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Facebook Launches ‘Send’ Button For More Selective Sharing, Announces 50 Million ‘Groups’

Facebook’s increasingly ubiquitous ‘Like’ button is getting a new friend: the Send button. Click on a webpage that has the Send button integrated, and you’ll be prompted to share it with any of your Facebook Groups, your Facebook friends, or any standard email address. In other words, where the Like button is designed to let you quickly share content with all of your Facebook friends, the Send button is for sharing with a subset of them.

Site designers are groaning right now (they have yet another sharing widget to integrate), but it’s a logical step for Facebook — there are certainly times when you want to share links with a handful of friends instead of your News Feed, and this gives you one less reason to fire up your non-Facebook email account. 50 sites are launching with the feature.

In addition to the new Send button, Facebook is adding a handful of features to its existing Groups product, which was overhauled last October. First is the introduction of photo albums for Groups. Before now it’s been possible to upload a single photo to a group, and now you’ll be able to upload a whole set. These photo albums are unusual because they’re walled within the Group — only other group members will be able to see them (even tagged photos aren’t visible to people on the outside).

The second addition is integration with Facebook Questions, which re-launched last month. Now you can pose a question that’s contained within the group.

Finally, and most important, is a new setting that will require Group administrators to approve any new members who have been invited to join the group. Up until now anyone within a Facebook Group was able to invite any of their friends (the idea was that you’d be violating the ‘social contract’ if you started inviting people who didn’t belong). But now Facebook recognizes that there are some groups that should be more private, so you can require admin approval.

Provided it gets broad distribution (which seems a given), the Send button will probably lead to a boost in Groups usage. It’s always been easy to share links within Groups, but this lowers the bar even further because you don’t have to leave the page you’re reading — you can imagine people using the button to share book reviews with their book club, close friends sharing new ideas for travel destinations, and so on.

And while ‘Send’ may not sound especially exciting given how long other sharing widgets have been around, this is yet another step in Facebook’s mission to reinvent email with their own “modern messaging system“, as CEO Mark Zuckerberg called it. One by one, they’re integrating easy ways to complete tasks that have traditionally been done over email. Today’s launch — sending links to friends — is obviously a huge one, and you can be sure they have others in the works. One other email-replacing feature I’ve heard about (though I’m not sure they’re still working on it): a way to send a structured poll to a subset of your friends.

Facebook says that there are now 50 million Facebook groups, and while not all of these are active, it says that the majority of them are.

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Rumor: Facebook Partners with Baidu for China Site

Image representing Baidu as depicted in CrunchBase

Image via CrunchBase

Facebook is currently ‘studying and learning’ about China

Popular social networking site Facebook was buzzing the web yesterday for a rumour about entering a partnership deal with Chinese search engine – Baidu. Citing a person familiar with the matter, a Chinese website reported that Facebook has signed a co-operation agreement with Baidu to work together in future for creating a new social networking website.

That new website would be a Facebook’s formal entry in China. Facebook spokesperson Debbie Frost, in response to an AFP inquiry, said “We are currently studying and learning about China, as part of evaluating any possible approaches that could benefit our users, developers and advertisers.”

Just to refresh the history, China has blocked several social networking sites which also includes Facebook. Obviously, the social network doesn’t want to miss out on one of the largest Internet using region. Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg was reported of having several meetings with Baidu’s CEO Robin Li and that’s when the agreements were rumoured to have been signed.

Despite Facebook’s clarification of no partnership at the moment, the deal, if it would have taken place, seems really beneficial for both. Baidu is China’s largest search engine and Facebook is top social network. Together, they can work on a harmonious strategy to tap the potential business opportunity in China.

The point to be noted here is that Facebook isn’t denying anything about the possible deal but giving a justification that it is currently studying and learning about China to benefit users, developers and advertisers. China already has a substitute or replacement services of popular social networks like Twitter – Sina. We won’t be surprised if we see a China specific social network developed by Facebook and powered by Baidu.

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Facebook Simplifies Privacy Policy

Keeps users in the loop with the privacy policy draft

Facebook has received much bad press in the past, and that prompted a privacy setting update virtually after every other week from the social networking giant. With almost everyone with access to the Internet having a Facebook account, privacy has been a contentious issue for both Facebook and those affected by it. The social networking website has therefore taken another proactive step by making the early draft of a revamped privacy policy public. In case you’re wondering, that’s the deliberately confusing legalese part that you’re supposed to acknowledge before you can join, create an account or install a program.

While the updated policy does not change Facebook’s existing methods of harvesting user information, it makes the whole process more transparent and easy to understand. This move comes after Facebook itself admitted that its existing privacy policy is “longer than the U.S. constitution – without the amendments”. The new draft is shorter and, more importantly, easier to understand, with headings like “your information and how it is used,” and “how advertising works,” which make the process clear to a layman.

However, there is still a grey area in how Facebook defines “your information”, which Nicole Ozer, a policy director at the American Civil Liberties Union of Northern California, contends does not include user data like the IP addresses, triangulated location of a mobile phone, and the date and time stamp of the uploaded photographs. Despite the downers and ambiguity of the definition of user information, this is a step in the right direction. It’s not often that a big corporation simplifies the legalese and keeps the users in the loop before making a decision.

Facebook’s Zuckerberg Becomes a Comic Book Hero

New 48-pager comic book to paint him in a fair light

The youngest billionaire, Time magazine’s controversial Person of the Year, and the king of the social networking Mark Zuckerberg is finally getting the ultimate in American hero worship – the Comic Book treatment in the form of a 48-pager comic book titled ‘Mark Zuckerberg: Creator of Facebook‘ trade paperback. Written by freelance writer Jerome Maida for BlueWater comics, the book goes on sale today.

“Mark Zuckerberg is the youngest billionaire on the planet and created something that has already had a profound impact on the world. Yet hardly anyone knows much about him. It’s amazing,” says Maida about the comic book.

Most of you may be considering Zuckerberg out of character in the role of a comic book hero; a comic book villain would be more like it, especially in the light of him being portrayed as a back-stabbing manipulator in the recent movie The Social Network and his numerous autobiographies. However, Jerome Maida intends to paint the man in a “fair” light, as opposed to people’s perception about him.

He elaborates, “Rightly or wrongly, Mark dealt harshly with some people on his way to where he is today. As we see, he left many people feeling betrayed. I try my best to be fair here.” The book releases today in major comic book stores in U.S., and can also be ordered online from here.  The comic book has already been optioned for an upcoming short film.

Facebook – The face of Egypt’s revolution!!!

An Egyptian father has proudly named his daughter “facebook”. According to Al-Ahram(one of the most popular newspapers in Egypt), he did so in tribute to the role the social media service played in organizing the protests in Tahrir Square and beyond.

Wael Ghonim, “We Are Khaled Said” Facebook page showed up within 5 days of Said’s death in June and served as a hub for dissidence against Egyptian police brutality and anti-government protests until Mubarak’s resignation. Other activist pages like “Tahrir Square” cropped up shortly afterward. There are five million Facebook users in Egypt, more so than any other country in the Middle East/North Africa region. Facebook itself has reported an increase in Egyptian users in the past month, with 32,000 Facebook groups and 14,000 pages created in the two weeks after January 25th .

Facebook has become the umbrella symbol for how social media can spread the message of freedom. There was a graffiti in Cairo that said “Thank you Facebook” as a protest sign and Wael Ghonim himself personally expressed his gratitude to Mark Zuckerberg on CNN.

Mark Zuckerberg Stalked by Indian Origin Man

Facebook‘s Zuckerberg obtains restraining order against the stalker

In a twist of irony, hunter has become hunted. Mark Zuckerberg is a man frequently vilified for his scant regard for his users’ privacy, but that never stopped anyone from quitting, because Facebook apparently is like crack cocaine for the masses. Zuckerberg is finally at the receiving end of the monstrosity he created. A 31 year old gent of the Indian origin named Pradeep Manukonda has taken fancy to the billionaire and is currently stalking him relentlessly.

U.S. resident Manukonda flooded Mark Zuckerberg with online messages and emails declaring his fondness for the Facebook whiz. The harassment didn’t stop in the online domain; Manukonda also sent a handwritten letter, which read, “Thank you for your valuable time and attention towards my problem. I am indeed very grateful to you. If I get a chance to work with you in the near future it would be my honour. I know I am working with a man of values. Thank you for being a source of inspiration to all of us.

That may sound vague but normal, but Manukonda went psycho on Zuckerberg in one of his numerous Facebook messages to him that read, “I owe my entire life at your service. Please help me, then I am ready to die for you. Please understand my pain.” It got worse with the stalker paying Zuckerberg a visit at the Facebook office in Palo Alto, California; reportedly to ask for money for his family. The last straw was when security spotted Manudoka at Zuckerberg’s residence in Palo Alto on January 24.

Zuckerberg has obtained a restraining order preventing Pradeep Manukonda from coming within 300 yards of him, his sister Randi, and his girlfriend Priscilla Chan. Apparently, Gawker‘s feature on the Facebook founder’s house, which was chock full with photographs, may have proved useful for the stalker to pay him a visit. The legal papers for the restraining orders claimed that the stalker tried to ‘follow, surveil and contact Zuckerberg using language threatening his personal safety’, according to gossip website TMZ. Mark may be safe at the moment, but Pradeep’s persistence may mean that Zuckerberg may not be able to ‘unfriend’ him this easily.

Image courtesy: TMZ

‘Dating’ Site Nicks 250,000 Facebook Profiles

Were you one of them?

Those who have watched The Social Network will remember how Mark Zuckerberg goes about stealing photographs from random academic websites and proceeds to use all that for his own website, which was indeed based on a real life system dubbed FaceMash that Zuckerberg had pulled for real. Well, in a cruel twist of irony, a dating website named Lovely Faces has pulled the same trick on Facebook. The folks behind the website are pretty unabashed about it too.

The plot is simple; Lovely Faces rips profiles replete with names, locations and photos right off the publicly accessible Facebook pages. Using face recognition, the website classifies the unsuspecting victims into searchable personality types. For example, one can search for possible (and unwitting) mates in their vicinity based on parameters like “easy going”, “smug” or “sly.”

The website has been created by media artist Paolo Cirio and media critic Alessandro Ludovic who is also the editor-in-chief of Neural magazine. “Facebook, an endlessly cool place for so many people, becomes at the same time a goldmine for identity theft and dating – unfortunately, without the user’s control. But that’s the very nature of Facebook and social media in general. If we start to play with the concepts of identity theft and dating, we should be able to unveil how fragile a virtual identity given to a proprietary platform can be,” goes their explanation of the invasive prank they pulled on Facebook.

Facebook, however, isn’t taking this lightly. Barry Schnitt, Facebook’s director of policy communications warned, “Scraping people’s information violates our terms. We have taken, and will continue to take, aggressive legal action against organizations that violate these terms. We’re investigating this site and will take appropriate action.” There seems to be legal merit to Facebook’s threat, because scraping info from the website does require legal consent, which we presume Cirio and Ludovic haven’t acquired prior to this stunt.

However this may end; what you should do now is head over to Facebook and tighten up your privacy settings. And of course, never share personal information on social network websites.

Facebook Founder Victim Of Hack

Mark Zuckerberg, founder of Facebook was caught in a twist of all sorts when his innovation turned against him.

Hackers took over the founders page and have posted the following message,: “Let the hacking begin: If Facebook needs money, instead of going to the banks, why doesn’t Facebook let its users invest in Facebook in a social way? Why not transform Facebook into a ‘social business’ the way Nobel Price winner Muhammad Yunus described it?”

The comment posted by #hackercup2011, a reference to the competition that Facebook organized, was “Liked’ by over 1,800 members of the social network before the site officials took the page of the site.

Facebook has released an official statement blaming a bug for the breach. “A bug enabled status postings by unauthorized people on a handful of pages, The bug has been fixed,” the statement added.

Mark Zuckerberg Pledges to be Philanthropist

Mark Zuckerberg, along with 16 tycoons, agrees to give away fortunes commiting to philanthropy. He has has signed onto the “Giving Pledge,” which claims its signatories to commit publicly to give away the majority of their wealth.

This 26-year-old billionaire, is the founder of social network Facebook Inc. is one of 16 billionaires to pledge. The figure now totals more than 50 donors who become a part of a broader group of rich entrepreneurs committing to philanthropy earlier in their lives.

Existing pledges made by affluent individuals and families including Oracle Corp. founder Larry Ellison, film director George Lucas and New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg. While, new names to join the list include AOL co-founder Steve Case, investor Carl Icahn and former junk-bond king Michael Milken.

The Giving Pledge is an effort organized by software mogul Bill Gates and investor Warren Buffett to persuade the world’s rich to boost their giving.

Mr. Milken, 64, says of the pledge, “I view this as a call to others who might in their thirties or forties use some of their creativity to get involved in philanthropy earlier in life.

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