Who is Facebook's mysterious "Lan Tim 2"?

by @edent | , , | 13 comments | 600 words | Read ~146,381 times.

Facebook activity page saying they received data from "Lan Tim 2".

Facebook has an interesting feature. It will let you see which companies have associated your off-Facebook activity with your Facebook account. If you visit: https://www.facebook.com/off_facebook_activity/ you'll see what companies are snitching on you to Facebook. #AirBnB shares your activity with #Facebook ?! Delete that @Airbnb app, folks! Mine didn't even allow me to change its…

Abstinence isn't safe - why quitting social media isn't the solution

by @edent | , , | 11 comments | 550 words | Read ~439 times.

A fist emerges from a computer screen and punches the user.

(Another in a long list of posts which will turn out to be touchingly naïve!) When teaching people about safe sex, one topic bitterly divides people - whether abstinence is a suitable method. Simply refusing to engage in sexual activity will protect you from pregnancy, disease, and trauma. Abstinence is particularly promoted by religious zealots.…

Book Review: The Age of Surveillance Capitalism

by @edent | , , | 9 comments | 550 words | Read ~117 times.

A boring book cover.

The Age of Surveillance Capitalism is a deeply-reasoned examination of the threat of unprecedented power free from democratic oversight. As it explores this new capitalism's impact on society, politics, business, and technology, it exposes the struggles that will decide both the next chapter of capitalism and the meaning of information civilization. It shows how we can protect ourselves and our communities and ensure we are the masters of the digital rather than its slaves.

Tools to defeat fake news - Reverse Image Search

by @edent | , , | 500 words | Read ~762 times.

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…

Ad Blocking As A Radical Political Act

by @edent | , , | 400 words | Read ~460 times.

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…

Facebook is like a Credit Card

by @edent | , | 450 words | Read ~188 times.

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…

Facebook is lying to you about needing its messenger app

by @edent | , | 2 comments | 250 words | Read ~1,184 times.

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,…

How To Stop Facebook Tagging Spam

by @edent | , | 200 words | Read ~3,893 times.

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…

We can marry you off, wholesale.

by @edent | , , , | 750 words | Read ~1,252 times.

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…

Facebook Mangles Unicode URLs

by @edent | , , , , | 350 words | Read ~713 times.

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…