Tools to defeat fake news - Reverse Image Search


Screenshot of Facebook. A photo appears to show a giant whale in the ocean.

One of the most important tools in the war for your attention is the ability to critically examine media and discover its provenance.  Take this example - a friend of a friend was tagged in this Facebook post, and so it appeared on my feed: WOW! Right! Nature is Coooooool!  Or is it?  If "The […] Read More

Ad Blocking As A Radical Political Act


An advert on Facebook - you can click on the screen to block everything from that news source.

It was back in the late 1990s when I first got started with ad blocking. I don't remember if it was the "punch the monkey" adverts, or the pop-unders for weird security systems that tipped me over the edge. All I knew was my computer was slowing down and I thought animated ads were the […] Read More

Facebook is like a Credit Card


Four credit cards in a pile

(…all analogies break down eventually…) On receiving a new credit card, there are two kinds of people in this world: OMG! FREE MONEY! SPEND IT ALL!!!!! This is a tool which can be used appropriately to make my life better. The first set of people quickly hit the limit of the card and are often […] Read More

Facebook is lying to you about needing its messenger app


Like many people, I can't be bothered using Facebook's mobile app. I live my life in the browser and don't need a battery-hungry, always listening, contact stealing app notifying me every five minutes. I check Facebook Messages when I want. If it's urgent, there are many better ways to contact me than Messenger. Until recently, […] Read More

How To Stop Facebook Tagging Spam


Like a lot of you, my Facebook feed often fills up with dodgy adverts for discount sunglasses. In this case, Mark's account has been hacked and the spammers are tagging lots of his friends. The post then shows up on my feed as "look what your friend is up to!" Annoying. So, here's how to […] Read More

We can marry you off, wholesale.


Last week I was on the In The Abstract podcast. I came up with a curious idea. If I were Tom Scott, I'd turn this into a performance piece - instead, here's a short and entirely fictional story. Facebook knew you were in love a long time before you did. It noticed you scrolling back […] Read More

Facebook Mangles Unicode URLs


Facebook rewrite URLs with Unicode in the path - this is not best practice and could be dangerous. It is possible to create a URL like http://bit.ly/😀 - the Unicode characters are valid in the path. The URL Encoded representation is : bit.ly/%F0%9F%98%80 Facebook mangles these URLs in such a way that it might be […] Read More

Why Does Twitter Think Facebook is Swedish?


I've nothing against the Swedes. Lovely people. Sweden is the third-largest country in the European Union by area. But I'm not from there. Neither, as far as I am aware, is Facebook. But Twitter seems to think so. When I share a link to Twitter on Facebook, this (sometimes) happens. And sometimes, I get this […] Read More

My Facebook is not Your Facebook - AKA Block Early, Block Often


I got into an argument with a friend a few weeks ago. I was complaining that I really didn't like the spam that Facebook shoves into my newsfeed. His argument was - and I paraphrase... I don't mind the occasional advert - between the Farmville notifications and "inspirational" quotes, I barely notice them. For me, […] Read More