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.

Assess Social Media Performance with Wildfire Monitor

The increase in social media usage has gone along with a rise in the number of tools to monitor and track that usage. Web users have plenty of choice here, but one tool that’s worth watching is WildFire Monitor. This is one of a range of useful tools from Wildfire Interactive, a technology company that aims to help organizations engage their social media communities. The key question that Wildfire Monitor asks is ‘who’s winning in social?’

Check Facebook and Twitter

The main WildFire Monitor page allows you to type in three Facebook page URLs and three Twitter usernames. Then you hit the compare button to compare how those pages and profiles have performed over time. One of the nicest things about WildFire Monitor is the easy stats view via a color coded chart. You can track weekly, monthly, quarterly or all stats, checking the number of fans or followers. This could be particularly useful for organizations who are trying to see how their social media efforts match up against those of their competitors, measured in simple numbers. If you want to know whether your fan base is increasing or whether your competitors are gaining the edge, then this is the perfect tool.

Get Social Media Alerts

What’s more the daily trend tracking can be combined with weekly alerts which allow you to receive these key metrics in your inbox and WildFire soon plans to add another feature, providing customized social media guidance based on your key metrics. This will be a great feature for those just starting out in social media, and even for those who want to refine the techniques they are using to gain fans and followers.

Build Social Media Campaigns

Signup for this tool is free at the moment, but you’ll have to pay to use WildFire’s other award winning tool, the campaign builder. This is how you can attract and engage your customers. This tool allows you to create branded campaigns such as contests, giveaways, sweepstakes, surveys and so on and publish them both on your website and on your chosen social networks. Interactivity will draw your customers in and keep them loyal – and you’ll be able to track the growth in your fanbase with WildFire Monitor.

Other Users

Who else could use the monitoring tool? Well, it’s not just corporations who can benefit from this type of campaign and monitoring. All kinds of organizations can improve their social media performance this way – non-profits, small businesses, agencies – and even individual bloggers looking to gain some social media traction. Only you can decide whether to use WildFire Monitor as a stand alone tool – and peek on what your fellow bloggers are doing – or to go for the full suite of tools and launch an interactive campaign. Pricing for the campaigns starts at $5 apiece plus $0.99 per day and goes all the way up to customized white label solutions.

WildFire Monitor is a nice addition to the range of social media monitoring tools already available – check it out!

This post is written by Lior Levine, a marketing consultant for a web hosting company that lists the top 10 website hosting companies. Lior also advises for a company that specializes in personalized oncology services.

Review: HTC ChaCha

Smart representatives told us that the HTC ChaCha is being targeted by HTC to high school students or the young at heart mainly because it is the unofficial Facebook phone thanks to the dedicated ‘Facebook button’ on the handset.

Yep, this device comes with a full QWERTY keypad and a 2.6 inch Gorilla Glass display with touch capabilities. Yes, that’s a touch screen and a physical QWERTY keypad in one nifty device.

Before we proceed, here’s a quick run down of the phones specifications:

HTC ChaCha
HTC ChaCha in silver

Display Size: 480×320, 2.6 inch Gorilla Glass display.
Internal Memory: 512MB ROM, 512MB RAM
CPU: 800 MHz processor
Primary Camera: 5MP LED Flash
Video Capture: Yes
Secondary Camera: Yes, VGA
Colors: Black, White, Purple

The ChaCha’s build is solid and comfortably fits the palm of your hands. It might be cumbersome for folks like me who have large thumbs to master speed typing on the keypad without making a grammatical and spelling disaster on your posts and messages, but you can get used to it in a short time.

The touch screen capabilities complement the physical keypad well as you can easily navigate the HTC Sense UI with it. Though I found it a bit confusing at first because I’ve never encountered a phone with both touch and physical keypad capabilities before.

So there were times that I trying to navigate using the keypad’s direction keys while trying to type a message on the screen which should have been the other way around.

The HTC ChaCha runs on the latest Android 2.3 Gingerbread OS sporting the exceptional HTC Sense 3.0 UI so it’s a good package altogether. It gives a clear display with crisp and vivid colors you could easily appreciate the 5MP camera that comes with it.

The 2.6inch 480×320 display may feel a bit cramped but it serves the phone’s primary purpose, allowing the user to easily update his or her Facebook wall status or check in to places you’ve just arrived at. All of these made possible because of the dedicated Facebook button which allows you to post photos, videos, music or status updates instantly without having to open the Facebook app itself.

The only downside I found with the HTC ChaCha, well on the test unit loaned to me, was that the p and @ keypad wasn’t working. Hopefully it’s not a bug of one all ChaCha phones as it could seriously turn away users who are looking for a capable phone with great mobile Internet features.

The HTC ChaCha is available exclusively from SMART and it’s free on their Smart Data Plan 1000 or the UNLIMITED Data Plan 1500. You get 100 free sms, free 40 minutes of calls and 100MB of data volume which is enough to let you enjoy updating your Facebook account while on the go.

Note: This review has been reconstructed from the original post that seems to have never been published because of a database error that struck this blog. Visitors coming from RSS readers may get confused so I apologize for the mishap.

Finally, integrated Facebook & Twitter Login to WordPress comments

Some view it as WordPress’ challenge to the Facebook Comment Box I on the other hand see it as a positive response to a need of WordPress users; allowing readers to easily add comments using their Facebook or Twitter credentials without the need for a third-party plugin.

Don’t get me wrong, I have nothing against those third-party plugins that do just that, but seeing how this feature has become so common nowadays, it has become a de facto must-have for blogs. So it makes perfect sense that Facebook and Twitter login options be integrated into the WordPress comment widget.

It saves us bloggers from the hassle of finding the right plugin that does this job, it saves us from the trouble of resolving plugin conflicts if it arises, it saves us from the other trouble of messing around with theme files in order to make the plugin work the way we want it. Ultimately, one less plugin running under the hood makes a WordPress blog more secure and stable.

For now this feature is available to WordPress.com users and would soon be released for those self-hosted WordPress users like me via a plugin or as part of a future version of Jetpack.

Kudos to the WordPress team for this wonderful update!

Winners of the Pizza Hut Cheesy Summer Giveaway!

Pizza Hut
Finally, the long wait is over and the winners have been chosen. The little contest, sponsored by Pizza Hut Philippines started last April 15, 2011.

Up for grabs were 3,000.00 worth of Pizza Hut Gift Certificates. Three winners were chosen so that’s 1k worth of Pizza Hut GC for each.

So without further adieu, here are the lucky three winners of the Pizza Hut Cheesy Summer Giveaway!

Cindy Giduquio-Fabe
Josephine Soliman Gregorio
James Dv

Congratulations to all of you! I’ve already gotten in touch via Facebook to facilitate the claiming of your Pizza Hut GCs.

How the winners were chosen:

1) Entries were numbered according to the date of their entries as posted of the Four-eyed Journal’s Fan page.
2) Random.org’s Random Sequence Generator was used to generate a random sequence of numbers.
3) The first 3 numbers were then chosen as the winners.

Check out this blog’s Facebook Fan Page for details about the draw.

Once more, major, major thanks to all those who joined in the contest and especially to Pizza Hut Philippines!

Sony launches Internet TV in the Philippines

Just got word a few days back about SONY Philippines’ launch of its new line of Internet TV that range from the 32″ models up to 60″ models featuring Full HD 1080p display.

Some units in the new Bravia Internet TV 2011 line are also 3D TV like the KDL-HX925, KDL-NX720 and KDL-EX720.

Sony Bravia Internet HD TV

Just as the name says, these Bravia Internet TVs come with widgets that allows you to connect to popular social networking sites like Facebook, YouTube and update your Twitter account right from the TV via a WiFi connection.

Some models like the KDL-CX520 even support Skype right out-of-the-box. Check out the prices of some models below:

KDL-CX520 (Full HD 1080 TV)
46” – Php99,999
40” – Php66,999
32” – Php39,999

KDL-EX520 (Full HD 1080 TV)
46” – Php133,999
40” – Php81,999
32” – Php52,999

Sony Philippines also released new connected Blu-ray Disc players, the BDP-S380 and BDP-S485 and a new Sony 3D Blu-Ray Disc Home Theater optimized for 2D or 3D entertainment experiences.

If you’re looking for a new HD TV with Internet capabalities, these new Sony Internet TV models are worth taking a serious look at.

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?