Members of the notorious hacker group Anonymous have set their sights on taking down Facebook. They have even set a date, November 5th.
The announcement was made in a YouTube video and sites allegations of privacy infringement. Anonymous members accuse Facebook of selling information to government agencies and giving clandestine access to information security firms so they can spy on people from all around the world.
"Everything you do on Facebook stays on Facebook regardless of your 'privacy' settings, and deleting your account is impossible, even if you 'delete' your account, all your personal info stays on Facebook and can be recovered at any time," the statement reads. "Changing the privacy settings to make your Facebook account more "private" is also a delusion. Facebook knows more about you than your family."
The chilling video, a two-minute warning and explanation using a computerized voice, begins: "Attention citizens of the world, your medium of communication you all so dearly adore will be destroyed."
Anonymous, whose members have been known to wear Guy Fawkes masks - copying the film V for Vendetta - when they appear in public, has launched what it calls 'Operation Facebook'. It has pledged to bring down Facebook on November 5 - Bonfire Night - which commemorates the day in 1605 when Guy Fawkes tried to blow up Parliament.
Recently fourteen members of Anonymous have been arrested by FBI agents on charges related to their alleged involvement in the distributed denial of service (DDoS) attacks against online payment processor PayPal late last year. Further arrests and indictments are expected as authorities continue their investigations into other Anonymous attacks.
The Village Voice was actually one of the first to discover the Anonymous statement and brings up a very good point: killing Facebook for the sake of preserving privacy by a group of people who routinely steal private information is awfully ironic. How can the group be so adamant about privacy if they themselves are responsible for the theft of private information?
Anonymous said November 5th “will go down in history.” It added, “One day you will look back on this and realize what we have done here is right, you will thank the rulers of the internet, we are not harming you but saving you.”
Even though Anonymous has had success in hacking some major websites in the past, it’s questionable that it would be successful against Facebook. It might not have been the smartest idea to give Facebook several months to prepare for an attack. Many believe it will be extremely unlikely Facebook would be brought down, but when you’re talking about a group of hackers with motivation and disdain, you can never be certain.
UPDATED: Video has since been removed by user. Please find the Anonymous Threat video here. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Q6crH8qmyZ8
This week, Google launched its own social network in an attempt to challenge Facebook with a service that ties together all its existing sites including Gmail. Google’s long expected second shot at taking on Facebook in the social networking space has arrived in the form of the Google+ Project
. It has some interesting twists on the social networking model but is far from a Facebook-killer.
Google+ is structured in a remarkably similar way to Facebook, with profile pictures and news feeds forming a central core. However, a user's friends or contacts are grouped into specific circles of their choosing - as opposed to the common pool of friends typical on Facebook.
Google+ started rolling out to a limited number of users on Tuesday in what the company is calling a field trial. Only those invited to join will initially be able to use the service. Google did not say when it would be more widely available.
To create Google+, the company went back to the drawing board in the wake of several notable failures, including Google Wave and Google Buzz, a micro-blogging service whose launch was marred by privacy snafus. 'We learned a lot in Buzz, and one of the things we learned is that there's a real market opportunity for a product that addresses people's concerns around privacy and how their information is shared,' said Google spokesman Bradley Horowitz.
As with Facebook's service, Google+ has a central web page that displays an ever-updating stream of the comments, photos and links being shared by friends and contacts. A toolbar across the top of most of Google's sites - such as its main search page, its Gmail site and its Maps site - allows users to access their personalized data feed. They can then contribute their own information to the stream. Google+ will also offer a special video chat feature, in which up to ten people can jump on a conference call. And Google will automatically store photos taken on mobile phones on its Internet servers, allowing a Google+ user to access the photos from any computer and share them.
Want to try the service? Right now, it’s strictly invite only. Some press are being allowed in, along with others that Google hand picks. There’s no ETA on when wider invites will be available. Unusually, this isn’t being called a beta test or an experiment but rather a “field trial” that’s meant to finally gather some feedback from outside Google itself. The limited test is probably wise. It’ll give Google more time to discover things it might not have anticipated being problems, as was the case with Buzz.
For more detailed information and additional video tours of Google + click here
After rumors that Skype and Facebook were in talks to add Voice over Internet Protocol (VoIP) capability to Facebook chat, coming from nowhere, the newly released Bobsled app by T-Mobile just jumped at this opportunity by providing free voice calling to Facebook members worldwide. Days of calling people with a phone number are numbered.
T-Mobile has announced a new service named Bobsled and that is worth getting excited about. Why? Because it means that you can make free voice calls through Facebook — even if you're not a T-Mobile customer.
Once you install the app (powered by Vivox
), a little phone will appear by online friends’ screen names of those who have the app installed, and placing a phone call is just a click away. Bobsled takes out the need to dial friends’ numbers, or remember screen names, which is required by Bobsled’s competitors on Google Talk and Skype. You can also leave a voice message for your friends and family when they are not available. The messages can be public by posting a link on your friends wall or they can be marked private and will be sent via Private Message.
Bobsled will eventually be a suite of services but T-Mobile is launching it first as an app for people using PC or Mac computers. According to T-Mobile’s official press release
, Brad Duea, Senior Vice President, T-Mobile is confident that the service will continue to expand, possibly even to T-Mobile’s mobile platforms.
“Integrated voice on Facebook is a critical part of our roadmap for Bobsled by T-Mobile
and Vivox is the clear leader in this area,” said Duea, “Vivox is a talented and innovative company, and we look forward to a successful partnership with Vivox.”
In the near future, T-Mobile plans to evolve Bobsled by T-Mobile
to include video chat, the ability to place VoIP calls to mobile and landline U.S. numbers, and will offer applications on smartphones and tablets across various mobile platforms, regardless of the carrier that powers such devices.
If you’re interested in taking advantage of the service, visit www.LetsBobsled.com
or look for the free download from Facebook’s mobile app page
. From what I can tell, the install is fairly simple and is finished in three steps.
Facebook’s “instant personalization
” feature went live yesterday for most members. This feature promises to tear down the walls even further between its social network and the wider Web. When this
feature is turned on, sites like Pandora, Bing, and Docs.com can access your profile to adjust what their websites offer. For example, Pandora will recommend music to you based on bands or music that you’ve Liked on Facebook. The data they access is the same data that you’ve made available to “Everyone” and that can include Likes… as well as items you may not want spread about, like your birthday.
While most of the information that gets accessed from Facebook is harmless, the bigger problem is that many Facebook members have no idea that this feature is live AND turned on by default. This has raised some serious privacy concerns amongst the Facebook’s 500 million+ members who don’t like the idea of Facebook handing out their data to just anyone. At this point, only a few websites can access this feature, but it’s likely that the number will grow.
How To Turn It Off
If you’re of the mindset that you’d rather pick and choose who gets to see your information, you might consider turning this feature off for certain websites or for all of them.
- Log into Facebook. In the top right hand corner, click Account, and then Privacy Settings.
- Under the heading Apps and websites, select Edit your settings.
- Under the heading Instant personalization, select Edit settings. You may see a popup called ‘Understanding instant personalization’. Just hit Close.
- At the very bottom of the page, simply untick the box labeled Enable instant personalization on partner websites. This will instantly turn off partner websites accessing your data.
If, however, the option is greyed out but still ticked, this means that Facebook has not yet activated instant personalization just yet. It takes time. Check back in a few hours, or the next day.
Some users of Facebook may not care at all about the information being passed out, and instead see the new functionality of the partner sites as a huge boon to productivity and, well… personalization. What do you think? Is instant personalization a Like or a Dislike? Let us know!
The social networking phenomenon Facebook is all about connecting people. Plans to add Voice over Internet Protocol (VoIP) communication to Facebook could be the chosen method of staying in touch for many in the future. A few Facebook users have started seeing a “Call” button randomly show up when they visit their friends' profiles. The new button doesn't seem to do anything, but it's not too big of a stretch to guess that Facebook wants to start doing VoIP calls.
Facebook likely will not develop the technology on its own. After all, the social networking giant has been working on deep integration with Skype to deliver SMS and voice/video chat using Facebook Connect for the last four months, if not longer. With the release of Skype 5.0 for Windows three months ago, we saw Facebook phonebook and browsing integration in the new Skype client.
Will we soon see Skype integration on Facebook? Admittedly, nothing actually suggests Skype in these leaks, but we're assuming so anyway; these screenshots are easy to fake, but we don't really see any motivation to do so.
The image above is courtesy of AroundThe.Net. Another user also saw the button appear and sent in a slightly different screenshot to The Daily What.
Well this is interesting…MySpace and Facebook plan to make a joint announcement this afternoon about an unspecified venture, according to an invitations issued by MySpace late last night, as seen below.
All the emailed invite specifies is that there will be a webinar noon Pacific Time on Thursday, to be hosted by MySpace CEO Mike Jones and Dan Rose, Vice President of Partnerships and Platform Marketing at Facebook.
Given that the two companies were arch rivals just a few short years ago, the collaboration is a shocker. It's like receiving an invitation to a party thrown by the Green Bay Packers and the Minnesota Vikings. However, MySpace did effectively signal it was out of the competition last month after it repositioned itself as a social-entertainment destination. The change was intended to stabilize the News Corp.-owned company after years of struggle that saw its dominance of the social networking space effectively up-ended by Facebook and Twitter.
Given that Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg isn't listed as a participant, it doesn't seem like it would be a HUGE announcement, like some sort of joint venture or merger. (Plus, MySpace is listed first.)
Is MySpace throwing in the towel and moving its social network over to Facebook's social graph, to focus on being an entertainment portal? Or is the MySpace "log in with Facebook" deal just getting some play for the press? Is MySpace planning to adopt the Facebook apps platform? Or could this be something ad-related?
The rumor mill in the tech blog world is swirling with predictions of what this announcement could be. Whatever it is, we’ll find out in a few short hours.
What do you think about this announcement?
The ever-popular social networking site, Facebook, announced yesterday that it is rolling out a whole new messaging system over the next few months. This new messaging system "isn't just e-mail," but integrates four common ways users communicate: email, Facebook messages, chat, and SMS, archiving it all in a single thread.
The new system puts a user's identity above the communication protocol. Facebook Engineer Joel Seligstein said in the company blog, "You decide how you want to talk to your friends...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."
Messages are received in an inbox, but without the conventions of email and Facebook messaging (subject lines, recipient/cc/bcc fields, and such) and instead turns all conversation into a chat, where the conversation and the person you're conversing with are merged.
So if you and a friend are conversing over Facebook chat, then they switch over to a mobile device, the conversation stays in the same place, except it's being sent through SMS.
It currently handles the four different methods of communication, but as it rolls out, it will also become a sharing and collaboration platform. Microsoft also announced that it is integrating the Office Web Apps experience into Facebook's new messaging system. Users will be able to share Word, Excel, and Powerpoint documents in Facebook messages, and download them to the desktop.
Facebook's new messaging system will be rolled out to different groups of users over the next few months, and will include a new mobile app, and @Facebook.com email addresses for interested users. For frequently asked questions or for an invite to try to the new messaging system click here.
Facebook's newest feature allows you to share your location with your friends.
Facebook has launched its new Places feature allowing you to share your current location by "checking in" from your smartphone. It’s basically Facebook’s version of Foursquare, a company that Facebook considered buying earlier in the year. If you never really got into earlier location-based social networking services or just want to know what it is or how to turn it off, read on for everything you need to know about Facebook Places.
Checking In Via Smartphone
Before you can share your location with your Facebook friends, Facebook needs to know where you are. Just open touch.facebook.com in your web browser (or use the Facebook for iPhone app on your iPhone, iPod Touch, or iPad), and you'll see a tab under "Inbox" called "Places." For the iOS app, it'll show a new icon in the middle of the home screen.
Tap Places, and you'll see your recent check-ins as well as where your friends and checked-in from. From here, you can find more detailed information about the places your friends are checking into (map location, description, directions, comments, and other check-ins), or you can check yourself into a nearby location by pressing the Check In button at the top-right corner of the page.
The list of available locations comes from other people's check-ins and listings from Bing's mapping engine, so you might have to add your location manually by pressing “Add”, and it will take you to a page where you can fill out a name and description.
Once you tap Check In, you'll be presented with a list of nearby locations where other people have checked in. Tap the one you want to check into, and you can choose to comment on what you are doing there or add your Facebook friends to your check-in (Press the What are you doing? and Tag Friends With You buttons, respectively). Next, press the big Check In button, and it will show up on your News Feed.
Businesses Owning Their Facebook Place
While anyone can add a Facebook Place, business owners can turn the listing in Places into a proper Facebook Page, with Likes and a Wall. Start by checking in from your Place (or adding it, if it doesn't show up in the list of nearby Places), and click the link on the bottom of the page that says Is this your business?
Facebook doesn't want people cybersquatting on someone else's business listing, so you'll have to check a box certifying you're an official representative of the business and click Proceed with Verification to continue. Next, you'll have to provide your business's contact information, including your Federal Employee ID number (if applicable) and some kind of official documentation (Certificate of Formation, Articles of Certificate of Incorporation, a local business license, or a BBB accreditation).
Once you've submitted that information and received the okay from Facebook's User Operations team, you'll be in full control of your new Place.
Turning Off Facebook Places
If you decided Facebook Places isn't for you, there are a handful of settings you will have to change to fully deactivate it. Start by going to Account > Privacy Settings > Customize Settings under Sharing on Facebook. From here, you'll need to change the settings for Places I Check In, People Here Now, and Friends Can Check Me into Places (under the Things Others Share heading).
You'll need to change one more setting: Go back to Privacy Settings, choose the Edit Your Settings option under the Applications and Websites heading (lower-left), and click Edit Settings for Info accessible to your friends. Uncheck the Places I've Visited box, and you are good to go.
For a more detailed explanation the options available for Facebook Places check out the Facebook Blog, "Facebook Blog: Who, What, When, and now…Where”