Spoiling others on Facebook

Like Stamp 1Dear Facebook, it would be awesome if you would create a spoilers option for posts where the poster could say what it contains.

  1. You get users feeding you data about engagement with media useful for advertisers.
  2. Nice people could contain the damage of spoilers.

As it is, I saw several people created a post and put the spoiler in the comment which Facebook showed to me in the preview. So, people get spoiled inadvertently by people not intending to do so. A person trying to not spoil others has to create a post that says the content contains spoilers, create a spoiler-free comment on it, and reply to that comment with what contains the spoilers. Pretty cumbersome and other commenters might not get it and accidentally put a spoiler comment by not replying to the spoiler-free one.

Another approach Facebook might be to do is something similar to Twitter which has “muted keywords.”. The person seeking to avoid them can enter what they are trying to avoid and anything with that gets disappeared. There is a Tumblr XKit browser extension that operates similarly by collapsing the post into a message that says it is hidden because it contains the keyword. The XKit method is nice for TV shows because I do not have to add and remove each week.

It boggles the mind that we are in 2019 and this has not yet been solved by the social media giants such that we are still relying onĀ 3rd party products that try to help. These are Facebook versions of XKit that work on desktop browsers and are no help inside the Facebook app.

You have to have the forethought to have the correct terms screened. In other words,

  • you probably are not protected from an image
  • you are not protected from esoteric terms, so someone could craft a spoilery hashtag with a reference you can tell is a spoiler without a contextual term the screener will catch.

Basically, use Facebook at your own risk. Maybe unfriend people who get a kick out of spoiling others. Definitely, unfriend people who get a kick out of fake spoiling others.

Facebook Feature Request: External content datestamp

When people post a link, a Facebook bot looks at the content and finds the content of the <title> tag and creates a summary. My modest proposal is that it also locates the post datestamp to include here.

Every Facebook post has the name of the poster with when they posted it. It might be “Just now” to minutes or hours then if more than a day, the date. Then if more than a year, how many.

If Mark posts an article from 2 years ago right now, then it can appear fresh and new. Facebook also scrubs URLs so that if that indicated the publication date, one must click through to know that it is old. And, we all know in general people re-share things without doing such due diligence. This could be part of why missing persons posts get shared years after the person was found as people have no idea that the article is 1-10 years old without clicking through.

The Social Media Evolution

The Make Me Smart Podcast episode 96: Do it for the ‘gram had an interesting quip that Instagram was what the Facebook News Feed was before it got corrupted by ads and political arguments: the trivialities of our daily lives.

Screenshot_20180704-075738_FacebookAll social networks became popular because of trivialities. “What’s on your mind?” THAT is what we want. Users flocked to them because of trivialities. We want gossip, random, and meaningless.

Corporations need to monetize somehow. Ads are how social networks try to do so. Facebook showed that targeting ads by getting numerous attributes about us is the way to make the most money on it. Tumblr, for example, has completely inane ads that only get clicked by accident because ever couple posts presented is an ad. Instagram has almost as many ads as Tumblr but the targeting of Facebook.

Tribe, Friendster, and Myspace died because users left. The triviality was lost, so there was no reason to stay. Something I find fascinating is Facebook survived several of the exodus movements. Not enough people left to kill it.

I wonder if Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, Snapchat, etc are capable of dying in the modern era. Will enough people leave to cause an exodus movement?

Yes, Google+ was killed, but it died because it never made it into the user consciousness. I suspect that is because Google tried to make it the cornerstone of their ecosystem. It would be like Microsoft creating a social network around Office. Productivity tools do not a social network make.

Facebook should honor those privacy notice hoaxes

I’ve seen several friends post the new variant of the notice saying that in order to have privacy, you have to post the note that does not give Facebook permission to use your photos or status updates.

Here is the thing. Taking away that permission makes Facebook unusable as no one can see them even people you want to see them. If Facebook cannot use them, then it cannot show them to others on your behalf.

I think Facebook should start:

  1. Programmatically look to see if these statuses are posted by a user.
  2. Disable access to photos and status updates for any user who has posted it and not allow them to make new ones.
  3. Let them see the posts of others who have not posted it.
  4. Highlight to the user that no one can see their stuff due to having that post. Give them the option of deleting the post to restore access.

My guess is if Facebook did this, then these posts would disappear from Facebook pretty quickly.

Friend Request Hoax

A legitimate message expressing concern about your impersonation account would:

  1. Ask if you created another account.
  2. Provide the address to the new account so you can go to the profile, click the three dots on the cover photo, select Report, and follow the instructions for impersonation.

Instead, the hot hoax right now says:

Hi….I actually got another friend request from you which I ignored so you may want to check your account. Hold your finger on the message until the forward button appears…then hit forward and all the people you want to forward too….PLEASE DO NOT ACCEPT A NEW friendship FROM ME AT THIS TIME.

Let’s break this down.

First, we have the preying on a fear we all have about our Facebook accounts getting hacked. Worse, this “hacker” is now going after friends.

But, the recommendation makes no sense at all. “Hold your finger on the message until the forward button appears…then hit forward and all the people you want to forward too…

Forwarding the message to others is how chainletters operate. You are being played by forwarding it. You are spreading fear. You are not helping.

Freelove != Free Love

Got an email from Academia.edu saying,

Dear Ezra,

Alessandra Carneiro uploaded a PDF that mentions the name “Ezra Freelove”.

They have a premium service where you can buy access to mentions of your name. I know of only one mention in a VSU paper as a thank you for my work there in IT in helping them. So, I was curious about a second. I wasn’t going to spend $99 for it, so I looked up the name of the author. Only one person with that name has papers uploaded, so it was easy to just browse them.

Searching for “freelove” in all 8 led to no results. Then, I noticed “free love” one title. It was also the most recent. My actual last name is nowhere in the article. This website’s search must be ignoring the spaces in the four mentions.

Not the first nor the last time people conflate my surname with the term.

WiFi Management for Parenting

I’ve been futzing for what feels like a year with the WiFi trying out various things. Basically, instead of the wife turning off all the WiFi and none of us having it, I’ve been playing with a few things to bring some sanity.

  1. The first approach was the wife disconnected the wifi router. That meant all of our devices were dead in the water too. No streaming devices. No laptops. Phones were using up data.
  2. Technically, I have a couple routers. One from the ISP and another I bought. So, I moved the devices to use the ISP router. However, I only want the devices on it, so I have not provided anyone else access to it. That still left the problem of the wife yanking the router all the humans are using for their phones.
  3. So, next, I replaced the router with a newer one that included a guest network feature. I built this router so that we connect to a new name and the teen connects to the old name which is the guest network. The nice thing about it was I the ability to schedule when it was available. We tried various settings to deal with different issues. For example, it doesn’t come on until 8am after the bus comes because when it was coming on at 7am, the bus would be missed a couple times a week due to watching videos while getting ready to lose track of time. We have not really settled on a shutoff time in trying to figure out what is appropriate for getting homework done while not enabling playing video games.
  4. I could manage access to the video games through router, but it is one of those things where you block one thing and the activity just moves on to the next thing. (Youtube, Netflix, etc.) So, it is a game of whack-a-mole where I want a sledgehammer.
  5. He complained about the WiFi being unstable. He described sudden extraordinarily high ping rates, a pattern of issues in the hour before cutoff, and other stuff. Part of that problem is he is in the basement while the router is a floor up, 25 feet away, with a staircase, ductwork, pipes, and stairs in the way.
  6. So, I rebuilt the guest network on an extender. Now, in theory, the WiFi router talks to the extender down the hallway. The extender sits directly overhead. It still might have to deal with some ductwork and pipes, but it should be significantly better.
  7. Also, I have Smart outlet that will turn it off when we need to cut him off. I set it on a schedule which is nicer because I can say an earlier time Sun-Thu and later Fri & Sat. Also, it can also be managed through an app which is easier than an obscure webpage URL and desktop designed web page.

I Miss Google Reader

The Google+ shut down reminded me that I still miss Google Reader. Google also shut it down about 5 years ago.

I use Inoreader now, but I do not spend nearly the amount of time reading through it that I did GR. I could spend hours a day browsing through articles and mulling the content. Now, I spend about the same amount of time on Twitter instead.

Some old GR posts.