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‘Ace Calling’: The stupid Ace Frehley Facebook fan page you need to join
11:29 am


Ace Frehley
Ace Calling

Readers of Time Out New York and listeners of WFMU’s “Miniature Minotaurs” know writer/editor/DJ/producer Kurt Gottschalk, who’s also the founder/curator of the ridiculous single-serving Facebook group “Ace Calling,” accurately self-proclaimed “The #1 Ace Frehley fan page on Facebook when measured in terms of posting the same photo over and over and over again.” The group’s premise is simple and stupid and wonderful—Gottschalk and other members juxtapose a photo of KISS guitarist Ace Frehley on the phone with a photo of someone else on the phone. Captioning the the pairing with an imaginary snippet of conversation is optional.



Gottschalk was kind enough to take some time to talk about the group with DM:

I had this photo [of Frehley], I have no idea where I even found it, the main one of Ace on the phone. Then i stumbled on a still from Under the Cherry Moon of Prince talking on the phone in the bathtub. It just struck me as funny to think ‘what would Ace Frehley and Prince talk about on the phone, especially if Prince was in the tub at the time?’

I posted that and then I started posting other pics of Ace on the phone “with” other people.

Eventually I decided I wanted them all in one place so I made a separate group. I thought it’d just be a few friends goofing on it.

 I think what makes it so funny is how Ace isn’t talking in the pic, he’s listening and he looks so calm. Anything could be happening on the other end of the line and he’s all zen about it. Plus just seeing him in costume and makeup doing something so mundane is funny. Like Morris Day vacuuming at the beginning of Purple Rain.

There have been a bunch of spin-off groups—Duke Ellington writing, Farrah shredding, Kelsey Grammer kissing, a few more - but none have taken off the same way. It’s all just goof upon goof. Oh, and Paris Hilton DJing, that’s my other favorite one. But the phone call thing works better than other activities. The split-screen aspect of it, the fact that he’s using a landline, that he’s stuck in the ‘70s.





More Ace calling, after the jump…

Posted by Ron Kretsch | Leave a comment
‘The Facebook Scam’: Man’s righteous rant about how Facebook thieves are posting his videos
07:39 am

Current Events


If you don’t know by now, there’s been much chatter on the Internet about how Facebook is letting people rip videos from YouTube and then allowing them to upload the stolen videos directly to their page even if they don’t own the content or copyright. These videos get millions and millions of views. If you’re still not exactly sure of what I’m talking about, there’s a great video called “How Facebook is Stealing Billions of Views” that speaks at length about the whole copyright / video theft. In a nutshell, Facebook is allegedly making big money from pilfered content.

Below, is a short video of “Ethan” from h3h3productions describing the theft of his videos and just how hard it is to file a copyright grievance with Facebook and to have the videos removed from the thief’s page. Basically, you can’t.

via reddit

Posted by Tara McGinley | Leave a comment
What your Facebook friends’ lives are REALLY like!
04:11 pm

Pop Culture



“The problem with Facebook is we compare everyone’s highlight reel to our behind-the-scenes.”

While this is perhaps the most depressing video I’ve seen in quite some time, it kind of speaks volumes when you realize it probably has considerably more than a little truth to it. Yeah, it’s been exaggerated for entertainment purposes, but I’ve often wondered to myself if all my Facebook friends are really leading these exciting lives while I’m just some boring, unadventurous (but content) bump on a log. I mean, do they really eat at five-star restaurants every single night? Do they really have the world’s most perfect children or the “I’m so fucking in love I’m going to shove it in your face!” relationship? This video attempts to show you the hard “truth” with what your Facebook pals are really up to.

Facebook can be depressing because everyone else’s lives are better than yours… But are they really?

h/t reddit

Posted by Tara McGinley | Leave a comment
Killing Nazis with kindness—by ‘liking’ them on Facebook
07:51 am



Like Attack
January 27 is International Holocaust Remembrance Day, and this year an ad-hoc German collective called Laut Gegen Nazis (Loud Against Nazis) staged an intriguing protest against the Nazi Party of Germany, or the National Democratic Party of Germany, as they style themselves (Nationaldemokratische Partei Deutschlands, NPD), by using the innocuous tools of Facebook to call attention to the damnable persistence of Nazi ideology in Germany.

Laut Gegen Nazis called it a “Like Attack”—they encouraged liberal opponents of fascist ideas to flood the NPD’s Facebook page by “liking” it and also by posting, as a comment, a link to a liberal-friendly image such as “Rassismus tötet!” (Racism kills!) or a rainbow version of the Nazi logo. In addition users were urged to adopt one of those very same images as their personal icons for the day (as they would obviously be seen on the NPD’s page itself).
Laut Gegen Nazis
The slogan for the day was “Wir überfremden die NPD!”—which clever phrase requires a bit of unpacking. The German word überfremden is not a common one; it appears to be a bit of neo-Nazi jargon, and it means to be overrun by foreigners—such sentiments are surely discernable enough in the U.S. and U.K. as well. The genius of the slogan lies in the fact that Laut Gegen Nazis was proposing to do just that to the NPD’s Facebook page—overrun it with outside elements.

As the Das Kraftfuttermischwerk blog pointed out, the project had the distinct drawback of having to oblige users, however briefly, to “like” such an odious entity as the NPD in order to function. But a sizable number of people appeared not to mind that particular taint, anyway.
NPD Facebook page
In the end, the NPD admins presumably had to work a little harder to maintain their page (it appears that many of the comments were scrubbed, although as of this writing—1/29—a few more recent comments could be seen on NPD’s website), and who knows how many minds, if any, were changed. But it remains a pretty clever implementation of social media to land a collective political point.

Previously on Dangerous Minds:
Foil Facebook’s facial recognition using sneaky World War I ‘razzle dazzle’ tactics

Posted by Martin Schneider | Leave a comment
Bea Arthur’s boobies can get you booted from Facebook
01:32 pm

Current Events

Bea Arthur

By now, I’m sure you’ve all read about the “controversial” 1991 painting “Bea Arthur Naked” by artist John Currin that sold for $1.9 million at Christie’s yesterday. It’s been all over the blogsphere.

Well, if you linked to Currin’s now infamous image on your Facebook page and featured Bea Arthur’s naked breasts, for all to see, you might have received a notice from Facebook implementing a 24-hour ban from posting on your page.

The Daily Beast is reporting this happened to them and so are a few other websites and journalists.

According to The Daily Beast when they contacted Facebook they were told by a spokesperson, “Our policy prohibits photos of actual nude people, not paintings or sculptures.”

The spokesperson laid the blame on the company’s “dedicated User Operations Team,” and reviewers in “several offices around the globe,” who look at “millions of pieces of this content a day.”

“As you might expect,” she concluded, “occasionally, we make a mistake and block a piece of content we shouldn’t have.” She said Facebook has an appeals process in place for anyone who thinks they’ve been wrongly banned, and directed me here.

The Daily Beast’s Facebook page was back to normal as of 2pm Tuesday.

Bea Arthur’s Boobs Got Us Booted From Facebook

Posted by Tara McGinley | Leave a comment
Facebook ‘likes’ don’t save lives
11:24 am

Current Events


This glorious PSA from Swedish ad agency Forsman & Bodenfors addresses that simply “liking” a non-profits’ page on Facebook isn’t doing jack shit to help their cause. It might help your conscience by clicking that “like” button, but in reality… you’ve done nothing more than press your index finger.

It’s easier than ever to support a good cause — all you have to do is hit the like button. The organization gets one more supporter and you get positive publicity among your friends. But even though it’s important to be liked, likes can’t fund medicine, water or food. In this campaign for UNICEF Sweden, we highlight the absurdness of our blind faith in likes, to raise money for vaccines.

What gets me more riled-up is when Facebook dum-dums share photos based on claims like “if you share this photo you will save this child’s life,” or “if this photo is shared one million times, together we can conquer breast cancer.” WTF? Explain to me how that would work exactly?

Via Copyranter

Posted by Tara McGinley | Leave a comment
Facebook, Twitter and MySpace: Gateways to Heroin
12:42 pm



A perplexing 2010 anti-drug campaign from the Long Island Council on Alcoholism and Drug Dependence.

I’m not entirely sure what you’re supposed to take away from this? First off, who still uses MySpace??? And secondly, she looks perfectly fine and healthy hooked on heroin! I don’t see a problem.

Here are some choice reddit comments about the poster:

StewieBanana: I have a Heroin account. It’s stupidly addictive and no where near as enjoyable as it used to be.

ToInfinity_MinusOne: It went downhill after my parents joined.

lllillll: Their sharing feature is really insecure and I’ve heard a lot of users end up with a virus.

Deathwave88: I went on Twitter, now I inject 5 marijuanas a day.

JammieDodgers: Jesus, this is some fucked up sensationalism. Sure heroin is bad but it’s not as bad as MySpace.

ChickenNoodle519: Yeah, it’s unthinkable that someone would go from Twitter immediately to MySpace.

Via reddit

Posted by Tara McGinley | Leave a comment
Mashable’s Top 10 Most Influential People on Facebook: George Takei, Barack Obama and… ME?
01:53 pm

Pop Culture


That’s what they tell me... and who am I to argue?

This certainly caused much laughter around Dangerous Minds HQ, today.

4. Richard Metzger

No other individual has done more to sully Facebook’s name, for better or worse, over Promoted Posts than Richard Metzger.

Metzger became the face of the anti-Promoted Posts crusade after penning a lengthy post on the blog Dangerous Minds accusing Facebook of holding his audience reach ransom for the sake of making a quick buck.

In his Oct. 24 post, Metzger detailed how the Facebook page for Dangerous Minds had been steadily growing in the number of likes. Despite the new followers, the page was reaching less and less of them. Metzger blamed Promoted Posts.

“It’s perhaps the most understated stick-up line in history,” he wrote, “worthy of a James Bond villain calmly demanding that a 365 million dollar ransom gets collected from all the Mom & Pop businesses who use Facebook.”

The company responded by stating the changes were a result of EdgeRank, their ever-evolving proprietary algorithm that aims to bring only the best to a user’s newsfeed. Despite these claims to the contrary, anti-Promoted Posts sentiment has spread. In addition to the aforementioned Metzger and Takei, Dallas Mavericks owner and entrepreneur Mark Cuban has also criticized Facebook over the maligned feature.

You’ll note that I placed before both God and Mike Huckabee... just sayin’.
Graphic by Dimitri Drujchin, original photo Guillaume Paumier

Thank you, Kartik Dayanand Boddapati!

Posted by Richard Metzger | Leave a comment
This is fun: Watch Mitt Romney’s Facebook count drop each time you hit ‘refresh’!
12:12 pm


Mitt Romney

Mitt Romney’s fade from the national stage hasn’t been gradual, it’s been nearly instantaneous, except for the election postmortems. It’s like when Bush left office, no one cared what the heck he did next. But Romney, an “also ran” of history, a footnote akin to George McGovern, a cipher for “shitty candidate”?

Everybody hates Mitt.

According to Slate:

The Washington Post’s Caitlin Dewey calculated on Friday that the erstwhile candidate was shedding Facebook fans at a clip of 593 per hour. Or nearly 10 per minute. Or one every six seconds. Or… you get the idea. By the time Mashable wrote about the phenomenon on Saturday, that number was up to 847 per hour. I didn’t get all scientific about it when I checked Romney’s page this morning, but suffice it to say the exodus is not abating. Facebookers are jumping off the Romney bandwagon faster than you can say “MySpace.”

Go to Romney’s Facebook page. Now hit refresh. How many did he lose in the few seconds it took you to do that?

Posted by Tara McGinley | Leave a comment
George Takei vs. Facebook!
02:34 pm


George Takei

“Shields up, Captain!”

George Takei is a man after my own heart.  As Wired’s Ryan Tate reports in “Family Feud: Tense Thanksgiving for Facebook and George Takei,” the iconic Star Trek actor and political activist is about to publish a new book and apparently he’s preparing a chapter about his frustrations with social network Facebook:

Takei, whose page has nearly 3 million followers on the social network, says in a Facebook post that his forthcoming book Oh Myyy will include an entire chapter devoted to Facebook’s filtering of page posts using an algorithm called EdgeRank and its parallel practice of charging page owners to reduce EdgeRank filtering. Takei made the announcement while replying to another Facebook user who wrote a jeremiad against the filtering. Takei has been outspoken about his frustration with the filtering, which essentially forces him to pay Facebook if he wants to reach all of his own fans.

“I am writing a chapter in my book Oh Myyy about Edgeranking and what I have done to try and achieve higher engagement,” Takei writes. “I am curious as to why interactivity rates on my page appear to fluctuate so much when I have done nothing different. I have not been pressured to use Promoted Pages [advertising], but I have had to take active steps to get fans to add my page to their ‘Interests’ so that it has a higher likelihood of appearing in their newsfeed.”

Takei’s book is slated for release sometime around Thanksgiving, keeping alive a controversial issue that just won’t die. Earlier this fall, the blog Dangerous Minds and the author Ryan Holiday both published rants accusing Facebook of aggressively filtering posts from Facebook pages in order to get owners of the pages to pony up for advertising to escape the filtering. Facebook told our sister site Ars Technica that, regardless of whether the author has paid for promotion, a post can be suppressed if readers fail to interact with the post or if they respond negatively.

Ryan’s conclusion, if you ask me, forecasts an unpleasant future for Facebook:

It’s a complex and wonky issue, one that Facebook might reasonably expect might fade away into confusing arguments involving talk of algorithms, analytics, reach, and viral lift. Except it’s not going to fade away with Sulu from Star Trek beaming his detailed analysis of the situation into people’s Kindles, iPhones and iPads this holiday season along with cute animal pictures. Lending celebrity cred to the topic Facebook filtering is certainly a boon to advocates of internet transparency, but, if Takei’s past frustration is anything to go buy, it will be no gift to Facebook.

No, it certainly won’t be. It will be a public relations disaster of epic proportions.

This is turning into a real “thing.” A thing Facebook’s management team have foolishly not nipped in the bud yet with a Netflix-style mea culpa and an abrupt reversal of their unpopular policy of “promoted posts.”

First it will be George Takei, then the indie bands will start to say “fuck Facebook,” too. They already are.

I don’t think Facebook realizes just how angry the public is. Facebook is only going to get ONE chance to lance this festering boil and if they fumble the ball this time, I believe it could be fatal to their beleaguered stock price. What credible stock analyst would think Facebook is a “buy” with Lieutenant Sulu waging a pop culture jihad against the company?

Previously on Dangerous Minds:

Facebook: Enemy of the Internet



Posted by Richard Metzger | Leave a comment
Facebook: Enemy of the Internet
05:09 pm

Current Events
Pop Culture
Stupid or Evil?


Mark Zuckerberg with TechCrunch’s Michael Arrington in September.

The popular Silicon Valley blog TechCrunch—which is owned by AOL—published an article by a fellow named Josh Constine that puffed its own chest out, and purported to be a “factual” take-down of my FACEBOOK: I WANT MY FRIENDS BACK post that went viral a few weeks ago.

I skimmed the article, titled “Killing Rumors With Facts: No, Facebook Didn’t Decrease Page Feed Reach To Sell More Promoted Posts” noted that Constine’s definition of a “fact” appeared to be something that someone working for a big corporation had told him and mentally filed it under “TD:DR” (“Too Dumb: Didn’t Read”).

To me, it smelled of “damage control” and appeared to be a story that didn’t originate in an editor’s assignment, but from a suggestion from a Facebook publicist.

Read his article and draw your own conclusions about the motivation(s) behind it. Constine never even bothered to email me, but he sure seemed eager to hear what two Facebook representatives had to say.

His article also made a curious point of insulting TechCrunch’s competitor, the Ars Technica blog, by implying that it was beneath them, or was somehow naive, for Ars Technica to have written in a neutral tone of my viral Facebook “rumor,” as he put it (Casey Johnston, the Ars Technica reporter who wrote the piece has a degree in Applied Physics from Columbia University, whilst Josh Constine has made a career writing about Facebook professionally from what I can tell).

Frankly, it didn’t really hold my interest enough for me to do much more than just scroll to the end and click it off.

My wife isn’t like that and she seemed upset by the TechCrunch article. That is until she noticed that, by a rather wide margin, the commenters were calling “bullshit” on Constine so vehemently.

Some samples—they’re cherry-picked, sure, but not unrepresentative, I don’t think—starting with the highest up-voted comment which has been “liked” 156 times. It’s from user “Beware of Images” who has Magritte’s pipe as his avatar. There’s nothing worse than when the first commenter burns your logic to the ground in a just a few short, sharp paragraphs:

OK Josh, if I understand correctly, I should dismiss my own experience, as well as that of all my admin colleagues because you’ve posted some graphs?

If your logic was true, this should have been a gradual phenomenon. In the case of my page, and those of the admins I know, it happened just as FB released Promoted Posts. And it was not subtle either, I was reaching 4-5 times more page members previously. Of course that number is deceiving, since that was when the page had 30,000 fans, compared with 136,000 today.

So you’re telling me that 100,000 new fans plus 3/4 of my original fan-base all suddenly found my posts spamy? I find that hard to believe, especially when my page is educational and does not promote any commercial service or product.

Also, your logic is not sound. Feeds have a limit, and if you allow Doritos, Axe, m&m’s, Coke… to spend on Promoted Posts, someone else’s posts are being pushed out. Most likely the posts of community and educational pages that can’t afford to pay.

By the way, after several attempts I did get a reply from Facebook. You know what? they did’t tell me I was being spamy, or that it seemed that my 136,000 new fans were all adding new pages like crazy so there was more competition (both pretty absurd assertions). No, they suggested I spend money on Promoted Posts. Go figure!

Sorry, but the map is not the territory, so faced with my own experience and reality, I’ll choose it over your graphs.

Open Letter To Mark Zuckerberg


Ouchy and if that wasn’t enough, there’s more…

Nyah Wynne: I don’t buy it either. During the same timeframe I noted a—severe—dropoff in the number of articles I got from my page-likes. Including when I used the ‘most recent’ rather than the ‘top stories’ feed. It’s fairly obvious that Dangerous Minds has noted a real thing, and Facebook is merely hiding the change.

Chase Buckner, Co-Founder/Owner at White Bulldog: Horseshit. Just about everyone I know who manages business pages has seen a massive decline in post reach. For example, just this week I saw one client (local restaurant in a tourist town with very high post engagement) go from a weekly average reach of 300k+ down to less than 10k now - a drop of -98.47% according to Facebook. Please explain tome how/why that would occur basically overnight…

Cendrine Marrouat, Journalist, Blogger: Interesting how some are always bent on defending Facebook no matter the kind of murky excuse the company uses to justify what we have known all along. Meanwhile, these same people spend their time discrediting everything else.

Rick Hans,: “The launch of Promoted Posts had no impact on the news feed reach of the average Page”. Wow it was just an amazing coincidence that every one of the many pages I admin all dropped views at the same time. Gosh, it sounds like me, and a few million other page admins around the world just got unlucky at the same time!

Brandon Wirtz: Well glad TechCrunch is so easy to game. They clearly didn’t test this. I have a sand box of pages that only imaginary users are friends of. I can confirm that Pages got a steep drop in their appearance in news feeds, AND in apps that show all news via the API only certain types of posts are now showing.

If FB told it to you, it is probably untrue.

Chandy Bing, Founder/Writer at Xamable: The article is not bad at all, but the analysis is partial so biased. First, Trying to see the issue only like a rumor was a wrong start. In fact, at some point, you should consider the user experience. I manage many Facebook pages and so do many people. We got graphs and facts too. Since FB released promoted posts, there is a significant traffic drop. Obviously, there’s a causal link.

lixoaqui: So… your data is better because you asked and they said No? Everybody else that is showing their numbers are just idiots? Nice “journalism” mate: I’m always right!

Just a small doubt: if FB really changed edgerank to sell more would they ever admit it? Yeah… right…

This commenter used our FACEBOOK: I WANT MY FRIENDS BACK graphic:

I Want My Friends Back: It was difficult to hear what this article’s author was saying with his lips wrapped so tightly around Facebook’s sex organs. But it still sounds like B.S.

You get the picture, the poor guy was just shit on... mocked mercilessly and repeatedly for his pro Facebook Kool-Aid drinking nonsense (and by people who actually know what they’re talking about—what a novel approach—because they maintain Facebook fan pages themselves). So much for young Mr. Constine’s “myth-busting” prowess, eh?

Within those arch comments, however, my eagle-eyed wife found a fascinating article about the deeper motives behind Facebook’s recent policy changes, a beautifully argued smoking gun, if you will, put together by Kartik Dayanand, a New Delhi-based social media consultant, that laid bare Facebook’s plans for world domination in such a profound way that you REALLY need to read it if you’re interested in this space and in the future of free speech and the Internet itself. (I was pleased to see that Dayanand also was inspired to compare Facebook to a James Bond villain as I did in my own (later) article.)

I’m not overstating the case, this puppy is a MUST READ.

But first, the author’s post on the TechCrunch thread:

Kartik Dayanand This post is like saying MURDER did not take place on the day everyone is saying it took place, instead it was a MURDER that took place even before anyone knew about it, so it is fine.

This is a very illogical article esp when the writing is so clearly on the wall, Facebook needs to make money, there is no free lunch here and Facebook pages and users have definitely been taken for a ride.

This was all just the appetizer to get you worked up for the main course:

Not the government, not some anonymous hacking group, virus or terrorist network; the greatest threat to the internet as it exists today is from none other than its biggest site, Facebook!

“Meet The Enemy of The Internet” by Kartik Dayanand

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Posted by Richard Metzger | Leave a comment
11:12 am

Current Events


Did I get your attention?

Apologies for the lurid headline. For those of you who are perhaps too young to remember it, the title of this post refers to an infamous National Lampoon magazine cover from the early 1970s, where a gun was pointed at a pooch’s head along with the admonition, “If you don’t buy this magazine, we’ll kill this dog.”

And no, I’m not suggesting that you personally should pay to promote this post (don’t let me stop you, either), but the thing about a dog dying if someone doesn’t pay to promote a Facebook post somewhere along the line, well, sadly, that part probably is kinda true. It won’t be Facebook directly killing any puppies, of course, although Mark Zuckerberg’s new policies aren’t exactly very helpful with keeping them alive, either.

But bear with me, please, I’ll get to all of that in a moment.

Last Wednesday, Dangerous Minds published an editorial that I wrote laying out the arguments against Facebook’s promoted posts “option” (ironic quotation marks alert) and going through the various reasons why it also made no sense for them to wreck their own product’s main selling point—the endless data stream of what your friends and family are up to and interested in, plus news sources you’ve requested to see there—and how the perceived rug-being-pulled-out-from-under-you-ness of their abrupt change in policy would draw the wrath of practically everyone doing business on the Internet—from bloggers to charities, non-profits, churches, food trucks, small record labels and indie bands—down on their heads.

The post, titled FACEBOOK: I WANT MY FRIENDS BACK must have touched a nerve. As I write this, it has been shared over 146,000 times on Facebook, tweeted on Twitter by Anne Rice, John Cusack, Roger Ebert, Mark Cuban and over 8000 others and it’s been read by several million people.

In the piece, I state our intention to utilize Facebook’s promoted post product to the fullest extent offered to us—paying them $2000 to reach all of the Facebook users who “liked” Dangerous Minds plus all of their friends and family (up to 1.7 million people it was estimated)—to denounce Facebook’s extortionately greedy money grab.

I wanted to get Mark Zuckerberg’s attention to let him know how he was starving our business for oxygen and why we would be willing to spend enough money on Facebook promoted posts to equal a luxury car purchase every year, ($30,000 was my estimate) but why coming up with the cost of a McMansion annually (nearly $700,000) was probably a bit out of the question!

Some readers’ nervous systems caused them to interpret this as someone “whining” and wanting something for free (see above) and argued that Facebook is a capitalist concern beholden only to its shareholders and free to do whatever it wants, and blah, blah, blah, but probably only 10% of the comments were stupid like that. Most people grokked the ridiculous brazenness of Facebook’s scheme without much difficulty and it seemed to make a lot of them quite angry. The editorial was shared by dozens and dozens of libraries, symphony societies, children’s hospitals, rock groups, record labels, photographers, authors, tee-shirt companies, community groups, etc, etc, and trust me, none of them were happy about seeing their own dark suspicions about Facebook deliberately turning down the volume on their “reach” confirmed by what they read in our post.  (Additionally, it was awfully kind of Facebook to provide those engagement graphs for fan page administrators that visually demonstrated for everyone just how precipitously their traffic was dropping off the cliff all summer long, wasn’t it?)

“Furious” is the word I’m looking for.

Many of you were also curious about how our promoted post fared. That’s an interesting topic!

First off, Facebook’s policy with promoted posts is that each one is to be reviewed by a human being before being approved for wider dissemination We chose the $2000 option estimated to reach from between 700,000 and 1.7 million people in their news feed.*  We made sure that there was NOTHING in the post that went against their rules and advertising policies (like you can’t use their full Facebook logo, although the “F” trademark is okay to use) and threw it against the wall to see how much “free speech” our $2000 would buy us on Facebook. The promoted post, we were told, would run for 72 hours once approved.

From what we can tell, Facebook did not approve it.

Nope. It seemed to stay in a holding pattern, pending for the entire 72 hour period of the requested promotion. At the end of that time period, we got an email from Facebook telling us that they’d “raised” our limit for promoted posts to $250! (Haven’t they heard of the Citizen’s United ruling???)

In the end, they charged our Visa just $200.

See for yourself just how much free speech two grand, sorry, $200 will get you on Facebook:
Midway through the 72-hour period, the post was still pending approval.

The final tally. They only let us spend $200. I wonder why?

This looks like extremely compelling evidence that Facebook just sat on the post, right? Straight from the horse’s mouth.

Need I remind anyone of how social media services like Twitter and Facebook helped bring down despots in the Middle East? What would have happened if the Arab Spring uprising had to deal with EdgeRank and promoted posts?

I can’t say I really blame them for putting our post on ice, but despite Facebook’s best efforts to ignore us and hope we’d go away, the piece was still read by several million people. I think it’s pretty safe to conclude that Mark Zuckerberg was one of them.

To my surprise, however, almost no US major media outlets picked up on the story, save for Boing Boing (I had an inquiry from NBC News, but nothing came of it, ultimately). It was a full week before we started to see journalists picking up on the story in Australian, Swedish, Italian and Dutch newspapers. It has percolated upwards, that much seems obvious.

Frankly, I did expect that it would get more media coverage than it did, and when I expressed this to Ryan Holiday, a marketing/PR consultant and author (I block quoted a big chunk of his earlier NY Observer piece about Facebook’s promote scheme in my post) he said something that made sense:

“You wrote a manifesto. It’s hard to take a jeremiad and a bunch of numbers and turn that into a television segment. Television producers aren’t going to care unless they can put a sympathetic or controversial face to it.”

That’s why the photo of that cute dog (her name is Diamond and she’s currently a resident of the Baldwin Park Shelter here in Los Angeles) graces this post. Diamond is a FACE that Facebook’s money grab is harming (and who doesn’t like puppies?)

It stands to reason that if Facebook’s EdgeRank algorithm is turning down the volume on everyone who uses it by 85%, then it would be organizations like animal shelters that would suffer the most from Facebook’s policy changes. Think about it, the more dogs they have to find homes for, the bigger their bill to Facebook. Their problems scale financially. With Facebook’s ubiquity, they have nowhere else to go. An animal shelter simply doesn’t have ten bucks to throw at Mark Zuckerberg’s godlike bronze feet every time they’re trying to prevent a puppy from being exterminated!

See what I mean? It’s not a trivial example, and it’s one that almost EVERYONE can relate to. Last year my wife Tara found a home for an absolutely gorgeous puppy—she had taken up residence in our neighbor’s backyard and refused to leave—in under three hours using Facebook and Twitter. But that was then and this is now.

If Facebook’s greedy shakedown of their user base can be demonstrated to cause the word getting out about everything to be reduced by 85% (this is by their own admission, I remind you), unless you’re willing to pay up for their insane fees, it follows logically that this has had a very, very negative effect on getting dogs and cats adopted in EVERY COMMUNITY ACROSS THE ENTIRE UNITED STATES OF AMERICA, because every animal shelter uses Facebook to spread the word about dogs and cats with their time literally running out.

TV news, online and print journalists, please do something with this “Facebook is killing puppies and kittens” pitch, won’t you?

Something else that came out of my conversation with Ryan Holiday: He was telling me about how his immediate reaction to Facebook’s promotion scheme and how it seemed to be a super cool new tool for marketers to work with before he noticed the decidedly unethical nature of Facebook’s user shakedown and was appalled by the brazenness of the approach:

“It’s such a toxic value proposition. Instead of adding new features and charging you for that, Facebook TOOK reach AWAY and then tried to make everyone pay to get it back. What if they’d done it differently—as something new and improved like “Reach your friend’s friends with promoted posts !”—instead of sending you a ransom note? A guy like you would be the most enthusiastic user! The way they rolled it out, instead, now everyone just hates them. I think that was a major, major miscalculation on their part.”

He’s right. And he’s right about how Dangerous Minds would probably have used that sort of marketing tool frequently, and yes, very enthusiastically. Instead I feel quite poorly about the company. My only use for promoting anything on Facebook now is to try to get people to sign up for our newsletter and follow us on G+ and Twitter and to sign up for our daily email newsletter (see widget on top tool of this page).

Facebook put us in an untenable financial position, but they also put themselves in a position where editorials such as this one are going to become more and more frequent. You will start to see stories on local news shows about how dog shelters are having no choice but to put down more dogs and cats because they’ve got no way of getting the word out unless they pay because Facebook is hiding their posts. Think about how many family pets are lost during a time when a wide-scale natural disaster strikes. Ask yourself WHY the American Humane Society should be forced to give THEIR DONATIONS to Facebook? They’ve got better things to do with their money than making Mark Zuckerberg even more obscenely wealthy paying his info toll—like actually putting that money towards saving animals’ lives!

The knock-on effect, let’s get real, is that because of Facebook’s unpopular policy changes, animals who might have otherwise found loving homes and made great pets will die.

I rest my case!

Keep in mind that by “gaming out” the launch of their promoted post scheme so incompetently, Facebook’s management has only itself to blame. The general public is, I think, starting to see a pattern emerge with Facebook’s business practices. They KNOW that their own posts are being hidden and it feels like they’re being shaken down for money, because this is exactly what is happening! The general public are wising up to this, and so are Wall Street media stock analysts like Rich Greenfield of BTIG Research in New York, the Nate Silver of his field, whom I was extremely flattered to see had retweeted my post.

With a user base of one billion people, Mark Zuckerberg can afford to ignore me and the few million people who read my measly little blog post about Facebook. But when Rich Greenfield is looking at this matter from the same angle that I am, Facebook’s got what you might call a “perception problem” that they’re going to have to deal with sooner, rather than later. Dallas Mavericks owner Mark Cuban has also expressed his displeasure with Facebook recently, threatening to remove his team’s presence from Facebook entirely over their promoted post scheme, and going to the redesigned MySpace. He’s another guy that Wall Street watches closely, so pay attention to his moves yourself if you want to see where this is headed. Facebook’s hubris and unwillingness to listen to their users may be their undoing.

And again, the flipside of this is that Facebook are still unwisely ruining their newsfeed, the only reason most people care about Facebook to begin with, the crown jewel of their product. My wife told me yesterday afternoon that in a several hour period she’d only seen posts from people she’d never met, Doritos, and George Takei in her Facebook feed. Draw your own conclusions about how long you personally plan to stick around for those updates from Axe deodorant, Mountain Dew, Arby’s and people you don’t even know!

I think Facebook blew it. By trying to squeeze every last golden egg out of their goose, they’re poisoning the ecosystem that feeds it. The second wave of this backlash is only now starting to bubble up. If some entity like reddit (or an influential person like reddit co-founder Alexis Ohanian), Anonymous—or even just a bunch of indie rock bands working together—organized something like a FACEBOOK: I WANT MY FRIENDS BACK day—similar to the recent anti-SOPA Internet blackout—I think things could get very ugly, very quickly for Facebook’s struggling stock.

It’s a justly deserved fate, in my opinion.

*I noticed this morning that Facebook is now only estimating a reach of fewer than one million users with the same $2000 option, so make of that what you will.

UPDATE: According to the All Facebook blog, a newly launched opt-in feature would allow users to bypass EdgeRank to see all updates from the family, friends and requested updates from Facebook fan pages. This is a significant change for the better, but making EdgeRank the opt-in feature should have been the solution.
Send a message to Facebook about their exorbitant Promote fees! Download larger versions of this graphic (in both blue and red) to post on your own Facebook page HERE, HERE, HERE and HERE. Graphic by Dimitri Drujchin, original photo Guillaume Paumier

Posted by Richard Metzger | Leave a comment
If Twitter was like Facebook
12:55 pm

Pop Culture


Boing Boing’s managing editor, ginger geezer Rob Beschizza, puts Facebook’s new promoted posts policy into proper perspective…

Follow Rob Beschizza on Twitter.

Posted by Richard Metzger | Leave a comment
08:18 am

Current Events
Pop Culture
Stupid or Evil?


If you want to send Facebook a message, please feel free to use our graphics for your Facebook page


This has been brewing since around May. At least that’s when we first started noticing it here at Dangerous Minds and we certainly weren’t the only ones.

Spring of 2012 was when bloggers, non-profits, indie bands, George Takei, community theaters, photographers, caterers, artists, mega-churches, high schools, tee-shirt vendors, campus coffee shops, art galleries, museums, charities, food trucks, and a near infinite variety of organizations; individuals from all walks of life; and businesses, both large and small, began to detect—for it was almost imperceptible at first—that the volume was getting turned down on their Facebook reach. Each post was now being seen only by a fraction of their total “fans” who would previously have seen them.

But it wasn’t just the so-called “fan pages,” individual Facebook users were also starting to notice that they weren’t seeing much in their newsfeeds anymore from the various entities they “liked”—or even updates from their closest friends and family members. Something was amiss, but unless you had a larger “data set” to look at—or a formerly thriving online business that was now getting creamed—it probably wasn’t something that you noticed or paid that much attention to.

When we first noticed the problem, our blog had about 29,000 Facebook “likes.” Our traffic was growing 20% month over month, but our Facebook fans grew at a far faster pace. We were getting hundreds of new ‘likes” every day. Still do. As I write this, our Facebook fans now number over 53,000, not quite double what it was then, but give it another month or so and it will be.

53,000 is a more than respectable number of Facebook fans for a blog that’s only been around for a little over three years. So why is it that our pageviews—our actual inventory, what we sell to advertisers—coming from Facebook shares are off by half to two thirds when the number of new “likes” has risen so dramatically during this same time period?!?!

In a widely read—and widely shared on Facebook—NY Observer article titled “Broken on Purpose: Why Getting It Wrong Pays More Than Getting It Right,” (emailed to me by a friend, a prominent blogger, with the subject line: “Why putting a lot of energy into building a Facebook presence is a sucker’s game”) PR strategist and social media expert Ryan Holiday succinctly laid out the case against the damage Facebook had inflicted upon its most active users with its recently rolled out Promote “option”:

It’s no conspiracy. Facebook acknowledged it as recently as last week: messages now reach, on average, just 15 percent of an account’s fans. In a wonderful coincidence, Facebook has rolled out a solution for this problem: Pay them for better access.

As their advertising head, Gokul Rajaram, explained, if you want to speak to the other 80 to 85 percent of people who signed up to hear from you, “sponsoring posts is important.”

In other words, through “Sponsored Stories,” brands, agencies and artists are now charged to reach their own fans—the whole reason for having a page—because those pages have suddenly stopped working.

This is a clear conflict of interest. The worse the platform performs, the more advertisers need to use Sponsored Stories. In a way, it means that Facebook is broken, on purpose, in order to extract more money from users. In the case of Sponsored Stories, it has meant raking in nearly $1M a day.

I love how Rajaram phrases that so delicately: “Sponsoring posts is important.”

It’s perhaps the most understated stick-up line in history, worthy of a James Bond villain calmly demanding that a $365 million dollar ransom gets collected from all the Mom & Pop businesses who use Facebook. How many focus groups do you reckon it took until Facebook’s highly paid marketing and PR consultants finally arrived at such an innocuous phrase for describing information superhighway robbery?


At Dangerous Minds, we post anywhere from 10 to 16 items per day, fewer on the weekends. To reach 100% of of our 50k+ Facebook fans they’d charge us $200 per post. That would cost us between $2000 and $3200 per day—but let’s go with the lower, easier to multiply number. We post seven days a week, that would be about $14,000 per week, $56,000 per month… a grand total of $672,000 for what we got for free before Facebook started turning the traffic spigot down in Spring of this year—wouldn’t you know it—right around the time of their badly managed IPO.

Whenever the controversy raging over Facebook’s exorbitant Promote fees gets covered in the media, I’ve noticed that the comments have been very telling. Opinion seems to be about nine to one against it. Some in the “it’s a free country” section of the peanut gallery maintain that the new Promote “option” isn’t extortion, just capitalism, baby, and furthermore that disgruntled Facebook users have the simple option to seek out other venues that are free such as Twitter and Google+

That’s true. They are right of course, in a strict free market logic, but this would be an unsophisticated viewpoint to hold if you are the CEO of a multi-billion dollar concern like Facebook. It surely doesn’t take a Harvard degree, does it, to figure out that Facebook so aggressively angering their user base by inserting themselves into the equation in this way, is perhaps—if only because of the size of the company’s market cap—the single most misguided thing a major corporation has ever deliberately done, bar none, in the entire history of American capitalism and the world.

What else would come even close? New Coke?

These comments, from that same NY Observer article, spell out what this all really means and lays bare why Facebook’s ham-fisted money grab is so staggeringly inept:

I run a Facebook page with 15,000 fans. That’s 15,000 people who have consciously signed up for our website updates and want it to appear in their newsfeed. Yet, we’re having exactly the same problem this article chronicles. We’re barely reaching 15-20% of our fan page and we’re sharing stuff that always used to be popular. Facebook for us was always a vehicle to drive traffic to our website (just like our email list, twitter page, etc). It’s become less and less valuable as a tool to do this due to Edgerank and Facebook wanting to charge you to reach the audience you’ve ALREADY paid to reach. It’s a betrayal. It’s just not worth it to pay $100 to reach all of our fans for one article. As a small business, I’m starting to care less and less about Facebook and I’m not alone. They need to get rid of Edgerank and get rid of Sponsored Posts.

A fellow named Bill Downey replied to that comment. Imagine your name is Mark Zuckerberg as you read the following:

I have a similar experience, my page has over 40,000 fans and when Facebook started this the traffic to my website dropped from 30,000 a day to 5,000 a day. I tried paying for extra reach but it’s not worth it for a small site like mine. The fee they charge I can not make up thru ad revenue. It’s probably fine for McDonalds page or Coke who can afford $200 per post for the full reach. I would be all for paying if the cost to play wasn’t so steep, they need to come up with better scaling for the fees for smaller pages. They don’t care about the little guys when they can sock it to the big companies. The worst part of it though is the lying to our fans that sign up to see our content and then never do unless they fall in that 15% group. Facebook has a number of other issues that make most of its users hate it. I know I despise it and I am desperately trying to find a way to replace it for promotion.

“I despise it.” Hear that beleaguered holders of Facebook stock? That kind of talk would make my blood run cold. How many companies can you name that you actively despise?

For online publishers who depend on “page views” to sell advertising against—and who have invested considerable time and effort courting Facebook fans—the company’s new policies are particularly galling: Imagine losing 85% of your inventory and then being asked to pay a daily king’s ransom—more than it’s even worth to you—to get it back!

Netflix was only trying to soak you for another $6 a month, not starve you to death!


Personally, as a publisher of a medium readership blog, I used to get a great deal from using Facebook—but I understood it to be a two-way reciprocal arrangement because I was driving traffic back to Facebook as well, and reinforcing their brand awareness with prominent widgets on our blog—but like Bill and Jonathan here, we’re actively seeking out other ways of driving traffic to the site now. With this very post—which will likely be the first and very last thing we’ll ever pay to promote on Facebook—we’re hoping to increase sign-ups to our daily newsletter (sign up at the top of this page), our Twitter feed and our Google+ page

We simply can’t afford to pay Facebook $2000 to $3200 a day and we can’t afford to do nothing, either. Their shockingly greedy business plan offers us no alternative and we’re not alone. The Facebook management team have obviously never read the classic business motivational parable Who Moved My Cheese? They should buy a few hundred copies and spread ‘em around the office so the behavior of the mice won’t seem so confusing to them!

So we’re doing the $2000 Facebook Promote package for this very post as a one-shot deal. It promises that 1.7 million people—all of our “fans” and also their friends—will see it in their newsfeeds.  Will Facebook even allow it past their human approval process for promoted posts? There’s nothing in this post that violates any of their policies and guidelines, but how long, I wonder, will they allow it to spread through their millions and millions of data-streams? Will I have “free speech” on Facebook if I pay them $2000? The way I look at it, this is what I have to do to get Mark Zuckerberg’s attention to let him know that he’s killing our business.

It will be interesting to see how this experiment turns out. I hope you’ll pass this along if you find what I’ve written here to be of interest, or if it might be relevant to someone you know. If you want to send Facebook a message, please feel free to use our graphics for your Facebook avatar. I’d like to get our money’s worth! The more of you who connect with us via Twitter, Google+ and our newsletter (sign-up widget at the top of this page), the better.

But make no mistake about it. Had Facebook debuted the Promote “option” with a more reasonable rate card that would apply to frequently updated blogs and media outlets—something akin to “book rate” at the post office—we’d have been willing to pay between $7 to $10 a post. Facebook WOULD have made around $2500 to $3000 a month from Dangerous Minds, every month. That’s around $30,000 a year, but apparently the price of a new car is not enough for Facebook to want to cultivate Dangerous Minds as a customer! Instead, we’re left with no options save for putting our efforts into Google+, Twitter, and our daily email newsletter.

Ironic, isn’t it, that the one time we’re willing to pay Facebook’s insane rates, is also likely to be the last time we use Promote. We’re even willing to pay them to reduce our dependence on Facebook—how else to regain what they took from us save for a stunt like this one—and so it finally seems that this relationship has gone properly toxic.



Consider this, if they’re charging a blog the size of Dangerous Minds $200 per post, what would a major metropolitan newspaper, with dozens of sections and hundreds of individual daily articles and blog posts that relies heavily on Facebook for web traffic, have to pay out to them just to get their old traffic back? It would amount to tens of millions of dollars per year. Facebook are angering not just indie bloggers, small business owners, non-profits and rock bands, but people employed by mainstream media outlets who have seen their hard-earned traffic shrink by as much as 85%. Consider how tenuous it already is to work at a newspaper—where there is about as much job security as there is in seasonal strawberry picking, if not far less—and then the rug gets pulled out from under them like this?

The medium and small blogs are already up in arms about Facebook’s extortionate Promote fees. What’s wrong with this picture from a marketing and public relations standpoint when writers for The New York Times, Washington Post, Gawker, Buzzfeed, Business Insider, Boing Boing, Laughing Squid or Huffington Post begin to “despise” Facebook, too? I wonder what Arianna Huffington and Rupert Murdoch will make of this when it’s brought to their attention? This is a very big deal.

Summing up, Facebook has taken a pee in their own pool from quite a lofty height, turning vast armies of “influentials” against the company, people who are now making plans—born of necessity—to bolt from that pool and to stop putting any effort there. Furthermore, Facebook’s greedy grab will have the knock-on effect of causing many blogs to simply throw in the towel, diminishing Facebook’s own business ecosystem and Facebook’s value to its own users to the point where only Axe Deodorant, Taco Bell and Nike will be showing up in your Facebook newsfeed, which after all, is pretty much the sole point of Facebook in the first place! They’ve deliberately broken their own product’s biggest selling point. Whose idea was that?

The Facebook Promote story is just now beginning to pick up speed and will soon reach critical mass. Have you tried posting anything to a friend’s Facebook wall in the last couple of days? Try it now and see what happens.

If Google plays their cards right, they’ll be able to kick Facebook right in the teeth when they’re already reeling from a self-inflicted wound. An online advertising campaign touting how “Google+ will never charge you, that’s a promise” would be speaking directly to the Jonathans and Bills of the Internet. Google would simply be crazy not to try to capitalize on these head-scratching missteps every way they can. If anything can boost Google+, it’s Facebook’s management team. All Google has to do is sit back and wait.

I can sympathize with Facebook’s travails on the stock market and I can appreciate that they are providing a value—a great one, unprecedented, really—by connecting such a vast number of human beings in an electronic global village. But I can’t pay them $2000 a day and $672,000 a year for the exact same product that I was getting for free back in March!

Send a message to Facebook about their exorbitant Promote fees! Download larger versions of this graphic (in both blue and red) to post on your own Facebook page HERE, HERE, HERE and HERE. Graphic by Dimitri Drujchin, original photo Guillaume Paumier

Posted by Richard Metzger | Leave a comment
‘WHAT is the protocol?’: Kid craps on train, causes panic
03:28 pm



Hopefully the staff will be better trained next time on how to handle a kid who “shits the train.”

Quite possibly one of the funniest Facebook status updates I’ve ever read.
Via reddit 



Posted by Tara McGinley | Leave a comment
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