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Man jailed for Google+ sending an invitation to his ex?

(Social Media) After a heated restraining order, a man was jailed for his Google+ account inadvertently sending an invitation to his ex.

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Man jailed for a G+ invitation to ex-girlfriend

It sounds absurd, but sometimes the truth can be just that. Unsolicited Google+ notifications are usually nothing more than a repetitive annoyance, but for Thomas Gagnon, it turned out to be more than that, it translated to jail time. Gagnon’s former girlfriend received a notification to join one of his Google+ Circles and used this to claim a violation of a restraining order.

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Although a Google+ notification does not seem like anything that warrants jail time, but less than two hours later, the police arrived to arrest Gagnon. Upon their breaking up, Gagnon’s girlfriend had obtained a restraining order. Consequently, when she received the Google+ invitation, she printed it out and headed to the local police station to prove he had violated the restraining order. Less than two hours later, the police arrived to arrest Gagnon; charging him with violating the restraining order that prohibited any contact with her.

He didn’t know he was sending any requests

The problem with this is he contends he did not send the request. His attorney is arguing he “has no idea how the woman got such an invitation… suggesting that it might have been sent by a robot.” This is not entirely impossible.

Every time you move someone around in your Circles, for example, if you move your brother from your “family” Circle, to your “friends” Circle, he will get a notification asking if he wants to join your Circle. Google+ does not take in to consideration that he was already a member of your Circles, or that you may not want to notify people of the change at all. And this could very well be the case with Gagnon.

AGBeat recently covered Facebook’s attempt to mine private messages for data and it appears Google is doing the same thing. Users have complained that Google is mining Gmail contacts to send out Google+ notifications without permission. So when users register for Gmail, they automatically receive a welcome to Google+. You will receive a notification with an invitation asking you to add the person to your Circle.

What you can do to safeguard yourself

If you are worried about Google+ sending out unsolicited invites on your behalf, you can change this from your settings page. Simply log in to your Google+ account, click the “home” dropdown box, and navigate to “settings.” You can also change your settings to disallow other G+ users from emailing you.

It is a good idea to consider your settings and what your accounts may be sending out on your behalf, even if no restraining orders are in question.

Jennifer Walpole is a Senior Staff Writer at The American Genius and holds a Master's degree in English from the University of Oklahoma. She is a science fiction fanatic and enjoys writing way more than she should. She dreams of being a screenwriter and seeing her work on the big screen in Hollywood one day.

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1 Comment

1 Comment

  1. Chris Paterson

    January 10, 2014 at 2:53 pm

    Google is terrible. If you’re still using google products, then I recommend you do some serious soul searching. People who use google are supporting a culture that says its okay to violate our privacy. Please don’t support them or Facebook, or any other company that makes money from collecting our personal information. Instead we should be using sites that don’t violate our privacy such as Ravetree, HushMail, DuckDuckGo, etc.

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Social Media

Facebook’s Résumé takes another shot at LinkedIn

(SOCIAL MEDIA) Facebook took another swipe at LinkedIn by introducing a new Résumé feature.

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Any job hunter is likely familiar with the little section somewhere during the application process where you’re asked to enter in social media information. Thankfully, Facebook is usually an optional field.

While I try to keep what the public can see of my social media profiles toned down enough as to not cause my grandmother to blush, I’m still not quite comfortable sharing my profile with prospective employers.

I’m sure many out there feel the same, and Facebook knows this.

Tinfoil hat theories aside, LinkedIn may be shaking in their boots as Facebook begins to advance their growth in the professional sector in their pursuit of social media domination.

Facebook has begun experimenting with a new Résumé/CV feature that works as an extension of your standard “Work and Education” section on a Facebook profile page, allowing users to share work experience in more detail with friends and family but most importantly: potential employers.

Luckily, the new Résumé/CV feature won’t be sharing personal photos or status updates, but will rather combine all the relevant information into a single, professional-looking package.

So far this feature appears to be rolled out to a small number of users, and it’s unclear when it will be officially launched, but this isn’t the first time Facebook has dipped their toes in the waters of the job sector, or took a jab at LinkedIn.

Several months ago, Jobs was launched, a feature that allows Business Pages to post job openings through the status composer, and keep track of them on their Page’s Jobs tab.

A Facebook spokesperson commented on the intent behind the new Résumé/CV feature, “At Facebook, we’re always building and testing new products and services.

We’re currently testing a work histories feature to continue to help people find and businesses hire for jobs on Facebook,” and so this is just the beginning of Facebook’s plan to become a one-stop-shop and create a more seamless way for people to find and get jobs.

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Tag photos, connect with friends, order food?

(SOCIAL MEDIA) Facebook seems to be sprawling into every nook and cranny of life and now, they’re infiltrating food delivery.

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Facebook is now bringing you food! Although, no one was really asking them to.

In the age of Instagram and Snapchat, Facebook is attempting to transform into more than just a social media platform. They have partnered up with food delivery services to help users order food directly from their site.

They hope to streamline the process by giving users a chance to research, get recommendations and order food without ever leaving the site.

Facebook has partnered with their existing delivery services including EatStreet, Delivery.com, DoorDash, ChowNow and Olo in addition to restaurants to fast track the process.

The scenario they imagine is that while scrolling through the newsfeed, users would feel an urge to eat and look to Facebook for their options.

After chatting up friends via Facebook Messenger to ask for the best place to go, users would visit the restaurant’s page directly, explore their menu and decide to order. When ordering, you will have the option to use one of the partnered delivery services either with an existing account or by creating a new one.

The benefit is you stay on one site the entire time. With the time you save, the food can get to you faster, which is a plus for everyone.

Assuming that people already live on Facebook 24/7, this seems like a great update. If you like getting recommendations from your favorite social media resources, it’s even better.

The problem is that in recent years their younger audiences have dropped off in favor of other sites. Regardless of what they think, not everyone is flocking to Facebook for their every need.

My guess is that this service will benefit those already using Facebook, but is less likely to draw new audiences in.

Adding more services may not be the key to success if Facebook can’t refine their other features. They have already been criticized for their ad reporting practices, though they seem to fix everything with a new algorithm.

Facebook has continued to stray away from their original intent, and food delivery won’t be their last update.

Facebook wants to be everything, but not everyone may want the same.

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Social Media

Hate Facebook’s mid-roll ads? So does everyone else

(SOCIAL MEDIA) Those pesky ads that pop up in the middle of that Facebook video, aka mid-roll, seem to be grinding everyone’s gears.

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In an ongoing effort to monetize content, Facebook recently introduced “mid-roll” ads into videos by certain publishers, and it has now been testing that format for six months. If you aren’t a big fan of those ads interrupting your content consumption experience, you aren’t alone; publishers aren’t crazy about them either.

In a report on the program, five publishers working with Facebook’s new mid-roll ad program were sourced and all five publishers found that the program wasn’t generating the expected revenue.

One program partner made as little as $500 dollars with mid-roll ads while generating tens of millions of views on their content.

Two other partners wouldn’t specify exact revenue number, but they did acknowledge that the ad performance is below expectations. As far as cost goes, certain publishers mentioned CPMs between 15 cents and 75 cents.

That range is large because a lot of the data isn’t clear enough to evaluate their return on investment. According to the Digiday report, publishers receive data on total revenue, along with raw data on things like the number of videos that served an ad to viewers.

The lack of certain data points, along with the confusing structure of the data, makes it difficult to assess the number of monetized views and the revenue by video. For context, YouTube, as arguably the biggest player in video monetization, provides all these metrics.

Another issue is that licensing deals are cutting into margins. Facebook pays publishers, via a licensing fee, to produce and publish a certain number of videos each month. In exchange, Facebook keeps all money until it recoups the fee, after which revenue is split 55/45 between the publisher and Facebook.

While these challenges doesn’t change the fact that revenue is low, it does make it difficult to dissect costs in a meaningful way.

Why is revenue so low to begin with?

For starters, a newsfeed with enough content to feed an infinite scroll probably isn’t the best format for these kinds of ads. As a user, when I’m watching the videos and the ad interrupts the experience, I’ve always scrolled right on through to the next item on my feed. It’s a sentiment echoed by one of the publishers in the Digiday story.

Because of that, Facebook’s new Watch program, which creates a content exclusivity not found on the news feed, might produce better results in the future. Either way, Facebook will need to solve this revenue challenge for publishers, or they might pull out of the programs altogether.

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