Facebook ran secret psychological experiments on users.


A report from a team at Facebook that was first published in a scientific journal earlier this month reveals that the social network ran secret psychological experiments on 600,000 users without their awareness.

The report, published in the Proceedings Of The National Academy Of Sciences, stated that back in January 2012, Facebook changed those users’ news feeds to highlight either positive or negative posts from their friends. The paper stated:

When positive expressions were reduced, people produced fewer positive posts and more negative posts; when negative expressions were reduced, the opposite pattern occurred. These results indicate that emotions expressed by others on Facebook influence our own emotions, constituting experimental evidence for massive-scale contagion via social networks.

Facebook’s Data Use Policy does give the company broad access to conduct these kinds of experiments, stating that users agree to “data analysis, testing, research and service improvement” when they sign up to use the social network. The paper does state that a machine was used to handle this experiment and no personal data from those 600,000 users was accessed.

Source: iMore.

Moves can now share your info with Facebook and the police.

Following the release of the iPhone 5s with the M7 motion coprocessor, a number of fitness apps sprang up to utilize all the data it could capture. Our favorite app was Moves, a user-friendly fitness tracker that makes it easy to cycle through the number of steps you’ve taken, the number of calories burned, the number of miles walked and the amount of time spent moving in a given day. Then the app was purchased by Facebook on April 24 of this year, much to the chagrin of many users.

Moves announced its new privacy policy on May 5, and thanks to its new owner, privacy minded users may want to think twice before using the app to track their movements. The terms of service for the app have been updated to include sharing with third parties, including new owner Facebook, one of the largest data mining operations in the world.

We may share information, including personally identifying information, with our Affiliates (companies that are part of our corporate groups of companies, including but not limited to Facebook) to help provide, understand, and improve our Services.

They’ll also share your information with the police.

We may access, use, preserve, and share your information, including your personally identifying information, with third parties when we have a good faith belief that it is necessary to: detect, prevent and address fraud and other illegal activity; protect ourselves, you and others, including as part of investigations; or prevent death or imminent bodily harm. We may also share such information if we believe that you have abused your rights to use the Services or violated an applicable law, or in connection with any dispute between you and us with respect to the Services.

Oh yeah, and if they sell the business or even part of their business, they can use your personal information as part of that transaction.

If we sell all or part of our business, make a sale or transfer of assets, are otherwise involved in a merger or business transfer, or in the event of bankruptcy, we may disclose and transfer your personally identifying information to one or more third parties as part of that transaction.

In short, Facebook can use your information for whatever purpose it likes; it could target ads to you based on businesses you pass on your run, or sell your information to developers wanting to know if an area is popular with fitness fans. They can also share your location information with the police if they want to, totally without your consent.

Of course, this may just sound paranoid. Exactly how much information could Moves have on you? Here’s everything that Moves collects from your phone, copied directly from their own website.

Data collection and processing Moves collects data from your phone to provide you with an easy way to track how and where you move in your everyday life. When you install, run or use our services we collect:

  • Location. Our system starts to collect location data from sources such as GPS, Wi-Fi and cell towers once you install the App and consent to the App’s tracking your location. We also collect Accelerometer samples, Wi-Fi network IDs, activity data, and places you identify with the Services. You may choose to stop our collection of location data through the Settings that we provide in the App, or by removing the App from your phone.
  • Information you provide. If you choose to create an account, you provide us your email and a password. You may also provide other information such as your gender, height, weight, and birth year in order to use all of the App’s features.
  • Information from your device. This includes information about your operating system, device identifier, carrier, language, battery performance, wi-fi or other network connections, or other data that you permit the App to access on your device including through permissions on your device (e.g. Google Play on Android).
  • Communications with us. If you communicate with us, we collect the information and content you provide to us, including personally identifying information such as your name, email or other contact information. You can provide anonymous feedback by using an email account that does not reveal your identity.

Signing this agreement only gives Facebook access to your travel data and personal information down to how fast you walk or run and what your average battery life is like. Given that Facebook isn’t exactly known for respecting the privacy of its users when money can be made, this update is especially troubling for anyone who worries about the increasing amount of personal information that must be traded just to use simple programs. I reiterate: it’s possible that this is just my paranoia kicking in. It’s also possible that you’ll see “David ran 2 miles this week, how far could you go with Moves” ads in your Facebook feed. We’ll have to wait and see.

If that level of information sharing is not to your liking, there are many other M7-enabled apps that aren’t owned by Facebook, including RunKeeper’s Breeze (free).

Apple will now alert you when the NSA wants your data.

The data-hungry tentacles of the NSA have managed to choke America’s top tech firms into silent submission on data requests, but after months of demanding more transparency, Apple is ready to defy authorities and let you know when the NSA wants your data.

Prosecutors warn that such a move will undermine investigations by tipping off criminals and allowing them to destroy sensitive data, but according to the Washington Post, Apple and others have already changed their policies.

“Later this month, Apple will update its policies so that in most cases when law enforcement requests personal information about a customer, the customer will receive a notification from Apple,” company spokeswoman Kristin Huguet said.

Facebook, Google and Microsoft are also in the process of updating their policies to let users know in advance when their data has been swept into an investigation, giving users the option to fight disclosures in court.

Alerts to data requests won’t affect those approved by the secret Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court which are automatically sealed by law, or subpoenas from the FBI that carry binding gag orders.

Apple and others say the new policies come with some exceptions, like if a potential victim is in imminent danger, especially if a child’s safety is vulnerable, but they argue the exceptions should be decided by a judge, rather than a company lawyer or investigator.

Source: Cult of Mac.

How Facebook Is Killing Your iPhone’s Battery Life (And What You Can Do About It)

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Does your iPhone battery constantly drain from 100% to nearly 0%? You might think the battery is to blame, but there could be a far more dastardly culprit: Facebook.

Over at Overthought.org, an ex-Apple Genius with much experience trying to determine the cause of low battery life in iDevices claims that Facebook’s app is one of the biggest battery drains there is… at least on iPhone with Location Services and Background App Refresh enabled.

He says:

I decided to run the app Instruments from Xcode, Apple’s developer tool, in order to see what the problem was. Basically, Instruments acts as an Activity Monitor for your iPhone, allowing developers (or nerds like me) to see every process currently running and how much memory and processing power each app is using in real-time.

“During this testing, Facebook kept jumping up on the process list even though I wasn’t using it. So I tried disabling Location Services and Background App Refresh for Facebook, and you’ll never guess what happened: my battery percentage increased. It jumped from 12 percent to 17 percent. Crazy. I’ve never seen that happen before on an iPhone.

So why is Facebook using so much battery? Simple: Facebook wants to run its own VoIP network. And ComputerWorld speculates that this is because Facebook wants to become bigger than a social network, but a worldwide communication network.

This is why it bought WhatsApp, and why it is constantly pinging in the background: Facebook is planning on launching a worldwide telecom that piggybacks off of every device, including iPhone and Android.

It’s an intriguing theory, but luckily, if it (or the battery usage) on your device worries you, there’s an out: just disable Location Services (Settings>Privacy>Location Services) and Background App Refresh (Settings>General>Background App Refresh) on your device!

Paper breathes new life into your Facebook timeline.

Paper breathes new life into your Facebook timeline

Facebook Paper is now available for free in the US and drastically changes the way you interact with Facebook, but in a good way. It brings with it beautiful full screen photos and status updates, a gesture driven design, and all new ways to curate your content based on what you care about most.

Paper is the first large project to come out of Facebook Creative Labs and if this is a sign of what’s to come, it may be very good news for Facebook fans. Fans of apps such as Flipboard that have a more magazine style layout will also be drawn to Paper more than the native app. Since it specializes in curating content and grouping it into areas that make it easier to sort, it somewhat turns your Facebook timeline into a news feed of sorts.

Even though the main difference between Paper and the existing Facebook app is curation, the design is completely different as well. Instead of lots of menus to tap on and weed through, Facebook Paper cuts all of them out in favor of a completely gesture driven interface. Swipe between status and photos, swipe up and down through cards or to open news articles and links. This has been one of my pain points with the official Facebook app for a long time. I can’t go back and forth very easily without accidentally pulling out chat or another menu I didn’t mean to access. Paper solves this in a much more elegant fashion.

Since Paper is a completely new way of experiencing Facebook, there are gesture hints to get you started and if Paper thinks you’re lost, it gives you a tip on how to use gestures to navigate through the app. So far I’ve found everything gesture wise to be spot on to what I’d expect from flicking statuses away to pulling down to access additional menus.

News is another area Facebook is trying to curate on your behalf, even outside your Facebook timeline. Just choose the types that interest you and Paper presents them in a card on its own. It’s a much more thoughtful solution than the current way Facebook just randomly feeds in thinks you might like in the current app. You can grab it now via the link below as long as you’re running iOS 7.0 or higher.

Source:  iMore.

New official Paper app aims to turn Facebook into a beautiful, magazine-style experience.

Facebook has made many changes to its newsfeed over the years (each usually generating howls of protest on launch and then viewed as business as usual within a week or two), but the interface on web and iOS app alike has seen only minor tweaks. Popup photos aside, it’s essentially remained a clean but uninspiring scrolling layout.

All this is set to change with the launch of Paper, a new iOS-only app set to launch in the U.S. on 3rd February.

Paper makes storytelling more beautiful with an immersive design and fullscreen, distraction-free layouts. We’ve also made it easier to craft and share beautiful stories of your own …

From the video and microsite demos at least, it appears to be a very slick, appealing and easy to use app, with full-screen photos and videos, Flipboard-style sliding tiles of posts and live previews of your own posts.

  • Everything responds to your touch so you can pick up or thumb through stories with simple, natural movements
  • You can tilt your phone to explore high-resolution panoramic photos from corner to corner, and see faces and other important details up close
  • Fullscreen autoplay videos come to life and bring you deep into the action
  • Beautifully detailed covers make it easy to spot articles from trusted publishers and decide what to read or watch.· Articles unfold in the app and appear fullscreen for a focused reading experience
  • When you’re ready to tell your own story, you know exactly what your post or photo will look like because you see a live preview before you share it

What will be more interesting to see is whether the app will enable Facebook to succeed in its aim of acting as an aggregator of published content. Choose a theme like technology, and get to see the stories being shared by those beyond just your own Facebook friends, and hand-selected by Facebook editors.

Your Paper is made of stories and themed sections, so you can follow your favorite interests. The first section in Paper is your Facebook News Feed, where you’ll enjoy inspiring new designs for photos, videos, and longer written posts. You can customize Paper with a choice of more than a dozen other sections about various themes and topics—from photography and sports to food, science and design. Each section includes a rich mix of content from emerging voices and well-known publications.

Facebook users have historically been resistant to third-party content in their newsfeeds, both advertising and editorial. Facebook is clearly hoping that giving users the ability to choose their own themes, and turning it into a more beautiful experience, will prove the key to changing our minds.

Interestingly, Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg says that the company plans to launch a range of different apps, rather than trying to cram all the functionality into one. In a Bloomberg interview that’s well worth reading, Zuckerberg says that a recent three-day hackathon generated plenty of ideas.

Zuckerberg says about 40 ideas emerged from the event. While he won’t share them, he says as many as half a dozen could be introduced this year under the Creative Labs umbrella and suggests one could be tailored for Facebook Groups, an often overlooked feature of the social network that allows clusters of members to communicate privately.

The Paper app should be available from iTunes on 3rd February for U.S. users. There is as yet no word on when it will roll out to other countries.

Source: 9to5Mac.

Sports fans with iPads score with in-stadium Wi-Fi.

A lot of sports fans are going to be, in the words of Duck Dynasty‘s Phil Robertson, “Happy, happy, happy” this fall. That’s because a number of stadiums are installing WiFi networks that make toting the iPad to a football game a great way to access the second screen that fans enjoy at home.

ZDNet’s Jason O’Grady attended the Philadelphia Eagles home opener at Lincoln Financial Field last weekend and was delighted to find a free WiFi network that can fulfill the bandwidth requirements of 45,000 simultaneous users (the stadium holds 69,000 fans). A dozen NFL stadiums are currently outfitted with WiFi, although NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell wants all stadiums to be equipped so that fans can use their smartphones and tablets for fantasy football and social networking.

According to a press release sent out by the Eagles last week, here’s what fans can do with their iPads and the free Eagles iPad app:

  • Fans will have the ability to stream the popular NFL Red Zone Channel live through the app, allowing them to watch action from around the league.
  • Live camera view of the player tunnel prior to the game, which will give fans a unique glimpse of the players pumping each other up right before they run onto the field.
  • Live stream of the video board, allowing the user to get a better view of the replays that are displayed on the big screen.
  • A dynamic stats channel that provides fans with updates from the Eagles game, as well as information and statistics from around the NFL.
  • Social media hub, which will make it easy to log on to various popular social platforms including Facebook, Twitter and others without having to leave the Eagles app.
  • Many of the original features remain, including news, game previews, video clips, photo galleries, fantasy stats, rosters, depth charts, bios, stadium information and much more.

Some Major League Baseball parks have also made free WiFi available for fans, including four of the five teams in the NL West — San Francisco, Los Angeles, San Diego and Arizona. My favorite ballpark, Denver’s Coors Field, doesn’t provide WiFi — between that and the Rockies’ season record, it’s been a lousy year for baseball.