You Need To Update Your Facebook Privacy Settings Again To Opt Out Of New Targeted Ads

Facebook announced in recent weeks that they’re expanding their advertising empire. With that change, came a stealthy new privacy setting for users — one that all of us are opted-in to by default.

Instead of just selling ads on Facebook, or on Facebook platforms (like WhatsApp and Instagram), Facebook is now selling ads everywhere, to everyone, whether or not you have a Facebook account. If you do have a Facebook account, though — like 1.6 billion other humans do — Facebook will also use your Facebook data to sell those ads.

Here’s where the privacy settings come in: Facebook has long had opt-outs for collecting and using your behavioral data in advertising to you. But they added or re-worded one when they broadened their advertising business this week, and every member of Facebook is set to participate in this new one unless you specifically go and opt out.

So here’s a step-by-step guide to doing that:

Step 1: Click the little lock in the top-right corner of your screen, and select “See More Settings”

fb-optout

That’s for web Facebook. If you’re on the Android app, go to the three-bar “hamburger” menu icon on the right and then scroll all the way down until you see “Account Settings” near the bottom. If you’re on the iOS app, choose “More” on the bottom right and then scroll until you see “Account Settings” there.
Step 2: Down the left-hand side of the screen (or in your app settings), go to “Ads” near the bottom:

fb_optout-2

Step 3: You can set any of these to “yes” or “no” as you wish, but the new option that you’ll find yourself automatically signed up for is under “Ads on apps and websites off of the Facebook Companies.” The full setting looks like this, and you can turn that “yes” to “no” to opt out:

fb_optout_03

If you click to read all about the new setting, here’s what it says in full:

fb_adnetwork

You cannot, however, opt out of being advertised to, nor out of having your data collected and aggregated. This setting just treats you as a non-FB user for the purpose of having advertising selected for you on non-FB sites.

Social Media Could Be Driving You To Drink

Sure, the urge to hit the bottle after seeing yet another pro-Trump Facebook status from your least favorite relative makes total sense. But what about the subconscious desire a beer ad might inspire? A new study from Michigan State University published in the Journal of Interactive Advertising found that alcohol ads on social media may drive you to drink—more than TV commercials.

The research is significant in that it differs from findings in past studies on alcohol advertising‘s immediate effects on college-aged students. When the medium was TV, researchers found little correlation, raising the theory that social media platforms exert a greater degree of influence.

“We wanted to see whether just the mere exposure to alcohol messages on social media makes any difference in terms of people’s expressing intentions to consume alcohol, as well as engage in alcohol-related consumption behaviors,” Saleem Alhabash, an assistant professor of advertising and public relations and lead researcher of the study, told Michigan State University Today.

The study took 121 participants and divided them into two groups: one that viewed Facebook ads for beer and another that was exposed to ads for water. Following the survey, participants were offered a $10 gift cards for either a café or a bar as a token of appreciation for their participation.What the researchers found was a link between the advertisements presented and the response of the study participants, as those that viewed beer ads were far more likely to choose gift cards to a local bar.

“On social media, the line that distinguishes an ad from regular content is very fine,” Alhabash said of the results. “On TV, most can recognize an ad from a regular show. That’s not always the case on social media.”

Whether or not social media is a more or less effective conduit for advertising, plenty of studies have been done to show it can have significant real world impacts on users. Extensive use of these platforms have been previously linked to depression, obsessive behaviors, and anxiety, as well as peer pressure to smoke or drink.

It’s Official: The NEW Twitter is Has Arrived. Here’s What You Need To Know

Twitter isn’t ready to ditch its long-standing 140-character limit, but it is officially ready to revamp what counts against that boundary. To that end, photos, usernames, links, quoted Tweets, and other attachments will no longer count against the pre-Tweet allotment.

Twitter announced Tuesday that “in the coming months” it would allow users to express more on the site by simplifying what counts toward the character restriction.

“So for instance, @names in replies and media attachments — like photos, GIFs, videos, and polls — will no longer ‘use up’ valuable characters,” Todd Sherman, senior product manager for Twitter, said in a blog post.

Among the upcoming changes, Twitter will no longer count usernames against the limit when users are replying to other Tweets.

Additionally, media attachments, such as photos, GIFs, videos, polls, or Quote Tweets, will no longer count as characters.

“This will make having conversations on Twitter easier and more straightforward, no more penny-pinching your words to ensure they reach the whole group,” Sherman said.

The 140-character limit was first used by Twitter because that was the limit for a single mobile text message. Tweeting by text was popular back in the pre-smartphone era of 2006, when the social media company first launched.

Twitter CEO Jack Dorsey previously said the 140-character limit will live on because it’s “too iconic” to get rid of.

“It’s staying. It’s a good constraint for us,” he said in March. “It allows for of-the-moment brevity.”

In other revamps announced Tuesday, the company says it is simplifying some Tweeting activity to ensure it reaches a wider audience.

The company will enable users to Retweet their own messages and will allow users to begin Tweets with usernames without the “.@“ first in order to broadcast the message widely.

Currently, Tweets that begin with a username are only visible to users who follow both the person Tweeting and the person receiving the message.

In addition to the changes outlined above, Twitter says it plans to help users get more out of their Tweeting experience.

“We’re exploring ways to make existing uses easier and enable new ones, all without compromising the unique brevity and speed that make Twitter the best place for live commentary, connections, and conversations,” Sherman said.

Twitter Is Going To Make It Easier To Cram More Characters Into Tweets

Twitter announced yesterday that it is going to tweak its platform such that links, photos, and other media no longer count against the 140 character limit. That’s a great idea, and really they ought to go further and make it possible for tweets of arbitrary length to appear — even if the main feed only displays a short introduction.

Speaking as someone who loves Twitter and who worries about the fact that it is failing in stock market terms, I think this is a sign of why bringing back Jack Dorsey as CEO was ultimately a good idea. Simply put, a founder has the standing and clout to make this kind of fundamental change, whereas Dick Costolo never did.

My main fear is simply that it’s too little, too late at this point. The Twitter product has been very slow to evolve over the years. To this day, the company seems to be having trouble rolling out new features like polls to the full suite of Twitter apps — TweetDeck doesn’t have polls yet, for example — and really making Twitter a home to natively supported longer-form essays is something they should have done a year ago or more.

Instagram Just Launched a Complete Redesign

Remember that black-and-white redesign that some Instagram users had the opportunity to test out back in April? Well Instagram has officially made it the new look for its overhauled app. Available today, version 8.0 offers a simpler design that “puts the focus on your posts and keeps your features in the same place.” The app has even done away with its old retro-inspired app icon in favor of a decidedly more colorful look — one that extends to Layout, Boomerang and Hyperlapse, too.

Check out the changes below and look for the overhauled app now for iOS and soon for Android and Windows Phone.

[vimeo id=”166138104″ width=”600″ height=”350″]

Facebook Is Creating A Tool To Tell You When Someone Impersonates Your Profile

You may have been there: you see a Facebook friend posting a warning not to accept a “friend” request from a fake account bearing their name and photo – it’s a trick, that person isn’t really your friend. While you might still see that cautionary message in the future, Facebook is now taking steps to weed out accounts impersonating others. 

Facebook says it is working on a new tool that will automatically alert users when it detects someone else is impersonating their account, Mashable reports.

If Facebook detects a duplicate account, it will automatically send an alert to the original account owner. That person will then be prompted to identify if the profile in question is indeed a fake or if it truly belongs to someone else.

Mashable reports that while the notification process is automated, flagged profiles will be reviewed by Facebook employees.

The social network says the new feature, which it started testing in November and now covers about 75% of accounts, was created as a way to curb harassment on the site.

The topic was discussed heavily during Facebook-hosted roundtables on privacy and safety that were recently held with users from around the world.

“We heard feedback prior to the roundtables and also at the roundtables that this was a point of concern for women,” Antigone Davis, Facebook Head of Global Safety, tells Mashable. “And it’s a real point of concern for some women in certain regions of the world where it [impersonation] may have certain cultural or social ramifications.”

The impersonation identification tool is just one part of the company’s mission to eradicate harassment on the site. It is also working on ways for users to report nonconsensual intimate images and a photo checkup feature.

Davis tells Mashable that initial testing of the more robust reporting processes — which provides resources for those who have been harassed — have gone well, but there are no plans make them widely available just yet.

Social Media is Really Messing With Your Sleep

Instagram models and Snapchat gurus might want to proceed with caution. According to researchers from the University of Pittsburgh School of Medicine, frequent social media users probably aren’t sleeping too well.

The study, which was published digitally and will appear in the April issue of the academic journal Preventative Medicine, featured a subject pool of 1,788 American adults ranging from 19 to 32 years old who were asked about their social media activity. Researchers inquired about popular social media platforms including Facebook, YouTube, Twitter, Google Plus, Instagram, Snapchat, Reddit, Tumblr, Pinterest, Vine and LinkedIn, EurekAlert reports.

What they found was that individuals who checked their social media more frequently were three times as likely to suffer from sleep disturbance, and users who checked more often during the day were twice as likely to have troubled sleep compared to those who didn’t use it as much.

“This may indicate that frequency of social media visits is a better predictor of sleep difficulty than overall time spent on social media,” said Dr. Jessica C. Levenson, lead author and a postdoctoral researcher in Pitt’s Department of Psychiatry. “If this is the case, then interventions that counter obsessive ‘checking’ behavior may be most effective.”

In others words, it might be time to put down the phone and get some shut eye.

Science Says This is How Many Friends You Should Have on Social Media

There’s always someone who has more Twitter followers or more friends on Facebook. This can be annoying and makes some people feel socially inadequate. But take heart, the latest research shows these amazing online networkers probably don’t have more ‘real’ friends than you do.

Robin Dunbar, an anthropologist and evolutionary psychologist at the University of Oxford, tested what he called the ‘urban myth’ about having more friends online than the real world.

And he found that the average number of friends on Facebook approximates the natural size of personal social networks – about 150 individuals.

“This suggests that the constraints that limit the number of friends we can have in the everyday offline world also limit the number we have online,” he says. “I suggest that this is because friendships ultimately require occasional face-to-face interaction if they are to be maintained over time.”

The study of 3,000 adults, published in the Royal Society’s Royal Society Open Science, indicates there is a an inbuilt constraint in our brains on the size of social networks that even the communication advantages of online media can’t overcome.

“Given the extensive use of social media, the question as to whether Internet-based social networking sites have a positive or negative impact on social relationships has been much debated,” Dunbar writes.

“Cyberpessimists have argued that the Internet has detrimental effects on our social life. In contrast, cyberoptimists have insisted that the effects have been beneficial in many different ways.”

Dunbar says social media be able to prevent friendships decaying over time in the absence of opportunities for face-to-face contact.

“However, that alone may not be sufficient to prevent friendships eventually dying naturally if they are not occasionally reinforced by face-to-face interaction,” Dunbar says.

In his study, Dunbar also noticed a tendency for teenagers to move away from using Facebook as a social environment and to make use of media such as Snapchat, WeChat, Vine, Flickr and Instagram instead. They use Facebook mainly for managing social arrangements.

“It is not yet entirely clear what has driven this, but the fact that Facebook is too open to view by others seems to have been especially important,” he says.

“Teenagers have much smaller offline social networks than adults, and forcing them to enlarge their network with large numbers of anonymous ‘friends-of-friends’ may place significant strain on their ability to manage their networks.

“Thus, this trend towards more private social media may actually confirm the claim being made here – that open-ended social media do not in fact allow us to increase the sizes of our social circles.”

Twitter May Finally Be Getting Rid Of 140-Character Limit On Tweets

Even if you’re not a Twitter user, you’re likely familiar with the restriction that limits the expression of every thought, comment, and desire to a mere 140 characters. But once again Twitter is mulling over the idea of making Tweets a lot longer — though your actual feed wouldn’t look much different.

Re/code reports that Twitter’s “Beyond 140” program aims to up the character count from 140 to 10,000 at some point in the first quarter of 2016.

While this gives the user a vast slate on which to Tweet, don’t expect to start seeing novella-length updates clogging your Twitter feed.

Instead, it would only show the first 140 characters in the timeline with a button to reveal the rest of the content.

Sources close to Twitter tell Re/code that the new product is currently being tested within the company, but features and a timeline for the launch aren’t set in stone.

A 10,000-character limit isn’t a new idea for Twitter, the company previously expanded its direct message feature to include a 10,000-character limit.

In September, rumors started swirling that Twitter CEO Jack Dorsey had decided to revisit the idea of increased character counts in order to boost the platform’s user base.

Facebook Makes Breakups Easier With New Privacy Settings for Your Ex

Up until now, breaking up with your significant other also entailed either keeping them as a Facebook friend and having to live with their continual updates reminding you of your failed relationship, or going all out and removing any trace of them from your life, nuking your profile of all remnants of the times you spent together. However, Facebook wants to help your healing process a healthy middle ground by introducing a range of new privacy settings that allow you to distance yourselves while maintaining a connection, however small, in the virtual world. Upon changing your relationship status to “single,” you will be prompted by several options that allow you to modify how much your ex’s updates appear in your feed, as well as selectively decide which parts of your profile your ex can see. Having done this, you will not be asked to tag them in photos or to message them, as well as giving you the option to go back to past posts and retroactively change their privacy settings to hide them from your ex, individually or in bulk. At the same time, you can use these tools to hide unwanted photos from a new companion, should they feel the urge to nose around your profile. While currently only available on the mobile U.S. platform, broken hearts nationwide will have much to thank Facebook for in the long run.