Posts Tagged ‘social media’

okcupid 300x300 OkCupid is actually a massive psychological experiment Looking for someone with their own teeth, face, head and a GSOH who shares your love of craft beer/cat memes/potholing? Well, chances are you’ve dabbled with online dating.

If you’ve got a profile on OKCupid, however, start getting worried. Its founder Christian Rudder, recently wrote a blog post, and admitted that the site used Facebook style psychological tricks (without users’ knowledge).

The post, subtly entitled ‘We Experimented on Human Beings!’ told the world that the company removed text from profiles, hid people’s photos and even told users that they were a perfect match when actually they completely incompatible.

Why? ‘We might be popular, we might create a lot of great relationships, we might blah blah blah,’ Rudder wrote. ‘But OKCupid doesn’t really know what it’s doing. Neither does any other website. Experiments are how you sort it all out.’

Their first experiment was called ‘Love Is Blind’, and removed pictures from all the profiles and found that conversation flowed and message responses were up 44%. (Of course, as humans are irretrievably shallow, these conversations stopped as soon as the profile pictures went back up.)

Then they tried to work out how much the text on the profile mattered – compared to the photo – and found that you may as well have just written skduskwehlwhfjfdjhsjsrslrsekajeskhjr and posted a photo of a hot girl in a bikini. Text mattered less than 10%.

But perhaps most heinously, OKCupid deliberately mismatched couples to see what would happen. Thankfully, the couples figured out that they were awful for each other straight away.

While these experiments are pretty revealing, and show what a crock online dating actually is, not telling users what they’re up to is still pretty dodgy. But Rudder is unrepentant.

‘Guess what, everybody: if you use the Internet, you’re the subject of hundreds of experiments at any given time, on every site.’

*secretly massages your algorithms*

Google Glass 4 We don’t want no Tech Utopia...we dont need no thought control... Do you think the world would be just dandy if it was a headset wearing, liquid food-eating homogenised utopia run by massive tech companies?

Well, you’re in the minority. It seems like there’s a old school backlash brewing against the constant onslaught of technology – so you’d better watch out where you wear your Google goggles.

San Francisco, home of Google, is rebelling. And if the recent anger aimed at Silicon Valley is anything to go by, it looks like we really don’t want tech companies and their inventions interfering in our human interaction and daily routines.

In California, there have been vocal demonstrations and attacks on Google’s private employee buses, which operate in the Bay Area. Then a Google Glass wearer, Sarah Slocum, was attacked in a bar by a woman who claimed that Google was ‘killing the city’.

The onslaught of tech is also killing jobs. San Francisco restaurant workers are campaigning for a wage increase –and in response a Conservative lobby group who works for the US restaurant industry to threatened to replace staff with iPads.

And some of Silicon Valley’s ideas are verging on the insane. It’s even happy to crowd fund the sinister liquid food replacement Soylent – with Google’s Justine Tunney actually suggesting that they could feed it to poor Americans to make them healthy and productive.

So the old idea that if you don’t like technology, you’re a prehistoric fossil, is over. San Francisco may be a hub of artists, hippies, punks and musicians, but it’s clear that people getting increasingly concerned about the influence that social media and new tech products have over our minds and choices.

What do you think? Are we in danger of becoming oppressed Orwellian robot slaves? Or is Glass just a handy way to find a good restaurant?

Bitterwallet Facebook censorship Facebook introduces another featured to the clutterThe hilariously convoluted social network, Facebook, is adding yet more features to the already bewildering array of things you can do. You won’t do them of course, but the options is now there, which means someone at FB HQ can feel like they’ve done some work.

Facebook have said that they’ve been listening (oh, we know that – what type of listening though? The one where you listen to an answer, or the one where you listen-in?) and some users have complained that there’s just not enough time to see all the stuff that gets thrown at your feed.

Of course, the real issue is your wall is filled with stuff that Facebook deem important, not you. That’s why loads of pages you’ve liked by magazines, business and whatnot, don’t appear on your timeline any more. It isn’t a case of not having time, but rather, being restricted access.

Either way, ignoring all that, Facebook have basically come up with an option to save articles so you can read them later. Daniel Giambalvo of Facebook said: ”Every day, people find all sorts of interesting items on Facebook that they don’t have time to explore right away.”

“Now you can save items that you find on Facebook to check out later when you have more time. You can save items like links, places, movies, TV and music. Only you can see the items you save unless you choose to share them with friends.”

So basically, there’s going to be a drop-down menu with an additional option in it. It will get stored and you’ll be given reminders from Facebook telling you that you’ve got unfinished admin. This is in addition to Facebook adding a ‘buy’ button to the network.

This new feature will be rolled out over the next couple of days.

Use your iPhone at depths of 300 feet

July 11th, 2014 2 Comments By Lucy Sweet

waterproof phone case 300x300 Use your iPhone at depths of 300 feet You would think that the seabed would be the last place you’d want to take your phone.

But if your online narcissism extends to taking selfies while deep sea diving, or you just want to capture the magnificence of the Barrier reef and boast about it on Instagram, then you might want to get yourself this new waterproof iPhone case from Thanko.

The chunky aluminium case basically turns your phone into a submarine, and costs a whopping £172, but it’s a small price to pay to show off underwater. The case will keep your phone dry and safe to depths of 300 feet.

The only problem with it – although if you pay £172 for a phone case you can take underwater, the problem might also be you – is that you can’t use the phone’s touch screen.

So what you have to do is make sure you disable autolock, and put the iPhone camera icon at the bottom of the screen, so it corresponds with the touch sensitive points on the cases’ clear screen.

Then get into your scuba gear and away you go.

#coralreef #help #ohmygodimdrowning

Facebook says the internet is as vital as 911

July 8th, 2014 1 Comment By Mof Gimmers

Bitterwallet Facebook censorship Facebook says the internet is as vital as 911When Mark Zuckerberg isn’t owning Facebook and having a peculiarly long face, he’s offering advice to the rest of the world about the internet. He knows about the internet you see? The internet made him wildly rich.

However, Mark Zuckerberg isn’t exactly a nice man and his company do things that make people worried about their personal privacy; not to mention the concerns around the fact that Facebook tried to control the emotions of its users recently.

So forgive a few stifled incredulous laughs as Zuckerberg says that he sees the internet as a vital service for all, which should be as readily available as the emergency services. Presumably he doesn’t want a wall around everything, which requires you to sign-up and be swamped with lousy Buzzfeed articles all day.

In an editorial with The Wall Street Journal, the Facebook honcho said he wanted to see universal internet access, and with only a third of the world online, he sees a problem. A problem, you can assume, he’d like to fix so he can add to his already considerable coffers. Zuck is already looking beyond Facebook (seriously, he’s less concerned about Facebook than 99% of Bitterwallet readers) and eyeing up becoming an ISP, as well as working with aerial drones, satellites and laser beams and all manner of other Hank Scorpio business.

He noted that for 90% of the world’s population, they’ve got a network in place, but no affordable data plans. Provide basic internet for free, and then when they find access indispensable, try and convince them to pay for a data plan. Sounds a bit like a dealer who gives you your first couple of wraps for free.

He said: “Anyone can call 911 to get medical attention or report a crime even if you haven’t paid for a phone plan. In the future, everyone should have access to basic Internet services as well, even if they haven’t paid for a data plan.” Not only that, but; “the internet is the foundation of this economy,” and that “the internet will help drive human progress.”

Saving the World, one Candy Crush request at a time.

Facebook vs Twitter – Facebook is winning

July 3rd, 2014 1 Comment By Lucy Sweet

fail whale 300x225 Facebook vs Twitter – Facebook is winning While Twitter looks set to double its money to nearly £100m this year, Facebook is set to announce a 40% growth – taking its revenues to a Zuckertastic £570m.

Despite the 50% growth that Twitter will announce – plus the impressive growth of Twitter UK, which is expected to bring in £150m next year – the social network is lagging behind like sparrow with a broken wing. Expectations were that it would make £180m, so it’s not all exactly chirpy chirpy cheep cheep for its disappointed investors.

#failwhale

Twitter’s relative slowdown in growth is in stark contrast to the terrifying rise of Facebook, which is growing like an uncontrollable boil on the internet’s arse. It tripled its profits in the first quarter thanks to its new annoying and intrusive ad strategy, and it’s predicted that it will make £721m in 2015.

But let’s face it, Twitter is still more fun, isn’t it? And you don’t have to put up with some dipshit sharing Britain First posts and clicking on pictures of children with cancer holding hand-drawn signs saying ‘Help us get to 10,000 Likes!’

facebook mobile 300x200 Regulator probes into Facebook for emotion experimentFacebook – yes, it is still going – have been playing with people’s emotions which is very sinister, even though the company themselves are playing it down by shrugging and goofily saying it didn’t really work and, pschaw! don’t you worry about it!

However, people are worried about it and the Information Commissioner’s Office (ICO) is going to investigate. They want to know whether or not Facebook Inc broke data protection laws when they allowed researchers to do a psychological experiment on users of the social network.

Now, Facebook are taking it a little more seriously.

“It’s clear that people were upset by this study and we take responsibility for it. We want to do better in the future and are improving our process based on this feedback. The study was done with appropriate protections for people’s information and we are happy to answer any questions regulators may have,” a Facebook spokesman said.

Here’s the kicker though.

The ICO can levy fines for up to £500,000. Facebook have that kind of money down the back of their sofa, so they’ll probably say sorry, pay the fine and then conduct some more experiments because they’re bored.

Meanwhile, fans of Edward Snowden will be weighing up whether to run around, wailing hysterically about how the baddies are coming to get us or to tweet “Oh, you don’t say?!” sarcastically to their 103 followers.

What has this whole debacle taught us? That everyone, regardless of viewpoint, is annoying.

Facebook have been toying with your emotions

June 30th, 2014 5 Comments By Mof Gimmers

Bitterwallet Facebook censorship Facebook have been toying with your emotionsEveryone knows that Facebook are a company that indulge in dark behaviour, but their latest stunt will have a number of people more than worried.

They’ve been trying to control people’s emotions.

Now, of course, there’ll be swathes of people who will sniff at the whole idea, saying that no-one should be gullible enough to have their feelings messed with by a corporation, however those people are probably feeling smug because Facebook got in their brain and told them to do so.

Basically, what happened is that Facebook did a psychology experiment on around 700,000 users without asking. They manipulated news feeds in a bid to control which emotional expressions members were exposed to.

Why? Well, it was done in collaboration with two US universities to see if “exposure to emotions led people to change their own posting behaviours”.

Facebook said there was “no unnecessary collection of people’s data” and that “none of the data used was associated with a specific person’s Facebook account,” like that’s the thing anyone is concerned about. This isn’t a personal data issue – it’s a Controlling People’s Minds Like Some Bleak Sci-Fi Movie issue. It is more of an issue that a big company doesn’t fully understand ethics, consent and power on its platform.

Cornell University and the University of California at San Francisco were also in cahoots on this experiment.

Labour MP Jim Sheridan wasn’t happy: ”This is extraordinarily powerful stuff and if there is not already legislation on this, then there should be to protect people. They are manipulating material from people’s personal lives and I am worried about the ability of Facebook and others to manipulate people’s thoughts in politics or other areas.”

Yeah. That’s why everyone hates Ed Miliband.

He continued: “If people are being thought-controlled in this kind of way there needs to be protection and they at least need to know about it.”

Adam Kramer of Facebook, who co-authored the report on the research, said: “We felt that it was important to investigate the common worry that seeing friends post positive content leads to people feeling negative or left out. At the same time, we were concerned that exposure to friends’ negativity might lead people to avoid visiting Facebook.”

However, he admitted that the firm did not “clearly state our motivations in the paper” and that ”I can understand why some people have concerns about it, and my co-authors and I are very sorry for the way the paper described the research and any anxiety it caused.”

Bitterwallet Facebook censorship Facebook crashes   Buzzfeed and Upworthy shed tearsFacebook suffered a global service disruption (or, in English, it went down) leaving people unable to share awful Buzzfeed and Upworthy articles for 20 minutes!

Millions of users got the ‘Sorry, something went wrong’ message, with Facebook users unable to moan about it on their own Facebook walls.

There’s no explanation given for the outage and over on Twitter, the hastag #Facebookdown trended worldwide.

A Facebook spokesperson said: “Earlier this morning, we experienced an issue that prevented people from posting to Facebook for a brief period of time. We resolved the issue quickly, and we are now back to 100 per cent. We’re sorry for any inconvenience this may have caused.”

There was still time for people to take the piss though. Kit Kat got in on it, trying to create some viral marketing for themselves, by sharing this cheeky image.

BqemFPyCIAAgVzA 500x500 Facebook crashes   Buzzfeed and Upworthy shed tears

 

Either way, if you had trouble trying to get onto your Facebook so you could look at photos of your ex-girlfriend and her impossibly blissful life, don’t worry, everything has been fixed now.

You can go back to skiving off work now.

Will the real Phil Neville please stand up?

June 18th, 2014 No Comments By Lucy Sweet

philneville 300x199 Will the real Phil Neville please stand up? Poor Phil Neville. I don’t mean the footballer, whose droning World Cup commentary has been the subject of a social media hoo-ha.

No, I mean Phil Neville the 60 year old radiator salesman from Suffolk, who has been receiving a barrage of abuse from punters thinking he’s the guy off the telly.

Mistaken identities happen all the time on Twitter, like in the case of poor John Lewis, a computer science professor at Virginia Tech who faithfully replies to compliments about his feather soft pillows and great customer service.

Then there’s a girl whose nickname is ‘The Ashes’, who has had to change her bio to read ‘I’m NOT A FREAKING CRICKET MATCH.’

Still, the other Phil Neville isn’t letting it get to him, and has been chirpily knocking back the brickbats. He’s even been using his accidental new found fame as a business opportunity.

‘Please send @philneville off as I’m falling asleep’, someone tweeted, to which he replied:

‘The radiator salesman from Suffolk is available to commentate on the Uruguay game on Thursday should the BBC require a replacement for Phil.’

DO IT, PHIL. Put us out of our misery.

Twitter Logo1 Twitter say they’re still learning about keeping people safe While prominent women – like campaigner Caroline Criado-Perez and MP Stella Creasy – receive screeds of awful abuse, it’s good to know that Twitter is LEARNING how best to keep its users safe online.

Sounding like it’s just come from a support group for stressed social networks, Sinead McSweeney, Twitter’s director of public policy for Europe, Middle East and Africa, said it faced ‘new challenges’ from trolls, and added:

‘We continue to learn from incidents like that. If you stop learning, you stop providing a good service to your users.’

HMMM, OK. And?

Well, Twitter hires a grand total of 150 employees to work in the user support and safety teams based in Dublin, who work all hours to assess threats, monitor possible suicide attempts and block trolls.

But as it’s an open network with 500 million tweets a day, it can’t possibly moderate every tweet. And even when trolls are blocked, they tend to come back in different guises.

So what is it going to do? Well, as Twitter is a touchy feely San Fran-based company, it’s going to EDUCATE THE TROLLS.

‘There are people who have an approach of just banning or blocking content, then there are the approaches of educating people…’ says McSweeney, ‘which is to the greatest extent, the approach and philosophy that we take.’

Aw, isn’t that nice? We’ll remember their great work next time we get harassed and called a c*** by a random stranger.

Bitterwallet Facebook censorship Facebook will soon open advertising hellmouth From ’10 Great Tips to Reduce Belly Fat’ to irritating photos of Fitflops and exotic holidays, Facebook ads rank highly on everyone’s s***list.

So you may be interested to learn that Facebook is changing the way it tracks and shows ads. ‘Hurray!’ you cry, ‘No more crappy ads!’ Well, er, not quite. Because the two changes that they’re introducing appear to contradict each other completely.

The first new feature is quite useful. Firstly when you get an ad in your feed, you’ll see a blue arrow at the bottom. If you click on the arrow you’ll see a menu with a tab called ‘Why are you seeing this?’ It allows you to understand the Facebook tracking process – for example, maybe you ‘liked’ a page about sinks in 2008 and now you’re always seeing ads for sinks, etc.

You can then adjust your settings to opt out of ads for sinks by removing sinks from your list of interests.

So far, so good. But you’re not going to like the next new addition at all. Facebook said yesterday that they are going to do a Google on you and start tracking your web and app activity, then show you tailored ads.

If that makes you feel paranoid and itchy, you can opt out by adjusting the tracking settings on iOS and Android. However, Facebook might not be that interested in telling you about that, and annoyingly, they have said they will not be honouring the ‘do not track’ option, meaning you might get ads anyway. Hmm, wouldn’t want their users personal privacy to get in the way of a nice revenue stream, eh?

So the upshot of all this is that Facebook is about to get approximately one million times more annoying, but don’t worry – there’s a little blue arrow that you can constantly press to get rid of ads.

GREAT!

Twitter Logo1 Twitter is the most secure site... but dont mention TweetdeckWebsite security is a big deal, seeing as we all spend roughly 100% of our time online. Twitter, it turns out, is the toppermost of the poppermost in a a new report which measures how trustworthy sites are.

The Online Trust Alliance – made up of a bunch of boring techie people – released their annual Online Trust Audit and Honour Roll. Basically, sites get ranked by things like consumer protection, privacy, security and all that junk.

They looked at 800 websites and only 29% made their honour roll, but 2014′s class swot was Twitter. They won it in 2013 too.

“Twitter is honoured to again receive the top overall award for the highest score on the OTA Honor Roll,” Bob Lord, Twitter’s director of information security, said in a statement. “It has become increasingly clear over the past year that companies need to be even more vigilant in applying security and encryption technologies like always-on-SSL, forward secrecy, and DMARC in order to protect their users, and we’re glad to partner with organizations like the OTA to raise the security and privacy bar.”

However, Twitter-owned Tweetdeck was taking the sheen off Twitter’s crown thanks to an XSS flaw, which saw a number of potential exploits spreading all over the network.

Yesterday, a large number of Tweetdeck users were dishing out vulnerable scripts with their tweets, which opened up others to attacks.

It took TweetDeck six hours to patch things up, and they even took their service down so they could look at the damage. Users were advised to simply log-out, then log back in again, to fix the problem. Sadly, swathes of Tweeters missed the memo and lo, a widespread infection was on our hands.

These XSS attacks allow swines to take over your account and log in as you.

Maybe 2015 will see the OTA choosing a different website as it’s ‘most secure’. Either way, you imagine someone at TweetDeck is getting a royal scalding today.

mark zuckerberg facepalm 274x300 Facebooks answer to Snapchat is accidentally launched In the latest of their increasingly desperate attempts to piggy back on the success of Snapchat, Facebook ‘accidentally’ launched their own version for iPhone last night – called Slingshot.

But even though it was quickly withdrawn from the App Store, screen shots and details about Slingshot were grabbed by intrigued tech sites.

Slingshot is exactly like Snapchat, but with a few tiny tweaks. For example, recipients of photos can ‘sling’ a ‘OMG IS THAT YOUR KNOB’ reaction shot back straight away. An embarrassed Facebook representative confirmed:

‘Earlier today, we accidentally released a version of Slingshot, a new app we’re working on,’ they said in a statement. ‘With Slingshot, you’ll be able to share everyday moments with lots of people at once. It’ll be ready soon and we’re excited for you to try it out.’

Zuckerberg rather poetically describes all the desperate money spinning, copycat apps Facebook produces as ‘unbundling the big blue app.’

But after they tried and failed to buy Snapchat last year, their desire to replicate the success of Snapchat is developing into the kind of fanboy obsession that Comic Book Guy from the Simpsons could relate to.

Nobody knows when Slingshot will be ready, but it’s doubtful that Snapchat are going to be quaking in their boots. Anyone remember their other short-lived picture messaging service, Poke?

Instagram to get slightly fancier

June 4th, 2014 No Comments By Mof Gimmers

instagram Instagram to get slightly fancierInstagram have rolled out their latest version so you can make your ordinary pictures covered in slightly more… or slightly less… filter trickery.

What we’re saying here, is that they’ve given users more control over the ways in which you can edit your photographs of your godforsaken lunch or cat.

In an official blog post, Instagram says: “We’re delighted to bring you a set of new creative tools on Instagram with the ability to adjust brightness, contrast, saturation, warmth and more.”

There will now be a little wrench on-screen and when you tap that, you’ll find a wonderful world of things to poke your fingers at. Basically, on the editing screen – displayed in a horizontal grid – you’ll be able to slide sliders and stuff, by double tapping the filter icon.

Users who have no idea what vignetting is will now be able to mess around with the tools and see how the edges of photos get darker and the like. Seems Instagram want to give people the same kind of control you’d find on the hugely popular Zoom camera app.

Download the new Instagram at the Apple app store and Google Play store. Just don’t try taking photos with any nipples on.