Killing Nazis with kindness—by ‘liking’ them on Facebook
01.29.2014
04:51 am

Topics:
Activism
Politics
Science/Tech

Tags:
Facebook
Nazis

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.
 

Written by Martin Schneider | Discussion
Bea Arthur’s boobies can get you booted from Facebook
05.16.2013
10:32 am

Topics:
Art
Current Events

Tags:
Facebook
Bea Arthur
Boobs


 
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

Written by Tara McGinley | Discussion
Facebook ‘likes’ don’t save lives
05.01.2013
08:24 am

Topics:
Current Events

Tags:
Facebook
Likes


 
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

Written by Tara McGinley | Discussion
Facebook gets away with murder BECAUSE TECH WRITERS JUST DON’T GET IT
03.04.2013
12:57 pm

Topics:
Current Events

Tags:
Facebook


 
How is it possible that some of the country’s top tech journalists are just now hearing about this story???

As anyone who is the administrator of a fan page can tell you, Facebook has pushed one of the most shamefully immoral, extortionist—yet curiously, even stupidly transparent—business models in the history of modern capitalism on its billions of users, and no, that is not an overstatement. Due not only to the size of Facebook’s user base and market cap, but the company’s monolithic influence on how information is distributed—and just how sleazy it all is once you understand what’s really going on—that’s actually a fairly neutral statement of fact.

One of the very first articles to be written about Facebook’s controversial promoted posts scheme was “Broken on Purpose: Why Getting It Wrong Pays More Than Getting It Right,” a New York Observer piece penned by Ryan Holiday, a public relations strategist and the author of Trust Me, I’m Lying: Confessions of a Media Manipulator. Before practically anyone else, back in September of last year, Holiday laid bare how Facebook was deliberately preventing “fans” or subscribers from seeing updates (as much as 85% of them!) so they could then turn around and charge an exorbitant fee for what used to be free. If bands, church groups, dog shelters and charities actually wanted to reach 100% of the subscribers they worked hard to collect, they still could, but for a high price.

Wasn’t that nice of Facebook? Talk about a of conflict of interest!

What’s even more preposterous is how the matter has been written about in the mainstream and tech media. As someone who had my own part to play in the way the story spread (see “FACEBOOK I WANT MY FRIENDS BACK”) I’ve followed this closely and frankly the way this scandal has been reported on, for the most part, has just been fucking idiotic. The worst offender is TechCrunch’s Josh Constine, a guy who seems to take anything Facebook’s PR flacks have to say at face value and prints it as if it’s “news” (here’s a good example of his “reporting”: “Killing Rumors With Facts: No, Facebook Didn’t Decrease Page Feed Reach To Sell More Promoted Posts.” Did he even bother to email me? That would be a no... And do make sure to read the first very withering comment).

But as I was saying, it just got downright annoying to watch how totally wrong most of the tech media covering the Facebook promoted posts scandal got it—for that’s what it is, an actual scandal, the type of thing the DoJ should be looking into.

Returning to the topic this morning in another Observer post, Ryan Holiday vents his frustration with seeing how the digerati are picking up on the story six months late and how—unbelievably—they’re still not getting it right:

But only now, when Nick Bilton at the New York Times experienced it himself, did the phenomenon suddenly hit the top of Techmeme.

Some of the tweets from Bilton’s colleagues are pretty amazing: “I dunno, I kind of feel like we knew this was coming eventually,” writes Anthony De Rosa, a Reuters columnist and social media editor.

Indeed! We knew it because it already happened.

Felix Salmon, also of Reuters, tweeted back to Bilton at the Times, “Insofar as it applies only to fans/subscribers rather than actual friends, surely not a big deal.”

Except that’s not true either. In October, TechCrunch revealed that Facebook was expanding the program so that users needed (or could choose, depending on your interpretation) to pay $7 to extend the reach about “important announcements” like weddings, garage sales or parties.

As Holiday points out, and he’s dead right about this: THE reason—the ONLY reason, I think—that Facebook gets away with this greedhead bullshit is due to the extremely pertinent fact that most tech writers simply DON’T UNDERSTAND WHAT THEY ARE DOING.

Does Facebook have a ‘right’ to operate this way–to throttle access and charge unequally for passage? As a for-profit company, they absolutely do. It’s just bafflingly shortsighted–and borderline unethical–to anyone who really thinks about it for two seconds.

I’m just starting to realize that most tech media have neglected to do that.

And THAT is why Facebook has gotten away with this appalling bait-and-switch. That’s how they’ve been boldly able to (and remain) broken on purpose.

HINT TO TECH JOURNALISTS: Figure out how EdgeRank works. THAT is a major, major component of the story that seems to be eluding most of you…

Previously on Dangerous Minds
FACEBOOK: I WANT MY FRIENDS BACK

PAY FACEBOOK TO PROMOTE THIS POST OR THIS DOG WILL DIE!

Facebook quietly settled lawsuit that could have involved up to 1 in 3 Americans & cost billion$!

TechCrunch’s abrupt about face on Facebook: ‘They HAVE decreased page reach’

Facebook: Enemy of the Internet

Facebook’s sneaky Trojan horse: You won’t ‘LIKE’ this!

Facebook’s killer app (if corporate suicide’s your thing)

Written by Richard Metzger | Discussion
Facebook, Twitter and MySpace: Gateways to Heroin
02.25.2013
09:42 am

Topics:
Amusing
Drugs

Tags:
Facebook
Twitter
Heroin
MySpace


 
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

Written by Tara McGinley | Discussion
Facebook quietly settled lawsuit that could have involved up to 1 in 3 Americans & cost billion$!
01.09.2013
09:57 am

Topics:
Current Events
Media
Pop Culture

Tags:
Facebook


 
Several of our readers have tipped us off about a little-noticed Reuters article from June 16, 2012, regarding Facebook settling a proposed class-action lawsuit in California over their controversial “Sponsored Stories” product. I’m not an attorney, but I would imagine that Facebook have similarly left themselves wide open to a potential class action lawsuit over their “Promoted Posts” scheme as well. It would seem to be just a matter of time before charities, online publishers, bands and especially those who have paid Facebook for more “likes” only to be told that to actually reach all of the “likes” they paid for, well, they’ll have to keep paying, realize that they have common interests.

Especially the bit about the folks who paid for additional “likes” and yet can only reach 15% of them without forking over more cash to Facebook! That would a pretty absurd position to have to defend in court, don’t you find? It could get really “hot” for Facebook in 2013 if they keep treading the same path of remarkably ill-advised corporate hubris they seem to have set course on just after their badly-managed IPO last Spring.

From Reuters, June 16, 2012:

Facebook Inc has agreed to pay $10 million to charity to settle a lawsuit that accused the site of violating users’ rights to control the use of their own names, photographs and likenesses, according to court documents made public over the weekend.

The lawsuit, brought by five Facebook members, alleged the social networking site violated California law by publicizing users’ “likes” of certain advertisers on its “Sponsored Stories” feature without paying them or giving them a way to opt out, the documents said.

A “Sponsored Story” is an advertisement that appears on a member’s Facebook page and generally consists of another friend’s name, profile picture and an assertion that the person “likes” the advertiser.

The settlement was reached last month but made public this weekend. Facebook declined to comment on Saturday.

The proposed class-action lawsuit, filed in federal court in San Jose, California, could have included nearly one of every three Americans, with billions of dollars in damages, according to previous court documents.

In the lawsuit, Facebook Chief Executive Mark Zuckerberg was quoted as saying that a trusted referral was the “Holy Grail” of advertising.

But he just doesn’t want to share any of that holy revenue with you, the referrer? That’s not playing very nice, now, is it?

If you care to look it up further, the case in U.S. District Court, Northern District of California was “Angel Fraley et al., individually and on behalf of all others similarly situated vs. Facebook Inc., 11-cv-1726.”

The thing is, a judge in San Francisco has rejected the settlement. In August, U.S. District Judge Richard Seeborg listed many concerns with the proposed settlement, including a request for more information as to why the agreement does not award any money to Facebook members.

Written by Richard Metzger | Discussion
Mashable’s Top 10 Most Influential People on Facebook: George Takei, Barack Obama and… ME?
01.03.2013
10:53 am

Topics:
Pop Culture

Tags:
Facebook


 
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!

Written by Richard Metzger | Discussion
TechCrunch’s abrupt about face on Facebook: ‘They HAVE decreased page reach’
11.16.2012
10:03 am

Topics:
Current Events
Media
Pop Culture

Tags:
Facebook


 
I read with some sense of satisfaction—not to mention amusement—”Facebook Has Decreased Page Reach, And Here’s Why” on TechCrunch this morning.

Hadn’t TechCrunch, just last week, in a dig at my own viral FACEBOOK: I WANT MY FRIENDS BACK post, declared that what every single admin of a Facebook fan page knows to be true, to just be a bunch of bullshit, in an article titled “Killing Rumors With Facts: No, Facebook Didn’t Decrease Page Feed Reach To Sell More Promoted Posts”?

The article’s “rumor killing” take on the matter? Facebook aren’t turning the volume down on your audience reach, sillies. They’re just trying to cut down on spam!

The author of said article, Josh Constine, knew this because a couple of Facebook PR flacks told him so. Poor Josh was gifted with several super harsh comments for his unimpressive efforts at pretending to be a journalist. I had my own fun at his expense. Now Constine’s own publication is calling him to task, in a TechCrunch guest post by Robin Grant, the Global Managing Director of We Are Social, a social-media agency with offices around the world:

Despite what you might have been told to the contrary by Josh Constine in these very pages last week, I’m here to tell you that yes, Facebook has decreased page reach.

In fact, since the end of August there has been a precipitous drop in reach across pages of all sizes. Despite complaining about a “lack of hard data”, Josh neglected both first hand reports of Facebook telling agencies who manage large numbers of pages for clients that they were going to experience a large drop in reach, and data clearly showing this drop from at least three independent sources – Facebook page analytics provider EdgeRank Checker, the head of social measurement at WPP’s Team Detroit and a study conducted by us here at We Are Social in conjunction with Socialbakers.

But as Josh himself said, “When people make big claims like this, don’t just assume they’re right. Demand to see scientific evidence.”

TechCruch has all the gory scientific evidence—and “facts” not supplied by Facebook public relations execs—that you’ll need to form your own opinions…

TechCruch’s abrupt volte-face this morning on Facebook’s promoted post flap should be seen as significant. It’s yet another in a series of disastrous—and wholly self-inflicted—public relations shitstorms Facebook has been embroiled in the past few weeks.

I’ve said it before, and I will say it again: This is one of the stupidest mistakes a major corporation has ever made. Epic. It’s the Ben-Hur of corporate fuck-ups.

Name one other major commercial enterprise in history that has SO MANY passionate “stakeholders” who feel so wronged, pissed-off and betrayed?

It can’t be done. This is unprecedented ineptitude, writ very, very large.  People who organize church bake sales are starting to hate Facebook now. When will they make a serious effort to staunch the bleeding?

The way Facebook has managed the furor over “promoted posts” thus far makes the music industry’s abject failures of the past decade look… positively visionary!

Previously on Dangerous Minds:
Facebook’s sneaky Trojan horse: You won’t ‘LIKE’ this!

 

Written by Richard Metzger | Discussion
Facebook’s sneaky Trojan horse: You won’t ‘LIKE’ this!


 
This is a guest post by New Delhi-based social media consultant, Kartik Dayanand.

The writing is clearly on the wall: The Internet is up in arms against Facebook.

The biggest grouse being the way Facebook is scuttling the reach of status updates in the news feed. Enough has been written already about the topic and the voice of dissent is only growing by the day. The recent furor has served to confirm what everyone already suspected about the way Facebook’s notorious EdgeRank algorithm was hiding status updates.

In a smart move to counter this backlash, Facebook has launched a special news feed dedicated only to Pages. This should act as a soothing balm to the bruised egos and angry voices, but the reality is something else. This new Pages only feed is but a glorified version of the main news feed with the censoring of content still more or less intact! To call it a minor improvement would be overstating the case, but it does show, to a certain extent, that Facebook is listening. Maybe.

While reach of status updates is a major concern there are other problems that ail Facebook, some of which I discussed in detail in an older blog post of mine Meet the Enemy of the Internet! This was a post that I published six months ago and luckily for me it came alive once again because of it being featured here on Dangerous Minds.

Needless to say, traffic from Dangerous Minds to my site was fantastic and this in turn gave me a lot of additional data to substantiate what I had discussed in my earlier blog post.

The main issue of contention, apart from the apparent scuttling of status updates, is the battle between the SHARE and the LIKE buttons on our websites. These buttons are the primary marketing tools on every site and are supposed to help our readers share content to Facebook and in return we expect referral traffic coming from Facebook. That is the only reason why these buttons exist in the first place.

As I pointed out in my original blog post, the SHARE button, including the organic shares (links inside status updates) drove 95% of the referral traffic to my site from Facebook as opposed to the LIKE button which drove the remaining paltry 5% of the traffic. In a curious twist, Facebook decided to get rid of the SHARE button. Why did Facebook do that? The detailed reasons I gave in my previous exhaustive blog post about this, but to cut things short: Facebook hates it when you bring content from the outside, it tries its best to hide stuff that originates from outside the gated community of Facebook. (Photos, however, they, uh, “like” because you don’t have to leave Facebook to view them. This is why Facebook purchased Instagram).

I have gone through the traffic statistics of my blog for the last week since the moment that Dangerous Minds shared my post and below are the findings, taken from Facebook Insights, for my blog during that period. Mind you, during this period my site did not have the SHARE button on it, just the LIKE button. See for yourself what happened.

Organic Shares:
There were 159 people who shared my post “organically” on Facebook. That is, they posted the links to my blog in the status update box manually without the aid of any SHARE button residing on my site. These updates resulted in 32,496 impressions on Facebook and 452 people clicked those links on Facebook and landed back on my site. Somehow 32,496 impressions sounds very small considering that some pages that shared this post had followers in the thousands including Dangerous Minds which counts over 61,000 people who have “liked” its Facebook Page.
 

 
Like Button:
The LIKE button was displayed 20,020 times on my blog and 178 people clicked the LIKE button in that same time period. These LIKE’s are supposed to display in the news feed of the person clicking the LIKE button so that their friends can view the stories similar to the way SHARE buttons did earlier.

To my surprise I found out that the clicks on the LIKE button drove ZERO impressions on Facebook which in turn means no one saw those LIKE’s on Facebook and hence there was ZERO referral traffic back to my site. I wonder what would have happened if I had the SHARE button there in place of LIKE?
 

 
Nearly without exception—almost every one of us—the website/blog owners, have gotton rid of the SHARE button at some point of time in favor of the poorly functioning LIKE button, which can be seen to be suicidal for traffic. Those who still stuck with the old code of the SHARE button were brutally ambushed when Facebook discontinued technical support for it in its old form sometime earlier this year.

Do you smell a rat here?

I smell a Trojan horse.

PS: Think twice before you click LIKE below, you are better off SHARING this post rather than clicking LIKE, or maybe it’s best if you do both.

This has been a guest post by New Delhi-based social media consultant, Kartik Dayanand

You can catch him here:

Twitter: @KartikDayanand          
Facebook: Mind u Read
Blog: www.minduread.com

Written by Richard Metzger | Discussion
Facebook’s killer app (if corporate suicide’s your thing)
11.13.2012
01:57 pm

Topics:
Pop Culture
Stupid or Evil?

Tags:
Facebook
Mark Cuban


“Oh, that’s not cocaine, it’s a mixture of baby power and finely ground glass.”

Stupidity?

Cupidity?

I’d say both, but the argument is becoming academic—quickly—anyway in the matter of Facebook’s astonishingly misguided “promoted posts” scheme.

As I predicted here recently, the consumer backlash over promoted posts is starting to pick up steam: After word of George Takei including a chapter about his frustrations with the social network in his upcoming book, Oh Myyy! got around last week, Dallas Mavericks owner Mark Cuban now says he is planning to make good on his threat to stop putting any future efforts into marketing on Facebook.

I would imagine that Wall Street is paying pretty close attention to this…

Respected author and media journalist Dan Lyons writes on ReadWrite:

Two weeks ago Cuban tweeted out a screen grab of an offer he’d received from Facebook. The social network wanted to charge him $3,000 to reach 1 million people. Along with the screen grab, Cuban wrote, “FB is blowing it? This is the first step. The Mavs are considering moving to Tumblr or to new MySpace as primary site.”

Now Cuban tells me he’s doing more than considering a move - he’s doing it. And not just with the Mavs but with the 70 or so companies in which he has invested.

“We are moving far more aggressively into Twitter and reducing any and all emphasis on Facebook,” Cuban says, via email. “We won’t abandon Facebook, we will still use it, but our priority is to add followers that our brands can reach on non-Facebook platforms first.”

Cuban and other corporate Facebook members are howling because new rules on the social network make it harder for brands to reach people without spending big money on sponsored posts.

That’s because in September Facebook changed the algorithm that controls which messages get through to which members. The result is that some brands a sharp dropoff in the reach of their posts - as much as 50% in some cases.

In the interests of fairness, Lyons lets Facebook make their threadbare claim that they’re not trying to shake their users down for money, just trying to fight the proliferation of spam and blah blah blah. As if anyone actually believes that!

Via email, Cuban additionally told Lyons:

“The big negative for Facebook is that we will no longer push for likes or subscribers because we can’t reach them all. Why would we invest in extending our Facebook audience size if we have to pay to reach them? That’s crazy.

“In many respects it has already blown up on Facebook. Their search for revenue has severely devalued every brand’s following and completely changed the economics of consumer interaction.”

And then there was a curious post today from TechCrunch’s Michael Arrington, who surprising wrote this about Facebook’s new promoted post policy after he tried it himself and looked at the results:

Cuban’s right, this has the appearance of shady.

Michael Arrington wrote that? When is the last time you’ve read anything negative about Facebook on TechCrunch???

(I also find it more than slightly odd that the promote concept seems like it’s kinda fresh news to Michael Arrington, don’t you?)

Very interestink! And again, I am pretty sure Wall Street would have noticed this. When is Facebook going to cry “Uncle”??? It’s insanity writ large. We’re witnessing staggeringly stupid mega-corporate ineptitude here. Nothing less.

As one of our readers wryly quipped:

“With promoted posts, Facebook has come up with the ultimate killer app (if suicide’s your thing)”

Join Dangerous Minds on G+, Twitter and sign up for our daily email newsletter (see sign-up widget in top tool bar)

Previously on Dangerous Minds:
PAY FACEBOOK TO PROMOTE THIS POST OR THIS DOG WILL DIE!

Facebook: Enemy of the Internet
 

 
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

Written by Richard Metzger | Discussion
This is fun: Watch Mitt Romney’s Facebook count drop each time you hit ‘refresh’!
11.12.2012
09:12 am

Topics:
Amusing

Tags:
Mitt Romney
Facebook


 
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?

Written by Tara McGinley | Discussion
George Takei vs. Facebook!
11.09.2012
11:34 am

Topics:

Tags:
Facebook
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

PAY FACEBOOK TO PROMOTE THIS POST OR THIS DOG WILL DIE!

 

Written by Richard Metzger | Discussion
Facebook: Enemy of the Internet
11.08.2012
02:09 pm

Topics:
Current Events
Pop Culture
Stupid or Evil?

Tags:
Facebook


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

TAKE THAT, WIZARD GLICK!!!

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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Written by Richard Metzger | Discussion
PAY FACEBOOK TO PROMOTE THIS POST OR THIS DOG WILL DIE!
11.01.2012
08:12 am

Topics:
Current Events
Media

Tags:
Facebook


 
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

Written by Richard Metzger | Discussion
If Twitter was like Facebook
10.26.2012
09:55 am

Topics:
Amusing
Media
Pop Culture

Tags:
Facebook
Twitter


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

Follow Rob Beschizza on Twitter.

Written by Richard Metzger | Discussion
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