Even as social media companies explained in Congressional hearings how they are developing ways to identify fraudulent and spurious political advertisements, two United States Senators conducted an experiment, creating a group, developing an ad, paying Facebook $20 each, and targeting groups of people who they hoped would view it. The two senators, Mark Warner of Virginia and Amy Klobuchar of Minnesota wondered whether they could get people to notice their advertisement, and lots did. The ad also included a disclaimer.
They explain what they did in the video below, which appeared on ABC.
In the comments section some individuals spent time bashing the two senators, noting they made up something that wasn’t true. What did not have much to do with their jobs as senators, some commenters wondered?
However, the two senators clearly aimed to made a point about the relative ease of creating and uploading fraudulent political content, and they demonstrated that the current steps that social media companies are taking to identify false political ads is still not enough.
In our connected world unfamiliar activities make adults worry about kids, and violent and exploitative events, some connected to the digital world, make us fear for our children’s safety. This past week two events, a 13-year-old’s ruthless murder that was associated with online app interactions and a Wall Street Journal article, Cyberthieves Have a New Target: Children, made many of us wonder, once again, whether the digital world is degrading the quality of our lives.
For me the week reinforced the importance of parents understanding what their children are up to on digital devices. It’s a serious responsibility, it requires enormous time and energy, and we cannot hire outside experts to do it for us. The work requires every parenting skill that we’ve ever developed and more, and if you are not up to it you need to consult a parent education organization, such as the Parenting Encouragement Program(PEP) in my area, that offers training to parents. Continue reading →
All of us — children, parents, and teachers — need to think about the security of our privacy settings. Part of learning to live in the digital world involves understanding and competently using these settings, but we also must recognize their limitations.
Once we post or share digital content, the privacy of the information depends on the good judgment of others. No matter how securely the settings, our friends, who in theory understand our expectations, can err in judgment by copying, taking screen shots, or sharing the content in another digital location. When we post data via social media, we cede control of that information to others who may not abide by our privacy preferences.
In a Wired article, Don’t Make My Mistake: Always Think Before You Tweet, Randi Zuckerman, the sister of Facebook founder Mark Zuckerman, describes how she shared a picture with friends, only to have one of those friends share it in a more public way and eventually widely via Twitter. The picture caused a huge media stir, with people laughing that Zuckerman, the sister of the Facebook founder, did not understand the privacy settings. But she understood perfectly — it was her friend who did not get it.
I sometimes observe a Facebook friend sharing or unknowingly posting a scam as often as once a day.
According to a post on Techlicious, scammers continue to find victims on Facebook. While Facebook continues to work against these scams, the sheer number of users on Facebook (one billion) encourages unscrupulous people to continue to seek victims.
The December 4, 2012 post by Techlicious writer, Christina DesMarais, lists six of the most prevalent scams — which often masquerade as apps — that Facebook users may encounter, all offering services that may catch a users’ fancy (or conscience).