How Far Can The Law Control Social Media?

The open nature of the Internet makes it a bewildering place for newcomers. Back in 2009, security breaches and illegal activities led computer giant IBM to state “that the Internet has finally taken on the characteristics of the Wild West where no one is to be trusted.”

What are law enforcement agencies dealing with?

Just like the Wild West, criminals have found the Internet a perfect vehicle for committing all manner of crimes. These techniques have often existed for centuries, but the Internet offers a new way of finding and exploiting victims.

Here are the top three issues facing US lawmakers regarding the Internet.

1. Fraud, theft and criminal damage

Email has given fraudsters unprecedented access to more victims than ever before. With the click of a button, they can send thousands of emails designed to trick people into revealing personal details that can then be used for identity theft, bank fraud or extortion.

Computer viruses are regarded almost as an operational hazard of owning a computer. But they are designed to damage your computer, steal your data and cause general havoc. The offline equivalents would be stealing and criminal damage, which are clearly illegal; and the same goes for computer viruses.

Finally, there are hackers, people who deliberately try to break into computer systems. Again, the intention is usually to steal data, money, or to cause malicious damage.

2. Pornography

The US Government runs an agency dedicated to protecting children from Internet predators. The FBI works to identify and arrest paedophiles, as well as tracking and breaking child pornography rings.

There are also issues surrounding other “adult” pornography, which frequently breaches US publishing laws. Of a lower priority, the Police are still duty bound to investigate crimes reported to them.

3. Crimes against the person

Many people believe that the Internet is the ultimate forum for “free speech”. But some abuse the privilege making statements which are defamatory, slanderous or which breach hate speech laws.

Sometimes these personal attacks are apparently motiveless, leading to an online behaviour known as “trolling“. Police report that rates of cyberbullying increased by 400% between 2007 and 2011, for instance.

As crime prevention minister Jeremy Browne said in an interview, “What is illegal offline is illegal online. People should not be able to use social media to post anonymous abusive or threatening comments without facing any consequences.”

What is the problem?

As more and more of our daily interactions shift to online channels, the police face an increasingly difficult task maintaining law and order. Among the many hurdles they face are:


Internet and computer technologies continue to develop at an incredible rate. However, the police have neither the time nor the resources to stay on top of every new development.

The creation of laws to prosecute new crimes also takes time often several years. Until the law is passed, Police are often powerless to take proper action until the damage has been done and the criminal has long gone.


Users of chatrooms, forums and social media are afforded some level of anonymity, making it hard for police to unmask the perpetrators of online crime. Electronic detective work can usually identify online criminals in the end, but the process is slow and time-consuming.

There is an added element of difficulty when the crime has taken place on a website that operates from countries outside the US. In this instance, the police generally have to rely on the goodwill of the website operator to get the information they need to proceed to prosecution, which is not always forthcoming.


Solving crime can be a painstaking process at the best of times. However, cybercrime often requires liaison between different police forces and departments, the courts and Internet service providers. These third parties often operate their own bureaucracies, making it even harder to bring a case to resolution. Some are even deliberately obstructive because their operating ideologies are distinctly anti-police.

International law

When the crime takes place using a service from another country, issues of jurisdiction can further confuse matters. If a British person is cyberbullied by an American on a website run from Russia, there are three different national laws in effect. Even more confusingly, what is illegal here in the US may be perfectly legal in Russia, making a successful prosecution very difficult, if not unlikely.

Public sentiment

Despite the many potential problems presented by criminals on the Internet, proposals to prevent criminal activity are often opposed. Plans for an opt-out pornography filter (which would have required US internet users to register, or access to adult material would be blocked automatically) were overturned in 2012 following a vigorous campaign suggesting that such a filter was against freedom of speech laws.

Any proposed law which is believed to potentially limit online activities tends to come under similar pressure, making it very difficult to effectively limit loopholes exploited by criminals.

What can we expect in future?

Although the justice system is struggling to keep up with cybercrime, there is no suggestion it has given up. In the future we can expect to see:

More prosecutions

The surge in online defamation complaints to police has generated a similar increase in prosecutions. There is not yet any sign of a slow-down in reports, either.

As cybercrime becomes more common, police are dedicating more time and resources to detecting it. Specialist officers have the skills and expertise required to successfully prosecute more cybercrime cases than ever before.

More civil cases

Where undesirable activities online fall outside criminal law, people are still free to launch civil cases. The recent Twitter case involving a high profile politician being incorrectly named as a paedophile has resulted in dozens of people being sued for libel.

The number of similar cases will undoubtedly rise as people continue to seek damages for untrue or hurtful allegations that are posted on other social media sites.

New laws

The scams and tricks used by cybercriminals are constantly evolving. The United States legal system will also have to adapt to face these new challenges with relevant and updated legislation.

Justice Secretary Ken Clarke unveiled new plans to exclude websites from prosecution where their users were guilty of libel if they pass on the troll’s identity. Should the website choose to protect the troll’s identity, the operator will be held responsible for hosting the libelous material. This plan should become law within the coming months.

Because of the global nature of the Internet, there will also be increasing cooperation between nation states, particularly those who are members of the European Union. The Budapest Convention encourages a joined-up approach to tackling and prosecuting international crime, and the membership continues to grow.

So the Internet will always remain lawless?

Currently the law seems relatively powerless to combat cybercrime effectively. While it is true that the police are always playing catch-up with cybercriminals, they are actively working to increase protection for the public by dedicating more resources to tackling them.

The legal system is also trying to increase protection for the public, but the creation of legislation is a slow and arduous process. However, there is a clear intention to tackle and prevent crime across government.

So can the law effectively police the Internet? Arguably, the answer has to be ‘yes’, because we already have laws to address many of the crimes committed online. Just as hackers will try and steal your bank account details on the Internet, so too will a pickpocket in the high street. The law does not completely prevent crime, but it does give the victim an avenue of redress.

The best advice for staying safe online remains use your common sense. Do this, and you stand a very good chance of staying out of the grasp of dedicated criminals while using the Internet.

Alert: Facebook Insights Reach and Impressions Data Affected by Bug

This morning Facebook announced that during a comprehensive audit of their page insight tool, they discovered bugs that impacted reporting page and posts’ organic and paid reach and impressions from as far back as August.  This was only for the data reported in the page insights and not for the ads manager tools.

What This Means to Brands

Facebook reassured that these bugs did not impact actual delivery of ads or posts across the platform.  The only implication is in the reporting of these numbers from a brand page’s insights tool.  Facebook is unable to determine the extent to which each brand page and each of its posts are affected, and they recommend that brands start comparing true reach and impressions once the fixes are in place.

Unfortunately, it will not be possible to amend historical data as these bugs affected Facebook’s log and how that data was stored on the deepest level.  To get the best understanding of page performance, unfortunately advertisers will have to rely only on future data.

Worst Case Scenario

In considering what this news means to brands, any reporting and insights that focused on engagement per reach or virality were inaccurate.  TechCrunch suggested that some businesses and other admins may have thought their Pages were less valuable than they were because of dips in reach.  However, the engagement on Facebook has not changed.  If a brand’s post had high engagement, it had good content, despite Facebook’s said reach for that post.

Solutions from Facebook

As soon as they discovered this bug, Facebook notified everyone and began working on fixing the issue.  They will have a full scope of the bugs’ implications during the next two weeks, but have resolved the bug as of Monday, February 25th.

Next Steps

For reporting moving forward, it may be best t0 focus more on engagement.  Additionally, this announcement needs to be considered when comparing future reach data with old reach data to extract further insights and create new benchmarks for content performance in regards to reach and engagements per reach.

How to Time your Facebook Posts to Increase Engagement Rates?

Facebook has users from all over the world, logging in pretty much all through the day, sharing, liking and communicating. When it comes to Facebook, as surprising as it may sound, timing is really important. What you say doesn’t just need to sound good enough to get noticed, it also has to be posted at the right time to be visible to most people in your network.

Increase Facebook Engagement Rates

Here are three effective ways you can time your posts perfectly to get most of your followers to notice them:

1. Post when most of your followers are active on Facebook

This can get a little bit tricky and would require you to spend some time in research. But if you can observe and recognize that golden time when maximum number of your followers engages with your Facebook page, you can share your posts during this hour and know that it will be seen by a larger share of your fans.

Facebook typically registers the maximum activity during the day, which eventually subsides after evening hours. Research has shown that the period between 11:00 AM and 04:00 PM is the best time in the day to post any major news announcement about your brand on your page.

If you have something very important to share with your fans, make use of this window to ensure that maximum people will get to see it.

2. Make sure your posts are always visible in your followers’ News Feeds

Ensure that there is adequate time gap between two posts so that the previous post gets as much visibility as possible before it gets pushed out of the News Feed by your new post.

Posting too frequently can actually have an adverse effect on the visibility of your posts, so time them well.

There are tools that can tell can analyze how your posts are doing in the first 48 hours of being posted. Using such tools, you can identify the right time to post again.

3. Monitor your Facebook posts’ efficiency to constantly improvise

Your audience may not behave the same way followers of another business in a different industry or sector behaves. There are no hard and fast rules that can apply to all brands every group of consumers has a different usage pattern.

The best way to identify your consumers’ patterns is by analyzing their activity on your Facebook page. How much time do your followers spend on your page? How often do they visit, and when does this happen? How many likes and comments do your posts get on an average?

Once you have concrete data to analyze, you will be able to identify how your followers use Facebook. Using this information, you can adjust the frequency and timing of your posts to drive maximum engagement.

The author Vishal Gumber is founder of an Australian app development company Appsquare.

Don’t Tell Facebook Anything You Wouldn’t Want Grandma To Hear

When Facebook made its timeline profiles mandatory, many users cringed as they relived past relationships and embarrassing nights out. So did all of their friends and family, who could now see what was probably best forgotten. Suddenly, it became apparent just how well Facebook remembers. It remembers that time you “liked” Budweiser, and it remembers you joining the “Bring Back Sailor Moon!” group when people still joined Facebook groups. Chances are, those memories are still haunting the side of your newsfeed.

Facebook makes most of its money from advertisers. In 2010, the company violated its own stated privacy policies by selling user information to vendors to help target their sales. Some users found this out when they saw their own smiling faces next to advertisements for products they “liked”.

This trend is particularly unnerving to parents. More than five million Facebook users are under the age of 13, and their “likes” are already being tracked.

Facebook Privacy Fail

Source: Facebook Privacy Fail

The Modern Day Buyer and the Social Media Movement

It’s an undoubted fact that the sales process has evolved significantly over the last few years. Indeed, it’s almost indistinguishable from its decade-old counterpart, what with the true dawning of the digital age and, more over, the advent of social media; the buyer now has more knowledge, more power and is altogether more aware of and alert to the field of sales than ever before. With instant access to their entire network of peers, there’s more opportunity for referrals, and yet more opportunity for a negative experience to spread quickly.

Whilst the many ways in which the sales landscape has been altered could be explained in pain-staking detail, and we certainly wouldn’t be done by tea time, what better way to display the changing tides of modern buying than with an infographic! The image below explains in facts and figures how the sales process has leaped online and is now deeply woven into the social networking industry.

So have a comb through, and ask yourself the question; is my business social? Am I keeping up with the demands of the modern day buyer? Do we need to change?

Social Medias Impact on the Modern Buyer

Image by MTD Sales Training, Copyright 2012. For sales training that utilizes the latest modern techniques and keeps you at the cutting edge of the industry, visit today!

Social Media Is Revoloutionizing Customer Service

Social Media Is Revoloutionizing Customer Service

Are you among the 80 percent or the 20 percent? Eighty percent of brands reported they expected to be tapping into social media as a customer service tool by the end of 2012. If you’ve landed in the 20 percent, you could be missing out on millions of opportunities to connect with your consumers.

Take Comcast, for instance. By now nearly everyone’s heard about @comcastcares, which the company started in 2010 with the goal of providing easily accessible service and Q&A to consumers. Today, the @comcastcares Twitter handle has more than 45,000 followers. The picture doesn’t get much clearer than that: Consumers are increasingly expecting to have easy access to their brands, and they’re flocking to social media to do just that.

Despite Comcast’s success with Twitter, Facebook is actually leading the pack in terms of consumer-brand communications. Nearly half of respondents report being influenced most heavily in terms of buying decisions. And about one-third of consumers say they turn to Facebook brand pages when they have a product or service question. Are you missing out on millions of chances to connect with your audience? Learn more about why social is making such a huge impact on consumers. Check out our infographic below!

Social Media Customer Service

This infographic was made by ClickSoftware Field Workforce Management, the leading provider of field service and mobility workforce management.

Big Facebook Event Tomorrow – Rumors and Speculation

As many of you may have already read in the news, Facebook is holding a launch event tomorrow to announce new initiatives.

Lots of speculation around this event, including a Facebook phone – codenamed Buffy. But one thing is clear that there is some significant announcement that Facebook is going to make tomorrow, as Facebook does not usually hold major press conferences at its headquarters.

  • Facebook is holding a press event at its headquarters on Tuesday at 10am PST
  • They have not disclosed what will be announced
  • Facebook has indicated the announcement is a “big deal” and most are speculating it involves mobile
  • This is the first media gathering the company has hosted since it’s Gifts announcement in November

Speculation from credible sources:

Facebook Phone (most talked about theory) — speculation from TechCrunch, Forbes

  • Unclear whether it would be a proprietary FB branded device or a new Facebook OS for mobile
  • The rumored OS, codenamed “Buffy,” is thought to be built around Android
  • The hardware, if it exists, is rumored to be developed by HTC
  • Some speculate it could be a low-end to middle range phone built for the developing country market

Facebook Search – speculation from TechCrunch

  • Zuckerberg had been vocal about his interest in expanding FB’s internal search functionalities
  • This would be an opportunity for FB to further monetize it’s platform, especially in mobile
  • Could enhance/integrate with the recently released Facebook Nearby feature – Facebook’s latest push for small businesses and friend recommendations – perhaps in the form of a web interface or standalone mobile app
  • Would likely be an enhanced functionality with the existing platform rather than an entirely new engine

Expansions on Facebook Gifting – speculation from Forbes

  • Further monetize the platform with selling of physical goods

Stronger push towards gaming – speculation from Forbes

  • As FB’s biggest partner in gaming (Zynga) is dying, FB may be looking to start developing its own games to satisfy its dedicated audience of gamers

Instagram enhancements – speculation from Forbes

  • Since spending $1 billion to purchase Instagram, FB has done little with to integrate with the photo-app so far; this may be their first announcement of deeper integration

Greater integration with automobiles – speculation from Forbes, TechCrunch

  • May not be a coincidence that the announcement is scheduled right after the North American International Auto Show
  • Theories include a Facebook-integrated car that enables seamless FB “check-ins” as you drive or a version of Facebook Messenger for cars (synced with Bluetooth)

Additional theories:

  • Redesigning “Notes” to take on Tumblr
  • Creating a standalone feed for different content verticals
  • An easier user experience to navigate and find things on Timeline
  • A video chat competitor to Google Hangouts
  • New advertising channels


The Brands You ‘Like’ on Facebook are Using You – Here’s How to Stop Them

How many hours a day do you spend on Facebook? The more time you spend, the more you’re interacting with your friends. While you’re there, you’re probably interacting with a few of your favorite brands and businesses, too. When you come across a good company, you might “like” it. Whatever purpose this serves for you – communicating with brand reps, getting special offers, showing off your interests to the world – it also serves a big purpose for the business itself. Now that you’ve liked them, you’ve officially become a brand rep yourself, whether you realize it or not.

Feeding Frenzy

When you like a business, your friends are notified in their newsfeeds. Hopefully you knew this already; if not, think about it the next time you want to show your support for the local strip club (“Hi, Mom!”). Businesses love getting your likes because it means their reach is automatically extended to your friends. Since your friends presumably trust you, they might be convinced to check out that business and come to like them, too. Every time you like one of their statuses or posts, they get the same benefit of their content appearing in your friends’ newsfeeds, too.

You’re the New Ad Rep

But it doesn’t stop there. You know the Facebook ads that come up on the right side of the page? Right underneath the ad, you can find out which of your friends likes that business already. When you like a business, your name is appearing underneath the ads that your friends see, too. It works like this: You like brand X. Your friend sees an ad for brand X. Facebook and brand X make sure your friend knows that you like brand X. Suddenly, you’ve become brand X’s newest advertising rep. They’re using you to get to your friends. They’re taking advantage of your like and using it to make you seem like a staunch advocate of their brand.

How to Sever Your Ties

Facebook’s privacy settings are notoriously lenient when it comes to the “privacy” part. Changing your settings is not easy or intuitive, but it can be done. You can change your settings so that your name does not appear on any Facebook ads, and your friends will no longer be continually reminded of which brands you like. Here are the steps to do this:

  1. Click on “Account Settings” in the dropdown menu in the upper right-hand corner of your Facebook page.
  2. Click on “Facebook Ads” on the left side of the page.
  3. Underneath the heading “Ads and friends,” Click on “Edit social ads setting.”
  4. At the bottom of the page find the dropdown menu next to “Pair my social actions with ads for,” and Click on “No one.”
  5. Click “Save Changes.”

After you follow those steps, the businesses you like will no longer be able to pimp you out in their ads on your friends’ pages, and your brand allegiances will be kept (a little) more private.

Lisa Hann writes articles addressing current marketing trends for Lisa has over ten years of experience in the field and loves to hear from her readers.

How Social Media is Ruining Our Minds

How often do you use Facebook? If you are like any of the other 800 million active users on Facebook, you might sign on at least once a week or perhaps once a day or more.

While there are certainly news sites, information sites, finance sites, and work-related sites that you may sign onto just as often, due to the unique social nature of Facebook that gives you constant streaming access and communication with friends, family, and acquaintances, Facebook and Social Media platforms like it are quickly becoming social addictions and thus impacting our natural human functions. In fact, studies have shown that prolonged use of Social Media affects our memory, multitasking abilities, and even our long-term cognitive functioning and development.

This infographic, Social Media is Ruining Our Minds, gives light to these studies as well as additional fascinating facts about the internet phenomenon that is Social Media, and it’s increasing impact on our health as a society.

Social Media is Ruining Our Minds
Is Social Media Ruining Our Minds?

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This infographic was created by Assisted Living Today, a website to find an assisted living facility in Massachusetts and all other states.