Posts Tagged ‘Facebook’

US technology giants were complicit in NSA’s data trawling

March 19, 2014

Microsoft, Google, Apple,Yahoo, Facebook and AOL all claimed they did not know that the access they provided led to the NSA trawling their clients’ and customers’ data. But while they may not have liked it, they certainly knew all about it according to the NSA’s chief legal counsel. It would seem that these large technology companies all cooperated – even if reluctantly – and were complicit in the NSA’s indiscriminate data gathering.

It seems they have all been protesting too much as they have tried to build up their facade of innocence.

The Guardian: 

The senior lawyer for the National Security Agency stated unequivocally on Wednesday that US technology companies were fully aware of the surveillance agency’s widespread collection of data, contradicting month of angry denials from the firms. 

Rajesh De, the NSA general counsel, said all communications content and associated metadata harvested by the NSA under a 2008 surveillance law occurred with the knowledge of the companies – both for the internet collection program known as Prism and for the so-called “upstream” collection of communications moving across the internet.

Asked during at a Wednesday hearing of the US government’s institutional privacy watchdog if collection under the law, known as Section 702 or the Fisa Amendments Act, occurred with the “full knowledge and assistance of any company from which information is obtained,” De replied: “Yes.”

……. The NSA’s Wednesday comments contradicting the tech companies about the firms’ knowledge of Prism risk entrenching tensions with the firms NSA relies on for an effort that Robert Litt, general counsel for the director of national intelligence, told the board was “one of the most valuable collection tools that we have.”

“All 702 collection is pursuant to court directives, so they have to know,” De reiterated to the Guardian.

The technology giants do not really believe in the privacy of their clients. They have been complicit all along in the NSA’s data trawling exercises and have put up – in reality – very little resistance. And all their protests of innocence and reluctance and resistance are merely a public relations exercise.

As the Jungle Drum reported in December last year:

Let’s start with Gates and MS, which allowed the NSA to access every 9x series OS via a backdoor tailored especially for the purpose — that much is verified. Then we have master data censor and exploiter Eric Schmidt of Google, who has been a regular attendee at Bilderberg meetings over the past few years — for those unaware, the shadowy Bilderberg group of mega wealthy business people, bankers, media magnates, monarchs and strategically placed people of influence, hold annual meetings where ‘they’ outline future directions for the world — and you thought your elected puppets represented you and made all the decisions!

The latest well publicised manoeuvres by tech giants are simply part of an overall damage control plan to convince the public that their data will not be compromised by the NSA when in fact these companies were willing and complicit partners to US agency spying. Schmidt, Gates and Zuckerberg are probably the worst pretenders/offenders.

What Snowden’s revelations have done is make the public aware of a well known fact in digital underground circles, that privacy is a myth, in fact it was Eric ‘Google’ Schmidt who stated publicly that people have to fight to maintain privacy today. So let’s cut the crap and just admit that large tech companies are complicit in attacks on the public and follow the globalist agenda.

……. Do not be deceived by the pretence of mega tech companies, they voluntarily entered into partnerships with the NSA and in Google’s and Facebook’s case, the CIA. Private mail services are already being offered on the net and its only a matter of time before other companies, not related to the above nefarious data corporations, make huge inroads in the digital world.


Intrusive ads are counter-productive – at least with me

February 6, 2014

I must be representative of some consumers since I do buy stuff.

I even buy quite a lot of stuff on-line. Tickets of any kind (theatre, airline, museum, train, football, hockey bus ……), books, music, electrical and electronic gadgets and a host of small articles capable of being delivered by post. We book hotels on-line and sometimes pay on-line as well. We generally don’t buy food or clothes on-line but we do sometimes (at least my wife does) respond to the flyers dropped into our letter box by local retailers. Nearly all automotive products or materials for house repairs are bought physically and not on-line though we may have searched on-line.

But what I observe is that when I buy-on line it is from sites that I know or for which I have searched on-line. Never by clicking on an ad at another site. Even when I search I always hop over the paid ads which show up at the top of the search results. For a store to show up in a search result is much more important in getting my custom than in their advertising having been seen on another site. I cannot recall a single instance in the last year of buying something in response to an on-line ad. But what I also observe is that there is some threshold level of intrusiveness which leads me to remove sites from my bookmarks. If a site directs me first to full-page ads which I have to click away – and especially if they make it difficult to find the “close” button – then those sites get removed from my bookmark lists. I don’t watch videos on-line if their ads don’t disappear within 5 seconds. If my mouse, when hovering over text, brings up too many intrusive ads then the entire site gets onto my “black-list”. I don’t mind registering for some services at some sites but if that process takes longer than about 30 seconds (perhaps a minute) then that site never gets visited again.  Of course it could be that some of the on-line ads are having a subliminal effect and reinforce my perceptions when I search for on-line stores – but it is not very likely.

Even on TV and especially since the break for commercials is so long (in Sweden a commercial break lasts 6 minutes and there are not many ads of high quality), the commercial break either leads me to surf other channels or to go do something else. In the last year or two I notice that there are more TV programmes that I watch only up to the first commercial break because I then go and do something else and never get back in time to watch the rest of the programme. If it is a sporting or political event, then I may well return to the programme – after the commercial break. In any event the people paying vast sums for making and airing the commercials do not capture my attention. If anything they create a resentment in me since I am either a “captive audience” or am being coerced to view their “nonsense”. And it is the resentment which leads to the content being classified in my mind as “nonsense”. I never watch TV shopping channels but they clearly don’t have me as their target audience. The very existence of the commercials is leading me to strategies to avoid them!

My behaviour is surely influenced by the presence of ads on-line and commercials on TV. However, the behaviour engendered in me is nearly always counter-productive from the viewpoint of the advertiser. Maybe I am an untypical consumer – but I doubt it.  Which makes me wonder how effective some of this advertising is?

Certainly advertising agencies and the industry in general will never admit that there can be too much advertising. They get paid for exposure (or apparent exposure) and not for sales achieved. They don’t suffer any penalty for resentment caused or customers driven away. But I would suggest that there is a threshold – very low in my case – at which on-line advertising and commercials on TV become counter-productive.

I get virtually no text ads on my phone. I stopped using Facebook and Twitter some months ago so at least I am not harassed by their ads. But from what I hear, the intrusiveness of the ads on the social media are now leading to some people reducing their use and, in some cases, ending their use of social media. Social media and their business models are still evolving but the assumption that advertising revenues can keep increasing forever is fundamentally flawed.

BBCTwitter reports $645m loss for 2013

Microblogging site Twitter has reported a net loss of $645m (£396m) for 2013, just three months after its flotation on the New York Stock Exchange. The loss was expected by analysts, who highlighted Twitter’s revenues, which rose 110% last year to reach $665m.

But a reported slow growth in user numbers was a bigger concern for investors. Twitter averaged 241 million monthly users in the last quarter of the year, up just 3.8% on the previous quarter. That represents a slowdown compared with a growth rate of 10% seen at the beginning of 2013. Timeline views were down nearly 7%, suggesting users were refreshing their feeds less often.

“What this report will do is it will question how mainstream is Twitter as a platform,” said Arvind Bhatia, an analyst at Sterne, Agee & Leach.

Shares fell as much as 12% in after-hours trading on Wednesday.

Will buying “likes” on Facebook and Twitter translate into votes?

November 29, 2013

Perception can be reality. And fake “likes” are being used to generate fake perceptions of popularity and goodness. Whether humans are dumb enough to be taken in by fake perceptions and whether perceptions can be converted into real voters and customers remains to be seen.

The assumption within the public relations and advertising industry is that  buying “likes” on social media actually leads to some advantage for the person/thing/company being liked. Clearly some companies perceive “likes” as being an effective – if unproven -advertising form. There seems to be no shortage of people offering ways of buying and boosting “likes”. Offers are readily available to arrange “2000 Facebook likes for only $17, or 5000 for $35 or 100,000 for $500”. Carlo De Micheli and Andrea Stroppa have been looking at Twitter and the underground market

De Micheli and Stroppa

De Micheli and Stroppa


We estimated fake accounts make up for 4% of Twitter’s user base

Does this make sense?

  • Facebook makes it harder to create fake accounts yet openly declares: “As of June 30, 2012, we estimate user-misclassified accounts may have represented approximately 2.4% of our worldwide MAUs and undesirable accounts may have represented approximately 1.5% of our worldwide MAUs. 
  • Every account can follow up to 2000 people. 
  • By statistically excluding overlapping fake accounts, just on the 12 main marketplaces (Fiverr, SeoClerks, InterTwitter, FanMeNow, LikedSocial, SocialPresence, SocializeUk,  ViralMediaBoost), it turns out there are around 20M fake followers on sale right now. 
  • Followers are sold at an average price of $18/1000 followers (barracudalabs). 
  • Sellers can make between $2 and $36 per fake account 
  • Multiplying it out definitely shows a multi-million-dollar market

Apart from entertainment figures wanting to boost their apparent popularity, the buying of “likes” has now become a routine matter for politicians facing elections. They are relying on the herd mentality to lead  to an increase of votes in their favour. The risk they take is that humans – when acting as a mob or a herd – don’t like acknowledging or being accused of acting like dumb animals. But the risk of this backlash is being taken as being small. Politicians in India are now all rushing to buy “likes” – as just another legitimate advertising ploy. They have been paying for favourable articles about themselves and negative articles about their opponents in the print media for many years. But even the most socially illiterate politicians – who wouldn’t know a tweet from a twit – are spending a great deal of money to be able to show huge numbers of “likes”!

What part fake likes and dislikes are going to have in the Delhi elections next week and the national elections next year, remains to be seen. It could be quite effective in a city like Delhi where the penetration of social media among the new urban population is high  but among whom political awareness is still relatively new.

FirstPostIn a new sting operation, Cobrapost has revealed how certain IT companies in India are working to manipulate social media campaigns by buying fake FB likes and followers on Twitter, and running negative campaigns against rivals of their clients and also engaging in creating panic among minority groups. The report states that the most of these companies are working on the behest of BJP and Modi, but also work for Congress sometimes, and in addition manage campaigns for multinational firms, corporations etc as well. …….  In a statement to Firstpost, Facebook said that where fake likes and profiles are concerned, “It’s a violation of our policies to use a fake name or operate under a false identity, and we encourage people to report anyone they think is doing this.

CobrapostOperation Blue Virus also makes certain stunning revelations. If the claims of the companies exposed are to be believed, among political parties, BJP is at the forefront in social media campaign, so is its Prime Ministerial candidate Narendra Modi, with scores of companies working overtime for him. This puts a question mark on the claims of the BJP leadership that there is a wind blowing in favour of their party and Narendra Modi. The larger-than-life-image that Team Modi has assiduously carved out for Modi over the past one decade may not be that real, rather invented, and is reminiscent of the Goebbellian propaganda, to sway the opinion of gullible public. It is no surprise then that even a milder criticism of the BJP’s star campaigner invites scathing attacks from his followers on social media, claimed to be in millions in count. 

Paul Joseph Goebbels would have been in his element.


Final Mars Orbiter orbit increase successfully completed 15th November 2110 CET

November 15, 2013

ISRO has announced via Facebook that the next burn to raise the earth orbit (apogee) to close to 200,000 km will be carried out at 0127 IST (2057 CET 15th November). If this goes as planned the next manoeuver is expected to be to inject the probe into a Trans-Mars trajectory on 1st December.

2130 CET: Just reported to have been successfully completed The observed change in Apogee is from 118642 km to 192874 km”.

Updates here as they become available.


  • 2045 CET Forward rotation to prepare for burn completed. 
  • 2058 CET: 440N Liquid Engine started firing to raise the apogee to about 192,000 km in this 5th Manoeuver
  • Craft at perigee. Awaiting post burn report.
  • 2110 Burn reported completed
  • It may be a while before tracking data can confirm the new orbit
  • The fifth orbit raising manoeuvre of Mars Orbiter Spacecraft, starting at 01:27:00 hrs (IST) on Nov 16, 2013, with a burn Time of 243.5 seconds has been successfully completed.The observed change in Apogee is from 118642km to 192874km.


Tonight is going to be the culmination of the various baby steps MOM has been taking by gradually soaring to higher apogees around Mother Earth. This manoeuver, scheduled at 01:27 hrs IST, will take the spacecraft to – almost half the way to moon – about two lakh (200,000) kilometers.

The distance to the moon is 384,400 km (and I make 200,000 to be a little more than half-way)!

mangalyaan final earth orbit increase - isro

mangalyaan final earth orbit increase – isro

At this distance Deep Space Tracking will become necessary.

The Indian Deep Space Network consists of a 18-m and a 32-m antennae that are established at the IDSN campus, Byalalu, Bangalore. The Network is augmented with a couple of stations in the western hemisphere in addition to the 64-m antenna in Bearslake, Russia to improve the visibility duration and to provide support from the antipodal point. …..

External network stations APL, JPL (Goldstone, Canberra, Madrid), Hawaii, Brazil (Alcantara, Cuiaba) are requisitioned in for the purpose of extended visibility of Launch and Early Orbit Phase (LEOP) operations, as well as to gain the near continuous visibility during the normal phase operations. All the external stations will ensure the required compatibility to communicate with the spacecraft.

The network as used for Chandrayaan and expected to be used for Mangalyaan is shown below.

Indian Deep Space Network used for Chandrayaan - isro

Indian Deep Space Network used for Chandrayaan – isro

“Liking” on Facebook is a cheap, easy alternative to donating

November 8, 2013

For charities and other organisations dependent upon public donations, Facebook and other social media represent a glittering silver cloud with a very dark lining! Having an enormous reach via social media may seem like success but it could be counter productive. Potential donors presented with the alternative of clicking on a “like” button to making a real donation take the cheaper route. The more public the “like” the less likely the donation. They assuage their consciences and keep their pocket-books untouched!

Not really so surprising I suppose but a useful confirmation of behavioural tendencies.

Kirk Kristofferson, Katherine White, and John Peloza, The Nature of Slacktivism: How the Social Observability of an Initial Act of Token Support Affects Subsequent Prosocial Action, Journal of Consumer Research, Published by: The University of Chicago Press, Article Stable URL:


Would-be donors skip giving when offered the chance to show public support for charities in social media, a new study from the University of British Columbia’s Sauder School of Business finds.

“Charities incorrectly assume that connecting with people through social media always leads to more meaningful support,” says Sauder PhD student Kirk Kristofferson, who co-authored the forthcoming Journal of Consumer Research article.

“Our research shows that if people are able to declare support for a charity publicly in social media it can actually make them less likely to donate to the cause later on.”

The study results add fuel to recent assertions that social media platforms are turning people into “slacktivists” by making it easy for them to associate with a cause without committing resources to support it.

In a series of studies, researchers invited participants to engage in an initial act of free support for a cause – joining a Facebook group, accepting a poppy, pin or magnet or signing a petition. Participants were then asked to donate money or volunteer.

They found that the more public the token show of endorsement, the less likely participants are to provide meaningful support later. If participants were provided with the chance to express token support more privately, such as confidentially signing a petition, they were more likely to give later.

The researchers suggest this occurs because giving public endorsement satisfies the desire to look good to others, reducing the urgency to give later. Providing token support in private leads people to perceive their values are aligned with the cause without the payoff of having people witness it.

With the holiday season being the biggest fundraising period of the year, the researchers say it is vital that charities take another look at their strategies and plan appropriately.

The ease and painlessness of  “liking” actually degrades the quality of the connection – be it for donations or for representing support for people or causes. When a “supporter” has little else to do than to click a “like” button, that support is not worth very much.

In relationship selling, I used to advise our salesmen that the way to judge a relationship was to consider the kind of “favour” the relationship could allow and support without jeopardising the relationship. The strength or quality of a “social connection” is still – I think – to be judged by the width and breadth and weight of the service that can be initiated and carried by the connection without breaking it. A “like” is pretty light-weight as social connections go.

Has Facebook reinstated beheading videos for the NSA or just for revenue – or for both?

October 23, 2013

That Facebook allows NSA access to all its material has become clear from the Snowden leaks.

In addition to phone records and email logs, the National Security Agency uses Facebook and other social media profiles to create maps of social connections — including those of American citizens.

That beheading and other videos with gratuitous violence are often uploaded on  Facebook is apparent (and whichever way Facebook twists and turns it is equally apparent that they must stand as the publishers – if not the authors – of such material). That much of the uploaded material is faked is also apparent (especially from areas of conflict). It is the gratuitous violence which attracts the voyeuristic surfers like a crowd gathering at the scene of a bloody incident. The sight of vultures gathering at the carcass of a kill attract even more scavengers of all kinds. It is the gatherings of the crowds which increases the revenue generating traffic for Facebook.

The more bloodstains on the road the larger the crowd of ghouls who gather. But among the ghouls are also perpetrators returning to the scene of their crimes where the “incident” was not just an accident. And that interests the NSA.

Why then has Facebook removed its ban on such material? There are very few voices supporting the move.

Who gains? Why the NSA and Facebook. The NSA needs material to mine in its search for the “bad” guys. And people who behead others or fake such pictures or are inspired by such material are of special interest. And Facebook wants the revenues.

ArsTechnicaFacebook said that overall, it received between 9,000 and 10,000 requests from authorities in the second half of 2012, pertaining to between 18,000 and 19,000 individual Facebook accounts. …. By the end of July 2013, we learned directly from an FISC judge that no corporation ever served with a “business record” court order under the Patriot Act has ever challenged one. This is despite the fact that the law provides them a means to do so.

Judging by what Facebook does – and not by what it says – also suggests that they are a lot closer to the NSA than they would like their users to know.

Beforeitsnews: About a year after Facebook reportedly joined PRISM, Max Kelly, the social network’s chief security officer left for a job at the National Security Agency, either a curious career move or one that makes complete sense. The Chief Security Officer at a tech company is primarily concerned with keeping its information inside the company. Now working for an agency that tries to gather as much information as it can, Kelly’s new job is sort of a complete reversal.

And it does not matter where in the world you are. If you are on Facebook your information is in a security agency’s database somewhere. It may not have been flagged as being of special interest but it’s there. If not at the NSA then surely at GCHQ or with the Germans or with the Russian agencies. Even if meta-data is only kept for some limited period of time – once your existence has been registered it can never be deregistered. And if the initial data was “flagged” for any reason then that individual will forever be under surveillance.

O Fontana! Is Rudd losing his election on rudeness?

August 24, 2013

Two weeks to go to the Australian election and maybe the campaign is now beginning to show some signs of life. But things are not looking very good for Kevin Rudd.

The campaign has been fairly lacklustre so far but some small events may be having an unexpectedly large impact on the electorate. Whereas Abbott’s slip-ups almost seem to be expected and are discounted, Rudd’s small missteps are instead tapping into perceptions of his long history on the political stage. A Rude Rudd meme is growing. Voters don’t usually choose their candidates just for being polite but it is possible that they may refuse to vote for someone considered rude.

Lily Fontana’s short-lived outburst on Facebook about Kevin Rudd’s relative rudeness before last weeks TV debate has brought all his many previous episodes of rudeness back to the forefront. Strangely Abbott’s “shut up” about Rudd is seen as being somewhat justified. His “suppository” instead of “repository” generated a few smutty jokes but does not seem to have caused much negative impact. Perhaps because expectations of Abott are sufficiently low. Perceptions relative to expectations give reality. Another make-up artist, Abigail Johnston, also described a similar episode with Rudd. She too took down (or was forced to take down) her Facebook post. Make up artist Abigael Johnston backed up her friend Ms Fontana, saying Mr Rudd had previously been rude to her. “I second this Lily. I have had a very similar experience!” Ms Johnston said. Posting on Facebook Ms Johnston said: “Must run in the family as Mr Howard and Mr Costello were gentlemen with a capital G. Mr Abbott is following in their footsteps. The other, I could not even face book how he treated the crew. Just abhorrent!” When contacted this morning Ms Johnston said the incident she referred to had occurred before Mr Rudd was Prime Minister.

The electorate is beginning to remember that Rudd’s smile is just a little too smarmy and that he may not be such a nice bloke after all. His past reputation for bullying and rudeness is suddenly of great interest.

The Australian: A RETIRED air vice-marshal has accused Kevin Rudd of “bully standover tactics” and a make-up artist has declared he was rude as she prepared him for the people’s forum debate, reviving questions about the Prime Minister’s character that emerged in his first stint in the role. ….. The revelations blunted Labor’s attacks on Tony Abbott’s character, after the Opposition Leader snapped during the forum debate, asking of Rudd “does this guy ever shut up?” ….. echoed claims that Mr Rudd had been rude to air force staff during his first term as prime minister. In the lead up to his failed February 2012 leadership challenge against Julia Gillard, an expletive-laden video was leaked of him losing his cool as he prepared a Chinese-language video.

Herald Sun: In 2009 he famously had to apologise to an RAAF air hostess after it was revealed he reduced her to tears when the meal he requested was unavailable on a flight from Port Moresby to Canberra. .. In the same year it was reported Mr Rudd threw a “wobbly” when Diggers were unable to locate a hairdryer for a photo opportunity in Afghanistan. .. Again in 2009 Mr Rudd reportedly launched an expletive-ridden tirade at Labor’s factional bosses, including three female MPs. ….. In 2010 following the Copenhagen Climate Change Summit Mr Rudd told journalists: “Those Chinese f-ers, they are trying to ratf- us”. … Then in 2012 an expletive-ridden video was released. In the video, uploaded to YouTube under the heading “Kevin Rudd is a happy little vegemite” the PM slams the table and swears repeatedly in outtakes. “You can tell these d-heads in the embassy to just give me simple sentences. I’ve said this before,” Mr Rudd says. “Tell that bloody interpreter. This f-ing language just complicates it so much, you know. How can anyone do this.”

Furthermore his “despatch” of Julia Gillard has confirmed a perception of  his deviousness. What was once seen as “political skill” has flipped over to being seen as “underhanded” and Machiavellian. Of course the Australian Labour Party’s internal workings could be used as a script for The Borgias. (While Jeremy Irons is known to donate generously to Labour in the UK, I have not heard that he has shown much interest in the Australian election).

And now the latest polls show not only the Coalition increasing its lead but also that Rudd may have difficulty in defending his own seat:

The AgeKevin Rudd faces a fight to avoid becoming the third prime minister in the nation’s history to lose his own seat. A second poll in a week has shown Mr Rudd narrowly trailing his Liberal National Party opponent, Bill Glasson, in Griffith, prompting the Prime Minister to declare he was campaigning as hard as he could.

Long-serving prime minister John Howard lost his Sydney seat of Bennelong to Labor’s Maxine McKew as part of the Ruddslide in 2007, the first time an Australian PM had lost his own electorate since Stanley Bruce in 1929.

BloombergAustralia’s opposition Liberal-National coalition widened its lead over the Labor government in an opinion poll, signaling leader Tony Abbott may replace Kevin Rudd as prime minister after the Sept. 7 election. Support for the coalition rose to 53 percent on a two-party preferred basis this week from 52 percent two weeks earlier, while those voters backing the ruling Labor party fell one point to 47 percent, according to a Herald-Nielsen poll published in the Sydney Morning Herald newspaper today. Support for Rudd as preferred prime minister fell to 48 percent from 50 percent while 45 percent of those surveyed backed Abbott, up from 42 percent.

My forecast from far, far away (13,600km on a great circle route to Perth) would be for an Abbott win with about a 10 seat margin. It seems unlikely now that any “big” issue (economy, carbon tax, immigration …) is going to get further traction or to be decisive. But two weeks is a long time in politics. It is certainly long enough for either to snatch defeat.

“Preoccupied” and “fearful” types use Facebook for partner surveillance

August 23, 2013

Yet another Facebook survey. This time to try and discern types of people who use Facebook to monitor their partners. It’s all data I suppose. But I’m not sure if a plethora of little surveys such as this one (328 college students surveyed) allows greater insight or just muddies the ever expanding pool of “data”.

It is probably advisable to keep a large bucket of salt handy when looking at the conclusions of Facebook surveys.

In any case there are some new terms to show up my ignorance. IES stands for Interpersonal Electronic Surveillance and SNS stands for Social Networking Sites. There are apparently four distinct attachment stylessecurepreoccupieddismissing, and fearful. Relationship Uncertainty ia also a parameter to bear in mind.

The authors surveyed 328 college students who were Facebook users and tested 3 hypotheses:

  1. H1: Higher levels of relationship uncertainty will be associated with greater IES of the current or ex-partner.
  2. H2: Preoccupied individuals will report greater relationship uncertainty than secure, dismissing, or fearful individuals.
  3. H3: Preoccupied individuals will report greater IES than secure, dismissing, or fearful individuals.

It seems that Relationship Uncertainty – surprisingly – was not a predictor for IES. However preoccupied and fearful types were more likely to carry out surveillance of their partners via Facebook.

Jesse Fox and Katie M. Warber, Social Networking Sites in Romantic Relationships: Attachment, Uncertainty, and Partner Surveillance on FacebookCyberpsychology, Behavior, and Social Networking, doi:10.1089/cyber.2012.0667

Abstract:Social networking sites serve as both a source of information and a source of tension between romantic partners. Previous studies have investigated the use of Facebook for monitoring former and current romantic partners, but why certain individuals engage in this behavior has not been fully explained. College students (N=328) participated in an online survey that examined two potential explanatory variables for interpersonal electronic surveillance (IES) of romantic partners: attachment style and relational uncertainty. Attachment style predicted both uncertainty and IES, with preoccupieds and fearfuls reporting the highest levels. Uncertainty did not predict IES, however. Future directions for research on romantic relationships and online surveillance are explored.

It will not perhaps come as a complete surprise that for preoccupied and fearful types, their surveillance of their partners may well reinforce their preoccupations and their fears.

From Discussion:

This study contributed to recent research on attachment and new media technologies, and revealed that attachment theory is an effective framework for understanding interpersonal electronic surveillance between romantic partners and ex-partners on Facebook. Likely due to their high levels of relationship anxiety, preoccupied and fearful individuals experienced the highest levels of relational uncertainty and engaged in the highest levels of IES. Previous studies have noted the prevalence of using Facebook to monitor partners, and this study shed light on those findings by recognizing the role of attachment style in this process.It is important to recognize who engages in IES because it may affect levels of satisfaction, stability, and security within the relationship. Preoccupied and fearful individuals often identify or create problems in their relationship due to their levels of anxiety. Given the additional information available about one’s partner and their social interactions, Facebook may exacerbate preoccupieds’ and fearfuls’ anxiety about the relationship. For example, they might be more likely to interpret ambiguous content on Facebook in a negative way, which may create conflict or strain the relationship. ……

….. The lack of a relationship between uncertainty and IES was surprising. However, Muise et al. also found no relationship between relational uncertainty and Facebook-related jealousy. This finding may be an artifact of the sample, however; many college students may perceive their relationships as transient. Thus, although they are uncertain about the relationship, it may not concern them or influence their Facebook behaviors. Future studies should investigate different variables such as the desire to be in a relationship with the partner.

It was interesting that preoccupieds did not differ from fearful individuals in their levels of uncertainty or IES, but it may be because it is attachment-related anxiety rather than avoidance that predicts these outcomes. Our findings mirror previous studies on attachment which have shown that anxious attachment leads to more distress and partner monitoring after breakups. Facebook may appeal to these two types for different reasons. Preoccupieds might feel more control and closeness by using Facebook. Because fearfuls are both anxious and avoidant, Facebook may provide them with the perfect opportunity to monitor the partner and perceived relational threats passively without having to interact with or confront him or her directly. Future research should investigate different attachment styles’ motivations to engage in IES.

Using Facebook undermines well-being

August 18, 2013

The Facebook phenomenon continues with more studies and some idiot “research”. But the phenomenon is real. Narcissism is on the rise, circles of acquaintances are apparently getting very wide, perceptions of having many friends way beyond the Dunbar Number is increasing, anonymous bullying has found a new medium to exploit and we know more useless things about more people than ever before. We believe we are “in communication” with many people but that may just be an illusion.

Another “study” addresses “whether Facebook use influences subjective well-being over time is unknown. We addressed this issue using experience-sampling, the most reliable method for measuring in-vivo behavior and psychological experience. We text-messaged people five times per day for two-weeks to examine how Facebook use influences the two components of subjective well-being: how people feel moment-to-moment and how satisfied they are with their lives”.

Kross E, Verduyn P, Demiralp E, Park J, Lee DS, et al. (2013) Facebook Use Predicts Declines in Subjective Well-Being in Young Adults. PLoS ONE 8(8): e69841. doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0069841

AbstractOver 500 million people interact daily with Facebook. Yet, whether Facebook use influences subjective well-being over time is unknown. We addressed this issue using experience-sampling, the most reliable method for measuring in-vivo behavior and psychological experience. We text-messaged people five times per day for two-weeks to examine how Facebook use influences the two components of subjective well-being: how people feel moment-to-moment and how satisfied they are with their lives. Our results indicate that Facebook use predicts negative shifts on both of these variables over time. The more people used Facebook at one time point, the worse they felt the next time we text-messaged them; the more they used Facebook over two-weeks, the more their life satisfaction levels declined over time. Interacting with other people “directly” did not predict these negative outcomes. They were also not moderated by the size of people’s Facebook networks, their perceived supportiveness, motivation for using Facebook, gender, loneliness, self-esteem, or depression. On the surface, Facebook provides an invaluable resource for fulfilling the basic human need for social connection. Rather than enhancing well-being, however, these findings suggest that Facebook may undermine it.

Facebook well being doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0069841.g001

Facebook well being doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0069841.g001

Figure 1. Facebook use predicts declines in affect and life satisfaction over time.

Interacting with Facebook during one time period (Time1–2) leads people to feel worse later on during the same day (T2) controlling for how they felt initially (T1);  Average Facebook use over the course of the 14-day experience-sampling period predicts decreases in life satisfaction over time.

The more participants used Facebook, the more their life satisfaction levels declined over time, B = −.012, β = −.124, t(73) = −2.39, p = .02, …

The human need for social connection is well established, as are the benefits that people derive from such connections. On the surface, Facebook provides an invaluable resource for fulfilling such needs by allowing people to instantly connect. Rather than enhancing well-being, as frequent interactions with supportive “offline” social networks powerfully do, the current findings demonstrate that interacting with Facebook may predict the opposite result for young adults—it may undermine it.

Twitter effectively accepts that it is a publisher and responsible for content

August 3, 2013

I have no doubt in my mind that social media such as Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn are – in fact – publishers. They benefit from the advertising revenues raised on the back of their “reach” and must be responsible – and accountable – for the content they publish.

The abuse of a number of women on Twitter in the UK has now led the head of Twitter UK to personally apologise and for Twitter to now take a number of steps to prevent this kind of abuse. It is a tacit admission of responsibility for their content and completely undermines their previous stand that they are not a publisher. Even though Twitter is “requesting” its users to exercise restraint, their “commitment” makes it clear that Twitter is taking responsibility – even if only implicitly – for ensuring that their users exercise the proper restraint.

A well deserved pat on the back for Twitter (assuming they don’t back away from this commitment and later try to pin the blame on irresponsible users).

Tony Wang apology (Twitter UK)

Tony Wang apology (Twitter UK)

BBCThe boss of Twitter UK has said sorry to women who have experienced abuse on the social networking site. Tony Wang said the threats were “simply not acceptable” and pledged to do more to tackle abusive behaviour.

The apology came as Twitter updated its rules and confirmed it would introduce an in-tweet “report abuse” button on all platforms, including desktops. Police are investigating eight allegations of abuse including bomb and rape threats made against women.

Two people have been arrested in relation to Twitter rape threats against Labour MP Stella Creasy and feminist campaigner Caroline Criado-Perez, who received the threats after a campaign to have Jane Austen on the new £10 note.

Three female journalists said they were subjected to bomb threats on the site.

The revelations sparked a backlash online, with a petition calling for Twitter to add a “report abuse” button to tweets attracting more than 124,000 signatures. In a series of tweets, Twitter UK general manager Mr Wang said: 

  • “I personally apologize to the women who have experienced abuse on Twitter and for what they have gone through. The abuse they’ve received is simply not acceptable”.
  • “It’s not acceptable in the real world, and it’s not acceptable on Twitter”.
  • “There is more we can and will be doing to protect our users against abuse. That is our commitment.”

In an earlier message posted on its blog, Twitter’s senior director for trust and safety Del Harvey and Mr Wang said the company had clarified its anti-harassment policy in light of feedback from customers.

They said: “It comes down to this: people deserve to feel safe on Twitter.”

The company has clarified its guidance on abuse and spam – reiterating that users “may not engage in targeted abuse or harassment”.

The “report abuse” button already available on the iOS Twitter app and mobile site will also be rolled out to the main website and Android app from September, Twitter said.

Ms Harvey and Mr Wang wrote in their blog: “We want people to feel safe on Twitter, and we want the Twitter rules to send a clear message to anyone who thought that such behaviour was, or could ever be, acceptable.”

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