Daily Archives: 14 December, 2009

Facebook mishandles privacy update

Last
week Facebook rolled-out a new set of privacy settings. If you’re a
Facebook user you can’t really have missed it. You were forced to at
least review the settings when you logged-in.

It was billed as
putting the user in greater control of their data and the information
that they share with others, with advertisers and with 3rd party
applications.

However, after many months of critical speculation
and reassurance that Facebook was taking privacy seriously, it appeared
that some of the new default settings automatically made personal
information available to more, rather than fewer, people (irrespective
of one’s previous settings). For example the default setting for member
photos and birthdays used to be limited to ‘friends’ however, the new
default setting extends this to ‘friends of friends’.

It’s not
all bad news, however. Where a user wants to review and adjust their
privacy settings the new Facebook controls allow customisation of
almost every element including what information is shared by
applications.

We all understand that Facebook has to evolve its
business model. Its core asset is the data it holds on its members.
However, the fear now is that to drive advertising growth it will start
to push members into sharing more than they want (or more than they
thought they had shared) simply because most users simply won’t want to
spend the time adjusting complicated settings, or they simply don’t
understand the implications.

However, as both behavioural
targetting and social search become the new battlegrounds for both
social networking sites and the major search engines – understanding
what personal information is accessible by whom will become
increasingly important.

Emoderation’s Social Media Round-Up #18

 Welcome to eModeration’s round-up of all that is intriguing,
alarming or odd in the world of social media, compiled by Kate Williams
(@emodkate).

In this update: Zuckerberg’s privacy settings; social
brands; and judicious Friending.

Next update: Friday. See you
then!


ON
FACEBOOK …

Facebook’s road to global domination is
littered with milestones – barely a week passes without us stubbing our toe on
another one. A few weeks ago, 350 million global users –this week 100
million Stateside users
, up from 98.1 million a mere week ago.

As
suspected, Facebook’s new privacy settings aren’t quite as private as they might be, and
Facebook’s been getting a bit of an earful from various security experts – some
of whom point to its new search relationships with Google and Bing as possible
smoking guns
.

To head off a possible revolt, the social giant took a
few baby-steps
backwards
and announced that it will, after all, be possible to prevent your
friend list appearing automatically on your profile – though that info is still
accessible by third party apps.

Meanwhile, Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg
has done the decent thing and adopted Facebook’s default privacy settings on his
own account. So if you’ve always wanted to know what a twenty-something
billionaire gets up to in his downtime, now’s
your chance
.  But you had to be quick – because oops, he’s changed his settings to make some of them private again.  Funny that.

The Ethics Advisory Committee of the Florida Supreme
Court has decreed that lawyers are not
allowed to friend
judges and so forth on Facebook and other social networks,
lest the public assume undue influence. Blimey – that’s a pretty thin friends
list they’re looking at there, if lawyers are not allowed to friend each other.
It’s almost enough to make you feel sorry for the poor things.
Almost.

When the world was abuzz with the possibility that teens were
sloping away from Facebook for fear of being friended by their grannies, I
confess I thought we were speaking figuratively. It appears not – users
aged 65 and up
have increased by over half in the last 2 years and now make
up 8.2% of their total membership. What’s more, Facebooks’s growth for much of
this year has been driven by females in this age group – it really is
Gransnet.

Bad news for brands – new vox-pops by Brand Republic suggest
that not
many Brits
understand why they should become a fan of a brand on Facebook.
Citing the fundamental social purpose of the network, one said succinctly: “I
don’t really care about people’s opinions on what flavour pasty they like from
Greggs.”

ON TWITTER

As you know, each member of the Twitter management team
is contractually obliged to answer the question ‘is Google buying Twitter?’ at
least twice a day, and they’ve gotten pretty good at batting it away. This time,
however, co-founder
Jack Dorsey’s response
was an enigmatic “There have been no announcements.”
He followed up with an even more non-commital “Twitter is focused on building a
sustainable company,” leaving commentators furiously stroking their
beards.

Meanwhile, the micro-blogging service’s stalled stats could be in
for a boost – they’ve launched a new API which will allow users to sign up
directly from
third party apps
. Some commentators are suggesting this might be the
beginnings of a business plan.

A few days ago we reported that many
brands were still failing to embrace Twitter as a customer service channel – but
today comes news from the other end of the Twitter continuum. It seems that
dissatisfied customers who DON’T tweet their grievance risk encountering worse
customer service standards
than ever, as companies cotton on to the fact
that a poor review on Twitter and other social networks can lose them 30
additional customers, and therefore pour all their energies into social
media.

ON YOUTUBE

YouTube CEO & co-founder Chad Hurley says that
improved search was top of his
Christmas list
this year – it’s still too hard to find relevant content, he
says, hinting at discovery tools which will make better use of users’ search
history and viewing habits. Hurley also wants YouTube to become more social, and
to encourage more users to create and share content via their mobiles – as well
as moving towards an improved delivery system for TV-on-demand.

This
coming Spring YouTube is launching ‘Sports Hub’ – a specially-created area of
Google’s video-sharing site which will hold more
than 2,000 videos
from SportAccord, the representative of various global
sporting institutions. Sports Hub will show a mixture of clips and long-form
content, including matches, competitions, and behind-the-scenes
material.

BRANDS GET SOCIAL

JetBlue, which is king of the skies on Twitter, wants to
up its Facebook stats – rather less high-flying at barely 60,000 fans. Their
All-You-Can-Jet Fan Sweepstakes offers the chance of winning unlimited free
air travel
for a year – but only to their Facebook fans.

Chase, the
financial services conglomerate, has developed a unique Facebook app which has
already reached over 844,000 monthly active users. The app, called Chase
Community Giving
, allows users to suggest ways that Chase should donate $5
million to charity.

Burger King is offering users the chance to send the
gift of a dollar
cheeseburger voucher
to a friend. Users select from a variety of wry
greetings, including “because an IM greeting wouldn’t have been enough. And a
fancy gift would’ve been too much” and “because I care deeply about someone who
looks kinda like you.”

Dell’s Twitter-led sales figures have just zoomed
past $6.5 million
, leaving other brands gawping. The figure is the combined
sales from their @DellOutlet Twitter account, which now has almost 1.5m
followers, and their other worldwide accounts.

Waitrose has launched an
online forum to help their customers deal with “Christmas
Affective Disorder
”, which it announced, with a semi-raised eyebrow,
troubles 50% of us. It plans to allay the anxiety we feel when faced with
Christmas tasks like ‘finding meat for those with dentures’.

Fox’s Avatar
social media tidal wave continues its
inexorable journey
across 15 global markets, including the UK. Two YouTube
‘power users’ will be given LG phones to film the World Premiere red carpet from
a fan’s perspective, and the following day an Avatar masthead will take over the
YouTube homepage, which will also feature a trailer for the
film.

VIRTUAL AND GAMES

The Dept of Transport has launched a children’s fantasy
MMOG called Code
of Everand
– a Green Cross Code for the ‘Tensies. The game ingeniously
teaches children the fundamentals of road safety – players must cross dangerous
‘spirit channels’, defeating monsters with a range of attacks and spells, while
building their stash of Concentration Points.

Habbo, the virtual world
for Teens, is offering brands a
new measurement tool
called Habble. The tool can track conversations and
mentions, and cross-ref with other data to provide an in-depth picture of ad
effectiveness.

A new study by sociologists at the Virtual Worlds
Observatory has found that, amongst hardcore gamers, women
trump men
in terms of hours played. The researchers found that the top 10%
of male players put in 48 hours a week which, while jaw-dropping, is nonetheless
dwarfed by the 56 hours a week which the top 10% of female gamers racked
up.

The discovery coincides with news that women
accounted for 30%
of all Modern Warfare players on the PC this year. Brands
are also noting the fact that female gamers are more likely to buy branded
clothing or book a holiday online, and are generally more at ease with spending
larger amounts over the internet than other women, according to Marketing Week,
whose in-depth
analysis
is well worth a look.

Metaversum, who’ve developed
mirror-world platform ‘Twinity’, launched
Virtual London
in beta last week. Citizens of the alternate British capital
will be able to buy and furnish apartments, as well as making real-world
business deals.

And finally, if you’ve time for a little light cogitation
in this busy festive week, here is Ypulse’s interview
with Joe Hyrkin
– Gaia Online’s Sales and Business Development supremo – in
which he discusses his experience with engaging older
teens.

That’s all
folks!

He’s a social media guru; he’s heading to Edelman

We swear social media has more guru’s than Las Vegas has gamblers. This one, David Armano, is heading to global PR firm Edelman to become the agency’s senior vice president of digital after eight months at social media start-up consultancy Dachis Group.

Ad Age reports that Armano will work with Steve Rubel, Edelman’s senior VP-director of insights, and will report directly to Rick Murray, president of Edelman Digital. Read More »