Category: Social Media

How Facebook Creates Insights Data

You many have wondered how Facebook puts together the data you can see under Insights on your Facebook page.

Here’s a summary of what they do.

Page Insights are aggregated statistics that are created from certain events logged by Facebook servers when people interact with Pages and the content associated with them.

Actions that are logged, include: –

  • Viewing a Page, post, video, story or other content associated with a Page
  • Interacting with a story
  • Following or unfollowing a Page
  • Liking or unliking a Page or post
  • Recommending a Page in a post or comment
  • Commenting on, sharing or reacting to a Page’s post (including the type of reaction)
  • Hiding a Page’s post or reporting it as spam
  • Hovering over a link to a Page or a Page’s name or profile picture to see a preview of the Page’s content
  • Clicking on the website, phone number, Get Directions button or other button on a Page
  • Having a Page’s event on screen, responding to an event including type of reaction, clicking on a link for event tickets
  • Starting a Messenger communication with the Page
  • Viewing or clicking on items in Page’s shop

Information about the action, the person taking the action, and the browser/app used for it include the following:

  • Date and time of action
  • Country/city (estimated from IP address or imported from user profile for logged-in users)
  • Language code (from browser’s http header and/or language setting)
  • Age/gender group (from user profile for logged-in users only)
  • Website previously visited (from browser’s http header)
  • Whether the action was taken from a computer or mobile device (from browser’s user agent or app attributes)
  • Facebook user ID (for logged-in users only)

Much of this data is only recorded if the user has a Facebook account but some is still logged for anonymous users.

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Report Facebook Adverts as Scams

Facebook promised £3 million to help support anti-scam services as well as introducing a tool to report scam adverts on the UK version of Facebook.

However, this is all due to Martin Lewis, a TV presenter and journalist who advises people on financial issues. He took Facebook to court for repeatedly failing to stop scammers using his name to advertise scam products.

Scammers often use the names of well-known people to make their offers seem more attractive and legitimate and Facebook has done very little to stop this practice or clamp down when this is reported.

Lewis sued Facebook in April 2018 they settled him by agreeing to donate £3m to Citizens Advice and create a new scam advert reporting tool.

Now, Facebook has launched the button on its UK site to allow people to report scam adverts. This lets users click the three dots ‘. . .‘ on the top right of an advert and then select the ‘Report Ad‘ function, followed by ‘Misleading or scam advert‘. Then, they have to confirm that they want to send a detailed scam report.

This is a big win for Lewis, who had his name hijacked and reputation damaged and had to spend $100,000 facing the social media giant down in court and turned the whole thing into something positive that will help consumers. Nice one Martin.

Well done Facebook, but shame you only agreed to the action because of a court case.

If you have any experiences with scammers or fake adverts on Facebook – do let me know, by email.

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How Real are Pictures on Instagram

Would you take pictures inside someone else’s home then put the pictures on Instagram and claim it’s your house?

A recent survey showed that one in six of us have done just that – posted pictures of other people’s better homes and pretended it’s ours.

More than a quarter of the 2,000 people polled at the Ideal Home Show admitted to being so envious of images of friends’ properties on Instagram, Twitter and Facebook, that it made them miserable.

How Real are the Pictures?

The vast majority of the photos on Instagram are genuine in that there is a real object being photographed but a significant minority are created by Photoshop type techniques or are amended so much so as to provide an unrealistic image.

Instagram permeates all walks of modern life, and many of you may be familiar with the fine art of employing just the right photographic filter to turn the ordinary into the extraordinary.

However, many of the photographs are deliberately deceptive so as to give a more positive image of the picture taker. This can be through the use of filters, Photoshop removal of blemishes or even of unwanted people in the pictures.

Don’t base decisions or your moods on photos on Instagram as they may very well be fake.

Do you have an opinion on this matter? Please comment in the box below.

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International Grand Committee

Facebook came under fire from lawmakers from nine countries at the inaugural hearing of the “International Grand Committee on Disinformation” held in London.

The landmark event saw 24 representatives from Argentina, Belgium, Brazil, Canada, France, Ireland, Latvia, Singapore, and the UK meet to debate issues including data protection, online disinformation and fake news.

The social network’s founder Mark Zuckerberg was repeatedly asked to attend but refused and sent Richard Allan, the company’s vice president of public policy for Europe, the Middle East and Africa.

Facebook is under investigation in various countries for reasons including Russian interference in the American elections, data privacy issues, unfair treatment of companies competing with Facebook, secret deals and more.

Referring to a report from a Facebook engineer that Russian IP addresses were accessing three billion data points a day on the network, committee chair Damien Collins, asked Allen: “If Russian IP addresses were pulling down a huge amount of data from the platform was that reported or was that just kept, as so often seems to be the case, within the family and not talked about?”

Allen said that the claim was misleading and taken out of context, but Facebook later issued a statement confirming the issue was looked into and told The Guardian “the engineers who had flagged these initial concerns subsequently looked into this further and found no evidence of specific Russian activity”.

The New York Times recently published an in-depth investigation which claimed senior Facebook executives had “ignored warning signs” about the negative impacts of its social network, and in some cases even sought to suppress or deflect criticism about its practices.

A representative from each of the seven parliaments participated in a formal signing ceremony for a set of ‘International Principles for the Law Governing the Internet’.

It seems there is much to do to bring Facebook’s behaviour into the open and force it to become an honest company.

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Facebook Secret Emails

The UK parliament has been trying to hold Facebook to account following its lack of control on data sharing and the massive data breach in 2017 which affected 87 million people.

Cambridge Analytica

The Facebook–Cambridge Analytica scandal in early 2018 revealed that Cambridge Analytica had harvested the personal data of millions of people’s Facebook profiles without their consent and used it for political purposes. This was a shock to many people and showed Facebook had no regard for its user’s privacy or confidential information.


Six4Three are the makers of the app Pinkini and Pinkini was one of many businesses that shared data with Facebook until 2015, when Facebook changed its policies on how information was shared and this meant developers of the app were restricted in accessing data and culminated in the loss of business for Six4Three.

Six4Three then began a year long battle with Facebook.

The company claims Facebook misled developers by encouraging them to build applications based around promised access to data controls and privacy settings and then restricted access to that data.

Emails written by Facebook’s chief and his deputies show the firm struck secret deals to give some developers special access to user data while refusing others.

It is also clear that Facebook deliberately made it difficult for users to be aware of privacy changes to its Android app.

Damian Collins (UK Government chairman of the Commons Digital, Culture, Media and Sport (DCMS) Committee)

There was believed to be a secret cache of emails between Mark Zuckerberg and other executives that shows that Facebook knew about flaws in its privacy policy and allowed them to be actively exploited before the Cambridge Analytica scandal.

MPs discovered the documents were in the possession of an American software executive visiting London on a business trip and sent an official from the House of Commons to his hotel to retrieve them.


It appears from documents that Facebook had been aware that an update to its Android app that let it collect records of users’ calls and texts would be controversial. To mitigate any bad PR, Facebook planned to make it as hard as possible for users to know that this was one of the underlying features.

Facebook is also known to have used data provided by the Israeli analytics firm Onavo to determine which other mobile apps were being downloaded and used by the public. It then used this knowledge to decide which apps to acquire or otherwise treat as a threat


Another example of how Facebook ignore their user’s right to privacy in the belief that the information provided by the users belongs to Facebook and that Facebook can do anything it wants with that data and can treat other businesses as badly as it wishes to.

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Facebook Safety Advice for Parents

Facebook has created a portal for parents at to help them navigate the complex issues of privacy and safety for their children.

It’s a set of basic information with access to more detailed information if wanted.

Facebook say their community standards aim to find the right balance between giving people a place on Facebook to express themselves and promoting a welcoming and safe environment for everyone. They help you understand what is and isn’t OK to share on Facebook. We remove reported content that goes against our Community Standards.

Policies for keeping teens safe

These tools empower individuals to protect themselves against unwanted content, unwanted contact, and bullying and harassment online. When it comes to teens, Facebook take some extra precautions.

There is various information under subjects including:-

  • Underage accounts
  • Blocking
  • Reporting bullying, harassment and other issues
  • Safe friending
  • Safe sharing

The final piece of advice from Facebook to parents is to trust yourself. They suggest that you can adopt the same parenting style for your child’s online activities as you use for their offline activities. If you find that your child responds best to a negotiated agreement, create a contract that you can both sign. Or maybe your child just needs to know the basic rules.

If you have children using Facebook, make sure you know what they are doing and protect them against criminals on Facebook.

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