Posts Tagged ‘Facebook’

Facebook’s New Privacy and Sharing Features Done the Right Way

Thursday, August 25th, 2011

Tuesday August 23, 2011 Facebook made several announcements, the majority of which addressed the upcoming sharing and privacy improvements. In addition Facebook addressed smaller topics like the phasing out of the mobile only “Facebook Places” and the renaming of a long time Facebook attribute.

Facebook Sharing

from, August 2011

Privacy and security have always been a major concern for Facebook users. In response to these worries Facebook has made multiple changes to the process for sharing posts, photos, tags, and other any other content. The new set up focuses on making the policies of concern more assessable and understandable to all users. The following Profile Control changes are expected to begin rolling out sometime this week, at that time users will encounter a prompt to tour the new Facebook Profile Features. (August 25, 2011)

The primary adjustment to the new profile is the new location for the privacy and sharing controls. The sharing controls are now available directly on a user’s profile page. These controls were previously only available on the settings pages. The aim for this redesign is to present users with a clearer and more consistent sharing experience. The new inline drop down menus that are now located next to the content posting area can enable a user to instantly adjust who has permission to view the content. Whether it be your thoughts, images, or videos each user will be able to see who can view their content and allow them to grant or deny access with one simple click. Additionally, since many of the settings options have been compiled into these smaller inline menus the previous settings page has also been simplified.

Also launching with the new profile sharing controls is the following sharing, tagging, and privacy policies.

  • Control who can view your post while posting

With the old setup a user would have to access the settings page in order to change any privacy or sharing settings. The new adjustments make it easier for users to assign who can view their content at the time of posting.

  • Restrictions Are Not Permanent

Sharing restrictions can be changed at any time for each individual post. After posting something to your co-workers that was supposed to be for your friends you can simply switch the posts authorizations and avoid any misunderstandings.

  • Tagging Approval

If you tag yourself on someone else’s pictures the tag will first need to be approved before it appears.

  • Tagging People You Don’t Know

You can now tag anyone on Facebook not just people that you are friends with. When a user is tagged on Facebook a permission request form will be sent to that used.

  • Tagging Pages You Don’t Like

You can now also tag pages on Facebook that you haven’t liked. Again the page will need to consent to the tag in order for it to appear.

  • Clarified Tag Controls

When tagged by another user in their content the tagged person will be presented with an approval request form. This form will provide a user with the options to reject the tag, request that the picture be removed,  or even block the user.

  • View as Others

Users have requested that they want to see their profile the way that other users view them. In order to see how others view you on Facebook they have added a new “View Profile As” button in the top right corner.

  • Name Change

The “Everyone” attribute is now being called “Public” to better describe the behavior of the post

  • No More Mobile Only Facebook Places

Users will be able to add locations anywhere (posts, pictures….) and from any device which is why they are deciding to phase out Mobile only Facebook Places.

The recent overhaul is thought to be in response to Google+ which was just launched in July and is already becoming a major competitor. Facebook’s new updated features are an attempt to show their customers that they listen to their requests and always have a strong focus on user privacy and protection.

Check out the Google Blog where Chris Cox the Facebook VP of products, Explains the new features .

Thanks for Reading and Have a Great Day!


Providing Tech Support for Businesses in Maryland

Facebook Users Face Off Against Several New Scams That Exploit Recent Headlines

Wednesday, July 13th, 2011

Scams, viruses, and Facebook Frauds that prey on the curiosity of unsuspecting users are nothing new for the popular social network. Facebook and social networking sites alike create a perfect environment for spammers to instantly reach millions and rapidly spread their lucrative scams. Although the majority of users have learned how to Spot and Avoid Facebook Scams, there are some creative and devious scams that continue to attract the attention of many users. These scams are extremely misleading and publicize something that is either too good to be true or reel users in by taking advantage of the recent headlines.

Facebook Scams

from, July 2011

These scams are usually created to generate some kind of financial gain for spammers and to further spread their spam. Often the fraudulent posting will advertise one thing and then direct a user to a completely unrelated page. Previous Facebook scam such as the “Free iPad scam” and the “See who is viewing your profile scam” have been used as a spamming technique called ClickJacking.

ClickJacking presents a page to the user with a seemingly harmless action button, unbeknownst to the user there is usually a transparent layer with an alternative button positioned directly on top. In other words, when the user thinks that they are clicking the one button they are really clicking the hidden button. The hidden button is usually something that a user would probably avoid if given prior knowledge. For example the button could initiate an unauthorized purchase, an adjustment to your social profile, a twitter follow, or the spamming of your Facebook contacts.

New spam scams are created each day, this week alone we have already seen three new Facebook scams that draw in users by exploiting popular news headlines. Among the scams that appeared this week are posts proclaiming the “Death of Charlie Sheen”, the “Casey Anthony murder confession video”, and the “Google+ invite”. Each of these attractive headlines is completely bogus and only serves the purpose of luring in victims.

The high demand for Google+ invites has made eager users a perfect target for spammers. For this scam a user receives a request to access their basic information. Once the user accepts that request the scam bombards them with emails, submits posts on your friends’ walls, and accesses their personal information while they are offline. In addition to these abrasive actions the scam is also thought to be accumulating email accounts for future spam attacks.

The second scam is one that involves the court case of Casey Anthony, who was exonerated and found not guilty of the murder of her daughter due to lack of evidence. The hype surrounding the court case and public outrage regarding the jury’s verdict has generated a lot of attention for Casey Anthony. In this scam a user receives a message offering a chance to watch the video of Casey Anthony confessing to murder. Upon clicking, users are redirected to a site that presents them with a survey that must be completed before watching the video. Following the completion of the survey the users do not gain access to a video but instead encounters more surveys. Similar to the first scam, both the walls of the users as well as their friend’s walls are blasted with Casey Anthony Spam postings.

Like the previous scams the “Charlie Sheen Found Dead Scam” also capitalizes on the public interest for Charlie Sheen ever since his termination from “Two and a Half Men” and whacky behavior. This scam again obtains user information and redirects them either to a dead page or one that requires them to participate in an online survey.

Again these claims are completely bogus and are only used so that spammers can benefit from susceptible users. If you have had the misfortune of coming across these scams or ones like them, perform the following tips to cleanse and secure your Facebook profile.

If something sounds too good to be true or is too shocking, then it’s probably a scam. When it comes to social networking sites, try stay up to date with the latest scams and be cautious and suspicious of all content that appears shady.

Thanks for Reading and Have a Great Day!


Providing Tech Support for Businesses in Maryland

Potential Government Regulation Means More Upsetting News for Facebook

Friday, May 20th, 2011

congressIn case it wasn’t bad enough that Facebook was discovered to be behind the recent Google smear campaign they now have to also deal with looming government regulations. Although it has only been a couple of days since it was announced that Facebook hired PR firm Burson-Marstellar to smear Google’s name, both companies have teamed up to take on the Social Networking Privacy Act (SB 242). Along with Google and Facebook, Twitter and Skype were also mentioned to have cosigned a letter strongly opposing the new bill.

This isn’t the first time that we have heard of the bill that was introduced by California Senate Majority Leader Ellen M. Corbett. The bill previously addressed the privacy and security for users under 13 but has since been amended to incorporate all users after initially facing heavy opposition. The motivation behind the legislation was to protect underage users, it’s estimated that although the Facebook age limit is set at 13, over 7.5 million users are under that age and 5 million of those users are even under the age of 10. The Polly Klaas Foundation found that over 42% of teens post personal identifiable information on social media sites which provides a solid foundation to Corbett’s concerns.

The Social Networking Privacy Act would require users to select and acknowledge their privacy settings before submitting their user registration. The default privacy setting would list only a user name and city of residence until that user decides to adjust their user settings. In Senate Majority Leader Corbett’s words “you shouldn’t have to sign in and give up your personal information before you get to the part where you say ‘please don’t share my personal information.”

Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg states that “making personal data public is the new social norm”. Currently Facebook requires users to provide their personal information prior to registering and once registered, users can then customize their privacy settings. Until adjusted the current default setting is to share the provided information with all other users. Since the option not to share your personal information is only available once the information is already out there, there is a strong argument for user privacy being at risk but does it warrant government regulation?

In addition to the legislation’s main goal of requiring social networking sites to provide a detailed privacy policy prior to registration the legislation also aims to provide parents with the ability to request the removal of their child’s personal information. The bill states that if these sites fail to comply within 48 hours of the request it will cost them $10,000 for each occurrence.

Given the Recent Headlines concerning Google and Facebook it is clear that the proposed legislation takes priority. Both companies feel that the bill is unnecessary and that government micro-management will likely cause more harm than good. Bills like this will suffocate the age of social networking and will often hinder the innovation of future technologies or businesses.

It’s understandable for government to feel the need to step in if there is a possibility of harm or danger but in this case there would seem to be better options. After all, users can still select the privacy option that they feel is adequate after they provide that information. As for the underage use aspect, if Facebook was to enact a default sharing option with only a user name and city, what is to stop the underage users from changing their privacy option to shared once they create the account?

Currently the Social Networking Privacy Act has passed a senate committee and is seeking a majority vote in the full senate. If passed there it will become full legislation and require final approval from the governor’s office.

How do you feel about government regulations on Facebook? Do Senator Majority Leader Corbett’s arguments justify these regulations?

Thanks for Reading and Have a Great Day!


Providing Tech Support for Businesses in Maryland

Major Security for Major Websites Does Not Always Prevent Vulnerabilities

Friday, May 13th, 2011

Online security threats and system vulnerabilities will always be an issue on the Internet regardless of the amount of security we implement. As the security for major online companies gets smarter the hackers and computer viruses get more inventive as well. This balance is unlikely to disappear because there will always some kind of benefit for people who perform these destructive actions. Whether it is for notoriety, money, or information the effects of these actions require companies to be forward thinking and remain focused on the protection of their users.


Following the largely publicized PlayStation Network Hack a couple weeks ago, two other major websites experienced their own misfortune. For Google it was discovered that their images were replaced with malware and Facebook was also notified that their applications were unintentionally leaking information to third parties. Although these two incidents are completely different with one being pure mischief and the other being an oversight the two cases highlight severe vulnerabilities for major websites.

After weeks of user complaints Google identified that some of their Google Images search results were pointing users to webpages that forced misleading anti-virus scans and security alerts. The attackers apparently infiltrated high trending Google Image search results and planted their own PHP scripts to generate their own malicious content. Once their own PHP scripts were implemented the Google bots crawled and eventually displayed thumbnails for their bogus web pages. When clicked on, the image redirected users to a bad page. Google is currently working hard to remove all of the bad links. For more specific details on how and what was affected visit More on Google Image Poisoning.

Shortly after Google realized their security flaw, Facebook was notified by Symantec regarding their security issue. On Tuesday May 10, 2011 Symantec published that Facebook applications have been unintentionally leaking user information to third parties. Although it is impossible to pinpoint the exact number of affected users it is estimated that the information of hundreds of thousands of users could have been exposed. However Symantec and Facebook state that it is also possible that most of the third parties didn’t even realize the leaks.

The leaks occurred through access tokens which are basically authorization codes that are assigned once a user accepts or grants permission to a Facebook application. Once Facebook was notified of the leaks they implemented the necessary changes which are described in the Facebook Developers Blog. Concerned users can take their own actions to nullify any current access tokens by changing their account password. As mentioned although these leaks were accidental this incident provides a perfect example for the vulnerabilities that websites like Facebook still have even with good security.

Sometimes the bigger the company, the bigger the target. Security should always be a crucial aspect and top priority for any business.  It is not only up to the major websites to try to stay head of the relentless security threats and system vulnerabilities, the individual users should do their part as well by being educated about online risks and by taking the appropriate precautions to remain safe.

Thanks for Reading and Have a Great Day!


Providing Tech Support for Businesses in Maryland

Customizing your Facebook Privacy Settings: Protection Recommendations

Friday, January 14th, 2011

When using Facebook or any other social networking site, take full advantage of the provided Privacy Settings.  Sites such as Facebook allow users to create profiles that contain private information and protect the posting personal comments.  Now although the purpose of these sites is to network, communicate, and share your thoughts, that doesn’t mean everyone on the planet needs to know about them.  Sure you might not mind if friends, family, and co-workers view the information that you supply to Facebook but what about complete strangers or employers? One of the best features of Facebook is that it lets you choose who you communicate with and who can see your information.

Following are recommendations on howfacebook to be protected using Facebooks privacy settings.  Any of the following settings can be adjusted by logging into your Facebook account, navigating to the “Account” tab located in the upper right corner, and selecting the “privacy settings” option.  Once the privacy settings page opens there are two main menus the “Connecting on Facebook” and “Sharing on Facebook” which can be customized to a users privacy preference.

  1. Connecting on Facebook:
  2. It is important to decide what people see before being friended. Facebook gives you the option to choose what information people see when searching for you and also gives you the choice to remove yourself completely from the search.  A user can choose to share everything or nothing depending on their preference.  Even if a user chooses to remain hidden from Facebook searches, they can still possibly be found by friends of friends, meaning when an individual sees you on one of their friend’s Friend Lists, they can still send you a friend request.

    For safety reasons it is recommended that we customize our “Connecting on Facebook Settings” to share only the details we want to. On this menu a Facebook user can adjust whether anyone, friends, or friends of friends can see their location, pictures, friends, activities, and message posts before you accept the friend request.  For example if you want to keep your location hidden, but you want to share your activities you would select friends for the location and everyone for activities.

  3. Sharing on Facebook:
  4. There are users out there that choose to share their Facebook with everyone.  Most likely these users don’t care if anyone sees their information or are unaware of the possible bad effects that not protecting their information could lead to.  It’s recommended that users select to share with only friends or select the Facebook recommended setting.  Other users can still view what you have allowed them to in the “Connecting to Facebook” settings menu, but can only view your full profile when they send a friend request or accept one from you.  It is on this menu, that users can customize who can view their status, posts, bios, favorite quotations, family, relationships, photos and videos you’re tagged in, religious and political views, places you like, your birthday, your contact information and also allows you to decide who has permission to comment on your posts.

  5. Controlling The Flow of Information and Avoiding Embarrassing Wall Postings:
  6. The third and final recommendation takes your account customization even further and allows you to pick and choose exactly which friends can or cannot view your information, posts, and pictures.  In addition to determining who can view your “Wall” you can also determine the people who are allowed to post on it.  For example if you use your Facebook account for work then some of your or your friend’s postings may be inappropriate so this selection feature comes in handy.   To access these features you will need to open the “Customize Settings Link” on the “Sharing on Facebook” menu.  Once on the customization page you can determine the exact users who have permission to view and submit specific information.  On this screen you can also modify who can see the pages, pictures, and videos that you’re tagged on.

    Additional privacy and security settings include blocking users and controlling which websites and apps your information is sent to.  These options can be adjusted in the same privacy menu previously mentioned.  Regardless of what you do online to protect your privacy and reputation the best way to avoid any embarrassing situations is to make good judgments.  But for the times when good judgment isn’t enough the privacy and security settings that Facebook provides can make a big difference.  After all Facebook is used to have fun, connect with people, and is established for you to be yourself.

Additional Information on protecting yourself on Facebook is available at:

The Holy Grail of Facebook Privacy

How to Protect Your Privacy on Facebook, MySpace, and LinkedIn

Please make sure you customize your Facebook privacy account

Have a safe and Great Day!

Providing Tech Support to Businesses in Maryland

Social Networks: Facebook Fan Pages

Thursday, February 18th, 2010

fanHey, everyone. It’s Josh from Computer Fitness again. We are a Tech Support Company for Small and Medium businesses located in Finksburg, MD. 

This week I’d like to talk to you about social networks. We’ve talked before about Facebook and how to use it for personal reasons. Now, let’s talk about how to use them to your business’ advantage. As most of you probably know, members of Facebook can be fans of various things. A great way to increase your business’ online presence is to set up a fan page for your company.

A “Fan Page” means that you create a page similar to a profile that talks about your company and provides links and information you think your clientele and leads would like to know. This is a great tool for keeping people up to date on corporate events or changes to the business. For example, you could announce that you’re giving away coupon codes to the first 20 people to send you a private message through Facebook. Or, a better example, might be announcing a raffle. All that is required is to be a fan and post something on the company’s wall. This will encourage participation on the community’s behalf as well as spread the word about your business!

From here, users of Facebook will be able to create a link to your company’s page from their personal page. This means that when their friends see what they are up to, they’ll notice that “John Smith is now a fan of The Internet Beacon”. Coincidentally, this is a step we have also taken. You can be our fan here. One thing to note here is that you can get a custom URL for your business, i.e. once you’ve reached 25 fans.  That’s all you need to get your business a permanent link in the Facebook hierarchy.

That’s all for this week. Hopefully you can take a look at Facebook and see where you can put it to work for you. Be sure to check back next week for more tips and advice!


Computer Fitness

Facebook: Protecting Your Information

Friday, February 12th, 2010

Hey, everyone. It’s Josh from Computer Fitness again. We are a Tech Support Company to Small and Medium businesses located in Finksburg, MD.Today, I’d like to talk to you about privacy on Facebook.

We all like to think we’ve been especially careful when putting our information online. We take steps to ensure that we don’t put information like our credit card numbers, home address, etc where everyone can see. However, there are other ways for people to get a hold of your information.

Since Facebook is all about connecting with other people, usually friends and family, information gets shared with them. They have access to whatever you post. And why shouldn’t they? You’ve given them the okay.  What you haven’t allowed, however, is the applications they use.We are going to prevent whatever goofy program your relative installed in their Facebook from accessing your name and address. This is incredibly easy to do.

First, login to Facebook. Then, go to the top right portion of the window. Click “Account” and then “Privacy Settings.” From here, you’ll see a link called “Applications and Websites”, click it. Of the several options here, you want to locate “What your friends can share about you” and then click on Edit Settings.

Welcome to your application privacy settings, at least concerning your friends. This screen will have a list of checkboxes detailing different facets of your account information. From here, you can now determine what exactly you want to share with your friends’ and family’s applications. Just make sure to save your changes!

That’s all for this week’s post. Be sure to check back for more every Friday.


Computer Fitness