All posts in Social Media Tools

Why Unsubscribing from Friends’ Comments and Likes Won’t Keep You Safe from Hackers – And What You Should Do Instead

Raise your hand if you’ve seen (or posted) the following Facebook status update:

Hello friends, I like to keep my FB private except to those I am friends with. So if you all would do the following, I’d appreciate it. With the new FB timeline on its way this week for EVERYONE, please do both of us a favor. Hover over my name above. In a few seconds you’ll see a box that says : “Subscribed”. Hover over that, then go to “comments and likes” and un-check it, by clicking on it. That will stop my posts and yours to me from showing up on the bar side for everyone to see, but most importantly it limits hackers from invading our profiles. If you repost this I will do the same for you. You’ll know I’ve acknowledged you because if you tell me that you’ve done it I’ll “like” it.

Yep, that’s what I thought! I see a lot of hands out there! This has been spreading like wildfire for the past week or so. I’ve seen it countless times myself.

There are a few problems with these instructions:

  1. This has nothing to do with the advent of Timeline.
  2. While it’s true that if you unsubscribe from a friend’s comments and likes (and vice versa) these items will no longer show up in the ticker…but they also will no longer show up in your news feed.
  3. Maybe most importantly, this action will NOT protect you from hackers!

So what should you do? Can you disable Timeline? Disable the ticker? How do you protect yourself from hackers?

Timeline

First things first. You cannot disable Timeline (frankly, I don’t understand why you’d want to…it’s beautiful and gives you more options than ever!). There are posts going around on Facebook saying, “click here to disable Timeline”. Please don’t be fooled by this!  This is a scam to get you to “like” the scammers’ pages and some of them are asking people to download a browser extension that may, in fact, do damage to your system.  For the complete story on this, please click here to read the facts from The Next Web.

That Blasted Ticker!

You can disable the ticker according to AllFacebook.com. Click here for instructions on how to disable the Ticker. I’ll add the disclaimer that I haven’t tried to disable the ticker yet, but I trust AllFacebook so if they say this is how to do it, it is.

It’s Up to You: Passwords

Keeping your account safe from hackers isn’t all that hard – but it has nothing to do with the ticker or Timeline.  Here are some suggestions:

  1. Change your password frequently. I change mine on the first of every month (sort of a hassle, but much less trouble than trying to regain control of your account once you’ve been hacked).
  2. Use numbers AND special characters (! ? %, etc) in your password.

It’s Up to You: Check Those Privacy Settings

If you’re concerned about people you don’t know seeing your posts, comments, likes, etc. simply change your Privacy settings. This is easily done by clicking on the arrow at the top of your news feed, to the right of the word Home. Click on Privacy Settings, which will take you to this page:

You’ll notice that my Privacy Settings are set to Custom. Within the Custom setting, you can be very specific about who sees your posts – even to the point of excluding one or a few people. Those who want only friends to see posts can click on Friends so that only your friends will see your posts, comments, likes, etc.

Also on the Privacy Settings page, you’ll see an option called “How Tags Work“. Here you can set it so that you can review and approve tags (of photos and posts) before they show up on your Timeline as well as limiting who can see those tags. Another option there is enabling/disabling being “checked in” to places by friends.

At the bottom of the page, you’ll also notice an option to “Limit the Audience for Past Posts”. Click that and a box will pop up to help you change all of your old posts to Friends only. You can also remove old posts from within your Timeline by scrolling down to the post you want to remove, hover over the post, click on the pencil icon and delete it completely.

You can limit who sees your posts on a post-by-post basis by clicking on the icon to the left of the Post button on the status update box on news feed or within Timeline. See picture below:

Facebook Post-by-Post Privacy Settings

I hope this post helps you realize that you actually do have a lot of control over who sees what on Facebook. I also hope that posts like this will convince people to double-check information before re-posting on Facebook. If we all take a minute or two to do some research before re-posting we will all be better informed and our news feeds won’t be cluttered by what is essentially spam.

If you’d like daily information, tips, etc. regarding Facebook and other social media platforms please “like” the Seek Media Group page on Facebook by clicking here. I make it my business to keep abreast of hoaxes, scams, and security measures – among many other things – and post them on my company page every day.

If there is anything else you’d like information about, please feel free to leave a comment and I’ll be happy to answer it for you!  And…please let me know if you found this post helpful!

The Dark Side Of Social Media: What To Do If Your Account Is Hit With Scams, Spam, Viruses, or Malware

Facebook has been overrun by spam and scams for the last few days. The jury is still out as to whether malware and/or viruses are also being spread through these messages. Some are saying that many of these are coming in through third-party apps. Stay tuned for more details as they become available.

You may be wondering how to “fix” your account if you are the victim of this type of post.  There are several things you should do on both Facebook and Twitter, which are explained below:

Facebook:       

1)  Report the post to Facebook. If the post looks like it came from a friend, report the post to the friend and advise them to also report it to Facebook.

How to report scam/spam posts:

  • Hover your cursor over the top right corner of the post
  • A drop down box will appear. Click “Report story or spam.” This will delete the post from your wall.
  • Another box will pop up. The sentence “If the story is abusive, please file a report.” will appear as a link. Click the link.
  • A box will pop up with several options; click the one that says “Report as spam/scam”.  There is also an option to choose if you believe your friend’s account has been hacked.

2.) Run a virus scan on your computer.

3.) Double-check Apps that you’ve authorized and delete those that you don’t actually use.  To remove app permissions:

  • Go to Privacy Settings.
  • Scroll down to Apps and Websites. Click Edit Settings.
  • Here you’ll see the number of apps you’ve authorized; click Edit Settings.
  • Check the list and delete any apps you don’t remember authorizing or that you don’t use any longer. To do this, just click the X to the right of the app name.
  • Once you’ve deleted all unnecessary apps, return to the previous page where you’ll see options for editing how people bring your information into apps they use and edit those settings as well.
  • While you’re on this page, it’s a good idea to also check out Instant Personalization and Public Search (this will show you how your profile appears to people who view it via search engines).

4.)  Change your password. Make your new password strong by including numbers and special characters (!, @, %, etc). Also be sure that your social media account passwords are different from passwords for any other accounts.

Twitter:

1.) Delete the tweet.

2.) Run a virus scan.

3.) Change your password from the Passwords Tab in your Account Settings.

4.) Revoke app permissions by going to the Applications tab, also in  Account Settings.

5.) If trusted apps remain that use your Twitter login, update your password on those apps so that you don’t get locked out of those accounts for failed login attempts.

6.) Once these steps have been taken, your account should be secure.

7.)  If you’re still experiencing issues with your account, file a Support Request with Twitter.

UPDATE: Facebook is investigating all of the nuisance/malicious posts from the past few days and trying to determine the source (you can read the article from Sophos here ). That being said, there will always be a few hackers that get through, so the steps outlined above are always good to have on hand.  Facebook suggests three things that users can do to keep this from happening again:

1.) Never copy and paste into your browser or click on a link if you are not positive of the source (especially if it’s a link offering a prize or free gift).

2.) Always be sure your browser is up-to-date

3.) Always report any suspicious posts to Facebook.

Have you been deluged with any spammy or nasty posts in the last few days? Have you considered deleting your account because of it?  Let us know in the comment section below! We want to hear from you!

Five Reasons Your Business Needs Social Media


There’s a lot of buzz these days about the power of social media for business, but some business owners aren’t convinced that developing a social media presence is right for them. I’ve put together a list of five reasons why social media is essential for businesses large and small:

  1. Increase brand awareness: The only way to make sales is for your customers to know that you exist.  If no one knows about you, how can they purchase your goods or services? People – your customers – are spending their time on social media sites. They are looking for companies there. Consumers are no longer searching the Yellow Pages, they are searching social media sites. They want to know the ‘personality’, or human side, of the brands they do business with. Social media allows you to talk about your brand and get others talking about it, too!
  2. Target YOUR audience: There are 800 million people using Facebook and half of them log in daily. That’s more than any print, radio, or television ad could ever reach.  And there’s Twitter, LinkedIn, YouTube, and so many more sites that can help you grow your reach – locally or globally. Facebook ads can be targeted to your perfect client. On Twitter, the use of hashtags can get your message to your perfect client. LinkedIn groups can also get your brand in front of the right people.
  3. Engage with YOUR clients: Clients, customers, whatever you want to call them, they are on social media sites (see #2 above). They are looking for you there. If they love your company, they want to tell you so and they want you to tell them you appreciate their loyalty.  If they don’t love your company, they want to tell you that, too. And while the thought of dealing with negative comments frightens some business owners to death, this is a very positive aspect of social media! Before social media, if a client was unsatisfied with your company, they may call, write a letter or send an email. If you were able to rectify the situation, great! If not, they told a few of their friends about it and all vowed not to return.  Now, a dissatisfied customer will post it on Facebook and tweet it on Twitter to their 100+ friends and followers who then share that with their 100+ friends and followers. However, if you rectify it via social media, your formerly disgruntled customer will rave about you to his friends and followers. And so on, and so on!
  4. Increase customer base: Targeted marketing, engaging customers (both positive and negative), and offering exclusive deals and promotions are just some of the ways to increase your customer base using social media. Word of mouth marketing has always existed but now businesses are able to harness the power of word of mouth by becoming a part of the conversation.  Giving people a reason to talk about your brand will undoubtedly increase your client base.
  5.   Increase customer loyalty: Engaging your customers and showing them the ‘personality’ behind your brand will lead to their loyalty to the brand and to you. We all like to believe that we’re special, and engagement on social media helps your customers feel special. Those positive and negative comments also allow you to gauge what you’re doing well and what areas need improvement. How better to promote loyalty than by showing your customers – current and prospective – that you are always striving for excellence?

Social media is about giving and receiving. If you give, you will receive. I promise. Don’t expect it to happen overnight, but if you utilize every aspect of social media your business and your community will grow.

What do you think? I want to hear your opinions! Please leave your comments below!

Ch-Ch-Ch-Ch-Changes: The New Look of Facebook’s News Feed [Opinion]

The Internet is abuzz today with people talking about – or should I say complaining about – Facebook’s latest News Feed changes. We ran an informal poll this morning on our Facebook page and, so far, the votes indicate that people are okay with some of the changes, but not so crazy about others.

Many are asking, “Why doesn’t Facebook leave well enough alone?”  Let’s think about this for a minute, if everything stayed as it was in the beginning there would never be progress. And with Facebook, if nothing ever changed, most of us wouldn’t even be allowed to have an account in the first place. Remember, originally, Facebook was only open to students.  That hardly seems right given the way baby-boomers have embraced the site.  Change is inevitable and often it is for the better – it just takes some time to wrap our heads around it.

Even more changes are set to be announced at tomorrow’s f8 Conference in San Francisco.  TechCrunch reports that new buttons (“read”, “listened”, and “watched”) will be added, taking the “like” button concept to a new level. In the future there may also be a “want” button. And, I think the music sharing service that is rumored to be coming would be an awesome addition.

I’m not saying that I love all of the changes; I’m not crazy about some of them, but I’ll get used to it. We’ll all get used to it.  Facebook’s algorithms may not be able to decipher what stories are truly important to us at first, but once we use the “mark/unmark this as a top story” a few times it will become more intuitive about what we truly consider important. And that would be a good thing, wouldn’t it?

Personally, I like that the navigation bar follows me all the way to the bottom of the page.  I like that I can make smart lists and have the option to filter whose posts I see (this is especially handy when I’m looking for articles on specific subjects). I like that I have the ability to subscribe to Mark Zuckerberg’s (among others) public posts. Previously, I’d have had to send Mark a friend request to read his posts and something tells me he wouldn’t have accepted!  I also like that I can decide who sees what I post – and who doesn’t. They have increased the number of characters in posts from 500 characters to 5,000! This is a wonderful change for long-winded folks like me!  Not getting email from Facebook every five minutes is also a positive.  In my opinion, these are all great changes.

Then there are the changes I don’t care for.  I don’t care for the way chat is currently formatted.  I just want to know who’s online and who isn’t, whether I talk to them frequently or not.  I don’t care (at all!) for the ticker. I get Facebook’s point that there is lag time in the news feed, but who cares if I see your post now or in 3 minutes? If I’m that concerned about real-time postings, I’ll log into Twitter. In my opinion, the ticker goes against many of the other changes Facebook has made recently which allow us to decide who sees what with regard to our Facebook activity. The ticker allows everyone to see every move you make on Facebook which negates the post filtering. Of course, if you use Google Chrome you can remove the evil ticker from your page with their extension. I may have to start using Chrome solely for that feature! Rumor has it that a Firefox extension is coming soon (fingers crossed).

Facebook is a free service and it has helped bring people together like no other site has done before – including MySpace, Twitter, and Google +.  It has also helped businesses large and small in many measurable ways.  It has given consumers a forum in which to give praise, lodge complaints, and interact with the companies we do business with in ways that we never could before. I mean, really, if you  have a complaint about a business wouldn’t you rather tell them on their Facebook page instead of writing a letter or email that never gets answered or calling them, sitting on hold or going through an automated list of options that only serve to upset you even more? I know I would! I like being able to have conversations with people and companies that I would never have had access to before.

The bottom line for me is this: Facebook isn’t perfect and I’m not excited about some of the changes, but it’s still a powerful tool for both personal and professional uses and it’s FREE!

Let me know your thoughts in the comment box below!

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