Digital Insights and Inspiration

How Facebook Figures Out Everyone You’ve Ever Met

Excerpt from this article:

In the months I’ve been writing about PYMK, as Facebook calls it, I’ve heard more than a hundred bewildering anecdotes:

A man who years ago donated sperm to a couple, secretly, so they could have a child—only to have Facebook recommend the child as a person he should know. He still knows the couple but is not friends with them on Facebook.

A social worker whose client called her by her nickname on their second visit, because she’d shown up in his People You May Know, despite their not having exchanged contact information.

A woman whose father left her family when she was six years old—and saw his then-mistress suggested to her as a Facebook friend 40 years later.

An attorney who wrote: “I deleted Facebook after it recommended as PYMK a man who was defense counsel on one of my cases. We had only communicated through my work email, which is not connected to my Facebook, which convinced me Facebook was scanning my work email.”

Connections like these seem inexplicable if you assume Facebook only knows what you’ve told it about yourself. They’re less mysterious if you know about the other file Facebook keeps on you—one that you can’t see or control.

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Are fake events the new fake news?

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…as Facebook becomes dominant, and promoters strive to get more eyeballs on their nights out, more of us are noticing an element of bull in the events we see on the social network. If you’re lucky enough not to have been trolled by one, these are commonly events that are promoting something large and lavish – but suspiciously lack any basic information, such as a venue, a price, or specifics on DJs or acts playing.

…So why set up a fake event? We asked Ryan Palmer, a DJ used to playing the kind of genuine raves that bogus events pretend to advertise, who also happens to have a background in hacking. First off, he noticed that pages such as the ‘Secret Woodland Rave’ would have ‘many events running in different cities at more or less the same time, which were logistically impossible to pull off’. Through Google image searches, he also noticed that the photos used were actually of random events, such as Eastern European free parties. There were no contact details on most of the pages either.

Palmer thought at first that the motive was a nefarious plot to extract data, which is potentially true in some cases. But the recurring theme is that a day before the event is supposed to happen, it will be ‘postponed’ and then changed into something advertising a paid event. The problem with Facebook is that it lets you change essentially everything about an event while still keeping the valuable harvest of people who previously asked for notifications. So by clicking ‘interested’ for a Summer Rooftop Party, you may ultimately end up getting spammed by a student night in Bournemouth a week later.

You Can Either Verify Whether This Inspirational Story Is True Or Share It Now And Reap The Precious Social Capital

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It’s an inspiring story that proves that amazing things can happen.

When single mother Linda Roscoe was told her 5-year-old daughter, Emily, had a brain tumor and needed surgery, she had just been laid off and was without insurance. With no family or friends able to help, Linda didn’t know who to turn to. Amazingly, a decorated soldier who had just returned from Afghanistan heard Linda’s story, and he knew he could help: His husband just so happened to be a neurosurgeon willing to do the operation for free.

Emily is now a healthy 6-year-old who likes riding her bike and playing with her friends, and you can either verify that this actually happened or share it right now and reap its immense social media capital.

Yes, you could slog through news sites looking for another source to corroborate this amazing story. But by then, one of your friends will probably have already posted this to Facebook, and he will be the one swimming in likes and comments instead of you. You can be the person who is always the first to share amazing stories like this one with your friends, or you can be the person who bumbles around the internet, looking to see if things are true or not.

Your call.

The Four Faces of Facebook

Brand X Journal

Excerpt from this article:

…Researchers also found they could easily categorize users into four broad types: ‘relationship builders,’ ‘window shoppers,’ ‘town criers,’ and ‘selfies’.”

Relationship builders: …does not consider Facebook an ‘open virtual social society but rather a mini-hub site for personal storytelling, where information freely flows between friends and family’.

Window Shoppers: Driven by ‘a sense of social obligation’ to be on Facebook, window shoppers see Facebook as an inescapable part of modern life…

Town Criers: They might broadcast information they feel compelled to share to a wide range of close and distant connections, but they’re not looking for a follow-up…

Selfies: …they do it primarily to call attention to themselves… to create a better—or different—versions of themselves.

Going back to Facebook after four years is a sad and scary experience

Facebook now has 2 billion users around the world.

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I didn’t make a conscious decision to leave Facebook. It was similar to when I stopped smoking: every other time I’d made a song and dance about quitting I had failed, but when one day I realised that it didn’t make me feel good it dawned on me that I wouldn’t be missing out.

…So delving back into Facebook after a four-year break is a genuinely daunting experience. It’s like stepping off a plane and realising there’s a whole other world out there just carrying on without you. I am shocked to realise how much I have no clue about. The transformation of lives I once knew intimately. There are many babies I did not know existed. Last names changed with marriage. Sad death notifications. The shock of profile pages that are now memorial pages. These are things that in the past, even after moving away, one would hear about via text message or phone call or, even further back, through round robin emails and letters, but which now are collated on the internet’s noticeboard: Facebook. No need for any other town-crying.

Don’t Let Facebook Make You Miserable

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IT is now official. Scholars have analyzed the data and confirmed what we already knew in our hearts. Social media is making us miserable.

We are all dimly aware that everybody else can’t possibly be as successful, rich, attractive, relaxed, intellectual and joyous as they appear to be on Facebook. Yet we can’t help comparing our inner lives with the curated lives of our friends.