Facebook taken over by TSA

In what has been described as a “friendly, sort of” takeover, the social networking site Facebook has been merged into the Transportation Security Administration (TSA).

The announcement was made in Terminal C of Newark Airport. After reporters and their personal items were screened, they were allowed to line up 12-deep to hear the head of the TSA, John T. Pistol, announce that Mark Zuckerberg had arrived at an “understanding” after several hours of enhanced frisking and being run repeatedly through a high-intensity X-ray machine.

“It was obvious that our attempts to protect the American people were simply not enough. Senior citizens were sometimes boarding planes without being subject to public humiliation, and once a right-wing blogger named Benjamin Jefferson Washington actually boarded a flight in Milwaukee before he showed up on our ‘No Fly’ list.

“Now, with Facebook, we’ll be able to extend our protective arms well beyond the airport, and monitor virtually all Americans in real-time. Except young males from certain Middle Eastern countries, of course – that would be social profiling.”

Changes to the Facebook interfaced were already evident this week, with subtle wording changes (Edit my Profile is now Profile Me) and random pop-up interrogation boxes for those who upload any photos. Also, each Facebook user is required to undergo a hands-on patdown by a TSA employee before changing any user information on their profile. “Instead of a captcha, we’re going to use a gotcha. Way better!” said Pistol.

The most controversial change involved the threat of uploading naked pictures taken in TSA scanners to user profiles. “We’ll have all your full-body X-ray pictures stored and matched to your Facebook profile, and if any user does something wrong, we figure we’ll just randomly expose 1,000 others by changing their profile picture to the bare view for 24 hours. That way, we won’t be profiling any individual or group, while still maintaining a focus on the privates of the individual.”

Asked about the issue  of violations of privacy, Pistol stared blankly ahead for a few moments, then replied, “Why do you think we chose Facebook, anyway?”

Scanner image credit

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Zuckerberg announces new Facebook Implants

While all the tech press was drooling over the idea of Facebook email, founder Mark Zuckerberg pulled a fast one with his announcement today of Facebook Implants.

“Email is so last century,” declared Zuckerberg at the standing-room-only press conference. “It requires thought, typing, even hitting a send button. We’re all about going forward, not backward.

“Starting today, with a Facebook Implant, you can upload every vital and trivial factoid about yourself automatically to your timeline, with no effort whatsoever.”

The Implant device, which looks like a pacemaker sporting rabbit ears, is placed subcutaneously in the body and constantly records blood pressure, anger levels, senior moments, caffeine highs, speeding in school zones, jealous thoughts, and gall bladder performance. These are tied to GPS coordinates and an atomic clock buried in a secret location in Colorado, and every bit of information is continuously uploaded as a Facebook status.

“Users kept telling us that they wanted less effort, so we created the ultimate mobile update device. Now all of your friends can be tuned immediately into your every mood shift, without so much as thinking about a keyboard or mouse.”

Asked about potential privacy issues with 24/7 upload of every scrap of personal information, Zuckerberg paused, then replied, “I guess we might want to think about creating a couple hundred more settings for that, now that I think about it. Privacy is very important for us, of course. It’s always the first thing we consider.”

When questioned if all the leaks about a Facebook email service were all a diversion, Zuckerberg gave a lopsided grin and announced, “Nah – we just bought Compuserve. I can give you more details if you just email me at 35821.9567@compuserve.com”

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Bye-Bye, Social Media Die

This is part 2 of the Death of Social Media™ (part 1 is here, wherein we recount how the doomsayers are predicting the demise of SocMed, and the haters are rejoicing). Alan Wolk and I were exchanging. via Twitter, ludicrous traffic-inducing blog headlines about this doomsday scenario, which is how this 2-part “series” was birthed.

For those of an earlier generation, the lyrics and melody of Don McLean’s “Bye-Bye, Miss American Pie” will remain forever embedded in perma-memory – if you’re not familiar with it, here’s a performance on YouTube, and here are the original lyrics.

Now, onto the show…

Bye-Bye, Social Media Die

A short, short time ago
I can still remember how that Twitter used to
Make me smile
And I knew that if I had my chance
I could make those people tweet
And maybe they’d be happy for a while

Did you write a blog for nerds
And do you have faith in Zuckerberg
If the Scoble tells you so
Now do you believe in baiting links
And can Brogan save your blog that stinks
And can you teach me how to Plurk real slow

Well, I know that you’re in love with Guy
‘Cause I saw you tweetin’ on the fly
You both linked up your tribes
Man, I dig those linkback vibes

I was a lonely soc med guru schmuck
With a pink MacBook Pro and a rubber duck
But I knew that I was out of luck
The day the Soc Med died
I started singing…

Bye-bye, Social Media Die
Drove my traffic via bit.ly
But the stats were awry
And good old boys were linkin’ Godin and Guy
Singing this’ll be the day that it dies
This’ll be the day that it dies

I clicked an URL whose link was blue
And I pinged it for some happy news
But it just crashed my Chrome and went away
I scanned my feeds as I had before
But all I got was 404′s
I couldn’t even read Olivier

Well now, at their desks the tweeters screamed
The bloggers cried, and the spammers schemed
But not a word was written
Not even by Laura Fitton
And the gurus I admire the most
Loren, Ev and Kevin Rose
They made a name, then it was toast
The day the Soc Med died

We started singin’…

Bye-bye, Social Media Die
Drove my traffic via bit.ly
But the stats were awry
And good old boys were linkin’ Godin and Guy
Singing this’ll be the day that it dies
This’ll be the day that it dies

(do I really think Social Media is dying? Of course not. Here’s how I see the evolution unfolding…)

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Prior StickyFigure spoofs

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25 “Hidden” Things in Facebook TOS

borg

It’s been all the rage this week. Facebook changed their Terms of Service/Terms of Use (TOS for short) to imply that they own, perpetually, anything and everything that you post on their site.

After much uproar, Facebook has relented and gone back to the “old” TOS. Or have they? Hidden in the new/old TOS, in white text on white background (so you wouldn’t see it – but you never read the black-on-white TOS beforehand anyway, did you??), are the 25 of Your Things that You Didn’t Know Facebook Now Owns.

    1. By logging into Facebook (or having logged in in the past and now even THINKing about logging in again), you relinquish possession of all of your belongings, including property, house, auto, HDTV, and suet birdfeeders. They now belong to Mark Zuckerberg. Thanks.

    2. Facebook now owns your first-born, if you have one, and if said first-born is well-behaved. Brats remain in your possession. If you have no first-born children, rodent pets or 4-wheeled ATVs will be accepted.

    3. You are now auto-enrolled in Facebook Live!, which gives us the right to install cameras in every room of your house and randomly upload photos of every daily activity. Our alpha-version auto-tagging feature will make a best guess at identifying you. Heh.

    4. All your blogs are belong to us. Except Scoble‘s. He’s too noisy.

    5. Your privacy settings on Facebook will auto-reset each day to random settings chosen by our MaxEmbarrass Algorithm Method. You may change them back if you wish, but by clicking “Apply” to your settings, you grant us unlimited rights to ignore whatever you chose.

    6. At our sole discretion, you may be downgraded to our “Facebook Lite” application (herein referred to as “Compuserve”) so as to keep you from taking for granted the privilege of being on Facebook Classic.

    7. You are now opted in to receive SPAM.

    8. All applications and widgets that you choose to use on Facebook are hereby entitled to publish your personal data and preferences on our new “SPAM-ME-NOW.com” sister site, soon to be launched.

    9. Spontaneous Human Combustion may occur while using Facebook. If this happens to you, we own your ashes.

    10. You may opt out of using Facebook at any time. But it won’t make any difference.

    11. If you have ever thought about uploading any pictures, links, words, thoughts, or other assets onto the Facebook platform, those items are all, in perpetuity, the exclusive property of Facebook. Thanks.

    12. If you have ever filled out or read a “25 Things” meme on Facebook, you are now an indentured servant of Facebook, and we reserve the right to sell you on eBay to the highest bidder, or, at our discretion, at a “Buy it Now!” price of our choosing.

    13. By using Facebook, you agree never to use Google again. All future searches will have to be through a 1998 version of AltaVista.

    14. If your profile on LinkedIn, MySpace, Friendster, eHarmony, or Pownce mentions your name, we may take possession of said profiles, and the services on which you have described yourself.

    15. You may not whine at any time, for any reason.

    16. Cheap boxed wines may not be imbibed by any Facebook users. Screwtop bottles are acceptable if imported from New Zealand or Iceland. Use of wine coolers will be grounds for immediate termination. You don’t want to know what that means.

    17. Your college loans, mortgages, credit card debts, Madoff investments, and auto companies are exempted from Facebook ownership. See “Bailout and TARP” provision.

    18. By using Facebook, you agree to lower your “carbon footprint” by 15% per year by skipping every sixth exhale.

    19. If you use Twitter, you agree to follow @swoodruff, except if you are a spammer, in which case you agree to self-immolate (see #9 above).

    20. You agree to pick up the mess after walking the dog.

    21. You agree that outmoded discussions of “privacy” will not be indulged, either on Facebook or in any lesser sphere of life, since we now own you. Just shut up and keep spilling your guts. Wait a minute, that’s self-contradictory. Ah, whatever, this is white-on-white and no-one’s going to ever see it anyway! Toy boat! Toy boat! You’re all dolts! Ha ha ha ha…

    22. Facebook, its representatives or agents, may, at any time, and for any reason, choose to extract one of your kidneys.

    23. If you are currently single and choose to marry, a 10% dowry to Facebook is expected. If you met your spouse via Facebook, that becomes 25% plus a $200 gift certificate to Ruth’s Chris made out to Mark Zuckerberg.

    24. (we’re going to fill this in later. But you’re agreeing to it.)

    25. Resistance is futile.

Thank us for allowing you to be used by Facebook.

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Switching off the Beacon

Facebook finally owned up to the fact that they really did a poor job implementing Beacon, a “service” that provides way too much information about your buying habits (from the Wall Street Journal; subscription may be required):

After weeks of criticism over a new advertising program that was perceived as a privacy threat, Facebook Inc. has tweaked its privacy settings and offered a public apology from its chief executive — but advertisers remain wary.

The program, which Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg unveiled last month, allows Facebook to track its users’ activities, such as purchases, on third-party Web sites that partner with the social-networking site and broadcast them to the users’ friends. For instance, Facebook users could receive messages telling them that a friend had bought a sweater on Overstock.com or a movie ticket on Fandango.com. Called Beacon, the program was intended to give advertisers a way “into the conversations between people,” Mr. Zuckerberg said.

But the program raised the ire of privacy advocates and users, who said Facebook didn’t clearly explain how users could prevent information from being shared and didn’t give them a way to opt out entirely. The advocacy organization MoveOn.org Civic Action, for one, formed a group complaining about the way Beacon had been implemented. As of yesterday afternoon, the group had close to 70,000 members.

In a Facebook blog, Mr. Zuckerberg yesterday wrote, “We’ve made a lot of mistakes building this feature, but we’ve made even more with how we’ve handled them. We simply did a bad job with this release, and I apologize for it.” He added that Facebook users can now adjust their privacy settings to opt out of the Beacon program entirely…more

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At least Mr. Zuckerberg did the right thing, made a plain-spoken apology, and reacted to the concerns by making changes.

For the life of me, I cannot understand why anyone would want to broadcast this much information about themselves – but then again, I don’t “get” Twitter for the same reason…

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