BBC video: App that detects naked pictures on your smartphone

It may be a meme nowadays but “Send nudes” or “sexting” has been a phenomenon that’s giving parents nightmares specially that younger children are getting online much earlier than before. I’m a parent and whenever my 6-year-old daughter grabs hold of my phone and I don’t anything from it, I quickly go over and have a look at what she’s doing, watching or looking at.

The good folks over at YIPO Technologies has come up with an app that aims to help parents stop their kids from sending or receiving naked photos: Gallery Guardian. The BBC was able to take it for a spin and came up with some interesting results, check out their video below:

Gallery Guardian is still in development but clearly it has great potential. Can’t wait to have it installed on my daughter’s tablet device. If it will be made available in the Philippines that is.

Facebook users in the Philippines can now report links as fake news

Finally! With the rise of social media and the dominance of Facebook came the rise of hoax stories or fake news stories/articles which in turn was used as propaganda for hate, discrimination, abuses and manipulation of public opinion. In response, Facebook introduced a feature back in January 20, 2016 which allowed users to flag or report a news story as a hoax or fake. This feature back then was only available to users in the United States. Erich Owens, Software Engineer, and Udi Weinsberg, Research Scientist for Facebook explained in a post:

We’re always looking to people on Facebook to tell us how we can improve this experience. We’ve heard from people that they want to see fewer stories that are hoaxes, or misleading news. Today’s update to News Feed reduces the distribution of posts that people have reported as hoaxes and adds an annotation to posts that have received many of these types of reports to warn others on Facebook.

Now it’s available for users in the Philippines where the proliferation of fake news stories have become the weapon of choice for political operatives in influencing public opinion and the national discussion whether they are supportive of President Rodrigo Roa Duterte and his much criticized and controversial war on illegal drugs and recently, his ordering of the late dictator Ferdinand Marcos’ burial at the Libingan ng mga Bayani, a national shrine for its fallen heroes, or critical of his policies.

Various personalities and groups have taken to Facebook to drum up support for Duterte or voice their criticisms which is important in a democracy. However, things have become out of hand as both supporters and critics have directly or indirectly used and produced fake news stories for their cause. In the end though, the level and quality of public discourse has suffered. As manipulation of information, statistics, photos even blatant fabrication of fake stories and lies has led to abuse and widening of divisions and disagreements, hatred and mass psychosis. It has become harder to tell what is true from what is a lie.

To report a link on Facebook as fake news:

1) Click on the “v” menu in the upper-right corner of the post. A menu pops up, choose “Report post”
Fake news on Facebook

2) Choose “I think it shouldn’t be on Facebook.”

3) Now select “It’s a false news story.”

4) Next options for unfriending, unfollowing or completely blocking your friend or page that posted the hoax or fake news. There’s even an option of messaging your friend to let him or her know that you think the link is hoax or fake.

Good job! You just helped Facebook identify which content is a hoax or fake news. The links you report won’t be deleted but will be marked with a message warning people that many others on Facebook have reported it. Hopefully, this will help in cleaning up our news feeds and taking back the Internet.

Did you save your Multiply.com content?

Before I took the weekend break, I spent a couple of days browsing through my Multiply.com account. The last time I logged in and spent more than 5 minutes on the site was about 5 years ago when I was still very active in campus politics of my alma mater. Back then, the university IT restrictions banned Facebook, Blogger, Twitter and other social networking sites except for Multiply.com (Go figure!) That’s why the site was a big hit for Lasallians back in those days. Then Facebook came along and we all know how it turned out.

At around the same time, this was the opening in which the enterprising users dominated Multiply.com with their online stores. And you can’t blame them as all the features for putting up one was already on the site. The only thing that was missing was support for online payments via PayPal or credit card. And this is where the folks behind Multiply.com took their queue. Hence, the transformation from a social networking site that easily trumped Friendster.com into an e-commerce site that has already an established shopper base.

Browsing through the old blog posts and photo albums was a nostalgia trip. Kind of like browsing through your old high school photos but with lesser heart-wrenching emotions.

Why did I even bother to log in to Multiply.com last week? Well, most of you must have already heard yet forgotten that come December 2, 2012, all of the previous user-generated content on Multiply.com will be wiped out as the company behind it completes the transition of the former buzzing social networking site into a full-fledged e-commerce site.

Users had until December 1, 2012 to export their content if they want to save any or all of it. I did not export all of my content as all of the photos are still on my hard drive while some are already posted in Facebook. So what I exerted a little effort on was to save some of the blog posts on my Multiply.com

At first I thought of manually copy-pasting a cherry-picked bunch and then posting them on my personal blog, I decided instead to take the lazy man’s route of using the built-in Tumblr exporter tool.

The downside was it only allowed me to transfer the 100 most recent posts on my Multiply.com account into my Tumblr account. Which was good enough for me, as long as I get to save some of the gems.

I figured it’s part of letting go and moving on, letting go of the things from your past in order to continue with your present journey. Though it never hurts to pause and look back from time to time as it can do wonders to your self.

I just wonder if my college buddies have exported their Multiply.com content or have completely given up on it.

As for my Multiply.com account, I’m not really sure if I’d be back again as I mainly do my online shopping on other more established local sites like Sulit.com.ph, TipidPC and Widget City. Who knows, I’ll drop by sometimes to see what has changed and what’s on offer.

Thank you Multiply.com, it’s was fun while it lasted.

What would I do with my exported Friendster account?

It was a decision I postponed some two years ago. When most of my real-life friends and acquaintances have been added to my list of friends on Facebook, the idea of deleting my Friendster acccount became so obvious.

However, my nostalgic part got the better of me and I decided to just let my Friendster account die a natural death. Now, the Friendster team is pushing us all to take a step lesser than that – exporting our Friendster account data. Photos, comments, profile information, blogs etc.

Save your Friendster account information before May 31

We have until the 31st of May because after that Friendster would go into a major reboot and delete all the remaining user information on the site.

At first I had decided on exporting my Friendster information, probably in the rare instance that I’d be interested in the new Friendster that would soon emerge. Then again there’s no assurance that would happen so I then questioned the sense of exporting the data at all.

What would I do with it? For archiving purposes? For old times’ sake? It would probably just a waste of my time, bandwidth and hard drive space to keep my Friendster information. But this is just me, how about you?

Would you export your Friendster information? What would you do with it afterwards?

Another malware spreading via Facebook Chat

Is there another worm or malware spreading through Facebook? For the last two days, I’ve been receiving chat messages from my online friends about an app that allegedly gauges how ‘addicted’ someone is. Addicted to who or what, it’s any body’s guess for now, but the message includes a shortened URL using the Bit.ly service. Check out the screenshot on the right. There’s another version of this suspicious message that says:

WTF: G1RL made suicide after her DAD posted THIS mess@ge on her wa11::[shortened URL here]

Worm spreading through Facebook ChatCurious but cautious, I looked for a way to reveal the long URL hidden behind the shortened URL included in the message.

After some Googling around, I found RevealURL.com which basically allows anyone to expand the shortened URLs they have to see what the actual long link is without actually navigating to that link.

That shortened URL was revealed to be pointing to a page on the domain spursoland dot info. I checked again using the same service, but this time it revealed a different domain, aclebite dot info. So it means that what or whoever generates the shortened URLs draws its source from a list of domains that are redirected to a suspicious-looking Facebook app which I would get to later on.

Again, curious as to what could be in that site, I used AVG’s Online Web Page Scanner to check if the site contained any malicious code or malware as is common with this suspicious messages and websites.

AVG said that the site spursoland dot info was ‘safe and clean’ I took the great risk of visiting the URl in Chrome’s Incognito mode to try to see where it will lead. It redirected me to a Facebook app called ‘spursoland’ or ‘aclebite’ which is clearly looks like something not to be trusted.

Suspicious FB App
Be careful with this app page. It means trouble.

Clearly, the messages was designed to lure or trick Facebook users into visiting the suspicious app and liking it. From then on I don’t know what will happen next, but probably, the Facebook app will lead users to a website containing more malware that will either infect their PC or attempt to steal some private information like contact’s email addresses, credit card information etc.

The important thing to remember here is, DO NOT CLICK on the links your friends share with you via chat the instant you receive them. Take time to pause and read carefully the whole message. You would immediately sense if something is odd with the message, especially if it seems to be out of the ordinary that your friend would suddenly message you with this particular topic which you know isn’t really one of his or her interests.

The best way to deal with this kind of chat messages is to send a private message to your friend and tell them you ‘received‘ that message from them. If it was automatically sent without their knowledge, then they’d also be surprised to know that the message was sent from their account. It would also be solid proof that their PC has been compromised by malware. So doing an anti-virus scan is needed to fix it. It’s also a good move to change the current password on their social networking account, in this case their Facebook account to help avoid a repeat of this problem.

If you would be curious as to see where the suspicious shortened URLs lead to, you can use online tools, like the ones I’ve mentioned above, to check it out first before opening the link on your browser. But still, it’s best that you do not open the links at all. Hackers and spammers nowadays are targeting social networking sites like Facebook more and more because of their ever growing size and popularity.

Facebook to launch its own third-party commenting system

Third-party commenting services have another formidable competitor to soon join their ranks – the current king of social networking sites Facebook.

CNET’s Caroline McCarthy reports:

Facebook is planning to launch a third-party commenting system in a matter of weeks, according to multiple sources familiar with the new product. This new technology could see Facebook as the engine behind the comments system on many high-profile blogs and other digital publications very soon.

McCarthy also adds that just like the comments system offered by Disqus, IntenseDebate, Echo, etc. Facebook’s offering may also permit users to log in with their Google, Yahoo! or Twitter IDs.

Though Facebook already offers a Comments box widget, this upcoming product would be a full-pledged commenting system. Some may say it’s a bit late for Facebook to enter this niche, but this is Facebook, so it will definitely have some impact on the current players like Disqus, IntenseDebate etc.

I’ve had my try with IntenseDebate on this blog last December but opted to return to WordPress’ own commenting system because of syncing issues. But that’s just me.

Would you use Facebook’s upcoming commenting system?

Easy Pasaload with Smart’s Facebook Pasaload App

Running out of credits or load has come to be defined as something similar to an emergency nowadays.

Be it the need to reply to an important message from our boss, our colleague, our classmates especially our significant other; we need ways to instantly replenish phone credits or re-load our phones.

That’s why telcos have come up with services where we ourselves can share or pass on credits or load to our friends, family members and colleagues and vice versa. This comes in as a lifesaver in those ’emergency’ situations I’ve mentioned earlier.

A minor problem is, the instructions for passing on load can be complicated for some and since it’s used mostly in rare situations memorizing the mechanics has had little fanfare.

Good thing some folks at Smart Communications have come up with a clever and hip way to make the whole exercise of passing on load to your fellow Smart subscribers.

Behold, the Smart Facebook Pasaload App! Yes, with this Facebook App, Smart Pasaload has become as easy as a few mouse clicks.

Smart Facebook Pasaload App
Smart Facebook Pasaload App

Using the Smart Facebook Pasaload App is very easy. Just follow the steps below:

1. Add your mobile number

Add your Smart Mobile number
Add your Smart Mobile number

2. Add your Pasaload Contacts

Add Pasaload Contacts
Add Pasaload Contacts

3. Drag numbers into the Send & Receive boxes

Select who will recieve the Pasaload
Select who will recieve the Pasaload

4. Choose the load denomination or call & text package to send

Select the load denomination to send
Select the load denomination to send

5. Pasaload instantaneously!

No need to memorize keywords, edit contact’s numbers or access numbers, you can now Pasaload to your fellow Smart subscribers in just a few mouse clicks and all inside Facebook!

Go ahead the Smart Facebook Pasaload App a try! Don’t forget to share this with your friends!

Path: Social network that limits your friends to 50

How many friends are on your Facebook account? At present I have 1,013 friends. It is an aggregate of the following social circles: family and blood relatives, classmates and friends from grade school, high school and college, acquaintances from organizations, interest groups, political parties and the blogosphere.

I am proud to say that 80% of them I know of personally, as I’ve always stuck to my rule that only personal acquaintances would be added and invitations from the same will be accepted in my Facebook account.

It helps to keep the network authentic, organic and meaningful.

But to be honest, it can be daunting to organize and manage 1,013 connections.

Making the social, personal

A new social networking hub aims to solve this particular problem. It’s called Path.com and behind it is a former Facebook executive Dave Morin. The unique thing about Path is that it limits you to having only 50 friends on the service. It’s photo-centric and an iPhone app is now available.

Morin explains:

Facebook set out to be a social network of the real world full of friends and acquaintances together.

Facebook is about society and I think the need we are seeing at Path is that people still want to share more and share more openly with the people they trust the most and that is why we put this 50 limit on the service.

The idea of limiting friends to just 50 was inspired by the research Robin Dunbar, Professor of Evolutionary Psychology at Oxford University ((Social gets personal as new network limits friends. BBC)) .

According to him, the maximum number of social relationships that a human brain can sustain at a given time is 150, while 50 is roughly the outer boundary of our personal networks.

Looking back at my 1,013 friends on Facebook, the idea of joining Path and inviting up to 50 of my most trusted friends seems attractuve. But I only said keeping tabs and maintaining those relationships is daunting but not impossible.

The main issue I think is the question of what I want to share online and with whom? It’s simply a matter of trust.

A Path not for everyone

Professor Dunbar’s research means that about 50 is the number of relationships we can maintain that are on the most trusted level. If that were so, then I’d just create a group on Facebook of the “50 friends I trust the most.”

It would save me the trouble of setting up a new account on another social networking hub and invite my friends over. Which in itself is no easy feat. Some may not warm up to the idea of joining another social network. Those whom I may not invite over may become jealous all of a sudden knowing that he or she is not in my most trusted friends. Well this is just my take on it. I’m sure Path will be of some use to other people, some may be even at home using it.

What about you? Is the so-called threshold of 50 friends in your “inner-circle” enough?

Did Google Over-react to Facebook Messages?

The face-off between Google and Facebook over data-exportability has been the talk of the web these past few days.

It started when Google blocked Facebook from importing users’ Gmail contacts. The move was apparently aimed to stop or derail an upcoming project Facebook was working which has been speculated as an ’email/Gmail killer’ giving birth to a messaging service that will give users the coveted ‘@facebook.com’ email address.

It turns out that Facebook was indeed working on a messaging service dubbed ‘Project Titan’. But as clarified by Mark Zuckerberg:

Today I’m excited to announce the next evolution of Messages. You decide how you want to talk to your friends: via SMS, chat, email or Messages. They will receive your message through whatever medium or device is convenient for them, and you can both have a conversation in real time. You shouldn’t have to remember who prefers IM over email or worry about which technology to use. Simply choose their name and type a message.

We are also providing an @facebook.com email address to every person on Facebook who wants one. Now people can share with friends over email, whether they’re on Facebook or not. To be clear, Messages is not email. There are no subject lines, no cc, no bcc, and you can send a message by hitting the Enter key. We modeled it more closely to chat and reduced the number of things you need to do to send a message. We wanted to make this more like a conversation.

So, since ‘Titan’ is just Messages which is not a new email service but rather a ‘hub’ that allows Facebook users to communicate directly to their friends outside of Facebook, would Google still block Facebook from importing data from Gmail?

Or would Facebook Messages and other social networking sites for that matter, indirectly and slowly kill email since by Zuckerberg’s own account, discovered that high school students aka the young ones today, rarely use email, people would just signup to Facebook since they will not be completely in a ‘walled garden’ anymore.

For now, as long as Facebook requires an email address for an individual to open account, then Gmail, Yahoo! Mail, Hotmail, etc would still have its relevance and use.

Official Twitter App for Windows Phone

While users of the iPhone, BlackBerry and even Android-powered smartphones had to wait for months before an official Twitter apps was released for their platform, Windows Phone users just had to wait for weeks for it.

Twitter has just announced the official Twitter App for Windows Phone:

Twitter for Windows Phone includes all of the features that you’d expect from Twitter – your timeline, suggested users, messages, lists, and a great way to explore Twitter without even logging in. You can sign up for an account right from the app as well. The app is really fast, and we think you’ll enjoy the experience.

Looks sexy doesn’t it? Twitter worked with IdentityMine and used the open source REST API library, Tweet Sharp, as the foundation for the app.

The neat thing about this app is the Pivots feature which will allow users to swipe to the left or right on their Windows Phone units in order to view other ‘pages’ of the app like lists or replies.

The official Windows Phone Twitter App is now available for users. Anyone who has tried the app? What are your thoughts about it?