Dec. 29, 2012 – This week in social media: Randi Zuckerberg throws a fit

Who can deny that it’s just more fun to shame, embarrass or make someone feel like s— when you have an audience. The larger the audience, the more dramatic the accuser becomes. We learn this fun skill of “making a scene” at a young age and perfect it as an adult. Look how a child’s lung capacity explodes when he’s at the mall; he was so fun a minute ago, in the car. Then look at that table in the restaurant, the one in the corner, where the girl/woman sitting across from her boyfriend/husband/father has a semi-constipated and tortured expression on her face, about to cry. Now look at her crying. She’s telling him what a horrible jerk he is in a very loud whisper/whimper. The restaurant is bistro-sized, so, once they (and you) are done with dinner and out on the street, see that she starts wailing.

Thanks to Facebook and Twitter, the world can be our audience. We have the luxury to unleash our shaming skills and punish our victims with the touch of a button now. Or just a touch, on a touchscreen… Best yet, we can shame anyone! Anything! Any company, LLC, or government… Why, we don’t have to call out specifics at all! We can decry ALL of the “them’s” that have wronged us. ALL of those and that and who: “can’t drive on Route 1”; “can’t spell JENNIE right on my coffee cup”; “raise the price on birth control?!”; “have the most [deplorable] customer service”; “offer the most shady service”; or “post a friend’s photo publicly.

That last lecturing wail was from Mark’s sister, Randi Zuckerberg, who this week showed us how to use social media to properly make a scene when sticking and twisting in the knife.

When she learned that a photo of her and her family reacting to a new Facebook app was posted to Twitter by Callie Schweitzer, Randi apparently screamed: “Mah photo is MAYAN! Don’t anyone dare use it without MAH permission!” in her best Honey Boo-Boo voice. Unfortunately for Randi, the photo had appeared on Schweitzer’s Newfeed because Schweitzer is Facebook friends with another Zuckerberg sister. Schweitzer probably used the photo because as a journalist, she’s resourceful and found the photo meaningful. However, Schweitzer, a Forbes “Top 30 under 30” social media maven, probably should have known better, given her reputation, experience and relationship with that other Zuckerberg.

Schweitzer apologized the same way she was called out (via Twitter) to Randi and things seem to be all cleared up now…but not before Randi taught us all a valuable lesson.

Digital etiquette: Don’t confront your peeves like an adult when you can just Tweet them to the whole damn world. What else is a Verified Twitter account good for!

Let’s review what we’ve really learned from all of this drama:

  1. Randi agrees with all the other Facebook/Instagram haters this week, even though “share” is a word we learned as toddlers, meaning something no longer belongs to us if we “share” it — DUH.
  2. Randi Zuckerberg hates her brother’s confusing privacy settings as much as everyone else
  3. Randi Zuckerberg has taught only Callie Schweitzer an important lesson
  4. Nothing is private if you put it on the internet

For some reason, I feel like no one ever learns this last lesson. I guess I should repeat it every week from now on. Seriously, people. (I’m looking at you — girl who puts up nude photos of herself on a photo sharing site.)


2012’s most searched term is Facebook

“For the fourth year running, online consumers searched for “Facebook” more than any other term in 2012, according to new data from Experian.”

How is this possible? Mark dropped “the” from its URL long, long ago. Are people that lazy and can’t type “Facebook” into their browsers? Or, does this represent the number of users who type “Facebook” into their Chrome address bar or Firefox Google Search bar? Like when I search for Yahoo Fantasy Football…

“New to the top 50 in 2012 backpage were search terms like ‘cool math games,’ ‘fox news,’ ‘pinterest,’ and ‘pof’ — apparently an acronym for Plenty of Fish, a fast-rising online dating site.

“Experian bases its findings on the top 1,000 unfiltered U.S. search terms across more than 60 search engines, including Google, Bing and Yahoo Search, along with all visits to top Web sites throughout the year.”

Read more:


Facebook for Children: One step closer

Christmas came early this year for Facebook and other social media sites. On December 19, the FTC announced that it had “adopted final amendments to the Children’s Online Privacy Protection Rule.”  In its press release the FTC states that these new amendments “strengthen kids’ privacy protections and give parents greater control over the personal information that websites and online services may collect from children under 13.”

In 1998, Congress passed the Children’s Online Privacy Protection Act, establishing with it a rule that requires operators of websites/online services directed to children under 13 (or have actual knowledge that they are collecting information from children under 13) give notice to parents and get their verifiable consent before collecting, using, or disclosing such personal information, and keep secure the information they collect from children.  The rule also prohibits them from conditioning children’s participation in activities on the collection of more personal information than is reasonably necessary for them to participate.  The rule contains a “safe harbor” provision that allows industry groups or others to seek FTC approval of self-regulatory guidelines.

Taken from the release, the final amendments are as follows:

  • modify the list of “personal information”  that cannot be collected without parental notice and consent, clarifying that this category includes geolocation information, photographs, and videos;
  • offer companies a streamlined, voluntary and transparent approval process for new ways of getting parental consent;
  • close a loophole that allowed kid-directed apps and websites to permit third parties to collect personal information from children through plug-ins without parental notice and consent;
  • extend coverage in some of those cases so that the third parties doing the additional collection also have to comply with COPPA;
  • extend the COPPA Rule to cover persistent identifiers that can recognize users over time and across different websites or online services, such as IP addresses and mobile device IDs;
  • strengthen data security protections by requiring that covered website operators and online service providers take reasonable steps to release children’s personal information only to companies that are capable of keeping it secure and confidential;
  • require that covered website operators adopt reasonable procedures for data retention and deletion; and
  • strengthen the FTC’s oversight of self-regulatory safe harbor programs.

As reported by the NY Times, Erin Egan, Facebook’s chief privacy officer, wrote in an email of the decision:  “We are pleased the Commission clarified the limited circumstances under which providers of social plugins would be subject to Coppa when those plugins are displayed on other websites.”

The new amendments use an “actual knowledge” standard for collecting information about children. “That means social networks and ad networks that collect information from children without knowing that their software is operating on a children’s site or app will not be liable.”

Read the full story at: