Tag Archives: facebook

Changes To Facebook News Feed – Out With The Old, In With The New

Facebook has once again made changes to its News Feed algorithm, this time in an attempt to show content based upon its relevancy events that might be happening in real-time.

As a result of the feedback Facebook has received from users about the presence of days old posts in their News Feeds, the social network has said it will look at the events trending on Facebook and try to tailor the content shown depending on what might be happening right now. A blog post published yesterday shed some more light on the latest changes to the Facebook News Feed algorithm:

“Our goal with News Feed is to show everyone the right content at the right time so they don’t miss the stories that are important to them. We’ve heard feedback that there are some instances where a post from a friend or a Page you are connected to is only interesting at a specific moment, for example when you are both watching the same sports game, or talking about the season premiere of a popular TV show. There are also times when a post that is a day or two old may not be relevant to you anymore.”

There will also be a link between what appears in your News Feed and what topics are trending on Facebook:

“This means that when a friend or Page you are connected to posts about something that is currently a hot topic of conversation on Facebook, that post is more likely to appear higher up in News Feed, so you can see it sooner.”

The ‘timeliness’ of posts will also be decided by how soon engagement occurs in relation to when the content was first posted. If it occurs a significant period of time after the post was made, then its less likely that the post will be given prominence in the news feed later on.

Once again, it’s a case of trial and error, as Facebook continually tries to enhance user engagement, and time spent on the site. After all, time spend on the site is time spent in an environment where users are exposed to Facebook ads, which is the name of game for Facebook and its shareholders.

Will latest tweaks improve the user experience? Only time will tell, but this will by no means be the last we hear of changes to the Facebook News Feed algorithm.

New Facebook ‘Moments’ App To Encourage Private Sharing

Hot on the heels of launching a standalone Messenger app, Facebook is now said to be working on a private sharing app that will operate independently from the main Facebook app. Reports are surfacing of ‘Moments’, an app that will allow users to share with preset groups of people, but without having to use the drop-down privacy options from the normal status update mechanism.

According to those who have seen ‘Facebook Moments‘, there is a grid of tiles representing sets of close friends or family, which users can tap on to quickly share an update with only that group.  It’s hoped that this will be a much easier mechanism for sharing with selected groups than the existing method, which involves having to fiddle around with the privacy settings every time you want to post an update to a select audience.

However, you might well be sitting there scratching your head, thinking to yourself “I’ll still have to create the sharing lists in the first place. won’t I?”, or indeed, “Isn’t this exactly the same as Circles on Google+?” Well, yes, is the short answer to both.

‘Friend Lists’ have existed for quite some time, but there seems to have been a relatively widespread reticence to making earnest use of the feature. There may be certain items of content that you could share with 10 friends, and other piece might only be appropriate for eight of them, but another item might be shared with a different eight people of the original 10.

Creating and naming multiple lists with almost infinite cross-over possibilities would be an arduous task for anyone, but with ‘Moments’, it should be as simple as carving out the subsets of users that you want to share with each time, so the groups that you can pick from grow organically. That’s the view of Josh Constine at TechCrunch, who has written an article covering what is currently known of ‘Moments’, and looks back at Facebook’s struggle with getting people to adopt Friend Lists.

What are your thoughts on Facebook potentially releasing another standalone app? The user backlash surrounding the forced use of  Facebook Messenger earlier in the year was palpable, and some confusion over mobile device app permissions certainly ruffled feathers with regards to Facebook user privacy. But with ‘Moments’ moving towards affording users greater privacy – or perhaps greater ease of privacy – when it comes to what they share with whom, will Facebook win back users’ trust? Let us know your thoughts in the comments section below.

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!

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.

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.

Class Action Lawsuit Against Facebook Gathers Momentum In Europe

Facebook is facing another class action lawsuit over user privacy, originating in Europe. Earlier this year a case was brought against Facebook claiming that the social network had been reviewing users’ private messages “for purposes unrelated to the facilitation of message transmission”. This time the class action is being spearheaded by the Austrian law student Max Schrems, and more than 17,000 people have now signed up to join.

The group – headed by Schrems – claim that Facebook has been engaging in following “unlawful acts”:

  • Data use policy which is invalid under EU law
  • The absence of effective consent to many types of data use
  • Support of the NSA’s ‘PRISM’ surveillance programme
  • Tracking of Internet users on external websites (e.g. through ‘Like buttons’)
  • Monitoring and analysis of users through ‘big data’ systems
  • Unlawful introduction of ‘Graph Search’
  • Unauthorised passing on of user data to external applications

If you’ve not actually heard of Max Schrems before, you may well be familiar with the Europe vs Facebook group that he heads up. He is also the sole named claimant in this case, meaning that anyone else participating in the action will be free from the risks of having to pay any associated costs. Schrems is seeking to claim damages of €500 per user for the alleged data violations by Facebook, and with tens of thousands of users joining the class action, the bill levied at Facebook would be well into the millions if successful.

More details on this legal movement and the Europe vs Facebook group can be found on the FB Claim website set up by Schrems.

We’d just like to take this opportunity to reiterate that while SocialSafe is an application that allows you to download your personal data from Facebook – and other social networks – we never see nor store this data ourselves. Everything you choose to back up with SocialSafe is entirely yours and 100% private – we never hold your data and you can always access it.

Why Are You Seeing So Many Random Videos In Your Facebook News Feed?

Have you noticed an increase in the number of videos that you’re seeing in your Facebook News Feed lately? Well there’s an explanation for that based on your own behaviour and those pesky ol’ Facebook algorithms that seem to polarise audiences.

You should be aware of Facebook’s auto-play function, introduced last year, that starts playing videos (admittedly silently) regardless of whether or not you’ve clicked on them. The algorithm detects when you pause your scrolling to watch them, and will then deliver even more videos. This was confirmed in June by Facebook’s Product Manager, Brett Welch:

People who tend to watch more videos in their News Feed should expect to see more videos near the top of their Feed. Conversely, people who tend to skip over videos without watching them should expect to see fewer videos.

However, these subtle tweaks to the News Feed algorithm that determine the frequency and type of content that is served up in your News Feed can be subject to abuse and exploitation.

Mashable’s Annie Colbert describes the situation as a “sneaky viral video spam problem“. Her article looks at the example of a handful of pages with nothing in common sharing the same irrelevant viral video content (without the appropriate rights to license the footage, incidentally), purely to get their pages into more and more people’s News Feeds by virtue of the fact that the video itself has proven to be popular elsewhere.

So what can we do to avoid seeing ‘spam’ videos appearing in our News Feeds? Well, short of not watching any videos in an attempt to adjust Facebook’s algorithmic  measure of us, it seems as though we’ll just have to be patient while Facebook works on ironing out these creases.

Apple co-Founder Threatens To Leave Facebook Over Data Ownership Concerns

A lengthy article about the Facebook Terms of Service – and how it more or less gives the social network carte blanche to do what it likes with all of your data – has caught the eye of Apple co-founder Steve Wozniak, who is not best pleased that he doesn’t appear to own his own profile picture.

The article in question is from the US edition of the Huffington Post, and breaks down a lot of the salient points of Facebook’s Data Use Policy and Terms of Service, which the overwhelming majority of us will have accepted without reading. It also goes on to elaborate on how our Facebook information is combined with some of our general internet browsing data to come up with ‘inferred’ information about you from evidence and reasoning rather than from explicit statements.

But it’s more the question of data ownership that was ruffling Wozniak’s feathers, to the point where the Apple co-founder is considering leaving Facebook. Sharing the Huffington Post article on Facebook, he included the following message:

“Not right. My profile picture is owned by Facebook, not by myself, etc. I may not be here much longer.”

steve wozniack huffington post facebook pictures

Data ownership and the issues of privacy when our personal information is posted online is becoming an increasingly sensitive subject for individuals and privacy groups alike. Here at SocialSafe we firmly believe that the individual should be the single biggest owner of their personal data, which is why we have been helping users of social networks take control of their data.

The SocialSafe application allows users to download their own copy of the information they post to social networks (updates, tweets, photos, messages, posts and more) to their own machines. Once this information is stored in the users own private, local library they can they do more with it, such as search across multiple networks, create collections, export to PDF and see their most popular content.

Looking forward, we are working on expanding SocialSafe to support personal data from all sorts of sources. To start taking back control of your personal data now, download SocialSafe for free and back up the content from your social networks.

How To View Instagrams From Your Desktop

One feature within SocialSafe that you might not be aware of, is to do with photos. You can jump to the original image on the social network it was posted to with just one click.

When viewing any of the photos backed up in your SocialSafe library, you should be used to clicking on the thumbnail to see the larger view of the photo, as well as any comments, tags and likes. One thing you may not have noticed is the ‘View original’ button (highlighted in red) just beneath the large view of each photo:

view instagram photos on your pc or mac

Clicking on ‘View original’ will open up a browser window (or tab) and take you to the social network where the original image was posted. This short video shows you how this feature works with Instagram photos, but the same principle applies for any photos backed up in your SocialSafe library:

One way you might want to utilise this functionality is by combining it with the Flashback feature. When you’re shown your most popular photo from today’s date in previous years, you might want to remind your friends of it. By clicking on ‘View original’ you can jump straight to that image on whichever network it was posted on, and you could then comment on it again, or reshare it so that your friends or those who are tagged in it get a reminder of the great memories you’ve created together.

There are many other reasons why being able to jump back to the original photos online could be useful, and we’re sure you’ll find your own! This is just one of the ways we try to enhance your experience of using SocialSafe and enjoying your content, and we’ve got plenty more to come!