Tag: facebook

Just How Big is Facebook

Worldwide, there are over 2.20 billion monthly active Facebook users and that number is still growing across the world.

There are 1.45 billion mobile users that login on average every day and the corresponding figure for monthly users is 1.74 billion. Both of the numbers are growing steadily.

In Europe, over 307 million people are on Facebook.

People aged 25 to 34 are the biggest group of Facebook users but there is evidence that younger people are moving away from Facebook (considered to be uncool now that so many Grandfathers and Grandmothers inhabit Facebook).

Some oddities:-

  • Highest traffic occurs mid-week between 1 to 3 pm.
  • a Facebook post at 7pm will result in more clicks on average than posting at 8pm
  • On Thursdays and Fridays, engagement is 18% higher than other days
  • There are estimated to be 83 million fake profiles
  • 300 million photos are uploaded each day
  • Average time spent per Facebook visit is 20 minutes.
  • 50% of 18-24 year-olds go on Facebook when they wake up.

Like it or loathe it, Facebook is the 800 pound Gorilla in the social media world and will do everything it can to stay at the top.

Interesting that it is considered to be uncool by a growing number of young people so maybe its peak is near and it could fall from grace as quickly as it rose.

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Does Facebook Listen to Your Conversation

People have wondered for some time how Facebook works out what adverts to serve up to which people and sometimes an advert that’s a little too accurate may turn up. That’s sets people wondering whether Facebook listens in on their phone conversations and there’s anecdotal evidence that seems to make the point.

At recent congressional hearings, when Senator Gary Peters asked Mark Zuckerberg (head of Facebook) if Facebook listens to users through their cell phone microphones in order to collect information with which to serve them adverts, Zuckerberg said “No.”

How Facebook Collects Information

The Facebook APP does request microphone permissions for any videos you post, as well as to identify music or TV shows when you use the “Listening to” status feature, but does not listen to your conversation.

It starts with your Facebook profile plus everything you post on Facebook. Facebook tracks you through Like buttons on other web pages. This is even true for people without a Facebook account.

It also:-

  • Uses data from its other APPS – Instagram and WhatsApp
  • Tracks data from APPS within Facebook e.g. quizzes
  • Tracks when you use your Facebook login to access other websites
  • Maintains shadow profiles on people who don’t use Facebook.
  • Records unique phone identifiers through in-app advertising to associate your identity across the different devices you use.
  • Tracks your location constantly
  • Tracks your purchases

If you have ever been surprised by a Facebook advert for a product popping up right after you were talking out loud about it, it may be that Facebook has learned too much about you but it won’t be from your conversations.

Most people dislike adverts but understand that advertising fund the websites and services and APPS so is a necessary ‘evil’.  Some prefer adverts that are relevant whereas others find that creepy or intrusive.

However, most do accept that targeted advertising is likely to become more prevalent and more accepted.

Facebook don’t listen to your conversations, but they can collect so much information about us that it may seem that adverts can sometimes be too accurately targeted at you.

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Facebook Adverts Target the Family

Facebook is introducing a new household audience feature that will let companies direct adverts to entire families or to specific people within a household. The tool could help aim adverts at people who influence purchasing decisions and other adverts to the people making the actual purchases.

Here’s how it works:

  1. The company selects the audience they want to target
  2. They uploads the custom audience data to Facebook (names and address, email addresses etc.). This may be data from their own systems or purchased data.
  3. They turn on the household audience feature to reach not just the person they’re targeting, but also other people in the same household.

Facebook is open about wanting to shift TV advertising to their platform.  Facebook executives said they’ll be able to identify members of the same household based on data, such as their familial relationships on Facebook, but also based on the frequency of shared check-ins or where they access the internet i.e. clever guesswork.

The tool might also be used to reduce wasted advertising spend. For example, if someone has already bought a household-specific product or service e.g. Netflix subscription, an Airbnb reservation—then based on the customer database, the marketer and Facebook know to stop showing such adverts to that household.

Along with the added targeting, Facebook is adding additional measurement capabilities. This will appear in the Adverts Reporting dashboard and show how campaigns perform in terms of getting results across members of a household. Metrics will include how many households the advertising reaches, along with the frequency at which they were reached. It’ll also potentially show how an advert shown to one person affected a purchase made by someone else.

Examples of how the new feature may be used:-

  1. A husband purchased products from Sonos, so he’s in the company’s customer database. Sonos might then try to influence his wife to get him a gift or their kids to buy him something.
  2. One member of the household who sees a hotel advert in France will find others in the household have seen it too, leading to the family making holiday plans.
  3. It could show parents ideas for their children and husbands the items his wife likes to look at.

This could spoil surprises or even expose cheating partners.

Many people already find the adverts that follow them around the Internet to be creepy. You look at a pair of shoes on Amazon then find every website you look at is showing you those same shoes.  This new Facebook feature could take that creepiness to a new level.

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Beware Social Networking Scams

There is a rapid growth in the prevalence of social networking scams and the most common ones are listed below.

1.                 Fake Identity

businessman-607834_640Creating accounts on social networking sites is generally very simple and quick.  Do not trust someone’s name unless you really do know the person.

There are harmless reasons why someone might create a fake identity on social media but more commonly they are used for selling fake items, spam messages and identity theft.

The scammers sometimes pretend to be a real person – they collect information, phot

2. Viruses, Ransomware and Other Malware

Facebook and some other social networking sites allow for installation of 3rd party APPS. Most of these are harmless but scammers can create these APPS and attempt to have you download them. They may send you a message that appears to be from the site management or from a friend, but the APP may try to steal your identity information, password and/or credit card details.

Do not trust 3rd party APPS unless you are sure they are OK.

3. Identity Theft

Profile pages often contain personal information that is very useful to scammers, such as  your age/birthdate, your location, phone number, email address,  job and family details. Plus your photos.

They might try to build on that by phishing for your log-on password.  “Phishing” means the scammer pretends to be someone you would trust  e.g. a bank or the management of the social media site and tries to get your password etc.

The most common technique is the message through the network that appears to have come from an online buddy, inviting you to check out a new profile page. Clicking the link takes you to a bogus page that asks you to log on “again.” In reality, you’re handing over your confidential password to a scammer.

You can limit the risk of this type of identity theft by not posting too much giveaway detail about yourself on your profile page and watching out for suspicious invitations to view another profile.

Beware of any links that you have clicked that then ask you to sign on again. If you’re already signed on to the network you would not normally be asked to sign in again – be suspicious.

4.         Misuse of Activity Information

You must be careful on what information you publish on social networking sites. It’s good to be open but do realise that some information is a gift to criminals or can lead to future embarrassment.

e.g.1.  I’m off to India for 2 weeks on Tuesday. Have left the dog at Uncles. i.e. your house will be unoccupied for 2 weeks. If your address is accessible anywhere on the Internet then this is a gift to a burglar.

e.g. 2. Just back from last night’s party – was drunk in the gutter and taken in by the Police. See picture taken by friends. This is not so good if you’re going job hunting as prospective employers may read your social networking entries.

e.g. 3. Been snogging Julia again – hope her husband doesn’t find out. He may just do that.

5. Profile Page Hacks

If your password is guessable, then you may find your profile page has been hacked. They can  install invisible code that can be used for malicious purposes. Or they simply use your ID as a platform for spamming.

The key to preventing this type of attack is not only to have a strong password .

Refer to blog post  http://fightback.ninja/how-to-keep-your-passwords-safe/ for details on how to set strong passwords

If your profile or your identity are in any way compromised, you should also inform the site operator. If threats are involved, tell the police.

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Facebook Phishing Scam

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There are numerous phishing emails and text messages that try to trick victims into giving away confidential information like account sign-on details or credit card numbers.

Usually, these messages claim the victim’s account has been frozen until they sign on again by clicking a link that leads to a bogus page imitating the real provider of the account.

These can usually be spotted easily but there is a new phishing scam. This is in the form of a comment  on an item on the user’s Facebook page.

The Scammer creates an account with an official sounding, security related name, so the victim may believe the comment has come from Facebook. The comment maker then warns that the user’s account is to be disabled unless the user verifies their details.

The warning says something like :

“Your page has been reported by others about the abuse, this is a violation of our agreement and may result in your page Disabled. Please verify your email account to prove this is your page and help us do more for security and comfort for everyone. Please check your account as proof of legitimate owner of the account that you use. Make sure you enter the correct details below.”

The message has two boxes for recipients to enter their email address and their Facebook password, along with date of birth details and a “Confirmation” button, which is linked to a bogus Facebook page.

In both cases, after providing their sign-on information, victims are asked for their credit card number.

The message warns: “Caution. If you do not update your credit card your payment page will be disabled.”

Sometimes, there’s also a link to a phony PayPal sign-on page.

This is quite a complex and well-executed scam but hopefully the poor wording will flag it up for what it really is. Even if Facebook stop this scam, other scammers are likely to will try something similar.

Facebook has pages of information and guidance about security and what to do in the event you think there is something suspicious in progress.