Posted in Facebook, Guides

26 friends (More Facebook stuff)

Previously I saw a post while scrolling through my Facebook timeline speaking on the new algorithm Facebook is using to show friends posts in your timeline. While below is not the exact message I came across, it covers the idea well.

How to avoid hearing from the same 26 FB friends and nobody else:

Here is a post explaining why we don’t see all posts from our friends….

News feed recently shows only posts from the same few people, about 25, repeatedly the same, because facebook has a new algorithm.

Their system chooses the people to read Your post. However, I would like to choose for myself, Therefore, I ask you a favor: if you read this message leave me a quick comment, a “hello”, a sticker, whatever you want, so you will appear in my news feed.

Don’t just “Like”, Facebook requires a “Comment”. Even one word! Thanks!!!

Otherwise Facebook chooses who to show me and instead I don’t need facebook to choose my friends!

Do not hesitate to copy and paste on your wall so you can have more interaction with all your contacts and bypass the system. That’s why we don’t see all posts from our friends!

Normally I would quickly jump to telling people that this is another BS hoax floating across Facebook, but this one gets a slight exception. There is some truth to this, which makes it easier to pass on than other hoaxes.

The kernel of truth in this message is that Facebook is indeed using a new algorithm to determine what updates to display in your timeline. While it’s not limited to 25 or 26 individuals it might feel that way. Facebook is using the different types of posts your friends make as well as posts and comments you make to determine what posts have the best match for you. Think of it kind of like the Netflix rating system. They take movies and TV shows you’ve watched over the years and use that to create a percent rating of how well a movie or TV show matches to your liking. With that, simply commenting on a friends post with “hi” will not have the effect mentioned in the post will not increase your messages appearing in others news feeds.

With that sad news out of the way, There is a way to increase where things appear in your timeline.

The first of these, and arguably the most difficult of the two I will be presenting, is to increase your interaction with individuals. Configure Facebook to notify you when people you are interested in getting updates from post something. From there, interact with their posts. React with Like options and place comments on posts. While one comment here and there will not move the needle much, commenting and liking multiple things over a period of time will teach Facebook your interested in this person’s posts. I want to point out that we’re not talking about a comment of “hi” on 15 posts will get you where you want to be. Meaningful conversation is more affective.

The second is a lot simpler. On your Facebook page, click the menu button next to newsfeed and select preferences. From there select “Prioritize who to see first”. From here you can choose up to 30 people to see there posts first. Facebook will prioritize their posts despite how often you interact with the individual.

I hope this information helps and educates. Let me know in the comments if you have any questions or concerns.

Posted in Guides

Facebook Friends

Trust. Its a very important thing between friends. It’s the glue that holds these things together. This hasn’t changed in hundreds, even thousands of years. What has changed over the same amount of time is how we communicate. For the longest of this, we have communicated through ink and parchment. Since that we have figured out how to send electrical pulses through copper wire resulting in communication tools such as the telegraph and telephone. From there we moved our communications from analog to digital and began communicating over the internet.

For each of these forms of communication, there has been a way to verify the source of the message. Wax seals, secret phrases, voice recognition, even facial recognition. For the same amount of time, people have been attempting to replicate these forms of authentication for their own purposes.

Today’s preferred method for family and friends to communicate over distance is Facebook. Like all the other methods of communication, there are people that want to intercept and replace communications for their own reasons and/or gains. These people will attempt to use your name on Facebook to use the trust between you and your friends to achieve whatever gains they think they can get.

  1. The first method commonly used is hacking your account. Generally this is done by you using  a simple password, or the same password across multiple accounts and one of those other sites were compromised. They then log into your account and share links for websites that are less than reputable.
  2. The second method is a little more sly. You’ll come across a story through Facebook. You’ll click on it to read the story with the sensational headline and it will ask you to essentially log in using Facebook. This is actually a Facebook application requesting permissions from you. One of these permissions is posting on your behalf. Whenever the offender feels like it, they can use their application to share a post via your account. If your friends do not know what to look for they can easily mistake this for a post that is genuinely from you. As mentioned before the trust is used to get your friends to click on links that under other circumstances they typically wouldn’t.
  3. The third method requires a little more time investment but doesn’t require any hacking or applications. In this scenario the person wanting to gain access to your friends trust simply creates a new account using your name and profile picture. These things along with your friends list are all publicly visible with no method on your behalf to change that. After they  have created the new account they simply go down the list requesting to be friends to build a clientele of sorts. Generally your friends assume or some reason that your friendship was disconnected or you’ve decided to move on to a new profile for some reason or another and accept. after all that is your name and profile picture.

There are methods for preventing these things from happening. I’ll be happy to share them with you.

  1. First and foremost, use a secure password. Your password should use letters (both capital and lower case), numbers and symbols. You should use at least 8 characters. The more the better but most websites have an upper limit between 16 and 32. Its best if this password is something that is hard to remember. For this reason you should most likely use some sort of password management software such as LastPass or 1Password. On top of this, you should use Two Factor Authentications (abbreviated 2FA). This allows you to use a one time password that typically is a random set of 6 numbers that changes every 20 seconds or so. Facebook has a built in authenticator app that you can use from a mobile device or another computer that you are already logged into. Personally I’m not a fan of this because if you are logged out of all your devices for some reason, you will not be able to access the authenticator. I personally use Authy as my authenticator. They have an Apple Watch app that allows me to retrieve my code from my wrist. I know this is incredibly geeky of me and I’m not going to even try to defend it because this website is mine and I can do what I want.
  2. The method for preventing this method from happing is pay attention to what permissions you hand out on Facebook. It’s generally best practice to not give any applications permissions to post on your behalf. Most of the time, there’s not a good reason to allow it. While I’m writing this the only application I can think of that has a legitimate reason to allow posting on your behalf permissions is Twitter. I’m sure there’s other reputable social media apps that I’m just not thinking about but you get the idea right?
  3. There’s not a lot that can really be done about this one. Its mostly your friends who have to fight this battle for you. The only thing you can really do is help your friends understand that you only have one account and will not be creating another. From there, its in your friends hands. When they see a new friends invitation from someone they’re already friends with, they should check their friends list to see if they are still friends with you (or whoever really). If they are, the account is obviously not the person they are pretending to be. If the person who is requesting friendship is not already in your friends list. there are two options here. They can add the friend and be very cautious about links and communications from the person, or they can verify the authenticity of the person by communicating with whoever the person is supposed to be via some other channel of communication (such as a phone call).

With millions of active users, Facebook is a gold mine for anyone with less than outstanding morals and time on their hands. Its completely up to you to protect your good name. People will be quick to blame you for their computer woes simply because your name was attached to something and they don’t know any better. Do your best not to let this happen to you.

Posted in Guides

TruePeopleSearch.com

Ladies and gentlemen. Go to http://truepeoplesearch.comand type in your name and zip code then check out the results. Got a good look at it? Good. Surprised at how accurate this information is? Not so good. Want to get it off of there?

Go to https://www.truepeoplesearch.com/removaland start the process. Go head and take care of that. We will be more than happy to hang around until your done. Got your info off of that site? Great! Now I would like to take the time to tell you that you have essentially wasted your time. Yeah, I know thats not what you wanted to hear, and you may not even agree with me, but that doesn’t matter, you’re wrong. There are other sites that offer this exact same service (some for cost) with the same information. You could go to them and try to go through the same process but you would still be wasting your time. Why? because these are not the source of your problem. These are the end users of a huge marketplace that is personal information. Detailed information about an individual is just short of literally being a gold mine. With more detailed information about you as a person, companies can better focus their products for you.

When it comes to companies and your personal information, If your concerned about what they might do with it, you should definitely read the fine print. Companies that are giving things away just because you sign up for them should be your first hint that your data is being sold. Nothing is free in this world. Google is probably the first company you think of when it comes to this kind of work. If you lightly look around you’ll see them demonized for collecting your personal information. What if I told you that Google were actually the good guys as far as data collection is concerned? You might think of Google as the San Francisco 49ers (the actual guys from the 1940’s, not the football team). When it came to personal data being collected, they dug in quick, deep and huge waves, but instead of taking this information and selling it as other companies do today, they took this information and went to potential clients and said things like we have information on twenty thousand unique users who would be a great target for your ad. Would you like to pay to use our ad service? This made sure only the company you gave the information to (you know because they gave you free gmail and access to that mail) kept that information safe while they still made money off of it. Yes they made money off of it, but really, did you think they were hosting all of those mail servers out of the goodness of their hearts?

There are other companies who collect your data and sell it to other companies. Surprisingly, these companies are called Data Brokers. The greatest thing about these companies are how much affect hey can have on your life. Thee of the top 10 Data Brokers are Equifax, Experian and TransUnion. These names sound familiar? They should. These three companies are essentially what makes up your FICO credit score. Two more names that might come as a surprise to you are ValPak (these are the people who stuff the envelope full of coupons and mail them to you) and Readers Digest (yep, theres actually occasions where you pay someone to sell your data).

Fortunately there are people who think that this is plain wrong and are willing to help you out. The site StopDataMining.me has a page ( http://www.stopdatamining.me/opt-out-list/) for helping you to opt out of what are considered the top 50 companies that collect and/or sell your information.

Unfortunately there seems to be not enough people who know (or care?) that this is going on to push hard enough for the required changes to be made. This post is my mild attempt to educate the masses. I don’t expect it to go far, but I feel I have done my part.TruePeopleSearch.com

Posted in Guides

Hackers in Messenger

I reviewed the following message in Facebook messenger from multiple people recently.

Please tell all the contacts in your messenger list not to accept anything from Fabrizio Brambilla. He has a photo with a dog. He is a hacker and has the system connected to your messanger account. If one of your contacts accepts it, you will also be hacked, so make sure that all your friends know it. Thanks. Forwarded as received.

Hold your finger down on the message. At the bottom in the middle it will say forward. Hit that then click on the names of those in your list and it will send to them

I decided since I am bringing my blog back mostly for guidance on things like these, this would be a perfect subject to start with. I want to be sure I am clear on this next statement.

Your account cannot be compromised by a friend accepting a friend request.

Now that I have made that clear, I want to make another statement that I hope I’m very clear on.

Your account cannot be compromised by accepting a friend request.

With those being said, I want to say thank you to those who did send this warning to me. I appreciate your better safe than sorry mentality.

For more information on what dangers Facebook Friends can pose, check out this previous article I did https://thesouthland.net/facebook-friends/

Questions? Comments? Concerns? Hit me up the comments below.Hackers in Messenger