Week in Facebook news: New privacy tools, unfriending study and making spammer pay up

As if the opening of The Social Network movie  to start the month didn’t give people enough to talk about regarding Facebook, the company this past week hasn’t been able to stay out of the headlines through actions of its own and others.

Zuckerberg meets Lisa Simpson

Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg’s latest star turn took place opposite Lisa Simpson in an episode of The Simpsons on Sunday Oct. 3 in which the famous Harvard University student dishes on careers and education. He’s the latest in a long line of techies to geek up The Simpsons.

Why Facebook friends unfriend

Research out of the University of Colorado Denver Business School examined why people unfriend each other on Facebook and found the No. 1 reason to be the result of getting too many boring posts.

"Researchers spend a lot of time examining how people form friendships online but little is known on how those relationships end," according to Christopher Sibona, a PhD student in the Computer and Science and Information Systems program. "Perhaps this will help us develop a theory of the entire cycle of friending and unfriending."

Posts about polarizing subjects such as politics and religion as well as inappropriate and racist comments also sever many Facebook relationships, the researcher found.

Facebook gets Groups, better privacy

On Wednesday, Facebook rolled out new privacy tools, including a dashboard to view applications signed on for at a glance and the ability for a user to download any of their information from the social networking site.  What’s more, Facebook launched Facebook Groups, which lets users better organize their friends into groups, though upon rollout this generated some controversy when a couple of high profile bloggers were added without their permission to a group they didn’t want to be associated with.

Facebook spammer back in the news

A convicted spammer that a U.S. court fined $873 million was promoting himself last week in an effort to convert his notoriety into a book and/or movie deal.

The Quebec Superior Court has upheld a November 2008 U.S. judgment against Adam Guerbuez after he was found guilty of sending out more than 4 million penis-enlargement, marijuana and pornographic spam messages via Facebook. It was the largest-ever award under the U.S.'s federal antispam law.

Guerbuez meanwhile has filled his blog with posts that show him living the high life in Las Vegas and Beverly Hills, and dining out at fancy restaurants.

iPhone spam attack targets Facebook users

Security company Sophos warned Facebook users last week about a spam scam that tries to trick them into visiting a website promising a free Apple iPhone. Naturally, the website then does its dirty deeds, in this case accessing the user’s information profile and spamming their friends, all in an attempt to drive traffic to the website.

Read more about software in Network World's Software section.

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Tags securitybusiness issuesFacebooksoftwareapplicationscorporate issuesharvard universityUniversity of Coloradofacebook privacy

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