App for That

You’re Not Popular Enough to Use Facebook’s New App, Nerd

Facebook Mentions user, Austin Mahone. (Photo: iTunes)

Being popular is hard. But being social media popular is really hard.

Facebook released today a new iPhone app called Mentions, but you’re not cool enough to use it. It’s only “verified public figures” — i.e. Katy Perry and others who have a blue check mark next to their names — in an effort by the social network to wean them off competing websites (cough, Twitter, cough) when they feel the urge to overshare. Read More

Selfie Nation

Israelis Can’t Stop Taking ‘Bomb Shelter Selfies’

2014!. (Photo: Facebook)

As the violent conflict between Israel and Gaza continues, Israelis are passing time in the most 2014 way possible: They’re taking selfies.

The new phenomenon, dubbed “bomb shelter selfies” as reported by the Jerusalem Post, is a group picture of smiling people waiting out their time until the missile warning sirens stop emitting their terrifying noise. A Facebook group dedicated to the trend has amassed more than 1,500 likes in the past few days. Read More

Thought Experiments

This Plugin Lets You, Not Facebook, Decide How Your News Feed Makes You Feel

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A couple weeks ago Facebook came clean: it wasn’t just your ex and the photos of him and his new girlfriend that were playing with your emotions. It was an inside job. Facebook’s data scientists — or perhaps we should call them omnipotent puppeteers — had manipulated users’ feeds without their consent.

Now, after public outcry and a lackluster apology from Sheryl Sandberg, Brooklyn artist and programmer Lauren McCarthy is helping us reclaim our feelings. Her latest experiment is called the Facebook Mood Manipulator, a Google Chrome extension that allows users to adjust the content of their news feeds according to how they want to feel. Read More

Adventures in Venture Capital

Let GitHub Sort Unicorn Investors From the Real Deal

Peter Thiel (Photo via Wikimedia Commons)

Venture capital returns follow the power law, according to Peter Thiel.  He’s right. Look at your favorite venture capitalist, then look at her exits. You may see many names you know, but start to break down for how much each one sold or how much they are valued. You’ll see just one or two big wins swamp the rest.

Peter Thiel himself made almost all of his startup returns from Facebook, not directly from his years at PayPal. Even the venerable Y Combinator sees almost all future profits deriving from just two companies: AirBnB and DropBox. Read More

Facebook Faceplant

Sheryl Sandberg Offers Meh Apology For Creepy Facebook Study

"Haha lol whoops sry!!!" (Getty)

Sheryl Sandberg has churned out a lackluster apology for that weird psychological study Facebook secretly conducted on its users, the Wall Street Journal reports.

Delivered yesterday on a trip to New Delhi, the COO’s apology marked the first public statement by a Facebook executive in response to the study, which sought to determine whether data scientists could manipulate the emotions of 700,000 of the social media site’s users (answer: not really). Read More

Big Brother Is Watching

Hey Facebook, Good Job Alienating Everyone to Make a Point We Already Knew

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Facebook gave the world a new reason to think they’re a bunch of scary, omnipotent puppeteers last week when it was revealed that Facebook data scientists tinkered with users’ news feeds to study the emotional impact it would have.

It all started when the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences published the study by a team of data scientists working with Facebook, which went mostly unnoticed at first. Once it made its media debut — likely in this small article from NewScientist — it caught fire, and the headlines are calling the study creepy, manipulative and unethical. Read More

Diversity

Facebook to Wave Rainbow Flag in NYC Pride Parade

OMG IT'S FACEBOOK YOU GUYS (Getty)

For the first time since expanding to New York in 2008, Facebook will have a contingent in the city’s famed Pride March this Sunday.

“There will be 100 or 150 employees, as well as interns, family and friends joining us,” Facebook engineering manager Matt Bush told Betabeat. “We all plan on walking… We hope everyone dresses in really festive outfits.”

Though they’ve participated in Pride marches in other cities, like San Francisco, for years, this is the first time Facebook will march in the NYC parade. The idea was mainly employee-generated, Mr. Bush said. Read More

True Crime

Robber Nabbed After Logging into Facebook at House He Was Burgling

Mr. Wig, (probable) Facebook addict. (Dakota County Sheriff's Office)

Millennials — they can’t even stop with the social media long enough to rob a house properly.

South St. Paul resident Nicholas Steven Wig, 27, allegedly broke into and robbed a house last week, Ars Technica reports. Before fleeing the scene with his booty, he reportedly logged onto Facebook on the victim’s computer — but forgot to log out.

When the owner returned to his ransacked house, he discovered — besides the fact that he was missing a bunch of items — that his computer was logged into the Facebook account of someone named Nick Dub. Police traced the Nick Dub Facebook account back to Mr. Wig and arrested him on burglary charges.  Read More

#Emojis4lyfe

Thumbs Up: You Can Now Search Yelp With Emojis

Now searching Yelp is a piece of cake (Yelp).

There was once a time when emojis were all fun and games, but now they mean business.

A new Yelp feature enables users on the mobile app to search for services using the friendly little icons we all love.

Now, instead of typing “bar,” all you have to do is enter one of the five alcohol-related emojis.  Wine glass, martini glass, garnished cocktail glass, beer mug or X2 beer mug — the choice is yours. Read More