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Facebook Dislike button spreads fast, but is a fake – watch out!

Image representing Facebook as depicted in Cru...

Image via CrunchBase

Don’t be too quick to click on links claiming to “Enable Dislike Button” on Facebook, as a fast-spreading scam has caused problems for social networking users this weekend.

Messages claiming to offer the opposite to a like button have been appearing on many Facebook users’ walls:

Dislike button on Facebook

Facebook now has a dislike button! Click 'Enable Dislike Button' to turn on the new feature!

Like the “Preventing Spam / Verify my account” scam which went before it, the scammers have managed to waltz past Facebook’s security to replace the standard “Share” option with a link labelled “Enable Dislike Button”.

The fact that the “Enable Dislike Button” link does not appear in the main part of the message, but lower down alongside “Link” and “Comment”, is likely to fool some users into believing that it is genuine.

Clicking on the link, however, will not only forward the fake message about the so-called “Fakebook Dislike button” to all of your online friends by posting it to your profile, but also run obfuscated Javascript on your computer.

The potential for malice should be obvious.

As we’ve explained before, there is no official dislike button provided by Facebook and there isn’t ever likely to be. But it remains something that many Facebook users would like, and so scammers have often used the offer of a “Dislike button” as bait for the unwary.

Here’s another example that is spreading, attempting to trick you into pasting JavaScript into your browser’s address bar, before leading you to a survey scam:

Offer of Dislike button leads you into posting script into your browser's address bar

If you use Facebook and want to learn more about spam, malware, scams and other threats, you should join the Sophos Facebook page where we have a thriving community of over 80,000 people.

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For Students, What Is the “Facebook Effect” on Grades?

Social media has several effects on academic work— some more positive than others. But what is social networking’s overall impact on college students’ performance?

According to data gathered from several sources by, Facebook and Twitter are used to great benefit — sometimes. Students welcome online engagement and resources; around 75% of student respondents said they’d like to do some online collaboration for class, in fact.

Also, social media may have a positive impact on students’ sense of themselves in the community. Social media-using students were twice as likely as other students to feel well-liked by their peers and to participate in extracurricular activities. And 20% more of Facebook-using students (as compared to students who didn’t use Facebook) said they felt connected to their school and community.

However, negative effects abound. Students who use Facebook and hit the books simultaneously found their multitasking led to 20% lower grades than those of their more focused peers. Facebook-using students also made less money during school from part-time work, putting in around five hours per week as opposed to 16 hours per week for a typical, unplugged counterpart.

Not only do grades and finances suffer, but students might actually end up feeling more depressed or lonely. Almost half of students believe they are sadder than their friends on Facebook, and 25% of college students have shown signs of severe depression in their status updates at one time or another.

In a word, the results are inconclusive. But with around 96% of all college students on Facebook, only the most dedicated academics would consider giving up social media for a slightly better GPA.

In the comments, we’d like to know what impact social media had or has on your academic work. And if your college career pre-dates social media, how do you think college is better or worse because of Facebook?

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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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New Changes in Facebook

Though the social networking site comes up with many changes, there are five things that the site necessarily needs to modify for better user experience.

The site has allowed the “friends” of the users to ad them to various groups. Now, this can be very annoying if the user starts getting messages from the group he has been forcibly added to. The site does not ask permission from the user and the user has to take the effort of “ungrouping” his account.

The new photo viewer has not been a very welcome change either. The light box is not very friendly to the eye and effects the visual experience. It also appears to be a very “closed” site. The messaging system has also been configured to act as “chats” and not everybody is comfortable using them. The tabs are now less prominent and the Facebook team has dismissed all customized tabs.

Over all the Facebook platform has incorporated many changes that aren’t exactly welcome. But there are other changes like the keyboard shortcuts to navigate, centered image etc which are a welcome change.

Facebook Blocks Breakup Notifier

Accuses the application of being ‘spammy’

Within just a few days of reporting about Facebook‘s controversial new Breakup Notifier application, the social networking website has shut it down. The application, which would allow users to keep a track on the relationship status of their crushes, got a rousing response with over a million users making a beeline for it. Facebook, however, has blocked the application. Not only that, but developer Dan Loewenherz’s personal account has been deleted from Facebook as well.

Facebook conveyed the developer through an e-mail that the Breakup Notifier application is being banned because various factors like algorithms and user feedback (which seem least likely in this case) makes it perceive the application as being “spammy”.  The message reads:

“To ensure positive user experiences on Platform, we run routine automated screens that take user feedback, machine learning and various algorithms into account and remove spammy applications. For example, if an application is making an inordinate number of stream.publish calls and receiving a large number of user reports, it may be removed by our automated systems to protect the user experience and the Platform ecosystem.”

The developer Loewenherz got no response from Facebook, but he’s already made it clear that he’s keen to do whatever Facebook requires of him, to comply with the policies and get Breakup Notifier unblocked. “We’re willing to comply with whatever they want us to (within reason).” Facebook spokesperson finally gave an official statement about the application ban to Techcrunch, which said, “We have automated systems in place to ensure apps on Facebook Platform provide a positive user experience, and we’re currently looking into the issue with ‘Breakup Notifier'”.

However, what we can’t get our heads around is why Facebook had to delete his account? The timing of the app and his account getting shut down is too peculiar to dismiss as a coincidence. Whatever may be the reason, we hope the two parties resolve the issue. We believe in the face of the bad press attributed to the privacy fiascos last year, Facebook seems to be playing overly safe.

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