Melania Trump Club

Sunday, May 23, 2010

Facebook Dispute

Hackers Can Delete Facebook Friends, Thanks to Flaw

The flaw was reported Wednesday by Steven Abbagnaro, a student at Marist College in Poughkeepsie, New York. But as of Friday morning, Pacific time, it had still not been patched, based on tests conducted by the IDG News Service on a reporter's Facebook friends list.

A malicious hacker could combine an exploit for this bug with spam or even a self-copying worm code to wreak havoc on the social network, Abbagnaro said in an interview.

He's written proof-of-concept code that scrapes publicly available data from users' Facebook pages and then, one by one, deletes all of their friends. For the attack to work, however, the victim would first have to be tricked into clicking on a malicious link while logged into Facebook. "The next thing you know, you have no friends," Abbagnaro said.

The security researcher is not going to release the code used in his attack until after Facebook fixes the flaw, but he says that technically competent hackers could figure out how to pull off the attack.

That's because Abbagnaro's code exploits the same underlying flaw that was first reportedby M.J. Keith, a senior security analyst with Alert Logic.

Last week, Keith discovered that Facebook's Web site was not properly checking code sent by users' browsers to ensure that they were authorized to make changes on the site.

Called a cross-site request forgery bug, the flaw is a common Web programming error, but Facebook has had a hard time eradicating it from the site. After Keith first reported the issue, Facebook thought it had fixed the problem, only to discover that it could still be exploited to make users "like" Facebook pages without their consent.

Similarly, Facebook appears to have missed Abbagnaro's delete-friend vector as well.

"I am just blown away that this keeps happening," Keith said in an e-mail interview.

Facebook representatives couldn't immediately be reached for comment.

Facebook's security team has been under siege lately, with worm attacks and site flaws popping up on a regular basis. These security issues come as the social network has been hit with intense criticism for not adequately protecting users' privacy, and inappropriately sharing user data with advertisers.

Users have been quitting the social network and a campaign proclaiming May 31 as Quit Facebook Day has gained some traction.

Despite all of its other problems, Facebook should have fixed this latest flaw by now, Abbagnaro said. "I'm not sure why they haven't fixed it yet because it is pretty serious."

Robert McMillan can be reached at He is on Twitter at:

Facebook page tied to Pakistan ban back up

Protesters in Karachi, Pakistan, shout slogans during a Friday rally against published caricatures of the prophet Mohammed on Facebook. Protesters shouted "Death to Facebook" and "Death to America," and burned U.S. flags.

(Credit: AFP Photo/Asif Hassan)

Update, May 22 at 1:35 PDTThe story has been updated to indicate that the original "Everybody Draw Mohammed Day" Facebook page is back up, with an explanation of its removal.

A Facebook page that led Pakistan to temporarily block the social-networking site reappeared on the social-networking site Saturday morning, two days after it was taken down.

The page promotes "Everybody Draw Mohammed Day," scheduled for Thursday following an American cartoonist's satirical suggestion that people draw images of the prophet to promote free speech.

By Friday, the page no longer appeared on the site. Facebook said Friday it had not taken any action on the page,according to the Associated Press. It was speculated that the creator removed it, possibly because "Everybody Draw Mohammed Day" was over, but the reason was unclear.

On Saturday, however, the following explanation appeared on the wall of the page, which had upward of 109,000 supporters and more than 12,000 photos as of Saturday afternoon at 1:30 PDT.

"This page was removed two days ago, after one of our moderators had his e-mail and Skype hacked. His personal data was revealed. He then got scared and deleted, the blog, and the e-mails. The rest of us are now back without him after he backed out. This is another scare tactic from the Islamic extremists. We won't fall."

blog spawned by the idea of "Everybody Draw Mohammed Day," however, on Saturday remained virtually devoid of content, still renamed "nothing," after featuring several caricatures of Mohammed earlier in the week.

Pakistan's Facebook closure happened Wednesday after an Islamic lawyers association in Lahore argued that the contest essentially equaled blasphemy and won a court injunction against the social-networking site. In what could be a wider Internet crackdown, Pakistan also banned YouTube over "sacrilegious" content. Some Muslims consider images of Mohammed to be blasphemous.

Pakistan has said it would consider restoring Facebook and other sites featuring offending content if the content was removed. While the country's telecommunications regulator said Thursday that the YouTube ban had been lifted following the removal of "blasphemous" footage, a YouTube spokeswoman said the video site is still being blocked there, according to The Wall Street Journal.

Published caricatures of Mohammed also led to massive protests in the streets of Pakistan this week. Pakistani protesters shouted "Death to Facebook" and "Death to America," and burned U.S. flags to vent growing anger over online depictions of the prophet that they view as sacrilegious.

The idea for "Everybody Draw Mohammed Day" went viral quickly after Seattle cartoonist Molly Norris posted a drawing last month depicting objects like a domino, a spool of thread, and a handbag, saying they were the "real likeness of Mohammed." The cartoon also included a fake group called Citizens Against Citizens Against Humor calling for an "Everybody Draw Mohammed Day."

Norris said she drew her cartoon as a show of support for the creators of Comedy Central's "South Park," which earlier this year featured an episode depicting the prophet Muhammad in a bear suit.

That episode led a New York-based Web site called to warn creators of the animated series that "what they are doing is stupid, and they will probably wind up like Theo van Gogh," a Dutch filmmaker who was murdured in 2004 after producing a film exploring violence against women in some Islamic societies.

Norris, who strongly distanced herself from the concept of "Everybody Draw Mohammed Day," did not create the Facebook page touting the event and actively opposed it. Instead, she joined a Facebook group called "Against Everybody Draw Mohammed Day - May 20." Its page still appeared live on the site Friday afternoon, with more than 43,000 members.

Update, 9:15 p.m. PDT: Thanks to reader Josh Diekmann for writing in to point out that at least one additional"Everybody Draw Mohammed Day" Facebook page has gone up, with more than 17,000 "liking" it as of Friday night. In addition, another reader notes that Facebook now hosts a page promoting "Show Mohammed Day," a scheduled day of rallies June 3 "in celebration of freedom of speech and religion, honoring the spirit of the First Amendment." The organizer says the June 3 rallies are a direct response to the controversy surrounding "Everybody Draw Mohammed Day."

Leslie Katz, senior editor of CNET's Crave, covers gadgets, games, and myriad other digital distractions. As a co-host of the recently retired CNET News Daily Podcast, she was sometimes known to channel Terry Gross and still uses her trained "podcast voice" to bully the speech recognition software on automated customer service lines. E-mail Leslie.

Facebook working on 'simple' privacy settings

news analysis After one of the most tumultuous months in its young history, Facebook is planning to announce features intended to offer its hundreds of millions of users simpler privacy choices.

The last few weeks have not been kind to the Internet's second most popular Web site, which has been pilloried by privacy activists and slammed by some members of Congress. The flap has spawned clever interactive graphics showing how Facebook has gradually exposed more user data, tools to fix your privacy settings, andreports of internal discord among employees who may fear that the negative attention would jeopardize a lucrative public stock offering.

A Facebook spokesman on Friday confirmed that the changes will arrive "shortly," without elaborating. "The messages we've received are pretty clear," Andrew Noyes said. "Users appreciate having precise and comprehensive controls, but want them to be simpler and easier to use. They also like the new programs we have rolled out, but want simple and easy ways to opt out of sharing personal information with applications and Web sites."

While the recent focus on Facebook started with its announcements in late April at the F8 developers conference, which included deeper connections with partner Web sites, concerns have been building for a long time. There was the outcry over the now-defunct Beacon advertising program, CEO Mark Zuckerberg's remarks last December about pushing users to disclose more, and brief eruptions, including Thursday's disclosure of Facebook sharing some data with advertisers, in possible violation of its privacy policy.

No wonder you're starting to see tips--including a CNET FAQ we published earlier Friday--on how to irrevocably delete your Facebook account. (Yes, there's even a Facebook group.)

The new controls, which could arrive as early as next week, will feature simpler and easier-to-use controls for users who care about them, while continuing to offer granular controls for those who want them as well, a company source said. No doubt The New York Times will redraw its helpful road map to Facebook's privacy options.

When the generally laissez-faire Economist writes an article saying regulators may be able to "justly" target Facebook, and The Wall Street Journal's Peggy Noonan warns that "when we lose our privacy, we lose some of our humanity," these are signs that Zuckerberg has lost the zeitgeist. So is the flood of money to the ephemeral idea of Diaspora. (Time magazine's cover story featuring an interview with Zuckerberg, on the other hand, was far more flattering.)

ome of these news clippings almost appear to have been copied and pasted from The Onion, which has been covering the issue in its own way. There was the Facebook phishing scam that snared a board member and asecurity hole that leaked some private messages. Then there's the October release of "The Social Network," starring Jesse Eisenberg and Justin Timberlake, which appears to be using a different name to keep the lawyers at bay.

The danger here lies, as it often does, in regulatory overreach. Sen. Charles Schumer, the New York Democrat, isdemanding a federal investigation and the issuing of government "guidelines" on privacy disclosures. Like most members of Congress, Schumer is a lawyer-turned-lifelong-politician with no experience running a business; he's been on the taxpayers' payroll ever since being elected to the New York State Assembly at the age of 23.

If Facebook has made privacy missteps that harmed its users, existing law gives the Federal Trade Commission and state attorneys general ample authority to investigate and litigate. The lawyers staffing those agencies, hardly timid souls, have proven to be eager and willing to do just that.

And, if there's evidence of lawbreaking, no doubt class action lawyers will leap at the chance to enrich themselves at the expense of Facebook's owners and employees.

But to argue, as Schumer does, that the possibility of future harm demands immediate regulation would short-circuit the legislative process. At the very least, before rushing to pass final judgment, it may be worth waiting a week or so to see what Facebook actually does.

Facebook Fixes Bug That Allowed Friend Deletion

The flaw was reported Wednesday by Steven Abbagnaro, a student at Marist College in Poughkeepsie, New York. It was patched Friday afternoon, Pacific time, after the IDG News Service notified Facebook of the issue.

The bug was a variation of an earlier vulnerability that Facebook learned about last week, which affected a range of features on the Web site. Hackers could have leveraged Abbagnaro's bug to delete all of a victim's contacts, one by one, but it does not appear that anyone ever exploited it in a malicious way.

For Abbagnaro's attack to work, however, a user would have to have been tricked into clicking on a malicious Web link while still logged into Facebook.

Facebook has struggled this week to fix these bugs, which are called cross-site request forgery flaws. They exist because of relatively simple Web programming mistakes in the Web site's code, and security researchers have criticized Facebook for not fixing them more quickly.

"We're in the process of doing a full audit and are building additional protections for this type of potential attack across the code base," said Simon Axten, a Facebook spokesman, in a Friday e-mail interview. "We began working on this one as soon as we learned about it and pushed a fix early this afternoon."

Facebook fiasco used as weapon in California campaign

SAN FRANCISCO (MarketWatch) -- Chris Kelly, the former Facebook Inc. privacy chief running for California attorney general, is absorbing an attack from a political opponent that makes use of his former employer's privacy-related, public-relations meltdown.

Facebook, the popular social-networking service that's accumulated nearly 500 million users, has come under severe criticism lately for its privacy practices.

Some users have urged others to quit Facebook following the company's recent unveiling of a feature that can share information about which Web sites they visit -- just the latest policy change to raise hackles. Meanwhile, privacy advocates and U.S. lawmakers have urged the Federal Trade Commission to examine the closely held firm's practices.

Kelly, who served as Palo Alto, Calif.-based Facebook's chief privacy officer until he left the company in mid-March, has sought to distance himself from the controversy. In a statement released last month, the candidate said that if he's elected, Facebook, "like every company, will have to comply with its obligations to adhere to the law."

For the most part, his opponents in the June 8 Democratic primary had avoided the Facebook privacy issue. But in a recent volley, San Francisco District Attorney Kamala Harris made clear she intends to make use of the fracas surrounding Kelly's former employer.

In a statement released Thursday, the Harris campaign declared that Kelly "must come clean with voters" about his role in devising controversial privacy policies at Facebook.

"Was Kelly simply a fox guarding the hen house at Facebook?" the campaign asks. "If Kelly couldn't stand up to Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg on behalf of Facebook users, how on earth can Californians trust Kelly to go to bat on their behalf as attorney general?"

Robin Swanson, a spokeswoman for Kelly, said the privacy storm surrounding Facebook only began in earnest after he left the company. Though he officially resigned in March, he effectively left the previous August, when he went on a leave of absence, she added.

Harris "is demonstrating an appalling lack of focus," Swanson charged, saying the rival candidate is paying attention to Facebook rather than to the recent problems at San Francisco's police crime lab -- and how Harris handled them as the city's district attorney.

San Francisco prosecutors have had to dismiss drug cases following the disclosure that the city's drug-analysis lab may have tainted evidence, while other cases have been imperiled by revelations about police officers' criminal histories.

"Maybe Kamala Harris should be worried about things that actually happened on her watch," Swanson said, "instead of trying to pin things on Chris Kelly that happened after he left the company."

Harris also has sought to focus on Kelly's significant bankrolling of his campaign. Kelly has spent nearly $10 million to the effort. In its recent statement, the Harris campaign accuses him of trying "to buy the attorney general's office."

However, Kelly has significant outside financial support -- which has included campaign donations from technology-industry heavyweights, in addition to high-profile, former colleagues at Facebook.

Kelly's campaign backers, according to public filings, have included Marc Andreessen, the Netscape co-founder and Facebook board member; angel investor Ron Conway, who has backed companies including Google Inc. (GOOG 472.05-2.96-0.62%) in their early days; Chad Hurley, the YouTube co-founder now working at Google; Yahoo Inc.'s(YHOO 15.48+0.38+2.50%) vice president of global policy, Anne Toth; and LinkedIn's executive chairman, Reid Hoffman.

Chris Kelly, candidate for California attorney general.

Chris Kelly, candidate for California attorney general.

TechNet, the industry policy group that includes Facebook, Google, Microsoft Corp. (MSFT 26.84-0.27-1.00%) and many others, has donated to the Kelly campaign as well, records show.

Microsoft invested $240 million in Facebook in 2007, in exchange for a 1.6% ownership stake.

Campaign contributors for Kelly from within Facebook have included Chief Operating Officer Sheryl Sandberg, lobbyist Tim Sparapani and the vice president of global communications, Elliot Schrage.

Meanwhile, Harris has won endorsements from U.S. House Speaker Nancy Pelosi and San Francisco Mayor Gavin Newsom.

Other Democratic candidates vying for the attorney general's office being vacated by Jerry Brown include former Los Angeles city attorney Rocky Delgadillo and California Assemblymen Ted Lieu, Alberto Torrico and Pedro Nava. 

Securing your Facebook privacy settings

One wonders if Mark Zuckerberg and his fellow Facebook executives are wishing they could declare a do-over right about now, dating back to late April. That’s when Facebook held its developer summit and unveiled plans to make the social network even more ubiquitous on the Web—and that also raised a number of serious privacy concerns among Facebook users. Since then, Facebook has been the subject of what seems like a daily drumbeat of headlines about its privacy policies, whether it’s users quitting the social network service or pundits advocating for improved privacy rules.

The optimist in me hopes that the public uproar inspires Facebook’s management to spend less effort on spin and more on unraveling the Gordian Knot that is managing your privacy settings on the social network site. (It’s an oft-quoted tidbit, but this New York Times reportbears repeating: to completely manage your privacy on Facebook, you’ve got to manage 50 settings with more than 170 options. That seems… excessive.) Until Facebook lets up the requisite puff of white smoke to announce what came out of last week’s privacy summit, however, when it comes to making sure your Facebook information is only seen by the people you want to share it with, you’re still on your own.

Well, not entirely on your own—, a privacy awareness group, has developed a tool that scans your Facebook privacy settings to tell you how secure your data is. The tool is available in the form of a bookmarklet that you drag to the bookmarks bar of your Web browser. Then you head to Facebook’s privacy settings screen— helpfully provides a link—and click on the bookmark. After the tool scans your privacy settings in six areas—Facebook’s Instant Personalization feature; your personal data; contact information; friends, tags, and connections information; what your friends can share about you; and whether applications can leak your personal data—it tells you what areas are secure and where you may want to consider tweaking your settings.

Hold on a minute, the privacy-focused among you might be saying: How do I know that will respect my privacy. The Website says it never sees your Facebook data nor does it share your personal information. It also publishes the source code for its scanning tool in the name of transparency.

I used the tool on my own Facebook account to see how it worked, testing it both on Safari 4 and Firefox 3.6. Running the scanner takes just a few seconds, and I got a green Secure label for Instant Personalization, as well as preventing friends and applications from inadvertently sharing my data. Three areas were flagged with a yellow caution label—my personal information, contact information, and friends, tags, and connections data. (According to reports elsewhere on the Internet, there’s a third label—a red “insecure” flag. That one didn’t appear in my tests, which I guess is a sign that my paranoia and distrust of my fellow man is good for something.)

The tool provides helpful links for adjusting any settings it flags as problematic. To secure my personal information, I clicked on the supplied link and altered my biographical info so that only my Facebook friends could see it. Hitting the rescan button brought up a green secure label for my personal information.

Securing my contact information and friends, tags, and connections data proved more problematic. I’ve set my Facebook preferences to allow anyone to add me as a friend or send me a message. That apparently raises a caution flag for, though it’s one I’m willing to live with. (What’s the point of being on a social network only to make it difficult for people to find you? Besides, I figure I can ignore any friend requests or messages that strike me as hinky.) As for friends, tags, and connections, I can only guess that ReclaimPrivacy is concerned that I’ve made my hometown, education, and work info visible to anyone. (No one must ever know that Philip Michaels is employed by Macworld!) While I can understand that some Facebook users may not want to share that specific data, I’m fine with having it out there just as I’m fine with letting me know that I may want to rethink that stance if I want to be completely secure.

There’s one thing about the tool that struck me as curious: When I scanned my Facebook settings in Firefox, I got the all clear on everything—even the categories still flagged with a yellow Caution label in Safari. My takeaway message? As helpful as the tool is—and it is very helpful—it’s not a silver bullet for every privacy concern you’ll have on Facebook. The best weapon you have is still your own common sense—though a little clarity from Facebook itself would be welcome, too.

Facebook Page Banned by Pakistan Is Back Online

The Facebook page that led the Pakistan government to ban the entire site was back online Saturday, at least for some users, after it was inaccessible for about two days.
The page was removed Thursday after one of the moderators had his e-mail and Skype account hacked into, and his personal data revealed, according to a post on the page on Saturday. The moderator then got scared and deleted the page, a blog, and e-mails, according to the post.
"This is another scare tactic from the Islamic extremists," the post said. "We won't fall," it added. The moderator who removed the page has however backed out, according to the post.
The page had over 108,000 fans and over 11,700 photos posted on Saturday. Though the Facebook users who created the page put it back up Saturday, some users in India were able to access it for only a brief time before their access was once again blocked. Meanwhile access to Facebook as a whole continues to be blocked in Pakistan.
The page "Everybody draw Mohammed Day!" invites users to post caricatures of Prophet Mohammed, which led a court in Pakistan to order the site to be blocked.
There were also a large number of protests on the streets of Pakistan on Wednesday and Thursday, objecting to the page.
The Pakistan Telecommunication Authority (PTA) on Wednesday ordered operators to block Facebook on Wednesday until further orders. It also ordered YouTube to be blocked on Thursday for displaying "sacrilegious" content. It said it had also blocked over 450 links on the Internet that contained derogatory material.
"Facebook has not taken any action on this page," a spokeswoman for the company said earlier on Saturday. The company had said on Thursday that it would not rule out making the content that Pakistan objected to inaccessible to users in Pakistan.
When dealing with user-generated content on global Web sites, there are occasions where content that is illegal in one country is not, or may even be protected, in another, Facebook said on Thursday. Most companies, including Facebook, approach this issue by preventing certain content from being shown to users in the countries where it is illegal, it added.
The PTA has said it would welcome contact from Facebook and YouTube to resolve the issue.

And now, a Facebook for kids under 13

Kids under 13 aren’t allowed on Facebook, but that hasn’t stopped many of them from joining. Togetherville, a new social network for kids ages 6 to 10, hopes to lure them into a more age-appropriate setting.

It’s free to join, and kids’ accounts must be created by their parents using their own Facebook logins. Parents can approve or reject their children’s friends and see what activities or games their kids are up to.

Kids have separate logins to Togetherville, and the site looks different depending on whether a parent or a child is logged in. For kids, there are games, prescreened YouTube videos and other activities, such as educational applications, but no ads.

There are even Facebook-style status updates, called “quips,” with a twist: kids choose from a preselected menu of updates, which change daily. Dhillon says that’s because when given a blank space to type in, kids tend to either write gibberish or get stumped by to say. But if they want to, they can send in their own “quips” for approval.

Best Buy to offer online movies

Best Buy Co. is about to give its customers one less reason to buy DVDs.

The largest U.S. consumer electronics retailer said Tuesday that it will start renting and selling the latest video releases over high-speed Internet connections by the end of this month. It will compete against an array of other similar services offered by Inc., Netflix Inc. and Apple Inc.

Rentals are expected to cost about $4 per title, and movies to own will cost about $15.

Cellular customer satisfaction grows

Consumers are more satisfied than ever with their cell phone service, according to a new survey.

The American Customer Satisfaction Index for cell phone service was 72 on a 100-point scale in the first quarter this year. That rose three points from last year and is the highest grade since the survey started looking at wireless in 2004.


Facebook divides civil society in Pakistan

ISLAMABAD: When hundreds of Pakistanis are protesting against social networking websites Facebook and Youtube for carrying the caricatures of Prophet Mohammed Peace Be Upon Him, there are many in this conservative Muslim country who oppose the decision of banning these sites and believe in tackling this situation by adopting counter measures.

Protesters in major cities of Pakistan Karachi, Lahore, Islamabad, Rawalpindi, Multan and Peshawar spent last Friday shouting "Death to Facebook", "Death to America" and burnt US flags.

But surprisingly and in contrast with the past, the religious leadership, which organized the processions, could not attract big gatherings for the protests. Internet

Around 4,000 people came in the streets to protest against the facebook and Youtube in Karachi, 3,000 turned up in Lahore, around 500 gathered in Multan, up to 400 appeared in Rawalpindi and Islamabad and 250 showed up in North-Western City of Peshawar. In Lahore, protesters burnt US, Norway, Sweden and Denmark flags. In Karachi, Islamabad, Rawalpindi, Multan and Peshawar, people blocked main roads and shouted death to face book, America and Western Media, which humiliated the holly prophet. 

"We have to show unity in this war of the present time," remarked Farid Ahmed Paracha, a central leader of main opposition religious party Jamaat-e-Islami. "We should tell America that this is the final battle and we are ready to win it," he told the gathering in Lahore.

"This facebook and Youtube are being used negatively against Muslims and to humiliate our holly prophet, we warn USA and the whole west they should avoid such practice otherwise a new war will start," said Mirza Hassan, a college student in Rawalpindi.

The Pakistan Telecommunications Authority (PTA) also restricted more than 450 links besides completely banning Facebook and YouTube after a court decision for restricting all Internet sites carrying blasphemous material.

But there are also many people who think that protesting against such acts was not a right way to handle this situation.

"What will be impact on facebook, USA, and the west if we block our own roads and create a panic in our own country? We should simply accept their offence and prepare ourselves to beat them technically in all the areas," said Hasan Nasir, a young computer engineer.

A debate has also been started among the members of civil society discussing the justification of ban. Hundreds of e-mails have been generated on the popular e-mail groups including the media groups to argue for or against this ban.

"We always turn up for non-issues. This is true that they have hurt us, but halting the life in our own country satisfies their aims. We should openly face this and try to respond it by concentrating on our jobs and taking our Muslim Ummah up to their level in economic and social departments. Then we should leave them behind in all other departments and take our sweet revenge," said Mubarak Ahmed, operator at an international call center.

"My Prophet is above all these things and criticism. His personality is far above of all of this. I don't care who is making what kind of caricatures of him. He is blessing for the whole world and I love him from the core of my heart. His blessings are for the entire world and his critics will meet their destiny on the doomsday, me or anybody else has no need to worry," commented Tariq Zia, social officer at a local NGO.


Like this? Lee DeWyze surpasses Crystal Bowersox in Facebook popularity

 Crystal Bowersox continues to sharply lead fellow Idol top two contestant Lee DeWyze in overall mentions across the internet, one trend has emerged which suggests that Lee has in fact gained momentum heading into the season finale. On their latest official status updates on Idol’s official Facebook page, Lee leads Crystal nearly two to one in both the number of “Likes” from fans and in the number of comments: 9840 to 5797, and 3899 to 2122, respectively. So while the search results we unearthed earlier suggest that Crystal Bowersox has in fact been the frontrunner throughout the course of the season, today’s Facebook data suggests that Lee DeWyze is in fact rapidly gaining momentum. While voters at home will determine who will win with their telephones in Tuesday evening, voters on Facebook appear to be having their say in the mean time.

Microsoft Kin concerts lead fans on merry chase

NEW YORK — Free concerts. Open bar. Big names. Small venues. The catch?

You've got to find them first. And only a string of tweets, Facebook updates and blog posts will lead you there.

Microsoft is combining social media and detective work to market its new Kin cell phone this month by throwing surprise concerts with bands such the Black Keys in four cities.

Key details such as time and location are trickled out in the days and hours before the show online by various sources including Microsoft and the bands. Then they spread through word of mouth.

Microsoft's target market for the phone is teens and twenty-somethings more likely to text and tweet rather than call and e-mail.

Source:google News

Does Facebook know who you'll date next?

Facebook co-founder Mark Zuckerberg genuinely cares about your relationship status. Well, maybe not genuinely, but he may look into it if he’s bored.

One of Zuckerberg’s favorite pastimes is determining Facebook users’ relationship patterns, according to David Kilpatrick’s upcoming book, “The Facebook Effect: The Inside Story of the Company That Is Connecting the World.”

Are you constantly chatting with your girlfriend’s best friend? Do you spend more time on your crush’s Facebook page than your boyfriend’s?

You don’t have to be honest with us, but don’t bother lying to Zuckerberg.

A handful of tech blogs have published an excerpt from the book that says Zuckerberg uses certain factors to determine whether your relationship is on the outs and who you’ll likely be dating next.

All Facebook, a blog about the social-networking site, posted this passage:

“By examining friend relationships and communications patterns (Zuckerberg) could determine with about 33 percent accuracy who a user was going to be in a relationship with a week from now. To deduce this he studied who was looking which profiles, who your friends were friends with, and who was newly single, among other indicators.”

So what's your take on Zuckerberg as Cupid? Is his theory on this credible, or just creepy? If he offered you an insider's prediction on your significant other’s romantic future, would you take it?

Why Your Business Should Not Abandon Facebook

Google has taken some of the privacy heat off of Facebook with the discovery that it has"accidentally" been intercepting and archiving wireless network communications around the world with its Google Street View cars, but Facebook isn't off the hook. In fact, new revelations about how Facebook and other social networking sites share information with advertisers enflame the situation further, and the privacy backlash against Facebook could have consequences for your business.

Does your business have a Facebook presence?PCWorld has a Facebook presence, as do I. McDonald's Microsoft, Taco Bell, Adobe, Apple and thousands of other companies have a Facebook presence. Some organizations, like Microsoft, have multiple Facebook profiles broken down by product groups or individual applications like Microsoft Office.

Many companies have online support forums, FAQs and other resources available, but Facebook provides an opportunity to engage customers where they are rather than expecting them to seek out your company. Establishing and maintaining a Facebook presence--or a Twitter account for that matter--allow the company to interact with customers on a more personal level and foster a sense of community and loyalty.

Of course, if there is a huge privacy backlash and systematic boycott of Facebook, it would reduce the value of Facebook as a marketing or customer relations platform. According to a survey from Sophos, a security software and services vendor, as much as two-thirds of Facebook users are considering deactivating or deleting their Facebook account as a result of privacy concerns.

Like all surveys, though, you have to take this one with a grain of salt. Sophos surveyed fewer than 1600 out of more than 400 million Facebook users, and by virtue of being connected with Sophos in the first place those surveyed users are arguably more likely to be aware of, and concerned about privacy and security issues. Suffice it to say that the survey is not very scientific, and most likely not indicative of the broader reality of Facebook.

The truth is that as the media has focused intense attention on the privacy issues, and a vocal minority is organizing boycotts and "mass" Facebook defections, membership has still been on the rise. The current privacy fiasco is a big deal, but just variations on a recurring theme for Facebook which has faced repeated privacy concerns and user "backlashes" and grown larger and more powerful every time.

With the latest round of Facebook moving the line in the sand and automatically opting users in to new and exciting ways of sharing information that they may not have wished to share, and the revelations of data being shared with advertisers contrary to policy, there are some reasons to be concerned. The company or community page you established in order to have a Facebook presence could be distributed, or misappropriated in ways you did not intend or approve. The message you targeted for your Facebook community could possibly now be shared elsewhere throughout the Internet.

Facebook is out of line in launching new services and changing the rules without warning, and it is out of line for not making any change that affects the way personal data is shared or distributed opt-in by default. But, in the end the social networking site will most likely continue to grow its membership despite any boycotts and defections, and it still represents a fertile and valuable arena for engaging customers and building relationships to establish and expand your brand recognition.

Don't follow the vocal minority and jump ship just yet. It's not sinking--its going full steam ahead with or without you.

Facebook CEO Faces Accusations Of Securities Fraud

It's been a rough couple of weeks for Facebook CEO and co-founder Mark Zuckerberg.

Facebook's new privacy policies have sparked a user backlash, with over ten thousand users organizing a coordinated exodus from the site onQuit Facebook Day.

But that's not the only thing troubling the 26-year-old social media tycoon. Zuckerberg is now facing allegations of securities fraud regarding the out-of-court settlement Facebook made with a rival company whose owners claim Zuckerbergstole their source code.

These allegations have followed Zuckerberg since his Harvard days, when he was hired by a student-run dating website called Harvard Connection (now called ConnectU), which at the time was similar to Zuckerberg's startupTheFacebook. Tyler and Cameron Winklevoss, the creators of ConnectU, brought suit against Facebook in 2003. They settled for a reported $65 million in 2008 and turned ConnectU over to Facebook.

(The case's shady details have become something of a legend, spawning a book (Accidental Billionaires) and an upcoming film called The Social Network.)

The Winklevoss twins are now trying to appeal their settlement on the grounds that they were shortchanged by Facebook. VentureBeat has the details:

The ConnectU cofounders are arguing that Facebook executives and lawyers presented the cash-and-stock offer's value as $65 million, relying on a valuation of $15 billion that Microsoft paid in 2007 when buying preferred shares in the company. The settlement, however, was to be paid in common shares, not preferred shares, which Facebook itself valued at roughly 75 percent less for the purposes of calculating taxes on stock-based compensation -- cutting the settlement's offer roughly in half.

Facebook considers changing privacy settings


             Remember for 2010 facebook news alerts