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Facebook Home launches: why I won’t be using it

Facebook Home is a new homescreen and lock screen for Android users, injecting a major dose of Facebook into your life, and it is gorgeous, but here is why I won’t be using it.

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Facebook Home coming to an Android near you

Facebook launched “Facebook Home,” an app that replaces Android’s homescreen and lock screen with Facebook photos, notifications, and status updates. “We asked ourselves ­if sharing and connecting are what matter most, what would your phone be like if it put your friends first?” Facebook asked, noting that Home is their answer. “Home isn’t a phone or operating system, and it’s also more than just an app. Home is a completely new experience that lets you see the world through people, not apps.”

Android users with the most recent operating systems (Ice Cream Sandwich and Jelly Bean, but not Gingerbread) have access to Facebook Home, and will come pre-loaded on the HTC First phone through AT&T. Complaints have already rolled in from Facebook devotees that the app doesn’t work on their Android, so it is not exactly a universal release, and it’s not yet available on tablets, but the company says that’s next.

Video demo of Facebook Home

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Why I won’t be using Facebook Home

Although I have a $600 HTC EVO 4G, I have learned that I do not have access to Facebook Home which is being hailed as an immersive app for high end phones (maybe mine’s not high end enough), but even before I discovered the incompatibility, I had already decided that I would not be adding the app to my phone for three main reasons – it’s too social, my friends are jerks, and it makes my use inefficient.

Facebook Home is perfect if you’re a 14 year old girl that communicates with friends and family exclusively through Facebook, or someone who is so addicted to Facebook that they need the digital equivalent of an intravenous drip, but for grown ups with grown up jobs, Sweet Brown said it best – ain’t nobody got time fo dat. My smartphone is a secondary workspace for me, and while the app truly is stunning and well designed, it doesn’t take much to hit one Facebook button to access all of the same information. This is just overdoing it.

But let’s say I’m a Facebook junkie and I download the app. That’s great, but what happens when I open my phone during a meeting and the photo that I have no control over is my friend who just got in a motorcycle accident posting pictures of his shredded face? What about when my friends tag me in a picture of my favorite politicians photoshopped onto fake sex scenes? You guys, this is Facebook – my friends are jerks, and if you don’t have jerk friends that post stuff on their walls that would embarrass someone passing by your innocent phone witnessing that, you’re unique.

I don’t want to open my phone in front of my kid so we can call the doctor and witness a full screen photo of semi-nude people making out while wearing squid hats just because my idiot friends posted it.

Let’s face it, I’m a jerk too – when I find out which of my close friends are using Facebook Home, I’m probably going to tag them in stupid stuff so when they open their phone, they’re embarrassed. The Facebook Home promo video isn’t lying – this guy with his friends right in the cabin with him are intrusive and have the power to embarrass:

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Facebook Home kills productivity

Not because it’s a distraction, but because it hides my widgets and adds extra clicks for me to get to any other app on my phone, Facebook Home has the power to kill my productivity. I already have a Facebook button, so I’ll be sticking with that.

If all you do is use your phone for Facebook, this is a winning app for you, and it looks fun and well designed, but most of you reading this will agree with me that this takes Facebooking to a whole new level and will probably put some people into rehab. Facebook crack is whack, take a step back.

Lani is the Chief Operating Officer at The American Genius and has been named in the Inman 100 Most Influential Real Estate Leaders several times, co-authored a book, co-founded BASHH and Austin Digital Jobs, and is a seasoned business writer and editorialist with a penchant for the irreverent.

Social Media

Has your Twitter account been hacked by ISIS?

(SOCIAL MEDIA) ISIS is using Twitter, as always, to spread propaganda, but are they using *your* account to do it? Maybe.

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Hackers aligned with the Islamic State are hijacking dormant Twitter accounts to spread jihadist propaganda online. Is your account vulnerable to ISIS?

TechCrunch reports that the breach is the result of a well-known loophole in Twitter’s security protocols. For more than a decade, the platform did not require email confirmation for new accounts. As a result, an unknown number of dormant accounts are easy targets for hackers. Last June, in attempt the curb the growth of automated spam accounts on the platform, Twitter instituted mandatory email confirmation for all new accounts, but millions of older accounts remain unverified. Now, it appears that those accounts are being targeted by the Islamic State and its supporters.

To complicate matters, Twitter is only partly to blame.

According to the Washington Post, Twitters boasted more than 330 million monthly active users in the second quarter of 2018, but the platform is home to another 500 million dead or dormant accounts, and many of those dormant accounts were created using email addresses that no longer exist.

Popular email providers like Hotmail and Yahoo regularly delete and recycle dormant accounts after a period of just 12-18 months of inactivity. If your Twitter account was created using an email address that has been recycled, then an enterprising hacker only needs to reactivate your old email address to gain access to your username.
Enter Islamic State.

Also known as IS or ISIS, Islamic State is a terrorist organization that uses revenue from oil smuggling, extortion, and kidnappings to fund religious violence. From 2014 to 2018, Islamic State conducted or inspired more than 140 terrorist attacks in 29 countries.

Since its inception, ISIS has used social media platforms including Twitter and YouTube to recruit new members and promote sectarian violence. In 2014, IS announced the death of American journalist and hostage James Foley by releasing a video of Foley’s beheading on YouTube. Two years later, an account associated with IS reportedly used the hashtag #JustinBieber to troll the pop star’s fans with a graphic video that included scenes of four men being executed.

Twitter has suspended or deleted more than 1 million terrorist accounts since 2015, and more than 200,000 of those accounts were removed in the first half of 2018 alone. So should you be worried about the security of your Twitter handles? That all depends on whether or not your accounts are linked to an active email address.

Log on. Check your setting. Delete any accounts that are linked to dead email addresses.

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Social Media

The FBI has a new division to investigate leaks to the media

(MEDIA) The FBI has launched a division dedicated completely to investigating leaks, and the stats of their progress and formation are pretty surprising…

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Expanding its capability to investigate potential governmental leaks to the media, the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) created a new unit to address those threats in 2018.

Documents obtained by TYT as a part of their investigation identify the need for the unit as being due to a “rapid” increase in the number of leaks to the media from governmental sources.

“The complicated nature of — and rapid growth in — unauthorized disclosure and media leak threats and investigations has necessitated the establishment of a new Unit,” one of the released and heavily redacted documents reads.

The FBI appeared to create accounting functions to support the new division, with one document dated in May 2018 revealing that a cost code for the new unit was approved by the FBI’s Resource Analysis Unit.

In August 2017, former Attorney General Jeff Sessions had stated that such a unit had already been formed to address such types of investigations, which he had deemed as being too few in number shortly after taking office in February 2017.

By November of the same year, Sessions claimed that the number of investigations by the Justice Department had increased by 800%, as the Trump administration sought to put an end to the barrage of leaks regarding both personnel and policy that appeared to come from within the ranks of the federal government.

The investigation and prosecution of leaks to the media from government reached a zenith under the Obama administration, using a United States law that originated over 100 years ago in 1917, and was long unused for such purposes.

The Espionage Act treats the unauthorized release of information deemed to be secret in the interests of national security and could be used to harm the interests of the United States or aid an enemy as a criminal act. While controversial in application, the administration used it to prosecute more than twice as many alleged leakers than had been addressed by all previous administrations combined, a total of 10 leak-related prosecutions.

In July 2018, Reality Winner, pled guilty to one felony count of leaking classified information in 2016, representing the first successful prosecution of those who leaked governmental secrets to the media under the Trump administration.

Winner, a former member of the Air Force and a contractor for the National Security Agency at the time of her arrest, was accused of sharing a classified report regarding alleged Russian involvement with the election of 2016 with the news media. Her agreed-upon sentence of 63 months in prison was longer than the average of those convicted for similar crimes, with the typical sentence ranging from one to three and a half years.

Defendants charged under the Espionage Act by the FBI are challenged in mounting their case by the fact that they are prohibited of using a defense of disclosure in the public interest as a defense to their actions.

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Social Media

MeWe – the social network for your inner Ron Swanson

MeWe, a new social media site, seems to offer everything Facebook does and more, but with privacy as a foundation of its business model. Said MeWe user Melissa F., “It’s about time someone figured out that privacy and social media can go hand in hand.”

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Let’s face it: Facebook is kind of creepy. Between facial recognition technology, demanding your real name, and mining your accounts for data, social media is becoming increasingly invasive. Users have looked for alternatives to mainstream social media that genuinely value privacy, but the alternatives to Facebook have been lackluster.

MeWe is poised to change all of that, if it can muster up a network strong enough to compete with Facebook. On paper, the new social media site seems to offer everything Facebook does and more, but with privacy as a foundation of its business model. Said MeWe user Melissa F., “It’s about time someone figured out that privacy and social media can go hand in hand.”

MeWe prioritizes privacy in every aspect of the site, and in fact, users are protected by a “Privacy Bill of Rights.” MeWe does not track, mine, or share your data, and does not use facial recognition software or cookies. (In fact, you can take a survey on MeWe to estimate how many cookies are currently tracking you – apparently I have 18 cookies spying on me!)

ron swanson

You don’t have to share that “as of [DATE] my content belongs to me” status anymore.

Everything you post on MeWe belongs to you – the site does not try to claim ownership over your content – and you can download your profile in its entirety at any time. MeWe doesn’t even pester you with advertising. Instead of making money by selling your data (hence the hashtag #Not4Sale) or advertising, the site plans to profit by offering additional paid services, like extra data and bonus apps.

So what does MeWe do? Everything Facebook does, and more. You can share photos and videos, send messages or live chat. You can also attach voice messages to any of your posts, photos, or videos, and you can create Snapchat-like disappearing content.

You can also sync your profile to stash content in your personal storage cloud. Everything you post is protected, and you can fine-tune the permission controls so that you can decide exactly who gets to see your content and who doesn’t – “no creepy stalkers or strangers.”

MeWe is available for Android, iOS, desktops, and tablets.

This story was originally published in January 2016, but the social network suddenly appears to be gaining traction.

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