Tag: facebook

Tweet Us Not Into Temptaton. OK, Just This Once.

By Veronique Greenwood | February 3, 2012 2:05 pm

Oh! Oh God, I spent the last 8 hours on Facebook!!

When you text thousands of people seven times a day for a week, and ask them whether they have felt temptation recently, what do you get? A giant database of thousands of tiny vices and people’s own admissions—some true, some likely edited for the sake of vanity—of whether they caved.

According to researchers who recently performed just such a study, people’s biggest willpower failures related to checking things like Twitter or email. People were more able to control sexual urges or the desire to spend money than they were the desire to check social media (though we note that it may take two people contemporaneously caving for certain sexual urges to be considered indulged). Though the paper isn’t available online yet for us to check on this, the researchers told The Guardian that the number of times people were tempted by cigarettes, coffee, and alcohol was surprisingly low, and that the desire to check social media was much more frequently reported. The fact that media temptation came up so frequently, and was so often indulged, may be because unlike smoking, drinking, or spending gobs of money, checking Twitter or Facebook costs nothing and has no long-term downsides, like lung cancer, or insolvency.

Ah, that’s what scientists think. But we can tell you: Twitter is time cancer, devouring minutes and hours, indiscriminate in its hunger. Be wary of its cheerful glow and seeming innocence. If you spend your best years bathed in a flow of bite-sized information nuggets, don’t say we didn’t warn you.

Though asking people to tell you whether they snuck a cigarette or checked Twitter isn’t a totally foolproof way to get an honest look at the temptation landscape, it sure generates an interesting salad of factoids. But we do wonder about the effects the study method had on the study results. The researchers collected this information through BlackBerrys they distributed to subjects. The devices could do nothing other than receive and send texts to the lab, but what if just having an extra gadget around makes you think more about checking your smartphone?

Image courtesy of Aleksandr Kurganov / shutterstock

CATEGORIZED UNDER: Technology Attacks!

What Every Lonely Guy Needs: A Fake Facebook Girlfriend

By Patrick Morgan | March 29, 2011 11:25 am

Some guys only dream of having a Facebook girlfriend; others are willing to pay a company to create one for them. Soon, lonely dudes with extra cash may feel better about themselves as they interact with a “virtual girlfriend,” convincing their friends that they actually are dating material.

A startup called Cloud Girlfriend plans to provide a service that would post messages on your Facebook wall from a virtual girlfriend (or what they call your “social network girlfriend”). The process is simple: “Step 1: Define your perfect girlfriend. Step 2: We bring her into existence. Step 3: Connect and interact with her publicly on your favorite social network. Step 4: Enjoy a public long distance relationship with your perfect girl.”

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CATEGORIZED UNDER: Sex & Mating, Technology Attacks!

Facebook Addicts, Rejoice: Airplanes Offer Free Access in February

By Patrick Morgan | February 1, 2011 4:16 pm

For all those penny-pinching, world-traveling Facebook-users out there, you’re in luck: you’ll be able to check Facebook during your flight and not pay a dime if you fly during the short, sweet month of February.

Of course this means we all need to prepare ourselves for the inane status updates. Like: “I can see my house from here!” And: “Clouds… wow.”

Participating airlines–including American Airlines, Delta, United Airlines, AirTran Airways, Alaska Airlines, Virgin America, and U.S. Airways–are partnering with Gogo Inflight Internet and Ford to provide airline passengers with free Facebook access. As Mashable reports:

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CATEGORIZED UNDER: Events, Technology Attacks!

Map of Facebook Friend Connections Lights Up the World

By Jennifer Welsh | December 14, 2010 11:19 am


What do 10 million Facebook friendships look like? It pretty much looks like the world at night from space. Facebook intern Paul Butler made the map and was surprised by how elegantly it lit up the world. Facebook has truly gone global. From his Facebook post about the map:

I was interested in seeing how geography and political borders affected where people lived relative to their friends. I wanted a visualization that would show which cities had a lot of friendships between them.

To make the map Paul looked up 10 million friendship pairs, and listed the friends by current city, then tabulated the number of friendships between cities. He then mapped this connection strength to the latitude and longitude of the city.

The data rendering was a little bit more complicated, as Paul explains in the post:

I defined weights for each pair of cities as a function of the Euclidean distance between them and the number of friends between them. Then I plotted lines between the pairs by weight, so that pairs of cities with the most friendships between them were drawn on top of the others. I used a color ramp from black to blue to white, with each line’s color depending on its weight.

Many of the areas with few connections are regions with small populations (hello, Sahara and Amazon!) or low internet penetration. And the lack of connections to China would be because the government blocks Facebook access, though there is an almost identical site called Ren Ren Wang.

The dark vastness of Russia is explained by the fact that Facebook is only the seventh most popular social networking site in the country, with only two percent of Russia’s online audience using it. But it still beats MySpace, so that’s really all that matters.

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DISCOVER: Map A World Full of Spam
DISCOVER: Map What Does the Internet Look Like?

Image: Facebook Engineering Page

CATEGORIZED UNDER: Sex & Mating, Technology Attacks!

It Has 3,700 Facebook Friends, 1,800 Twitter Followers, & It's a Tree

By Jennifer Welsh | September 21, 2010 2:39 pm

talking-treeThis 100-year-old tree wants to tell you about its day.

The tree, an English-speaking Belgian, shares pictures, videos, audio, and comments about it’s day to day life with the world via its website, twitter feed, and Facebook page. But don’t try to Facebook friend it right now—the tree is already over its friend limit.

The tree’s also outfitted with special sensors that detect the CO2, soot and ozone levels and also acts as a weather station, detecting local rainfall and temperature fluctuations. All of this information is transmitted to software which translates it into status updates like these examples on io9:

They analyze what the tree sees and senses, then translate that into updates like “Won’t be doing too much photosynthesis in this cloudy weather,” and “This ozone concentration makes it difficult to do my job.” It also advises people to ride their bikes on days with air pollution.

The information gathered by the tree’s sensors can also be used by researchers. Check out the making of the social-media tree video for more information on what went into the creation of this arboreal social media master.

Though the tree has to deal with the ups and downs of climate change, it is still pretty chipper as based on his social media slogan:

Hello! I’m a tree, and this is my feed. I’ll be online all day to keep you posted on how I feel.

Related content:
Bad Astronomy: Archiving NASA’s social media
Bad Astronomy: Social media diseases
Discover Magazine: Talking Plants

Image: The talking tree’s Facebook Page

Fake Facebook "Dislike" Button Leads to More Dislike

By Joseph Calamia | August 16, 2010 4:38 pm

facebookThey only wanted to show their disapproval. Friends eager to counterbalance all those Facebook “Likes” rushed to “Download the official DISLIKE button now” as received in a message. But, sadly, no dislike button was in store. Instead, installing the application provided users with several surveys and left their profiles vulnerable to spammer control. If there was ever a time to unleash their Dislike, this was it.

Yet, as Graham Cluley of the security firm Sophos told the BBC–mentioning a similar ploy that offered Facebookers the chance to see an anaconda vomiting up a hippo–such “survey scam” applications are nothing new:

“Anyone can write a Facebook app–these scams are constantly springing up.”

Perhaps Facebook should take note: Users were willing to sacrifice their security for the mere power to express negative feedback. Or, at least, the mere power to express negative feedback without typing.

Perhaps a compromise is in order? Unfortunately, a new Meh button application seems to need some tweaking. As in the Atlantic Wire:

Turns out, every time you click the “meh” button it registers your vote—allowing an individual user to “meh” something 10,000 times or more. That’s a lot of indifference.

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Image: Facebook

CATEGORIZED UNDER: Technology Attacks!

Teen Sues Mom for Hacking His Facebook Account

By Smriti Rao | April 8, 2010 10:54 am

2114874155_b660780928It’s tough work raising teenagers. As if worrying about their studies, drinking, partying, driving, and raging hormones wasn’t all-consuming enough, parents have recently had to fret about their Facebook usage. But one mom in Arkansas may have taken her parental concern too far.

A 16-year-old boy in the town of Arkadelphia is suing his mom, claiming that she hacked into his Facebook account and posted slanderous stuff about him on his page. The teen, Lane New, also alleges that his mom changed his email and Facebook passwords to lock him out of his accounts.

The mom, Denise New, is flabbergasted by the harrassment lawsuit. She says that like any other parent, she was just looking out for her son, and adds that her actions weren’t driven by any malicious intent. She told local TV station KATV:

“I read things on his Facebook about how he had gone to Hot Springs one night and was driving 95 m.p.h. home because he was upset with a girl and it was his friend that called me and told me about all this that prompted me to even actually start really going through his Facebook to see what was going on.”

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Bulgarian Politician Punished for Playing Farmville During Budget Meetings

By Smriti Rao | March 31, 2010 10:24 am

Zynga-Farmville-FacebookOn Facebook, the Farmville updates are impossible to avoid–someone is looking for a cow, someone else is watering their crops. People who have never played the game may not understand how addictive it is, but here’s some proof. The game can not only suck away large portions of your day, it can also, as one councilmember in Bulgaria’s second largest city found out, get you demoted.

While many distracted politicians twiddle their thumbs during meetings or frantically jab at their Blackberries, city councilors in Plovdiv were apparently playing Farmville during budgetary debates.

The Escapist writes:

Council Chair Ilko Iliev “strongly scolded the eager internet farmers,” who nonetheless continued to spend time on their farms while attending council meetings.

Finally, during a meeting last Thursday, in order to send a message to the rest of the Farmville-playing community, one councilmember was given the boot.  Councilor Dimitar Kerin was voted off the budget committee, said fellow councilor Todot Hristov, because “he needed more time for his virtual farm.”

The Escapist added:

But he’s not leaving without a fight. “The troubled councilor has defended himself by saying he was not the only one in the City Hall watering virtual egg plants,” according to a report by Novinte.com. “He said he had reached only Level 40, whereas Daniela Zhelyazkova, a councilor from the rightist Democrats for Strong Bulgaria party, was already at Level 46.”

Related Content:
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Image: Farmville

Worst Science Article of The Week: Facebook Causes Syphilis

By Allison Bond | March 25, 2010 11:36 am

2114874155_b660780928Here’s what we know about the social networking site, Facebook. It can mysteriously suck away large portions of your day, and make you sneaky, nosy, and narcissistic. It can also, in some extreme cases, cause carpal tunnel syndrome from clicking through the bazillion vacation pictures you posted online. But does Facebook cause syphilis? The short answer is “no.” The longer one is “Are you nuts?”

But that didn’t stop British tabloid The Sun from cranking up its imagination and posting an article titled “Sex diseases soaring due to Facebook romps.”

The piece was based on a British National Health Service (NHS) report that noted that syphilis cases in the Teesside region, an area of northeast England, were up four fold. It said casual sex in the area had spiked and as a result of people not using condoms, a surprising number of women had contracted syphilis. So, from fewer than ten cases in 2008, the number had now gone up to 30.

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Facebook & Celebs Don't Mind If You Think You Look Like Them

By Smriti Rao | February 2, 2010 12:20 pm

facebook_logoIn what looks like an act of conveniently looking the other way, social networking site Facebook doesn’t seem to mind that a new Facebook fad is violating the site’s terms of service.

If you are a self-respecting Facebooker, you must have come across a bunch of people changing their profile pictures during “Doppelganger Week,” in which people change their picture to that of the celebrity they think they resemble.

While this is allowing a busload of people to unabashedly proclaim that they resemble the world’s hottest celebrities, it also flies in the face of the Facebook terms of service. As CNET reports, the legalese states explicitly:

“You will not post content or take any action on Facebook that infringes or violates someone else’s rights or otherwise violates the law… We can remove any content or information you post on Facebook if we believe that it violates this Statement.” So unless you took that celebrity photo yourself or bought the rights to it, it’s probably infringing on someone’s copyright.

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CATEGORIZED UNDER: Technology Attacks!

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