Tag Archives: Facebook

Dear Today Show, Here’s Why You Need to Know Social Media


One of the wonderful things about working for Mashable is, after twenty-plus years as a journalist, I get to have and voice my opinion on items in the news. So it happened that after the Today Show segment in which the anchors expressed their very real lack of knowledge about Facebook privacy settings and social media, I felt the need to send them this message in the form of an Op-Ed.

Would love to hear your thoughts too.


Dear Today Show, Here’s Why You Need to Know Social Media

It’s not OK to know nothing about social media or the Internet anymore. It’s especially not OK if you are an anchor for a major network TV news program.

This happened after a segment about Randi Zuckerberg’s private family photo being shared publicly. Today’s Willie Geist, Savannah Guthrie and Natalie Morales — three TV journalists at the top of their profession — laughed about their lack of knowledge about Facebook, Twitter and privacy on social media.

“What’s the takeaway here?” Guthrie asked after several minutes of banter about technological ignorance. “We don’t know either.”

It was meant to be cute, but it came off as plain dumb. Such banter is not only an embarrassment to journalists everywhere, but a slap in the face for the Today audience. (Really, is it that hard to explain that a subscriber to Randi Zuckerberg’s Facebook feed saw her photo then posted it to Twitter?)

Here’s a wake-up call, morning crew; your audience is not that dumb. They watch TV news to keep up with what’s happening in the world. It is your job to inform them. Reading the news and then proclaiming you don’t understand any part of it is the epitome of failure.

Social media and digital technology is no longer news; it’s part of the way we live our lives, how we communicate, how business is conducted. Kids use technology to learn in school, to get their entertainment, to compete in the world. They don’t call it technology; they call it life. Saying “I don’t get it, so I will just skip this part of a global revolution” is like saying “I don’t know how to drive a car so I’ll keep riding my horse and buggy to work.” Technology is not something we can choose to ignore.

Savannah Guthrie was a White House correspondent for four years. If she were still there, would she turn to her audience and say “show of hands if you understand how the fiscal cliff actually works?” No, she would need to understand it and explain it to her viewers. That’s what being a journalist is all about.

In a recent interview with USA Today, Guthrie talked about why her favorite alarm clock is her iPhone, and why she has a distinctive ringtone. Clearly she understands some of the ways technology has entered her life.

Before I came to Mashable, I was a network newswriter and producer for ABC News for more than 20 years. During that time, I covered everything from the politics to the economy to technology. While I may never have a full understanding of how gas prices rise, for example, I always made sure I was prepared to interview an expert in the field and ask knowledgeable questions in order to better understand it. It was my job to explain it in a clear and concise way. If I don’t get it, neither will the audience.

Plenty of people older than the Today crew can wrap their brains around new things. Last night I spent two hours with my mother, an eighty-something-year old (I can’t say the exact number, or she’ll disown me) who is addicted to her iPad. She emails, shares pictures, watches YouTube videos and Skypes with her relatives in Canada. She’s not letting the pleasures of technology pass her by.

Today’s Willie Geist, who’s apparently “still trying to figure out (his) fax machine,” has two young children. I’m sure he plans on teaching them many things as they grow up. Among those should be digital safety and social media etiquette. If he doesn’t get it, he can’t explain it.

Today may not have a takeaway from Randi Zuckerberg’s privacy debacle, but I do. The need to understand our privacy settings illustrate why we can’t stop learning. We can’t say it’s too hard. We don’t let our kids get away with that. As adults, we shouldn’t either.

Facebook says its wrong for prospective employers to request your password


If you were wondering how Facebook felt about the recent controversy over employers asking potential employees for their Facebook password, wonder no more. Facebook has made it clear. It’s wrong.

In a blog post, Facebook wrote:

Protecting Your Passwords and Your Privacy

by Facebook and Privacy on Friday, March 23, 2012 at 5:32am ·

In recent months, we’ve seen a distressing increase in reports of employers or others seeking to gain inappropriate access to people’s Facebook profiles or private information.  This practice undermines the privacy expectations and the security of both the user and the user’s friends.  It also potentially exposes the employer who seeks this access to unanticipated legal liability.

The most alarming of these practices is the reported incidences of employers asking prospective or actual employees to reveal their passwords.  If you are a Facebook user, you should never have to share your password, let anyone access your account, or do anything that might jeopardize the security of your account or violate the privacy of your friends.  We have worked really hard at Facebook to give you the tools to control who sees your information.

As a user, you shouldn’t be forced to share your private information and communications just to get a job.  And as the friend of a user, you shouldn’t have to worry that your private information or communications will be revealed to someone you don’t know and didn’t intend to share with just because that user is looking for a job.  That’s why we’ve made it a violation of Facebook’s Statement of Rights and Responsibilities to share or solicit a Facebook password.

We don’t think employers should be asking prospective employees to provide their passwords because we don’t think it’s right the thing to do.  But it also may cause problems for the employers that they are not anticipating.  For example, if an employer sees on Facebook that someone is a member of a protected group (e.g. over a certain age, etc.) that employer may open themselves up to claims of discrimination if they don’t hire that person.

Employers also may not have the proper policies and training for reviewers to handle private information.  If they don’t—and actually, even if they do–the employer may assume liability for the protection of the information they have seen or for knowing what responsibilities may arise based on different types of information (e.g. if the information suggests the commission of a crime).

Facebook takes your privacy seriously.  We’ll take action to protect the privacy and security of our users, whether by engaging policymakers or, where appropriate, by initiating legal action, including by shutting down applications that abuse their privileges.

While we will continue to do our part, it is important that everyone on Facebook understands they have a right to keep their password to themselves, and we will do our best to protect that right.

– Erin Egan, Chief Privacy Officer, Policy

Original post here:  https://www.facebook.com/notes/facebook-and-privacy/protecting-your-passwords-and-your-privacy/326598317390057

Who Uses What Social Network? New Pew Research


Fascinating breakdown by the Pew Internet and American Life Project of who is using what social networking site. From the full report here, nearly twice as many men (63%) as women (37%) use LinkedIn. More info below:

Who uses what social networking site platform

There is a great deal of variation in the age, sex, race, and educational attainment among those who use different SNS platforms.

  • Nearly twice as many men (63%) as women (37%) use LinkedIn. All other SNS platforms have significantly more female users than male users.
  • The average adult MySpace user is younger (32), and the average adult LinkedIn user older (40), than the average Facebook user (38), Twitter user (33), and users of other SNS users (35).
  • MySpace and Twitter users are the most racially diverse mainstream social network platforms. However, a large proportion of users of “other” social network services are racial minorities.
  • MySpace users tend to have fewer years of formal education than users of other social network services, whereas most LinkedIn users have at least one university degree.

Age distribution by social networking site platform

Sex distribution by social networking site platform

Education distribution by SNS platform

Race/ethnicity distribution by SNS platform