Minggu, 20 September 2009

Facebook Now Has Over 300 Million Users 2009

While Twitter may be getting the majority of the press in the Facebook (Facebook)-Twitter (Twitter) competition, Facebook’s still the 800 pound gorilla in the room. Today the world’s largest social network made that clear by announcing that they now have more than 300 million users.

In a blog post, Facebook Founder and CEO Mark Zuckerberg highlighted the social network’s constant growth and also announced that the company was self-sustaining and cash-flow positive, not a small feat by any means considering the relative trouble they’ve had monetizing. Being able to generate a profit opens the door to many possibilities, including an IPO.

The announcement also means that Facebook grew from 200 million users to 300 million in just over 5 months. It took 8 months to reach 200 million from 100 million, and it took years to reach the 100 million user milestone. This is a company that is growing faster, not slower, than its competition.

As the company continues its all-out assault on Twitter, it’s easy to forget that it simply has more users than its upstart rival. By the end of the year, there should be 18 million Twitter users. That’s not even 1/15 of the current size of Facebook.

If Facebook continues to open up its platform and adopt Twitter’s best features, it could spell real trouble for the Twitterverse. The world’s largest social network is on the warpath.

Rabu, 09 September 2009

Honda Accord Crosstour Damaged

crosstourYesterday, Honda released photos of their new 2010 crossover vehicle, the Accord Crosstour. As savvy social media marketers, they’ve set up a Facebook Fan Page to revel in all the fan support and social sharing in the aftermath of the big reveal.

But Honda, we have a problem. It looks as if all those fans have nothing but hatred to spew about the Crosstour. Wall comments are flooding in, and Facebookers agree — Honda took the wrong fork in the road with the Crosstour’s design.

The Crosstour Fan Page reads more like a hate page, with no shortage of commenters voicing their dislike of the design. We’ve included a very small sampling to give you a taste of just how vehemently opposed “fans” are of the new car (and these are the relatively nice ones).

Facebook Crosstour comments

From of the looks of it, the TwitterTwitterTwitter response is equally negative, and Honda has a bit of a social media backlash on their hands. Should sales suffer when the car becomes available, this particular FacebookFacebookFacebook massacre could easily go down as the Facebook Effect, the counterpart to the “Twitter Effect” for opening weekend movie ticket sales.

Now Honda’s in a bit of a pickle. They’d surely have a bigger PR nightmare on their hands if they deleted the Fan Page, or moderated comments, but as is their new car’s Facebook home is littered with unsightly garbage. What’s a social brand to do?

Facebook Captcha

facebook_captcha*Update: Commenters pointed out that the methods explained below ruin the reCAPTCHA project, which Facebook (Facebook) uses for its bot detection, and it might be true, so let me clarify. I’m aware that reCAPTCHA serves a good cause – digitalization of books and newspapers, and I’m sorry if I’ve encouraged anyone to cheat the system, as that was not my intention.

However, as you can see in the example below, most “special” characters that appear in reCAPTCHA, such as those with umlauts, apostrophes or ampersands, are quite cumbersome to read properly, even for a human. Having encountered those on a daily basis, my idea was that skipping them can’t hurt more than entering the wrong characters. Of course, for the sake of reCAPTCHA project, if you’re sure you know what the word in the image is, you should always type it in its entirety.


Ah, the little things in life. Here’s a trick for people who often post links to Facebook. If you’re one of them, you know that Facebook recently introduced captcha protection, which (sometimes) pops up, requiring you to type two words into a form before your link is posted.

If you’re a good scout, you’ve simply been typing in exactly what the captcha says, and often we’re talking about two long words with numbers and other charaters, such as colons and dashes. You’ve probably noticed that you can skip complicated wordds by clicking on “Try different words“. However, it’s possible to omit anything except the letters in the image!

That’s right: dashes, colons, semicolons, apostrophs, characters with umlauts (รค, for example) – you can ignore them all. But that’s not all: you don’t even have to type spaces between the words (*update: this is not recommended by the folks from the reCAPTCHA project, so don’t do it), and you don’t have to type any numbers.

So, if you get a captcha that looks like this, it’s possible the numbers and the space and type only the letters you see, just like in this image:


Here’s another example:

It’s a little thing, but it can help, especially if you post links to Facebook very often (like I do), and you’ve never thought of “bending” the rules a little. If you know of any more captcha-related tricks (perhaps unrelated to Facebook), let us know in the comments.

Justin Timberlake and Jesse Eisenberg to Star in Facebook Movie?

Next month, The Social Network (aka “The Facebook Movie”) enters production. Casting has been a source of much speculation, with early rumors indicating that Michael Cera and Shia LaBeouf might be starring never materializing.

However, it now looks like the cast might be starting to take shape. According to Script Shadow, the “cast is set” and the best known name in the film will be Justin Timberlake, who will play the role of Sean Parker, the original President at Facebook (Facebook) and previously the co-founder of Napster.

As for the role of Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg, Script Shadow reports that it will be played by the lesser known Jesse Eisenberg, who stars in the upcoming film Zombieland.

The Social Network, which is based on the book The Accidental Billionaires, already has a big name writer (Aaron Sorkin) and director (David Fincher) on board, as well as a fairly big budget of $47 million. Is a big name cast soon to follow? It looks like we’ll soon find out.

What do you think of the rumored cast? Share your thoughts in the comments.

Facebook Fan Check Virus

facebook_fan_checkWe’ve received tips about a Facebook (Facebook) application called Fan Check; reports say this application is actually a virus, and should be avoided at all costs. We’ve dug a bit deeper, however, and it seems more likely that the rumor about Fan Check (even if the actual virus exists, which we’ve found no proof of) has been used to lead users to various malware and spyware ridden sites.

This alleged virus has only been described on a couple of blogs, such as this one, but we’ve found no reports about it on sites of security firms such as McAfee or Symantec.

The virus supposedly acts in the following way: if you try to access a Facebook application located at apps.facebook.com/fancheck/ (previously called StalkerCheck), you’ll get this message:

“FanCheck is adding new features and new capacity. This could take a few days.
Please become a fan, and we’ll send you an update when we’re back online”

According to sources, merely becoming a fan will “infect” your Facebook account, which is highly unlikely. All other reports about the virus seem to be created by spammers themselves. Google (Google) lists the phrase “facebook fan check virus” as a popular trend, but there lies the problem; if you actually try to search for this phrase, you’ll be bombarded by sites containing malware.

We believe that this is merely a two part hoax: on one hand, you have a defunct application that allegedly lets you see who’s been visiting your Facebook profile – which cannot work due to Facebook’s policies, and all applications claiming to do so are scams. On the other, spammers and malicious hackers are feeding the rumors around this application to lead people to search for a solution, and getting their computers infected by malware in return.

In any case, this is what you should do: stay away from Fan Check application – or any other Facebook application that hints at being able to tell you who’s been visiting your profile. Furthermore, don’t search for the “Fan Check Facebook virus,” as it is most likely a hoax.

Facebook Launches Official Google

facebook-droidAlthough the iPhone, the BlackBerry, Windows Mobile and the Symbian S60Symbian S60Symbian S60 platforms have had official Facebook applications for some time, today marks the first official release of a mobile version of the social network for Google Android.

Don’t be misled by the Fan Page – this app was developed by the Facebook team, as first reported by VentureBeat. However, I installed it on a T-Mobile MyTouch 3G and I have to say, I’m a bit disappointed, as the app isn’t quite as useful or robust as Facebook mobile apps for other platforms.


Essentially, you can view your wall, read your news feed, update your status and comment or “like” posts on your news feed. That’s it. No private messaging view. No ability to approve friend-requests. No ability to upload photos directly to FacebookFacebookFacebook. The iPhoneiPhoneiPhone-enhanced Facebook website (which AndroidAndroidAndroid phones can display) has more options and is equally readable.

Facebook tells us there are a few Android specific features, however: “The ability to place a Facebook widget on the home screen of the phone, to quickly read the latest status updates … receive notifications when you get a Facebook message, a friend invite or event invitations … quick and easy access to the phone numbers of your friends on Facebook, and allows you to give them a call with just one-click by using the Android’s Live Folders”

I suppose all apps have to start somewhere — hopefully the Facebook for Android will catch-up to its mobile-counterparts quickly.

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