All posts by Andrew Robertson

About Andrew Robertson

I'm Andrew, I work as the Social Media & Marketing Assistant at SocialSafe. I've been writing blogs on here for over two years now, so you'll find pieces from me about anything relating to social media and tech, as well as the changing face of personal data. There's also room for the occasional post on some slightly off topics stories... just for the sake of variety!!

How To Download Facebook Messages – Slideshow Guide

One of our most continually popular topics on this blog is how to download Facebook Messages. This is probably old news to most of our users, but for anyone just getting to grips with the product or anyone who hasn’t heard of SocialSafe before, you are able to download all of your Facebook Messages to your own machine using the SocialSafe social media back up tool.

We recently put together a Slideshare on this walking you through how to get set up with SocialSafe, how to download your Facebook Messages and how to do more with them once you have your messages stored on your own machine:

Here are the text instructions in full:

1. You can download your Facebook Messages using an application called SocialSafe. Download SocialSafe for free from http://socialsafe.net/download

2. Once you’ve installed SocialSafe, add your Facebook account to your SocialSafe journal by clicking on ‘Add Your Facebook account’, and logging in via Facebook’s login box.

3. After adding your Facebook account, make sure that you have Messages selected, then click ‘Sync Account Now’ to start downloading your content. SocialSafe will now download your Facebook content, including your Messages, to your own machine.

Your privacy matters to us

4. Once the sync has completed, go to the ‘Accounts’ page and click on three bars icon for your Facebook account. This will open the drop-down menu, showing you all the different types of content you have backed up from your Facebook account. From here you can select ‘Messages’.

5. You can now view each of the message threads that you are part of, whether they are with individuals or part of group conversations. Your conversations are listed chronologically by the time and date of the last message in the thread. The default setting is to show the most recent threads first, but you can reverse the order by clicking the double-arrows in the top right corner. Clicking on a thread will open the entire message history with that person/group.

6. Clicking on the Search bar allows you to find any word or phrase in your entire Facebook Message history… Great for those times when you can’t remember who it was that recommended that restaurant to you, or for settling a bet that was agreed upon a long time ago!

7. Clicking on the icon in the top right corner of SocialSafe will enable content selection. Once you have selected a message, or messages you can:

- Add them to a Collection
– Hide them
– Export them to PDF
– Export them to File

In addition to the Slideshare presentation we also have a selection of tutorial videos that can be found on our YouTube Channel which will help you get the most out of the additional features found within your SocialSafe library.

New Facebook Feature Allows You To Schedule The Deletion Of Your Posts

Facebook is testing a new feature that would allow the creation of posts that have an expiration date, after which they will disappear. With the increasing popularity of apps and technologies such as Snapchat, that provide users with the ability so send images and messages that self-delete, it’s little wonder that Facebook are trying to muscle in. After all – the social network recently tried to acquire Snapchat for a cool 3 billion dollars.

Earlier this week some users noticed the new feature in the Facebook iOS app, with a ‘Choose Expiration’ option letting users set the half-life of their posts to be between 1 hour and 7 days, after which time the post will disappear. A screenshot sent to TheNextWeb shows how the interface looks:

facebook auto-deleting posts

When TNW contacted Facebook seeking clarification on the new feature, a spokesperson said:

“We’re running a small pilot of a feature on Facebook for iOS that lets people schedule deletion of their posts in advance.”

With the likes of Snapchat and other self-destructing messages, the direct messaging aspect has unsurprisingly lent itself to the sending of erotic and risqué pictures that only the intended recipient can see before they vanish into thin air. However it’s hard to imagine that the sort of things you’d take the trouble to make sure aren’t permanent are also the ones that you’d want to post to your broader network of friends… It just doesn’t seem to add up.

Do you have any ideas for how you’d use disappearing posts? What could you possibly want to broadcast to your wider Facebook audience that you’d also want to make sure won’t be found after a given time period? Let us know your thoughts below in the comments section.

Of course if you did want to make posts disappear from your Facebook profile but still wanted to be able to look back and reflect on the original post and comments, then there’s not better way to preserve the original content than by backing it up with SocialSafe!

Company Social Media Records Required For Litigation – Are Yours Easily Accessible?

social media legal complianceWe’ve long been talking about the importance of businesses keeping their own records of the content from their social media profiles. Just last week there was another Facebook outage which serves to remind us all that this information is not evergreen if solely held by third-parties.

The need for archiving social media data is further underlined by the findings of a litigation trends survey conducted earlier this year by Norton Rose Fulbright. The research, undertaken in April 2014, found that 20 percent of the companies surveyed had to preserve or collect data from social media accounts in a dispute or investigation. To put this into context, five years ago that number was almost nonexistent.

While some of the major social networks do offer an export of data, it’s not always in an easily reusable format, nor is it available immediately upon request. As Robin Harris quite rightly stated in his recent ZDNet article – Are you on top of social media data? – the real value in having an archived record of your social media data is in being able to search across that data to find something that may have been said some time ago.

Here at SocialSafe we recognise that finding a particular item or piece of information can be like looking for a needle in a haystack. So that’s why we’ve added extra features such as the Advanced Search and the Calendar to the SocialSafe application, giving you greater control and the ability to search for keywords and phrases with the added granularity of being able to refine your search by network and specific content type, as well as searching within customised date ranges.

We also understand that for a lot of businesses, archiving and record keeping is not something that they’d preferably be allocating too much time and resource to. We’ve tried to make archiving social media content for businesses as easy as possible with the Scheduler, which allows you to back up your content automatically, meaning that you don’t need to think about it until it’s time to find something.

With social media becoming an increasingly significant part of almost every business’ communication and marketing efforts, it’s no surprise that occasionally that content comes under scrutiny. Make sure that you’re able to find and reproduce whatever you need, when you need it, by keeping your own archive of your content with SocialSafe.

Second #FacebookDown Outage In Recent Weeks – Is Your Data Safe?

Last night the users of a social network were once again separated from the content they’d created and the conversations they’d had, after another outage restricted access to the site. The #FacebookDown hashtag spread across other social networks after users were subjected to the second Facebook outage within a few weeks.

Dislike. Thumb down sign on white background. 3d

It wasn’t an overwhelmingly long outage, with Facebook working again for most users within half an hour. Facebook later confirmed that the cause of the problem was caused by and error the team encountered while making an infrastructure configuration change. Short outage or not, if there is crucial information locked within a social network – and think of all the messages that you might need to refer to – then these sorts of outages can become very problematic:

Others took a slightly more comedic stance at the news:

The point remains that whenever you don’t have a copy of your content, then you can never be fully in control of it. Yesterday’s outage – along with other recent instances of social network downtime – only serves to highlight the importance of keeping a backup of your content.

SocialSafe allows you to download your social network posts, pictures, messages and more, directly to your own PC or Mac. Once there, you have the freedom to browse, view, search and do more with that content. The built-in features such as Collections, Insights and PDF Export really do put you in control of your content.

To start backing up your content now, download SocialSafe for free.

Like Instagram? Like Tweetdeck? Then You Need ‘Picdeck’ In Your Life

While Instagram is a predominately mobile based service, there are a few desktop applications that add value or enhance the user experience. Obviously there is Instagram.com, the official website for Instagram that allows you to view your feed as if it were on your phone, as well as letting you leave comments and like photos. And of course there is SocialSafe, which allows you to back up your Instagrams and use the Insights feature to see which of your photos are the most popular, and discover more about your use of filters.

But now a new desktop app is tracking the same approach to Instagram as Tweetdeck did to Twitter.

Picdeck allows you to set your own columns of feeds on a web-based dashboard, based on either users or hashtags, as well as your own feed as you’d normally see it within the app (or on the desktop version). All you need to do is to go to Picdeck.co and sign in with your Instagram login ID, then start creating feeds!

picdeck for instagram

As you’ll see, the aesthetic is very similar to other social media dashboards such as Tweetdeck or Hootsuite, so it should be comfortably familiar for most people. Picdeck does however lack the posting functionality that is a hallmark of the aforementioned social media dashboards, nor does Picdeck allow you to add more than one account (giving you multiple instances of ‘My Feed’.

These features may well appear in the fullness of time, and it’s worth pointing out that Picdeck is the product of a one-day hack-day project by London-based company Marvel. So given more development time, this could easily go a lot further, and according to The Verge, Marvel already has plans to add location-based columns and other features.

Have you used Picdeck? What are your first thoughts? Comment below, let us know!

How To Back Up Your Instagram Hyperlapse Videos

Instagram has just released Hyperlapse – a standalone app allowing you to create simple time-lapse videos – and with SocialSafe you can back these up to your own library, along with any comments and likes.

Hyperlapse is pretty much as simple as point, shoot, share, except you get to choose the speed at which the movie plays. Aside from the variable clip speed, the only other frill is the automated video stabilisation that should hopefully avert any motion sickness you might encounter from particularly shaky camera work. If you choose to share the video in Instagram, then you can add as filters as you would with any other Instagram video.

In a blog post announcing the new app, Instagram said: “We designed Hyperlapse to be as simple as possible.”

There’s no need to sign up either.  Once you’ve recorded your clip and chosen the speed (you can choose from 1x, 2x, 4x, 6x, 8x, 10x, or 12x), the video is saved to your camera roll and you then have option to share it to Facebook or Instagram. So there’s no need to worry about building up your followers/friends on a new platform.

Want to see Hyperlapse in action?

20 Creative Hyperlapses From Instagram’s New App

What this also means is that if you publish your videos to Instagram, you can back up Hyperlapse videos with SocialSafe! Just as existing Instagram photos and videos can be downloaded to your SocialSafe library, any Hyperlapse videos you publish to Instagram will also be backed up – along with the comments and likes.

If you’re using our Instagram companion app ‘Likes’ (available in the app store – only for iOS at this moment), you’ll also be able to save to your iPhone any Hyperlapse videos from other users that you have liked on Instagram.

You can back up your own Instagram account, as well as your content from a number of other social networks, by downloading the SocialSafe desktop app.

Celebrities Taking On #ALSIceBucketChallenge Raise Millions For Charity

Earlier this year the world of social media came under fire for ease with which it allowed the #neknomination drinking challenge to spread. Critics said it promoted reckless and irresponsible drinking, and this was sadly proven correct by several deaths due to instances of accelerated and excessive consumption of alcohol in acts of one-upmanship.

However, this month we are seeing the same social mechanism of publicly nominating friends and peers put to an altogether better use in the form of the #ALSIceBucketChallenge. ALS is a form of motor neurone disease, also known as Lou Gehrig’s disease. The challenge dares nominated participants to be filmed having a bucket of ice water poured on their heads, and then to make a donation to the ALS Association.

The viral spread is one again achieved by nominating other participants once you have been covered in icy water. As well as having deep pockets, celebrities also have an unfathomably large social reach, especially when combining their audiences.

Here’s an example of the #ALSIceBucketChallenge, courtesy of Pearl Jam frontman Eddie Vedder, who nominates actor Tim Robbins, music legend Bruce Springsteen, and – at the behest of his young daughters – Niall Horan from 1Direction, before being drenched in freezing water:

When celebrities start challenging each other publicly on social media, the content will inevitably have a viral spread reaching far and wide. So it should come as no surprise to hear that as of August 18th, the #ALSIceBucketChallenge had raised $15.6m (in the US) since July 29th.

To give you an idea of how much of an impact the social media campaign has had on the ALS Associations fundraising efforts, the amount received in the same period last year was less than $50,000.

As well as creating one of the platforms enabling the challenge to spread so effectively, Mark Zuckerberg was also just one of many tech leaders to find themselves beneath a bucket of icy water. The Facebook founder went on to nominate Bill Gates, who took an amusingly engineered approach to his own drenching.

There are plenty of amusing videos appearing each day from film stars, chart-toppers, sporting heroes and business leaders alike. Which #ALSIceBucketChallenge has been your favourite? Comment below, let us know…

Twitter Experiment Displays Other Users’ Favourites In Your Timeline

Twitter is experimenting with a new feature on the timeline, however users don’t  appear to be best  pleased with it so far. This latest tweak is to do with Favourites, and it essentially treats them in a similar way to retweets, as far as the main timeline is concerned.

Users have now reported seeing tweets in their timeline that users they follow have favourited, or further separated still, popular tweets from accounts that other users follow.

As the example above shows, Peter Kafka is seeing content on his timeline that he didn’t ask for, but is being shown purely on the basis of other users’ actions, while TheNextWeb’s Martin Bryant captured a much more ironic example of Twitter’s latest feature experiment:

The new feature – if implemented across the board – might change the way we use Favourites. Retweets are an intentional act of broadcasting other users’ content to your own followers, whereas Favourites are a way of marking things for your own personal reflection or posterity. When the things you mark for later attention are broadcast to your followers it puts an entirely different spin on things, as people researching topics will often favourite tweets/links to content that are completely against their beliefs or position.

With social networks most changes to the norm are generally met with a certain degree of discontent or mistrust, and this latest experiment from Twitter appears to be no different. While the company is yet to comment on the most recent changes, it did release a statement last year that does provide an overview on how Twitter goes about conducting its product experiments.

Have you experienced any of Twitter’s feature experiments? What are your thoughts on seeing other people’s favourited tweets in your timeline? Leave a comment below with your views.

Likes and Recover Instagram Apps For iOS Now Released!

Anyone who uses Instagram will be painfully aware that it doesn’t have a ‘favourites’ feature that would allow you to easily mark things for future reference. Nor is there a way to save images directly to your phone.

Well in the last few weeks our we’ve been quietly working away on a couple of separate iOS app projects alongside our main SocialSafe app development, and the fruits of these labours are now ready to be enjoyed!

These will be of interest to anyone who uses Instagram on an iOS device, and so we are proud to unveil Likes and Recover for iOS.

Likes and Recover

Likes [App Store Link] allows you to view a stream of all the Instagrams you have liked, and download any them to your iPhone’s Camera Roll with a single tap. Holding down on an image will take you back to the original on Instagram. It’s as simple as that!

Likes - Effortlessly save the Instagrams you’ve liked to your Camera Roll

Unlike Twitter, Instagram doesn’t have a ‘Favourites’ feature that allows you to easily mark things for future reference.  With Likes you can view all of the photos that you personally liked, without having to scroll back through weeks or months worth of other photos.

All you need to do to get started is download Likes to your iPhone/iPod touch, login through Instagram and the app will show you all of the Instagrams you have liked!

Recover  [App Store Link] works in the same way as Likes, but applies to all of your own Instagram photos. So with a single tap you can save any of your photos to your camera roll, or you can press to view that photo – and any comments etc – on Instagram.

Recover - Effortlessly save your Instagram photos to your Camera Roll

By being able to save Instagram photos to your camera roll, you can do things that you simply cannot on Instagram, such as zooming in on photos, or sending the images privately to non-Instagram users via other messaging apps such as WhatsApp, iMessage, WeChat etc.

These apps are both available NOW in the app store, so please download, rate and review them!

Facebook Supported By Google, Microsoft & More In Privacy Case

You may recall back in June that Facebook had been issued with a court order demanding that it hand over the data of some 381 users who were being investigated as part of a fraud trial. The social network lodged an ultimately unsuccessful appeal, and had to release the personal data – including photographs and private messages – to the authorities.

The story has now resurfaced after several large tech firms in the US have argued that the original search warrant was a breach of the US Constitution. In court documents filed in New York, companies including Google, Microsoft, Dropbox and Twitter  have thrown their support behind Facebook, claiming that the original process violated the First Amendment, which protects against persons’ belongings falling subject to “unreasonable searches and seizures”.

The BBC has seen the documents submitted to a New York court, and reports that the following tech firms have declared their support for Facebook:

  • Google
  • Microsoft
  • Twitter
  • LinkedIn
  • Yelp
  • Dropbox
  • Pinterest
  • Foursquare
  • Kickstarter
  • Meetup
  • Tumblr

Google and Microsoft said that they had “a strong interest in the resolution of the issues in this case”, as they have had to deal with similar issues in the past. This also seems to be a case of the strong looking after the weak, with a lawyer representing some of the medium-sized companies saying that “smaller entities, such as start-ups and other developing companies, may not always have the resources to litigate”.

If the bigger firms are able to establish a precedent that may protect smaller businesses in the future, then that will be of benefit to the tech community as a whole.