Saturday, August 4, 2012

False Friends?

There are people who pride themselves on the amount of "friends" they have on their Facebook page. Some have literally thousands of them, and honestly I don't know how they remember all of those names. And when they have all their friends over to the house for a get-together, the costs of the refreshments alone have got to be staggering. Cleaning up after them must be a considerable chore as well. How exactly do you recycle virtual red Solo cups?

Plus there are those who literally beg to be "liked" by other Facebook account holders, which has always struck me as kind of an unsolicited admission of neediness on their part. And then when they get what they've asked for and have thousands of "likes," take it as a form of validation of their worthiness as a person, company, or whatever it is they're currently claiming to be. Which does raise some personal authenticity issues.

But what if a significant portion of those friends never really existed, and whatever it is that said they liked you doesn't really qualify as what most of us would regard as an actual living and breathing person? Or what if some of these people have actually "fake liked" themselves, something that concerned experts are now claiming can be a form of virtual self-gratification?

According to a shocking new account by BBC News Technology (click here), much of this just may be the case.

Facebook has more than 83 million illegitimate accounts: In company filings published this week, (Facebook) said 8.7% of its 955 million active accounts broke its rules. Duplicate filings - belonging to already registered users - made up 4.8% of its membership figure.

User-misclassified accounts amounted to 2.4% - including personal profiles for businesses or pets - while 1.5% of users were described as "undesirable."

Facebook, whose business model relies on targeted advertising, is coming under increased scrutiny over the worth of its advertising model which promotes the gathering of "likes" from users.

Last month, the BBC technology correspondent Rory Cellan-Jones set up a fake company called VirtualBagel to investigate allegations of fake "likes." His investigation found that the large majority of "likes" for the fake firm originated from the Middle East and Asia. Many users appeared to be false, such as "Ahmed Ronaldo," - apparently a Cairo-based user who is employed by Spanish football Real Madrid.

Last week, digital distribution firm Limited Press alleged that, based on its own analytics software, 80% of clicks on its advertisements within Facebook had come from fake users. In a post on its Facebook page, the company said: "Bots were loading pages and driving up our advertising costs. So we tried contacting Facebook about this. Unfortunately, they wouldn't reply.

Without naming any names, it does appear that we might have a few of these Facebook "undesirable users" right here in town. This blog, to use an example, came under considerable attack from a couple of them during last April's election.

Some of this might seem arcane to the casual users of Facebook here in Sierra Madre, but I do have an anecdotal account to share with you. A long time ago I established an "Eric Maundry" page for some reason that now escapes me. I went back and checked it recently, and found that there are now over 1,000 people lined up who want Eric to "friend" them. If that is the correct use of the terminology. With many of them not even from this side of the planet.

Which is kind of bizarre if you think about it. Over 1,000 people want to becomes friends with someone they've never even heard of, a fictional entity that doesn't really exist. I never knew there was quite that much loneliness in this world.

And as if all of that isn't bad enough, there is this from BusinessInsider.com (click here):

Facebook Stock Crash Hoses California's Tax Revenue: Now, it's the State of california, which apparently overestimated how much tax revenue it was going to collect from Facebook employees after the IPO.

According to Bloomberg's John Erlichman, California is now saying its "tax revenue is at risk" because it assumed it would get $1.9 billion from newly enriched Facebook employees. But now those Facebook employees are only going to get about half as rich as they would have if the stock were still trading at the IPO price.

And that means that California - and the Federal government - are likely to collect only about half as much Facebook-related tax revenue as they thought.

I honestly don't know which is worse, false friends or non-existent virtual tax revenue. It would seem that hardly anybody is doing reality anymore.

http://sierramadretattler.blogspot.com

44 comments:

  1. Your Dunbar number is 150!

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    1. Interesting..

      http://www.wired.com/underwire/2012/03/dunbars-number-facebook/

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  2. My theory is, many are people who try to game advertiser sponsored contests that require LIKE ing to enter...

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  3. I have some real friends that I talk with on Hotmail from time to time. I make phone calls from time to time. I run into old friends at Taylor's and Ralph's from time to time. None of them are required to "like me" or view photos of my cats or great grandchildren. My friend quotient is filled up. I'm satisfied. I'm not high on the interest level of advertisers and I try very hard to spend cash on my purchases. Am I paranoid of social media and the degree to which we're tracked by our choices including those on cable and the internet? Absolutely. I can't completely avoid encounters but at least I can try to remain uninteresting. How abut you?

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  4. Yes, indeed. As you can see by my post name, I try to remain as anonymous as possible.

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  5. I think that in this town at least there is something political attached to the whole Facebook thing. The Buchanan/Mosca/Moran bunch just can't seem to see enough of themselves on these pages. The other side not so much. People of conscience and reason seem to avoid Facebook.

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    1. Facebook is electronic scrapbooking - I know there are people value it as a way of communicating with real friends - but I seriously doubt it will stand the test of time.

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    2. The worst thing Facebook did was sell way too much stock in itself, and then have it tank. Which it had to do. Their approach was very greedy, and stupid. Once it lost money for people, the mystery was gone.

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    3. Facebook is for the special.

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    4. 10:43~ Facebook is what you make of it. Not for the "special"...whatever the fug, that means. Nothing special about.
      10:26~ A-greed. You can be sure that a few entities made quite a bit of greenbacks off of the deal.

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  6. Advertising is irrelevant in my life. When I want to buy something, I research it, and make a decision. And what can be better than word of mouth? As in, "Hey there's a great local blog you should check out."

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  7. Depending on IPOs for tax revenues is foolish at best.

    One way the federal and state governments can increase tax revenues without raising tax rates is to investigate the ubber-wealthy who have tens of millions of dollars in IRAs. If a presidential candidate can hide in plain sight a reported $20-101 million dollars in an IRA that allows only $6,000 per year in contributions, surely there are many others who are doing so on the sly.

    Tax authorities need to determine whether assets contributed to such IRAs were grossly undervalued and then sold at their true value, all tax deferred. Of course, such "deferred" taxes are often never collected because the taxable withdrawals are offset against phantom losses or are "donated" to foundations run by family members. And let's not forget why the wealthy insist on zero inheritance taxes.

    Why isn't such behavior considered unAmerican, especially in times when the taxes so skillfully evaded by the staggeringly wealthy could be used to provide greater protection to the US troops who risk their lives for us?

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    1. Would any financial planners out there like to give an analysis of the tax avoidance tactic referred to above?

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    2. Thanks M. If true, it really is scandalous, even shameworthy. How much is enough?

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  8. Facebook is a fabulous social and information site. I have 20 friends but mostly it is my site for great and political, social, international, artistic, creative apps. I can email people daily, but it is also fun to see their activities/photos they choose to share. Brings people closer, makes world smaller.

    Greatful to be alive in 2012.

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    Replies
    1. Did you buy stock?

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    2. Facebook is for the perky.

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    3. I hate perky.

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  9. Matheson probably friended alot of boys and men posing as a female with fake pictures.

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  10. I use Facebook to keep up with social causes, musical artists, general interest but not people except for a handful and when I get the Farmville and lame stuff like "standing in line...uggh" I block the person.

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  11. I deleted my facebook page a year back. I started to find the whole experience depressing.

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  12. I understand why my childre use FB, they are perky. But, I monitor them. I also know many adults who play games on FB. Many games.

    Computers here to stay. Probably so is FB. More to learn/discover everyday.

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  13. Hey Tattler you communist! There is no reason to censor my post regarding facebook. Stop censoring or Ill make life miserable.

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    Replies
    1. Quit being a foul mouthed rube and maybe I will.

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    2. I suspect 11:46 has already made life miserable. For whomever that may be, they have my sympathy.

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    3. The Moderator has every reason to censor your post - it's his blog. The Tattler is not a democracy.

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    4. If Steve doesn't like this blog, he should feel free to start his own. He needs to learns to not be so dependent.

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    5. Crawford may be many things, but I don't believe being a Communist is on the list.

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  14. Facebook was born of face mash, a creation by a drunk adolescent with social skill challenges. The flavor persists.

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    1. Mark Zuckerberg suffers from Aspergers Disease. Facebook is an Asbergers sufferers version of how people communicate.

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    2. Aspergers is defined as a form of autism "characterized by significant difficulties in social interaction, alongside restricted and repetitive patterns of behavior and interests." Sounds about right. Can somebody "like" this post, please? Otherwise I will fly into an uncontrollable rage.

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  15. I agree that the origin of Facebook is pathetic and damaging, 12:19, but the product itself is more neutral than that. So yes, horrific people like Robert W. Matheson have access and carry out their evil deeds through it, but good people use it for good purposes as well. It's a framework for the content people bring to it.

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    1. There was a time when Matheson's "friend" picture was on just about every special person's Facebook page in town. You can only imagine the panic as those people tried to figure out how to take it down.

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    2. Vast international kiddie porn network busted:

      http://news.yahoo.com/vast-international-child-porn-network-uncovered-142157262.html
      ...including Canada, Great Britain, US ..... More arrests expected.

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    3. Nova Scotia, perhaps?

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    4. Really sick stuff in that undoubtedly censored report, 3:30. It's amazing that the penalty for bringing such twisted material into Canada is only 90 days. Too bad the feds (US) didn't get him first. He'd be a the very beginning of his very long sentence.

      Consumers of child porn create the demand that's a direct cause of the abuse. They should be punished as harshly as the producers of the materials.

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    5. Since we can't figure out how to cure them, we just have to lock them up for their whole lives.

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    6. Except in Sierra Madre. Here they get the keys to the city.

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    7. It's tautological that if a person traveling from the US directly to another country is carrying contraband, that person possessed the contraband in the US. State, county, and local authorities often turn child porn cases over to the feds due to the generally more severe penalties. My guess -- and I must stress the word guess -- is that he cannot be prosecuted for possession of child porn in the US because it would be double jeopardy. Again, just a guess.

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    8. Nonsense. Matheson got off because the DA's office didn't think what he did was important enough for them to bother with. The reason he wasn't registered as a child pornographer in Sierra Madre is he threatened to talk about his accomplices.

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    9. I would say Damn him, but he's already damned. He's still here, isn't he?

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  16. Twitter anyone? ....

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  17. "There are people who pride themselves on the amount of "friends" they have on their Facebook page."

    I guess friends have become so prolific, we've even changed the classification of the noun from countable to uncountable..

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