.

PERSEC and OPSEC are definitely valid points. It then comes down to the individual soldier to use their brain, judgement, and foresight when they post something. Perhaps we will see a case of a soldier eventually getting tried because of a breach of OPSEC, which will set a precedent, and remind people that they need to be careful what they post. On a personal side, I consider whatever I post to be eternal- would I be ashamed if my grandchildren saw everything I have ever posted, 60 years down the road?
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Offline bridges

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Re: After Facebook
« Reply #11 on: May 29, 2012, 15:09:47 »
More menacing, your information is out there where people can compile that information for such purposes as identity theft, or noxious marketing schemes (the actual reason for the IPO, incidentally; the only marketable asset Facebook has is detailed records of your behaviour to develop marketing profiles). Military members should also be aware that massive database files of Facebook postings can and do exist, and can be "mined" by search engine programs to develop PERSEC and OPSEC information by aggregating millions of snippets of information.

Although presumably the same would apply to postings on this site as well.  Maybe not in terms of marketing, but in terms of PERSEC and OPSEC, and the entire thing being subject to the Patriot Act - which, admittedly, I understand very little of.  Fortunately the founding philosophies of the folks running the sites are worlds apart.   

I use Facebook for keeping in touch with people, and with certain causes I care about - that's it.  I look forward to new social media sites ascending, but would be skeptical of any claims that they'll be different.  I'd like to see a non-profit site added to the mix, just for something different.   
"Only a person of liberal mind is entitled to exercise coercion over others in a society of free men."   -General Sir John Winthrop Hackett, GCB, CBE, DSO & Bar, MC

Offline Thucydides

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Re: After Facebook
« Reply #12 on: June 07, 2012, 19:59:18 »
Well the title of this thread may be precient indeed....

http://moneymorning.com/facebook-stock-is-worth-7-50-a-share-at-best/

Quote
Facebook Stock is Worth $7.50 a Share at Best

June 4, 2012

By Keith Fitz-Gerald, Chief Investment Strategist, Money Morning

 Duh on you if you bought the Facebook IPO.

 Double duh if you're thinking of buying Facebook stock now that it's fallen to $32 a share and lost $17.16 billion off its initial $104 billion valuation.
 
The company is only worth about $7.50 a share. And, no. That's not a typo. There is no missing zero or a placeholder.

That's reality. What is ludicrous is that Morgan Stanley and Facebook executives thought the company merited a $104 billion valuation at 100 times earnings.

As my good friend Barry Ritholtz pointed out recently, both Apple (Nasdaq: AAPL) and Google (Nasdaq: GOOG) debuted at about 15 times earnings. Today they trade at 13.6 and 18.2 times earnings and 3.75 and 4.9 times sales respectively.
 
As I type, Facebook's market cap is $86.84 billion and its price to sales is ridiculously high at 21.01. I think that's way out of line.

So what should the numbers be?

Try this on for size. If we use Google's price to sales ratio of 4.9 (and I am being generous here for discussion purposes), that equals a total market cap of $20.24 billion or 76.68% lower than where it's trading today.

With 2.74 billion shares outstanding, that's equal to only $7.39-$7.50 per share.

No doubt I'll get the evil eye from the Facebook faithful and Morgan Stanley for saying this, but think about it.

 Revenue is already slowing and the company does not and cannot possibly dominate the mobile markets that are becoming the preferred channel for millions of people.

Worse, startups are already cannibalizing Facebook's user base as concerns over privacy and who likes who mount.

 Companies like General Motors (NYSE: GM) are deciding not to renew their advertising. This is going to hit Facebook to the tune of $10 million a year for the loss of GM alone.

More will undoubtedly head out the door for the same reason, since Facebook friends don't necessarily translate into revenue.

Corporate buyers are beginning to figure out that advertising on Facebook is simply not cost effective versus other media alternatives - gasp - including good old fashioned television and radio advertising, billboards and tradeshows.

Facebook Stock: At the Mercy of the Merely Curious
Many people think this isn't a big deal. They couldn't be more wrong.
Dagny, this is not a battle over material goods. It's a moral crisis, the greatest the world has ever faced and the last. Our age is the climax of centuries of evil. We must put an end to it, once and for all, or perish - we, the men of the mind. It was our own guilt. We produced the wealth of the world - but we let our enemies write its moral code.

Offline Thucydides

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Re: After Facebook
« Reply #13 on: June 15, 2012, 13:26:15 »
Long article which explains the scale and scope of the information Facebook collects on users. Since Facebook has yet to monetize all this information for itself, the possibility exists they will simply bundle it and sell it to all comers. You, of course, have no say on how your information will be used....

http://www.technologyreview.com/featured-story/428150/what-facebook-knows/?a=f
Dagny, this is not a battle over material goods. It's a moral crisis, the greatest the world has ever faced and the last. Our age is the climax of centuries of evil. We must put an end to it, once and for all, or perish - we, the men of the mind. It was our own guilt. We produced the wealth of the world - but we let our enemies write its moral code.

Offline Thucydides

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Re: After Facebook
« Reply #14 on: June 26, 2012, 12:48:41 »
Once again Facebook simply imposes its wants on their users. The attached article shows how you can undo the default setting and input your own email address back in:

http://business.financialpost.com/2012/06/25/facebook-changes-all-default-email-addresses-to-facebook-com-without-asking/

Quote
Facebook changes default email addresses to @facebook.com without asking
Kevin Smith, Business Insider  Jun 25, 2012 – 3:43 PM ET | Last Updated: Jun 25, 2012 4:18 PM ET
 
Facebook has changed users primary email addresses listed in their profiles from the ones they selected to @facebook.com emails.

Way back in 2010 Facebook relaunched its Messages feature to include @facebook.com email addresses for all users. The service never really took off as an email replacement, but it’s still there.

Today, Facebook has changed users primary email addresses listed in their profiles from the ones they selected to @facebook.com emails, as Gizmodo points out.

Here is how to turn off Facebook's creepy new find friends nearby feature

Luckily, it’s pretty easy to fix.

To change your email back do this:

Head to Account Settings by clicking the arrow in the top right hand corner.
You’ll see your Primary email address. Click Edit to change it.
Select the email you originally had or choose a new one.

Dagny, this is not a battle over material goods. It's a moral crisis, the greatest the world has ever faced and the last. Our age is the climax of centuries of evil. We must put an end to it, once and for all, or perish - we, the men of the mind. It was our own guilt. We produced the wealth of the world - but we let our enemies write its moral code.

Offline bridges

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Re: After Facebook
« Reply #15 on: June 26, 2012, 13:43:49 »
Helpful - thanks, Thucydides.   As always, people use FB at their peril.  I'm busy devising/reviving other ways to keep in touch with far-away friends & family, in the event FB gets too obnoxious to handle.  It's almost there now. 
"Only a person of liberal mind is entitled to exercise coercion over others in a society of free men."   -General Sir John Winthrop Hackett, GCB, CBE, DSO & Bar, MC

Offline Thucydides

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Re: After Facebook
« Reply #16 on: June 30, 2012, 01:58:56 »
Well Facebook certainly has the potential to change the Internet; just not the way anyone expected:

http://www.technologyreview.com/news/427972/the-facebook-fallacy/

Quote
The Facebook Fallacy

For all its valuation, the social network is just another ad-supported site. Without an earth-changing idea, it will collapse and take down the Web.

Michael Wolff

Tuesday, May 22, 2012

Brian Stauffer
Things Reviewed:

Facebook ads

Facebook not only is on course to go bust but will take the rest of the ad-supported Web with it.

Given its vast cash reserves and the glacial pace of business reckonings, this assertion will sound exaggerated. But that doesn't mean it isn't true.

At the heart of the Internet business is one of the great business fallacies of our time: that the Web, with all its targeting abilities, can be a more efficient, and hence more profitable, advertising medium than traditional media. Facebook, with its 900 million users, its valuation of around $60 billion (as of early June), and a business derived primarily from fairly traditional online advertising, is now at the heart of the heart of this fallacy.

The daily and stubborn reality for everybody building businesses on the strength of Web advertising is that the value of digital ads decreases every quarter, a consequence of their simultaneous ineffectiveness and efficiency. The nature of people's behavior on the Web and of how they interact with advertising, as well as the character of those ads themselves and their inability to command attention, has meant a marked decline in advertising's impact.
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At the same time, network technology allows advertisers to more precisely locate and assemble audiences outside of branded channels. Instead of having to go to CNN for your audience, a generic CNN-like audience can be assembled outside CNN's walls and without the CNN-brand markup. This has resulted in the now famous and cruelly accurate formulation that $10 of offline advertising becomes $1 online.

I don't know anyone in the ad-­supported Web business who isn't engaged in a relentless, demoralizing, no-exit operation to realign costs with falling per-user revenues, or who isn't manically inflating traffic to compensate for ever-lower per-user value.

Facebook has convinced large numbers of otherwise intelligent people that the magic of the medium will reinvent advertising in a heretofore unimaginably profitable way, or that the company will create something new that isn't advertising, which will produce even more wonderful profits. But because its stock has been trading at about 40 times its expected earnings for the next year, these innovations will have to be something like alchemy to make the company worth its sticker price. For comparison, Google has been trading at a forward P/E ratio of around 11. (To gauge how much faith investors have that Google, Facebook, and other Web companies will extract value from their users, see Graphiti, on page 31.)

Facebook currently derives 82 percent of its revenue from advertising. Most of that is the desultory, ticky-tacky display advertising that litters the right side of people's Facebook profiles. Some is a kind of social marketing: a user chooses to "like" a product, which is supposed to further social relationships with companies. The social network sells its ads by valuing various combinations of the cost of a thousand ad impressions (or CPM) and the cost of a click (CPC). Both forms of ads are more or less coarsely targeted to users on the basis of information they've volunteered to provide to Facebook and the sharing or "liking" of media within Facebook's universe. General Motors recently announced it would no longer buy any kind of Facebook ad.

Facebook's answer to its critics is: Pay no attention to the carping. Sure, grunt-like advertising produces the overwhelming portion of our $4 billion in revenues, and yes, on a per-user basis, these revenues are in decline. But this stuff is really not what we have in mind. Just wait.

It's quite a juxtaposition of realities. On the one hand, Facebook is under the same relentless downward pressure as other Web-based media. The company's revenue amounts to a pitiful $5 per customer per year, which puts it ahead of the Huffington Post but somewhat behind the New York Times' digital business. (Here's the heartbreaking truth about the difference between new media and old: even in the New York Times' declining traditional business, a subscriber is still worth more than $1,000 a year.) Facebook's business grows only on the unsustainable basis that it can add new customers at a faster rate than the price of advertising declines. It is peddling as fast as it can. And the present scenario gets much worse as people increasingly interact with the social service on mobile devices, because on a small screen it is vastly harder to sell ads and monetize users.

On the other hand, Facebook is, everyone has come to agree, profoundly different from the Web. First of all, it exerts a new level of hegemonic control over users' experiences. And it has its vast scale: 900 million, soon a billion, eventually two billion people. (One of the problems with the logic of constant growth at this scale and speed is that eventually Facebook will run out of humans with computers or smart phones.) And then it is social. Facebook has, in some yet-to-be-defined way, redefined something. Relationships? Media? Communications? Communities? Something big, anyway.

    The sweeping, basic, transformative, and simple way to connect buyer to seller and get out of the way eludes Facebook. It has to sell its audience like every humper on Madison Avenue.

The subtext—an overt subtext—of the popular account of Facebook is that the network has a proprietary claim to and special insight into social behavior. For enterprises and advertising agencies, it is therefore the bridge to new modes of human connection. Expressed so baldly, this account is hardly different from what was claimed for the companies most aggressively boosted during the dot-com boom. But there is, in fact, one company that created and harnessed a transformation in behavior and business: Google. Facebook could be, or in many people's eyes should be, something similar. Lost in such analysis is the failure to describe the application that will drive revenues.

Google is an incredibly efficient system for placing ads. In a disintermediated advertising market, the company has turned itself into the last and ultimate middleman. On its own site, it controls the space where a buyer searches for a thing and where a seller hawks that thing (AdWords, its keywords advertising network). Google is also the cheapest, most efficient way to place ads anywhere else on the Web (through the AdSense network). It's not a media company in any traditional sense; it's a facilitator. It can eliminate the whole laborious, numbing process of selling advertising space: if a marketer wants to place an ad (that is, if it is already convinced it must advertise), the company calls Mr. Google.

And that's Facebook's hope, too: it wants to be a facilitator, the inevitable conduit at the center of the world's commerce.

Facebook has the scale, the platform, and the brand to be the new Google. It lacks only the big idea. Right now, it doesn't actually know how to embed its usefulness into world commerce (or even, really, what its usefulness is).

But Google didn't have the big idea at its founding, either. The search engine borrowed the concept of AdWords from Yahoo's Overture network (a lawsuit for patent infringement and a settlement followed). Now Google has all the money in the world to buy or license the ideas that could make its platform and brand pay off.

What might Facebook's big idea look like? Well, it does have all this data. The company knows so much about so many people that its executives are sure the knowledge must have value (see this month's cover story, "What Facebook Knows," on page 42).

If you're inside the Facebook galaxy—a constellation that includes an ever-­expanding cloud of associated ventures—there is endless chatter about a near-utopian new medium for marketing. Round and round goes the conversation: "If we just ... if only ... when we will ..." If, for instance, frequent-flier programs and travel destinations actually knew when you were thinking about planning a trip ... If a marketer could identify the person who has the most influence on you ... If an advertiser could introduce you to someone who would relay the advertising message ... Get it? No ads, just friends! My God!

But so far the sweeping, basic, transformative, and simple way to connect buyer to seller and get out of the way eludes Facebook.

So the social network is left in the same position as all other media companies. Instead of being inevitable and unavoidable, it has to sell its audience like every humper on Madison Avenue.

But that's what Facebook is doing: selling individual ads. If you consider only its revenue, it's an ad-sales business, not a technology company. To meet expectations—the expectations that took it public at $100 billion—it has to sell at near hyperspeed.

The growth of its user base and its ever-swelling page views mean an almost infinite inventory to sell. But the expanding supply, together with equivocal demand, results in ever-lowering prices. The math is sickeningly inevitable. Absent that earthshaking idea, Facebook will look forward to slowing or declining growth in a tapped-out market, and ever-falling ad rates, both on the Web and (especially) in mobile applications. Facebook isn't Google; it's Yahoo or AOL.

Oh, yes ... in its Herculean efforts to maintain its overall growth, Facebook will force the rest of the ad-driven Web to lower its prices, too. The low-level panic the owners of every mass-traffic website feel about the ever-downward movement of their CPM is turning to dread. Last quarter, some big sites observed as much as a 25 percent decrease, following Facebook's own attempt to book more revenue.

You see where this is going. As Facebook gluts an already glutted market, the fallacy of the Web as a profitable ad medium will become hard to ignore. The crash will come. And Facebook—that putative transformer of worlds, which is, in reality, only an ad-driven site—will fall with everybody else.

Michael Wolff writes a column on media for the Guardian; is a contributing editor to Vanity Fair; founded Newser; and was, until October of last year, the editor of AdWeek.
Dagny, this is not a battle over material goods. It's a moral crisis, the greatest the world has ever faced and the last. Our age is the climax of centuries of evil. We must put an end to it, once and for all, or perish - we, the men of the mind. It was our own guilt. We produced the wealth of the world - but we let our enemies write its moral code.

Offline KanD

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Re: After Facebook
« Reply #17 on: July 05, 2012, 20:51:16 »
Facebook invests in Asia Pacific Gateway underwater internet cable
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Facebook invests in Asia Pacific Gateway underwater internet cable
5 July 2012

Facebook has invested in a 10,000km (6,214 mile) Asian undersea cable project. The Asia Pacific Gateway (APG) is designed to improve internet speeds for citizens and businesses in the region. The cable will run directly from Malaysia to South Korea and Japan, with links branching off to other countries. Facebook said the move would support efforts to boost membership in what was already one of its fastest growing markets.
"Our investment in this cable will help support our growth in South Asia, making it possible for us to provide a better user experience for a greater number of Facebook users in countries like India, Indonesia, Malaysia, the Philippines, Hong Kong, and Singapore," a spokesman said. He declined to reveal how much money the firm was putting into scheme, saying only that a consortium of firms had invested $450m (£280m) in total.

Faster links
The project to construct and maintain APG is funded by a group that includes two large Chinese internet service providers, China Telecom and China Unicom. The fibre-optic cable will help the countries send and receive data to North America faster, according to consortium leader Time Dotcom. "This lowers our dependencies on Singapore as the main gateway for internet traffic," said its chief executive Saiful Husni. "We can now channel high volumes of this traffic on our network with the lowest latency [access time], directly to the US." Internet traffic can be slowed by the number of "hops" traffic has to make as it traverses different stretches of cables, and as it passes through different landing stations.

Eyeing Asia
The Wall Street Journal reported last month that Facebook's growth in the US had shown signs of "slowing sharply", putting further pressure on its share price. But the news was offset by a later Nielsen study suggesting the network was enjoying rapid growth in Asia. It indicated that the number of Japan-based visitors to the site using PCs had more than doubled during the year to May, totalling 17.2 million people that month. It also suggested the firm was enjoying rapid growth in South Korea, adding there was scope for even bigger gains. However, the Tech In Asia blog noted that Facebook's number of active users remains behind those of Mixi in Japan and Cyworld in South Korea - both domestic social networks that have the advantage of using locally based servers aiding download speeds. One telecoms analyst told the BBC Facebook should also benefit elsewhere. "India and the Philippines are both really heavy users of Facebook, and connectivity is patchy in and out of the countries," said Dean Bubley, from Disruptive Analysis. Facebook is not the first major US internet company to invest in internet infrastructure. Google announced in 2008 that it would invest in a $300m undersea cabling system called Unity between Asia and the US.

Offline cupper

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Re: After Facebook
« Reply #18 on: July 05, 2012, 22:28:03 »
Looks like Nemo will soon have his own Facebook Page. ;D
It's hard to win an argument against a smart person, it's damned near impossible against a stupid person.

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Offline BadgerTrapper

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Re: After Facebook
« Reply #19 on: July 07, 2012, 07:09:33 »
In regards to the Facebook changing Email thing, they did it to me. Just figured it out after reading Thucydides article. Any one else receive the change?

Offline Thucydides

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Re: After Facebook
« Reply #20 on: August 18, 2012, 20:37:06 »
Since so much of our lives is becoming digitized (despite the obvious benefits clay tablets  ;)), it is well worth thinking about how to harden our digital assets. This service offers one way (local backups, UPS systems to allow your home PC a graceful shut down, Internet anonymizers and using a "clean" computer dedicated to tasks like banking and used for no other purpose are others). Interesting concept:

http://www.slate.com/articles/technology/technology/2012/08/backupify_yes_you_should_back_up_your_gmail_facebook_and_twitter_accounts_here_s_how_to_do_it_.single.html

Quote
You Should Back Up Your Gmail, Facebook, and Twitter Accounts
Here’s how.

By Farhad Manjoo|Posted Friday, Aug. 17, 2012, at 6:08 PM ET

Even though companies such as Google and Twitter save your data on multiple machines, that doesn’t necessarily mean it’s backed up.

When I first heard of Backupify a few years ago, I thought the service sounded unnecessary at best. The company promises to back up the data you’ve stored on various online services, scooping up all your mail and contacts from Gmail, your calendar entries from Google Calendar, plus everything you’ve got on Facebook, Twitter, Blogger, Flickr, and LinkedIn.

I have long been an advocate of frequent backups, but that term is usually reserved for stuff you’ve got stored on your own computer. A backup creates an extra copy, either on an external drive or online, so that when your machine bites the dust, you won’t be hosed. But Gmail isn’t stored on your own computer (you might have downloaded your mail to your desktop, but unless you’ve explicitly deleted your messages from Google’s servers, they’re still online). And Google is very good at backing things up. Like other firms that store data in the cloud, Google keeps many copies of your stuff on thousands of computers across the world. This redundancy is one of the cloud’s biggest selling points. Even if you keep your photos on three different hard drives in your house, they’re still vulnerable. (What if you’re burglarized?) But if one of Google’s data centers gets hit by a meteorite, your data will always be secure in some other center somewhere else.

That’s why Backupify sounded fishy—it seems to do what cloud services already do. It doesn’t help that the firm wants you to pay for the service, too. The company offers a free plan with 1 GB of storage, but if you want to back up even more of your cloud data, Backupify asks for $5 a month for 10 GB of storage or $20 for 50 GB. Remember that the services you’re backing up—Gmail and the rest—are free. So Backupify is asking you to open up your wallet to back up an already backed up free thing. Do they think you were born yesterday?

But in the last few weeks, I’ve seen the light. I now consider Backupify an essential part of keeping my digital life secure. In fact, signing up for its free plan is as important as choosing strong passwords and regularly backing up your local data. And, for my own data, I’m going to go even further. I’ve decided to pay for Backupify’s monthly plan to get enough space to secure all of the stuff I have in the cloud.

Why did I suddenly change my mind about Backupify? After a string of high-profile cloud mishaps, I now realize something important about how Google and other companies store people’s data. Even though the search company saves my email on multiple machines, that doesn’t really mean it’s backed up. Google’s redundancy does protect my stuff from natural disasters or mechanical failure, but it doesn’t do anything to secure my data from its worst enemy—me and other devious human beings pretending to be me.

Backupify, on the other hand, is your savior in the event of human error. If you subscribe to the service, your stuff isn’t really ever gone for good—not when you lose your data because you’ve been hacked, not when you forget your password, not because the cloud service kicked you out, and not because you just accidentally pressed delete.

Rob May, Backupify’s co-founder and CEO, says that he got the plan for the firm in 2008 when he was talking to friends about startup ideas. Someone told him, “Hey, you should build a Flickr backup tool.” May says his first reaction was like mine: “I thought it was a dumb idea.” But the more he thought about the idea, the more sensible it became. Lots of friends told him they were losing data in the cloud, either accidentally or through some attack. And once the data was gone, it was gone.

This gets to the fundamental paradox of the cloud: The advantage of storing your data online is that it’s available everywhere, all the time, to you or anyone with proper credentials. The problem with storing your data in the cloud is that it’s available everywhere, all the time, to you or anyone with proper credentials. In the Atlantic last year, James Fallows described the devastation his wife, Deb, suffered after someone got into her Gmail account and deleted everything:

Six years’ worth of correspondence and everything that went with it were gone. All the notes, interviews, recollections, and attached photos from our years of traveling through China. All the correspondence with and about her father in the last years of his life. The planning for our sons’ weddings; the exchanges she’d had with subjects, editors, and readers of her recent book; the accounting information for her projects; the travel arrangements and appointments she had for tomorrow and next week and next month; much of the incidental-expense data for the income-tax return I was about to file—all of this had been erased.

A few weeks ago, tech journalist Mat Honan suffered a similar attack. And those are just the ones you hear about—a Google representative told Fallows that there are thousands of attacks against Google accounts every day.

But you don’t need to be a victim of a hacker to lose stuff in the cloud. In fact, according to a 2007 study by a trade organization called the IT Policy Compliance Group, malicious attacks cause only a fraction of online data losses. By far the largest cause is human error—you accidentally delete an important document in Google Docs, say. It doesn’t even have to be your error: Earlier this month, in a widely circulated Gizmodo piece that carried the headline “Why the Cloud Sucks,” Apple co-founder Steve Wozniak wrote that after he upgraded to the latest version of the Mac OS, he noticed that one of his primary Google calendars suddenly disappeared. At first, he had no idea how it had happened—his other data was intact, so it didn’t look like a hack. Then, he got a notice from the makers of BusyCal, a popular calendar app for the Mac, telling him about an incompatibility with the new version of the Mac OS. The message had come too late: BusyCal, which Wozniak had set up to sync with Google, had deleted one of his calendars.

Backupify solves all these problems with a simple, brilliant innovation: It has no delete function. After you sign up to the service and authorize it to connect to your cloud accounts, Backupify regularly downloads and saves every item you have online—your messages, calendar appointments, contacts, and on and on. But if you delete something from your cloud account, Backupify does not mirror that action on its own servers. So if you, a hacker, or a third-party app trashes your account, it will remain intact at Backupify. Indeed, even if a hacker somehow gets into your Backupify account, he still wouldn’t be able to delete your data. The company’s Web interface has no delete button. The only way to delete your data from Backupify is to call up the company and send its staff a copy of your driver’s license and other credentials to prove that you are who you say you are.

And that gets to why cloud services can’t protect your data the way Backupify does. For privacy reasons, Google and Facebook have to offer customers a delete button that actually deletes your data. (In fact, Facebook has struggled to make delete actually work; in the past, some Facebook photos could still be accessed years after they’d supposedly been deleted. This week Facebook announced that when you delete a photo, it gets permanently removed from Facebook’s servers within 30 days.) Backupify can make deletion difficult only because it’s a third-party service dedicated to backup.

Backupify is about four years old, and in that time it has managed to gain thousands of paying customers, most of them businesses that are looking to protect their Google data. But the firm only has about 200,000 nonbusiness users, which sounds like too few to me. May says that on average, Backupify users restore—that is, undelete—about 3.38 items every year. In practice, that means that a lot of people aren’t restoring anything, and some people are restoring their entire accounts. (You can restore your stuff to your original cloud account, or you can download your data to your hard drive.)

May says that the number of undeletes proves how useful Backupify can be. “It shows you that this is a real problem,” he says. “It happens more than people think. It’s just not publicized very often.” Well, here you go: Let me publicize the heck out of it. You’re keeping all your precious data in the cloud, and it’s all just one accidental or malicious deletion away from oblivion. Signing up for Backupify is free, and it takes about two minutes to do so. What are you waiting for?
Dagny, this is not a battle over material goods. It's a moral crisis, the greatest the world has ever faced and the last. Our age is the climax of centuries of evil. We must put an end to it, once and for all, or perish - we, the men of the mind. It was our own guilt. We produced the wealth of the world - but we let our enemies write its moral code.

Offline Thucydides

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Re: After Facebook
« Reply #21 on: August 22, 2012, 00:08:37 »
I love the Oatmeal. The "what happens when Microsoft buys SKYPE and Facebook integrates it" cost me a keyboard....

http://theoatmeal.com/comics/state_web_summer
Dagny, this is not a battle over material goods. It's a moral crisis, the greatest the world has ever faced and the last. Our age is the climax of centuries of evil. We must put an end to it, once and for all, or perish - we, the men of the mind. It was our own guilt. We produced the wealth of the world - but we let our enemies write its moral code.

Offline Stevenhh

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Re: After Facebook
« Reply #22 on: August 22, 2012, 03:25:26 »
Porn Machine?
I cracked up at that one.
Steven H.

Offline bridges

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Re: After Facebook
« Reply #23 on: August 22, 2012, 14:54:32 »
I love the Oatmeal. The "what happens when Microsoft buys SKYPE and Facebook integrates it" cost me a keyboard....

http://theoatmeal.com/comics/state_web_summer

Some good stuff there!  I could have done without the idea of the "best" of Pauly Shore, though.   

Re. Backupify, I can't decide if it's a brilliant idea, or laughable illustration of how our society has gone nuts evolved.  Maybe both.  Sounds worth checking into, either way.   

As an aside, I wish it didn't look like it rhymes with "stupify". 
"Only a person of liberal mind is entitled to exercise coercion over others in a society of free men."   -General Sir John Winthrop Hackett, GCB, CBE, DSO & Bar, MC

Offline Thucydides

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Re: After Facebook
« Reply #24 on: September 19, 2012, 06:59:13 »
Financially, mac and cheese outdoes Facebook. Not sure if this heralds the end of time or not....

http://www.wired.com/business/2012/09/annies-mac-n-cheese-facebook/

Quote
Why Mac ‘n’ Cheese Is a Smarter Investment Than Facebook

    By Marcus Wohlsen
    Email Author
    09.18.12 6:30 AM

In the hype tsunami prior to Facebook’s May IPO, I doubt anyone wrote these words: “Instead of social media, you should invest in macaroni and cheese.” As it turns out, that’s exactly what you should have done.

The day Facebook (FB) went public, its shares closed at $38.23, just pennies above the initial asking price of $38. That same day, shares of organic mac ‘n’ cheese maker Annie’s (BNNY) closed at just a little less than that at $36.39. If you’d bought Annie’s that day, your shares would be up by nearly one-third right now. Facebook shares, meanwhile, are down more than 40 percent.

You’d be even better off if you’d gotten in on the ground floor of the Annie’s IPO in March, when shares were priced at $19. You would have nearly doubled your money on that first day of trading alone. In what kind of world does a company that makes bunny-shaped pasta go public and get a dotcom-style pop, while a social media juggernaut that has fundamentally changed the way humans communicate turns into one of the great stock market stinkers?

The success of the Annie’s IPO, and the failure to date of Facebook’s, could be just a flukey coincidence. After all, one sells eyeballs, the other kids’ food. But the story of Annie’s’ rise to success doesn’t read that differently than that of an internet startup.

Annie’s is named after Annie Withey, who started the company with her then-husband Andrew Martin in a fit of what you’d now call serial entrepreneurship. In the mid-’80s, Martin had helped invent a new kind of resealable bag for snack food. The bag needed a product to show it off, so Annie started experimenting in her kitchen and came up with Smartfood, the now ubiquitous white cheddar-flavored popcorn in the black bag. The resealable bag didn’t take off, but the popcorn did: Frito-Lay bought Smartfood from the pair for a reported $15 million. Fishing around for something to do next, the two stuck to what they knew: packaging and white cheddar. Annie’s Shells and White Cheddar, the mac ‘n’ cheese in the purple box with the bunny, came out in 1989 and helped pioneer a product niche that more than two decades later has become a big business: healthy convenience food.

Like most scrappy internet startups, the pair did nearly all the work themselves, from writing the homey box copy to delivering cases to regional grocery stores in and around Boston. (Health-food store habitués may be surprised to know that they’ve never had Annie’s all to themselves; mainstream grocery stores have sold their products since the beginning.) Unlike most internet startups, however, they started small and stayed small for a long time.

When current Annie’s CEO John Foraker joined the company in 1999 at the peak of the dot-com boom, he says the company had six or seven employees and about $7 million in annual revenue. Sales had doubled by 2002, when private equity firm Solera Capital stepped in with a reported $81 million investment that made it the majority shareholder.

With big money behind Annie’s, Foraker says the company developed a “performance-oriented culture” focused on meeting quarterly and annual goals. That could have killed the personality that Annie had instilled in her namesake company, but Foraker says Solera understood that shooting for financial goals didn’t mean sacrificing what he saw as the company’s vision or its heritage. “It wasn’t just a pasta company,” he says. “I viewed it as a brand that stood for a lot of important things.”

Solera didn’t seek a quick exit, which in the packaged foods industry almost always means selling to one of the big players, the way Withey sold Smartfood to Frito-Lay. As a result, Annie’s had time to grow organically (pun intended). And just as the company began adding more organic products to its lineup, the mainstreaming of the organic movement was gaining momentum.

With 125 products, from organic BBQ sauce and gluten-free mac ‘n’ cheese to uncured pepperoni frozen pizza and vegan pretzel bunnies, Annie’s went public just as it was hitting what Foraker describes as the sweet spot of its growth curve. The market for convenience foods with ingredients that sound like they originated in nature and not a lab, was moving far beyond the boundaries of Boston and Berkeley, California where the company is now based, along a trajectory from co-op to Whole Foods to Walmart. But Foraker says the majority of grocery stores that carry Annie’s products still shelve them off to the side in a “natural foods” section. Foraker’s job now is to convince the rest of those retailers that Annie’s can go head to head with Kraft, that its products aren’t just riding a fad but represent a basic shift in attitude toward eating. “It’s really hard to see the broad trend of people wanting to eat healthier changing,” Foraker says.

Wall Street mostly agrees. Analysts polled by Thomson/First Call advise to either hold on to Annie’s shares or buy more. William Blair and Co. analyst Jon Andersen says the U.S. natural and organic food market is growing by 8 percent annually, much faster than conventional packaged food, and should hit $52 billion by next year.

Andersen says in a note to investors that Annie’s is not only a top seller in that market but “has proven crossover appeal” that should grow considerably with its recent launch of frozen pizzas. “We believe that Annie’s has a compelling long-term growth opportunity,” he says.

Not that Annie’s is without its detractors. Some investors worry that Annie’s’ highly visible post-IPO success will spur other companies to slap “organic” on a box of mac ‘n’ cheese and take a big bite out of Annie’s’ market. If that happens, it will be interesting to see how well Annie’s can keep its commitment to its core values while under pressure from shareholders — a dilemma Facebook knows well.

For now, Annie’s seems to be perfectly balancing its responsibilities to Wall Street, while upholding all the things you might expect of a company with an enormous bunny emblazoned on the side of its Berkeley headquarters. An earnest vibe radiates throughout the low-slung building, which houses most of the company’s 100 employees. The walls are adorned with slogans like “Create a garden of goodness” and “Share the sunshine,” while conference rooms are decorated with murals of hippie goddesses and flowers. And, of course, bunnies. Even the low-flow toilets advertise how much water they save compared to the conventional variety. Frankly, it’s exactly the kind of business you’d expect to find in Berkeley.

But that could in a way be a key to Annie’s success in the market. Berkeley is a town where people are genuinely committed to their causes, but also aren’t afraid to make money (as in the ritzier parts of Silicon Valley, the bursting of the real estate bubble was barely felt in Berkeley). Compared to Facebook, Annie’s’ value proposition is plain and simple, just like what it sells, but the company also apparently knows how to sell it. Facebook may be a more ambitious and more valuable company at the moment, but like many internet companies, its shares rise and fall based on how confident investors feel it really has anything to sell. Annie’s makes a thing you hold in your hand and put in your belly. As fears of another tech bubble persist, mac ‘n’ cheese makes for some real stock market comfort food.
Dagny, this is not a battle over material goods. It's a moral crisis, the greatest the world has ever faced and the last. Our age is the climax of centuries of evil. We must put an end to it, once and for all, or perish - we, the men of the mind. It was our own guilt. We produced the wealth of the world - but we let our enemies write its moral code.

Offline GnyHwy

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Re: After Facebook
« Reply #25 on: September 19, 2012, 07:11:42 »
I'm no investor, but it seems pretty simplistic to me that the original shareholders will not open shares to the public until it has plateaued and there is no more significant profits to be gained.  Once that happens they sell in order to share the risk, which they were clearly smart in doing.

I guess the next plan for insider traders is to let them drop, buy them back for significantly cheaper than they sold them, introduce the next great thing, and watch them climb to the next plateau, only to be sold again to the next bunch of suckers.
Luck is for Suckers - GnyHwy

If you're gonna speak outside the box, you should understand the inside of the box first - GnyHwy

Offline Thucydides

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Re: After Facebook
« Reply #26 on: September 19, 2012, 19:00:34 »
But the investors will just eat the Mac'n'cheese.... ;D ;D ;D
Dagny, this is not a battle over material goods. It's a moral crisis, the greatest the world has ever faced and the last. Our age is the climax of centuries of evil. We must put an end to it, once and for all, or perish - we, the men of the mind. It was our own guilt. We produced the wealth of the world - but we let our enemies write its moral code.

Offline Thucydides

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Re: After Facebook
« Reply #27 on: October 19, 2012, 00:28:42 »
Version 2.0 of this will have your laptop or tablet deliver an electric shock when you log into these sites. Army.ca is productive time, however....

http://www.telegraph.co.uk/technology/facebook/9616910/Man-slapped-when-he-looks-at-Facebook-to-increase-productivity.html

Quote
Man slapped when he looks at Facebook 'to increase productivity'
A computer programmer claims he increased his productivity at work by hiring a woman to slap him every time she catches him looking at Facebook.

Man slapped when he looks at Facebook 'to increase productivity' Photo: Alamy
By Stewart Maclean 10:02AM BST 18 Oct 20129 Comments
Maneesh Sethi placed an advert on the classified website Craigslist to recruit someone willing to monitor what he was looking at on his laptop.

The computer expert and writer, from San Francisco, now pays a female employee $8 (£5) an hour to strike him in the face if she spots him wasting time on social media.

Mr Seethi claims the unusual motivational system has helped him boost his productivity from just 35 per cent to around 98 per cent during the working day.

Writing on his blog, he said he felt embarrassed after calculating he wasted around 19 hours every week looking at Facebook or other social media websites.

He wrote: "Humans are social animals – we aren't designed to live and work alone."

"Having worked mostly alone, on my computer, I found that the majority of my time is spent unproductively."
He added: "Nothing makes me more embarrassed than seeing the amount of hours I spend wasted on Reddit and Facebook chat.
"I figured 'This is stupid, why am I wasting this time doing nothing? When I have a boss, or someone of authority watching me, I always get my work done. How can I simulate the authority figure?'

"Naturally, I believe that an authority figure should have real authority.

"So I went on Craigslist, put up an advertisement, and waited to see if anyone would bite."

Mr Seethi published details on his blog of his Craigslist advert, which was entitled '(Domestic gigs) Slap me if I get off task'.
In it he wrote: "I'm looking for someone who can work next to me at a defined location (my house or a café) and will make sure to watch what is happening on my screen.

"When I am wasting time, you'll have to yell at me or if need be, slap me.
"You can do your own work at the same time. Looking for help asap.
"Compensation: $8 / hour, and you can do your own work from your computer at the same time."

Mr Seethi said he was inundated with offers from potential slappers and quickly hired a volunteer he names only as Kara.

He wrote: "Within minutes, my in-box began blowing up.

"I received 20 emails in less than an hour from people who loved the idea. I read through them, found one that stood out, and hired her to meet me at a café the day after.

"The next day, at 9am, I found Kara sitting and waiting for me.

"Pulling up a seat, I gave her the basic instructions – she would monitor me for the next few hours, and make sure that I was staying on task.

"I gave her a list of action items that I needed to accomplish, and made her promise to force me to stay on task."

A video on YouTube shows Mr Seethi working in a café alongside his new employee.
Kara can be seen slapping him firming around the head when she spots him wasting time online.
The computer programmer claimed the ever-present threat of a physical assault helped him to radically boost his output by staying focused on his work.

He wrote: "The Slap Challenge added a playful, silly element to working.

"It gave me a non-conventional reminder of what I was supposed to be doing – and it ended up being something I didn't want to happen again."
Dagny, this is not a battle over material goods. It's a moral crisis, the greatest the world has ever faced and the last. Our age is the climax of centuries of evil. We must put an end to it, once and for all, or perish - we, the men of the mind. It was our own guilt. We produced the wealth of the world - but we let our enemies write its moral code.

Offline Thucydides

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Re: After Facebook
« Reply #28 on: January 13, 2013, 10:46:06 »
A web developer in Canada is working on Web 3.0. Not sure I am clear on the benefits of this (but then again, most of what I actually do on computers or the Internet could be handled by mid 90's vintage machines anyway). Something to keep an eye on:

http://business.financialpost.com/2013/01/13/prince-of-pop-up-picks-canada-to-build-the-next-web/

Quote
Prince of Pop-up picks Canada to build the next Web

Rick Spence | Jan 13, 2013 7:00 AM ET | Last Updated: Jan 11, 2013 2:35 PM ET
More from Rick Spence | @rickspence

He’s been called a Web pioneer, the Prince of Pop-ups, and “the most hated man on the Internet.” In the 1990s, Brian Shuster developed such innovations as sub-domains, pop-up ads and click-tracking. Love him or hate him, Shuster helped create the Web we know today — and now he’s building the next Web.

Born in Montreal, Shuster’s family moved to Fresno, Calif., when he was seven years old. After studying business and communications at UCLA, he got in on the ground floor of the Internet, hiring software talent from NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory to develop Web-hosting and online advertising systems that became industry standards. He was a brilliant, but polarizing figure who sought patents for many innovations and then tried to claim a piece of the action from major companies using sub-domains or pop-up ads. Shuster was ahead of his time; when he sought venture capital, he says Silicon Valley VCs turned him down, because they thought the Web was a fad that wouldn’t last.

Related

    Rick Spence’s 10 best lessons in business from 2012
    Canadian CEO shares his time-management expertise
    From Skid Row to High Street: CEO uses past experiences to become business success, help others

    Silicon Valley VCs turned him down, because they thought the Web was a fad that wouldn’t last

Wonder why you’ve never heard of Shuster? He says it’s his “invisibility cloak” — media tend to steer clear from covering business people who have been involved in porn. When he couldn’t finance his activities through intellectual property or venture capital, Shuster and a partner created one of the Web’s first pornography networks, Xpics Publishing, which later boasted two million paying members and revenue of $10-million a month. Shuster avoided the tech meltdown by selling his hosting company, WebJump, for $12-million in 1999. But his porn empire expired in 2000 after conflicts with the U.S. Federal Trade Commission and credit-card companies over Xpics’ practice of charging clients before their month-long free trials were up.

Hero or villain? History will judge Shuster on the success of Utherverse, the immersive new platform he’s been developing since before moving to Canada in 2006. Between Utherverse and his IP holding company, Ideaflood, he employs 60 people in Vancouver and will soon receive his 90th patent.

If you are dreaming of moving to Silicon Valley, Shuster says Canada, and particularly Vancouver, is the place to change the world. He cites four reasons why:

    Silicon Valley knowledge workers use companies as transitional stepping stones. To recruit someone from another firm, you have to give them a better job title, he says. As soon as they get that title, he says, they update their resumés and start looking for another employer.
   
 The customer experience is better in Canada. Shuster says he has found a higher service ethic in his Vancouver workforce than in the U.S. “Here, people want to help,” he says. “It seems to be a natural Canadian trait.”
   
 High-tech talent is just as strong in British Columbia as in California, if not stronger. When it comes to 3D gaming, Shuster says, “the talent pool is the best in North America, and maybe the best in the world.”
   
Finally, he says, the Valley’s get-rich-quick mentality impedes longer-term success. High-tech workers in California want to develop an app for a year and then sell out, he says; Canadians are more willing to tackle bigger projects. “If you want to change the world, you have to commit to it for a decade.”

Courtesy of UtherverseWith VWW, Shuster says, the boundaries between gaming, education, shopping and social media will fade.

That’s what Shuster is doing: Working on the future architecture of the Web. Today’s “flat web,” he says, is fine for search or e-commerce. His VWW (Virtual World Web) is immersive and interactive, with users moving through game-like virtual environments rather than reading static Web pages. With VWW, he says, the boundaries between gaming, education, shopping and social media will fade. Imagine online conventions with trade-show booths, panels, networking breaks and gift bags. Looking for a new home? There’ll be no more 360-degree photo collages of the kitchen; you’ll be a character in a 3D-style rendering, “walking” between rooms to experience the flow of the house.

Shuster says Utherverse is business-friendly. More than 100,000 companies already have virtual presences on the VWW, and developers will find it easy to create 3-D games and applications. His current offerings include Virtual Vancouver, an immersive re-creation of the city for users to explore, as well as Red Light Center (RLC), a not-safe-for-work adult pleasure park based on Amsterdam’s red-light district. In RLC, your customized character can chat, flirt, drink and dance with other people’s avatars, or just head to a private room. Shuster says RLC has more than a million members, along with 10 paying “franchisees” that run RLC sites for other countries or cultures.

In February, Utherverse will release its third-generation VWW platform. Clients intending to leverage the technology already include a university, a major California real estate company, and a big online dating service. As the technology becomes more mainstream, Shuster says conventional browsers will be obsolete by 2015: “It’s inevitable that we will move toward a holodeck, like on Star Trek.”

While he doesn’t know if his platform will become the industry standard (other firms such as IBM and Google have worked on 3-D environments) he is confident Utherverse will become a big player in the new Web. Then maybe Shuster — and Canada — will get more respect.

Rick Spence is a writer, consultant and speaker specializing in entrepreneurship. His column appears weekly in the Financial Post. He can be reached at rick@rickspence.ca
Dagny, this is not a battle over material goods. It's a moral crisis, the greatest the world has ever faced and the last. Our age is the climax of centuries of evil. We must put an end to it, once and for all, or perish - we, the men of the mind. It was our own guilt. We produced the wealth of the world - but we let our enemies write its moral code.

Offline Thucydides

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Re: After Facebook
« Reply #29 on: January 26, 2013, 22:08:52 »
Google is up to something, although what exactly is not clear at this time. If they are experimenting with alternatives to conventional cellular service (especially in conjunction with the Android OS and their own suite of services), then what may be under wraps is a much more powerful version of a smartphone or tablet. IF it is a useful screen size like some of the Galaxy phones, that will be very good for people like me who find an iPhone screen hard to read:

http://www.technologyreview.com/view/510341/googles-private-cell-phone-network/

Quote
Google’s Private Cell Phone Network

 A small cell network over the company’s HQ could herald new competition for established carriers.

Filings made with the U.S. Federal Communications Commission reveal that Google wants to start operating its own, very small cell phone network on its Mountain View campus. It’s the latest in a series of hints in recent years that Google is unsatisfied with the way that mobile networks control the mobile Internet.

Google tells the FCC it wants to install up to 50 mobile base stations in buildings on the Western edge of Google’s Mountain View campus, just a block or so away from its main Android building. Up to 200 mobile devices will be used on that “experimental” network and the area covered will be small, with indoor base stations reaching only up to 200 meters, and any outdoors ones reaching no further than a kilometer. The WSJ reports that the frequencies used belong to ClearWire, and aren’t compatible with any U.S. mobile device. They are in use in China, Brazil, and India, though.

Google might just be experimenting with devices for those parts of the world. Or it might be trying something more radical. The search and ad giant has been rumored to be exploring the idea of working with TV provider Dish to launch a wireless Internet service, has already got into the business of providing broadband (see “Google’s Internet Service Might Bring the U.S. Up to Speed”), and has a history of showing interest in ideas that would loosen the grip of cellular providers on mobile devices and what people can do with them.

Google lobbied U.S. regulators to encourage them to open up unused TV spectrum into so-called “white spaces,” as they did in 2009, allowing that portion of the airwaves to be used by any company or device rather than being  licensed exclusively to one company (see “Super Wi-Fi”). In 2008, the company filed a patent for an idea that would appall mobile networks—having mobile devices automatically hop to the cheapest cell network in an area rather than being locked to just one provider at all times.

Google’s biggest strike against the way wireless networks work today came in 2010 and was something of a flop. The company tried to break the U.S. convention of new mobile phones being tied to carrier contracts, only offering the flagship Nexus One smartphone online and unlocked. That experiment lasted only about six months, after Google struggled to cope with customer service requests and learned that U.S. consumers are apparently happier paying a significant markup for a device over two years than a smaller sum upfront.

Google has since played more nicely with cellular networks. Yet the relationships are still fraught, with fallings out over Google’s contactless payments system (blocked on Verizon handsets) and Android’s tethering function (also blocked by some carriers). It’s too early to know whether Google’s private cell phone network in Mountain View will add to that drama, but mobile networks are surely watching closely.
Dagny, this is not a battle over material goods. It's a moral crisis, the greatest the world has ever faced and the last. Our age is the climax of centuries of evil. We must put an end to it, once and for all, or perish - we, the men of the mind. It was our own guilt. We produced the wealth of the world - but we let our enemies write its moral code.

Offline Thucydides

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Re: After Facebook
« Reply #30 on: January 30, 2013, 21:58:43 »
OOPs. I'm sure there are furious investor calls happening right about now.....

http://www.theatlantic.com/business/archive/2013/01/this-is-how-much-facebook-made-per-user-last-month-2-pennies/272708/

Quote
This Is How Much Facebook Made Per User Last Month: 2 Pennies
By Alexis C. Madrigal

Jan 30 2013, 5:12 PM ET6

For all its ubiquity and $1.59 billion in revenue, the company's net income was $64 million in its last quarter.
 
Every month, a billion people offer their two cents to Facebook, literally. That's roughly how much income the company generated per user per month over its last quarter.

Add it all up and the company made just $64 million on revenue of $1.59 billion. That means the company is generating about half a buck a month of revenue per user, and just $0.02 a month in income. Facebook says that a run-up in R&D hurt their profitability for the quarter.

Nonetheless, compared with the other tech giants (save Amazon, which has its own profitability problems), Facebook is not much of a money machine. It isn't even within an order of magnitude of old-school companies like Microsoft or Oracle, let alone Apple.

 But hey, it's young. And detailed data on all of our lives has got to be worth something, right? Right? And the good news is that for the full year 2012, Facebook generated $13.58 in revenue per user in its most developed markets, the US and Canada. That's up more than $2 over 2011 and $4 over 2010.

Update: Facebook would also probably like me to note that if you don't follow the GAAP method and use Facebook's own accounting, they made $426 million for the quarter, which is considerably more money than $64 million. Then again, there's a reason they're called Generally Accepted Accounting Principles.
Dagny, this is not a battle over material goods. It's a moral crisis, the greatest the world has ever faced and the last. Our age is the climax of centuries of evil. We must put an end to it, once and for all, or perish - we, the men of the mind. It was our own guilt. We produced the wealth of the world - but we let our enemies write its moral code.

Offline cupper

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Re: After Facebook
« Reply #31 on: February 17, 2013, 18:41:43 »
Half of Facebook parents joined to spy on kids?
You think half those adults on Facebook are there because they love Facebook? No, no. These are merely parents engaged in covert operations.


http://news.cnet.com/8301-17852_3-57569806-71/half-of-facebook-parents-joined-to-spy-on-kids/

Quote
I had always imagined that adults entered the world of Facebook because they wanted to re-enact their teenage years, find a new lover, or "connect" with long-lost relatives whom they never really liked.

Yet a new piece of research has proved mind-altering.

My failure to regularly read the Education Database Online has been mitigated by Mashable and has led me to a new appreciation of the adult world.

For these vital statistics reveal that American parents aren't trying to imitate children so much as spy on them.

It's perfectly well-known that children can be trusted about as much as news stories in Pravda during the Brezhnev era.

So parents feel forced to take the radical step of joining them so that they can beat them. In a psychological sense, you understand.

Indeed, this study suggests that half of all parents sign up with Facebook at least partly in order to see what drugs their kids are taking, who they are consorting with and what they really think about, well, their parents.

An excitable 43 percent of parents admit that they check their kids' Facebook pages every day.

Some 92 percent of them make it so easy for themselves by openly becoming Facebook friends with their kids.

Some might reach the inevitable conclusion that American parents aren't very bright.

If they are making it so obvious they are snooping on their kids by friending them, might they not imagine that the kids, in turn, will not express themselves fully on Facebook, instead choosing to go to Tumblr, Instagram, or some other relatively recondite place?

Might that be one reason why several recent studies suggested that kids think Facebook is old?

The Education Database Online figures offer that a third of kids would defriend their parents "if they could."

I, though, am left fascinated as to how much adults are exposing themselves.

Surely the kids -- just, you know, for fits and giggles -- trawl around their parents' Facebook pages and speculate as to which of their Facebook friends are former (or even current) lovers.

Surely the kids take a look at these people's profile pictures and pray that they never, ever end up as wizened and alcohol-sodden as some of them appear.

Given that the kids are far, far more tech savvy than their parents will ever be, might they be far better spies than their parents?

While the adults think they're being clever in following the kids, I suspect it's the kids who get more information out of this social-networking exchange -- information that they'll choose to use just when they need it.

Blackmail never goes out of style.

It's hard to win an argument against a smart person, it's damned near impossible against a stupid person.

There is no God, and life is just a myth.

"He who drinks, sleeps. He who sleeps, does not sin. He who does not sin, is holy. Therefore he who drinks, is holy."

Let's Go CAPS!

Offline Thucydides

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Re: After Facebook
« Reply #32 on: August 01, 2013, 21:50:37 »
Why indeed? Facebook and social media in general meet the ultimate disintermediation:

http://www.technologyreview.com/news/517356/if-facebook-can-profit-from-your-data-why-cant-you/

Quote
If Facebook Can Profit from Your Data, Why Can’t You?
Reputation.com says it’s ready to unveil a place where people can offer personal information to marketers in return for discounts and other perks.

By Tom Simonite on July 30, 2013
WHY IT MATTERS

People have little idea how much personal data they have provided, how it is used, and what it is worth.


It has become the Internet’s defining business model: free online services make their money by feeding on all the personal data generated by their users. Think Facebook, Google, and LinkedIn, and how they serve targeted ads based on your preferences and interests, or make deals to share collected data with other companies (see “What Facebook Knows”).

Before the end of this year, Web users should be able to take a more active role in monetizing their personal data. Michael Fertik, cofounder and CEO of startup Reputation.com, says his company will launch a feature that lets users share certain personal information with other companies in return for discounts or other perks. Allowing airlines access to information about your income, for example, might lead to offers of loyalty points or an upgrade on your next flight.

The idea that individuals might personally take charge of extracting value from their own data has been discussed for years, with Fertik a leading voice, but it hasn’t yet been put to the test. Proponents say it makes sense to empower users this way because details of what information is collected, how it is used, and what it is worth are unjustly murky, even if the general terms of the relationship with data-supported companies such as Facebook is clear.

“The basic business model of the Internet today is that we’re going to take your data without your knowledge and permission and give it to people that you can’t identify for purposes you’ll never know,” says Fertik.

Fertik says he has spoken with a range of large companies and their marketers who are interested in his impending “consumer data vault,” as the new feature is called. He won’t yet give specifics about what data people will be able to trade, or what for, but he did tell MIT Technology Review that major airlines like the idea. “All of the airlines we talked to would like to be able to extend provisional platinum status to certain types of fliers to get some kind of loyalty,” he says. “It’s very hard for airlines to gain a sense of who is worth [it] today.”

Reputation.com was founded in 2006 and has received $67 million in investment funding. It currently offers products that help individuals and companies find information about themselves on the Internet and in various proprietary databases. For a fee, the company will also try to remove records or information, a service enabled in part by deals that Fertik has struck with some data-holding companies.

Fertik says those existing products, which have around one million users, mean that many people already have data in Reputation.com’s service that they could trade with other companies in return for special offers. That data can include home and family addresses, buying habits, professional histories, and salary and income information.

Reputation.com has far fewer users than Facebook, of course, but Fertik says the data people have given his company can be more valuable to marketers than clicks on a like button. Reputation.com has also filed patents on data-mining techniques intended to identify valuable insights in people’s data vaults.

Peter Fader, a professor at the University of Pennsylvania’s Wharton School of Business, who specializes in the use of data analysis to help marketing, is skeptical that Reputation.com’s approach offers enough to tempt either consumers or companies.

“Despite the ways that companies delude themselves, demographics and other personal descriptors are rarely useful,” he says. Data that captures customer behavior is much more important, says Fader, and many companies already have plenty of that flowing in from the various ways they interact with customers.

As for consumers, Fader predicts that, even as companies like Facebook expand how they share and leverage information gathered from users, relatively few will be motivated to actively manage and trade a portfolio of their own data. “The effort required to manage your personal data will be seen as greater than the benefits that arise from doing so,” he says.

Shane Green, CEO and cofounder of startup Personal, which provides a website and apps for people to store personal data, disagrees. His company currently has less than a million users, and he says the growing prominence of privacy issues in the media shows that many people do care about what happens to their data.

Green once spoke of launching a service similar to the one planned by Reputation.com (see “A Dollar for Your Data”) but now has different plans. Still, he says that Fertik’s vision makes sense. “I think there will actually be a lot of those marketplaces,” he says. “Marketing will shift toward more permission-based opportunities.”

Green cites the date that a person’s car lease expires as an example of a piece of personal data with an established value that people control themselves. “There’ll only be one car company that knows that,” he says. “But companies will pay hundreds of dollars, if you are seriously going to buy a car, to incent you to do that.”

Personal, based in Washington, D.C., and founded in 2009, has raised $15.7 million in investments and debt financing. The site currently focuses on helping people collate and reuse data—for example, for completing applications for college and loans.

Green says that he intends to develop infrastructure so people can selectively share data with another company, perhaps in return for discounts or other benefits. Similar to how a person might use a Facebook or Google account to log into a website, he might use a Personal account to connect with a company. He could then control exactly what data that company could access, and for how long. An early iteration of this idea can be seen on the website Car and Driver, where its already possible to log in with a Personal account. Doing so leads to a permissions screen where the site requests access to details including the make, model, and year of a person’s vehicle. “[Data] marketplaces are going to be incredibly valuable, but we’re focused on portability,” says Green.
Dagny, this is not a battle over material goods. It's a moral crisis, the greatest the world has ever faced and the last. Our age is the climax of centuries of evil. We must put an end to it, once and for all, or perish - we, the men of the mind. It was our own guilt. We produced the wealth of the world - but we let our enemies write its moral code.

Offline Cbbmtt

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Re: After Facebook
« Reply #33 on: August 02, 2013, 11:49:30 »
I have family across the world and honestly it's the best method to keep up to date with my family. Some of the games on there are fun, I won't deny that it's fun beating your friends at bejeweled to pass some time in the morning with your morning coffee.

There are more negatives than I can count, but I'm going to list a few that I find;

1. People wanting to be your friend because you went to school with them. You didn't talk to them in the 5 years of high school, why the F#$% would I want you to see pictures of my life?
2. People that use their phones in public while hanging out with other people to check their facecrack.
3. People posting pictures on their facebook of me at a party getting hammered????????? That's just stupid.
4. People not getting jobs because of facebook profiles.
5. People having fights with each other over message boards.
6. My mother spending money on fake play chips for a gambling game where you can't win money playing poker on a facebook app.........
Another day in paradise.

Offline Duckman54

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Re: After Facebook
« Reply #34 on: August 02, 2013, 12:33:29 »
Way back in the day, when this whole Facebook thing was pretty new, I created an account... What the heck, right?  After about 6-8 weeks of, as Cbbmtt said, seeing people I hadn't spoken to or even thought about for the past 10 years, the novelty wore off in a big way.

"Delete Account"
Are you sure?

Where's the "Hell-Yeah!!" button?!?

... That was about 5 years ago, and I've never looked back.

'Greg.

(B'sides, already got my Milnet account history dogging my brand-new Air Force career! Lol)
If you don't know where you're going, any road'll take you there!

Offline Thucydides

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Re: After Facebook
« Reply #35 on: August 02, 2013, 13:57:39 »
I have family across the world and honestly it's the best method to keep up to date with my family. Some of the games on there are fun, I won't deny that it's fun beating your friends at bejeweled to pass some time in the morning with your morning coffee.

There are more negatives than I can count, but I'm going to list a few that I find;

1. People wanting to be your friend because you went to school with them. You didn't talk to them in the 5 years of high school, why the F#$% would I want you to see pictures of my life?
2. People that use their phones in public while hanging out with other people to check their facecrack.
3. People posting pictures on their facebook of me at a party getting hammered????????? That's just stupid.
4. People not getting jobs because of facebook profiles.
5. People having fights with each other over message boards.
6. My mother spending money on fake play chips for a gambling game where you can't win money playing poker on a facebook app.........

And that just other users being abusive. Now consider the masses of personal data FaceBook has collected on you, and are manipulating, selling and sharing without your knowledge or consent. Knowing the NSA (and dufusus like Edward Snowdon) have access to all you data makes you feel safer, right?
Dagny, this is not a battle over material goods. It's a moral crisis, the greatest the world has ever faced and the last. Our age is the climax of centuries of evil. We must put an end to it, once and for all, or perish - we, the men of the mind. It was our own guilt. We produced the wealth of the world - but we let our enemies write its moral code.

Offline Thucydides

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Re: After Facebook
« Reply #36 on: December 21, 2013, 21:10:11 »
The future is just creepy. I think the best defense might be a personal EMP weapon for women to zap creeps like this and fry their iPhones and Google Glasses. Now to write the business plan.....

http://www.dailydot.com/technology/infinity-augmented-reality-glasses-creep/

Quote
Pick-up artistry in the age of Google Glass

By Audra Schroeder on December 19, 2013 Email
If Google Glass weren’t already annoying people before even being released, there are several competitors on the horizon. Back in August, the ominously-named NYC-based company Infinity Augmented Reality released a “concept” video that explained why their product would run circles around ol’ Google Glass:

“By using Infinity AR's software platform it will enable the use of such applications as facial, voice, and mood recognition. This futuristic phenomenon actually knows what you are doing, what you want, and when you want it based on information received from the connection to your smartphone or other mobile device.”



In the video, a man pads around his loft before getting dressed and unlocking his Porsche with his mind-cam, then driving to a pool hall to challenge a villain from a Bond movie to a game.

The only time a woman is featured in this future hellscape is when the bro-bot approaches the bartender and scans her face to reveal her Facebook info, before ordering a drink. His faceputer also knows her astrological sign, and he uses that info to shift into pickup artist mode. A voice analyzer picks up that she’s “intrigued,” and later, he invites her over to his apartment, where he offers her a glass of Sauvignon Blanc. He already knows it’s her favorite, because of his creep specs, so basically all the hard work of meeting women and having a genuine conversation is gone. Well, if you have enough money.

This isn’t another sequel to American Psycho, but it should be. Augmented reality glasses and wearable tech will be big in 2014, with Google Glass, Infinity AR, and the California company Meta all launching products. The latter is fine-tuning a pair of $3,000 3-D glasses that aim to replace laptops and tablets. We’re already living in a world where anyone with $35,000 can buy an Iron Man suit.

Update: Oh yeah, and Glass now lets you wink to take photos.
Dagny, this is not a battle over material goods. It's a moral crisis, the greatest the world has ever faced and the last. Our age is the climax of centuries of evil. We must put an end to it, once and for all, or perish - we, the men of the mind. It was our own guilt. We produced the wealth of the world - but we let our enemies write its moral code.

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Re: After Facebook
« Reply #37 on: December 23, 2013, 18:43:59 »
Well, more on the behaviour of Facebook vis a vi their users. Isn't it nice to know you exist to be someone else's cash cow?

http://www.wired.com/business/2007/12/zuckerberg-cave/

Quote
Zuckerberg Caves In, Lets Facebook Users Turn Off Beacon
BY BETSY SCHIFFMAN12.05.0712:26 PM

After weeks of hand wrangling, Facebook has finally granted users the option of turning off Beacon, a controversial new advertising platform that notifies Facebook users’ friends of purchases they may have made on various external sites.

Beacon was immediately lambasted by critics for invading users privacy — the problem was that notifications were sent out about purchases made on third-party sites before users even had a chance to approve them.

In a meekly titled blog post, "Thoughts On Beacon," Zuckerberg apologizes profusely for taking so long to make the requested changes to the system.

The problem with our initial approach of making it an opt-out system instead of opt-in was that if someone forgot to decline to share something, Beacon still went ahead and shared it with their friends. It took us too long after people started contacting us to change the product so that users had to explicitly approve what they wanted to share. Instead of acting quickly, we took too long to decide on the right solution. I’m not proud of the way we’ve handled this situation and I know we can do better . . .

Last week we changed Beacon to be an opt-in system, and today we’re releasing a privacy control to turn off Beacon completely. You can find it here.

If you select that you don’t want to share some Beacon actions or if you turn off Beacon, then Facebook won’t store those actions even when partners send them to Facebook.

But today’s step hasn’t quieted Facebook critics. Jeff Chester, executive director of the Center for Digital Democracy, is still worried about the amount of data Beacon will collect on Facebook users, even if they opt out of the system.

"Mr. Zuckerberg isn’t truly candid with Facebook users. Beacon is just one aspect of a massive data collection and targeting system put in place by Facebook," Chester said in a prepared statement.

Photo: Flickr/goldberg
Dagny, this is not a battle over material goods. It's a moral crisis, the greatest the world has ever faced and the last. Our age is the climax of centuries of evil. We must put an end to it, once and for all, or perish - we, the men of the mind. It was our own guilt. We produced the wealth of the world - but we let our enemies write its moral code.

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Re: After Facebook
« Reply #38 on: April 14, 2014, 23:57:21 »
While not Facebook itself, it is very similar to what these companies are doing in the background. The idea that my personal information is available to total strangers is creepy enough, the reaction of people when it happens to them up close and personal rather than through something like targeted advertising on your Gmail page should be interesting. Spearing a person to the ground and screaming"What else do you know?" sounds like a perfectly justifiable and logical response to me....

http://arstechnica.com/staff/2014/04/when-the-restaurant-you-googled-googles-you-back/

Quote
When the restaurant you Googled Googles you back
It's not the thought that counts; unexpected in-person customization feels icky.

by Casey Johnston - Apr 13 2014, 5:11pm EDT
PRIVACY WEB CULTURE

A restaurant with three Michelin stars is now trying to up its customer service game by Googling its customers before they arrive. According to a report from Grub Street, an Eleven Madison Park maitre d' performs Internet recon on every guest in the interest of customizing their experiences.

The maitre d' in question, Justin Roller, says he tries to ascertain things like whether a couple is coming to the restaurant for an anniversary, and if so, which anniversary that is. If it's a birthday, for instance, he wants to wish them "Happy Birthday" when they arrive. He'll scan for photos of the guests in chef's whites or posed with wine glasses, which suggest they might be chefs or sommeliers themselves.

It goes deeper: if a particular guest appears to hail from Montana, Roller will try to pair up the table with a server who is from Montana. "Same goes for guests who own jazz clubs, who can be paired with a sommelier that happens to be into jazz," writes Grub Street.

Obviously, the restaurant is just trying to be better in tune with the people sitting around eating its food and drinking its wine. But it seems like a reasonable assumption to believe people posting their birthday dates online aren't doing so in the hopes that someone they've never met before will know, as if by telepathy, to wish them the best on their special day.

The case speaks to what seems to be the root cause of privacy transgressions—most people aren't too hesitant to give up their personal information, but when it's used for stuff they aren't expecting, it feels like a violation. Customer service enterprises seem only too excited to "know" the "answers" to what a customer "wants" before they are told, but this feels like something that needs a little more consideration of what is comfortable and what is creepy.

We often write about privacy oversteps that have real-world consequences, like marketers creating complete profiles of would-be customers that end up controlling, for instance, what products they see or predatory loans they get. But a restaurant Googling its customers doesn't need to have consequences or even involve obvious big data correlations to feel a little wrong.

The pairing of servers with interests is another matter entirely—one that's more subtle, more insidious. Per the article, Roller secondarily tries to figure out whether customers will be receptive to him knowing this Google-able stuff or if they would rather to personally, for example, let him know it's their birthday. Speaking personally, this would fail. Roller could absolutely scrounge up plenty of information on me, and being an editor of a technology publication, one might think I'd love the novelty of this new application of the Internet. But on the contrary, I would be more likely to spear him into the ground and demand to know who told him it was my birthday. What else do you know?

I can't be the only person who feels this way, but are there others who would be delighted for their maitre d' to light up when they walked into dinner and start talking to them about their personal lives?
Dagny, this is not a battle over material goods. It's a moral crisis, the greatest the world has ever faced and the last. Our age is the climax of centuries of evil. We must put an end to it, once and for all, or perish - we, the men of the mind. It was our own guilt. We produced the wealth of the world - but we let our enemies write its moral code.

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Re: After Facebook
« Reply #39 on: June 30, 2014, 19:46:05 »
While entirely predictable, it is also unsettling that they attempted to do large scale manipulations like this. Imagine if they were to try this in the context of an election? (and of course shutting off people's ability to receive messages, news feeds etc. based on an arbitrary whim or set of criterion has a name already: Censorship. One can imagine other scenarios where Facebook or other social media site manipulates the data the user sees IOT create some sort of desired outcome (but possibly not one desired by you):

http://boingboing.net/2014/06/30/facebooks-massive-psychology.html

Quote
Facebook's massive psychology experiment likely illegal
Cory Doctorow at 6:18 am Mon, Jun 30, 2014

Please read our Terms of Service, Privacy Policy, and Community Guidelines. Except where indicated, Boing Boing is licensed under a Creative Commons License permitting non-commercial sharing with attribution

Researchers from Facebook, Cornell and UCSF published a paper describing a mass-scale experiment in which Facebook users' pages were manipulated to see if this could induce and spread certain emotional states. They say it was legal to do this without consent, because Facebook's terms of service require you to give consent for, basically, anything.

But as legal scholar James Grimmellmann points out, there's a federal law that prohibits universities from conducting this kind of experiment without explicit, separate consent (none of this burying-consent-in-the-fine-print bullshit). Two of the three researchers who worked on this were working for federally funded universities with institutional review boards, and the project received federal funds.

Facebook says that it manipulates feeds all the time, and this was no different, but Facebook is acting as a private company when it does this, not working on a federally funded project, in concert with federally funded researchers. Besides, Grimmelmann further points out that there was real potential for harm in the protocol of the study.

As Grimmelmann says: This is bad, even for Facebook.

Experimental evidence of massive-scale emotional contagion through social networks [Adam D. I. Kramera, Jamie E. Guillory, and Jeffrey T. Hancock/Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences]

As Flies to Wanton Boys [James Grimmelmann/Labmatorium]
Dagny, this is not a battle over material goods. It's a moral crisis, the greatest the world has ever faced and the last. Our age is the climax of centuries of evil. We must put an end to it, once and for all, or perish - we, the men of the mind. It was our own guilt. We produced the wealth of the world - but we let our enemies write its moral code.

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Re: After Facebook
« Reply #40 on: June 30, 2014, 19:55:04 »
We need a wholesale switch back to Myspace :-)

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Re: After Facebook
« Reply #41 on: October 26, 2014, 10:00:39 »
One of the few useful services the Internet offers is under threat:

http://www.computerworld.com/article/2838775/why-google-wants-to-replace-gmail.html

Quote
Why Google wants to replace Gmail
Gmail represents a dying class of products that, like Google Reader, puts control in the hands of users, not signal-harvesting algorithms.

By Mike Elgan  FOLLOW
Computerworld | Oct 25, 2014 4:03 AM PT
I'm predicting that Google will end Gmail within the next five years. The company hasn't announced such a move -- nor would it.

But whether we like it or not, and whether even Google knows it or not, Gmail is doomed.

What is email, actually?

Email was created to serve as a "dumb pipe." In mobile network parlance, a "dumb pipe" is when a carrier exists to simply transfer bits to and from the user, without the ability to add services and applications or serve as a "smart" gatekeeper between what the user sees and doesn't see.

Carriers resist becoming "dumb pipes" because there's no money in it. A pipe is a faceless commodity, valued only by reliability and speed. In such a market, margins sink to zero or below zero, and it becomes a horrible business to be in.

"Dumb pipes" are exactly what users want. They want the carriers to provide fast, reliable, cheap mobile data connectivity. Then, they want to get their apps, services and social products from, you know, the Internet.

Email is the "dumb pipe" version of communication technology, which is why it remains popular. The idea behind email is that it's an unmediated communications medium. You send a message to someone. They get the message.

When people send you messages, they stack up in your in-box in reverse-chronological order, with the most recent ones on top.

Compare this with, say, Facebook, where you post a status update to your friends, and some tiny minority of them get it. Or, you send a message to someone on Facebook and the social network drops it into their "Other" folder, which hardly anyone ever checks.

Of course, email isn't entirely unmediated. Spammers ruined that. We rely on Google's "mediation" in determining what's spam and what isn't.

But still, at its core, email is by its very nature an unmediated communications medium, a "dumb pipe." And that's why people like email.

Why email is a problem for Google

You'll notice that Google has made repeated attempts to replace "dumb pipe" Gmail with something smarter. They tried Google Wave. That didn't work out.

They hoped people would use Google+ as a replacement for email. That didn't work, either.

They added prioritization. Then they added tabs, separating important messages from less important ones via separate containers labeled by default "Primary," "Promotions," "Social Messages," "Updates" and "Forums." That was vaguely popular with some users and ignored by others. Plus, it was a weak form of mediation -- merely reshuffling what's already there, but not inviting a fundamentally different way to use email.

This week, Google introduced an invitation-only service called Inbox. Another attempt by the company to mediate your dumb email pipe, Inbox is an alternative interface to your Gmail account, rather than something that requires starting over with a new account.

Instead of tabs, Inbox groups together and labels and color-codes messages according to categories.

One key feature of Inbox is that it performs searches based on the content of your messages and augments your inbox with that additional information. One way to look at this is that, instead of grabbing extraneous relevant data based on the contents of your Gmail messages and slotting it into Google Now, it shows you those Google Now cards immediately, right there in your in-box.

Inbox identifies addresses, phone numbers and items (such as purchases and flights) that have additional information on the other side of a link, then makes those links live so you can take quick action on them.

You can also do mailbox-like "snoozing" to have messages go away and return at some future time.

You can also "pin" messages so they stick around, rather than being buried in the in-box avalanche.

Inbox has many other features.

The bottom line is that it's a more radical mediation between the communication you have with other people and with the companies that provide goods, services and content to you.

The positive spin on this is that it brings way more power and intelligence to your email in-box.

The negative spin is that it takes something user-controlled, predictable, clear and linear and takes control away from the user, making email unpredictable, unclear and nonlinear.

That users will judge this and future mediated alternatives to email and label them either good or bad is irrelevant.

The fact is that Google, and companies like Google, hate unmediated anything.

The reason is that Google is in the algorithm business, using user-activity "signals" to customize and personalize the online experience and the ads that are served up as a result of those signals.

Google exists to mediate the unmediated. That's what it does.

That's what the company's search tool does: It mediates our relationship with the Internet.

That's why Google killed Google Reader, for example. Subscribing to an RSS feed and having an RSS reader deliver 100% of what the user signed up for in an orderly, linear and predictable and reliable fashion is a pointless business for Google.

It's also why I believe Google will kill Gmail as soon as it comes up with a mediated alternative everyone loves. Of course, Google may offer an antiquated "Gmail view" as a semi-obscure alternative to the default "Inbox"-like mediated experience.

But the bottom line is that dumb-pipe email is unmediated, and therefore it's a business that Google wants to get out of as soon as it can.

Say goodbye to the unmediated world of RSS, email and manual Web surfing. It was nice while it lasted. But there's just no money in it.
Dagny, this is not a battle over material goods. It's a moral crisis, the greatest the world has ever faced and the last. Our age is the climax of centuries of evil. We must put an end to it, once and for all, or perish - we, the men of the mind. It was our own guilt. We produced the wealth of the world - but we let our enemies write its moral code.

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Re: After Facebook
« Reply #42 on: November 05, 2014, 09:38:03 »
I have no doubt that Canadian carriers like Telus, Rogers and Bell are also experimenting with something like this. Any savvy super geeks out there know how to defeat this threat to privacy?

http://www.washingtonpost.com/business/technology/verizon-atandt-tracking-their-users-with-super-cookies/2014/11/03/7bbbf382-6395-11e4-bb14-4cfea1e742d5_story.html

Quote
Verizon, AT&T tracking their users with ‘supercookies’
 
By Craig Timberg November 3 

Verizon and AT&T have been quietly tracking the Internet activity of more than 100 million cellular customers with what critics have dubbed “supercookies” — markers so powerful that it’s difficult for even savvy users to escape them.
 
The technology has allowed the companies to monitor which sites their customers visit, cataloging their tastes and interests. Consumers cannot erase these supercookies or evade them by using browser settings, such as the “private” or “incognito” modes that are popular among users wary of corporate or government surveillance.
 
Verizon and AT&T say they have taken steps to alert their customers to the tracking and to protect customer privacy as the companies develop programs intended to help advertisers hone their pitches based on individual Internet behavior. But as word has spread about the supercookies in recent days, privacy advocates have reacted with alarm, saying the tracking could expose user Internet behavior to a wide range of outsiders — including intelligence services — and may also violate federal telecommunications and wiretapping laws.
 
One civil liberties group, the Electronic Frontier Foundation, says it has raised its concerns with the Federal Communications Commission and is contemplating formal legal action to block Verizon. AT&T’s program is not as advanced and, according to the company, is still in testing.
 
The stakes are particularly high, privacy advocates say, because Verizon’s experimentation with supercookies is almost certain to spur copycats eager to compete for a larger share of the multibillion-dollar advertising profits won by Google, Facebook and others.
 
Those companies track their users and sell targeted advertising based on what they learn. Supercookies could allow cellular carriers and other Internet providers to do the same, potentially encircling ordinary users in a Web of tracking far more extensive than experienced today.
 
“You’re making it very difficult for people who want privacy to find it on the Internet,” said Paul Ohm, a former Federal Trade Commission official who teaches at the University of Colorado Law School.
 
Verizon began tracking its 106 million “retail” customers — meaning those who don’t have business or government contracts — in November 2012, the company said. The company excluded all government and some business customers, though it would not say how many. Verizon said it sent notifications to customers and offered a way for them to opt out of the program, but it declined to say how many did.
 
Privacy advocates, who typically favor systems in which customers must choose to participate by opting in, have long maintained that such company notices are ineffective; the few who read them struggle to express their preferences. Even those who did opt out of the Verizon program still have a unique identifying code attached to all of their Web traffic, the company said, but that information is not used to build behavioral profiles that are sold to advertisers.
 
A company spokeswoman, Adria Tomaszewski, said the super­cookie — a unique combination of letters and numbers — is changed regularly to prevent others from tracking Verizon customers, but she declined to say how often. Tomaszewski also said that those who are not part of the Verizon advertising program called Precision Market Insights are not able to use the supercookie to track Verizon customers.
 
“The way it’s built, it wouldn’t be able to be used for that,” Tomaszewski said.
 
Independent researchers dispute that claim. Unique codes — such as device ID numbers, Internet protocol addresses and cookies — get shared among Web sites, advertisers and data brokers, allowing them all to gather so much information on individual users that it’s easy to derive a name or other identifying data, experts say. The process is called “de-anonymizing” a user.
 
One security researcher, Stanford’s Jonathan Mayer, said, “I don’t know any computer scientist who takes that ‘It’s anonymous’ argument seriously. It’s been so thoroughly debunked in so many ways.”
 
Critics also say the supercookies, especially if more widely deployed, will be extremely valuable to intelligence agencies that monitor Internet behavior. The National Security Agency has used cookies — an older and more easily erased tracking code that is stored on a browser — to pinpoint Internet users worldwide for hacking attacks, The Washington Post reported last year.
 
AT&T declined to say how long it has been tracking its customers’ Internet behavior but said the program remains in testing and has not yet been used to target advertising. “We are considering such a program, and any program we would offer would maintain our fundamental commitment to customer privacy,” spokeswoman Emily J. Edmonds said in an e-mail.
 
The AT&T supercookie changes every 24 hours in an effort to protect privacy, Edmonds said.

AT&T’s program, unlike Verizon’s, would not attach an identifying code to its customers’ Internet traffic once they opt out.
 
There was surprise among security researchers and privacy activists in the days after the Electronic Frontier Foundation, based in San Francisco, first tweeted about the practice on Oct. 22, calling it “terrible” and citing an article in Advertising Age from May. Several news organizations have since reported the news.
 
Jacob Hoffman-Andrews, a senior staff technologist for the foundation, said he was surprised by the intensity of the reaction generated by the tweet, which was sent from his account. “Everybody was like, ‘Wow, that’s really appalling,’ ” he said.
 
The potential legal issues, experts say, stem in part from the Communications Act, which prohibits carriers from revealing identifying information about their customers or helping others to do so. That is at the heart of complaints by the foundation, which is contemplating a lawsuit or other action to stop Verizon, said one of the group’s lawyers, Nate Cardozo.
 
Also potentially at issue is the federal Wiretap Act, which prohibits altering personal communications during transmission without consent or a court order. Ohm, the law professor, said the companies could be vulnerable if a court found that the notification efforts by Verizon and AT&T were not adequate. Officials from both companies told a Senate committee in 2008 that they wouldn’t begin tracking their customers without seeking explicit permission first.
 
Privacy advocates say that without legal action, in court or by a regulatory agency such as the FCC or FTC, the shift toward supercookies will be impossible to stop. Only encryption can keep a supercookie from tracking a user.Other new tracking technologies are probably coming soon, advocates say.

“There’s a stampede by the cable companies and wireless carriers to expand data collection,” said Jeffrey Chester, executive director of the Center for Digital Democracy, a Washington-based advocacy group. “They all want to outdo Google.”
 
Follow The Post’s tech blog, The Switch, where technology and policy connect.
Dagny, this is not a battle over material goods. It's a moral crisis, the greatest the world has ever faced and the last. Our age is the climax of centuries of evil. We must put an end to it, once and for all, or perish - we, the men of the mind. It was our own guilt. We produced the wealth of the world - but we let our enemies write its moral code.

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Re: After Facebook
« Reply #43 on: November 05, 2014, 10:22:52 »
I have family spread all over as well and friends, Facebook is a great way to keep tabs on them and it reminds me about birthdays, which has been the bane of my life to remember.

Offline Thucydides

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Re: After Facebook
« Reply #44 on: November 06, 2014, 11:16:41 »
I certainly have no objection to services which allow you to remember and connect to people. My solution is calendaring software and email, but YMMV.

The primary reason to object to Facebook and other social and psudo social media is the ability to agregate your data and use it to spy on you and manipulate or attempt to manipulate you without your knowledge or consent. Sometimes it creates funny situations (once in Petawawa, I started watching Bollywood movies for something to do. After I looked up a few things on Google to understand what I was watching, targetted ads for Indian food, sarees and dating Indian women started appearing in the sidebar of by gmail inbox). Sometimes it creates true areas fo concern (the founder of Facebook is famous for his open fiscal and personal support for the Democrat party. Facebook did illegal experiments in manipulating the opinions of users. Put the two together and you now have the ability to manipulate a large fraction of the population for the benefit of one political party; outside of normal campaign laws and regulations).

I would certainly like either the ability of the user to control the information being collected and used, or (an exception of my usual preference) tight regulatory controls over the collection and use of user data by Social Media sites.
Dagny, this is not a battle over material goods. It's a moral crisis, the greatest the world has ever faced and the last. Our age is the climax of centuries of evil. We must put an end to it, once and for all, or perish - we, the men of the mind. It was our own guilt. We produced the wealth of the world - but we let our enemies write its moral code.

Offline Colin P

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Re: After Facebook
« Reply #45 on: November 06, 2014, 15:17:48 »
those creep glasses might have a problem, some site profiles I have listed myself as a 85 year old black lesbian in a wheelchair. People may put in "telltales" that will allow you to gauge where someone is getting info.

All in all I don't mind FB making some money off of me, it's an exchange of services basically. I have seen some people consider social media as a "right" but it is a business and it has lots of associated costs to keep it running.

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Re: After Facebook
« Reply #46 on: November 10, 2014, 22:17:43 »
As long as the business you are dealing with is ethical and transparent, then you should have no issues.

Sadly, many of these sites have the morals of fly by night used car dealers. You get what you pay for.
Dagny, this is not a battle over material goods. It's a moral crisis, the greatest the world has ever faced and the last. Our age is the climax of centuries of evil. We must put an end to it, once and for all, or perish - we, the men of the mind. It was our own guilt. We produced the wealth of the world - but we let our enemies write its moral code.

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Re: After Facebook
« Reply #47 on: November 11, 2014, 08:10:47 »
.... once in Petawawa, I started watching Bollywood movies for something to do. After I looked up a few things on Google to understand what I was watching, targetted ads for Indian food, sarees and dating Indian women started appearing in the sidebar of by gmail inbox) ....
One solution to the specific problem of search engines saving your info:  duckduckgo.com, "The search engine that doesn't track you".
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Re: After Facebook
« Reply #48 on: February 23, 2015, 16:16:47 »
Even computer manufacturers are in the act now; Leveno has installed malware on their new computers, and other similar malware now exists to crack the secure layer of internet transactions (HTTPS). So far I have not seen a countermeasure or antivirus solution, hopefully this is coming soon (as well as hardened software that instantiates the secure layer on the Internet to begin with):

http://arstechnica.com/security/2015/02/ssl-busting-code-that-threatened-lenovo-users-found-in-a-dozen-more-apps/

Quote
SSL-busting code that threatened Lenovo users found in a dozen more apps
"What all these applications have in common is that they make people less secure."

by Dan Goodin - Feb 22, 2015 3:45pm EST
 
The list of software known to use the same HTTPS-breaking technology recently found preinstalled on Lenovo laptops has risen dramatically with the discovery of at least 12 new titles, including one that's categorized as a malicious trojan by a major antivirus provider.

“SSL HIJACKER” BEHIND SUPERFISH DEBACLE IMPERILS LARGE NUMBER OF USERS
Lenovo wasn't the only one using SSL certs that unlock every SSL site on the Internet.
Trojan.Nurjax, a malicious program Symantec discovered in December, hijacks the Web browsers of compromised computers and may download additional threats. According to a blog post published Friday by a security researcher from Facebook, Nurjax is one such example of newly found software that incorporates HTTPS-defeating code from an Israeli company called Komodia. Combined with the Superfish ad-injecting software preinstalled on some Lenovo computers and three additional applications that came to light shortly after that revelation, there are now 14 known apps that use Komodia technology.

"What all these applications have in common is that they make people less secure through their use of an easily obtained root CA [certificate authority], they provide little information about the risks of the technology, and in some cases they are difficult to remove," Matt Richard, a threats researcher on the Facebook security team, wrote in Friday's post. "Furthermore, it is likely that these intercepting SSL proxies won't keep up with the HTTPS features in browsers (e.g., certificate pinning and forward secrecy), meaning they could potentially expose private data to network attackers. Some of these deficiencies can be detected by antivirus products as malware or adware, though from our research, detection successes are sporadic."

Komodia, a company that brazenly calls one of its software development kits as an "SSL hijacker," is able to bypass secure sockets layer protections by modifying the network stack of computers that run its underlying code. Specifically, Komodia installs a self-signed root CA certificate that allows the library to intercept encrypted connections from any HTTPS-protected website on the Internet. This behavior is by no means unique to Komodia, Superfish, or the other programs that use the SSL-breaking certificates. Antivirus apps and other security-related wares often install similar root certificates. What sets Komodia apart from so many others is its reuse of the same digital certificate across many different computers.

Researchers have already documented that the password protecting most or all of the Komodia certificates is none other than "komodia". It took Errata Security CEO and whitehat hacker Rob Graham only three hours to crack this woefully weak password. From there, he used the underlying private key in the Komodia certificate to create fake HTTPS-enabled websites for Bank of America and Google that were fully trusted by Lenovo computers. Despite the seriousness of Graham's discovery and the ease other security researchers had in reproducing his results, Superfish CEO Adi Pinhas issued a statement on Friday saying Superfish software posed no security risk.

According to Facebook's Richard, more than a dozen software applications other than Superfish use Komodia code. Besides Trojan.Nurjax, the programs named included:

CartCrunch Israel LTD
WiredTools LTD
Say Media Group LTD
Over the Rainbow Tech
System Alerts
ArcadeGiant
Objectify Media Inc
Catalytix Web Services
OptimizerMonitor
A security researcher who goes by the Twitter handle @TheWack0lian said an additional piece of software known as SecureTeen also installed Komodia-enabled certificates. Over the weekend, the researcher also published findings documenting rootkit technology in Komodia code that allows it to remain hidden from key operating system functions.

Web searches for many of these titles uncover forum posts in which computer users complain that some of these applications are hard to remove once they're installed. Richard noted that he was unable to find documentation from any of the publishers explaining what effect Komodia software had on end-user PCs such as its ability to sniff passwords and other sensitive data from encrypted Web sessions.

LENOVO PCS SHIP WITH MAN-IN-THE-MIDDLE ADWARE THAT BREAKS HTTPS CONNECTIONS [UPDATED]
Superfish may make it trivial for attackers to spoof any HTTPS website.
Richard went on to publish the SHA1 cryptographic hashes he used to identify software that contained the Komodia code libraries. He invited fellow researchers to use the hashes to identify still more potentially dangerous software circulating online.

"We're publishing this analysis to raise awareness about the scope of local SSL MITM software so that the community can also help protect people and their computers," he wrote. "We think that shining the light on these practices will help the ecosystem better analyze and respond to similar situations as they occur."

Well that was quick: a way to clear Superfish from your PC:

http://www.popularmechanics.com/technology/security/a14194/how-do-i-delete-superfish-lenovo/

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How To Clear Your Lenovo Computer of Superfish Adware
Lenovo has been installing a dangerous piece of software that makes its machines vulnerable to hackers. Find out if your computer has it and how to delete it.
By Rachel Z. Arndt
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Lenovo, the world's largest PC manufacturer, has been installing a dangerous piece of adware on its consumer laptops. The software, called Superfish, leaves computers vulnerable to man-in-the-middle attacks in which hackers steal data as its sent from a user's computer to a supposedly secure server.

What is Superfish?
Superfish is supposedly meant to give users "better" ads. (Better for advertisers, that is, and more insidious for consumers). It does this is by tracking all web browsing on computers where Superfish is installed and using that data to insert ads on sites you visit. Targeted ads are just another insufferable part of modern digital life, but it gets worse. Superfish can do this on secure sites too, as the software replaces an encrypted site's certificate with its own. That's not good.

ALL A HACKER NEEDS TO GAIN ACCESS TO TONS AND TONS OF SECURE DATA IS FIND A SINGLE KEY
Usually when you visit an encrypted site—say, Bank of America's—your web browser uses a certificate to confirm that you are in fact visiting the real Bank of America site. That certificate is signed by whichever certificate company the website owner contracted with; in Bank of America's case, it's Verisign. On a computer with Superfish installed, however, the certificate from the Bank of America site comes back signed not by Verisign but by Superfish. And your computer has been brainwashed to treat the certificate as legitimate, thereby routing your encrypted data not through the proper and secure certificate, but through Superfish's.


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To make matters worse, the encryption key is the same for all Superfish certificates, so all a hacker needs to do to gain access to tons and tons of secure data is find a single key—which, according to Errata Security's Robert David Graham, is pretty easy.

Lenovo says it stopped putting Superfish on computers in January, but to make sure your computer is safe, you can check here.

How to clear and protect your computer
First, Microsoft is doing what it can to root out the software. Its Windows Defender anti-virus software began removing Superfish this morning by resetting the certificates that Superfish messed with.

To make sure Windows Defender does its job, update it immediately. Go to Windows Update or open Microsoft Security Software, select the Update tab, and click the Update button.

If you'd rather remove Superfish yourself, do the following:

Uninstall "Superfish Inc VisualDiscovery."
You Also Need To Remove All Superfish Certificates: You Can Do This By Searching For And Launching Certmgr.msc From The Start Menu
Click On Trusted Root Certification Authorities, And Then Certificates
Delete All Certificates With "Superfish Inc" In Their Names.
Or, as Slate advises:

If you have a Lenovo laptop that has Superfish on it ... I would advise nothing short of wiping the entire machine and installing vanilla Windows—not Lenovo's Windows. Then change all of your passwords.
Dagny, this is not a battle over material goods. It's a moral crisis, the greatest the world has ever faced and the last. Our age is the climax of centuries of evil. We must put an end to it, once and for all, or perish - we, the men of the mind. It was our own guilt. We produced the wealth of the world - but we let our enemies write its moral code.

Offline Thucydides

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Re: After Facebook
« Reply #49 on: February 20, 2016, 14:34:14 »
Twitter becomes an Orwellian operation modelled after the "Ministry of Truth". How sad that so many people see 1984 as a how to guide rather than a warning:

https://reason.com/blog/2016/02/20/did-twitters-orwellian-trust-and-safety

Quote
Did Twitter's Orwellian 'Trust and Safety' Council Get Robert Stacy McCain Banned?
Prominent GamerGate figure clashed with council member Anita Sarkeesian. Now he's gone.
Robby Soave|Feb. 20, 2016 1:00 pm

Remember a few days ago, when Twitter elevated anti-GamerGate leader Anita Sarkeesian to its “Trust and Safety Council,” an imperious-sounding committee with Robespierre-esque powers to police discussion on the social media platform? The goal, according to Twitter, was to make it easier for users to express themselves freely and safely.

One user who won’t be expressing himself at all is Robert Stacy McCain: a conservative journalist, blogger, self-described anti-feminist, and prominent GamerGate figure who was banned from Twitter on Friday night. Clicking on his page redirects to this “account suspended” message that encourages users to re-read Twitter’s policies on abusive behavior.

But as with other Twitter suspensions, it’s impossible to tell which specific policy McCain is accused of violating, or which of his tweets were flagged as abusive. McCain is an animated and uncompromising opponent of leftist views. His statements are extreme, and I don’t often agree with them, but I would be reluctant to label them as abusive (at least the ones I’ve seen).

In a response to his banning that is in many ways emblematic of his worldview and behavior, McCain explicitly blamed Sarkeesian and her crew:

This is why you can’t even state FACTS about these people on Twitter without being accused of “harassment.” Facts are harassment and truth is hate and Oceania Has Always Been at War With Eastasia. Sarkesian is anti-freedom because she is anti-truth. She and her little squad of soi-disant “feminists” are just hustlers looking for a free ride, and the only way they can get that ride is to silence anyone who speaks the truth about them and calls them out as the cheap bullshit artists they actually are.

McCain did not immediately respond to a request for comment. He concluded the above post with a statement, “frig ‘social justice’.” He despises leftists and feminists, and doesn’t hold back his hate.

But there’s a difference between using strong language to disagree with people, and abusing them. If McCain has crossed that line, I’m not aware of it.

Twitter is a private company, of course, and if it wants to outlaw strong language, it can. In fact, it’s well within its rights to have one set of rules for Robert Stacy McCain, and another set of rules for everyone else. It’s allowed to ban McCain for no reason other than its bosses don’t like him. If Twitter wants to take a side in the online culture war, it can. It can confiscate Milo Yiannopoulos’s blue checkmark. This is not about the First Amendment.

But if that’s what Twitter is doing, it’s certainly not being honest about it—and its many, many customers who value the ethos of free speech would certainly object. In constructing its Trust and Safety Council, the social media platform explicitly claimed it was trying to strike a balance between allowing free speech and prohibiting harassment and abuse. But its selections for this committee were entirely one-sided—there’s not a single uncompromising anti-censorship figure or group on the list. It looks like Twitter gave control of its harassment policy to a bunch of ideologues, and now their enemies are being excluded from the platform.

Banning McCain wasn’t even Twitter’s only questionable activity last night. It seems that Twitter also suppressed the pro-McCain hashtag subsequently created by his supporters, #FreeStacy. After it started trending, Twitter made it so that the hashtag wouldn’t autocomplete when people typed it. “The #FreeStacy tag would be in the US top 10 now, but Twitter has scrubbed it,” wrote Popehat’s Patrick on Twitter.

Another Popehat author, Ken White, has been skeptical that Twitter’s censorship of certain conservative figures is actually coming from a place of malice. In response to Yiannopoulos getting de-verified, he wrote:

Big companies, even when run by ideologues, tend to make decisions like big companies, not like individuals. The decision-making looks less cinematic and more cynical. The focus tends to be on branding, but mostly on money-making, avoidance of unpleasantness, reduction of cost, and ease of use. Twitter's line employees are almost certainly disproportionately liberal, and by assigning command-and-control of individual account decisions to them, the impact is probably that evaluations of abuse complaints will have a liberal bias. Similarly, if you make a corporate decision to police harassment (or at least pretend to), and the people doing the policing have a bias, then the results will have a bias. But that's not the same as a deliberate decision to take sides; it's a cost-driven, practicality-driven decision.

If Twitter wants to go full-on Ministry of Truth, it can. But its user have the right to raise hell about it—to call out the platform for punishing dissident alt-right figures while empowering their adversaries. I’m not convinced that’s what’s happening, but the exclusion of Robert Stacy McCain—a mere 10 days after the Trust and Safety council came into existence—is cause for concern.
Dagny, this is not a battle over material goods. It's a moral crisis, the greatest the world has ever faced and the last. Our age is the climax of centuries of evil. We must put an end to it, once and for all, or perish - we, the men of the mind. It was our own guilt. We produced the wealth of the world - but we let our enemies write its moral code.

Offline Thucydides

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Re: After Facebook
« Reply #50 on: February 23, 2016, 14:28:54 »
Fighting back against Twitter's Orwellian approach to business. As the author says, Twitter is a private company and can do as they like, but *we* are also people with agency, and can take steps of our own:

http://www.professorbainbridge.com/professorbainbridgecom/2016/02/using-twitters-own-risk-factor-analysis-to-force-it-to-respect-viewpoint-diversity.html

Quote
Using @Twitter's own risk factor analysis to force it to respect viewpoint diversity

As mentioned in an earlier post, many conservatives (including yours truly) are increasingly concerned by Twitter's lack of respect for viewpoint diversity and silencing of center-right and right of center voices. Of course, as a private company, Twitter is free to engage in any sort of non-invidious discrimination it chooses. As consumers, however, we are free to fight back.
 
So I took a look at Twitter's most recent SEC Form 10-K. Such reports have to identify "risk factors," which are defined as items that could have a material adverse effect on the company or its securities.
 
Twitter's risk factors analysis includes a number of items that could represent useful pressure points:
 

If we fail to grow our user base, or if user engagement or ad engagement on our platform decline, our revenue, business and operating results may be harmed.
 
Idea 1: Don't engage with ads on Twitter. Ever.
 

We generate a substantial majority of our revenue based upon engagement by our users with the ads that we display. If people do not perceive our products and services to be useful, reliable and trustworthy, we may not be able to attract users or increase the frequency of their engagement with our platform and the ads that we display.
 
Idea 2: Complain to companies that advertise on Twitter (nicely). Remember, a reasoned argument will be heard more than ranting and raving. Make clear that your willingness to buy their goods and services is adversely affected by their presence on Twitter.
 
Idea 3: Don't quit Twitter. They make no money off you unless you engage with their advertisers. Use the service but not the advertisers. Use ad blockers. (But see idea # 6 below.)
 

A number of factors could potentially negatively affect user growth and engagement, including if: ... we are unable to present users with content that is interesting, useful and relevant to them;
 
Idea 4: Let Twitter AND its advertisers know that you value strong conservative voices.
 

A number of factors could potentially negatively affect user growth and engagement, including if: ... we do not maintain our brand image or our reputation is damaged.
 
Idea 5: Let Twitter AND its advertisers know that Twitter's ideological biases have substantially damaged its brand image.
 
If our users do not continue to contribute content or their contributions are not valuable to other users, we may experience a decline in the number of users accessing our products and services and user engagement, which could result in the loss of advertisers, platform partners and revenue. ... If we experience a decline in the number of users, user growth rate, or user engagement, including as a result of the loss of world leaders, government officials, celebrities, athletes, journalists, sports teams, media outlets and brands who generate content on Twitter, advertisers may not view our products and services as attractive for their marketing expenditures, and may reduce their spending with us which would harm our business and operating results.

Idea 6: Individual conservative users quitting Twitter does it little harm and deprives you of a soapbox for criticizing the company and its advertisers. But if a critical mass of conservatives, including GOP politicians, opinion leaders, commentary outlets and so on all quite at once, that would do something. Sadly, there is a collective action problem here. It is in all of our interests for all conservatives to quit Twitter, but it's not in any of our individual interest to do so. This needs thought.

Negative publicity about our company, including about our product quality and reliability, changes to our products and services, privacy and security practices, litigation, regulatory activity, the actions of our users or user experience with our products and services, even if inaccurate, could adversely affect our reputation and the confidence in and the use of our products and services.
 
Idea 7: Spread the word that Twitter is hostile to viewpoint diversity.
Dagny, this is not a battle over material goods. It's a moral crisis, the greatest the world has ever faced and the last. Our age is the climax of centuries of evil. We must put an end to it, once and for all, or perish - we, the men of the mind. It was our own guilt. We produced the wealth of the world - but we let our enemies write its moral code.

Offline Thucydides

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Re: After Facebook
« Reply #51 on: May 30, 2017, 13:21:37 »
A look at how deeply Facebook has penetrated the Internet. How this affects you, or how it will affect you downstream as all this personal information is collected in one (possibly insecure) place is yet to be explored:

http://www.bbc.com/news/business-39947942

Quote
How Facebook's tentacles reach further than you think
By Joe Miller
Business reporter
26 May 2017

Facebook's collection of data makes it one of the most influential organisations in the world. Share Lab wanted to look "under the bonnet" at the tech giant's algorithms and connections to better understand the social structure and power relations within the company.

A couple of years ago, Vladan Joler and his brainy friends in Belgrade began investigating the inner workings of one of the world's most powerful corporations.

The team, which includes experts in cyber-forensic analysis and data visualisation, had already looked into what he calls "different forms of invisible infrastructures" behind Serbia's internet service providers.

But Mr Joler and his friends, now working under a project called Share Lab, had their sights set on a bigger target.

"If Facebook were a country, it would be bigger than China," says Mr Joler, whose day job is as a professor at Serbia's Novi Sad University.

He reels off the familiar, but still staggering, numbers: the barely teenage Silicon Valley firm stores some 300 petabytes of data, boasts almost two billion users, and raked in almost $28bn (£22bn) in revenues in 2016 alone.

And yet, Mr Joler argues, we know next to nothing about what goes on under the bonnet - despite the fact that we, as users, are providing most of the fuel - for free.

"All of us, when we are uploading something, when we are tagging people, when we are commenting, we are basically working for Facebook," he says.

The data our interactions provide feeds the complex algorithms that power the social media site, where, as Mr Joler puts it, our behaviour is transformed into a product.

Trying to untangle that largely hidden process proved to be a mammoth task.

"We tried to map all the inputs, the fields in which we interact with Facebook, and the outcome," he says.

"We mapped likes, shares, search, update status, adding photos, friends, names, everything our devices are saying about us, all the permissions we are giving to Facebook via apps, such as phone status, wifi connection and the ability to record audio."

All of this research provided only a fraction of the full picture. So the team looked into Facebook's acquisitions, and scoured its myriad patent filings.

The results were astonishing.

Visually arresting flow charts that take hours to absorb fully, but which show how the data we give Facebook is used to calculate our ethnic affinity (Facebook's term), sexual orientation, political affiliation, social class, travel schedule and much more.

One map shows how everything - from the links we post on Facebook, to the pages we like, to our online behaviour in many other corners of cyber-space that are owned or interact with the company (Instagram, WhatsApp or sites that merely use your Facebook log-in) - could all be entering a giant algorithmic process.

And that process allows Facebook to target users with terrifying accuracy, with the ability to determine whether they like Korean food, the length of their commute to work, or their baby's age.

Another map details the permissions many of us willingly give Facebook via its many smartphone apps, including the ability to read all text messages, download files without permission, and access our precise location.

Individually, these are powerful tools; combined they amount to a data collection engine that, Mr Joler argues, is ripe for exploitation.

"If you think just about cookies, just about mobile phone permissions, or just about the retention of metadata - each of those things, from the perspective of data analysis, are really intrusive."

Facebook has for years asserted that data privacy and the security of its operations are paramount. Facebook data, for example, cannot be used by developers to create surveillance tools and the firm says it complies with privacy protection laws in all countries. Thousands of new staff have been recruited to police its content.

Mr Joler, though, while admitting that his research made him a little paranoid about the information that was being harvested, is more worried about the longer term.

The data will remain in the hands of one company. Even if its current leaders are responsible and trustworthy, what about those in charge in 20 years?

Analysts say Share Lab's work is valuable and impressive. "It's probably the most comprehensive work mapping Facebook that I've ever seen," says Dr Julia Powles, an expert in technology law and policy at Cornell Tech.

"[The research] shows in cold and calculated terms how much we are giving away for the value of being able to communicate with your mates," she says.

The scale of Facebook's reach can be stated in raw numbers - but Share Lab's maps make it visceral, in a way that drawing parallels cannot.

"We haven't really got appropriate historical analogies for the tech giants," explains Dr Powles. Their powers, she continues, extend "far beyond" the likes of the East India Company and monopolies of old, such as Standard Oil.

And while many may consider the objectives of Mark Zuckerberg's empire to be rather benign, its outcomes are not always so.

Facebook, argues Dr Powles, "plays to our base psychological impulses" by valuing popularity above all else.

Experts say there are no historical analogies for the power that today's tech giants hold

Not that she expects Share Lab's research to lead to a mass Facebook exodus, or a dramatic increase in the scrutiny of tech titans.

"What is most striking is the sense of resignation, the impotence of regulation, the lack of options, the public apathy," says Dr Powles. "What an extraordinary situation for an entity that has power over information - there is no greater power really."

It is this extraordinary dominance that the Share Lab team set out to illustrate. But Mr Joler is quick to point out that even their grand maps cannot provide an accurate picture of the social media giant's capabilities.

There is no guarantee, for example, that there are not many other algorithms at work that are still heavily guarded trade secrets.

However, Mr Joler argues, "it is still the one and only map that exists" of one of the greatest forces shaping our world today.
Dagny, this is not a battle over material goods. It's a moral crisis, the greatest the world has ever faced and the last. Our age is the climax of centuries of evil. We must put an end to it, once and for all, or perish - we, the men of the mind. It was our own guilt. We produced the wealth of the world - but we let our enemies write its moral code.