Getting Informed through Facebook: A Risk

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Through its massive proportions, Facebook has become an important outlet for news and media. Lots of people get their daily updates of what happens around the world from what is being liked and shared on Facebook. However, this phenomenon has given rise to so-called “fake news”. The terminology leaves nothing to the imagination. These posts entail completely made-up stories, often tailoring to populistic topics in order to generate the most amount of views.  The problem became especially prevalent during the recent elections in the United States; an array of misinformation proliferated across social media, giving skewed, or down-right wrong, impressions of events and statements. Facebook has acknowledged the problem, and is working on a solution.


Users have noticed a new feature to appear on their Facebook webpage. Under a shared article, a Likert scale is provided (The Guardian, 2016). This scale asks the user whether or not the article withholds any important information of the article, rated from “Not at all” to “Completely”. With this feature, articles can be given a rating of validity. Users can then base their trust of the truthfulness of the article on that rating.


Independent initiatives to battle fake news are also going online. BS Detector is a plugin for web-browsers that checks the source of an article against a database of known fake news sources. If an article is recognized as originating from a blacklisted site, the plugin will insert a red banner over the article with a warning of the potential of misinformation.


Despite actions currently undertaken, fake news will still be found in abundance on social media. We must all still rely on our own judgement of the reliability and validity of a news article being shared on Facebook. Technology has allowed us all to reach each other. It is up to us to be our own BS detector, and not believe anything shared on Facebook without second thought.



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Privacy on social media

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A study I recently read focused on teens using social media. The teens tent to put the settings on ‘private’, but they have a large network of so called friends with whom they still share their every move. Teens today are sharing far more information than 10 years ago. A possible cause for this, is the evolution of platforms. If a friend has a profile on, for example, Facebook, you definitely should create one too, right?!

There seems to be not much difference between boys and girls about sharing their information, except for sharing a phone number with Facebook. Girls are more hesitant to share their phone number, where boys seem to not really care and share it anyways. The study also showed that Facebook is more popular with teens, with an average of 300 friends. On Twitter, the average amount of followers is ‘only’ 79.

The teens indicate that they don’t have any concerns about third parties getting access to their data. They say that the privacy settings on Facebook are “not difficult at all” to use. May I question if they really know what they are doing? As a Facebook user myself, finding the privacy settings is easy. But managing all parties having access to my data on Facebook is a whole other story. By logging in to websites or apps, using my Facebook, the third party gets my information. What are they going to do with that information? I don’t know… What is Facebook doing with my information? Probably a lot that I don’t want to know (yes, I should care but I find it too scary to know what companies are doing with my information). The teens that say that they are confident that their information is save because of the “privacy settings” should look around in the media and listen to what Facebook, and other social media websites, are doing.

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Why does Facebook wants your WhatsApp data?

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WhatsApp was bought by Facebook in February 2014 for an amount of 19 billion dollar (The Guardian, 2014). As of February 2016, the mobile messenger has more than 1 billion monthly active users worldwide and tanks as one of the most popular social platforms globally. Each day around 1.6 billion pictures and 250 million videos are sent from one user to another, making Whatsapp the most popular messaging service globally closely followed by Facebook Messenger (The Statistics Portal, 2016).

Since the sales of Whatsapp to Facebook, a lot has changed for users of the application. The application is now free of charge, has been updated with new technologies, and the number of users has doubled making the platform more valuable for the users. However, WhatsApp didn’t update its Terms of Service in four years.. That changed in August 2016. The following term was added to the policy of Facebook:
“We joined the Facebook family of companies in 2014. As part of the Facebook family of companies, WhatsApp receives information from, and shares information with, this family of companies”. (WhatsApp, 2016)

Whatsapp states that they are sharing their data with the Facebook family to help operate, provide, improve, understand, customize, support, and market their services and their offerings. This includes helping improve infrastructure and delivery systems, understand how our services or there are used, securing systems, and fighting spam, abuse, or infringement activities. Facebook and other companies from the Facebook family may also use the data to improve experiences within their services such as making product suggestions and showing relevant offers and adds (WhatsApp, 2016). And that’s how we all ended up automatically sharing are whatsapp data and phonenumber with Facebook…. Whatsapp stated that: “Using the messaging service is a voluntary decision, we have not forced anybody to use it. Users have an option of opting out of it” (Mashable, 2016).

What will the effect be for us? More relevant adds or Facebook literally knowing everything about you? To be honest, it scares me! What do you think, is this a positive or a negative situation for you as an user?

Mashable, 2016. WhatsApp responds to ‘endagering’ privacy accusations. [Online]
Available at:
[Accessed 08 12 2016].
The Guardian, 2014. WhatsApp: Facebook acquires messaging service in $19bn deal. [Online]
Available at:
[Accessed 08 12 2016].
The Statistics Portal, 2016. Number of monthly active WhatsApp users worldwide. [Online]
Available at:
[Accessed 08 12 2016].

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Will Facebook dominate LinkedIn?

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LinkedIn may feel threatened, as Facebook is expanding its range of services again. Mark Zuckerberg’s service is trying to deliver the new value to its user by becoming a recruitment platform.

As reported by TechCrunch, Facebook is testing a new option for fanpage administrators. Having that, companies will be able to recruit new employees through their Facebook sites. Facebook wants to incorporate the recruitment mechanism into the Facebook fanpages of companies and show it as a separate item next to the information, photos, etc.

So, how will it work?

The employer will be able to create a form, which will give information on the requirements, salary, and general nature of the employment, while the potential employee will be able to apply directly through the form by submitting the CV and other required documents. The company will receive an application in the form of Facebook message.

Interestingly, an application form will use data that has already been provided to Facebook. So, after the form has been completed once, or we have a well-filled history of education, employment, etc., Facebook will fill the form automatically. This feature will save the user’s time as there will be no need to repeatedly type the same information into many similar forms while applying to multiple companies.

Is this a threat to LinkedIn?

As LinkedIn – the most “professional” social networking – continues to stagnate, waiting for the finalization of the $26 billion worth deal with Microsoft, Facebook introduced the new feature just in time, possibly leaving Microsoft with the overpriced platform.

In recent years LinkedIn has lost on importance. It used to be a highly important service when it came to establishing business relations, however, there are fewer and fewer communities thinking about the service in this way. It is especially evident when it comes to young people, who are just entering the labor market. They often do not use LinkedIn as the service is extremely unfriendly, fossilized, and has nothing to offer to the young generation.

Meanwhile, most of these people have a Facebook account. So, where they will look for a job after Facebook introduces a new functionality to everyone?

Currently, it is not known when Facebook will make the feature available to everyone, but for sure it will happen soon.

I have no doubt that the new functionality will be extremely popular. Potential employees will be offered jobs automatically and the enormous customer base and analytical capabilities of Facebook ensures that the job offerings will be targeted accurately and to a vast number of people. Both employees and employers will benefit from that.

So, is the fall of LinkedIn inevitable? No, not yet. The company can undertake actions to attract and retain users. Linkedin has a brand and is known as a professional network, while Facebook is associated with private networking platform and often the information shared by the users are of private nature, so the risk that employers will know “too much” is immense. However, LinkedIn must be quick.

What do you think about the future of LinkedIn? Do you think that the service is on a hiding to nothing? What about the acquisition by Microsoft?


Microsoft to buy LinkedIn for $26.2B in cash, makes big move into enterprise social media

Facebook threatens LinkedIn with job opening features

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What Is IFTTT and How Can it Improve Your Digital Life?

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What is IFTTT?

IFTTT or “If This Then That” is a web service that launched in 2010 and has the slogan “Put the Internet to work for you”. The idea is that you use IFTTT to automate everything from your favorite apps and websites to app-enabled accessories and smart devices. It’s an automation that will enable you to connect two services so that, when something happens with one service, a trigger goes off and an action takes place automatically on the other. If something happens, Then perform an action.

It’s really easy! Here are some typical examples of something you can have IFTTT set up to do:

  • If you own the Philips Hue smart lighting system you could use IFTTT to automatically turn on a light every time you’re tagged in a Facebook photo.
  • If you like a photo on Instagram, a picture of that photograph will be saved in a folder on your Dropbox.
  • You could use IFTTT to automatically email readers when they comment on your WordPress blog.

It works like this: users are guided through a process to make simple combinations (also called “recipes”) where some type of event in one device or service automatically triggers an action in another. The best part about this website is that it is free to use and has a ton of popular web apps that you can set to trigger and perform an action. IFTTT currently supports more than 110 services including Android devices and Apple iOS apps, as well as websites like Facebook, Dropbox, Instagram, Flickr, Tumblr, Google Calendar, Google Drive, Etsy, Feedly, Foursquare, LinkedIn, SoundCloud, WordPress, YouTube, and more.

How does IFTTT work?

Sign up for an account on the IFTTT website. It’s a one-step process that only requires an email, username, and password. Once finished, you will see that IFTTT has automatically created a recipe for you (this recipe will send a recommended recipe to your email inbox every day). From here, IFTTT should show your dashboard. On the dashboard, there is a brief explanation of how IFTTT and recipes work. The “This” in “If This, Then That” stands for a trigger, while the “That” stands for an action. These two linked events create an IFTTT recipe. Thus, referencing the Philips Hue example mentioned earlier, the trigger could be a Facebook photo tag and the action would be the Philips Hue light turning on. Also on the dashboard, you will see links to create custom recipes or browse (and then use) recipes already created by other IFTTT users. You can also share recipes and save recipes to a favorite section on your dashboard. If you’ve added a recipe to your dashboard, you will have options to turn off, delete, and edit that recipe.


And that’s it. You’re now a beginner IFTTT user and recipe creator so go have fun exploring the countless ways to automate and simplify your life. It’s only a matter of time before you become an expert. If you’re interested you can on for more information.



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Police use of social media – another controversy

Maybe you knew or maybe you never thought about it but police forces are using social media to prevent crime and catch criminals. There are already successful cases solved with the use of social media. This is great right?

First of all, social media is a very powerful tool to interact with the public. By posting on Facebook or Tweeter, police forces build trust and confidence. Furthermore, social media enables law forces to share specifically targeted information quickly, easily and cheaply.

Secondly, social media helps raise engagement with the public by providing the police with a way to connect and build relationships with local communities and “hard to reach” groups. This way citizens can be more motivated to report a crime by sending a simple message.

Lastly, social media enables police officers to monitor suspects in an environment where they feel free to express themselves. Also, they can also take action (such as occupying certain areas) when social network posts relate possible risk situations.

However, social media use by the police force is in a grey area regarding privacy issues. Many police officers create fake accounts on Facebook, some even using beautiful women pictures, in order to befriend suspects or to pose as members of certain communities. A study made by LexisNexis showed that out of 1221 federal, state, and local law enforcement agencies that use social media, more than 80% of the responding officials consider that social media is a powerful tool to combat crime and believe that creating fictive profiles on social media for this activity is ethical. However, this is a clear violation of Facebook policies. Police representatives argue that a fake Facebook profile is like an undercover mission, thus it is just a means to achieve a better good and there are already stories about successful cases that could be closed only by using this approach. Facebook did not comment on the matter but stated that every users should be aware and report fake profiles.

Furthermore,  what about searching to the personal messages? Although Facebook did not publish any documentation on its “crime prevention program”, its use allows certain parties to search through private conversations and sets alerts on certain keywords that predict a possible aggressive behaviour. For example, a child abuser was caught before a meeting with his victim, because the program detected he befriended a 12 year-old and used inappropriate language.Thinking about crime prevention this could be indeed beneficial but can software really detect true intentions out of conversations? People say a lot of things when upset or angry but it’s usually a long way from thoughts to actions. Also, without a proper regulation privacy can be violated for other purposes.

All in all not that great, is it? With the emergence of Internet, privacy concerns continue to rise and sooner rather than later, there should be stricter regulations and policies to protect online-users from privacy violation. This would be ideal, but is it really possible to put limitation on such a giant network? It really is a topic to be thought of.


The Smartification of Society

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From the advent of the Apple Watch, smart cars like the Tesla model S (not self-driving cars), the IoT, 3D printing, VR, Wearables and all the amazing tech trends we see it can be difficult to differentiate hype from reality. Here are some examples


What is certain is that everything in our lives is going to become smart the same way everyone in 1996 said the internet is going to change the world in 2000 but it really changed the world something like 2010. The deployment of accurate, easy to consume information from all things and objects around us to make our lives easier is going to hugely disrupt some industries forcing them to change the way they do things.

Let’s take the current education system for example as it is relevant to all of us and hypothesis how the combination of such trends might affect it. The descriptions that follow post might make you think I am not a fan of the current education system although these are just some observations and predictions meant not to offend but only to generate discussion. 

The university system is slowly losing its value proposition in face of the speed and intensity in the current business marketplace. Unfair debt structure of college loans can severely set a young person back. This brings to question whether college degrees are appropriate for everyone? It’s a hard conversation to have because the college dream has been so well branded. Yet it is fascinating how little parallel can be made between one’s level of education and success (financial) in the modern business world.

We can’t be so naive or misguided to suggest that time spent in a top university can’t help one get closer to financial success and diplomas are entry level requirements for thousands of jobs. If one wants to be a lawyer or doctor or many of the other professions that take a college degree to become that thing, then going to the best possible college that will help one get the job of their dreams is wise. If you want to run a business, be a photographer, an artist of any kind or a designer a degree is not necessary, though it will help. Many of us are lucky enough to go to university to soak up the experience, network and most importantly learn about ourselves (self-awareness).

The free education that will be available on the internet will be incredible and the current 10 year old’s may be the last generation that holds university to such high esteem. Online courses such as Khan Academy, Creative Live, Udemy, Udacity, Skillshare and tons of other startups are putting out incredible platforms that acquire incredible talent teaching courses on these platforms. Is this a better ROI than the college professors that have been out of the game for 5-10 years? There is definitely lots of money to be made within this industry as shown by new suppliers such as Masterclass entering the market where experts regardless of whether they went to university or not their work speaks for itself. Signs of a steady decrease in the quality university education are showing themselves as illustrated in a recent article published by the Guardian. It says “an Oxford graduate is suing the university for £1m claiming the “appallingly bad” and “boring” teaching cost him a first-class degree and prevented him from having a successful career”.

This brings to question is studying at home on the internet any different from going to a class with 400 students where you barely remember the lecturer’s name and education is standardized to make it efficient and very profitable.?

In addition, with coworking spaces and incubators slowly becoming a common denominator in many cities where one can network in combination with traveling to expand one’s horizons, why incur debt that you can’t even declare bankruptcy against.

One thing is for certain, university alone will not properly train you to be a prime time player in today’s business environment and many of the theories you might learn there about marketing or economics will already be too obsolete. The ENTIRE market moves at such a speed that even great entrepreneurs or experts have a hard time keeping up with it. Within a month of one’s graduation there will always be a new app, new platform or new channel or way for doing business that didn’t exist before.

How people judge anything is what brings value to the equation. Because decision makers in business today highly value a diploma from Harvard or MIT or Yale young students opt to go there and find it valuable. As soon as big companies or key players/individuals in the market such as Google come along and start valuing actual data and work to prove if you’re good at something the diploma will lose its value because whoever is judging dictates the rules of the game. Being a practitioner and student or teacher is very very different. We are slowly moving to a Post-GPA world.

Lazlo Bock the Senior Vice President of People Operations at Google says “The academic setting is an artificial place where people are highly trained to succeed only in a specific environment. One of my own frustrations when I was in college and grad school is that you knew the professor was looking for a specific answer. You could figure that out, but it’s much more interesting to solve problems where there isn’t an obvious answer. You want people who like figuring out stuff where there is no obvious answer.

However, the thought that we can switch the entire system; government, history, infrastructure etc is just not going to happen because the machine is too broken in the modern information world, it’s too big.. What could happen is what happens in business. Something comes along and disrupts it. A car was invented which disrupted the horse. Uber disrupted taxi services. All of a sudden taxi services are doing all these great things because they are forced to. They didn’t want to innovate.

Students are being taught information to regurgitate it from their heads using mostly short term memory, yet it is literally at their fingertips on their phones. If you really care about education you should not care how it’s being deployed, but instead about the accuracy and impact and how they execute that information. One can be informed in any way and that’s what we should focus on. Universities should pivot on putting young people in the best position to succeed in 2020, 2030 and not 2010.

“What you know doesn’t mean shit. What do you do consistently” Tony Robbins 

Inspired by the book #AskGaryVee: One Entrepreneur’s Take on Leadership, Social Media, and Self-Awareness.

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Internet connected toys suspected of spying on kids

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Privacy is becoming an issue for the internet of things topic. However, a more unexpected field are internet connected toys. Over 18 privacy groups have been or are filing complaints with the European Union as well as the US Federal Trade Commission concerning Genesis Toys and speech recognition company Nuance for deceptive practices and violating of privacy laws. It is argued that i-Que and My Friend Carla, both pictured, do not only capture voices without notice or approval, it is also not clear what Nuance does with the information that is sent. As an added problem, the organizations are also accusing the companies of not making sure that other Bluetooth connected devices cannot access the toys. Evermore, if not properly managed the speech information that is recorded and sent to nuance could be sold to third parties. There is even another problem that hackers could gain access to these products and the microphones in those devices. Future scenarios could even go as far as “predatory stalking and physical danger”. All in all concerns are plenty, and stakes are high. However, chances are that speech recognition is going to be used more and more in future toys, especially in dolls.

It is unsure yet whether and to what extend the European Union and the US Federal Trade Commission are going to do something about these practices in themselves. It is extra complicated as these products are marketed to kids, who are obviously less able or responsible to manage privacy concerns themselves.

I am curious about how you think about these toys developments. Do you think we should ban them or develop rules? Then again, if we develop rules, how can we enforce them? And in the case of hacking, how should we manage the security of such hardware and the software behind it? Please comment below.

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Microsoft predicts that the search bar will disappear by 2027

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As future business architects or consultants, a disappearance of the search bar would have a major influence on your job and the company you will work for. Questions you would have to ask yourself as soon as you get such jobs would be: How does the role of Search Engine Optimization (SEO) change? How to restructure a company for that future? What will be important instead?

You better already start thinking about this. Microsoft predicts that the search bar will disappear by as soon as 2027. It is fueled by 17 opinions of Microsoft employees, which you can find here:

In 2017 deep learning in information retrieval will already be matured, according to one of their scientists. Over the last years there have been breakthroughs in speech and image recognition and natural language recognition, which already fuels the capabilities of search. But in 2027 it will make for real change. Search will become more “ubiquitous, embedded, and contextually sensitive.” Next to that it will be even more relevant to “current location, content, entities, and activities”, replacing the limited output design of a search bar and website. It is argued that we are seeing the beginnings of that now happening in homes, with devices that answer to spoken queries such as Google Home and Amazon’s Alexa. The capabilities and smartness of those devices will increase along the way adding for example video capabilities and becoming better in their own context at home.


All in all the way we will consume and create information will completely change. What do you think will be the most important technology changes to fuel this transformation? How fast do you think this transformation will happen? How do you think it will impact Search Engine Optimization?

Please comment below with your ideas.



17 for ’17: Microsoft researchers on what to expect in 2017 and 2027


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Will LinkedIn disrupt the recruiting industry?

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LinkedIn, the biggest professional social media platform

Today the social media platform for professionals, Linkedin, is counting more than 467 million users. It is present in 200 countries and sees the engagement of its users growing, recording an average of 106 million profile views per month.

Since a few years already, Linkedin has attracted the attention of Recruiting Companies who saw the potential residing in the platform early on, understanding how much of a powerful tool it could be for them to adopt Linkedin in their everyday activities.


Outdating recruiting company’s value offer?

Indeed, Linkedin enables workers and job seekers to publish an active and always up to date CV online that Recruiting Companies can freely access. The platform also offers the access to a filter system which allows anyone to sort professionals according to their skills, educational background or working experience.  We could therefore assume that recruiting company’s services are now outdated as anyone can use the platform to find the right candidate for a certain position.

However, against what one could think, so far Linkedin did not take any considerable share of recruiting companies’ customer base. By customers, we are here referring to those companies which decided to outsource their human resource activities to a third party, namely the recruiting companies.


Why didn’t that happen yet?

The LinkedIn filter system is not precise enough yet, if a human resource manager decided to look for a marketing specialist, who has a minimum of 5 years working experience, at least a couple of thousands profiles would appear. That is why only recruiting professionals can make sense of big pools of candidates and only then have the know-how of matching the right profile to the right position. Therefore, recruiting companies see this new professional social media platform as a tool with which partnerships could be established instead of seeing it as a direct competitor.


Linkedin future

Nonetheless, Linkedin filters are getting more and more precise, and users are getting more and more active, publishing content, following company’s actualities or even inspirational leaders. The day that Linkedin disrupts the recruiting company might not be that far away. Imagine what will happen once Linkedin will come up with smart filters, using AI to reveal the perfect candidate according to its likeliness of fitting a company’s culture, processing its center of interest and the whole range of activities it has taken on the platform.

When such an algorithm is developed, the recruiting power will be at the hand of anyone and it is certain that recruiting companies will start to lose a consequent part of their market shares. However many AI professionals argues that it will take decades before AI learns “common sense” and learns how to detect the actual potential, personality traits and emotions of a candidate.

What is your point of view, will a machine ever be able to perfectly match the right candidate with the right position?



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