Facebook Users Outraged

Facebook has been manipulating news in feeds to selected users in the interest of research, the essence of which was to study whether people are emotionally affected by what they read. The study was done by a Facebook employee and two researchers at Cornell University. People are outraged but they will forget the privacy infringement, as they always do, and there will be another round in a few months.

Even the Editor of Facebook’s Mood Study Thought It Was Creepy, Adrienne Lafrance, Atlantic (Jun 28)

“The study found that by manipulating the News Feeds displayed to 689,003 Facebook users users, it could affect the content which those users posted to Facebook. More negative News Feeds led to more negative status messages, as more positive News Feeds led to positive statuses.”

Not really a stunning finding, and surely not worth the trouble.

Information privacy commissioners in Canada and the United Kingdom will examine whether the study violated  privacy laws.

Canada’s privacy watchdog to press Facebook on ‘emotional’ study, David Bradshaw, Globe and Mail (Jul 2)

Facebook News Feed – Desktop

Facebook is rolling out a new version of its news feed for desktop users – said to be more functional than flashy. Really?

Facebook goes back to basics for new-new News Feed, Jennifer Van Grove, CNet (Mar 6)

Facebook’s News Feed redesign is for real this time, Caitlin McGarry, TechHive / PC World (Marh 6)

“The main content of your News Feed, like friends’ updates and photos, stands out on a white background while the navigation tools and trending topics clumped around the main bar are on grey. “

Turns out that, “When it tried to roll out a new look last year, Facebook found that people didn’t want Facebook to change much.” Gee – would be nice if Google realized this too.

Facebook Likes may be revealing

Would you like to know what your Facebook Likes reveal about you? Hard to resist. YouAreWhatYouLike can tell you this with a one-click personality test. Tina Sieber at MakeUseOf describes the work of UK researchers behind  in You Are What You Like on Facebook [Weekly Facebook Tips] (Mar 20)

The program selects Likes that it has determined have predictive qualities. Overall I thought its analysis of me was somewhat true, although it may be what I want to present.  I agree with Sieber in her assessment:  “To be honest, in part my results reveal more how I would like to be perceived, rather than how I really am.”

You Are What You Like picks from Facebook Likes

You Are What You Like picks from Facebook Likes

Conclusion points out  that:

The study is a reminder that habitual data collected online, including Facebook Likes, browsing histories, search queries, or online purchases, can reveal a lot about us. The researchers draw a positive conclusion and say that these data can be used to automatically customize and thus improve services, marketing, and product recommendations. However, they also caution that the data could easily be used without the user’s consent and without them noticing.

Facebook content specific news feeds

Rash of news about Facebook’s changes to the news feeds to make content specific feeds possible. Good.

News Feed’s design finally catches up with Timeline, VentureBeat (Mar 7) – described the before situation.

As founder and chief executive Mark Zuckerberg just announced at his company’s headquarters this morning, he wants Facebook’s News Feed to be each user’s “best personalized newspaper you can have” with social and local updates on a variety of topics.

We’ll be able to define the kind of feed.

An “all friends” feed to give you a full firehose of updates. It also has a “following” feed to show only branded content from news organizations and companies you’re following — a much-requested feature from people. The “music” feed shows music-related sharing and activity, plus photos or updates from musicians’ Pages. And the “photos” feed shows off the visual side of your network.

Facebook Launches Feeds For Photos, Music, Friends-Only, And More by Josh Constine, Techcrunch (Mar 7) has a video to prepare us  for when the rollout arrives.

Marc Sullivan at PCWorld prepared this guide to the new navigation – Hands on with Facebook’s new News Feed

Tagging at Bing

At Bing you can tag pages as being related to you or your friends – do this at Bing Tags – then those tagged pages show up in Facebook timelines.  Barry Schwartz described it in Bing Linked Pages Now Called Bing Tags (Dec 21, 2012). Bing has said that these tags can be public – though this depends on your privacy settings. Danny Sullivan describes all the pieces involved in this tagging process –
Bing Tags Expands, Makes Pages Linked To Your Profile Public (Jan 22). You may conclude as I have that this is far too much bother and will probably flop.

Another Take on Facebook’s Graph Search


Facebook Graph Search Is A Disruptive Minefield Of Unintended Consequences
by Anthony Wing Kosner, Forbes (Jan 20, 2013)

This is a thorough and skeptical examination of Facebook’s Graph Search – it may alarm people by what it exposes more than attract. Facebook’s search will not be a threat to Google – Facebook is socially personalized and Google is “contextually” personalized.

Kosner makes a perceptive distinction between Facebook and Twitter.

My Facebook friends are people I actually know. I don’t necessarily agree with (or care about) their taste in music or food or technology, but I have an affection for them that I want to maintain. On Twitter, on the other hand, I follow people who are into all of the kinds of things that I like to write about. Very few of the 374 people that I follow do I actually know in person, but that’s not the point. I consider them my “content friends.” We’re into the same stuff. They tip me off about new things way before they appear on Mashable. It’s like mainlining pure, early adopter tech intelligence. So when I use sites that filter or curate the content I see, I’m much more likely to use my Twitter account as the starting point.

Facebook Graph Search as an Information Tool

Phil Bradley, writing as an information professional, finds much to value and exploit in Facebook’s new Graph Search. Facebook has started with places, people, and photographs – mainly friends – but eventually it will be a way to be found and to find others.

So – the library needs to have a Facebook presence; it’s becoming vital. However, that’s only stage number one. Stage two is that library and other professional staff also need to be on Facebook, so that they can be found. For example – I have an interest in American History (the Civil War to be precise) and if I’m going to the States to speak at a conference, I’m going to be keen to see if I can pop in some visits to places that will interest me about the Civil War. Yes, of course I can do a general search and get some stuff, but that’s still very clinical. However – if I can see who is going to the conference, and they’re friends of mine, I can use Graph Search to find out if any of their friends are into the same interests, or work at a useful library and maybe I can get an introduction to hook up to an expert quickly. Because of the friendship element, I suspect that I’ll have a much richer experience than if I just wander into the local museum or library.

Valuable read – Why the new Facebook Graph Search is important for librarians by Phil Bradley (Jan 17)

Social Media – Year in Review

Can we remember a time when we didn’t have  Facebook updates, LinkedIn groups, and the day recapped in  tweets – oh – and Pinterest? Social media has a firm hold in personal life, business and government. This infographic tells the story for 2012 – a story that includes the rise of Pinterest, the competition between Google+ and Facebook (who is winning?), usage in hours, numbers of people, and stock prices.

The State of Social Media 2012 by The SEO Company
The State of Social Media 2012 by The SEO Company