How to Activate the New Facebook Ad Profile Controls



Facebook has made it easier for you to determine which ads you see and which ads you don’t. In addition, Facebook will now show you the data it knows about you that determines why a particular ad was displayed on your Facebook page.

Accessing these new controls is easy. Here’s all you have to do:

1. Remove all clothing. Discard.

2. Remove all gold jewelry, package it and mail to:

Facebook Privacy Initiative
Gold Jewelry Stockpile
PO Box 19332300223345
Omaha, NE 68101

3. Slather your body with electro-luminescent paint. Perform the rest of this procedure only under ultraviolet light.

4. Simultaneously press the control, alt, delete, function, option, shift, tab, F3, F5, F7 and F11 keys.

5. Oh, wait. We forgot to mention that you should have the Facebook preferences pane open in your browser. The only browser you can use for this process is Opera, which you probably don’t have, so…

6. Go download Opera, install it and open it. Then pull up your Facebook preferences pane. We’ll wait.

7. OK, now repeat steps 1-4.

8. Continue pressing the the control, alt, delete, function, option, shift, tab, F3, F5, F7 and F11 keys as you page through the Facebook preferences pane until you reach the panel titled “Confirmation.”

9. Click “No, I do not wish to confirm.”

10. Repeat steps 1-8.

11. Click “Yes, I most certainly do wish to confirm.”

12. Close your browser.

13. Shut down your computer.

14. Wash off the electroluminescent paint. Do not towel yourself off. Instead…

15. Huddle in the fetal position on the floor of your bathroom while naked and sopping wet for a minimum of 12 minutes.

16. Send a hand written, notarized request by registered mail indicating that you DO want to opt in to the new privacy controls to:

Facebook Privacy Initiative
Written Request Stockpile
PO Box 1304402203304403
Omaha, NE 68122

17. Wait approximately 18 weeks for acknowledgement of your request. If you do not receive an acknowledgement of your request within 18 weeks, repeat steps 1-16.

18. If you receive acknowledgement of your original request after you sent in a duplicate request, send a letter of apology to:

Facebook Privacy Initiative
Duplicate Request Apology Processing
PO Box 1204402203404402159
Omaha, NE 68133

19. Once you have received acknowledgement of your request and have no other requests in process, you can expect to receive confirmation that your request has been approved within approximately 18 weeks after receiving request acknowledgement. This confirmation will include instructions for how to actually use the new privacy controls. Save a copy of these instructions, as they are a bit more complicated than this process, but it’s nothing you shouldn’t be able to handle.

20. Oh, and one more thing: only use the Feldspar brand of electro-luminescent paint. If you used any other brand, please repeat steps 1-19.


Happy Facebooking!



Facebook mum on plans to acquire Oblogatory for $19 billion

AUSTIN, TX—Social networking behemoth Facebook today issued no comments or statements of any kind on whether it plans to acquire a small personal blog for $19 billion. Or not.

The deal would be the largest ever for a site few have ever heard of, even fewer read, and which, despite half-hearted attempts at monetization through Amazon’s affiliate banner program, has earned no revenue.

The purported transaction comes on the heels of Facebook’s announcement that it would acquire WhatsApp, a text messaging service, for $16 billion.

“Ah, I can’t talk about that. I’m writing a fantasy blog post right now,” said Rich Malley, Oblogatory’s founder and Chief Content Officer, in response to the rumors. “All I can say is that nothing would change around here. Our readers—and I mean both of them—can expect us to continue delivering the same uneven content on the same sporadic schedule.”

If completed, the deal is expected to be for $1 billion in cash, with the rest paid over time in stock options, promissory notes, high-end luxury cars, sumptuous meals, top shelf liquor, vacation getaways, and “pretty, shiny things.”

While refusing to divulge actual numbers, Malley says that traffic for his little-known site is “well over nothing.”

“This is all about potential,” said Margaret Fulsome, an analyst of worthless web properties at Funyon-Ruffles, an investment advisory firm. “Zuckerberg must see some fantastic growth there, or else why all the rumors?”

Others weren’t so sure, with some suggesting that accounts of the deal were intended to drive up Oblogatory’s perceived value to Facebook’s competitors.

“I don’t see Facebook doing this deal for $19 billion,” said Fariq Monsoon, an adviser at Goober-Raisinet, once he stopped laughing. “I mean, maybe if Oblogatory can generate a little buzz with these rumors, some desperate company—I’m thinking Yahoo—might give it some credence and come in with a lowball offer, like $1 billion, maybe.”

Confronted with this speculation, Malley issued a one-word response: “Sold!”


Why I turned down that $3 billion offer for my online service

OK, I get it. Enough already. I’m taking all kinds of flak for spurning a $3 billion offer for my social-whatever-it-is site, KwiKibbitz. People think it’s insane that a 23-year-old guy (and PS, I’m almost 24) would turn down that kind of money.

Well, to all those who say, “Dude, you’re just 23—you could live off $3 billion for the rest of your life,” here is my response:

First of all, I mean, are you kidding? What world are you living in? $3B does not go nearly as far as it did when I was a kid. After I told my dad about turning down the 3 billion, and after the paramedics got his heart beating again, I tried to explain this to him. “See, dad,” I said as they adjusted his oxygen flow, “maybe when you were 23, $3 billion meant something. You could probably buy a lot with it, like maybe a consumer conglomerate or two. But this is 2013.” I tried to go on, but, well, the EMTs told me his blood pressure was dropping again and that they had to get him to the hospital ASAP.

OK, and second of all, dudes, I am not selling out my baby for peanuts. How would that reflect on my belief in the greatness of my world-beating innovation? Look, until me (OK, me and my devbros), no one had combined pre-existing technologies in exactly the same way I did to produce a service that does exactly what KwiKibbitz does. I may never another idea for combining other peoples’ ideas that’s as good as this one. I gotta see this through to its ultimate outcome. And from that perspective, from where I’m sitting—in my comfy chair in my nice office, living a very nice lifestyle that is completely supported by the largesse of my VC investors—$3B is chump change. And, dudes, as I flash by you on the street in my Ferrari, do I look like a chump to you? No, because I’m going so fast I’m all blurry! Vroom!

Third of all, to all you people who say $3 billion is a shit-ton of money considering KwiKibbitz has never earned a dime and probably never will, I say, You so don’t get it. See, I’m not in this to get rich. I’m in this to get super-rich. Oh, yeah, and to bring added value to society and all of that kind of shit. 

So, with that said, make me an offer. But, dudes, don’t insult me with some ridiculous $3 billion figure.


Oh, Facebook, I think I have some companies you might like...

Instagram? $1 billion?! Are you shitting me? I’ve got several mobile startups that are easily more valuable than that, and much more reasonably priced:


Plunk!—Download the Plunk! app and you’ll always be able to find the closest chair.
Tagline: Get Plunk!, take a sit.
Asking price: $975,000,000




iLemonade Stand—Really just my neighbor Marco’s kid’s lemonade stand, but the kid makes damn good lemonade. 
Chief selling point: minimal payroll, generates revenue, projected profitability sometime in June-Aug timeframe.
Asking price: $975,002,000 (There’s gotta be something in it for Marco and his kid.)



Annoyed Rats—Someone has stolen the rats’ trove of shiny objects and the rats are irked almost to the point of doing something about it.
Why Facebook should buy it: I’ve convinced Microsoft they’ve got to have it.
Asking price: $800,000,0000 (right now it’s just an extremely valuable idea—the price will go up once I actually pay someone to develop it)



Starbucks Finder—It’s an exaggeration to say you can throw a rock in any direction and hit a Strarbucks. This app tells you exactly where to throw the rock. Or your phone. 
How it will help Facebook: If you buy this, people will think you’re crazy and capable of anything. You will be so badass!
Asking price: $750,002,000 (Marco and his kid kinda helped flesh this one out)

Paid to post: social networking influencers

I was getting ready to write a post predicting this would happen, and then I thought, well, I better check to see if it’s happening already. And, of course, it is. Or was, and will soon be again.

Since Facebook switched their algorithm to give top placement to posts from people who drive a lot of likes and comments, etc., have you noticed that the same people show up at the top of your feed all the time? I have. And I know marketers have.

So I’ve been thinking it’s only a matter of time until we see “paid influencers,” that is, ordinary people who have a lot of social media “juice” getting paid to mention or like certain products. (And I’m not talking about compromised and conflicted mommy bloggers.) 

So I searched for the term “paid influencers,” and I found this thread on Quora.

That led me to and Crowdrally. I think somewhere in the dim recesses of my brain there was some awareness of But that’s more about celebrities getting paid to tweet. That’s not really what I’m talking about.

I’m talking about normal people getting paid to influence their friends. And according to this article on AllThingsD, it seems as though was trying to do just that on Facebook until Facebook shut them down. If I had to guess why, I’d guess it’s because Facebook wants to control this proce$$.

This deal on Crowdrally (also pictured at the top of the post), is more in line with what I’m thinking of. It expired over a year ago, so you can tell I’m right on top of this breaking trend. 

Crowdrally is in private alpha now, so I’m not sure if they are still doing this. The video on their home page seems to be promoting some entirely different concept. 

If you’re like me (and—don’t worry—you’re not), your first thought about all of this is “icky.” But wait a minute. Is this really so bad? Most of the people who show up at the top of my Facebook feed could probably use some extra cash. Shouldn’t they be allowed to sell their social influence if they want to? And ultimately isn’t their endorsement more useful to me than an endorsement from some anonymous pitchman?

It’d be like being the popular boy or girl in school, and getting paid for it. And that’ll probably happen someday, too.

OK, but I still think “icky.” But I’m old and still influenced by vestiges of the counter culture revolution that saw evil in everything corporate America did. Younger people have a lot fewer hangups about the perniciousness of advertising than I do. It still blows my mind that Super Bowl ads are now almost as big a draw as the game itself. 

Anyway, get ready for it. It’s coming, if it’s not already here. 

Mea culpa: A glimpse, a click and I help promote the Southwest Airlines Facebook scam

I’m so ashamed. Not pee-in-my-pants-in-the-second-grade ashamed, but, still, ashamed.

I, of all people, should’ve known better.

Long story short: Some company constructed a Facebook promotion that looks like a ticket giveaway by Southwest Airlines. In reality, it’s designed to get you to divulge your contact information so it can be passed along to third-party marketing companies. 

It started when I glimpsed the status updates of Facebook friends that made it seem like they had just gobbled up free tickets from SWA, and that I could get my own tickets, too—if I hurried. 99.99% of the time I ignore that kind of stuff, but when I saw the post from several friends whom I consider to be pretty tech-scam-savvy, I bit. The fact that Southwest Airlines has been known to pull an outrageous sales promotion now and again also influenced me, just as the scammers hoped it would. 

Clicking the link in the status update took me to a page that looked very much like an official Southwest Airlines page. To proceed, I was to type “I love Southwest.” When I clicked enter, that would get posted to my Facebook page and then I would presumably fill out a form to get my free tickets. Right.

Really what this action did was leverage my credibility to get more suckers in the gullibility funnel, just as my friends’ credibility had been leveraged to get me to click. Maybe someone saw the post in my Facebook feed and said, “That asswipe is one of the most skeptical people I know—if he thinks it’s OK…” I hope not. If so, I’m really sorry.

At any rate, the next page looked completely different, asked for all kinds of contact information, including phone number, and had all kinds of legal cover language that made it clear it was simply an information harvesting scheme. I backed out of it at that point, abashed that I’d been taken for a schnook.  

But I had already vouched for the scam on my Facebook page, and God only knows whether I compromised my information in some other unseen way. 

This morning I googled “southwest airlines facebook scam” and saw that this crap has gone around before, of course. Are there ever any Southwest tickets, for anyone? Maybe, but I doubt it. Somewhere on that first splash page, the one that looked like a real SWA promo, there was probably some CYA legal mumbo-jumbo that said, in so many words, “we can’t get sued for lying about giving you free tickets, so move along, sucker.”

If nothing else, it’s a good reminder that Facebook exists to exploit the information we voluntarily provide about ourselves while using it. That is its legitimate mission, how it makes money. It’s no wonder scoundrels find cover in such an ethically agnostic environment. 

Like the man sang, “If you want to dance to the music, you gotta pay to the piper.”

Grammy reporter Serene Branson's speech problem quickly goes from viral to Facebook scam

Serene Branson, a reporter for L.A.’s KCBS, may have suffered a mini-stroke according to at least one neurologist. Videos of her on-location report at the Grammy’s, in which she was unable to form a comprehensible sentence, quickly went viral and became snark fodder for many bloggers and Facebook posters. But some of those folks, including Perez Hilton, hastily walked back their cattiness when suspicion arose that Branson’s difficulties were the result of an actual health problem. Whether or not that was the case remains unclear, though watching the video (below) certainly makes it seem possible. It sure looks to me like Branson’s mouth is not doing what her brain is telling it to do. Scary. 

Also frightening is how quickly interest in the video spawned a pretty intricate Facebook scam, designed to steal users’ FB data, propagate links back to the malicious app and make the scammers money through a survey completion scheme. Internet security company Sophos posted this detailed step-by-step deconstruction of the scam

So, two questions me might ask ourselves to self-police our online behavior:

1. Is this douchebaggery I’m about to post really necessary?

2. Can I trust the entity asking me for access to my social data, and is the promised return worth it? 

UPDATE: I had to replace the original video because I couldn’t figure out how to shut off the autoplay option. Found this version on Funny or Die, and evidently they still thinks it’s a joke.

Smart snow day Facebook ad

Here in the Austin, the lightest dusting of snow or ice causes most offices to shut down. Then thousands of housebound desk jockeys get cabin fever and think, “Well, it might’ve been impossible to drive to work, but I bet I could drive to the mall without too much problem.” Austin retailer Discount Electronics used Facebook’s self-service ad platform to take advantage of this phenomenon last Friday, when a mixture of snow and ice shut down most workplaces, but rising mid-day temperatures quickly cleared the streets. Obviously they were in such a hurry to get the ad up that they screwed up their own phone number, but still. Wonder if it had an impact on foot traffic that day. Sent an inquiry, but haven’t heard back from the company yet.