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etc. - a little of this, a little of that - by Oliver Del Signore

Archive for the ‘Facebook’ Category


Do you trust Facebook? Most Facebook users do not!

Friday, May 18th, 2012

I can’t say I was all that surprised by the following story.

Poll shows low opinion of Facebook; lack of trust may hold back ad sales

Facebook’s reach is wide but not deep. Few users surveyed in an Associated Press-CNBC poll say they click on the site’s ads or buy the virtual goods that make money for it.

More than 40 percent of American adults log in to the site — to share news, personal observations, photos and more — at least once a week. In all, some 900 million people around the world are users. But many of them don’t have a very high opinion of Facebook or trust it to keep their information private.

If Facebook the company were a Facebook user, it would have a lot of virtual friends but not many real ones, the poll suggested.

Users’ distrust limits the value of the site’s ads. Advertisers want to target their messages to the people most likely to respond to them. And the more Facebook knows about us, the better it will be at tailoring those ads to our interests.

Yet in the poll of U.S. adults published Tuesday, only 13 percent said they trust Facebook “completely” or “a lot” when it comes to keeping their personal information private. A majority, or 59 percent, said they trust Facebook “only a little,” or “not at all.”

Click Here to read the rest of the story.

As I said, I’m not surprised by any of it.

Facebook has always seemed to me to be relatively unconcerned about its users, which may speak to why so many of them distrust it even as they use it.

How do you feel about it?

Do you trust them with lots of personal information?

Would you trust them if they could deliver targeted, relevant ads to you?

Either way, what do you think Facebook could do to garner more trust from its users?


Facebook co-founder renounces citizenship. Thousands joining him.

Saturday, May 12th, 2012

Facebook Co-Founder Saverin Gives Up U.S. Citizenship Before IPO

Eduardo Saverin, the billionaire co- founder of Facebook Inc. (FB), renounced his U.S. citizenship before an initial public offering that values the social network at as much as $96 billion, a move that may reduce his tax bill.

Facebook plans to raise as much as $11.8 billion through the IPO, the biggest in history for an Internet company. Saverin’s stake is about 4 percent, according to the website At the high end of the proposed IPO market capitalization, that would be worth about $3.84 billion. His holdings aren’t listed in Facebook’s regulatory filings.

Saverin, 30, joins a growing number of people giving up U.S. citizenship ahead of a possible increase in tax rates for top earners. The Brazilian-born resident of Singapore is one of several people who helped Mark Zuckerberg start Facebook in a Harvard University dormitory and stand to reap billions of dollars after the world’s largest social network holds its IPO.

“Eduardo recently found it more practical to become a resident of Singapore since he plans to live there for an indefinite period of time,” said Tom Goodman, a spokesman for Saverin, in an e-mailed statement.

Saverin’s name is on a list of people who chose to renounce citizenship as of April 30, published by the Internal Revenue Service. Saverin made that move “around September” of last year, according to his spokesman.

Besides helping cut tax bills stemming from the Facebook, the move may also help him avoid capital gains taxes on future investments since Singapore doesn’t have a capital gains tax.

Click Here to read the rest of the story.

There was once a time when talented, wealthy individuals, and many others, fled their home countries for the security and freedom the United States offered. Now, thanks to three or four generations of creeping socialism, intrusive laws, burdensome regulations, and confiscatory taxes, the trend has reversed. Now, the successful find it more advantageous to live anywhere but in America.

We lose much more than tax dollars when the best and brightest, and even the luckiest, abandon the nation that sees them as little more than a revenue source for social engineering fantasies. We lose their drive, their work ethic, their capacity for innovation, and their ability to create much-needed jobs, to name a few things.

While those on the left seek to gather power by giving away the store to the disadvantaged and those on the right seek to give it away to the already wealthy and powerful, those of us who sit between them find ourselves squeezed tighter and tighter, our standard of living decreasing, and our security, rights, and freedom threatened from within.

Is it any wonder so many are abandoning America for more welcoming nations? Or writing books to help people leave?

What do you think about this?

Under what conditions would you renounce your citizenship?

Or have you already done so?


Who owns your Facebook account when you die?

Friday, March 16th, 2012

Until I read the following this morning, it never occurred to me that my Facebook page, which I’ve not visited since early last year, might be something my family or friends, or anyone else, would even care about after I die. Of course, you can tell I have little use for my personal Facebook account, primarily because I have little time to spend on such things and what little free time I do have I prefer to spend elsewhere than online. But I’m different than most, as you’ve probably figured out if you’ve read this blog for any length of time.

But, as it turns out, some folks do want access to their loved one’s social media accounts.

Is Facebook part of your estate? States weigh laws to govern social media accounts after death

LINCOLN, Neb. — When Karen Williams’ son died in a motorcycle crash, the Oregon woman turned to his Facebook account in hopes of learning more about the young man she had lost.

Williams found his password and emailed the company, asking administrators to maintain 22-year-old Loren Williams’ account so she could pore through his posts and comments by his friends. But within two hours, she said, Facebook changed the password, blocking her efforts.

Who should have access to your accounts, and how much access should they have, after you're gone?

“I wanted full and unobstructed access, and they balked at that,” said Williams, recalling her son’s death in 2005. “It was heartbreaking. I was a parent grasping at straws to get anything I could get.”

Now lawmakers and attorneys in at least two states are considering proposals that would require Facebook and other social networks to grant access to loved ones when a family member dies, essentially making the site contents part of a person’s digital estate. The issue is growing increasingly important as people record more thoughts and experiences online and more disputes break out over that material.

Williams, a second-grade teacher from the Portland suburbs, ultimately got back into her son’s account, but it took a lawsuit and a two-year legal battle that ended with Facebook granting her 10 months of access before her son’s page was removed.

Nebraska is reviewing legislation modeled after a law in Oklahoma, which last year became the first state to take action.

“Mementos, shoeboxes with photos. That, we knew how to distribute once someone passed away,” said Ryan Kiesel, a former legislator who wrote the Oklahoma law. “We wanted to get state law and attorneys to begin thinking about the digital estate.”

Under Facebook’s current policy, deaths can be reported in an online form. When the site learns of a death, it puts that person’s account in a memorialized state. Certain information is removed, and privacy is restricted to friends only. The profile and wall are left up so friends and loved ones can make posts in remembrance.

Facebook will provide the estate of the deceased with a download of the account data “if prior consent is obtained from or decreed by the deceased or mandated by law.”

If a close relative asks that a profile be removed, Facebook will honor that request, too.

Click Here to read the rest of the story.

I can see why parents or siblings or children might want access. Like William Lindsay, mentioned in the story, they may want access so they can notify the deceased’s friends of his or her passing.

But I can see problems, too.

Does a parent really want to know what may be, to them, truly sordid details of their child’s life? If their child hid those details from them while alive, should not the child’s decision be respected after they are dead?

Facebook has in place a rudimentary system for dealing with this issue, but I think they, and other social media platforms, need to take it a step further and provide a way, in each account, for members to determine what access to what parts of the account should be granted after their death and to whom, be they members or not.

Of course, it’s not just Facebook one has to think about. What about Twitter and private tweets? Or YouTube and videos you uploaded but kept private or restricted? And don’t forget your email accounts. You really might not want your kids to have access to those!

There was a time when you only had to worry about letters you wrote and received. The digital revolution has opened up many more options for communication, and given us many more things to consider when planning for the future.

What do you think?

Would you want your parents or your children or anyone else to have total access to everything in your social media accounts after you die, including private messages and email?

Should you be able to tell Facebook and others to deny access and delete your entire account when they are notified of your death, regardless of what anyone else wants?

And what instructions would you leave for various social media providers if you had the ability to do so?


Would you shoot your daughter’s laptop for being disrespectful on Facebook?

Monday, February 13th, 2012

Gun-toting father shoots daughter’s laptop over Facebook post

A Facebook post went viral Wednesday after the father of a 15-year-old girl decided her online activity was disrespectful, but it’s bringing her a kind of fame she probably never imagined. Her punishment? Eight exploding, hollow-point rounds from a .45-caliber semiautomatic pistol, straight into her laptop.

The girl’s Facebook rant, which she never thought her dad would see? It began: “To my parents: I’m not your damn slave. It’s not my responsibility to clean up your shit.”

The father, who reads the post on camera, rattles off a modest list of chores he expects from his teenage daughter, calling her lazy, unmotivated, and ungrateful.

After explaining how disrespectful she was, he dished out some tough love: a shot-up laptop, no new computer until she can pay to replace the bullet-riddled one herself, and a bill for $8 — one buck for the cost of each bullet.

He said he wants all her friends to see the video — which he posted on his daughter’s Facebook wall — “so all those kids who thought it was cool to see how rebellious you were can see what happens.”

“Hope you’ve enjoyed your little fiasco on Facebook,” he said.

I’m not sure I would have reacted as did the father in the video, below, but then, my kids were not dumb enough to to be so disrespectful in such a public forum. They both did their  share of dumb things, of course, and there was much grumbling and groaning and frequent displays of teenage angst, but they knew where the line was drawn and did not cross it.

Too bad for her, this fellow’s daughter wasn’t that bright.

Please watch the eight-minute video of the father reading and reacting to what his daughter posted on her Facebook wall.

Then, let me know what you thought of his response, including the video and what he did to her laptop.

And what do you think the daughter might be thinking today?


Truth in Toons: Found on Facebook Edition

Sunday, January 15th, 2012

Yes, these are not all cartoons.
But the truth is there anyway.
Which are your favorites?










Are we training our children to cheat and lie?

Wednesday, December 21st, 2011

The social age limit
Facebook’s rules put parents in a quandary

Soon after Brandon Mercer started sixth grade last year at Braintree’s Thayer Academy, he joined Facebook.

“All his friends were there,’’ said his mother, Gretchen Mercer, and she didn’t see any reason why he shouldn’t be there, too.

He was 11, two years shy of officially being allowed on Facebook. But like millions of other parents whose tweens flock to the social media site that has become a lifeblood of modern adolescence, Mercer, 49, didn’t mind breaking the rules.

“They certainly don’t make it difficult for anyone with any computer knowledge to get on,’’ she said. “Luckily he did it with my knowledge, and he didn’t get on without me knowing it.’’

 It’s become one of the most pressing questions for parents of children growing up in the digital age: When should they let their children join Facebook or should they be on the site at all? An estimated 7.5 million preteens – including 5 million under 10 – are part of the social network in violation of Facebook’s terms of service, according to Consumer Reports.

A study last month funded by Microsoft Research in Cambridge found that many under-age users were aided by parents who either lied about their child’s age or were simply unaware Facebook has age limits.

According to the report, “Why parents help their children lie to Facebook about age,’’ 78 percent of parents say they would let their child join a website in violation of age requirements. When asked about Facebook’s age policy, the report found that only 53 percent of parents said they know the site has a minimum age and only half of those know it is 13.

The study calls into question the effectiveness of age limits for sites like Facebook, Twitter, YouTube, and Google, since many parents are often unaware they exist and see little problem with ignoring them.

Click Here to read the rest of the story.

Seventy-eight percent of parents would allow their kids to purposely lie and deceive a business just because they want to?

While it may be true that in the scheme of life, helping your kid sneak onto Facebook is not the most serious of crimes, but it makes me wonder what other illegal or prohibited actions those parents would be willing to take to make their kids happy.

Would they do their kids’ homework? Write a report for them? Construct a display for a competition?

Would they lie to protect their child and let some other kid take the rap for a broken school window or a stolen car?

Would they spread a rumor they know to be false to give their child a better chance of being selected for something over the target of the rumor?

Just how far would they go?

What are we teaching kids when we do such things? Only suckers follow the rules?

Is this how politicians are created?

What do you think?

Under what circumstances, if any, would you lie or cheat for you child?


What are your greatest privacy concerns?

Wednesday, November 30th, 2011

In case you haven’t heard…

Facebook FAQ: Privacy settlement reached with FTC

Facebook has settled with the Federal Trade Commission over complaints about its privacy policies. Here’s a look at the social network’s interaction with the agency on privacy and Tuesday’s settlement.Why was Facebook under investigation?: Many Facebook users were concerned about the way that the company changed its privacy policies, making some user information public without their express consent.

In December 2009, the Electronic Privacy Information Center and other privacy advocates filed a complaint with FTC saying that Facebook’s changes to its privacy policies disclosed “personal information to third parties that was previously not available” and that those changes violated user expectations of the service.

The FTC settlement also lists several other instances where Facebook “allegedly made promises it did not keep” such as promising that it did not share personal information with advertisers, did not share unnecessary data with third-party app makers, did not verify the security of third-party applications, would not retain data that it told users had deleted on its servers and would comply with the U.S.-European Union Safe Harbor framework on privacy.

Facebook has already addressed some of these complaints ahead of the settlement, co-founder and CEO Mark Zuckerberg wrote in a blog post Tuesday, saying that it had canceled its Verified Apps program and fixed a problem that gave advertisers access to users’ ID numbers.

What’s in the settlement?: The provisions in the settlement are very similar to what the agency worked out with Google over its Buzz social network. The network must put a “comprehensive privacy program” in place and obtain express user consent before “enacting changes that override” a user’s privacy preferences.

Facebook has also agreed that it will notify users when it changes the way it shares data and has consented to privacy audits for the next 20 years.

Click Here to read the rest of the story.

This story got me thinking again about privacy, both on and off the Internet.

While a natural right to privacy is implied in both the Fourth and Ninth Amendments to the U.S. Constitution, Government has long operated as if it were an option to be ignored. Most businesses seem to have the same opinion.

As technology has expanded into our homes and now our pockets as we go about our daily lives, privacy seems to have become an afterthought, at best, with most folks.

Which made me wonder…

What are your greatest privacy concerns?

Do you think the very idea of personal privacy privacy has become, or is becoming obsolete?

What specific things, if any, do you do to protect your privacy online, at work, at home, and when you are out and about?

And are you one of the millions who feel compelled to “share” every detail of every day with the world via social media, and if so, why?


Malls track shoppers’ cell phones on Black Friday and other tech news

Friday, November 25th, 2011

I remember when folks said technology would make our lives better. Seems to me, it’s just made our lives different, with lot less time to smell the roses.

What do you think?


Interesting stuff from the tech world:

Yet another reason I hate shopping.

Malls track shoppers’ cell phones on Black Friday

I don’t know what Steve Jobs had in mind, but I suspect that whatever hits the market next year will change the TV landscape.

Apple television expected in mid-2012 as competition is ‘scrambling’

I rarely log onto my personal Facebook page, but, along with the office staff, I do update the Backwoods Home page and have been annoyed by this. I agree with the author, it’s a bad idea.

How Facebook is ruining sharing

As I’ve often said, whenever government sticks its collective nose into anything, they make it worse and/or more expensive.

SOPA is a threat to American Internet leadership

I won’t be buying the first generation, but when they’ve enhanced it a bit, it would work great for me as a backup computer I can carry in my pocket.

USB Stick Contains Dual-Core Computer, Turns Any Screen Into an Android Station

We’re all still waiting for the millions of jobs all those stimulus trillions were supposed to create. Maybe this will help. Or not.

FCC Says Broadband Expansion Will Add Jobs

I own  a DumbPhone. All it does is make phone calls and I like it that way. I spend enough time trying to keep the bad guys our of my computers and the websites I manage. I have no desire to add my phone to the list.

McAfee: Nearly All New Mobile Malware In Q3 Targeted At Android Phones




What if you ran your home the way Congress runs America?

Tuesday, October 18th, 2011

Congratulations to this week’s Comment Contest winner, Nannette .


I don’t usually re-post things from Facebook because so many folks will have already seen them, but I thought this one was important.

Conversations about the national debt involve such large numbers, there’s no way any of us can really relate them to our normal lives so we can understand the arguments.

The graphic, below, does something I wish I’d thought of doing. It knocks off a bunch of zeros and, keeping the exact same proportions, uses the results in an example of running a household.

I welcome any and all comments but especially from anyone willing to defend the people in Congress and the White House who have, for generations, brought us to where we are today.



The Nazi Party vs. The Tea Party. Are you kidding me?

Monday, October 3rd, 2011

Over the weekend, a friend found something on the Facebook page of one of his nieces. He is a strict libertarian. I can only assume from what she posted, his niece leans far to the left. He asked me if I thought his response was “over the top.” He also asked if I wanted to add anything.

Take a look at the Nazi vs Tea Party thing, then read his response with my additions, which are in italics. The added graphic is mine.

Then, please tell me what you think of it all.


His response (with my comments in italics)

Let’s take the points one at a time.

[1] Nationalism? Are you equating that with the patriotism the Tea Partiers feel? Then tell me, were the 1.2 million Americans who patriotically died for this country Nazis or Tea Partiers. Fifty-fifty maybe? Why don’t you tell this to a disabled vet? If they’re just disabled and not dead, at least you can ask them what they thought they were fighting for.

And do you think there might be just a little difference between a group that believed they were physically and mentally superior to all other “races” to the point where they sought to exterminate those they believed to be “inferior” and a group who generally think all people, regardless of who they are and what they believe, have the inalienable right to live their lives in peace and  freedom?

[2] Authoritarianism? The Tea Partiers advocate adhering to the Constitution, or “the law of the land” as the Constitution says. They believe the only way to “change” the Constitution is according to Article V (which says changes must be submitted to the states and okayed by the people who have to live under it), and not doing all this “reinterpretation” in the Courts, Congress, and the White House as the liberals and neo-conservatives want. If following the Constitution is authoritarianism, I want it, too.

[3] Social Darwinism. I don’t even know what you’re talking about. Look it up. It was invented by Progressives in the 19th century. It was only AFTER it got a bad name with the Nazi’s that Progressives finally shut up about it.

But I suspect you think it means Tea Partiers just want to let everyone who cannot take care of themselves die. If so, you’ve been drinking much too much of the left’s Kool-Aid. Tea Partiers do, generally, want folks to take responsibility for themselves and their families and their communities rather than having a nanny state or Federal Government decide how everyone must live. But they also, generally, support local solutions to local problems. Solutions like a return to religious and civic organizations caring for those too disabled to care for themselves instead of relying on government welfare, which wastes as much as seventy cents of every welfare dollar on the welfare bureaucracy that consistently mismanages a one-size fits all system that in reality fits none.

[4] Indoctrination? Go to a college campus and see what indoctrination really is. It’s political correctness. It’s the dogma of global warming. (Remember, it’s the ONLY settled science. Yeah, right!). It’s threatening violence at a bake sale. (Thank god it didn’t happen.)

And if colleges are too far away from you, go to your local public high school and middle school and grammar school.

[5] Propaganda? Give me a break. This little poster is propaganda.

And isn’t it telling that you didn’t realize that. For a possible reason why, see #4, above.

[6] Anti-intellectualism? One of the early criticisms of the Tea Party movement was that it was white, male, upper-income, and EDUCATED. Anti-intellectual, my foot. (But wait, we’ll get to more on anti-intellectualism in point 8.)

But your friends on the left are correct about the Tea Party being all about while males and racism, as the photos to the right clearly demonstrate. Right?

[7] Militarism? It’s liberals and neo-cons who keep sending us to war. The Tea Partiers have said when spending is cut, defense should go on the table, too. They also don’t believe in this military adventurism Democrats and neo-con Republicans are so fond of. We haven’t been in a declared war since WW II, but the Democrats and Republicans keep sending our boys out to die. (Or are Obama, the Bushes, Clinton, and the others, all the way back to Truman really Nazis and Tea Partiers?)

[8] Anti-communist? Let’s see, that means they’re against what Stalin did in the Soviet Union (at least 20 million dead for defying the system), Mao did in China (at least 60 million dead), the Khmer Rouge in Cambodia (at least 3 million dead) and under all three, among the first to go were the INTELLECTUALS. Come to think of it, point 8 is true. Tea Partiers ARE anti-communist. No wonder you hate them. Damned Tea Partiers.



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