May 2012, Week 5


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Tue, 29 May 2012 21:25:12 -0400
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Bits & Bytes Facebook Edition -- May 29, 2012

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The Facebook Fallacy
By Michael Wolff

Technology Review
May 22, 2012

For all its valuation, the social network is just
another ad-supported site. Without an earth-changing
idea, it will collapse and take down the Web.

The value of digital ads decreases every quarter, and
the ad-Web business is engaged in a relentless,
demoralizing, no-exit operation to realign costs with
falling per-user revenues.   Facebook, with its 900
million users, purports to be reinventing on-line
advertising.  But GM is not convinced, ad announced it
will no longer buy ads on FB.  So despite its impact as
a social network, Facebook - which is only an ad-driven
site - will fall with everybody else when the crash

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Facebook I.P.O. Raises Regulatory Concerns
By Evelyn M. Rusli and Michael J. De La Merced

The New York Times
May 22, 2012

The I.P.O. of Facebook was supposed to be Morgan
Stanley's crowning achievement, but it is turning out to
be a big embarrassment.  Regulators are concerned that
banks may have shared information only with certain
clients, rather than broadly with investors. The
Financial Industry Regulatory Authority, Wall Street's
self-regulator, is also looking into the matter.
Facebook also revealed in a regulatory filing that users
were increasingly using Facebook on mobile devices, but
the company does not interface well with mobile users.
"There is a stigma around a broken deal, and Facebook is
a broken deal," said Connor Browne, a managing director
for Thornburg Investment Management.

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Facebook is more than the year's hottest stock story --
it's a cultural phenomenon
By Peter Delevett <[log in to unmask]>

San Jose Mercury News
May 12, 2012

When Facebook goes public, it will be a reflection of
how tightly a company launched eight years ago in a
college dorm room has become woven into the fabric of
society.  In its ability to shape the way hundreds of
millions of people around the world communicate, debate,
make buying decisions, entertain and inform themselves,
Facebook is changing how business, politics and society
itself operate.  For instance, companies have had to
radically adjust their strategies to reach customers --
or face extinction. Facebook is also reshaping the
political system, taking power out of the sole arena of
consultants and traditional media and putting it more
directly in the hands of voters.

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In 8 Years, Facebook Changed All We Do Online
By E.B. Boyd 

Fast Company
May 17, 2012

In the storm that is Facebook's IPO, we pause to take
note of the way the social network has transformed the
way we live now.  Is Facebook worth the $100 billion its
pending IPO suggests? Who knows. But it is certain that
the social network has radically changed people's
behavior and expectations online in the eight short
years since it was a nary more than a twinkle in the eye
of its baby-faced founder(s). There are things we do
online today, that we take so much for granted that we
forget that some of them didn't exist even as recently
as two years ago.

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Leaving Facebookistan
By Steve Coll, New America Foundation

New American Foundation
May 24, 2012 

Facebook is an unprecedented synthesis of corporate and
public spaces. The corporation's social contract with
users is ambitious, yet there is something vaguely
dystopian about oppressed peoples in Syria or Iran
seeking dignity and liberation inside a corporate
sovereign that is, for its part, creating great wealth
for its founders and asserting control over its users.
Some of these people see Facebook as a substitute public
space for speech and dissent that their own
authoritarian regimes don't provide, yet its Terms of
Service hardly guarantee such protections.  It takes a
while to find it, but if you are a Facebook user, there
is a small settings button entitled "deactivate
account." This seems the right time to leave such a
crowded and volatile public square.

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Facebook Offers More Disclosure to Users
By Kevin J. O'Brien

New York Times
April 12, 2012

Facebook, seeking to address concerns about the personal
information it collects on its users, said it would
provide users with more information about the data it
tracks and stores. The archive Facebook published two
years ago gave users a copy of their photos, posts,
messages, list of friends and chat conversations. The
new version includes previous user names, friend
requests and the Internet protocol addresses of the
computers that users have logged in from. More
categories of information will be made available in the

Facebook's data collection practices have tested the
boundaries of Europe's privacy laws, where 40,000
Facebook users have already requested a full copy of the
data that the site has compiled on each of them. Under
European privacy law, the company must comply with the
requests within 40 days.

#  #  #

Online Spying, Brought to You by Facebook

By Josh Levy, Internet Campaign Director, Free Press

Huffington Post
April 13, 2012

Want to give the federal government and big companies
new powers to spy on you? You're in luck: There's a bill
for that - CISPA, the "Cyber Intelligence Sharing and
Protection Act."    The legislation would make it far
easier for authorities and private companies to spy on
your email traffic, comb through your mobile texts,
filter your online content and even block access to
popular websites. Facebook, Microsoft and others support
CISPA, because although they wouldn't be required to
share information about their users, if they chose to do
so, the bill would protect them from any legal blowback.

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Twitter Implements "Do Not Track" Privacy Option
By Nick Bilton

New York Times Blogs
May 17, 2012

It's no secret that Facebook is worth about $100 billion
because it collects a lot of personal data about its
users. Twitter tracks its users too, but the company is
joining Mozilla, the maker of the Firefox Web browser,
and giving its users the ability to opt-out of being
tracked by using the Do Not Track feature in Firefox.
Although Facebook started allowing people to see the
kind of data the company collects, there is no way to
opt-out of collection, which can even track people who
are not logged into Facebook.


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