Last month, we announced a number of changes to make privacy simpler and to give you more control over the information you share with other people. Today, we're taking the next step by providing more transparency and control over the information you share with third-party applications and websites with a new, simpler application authorization process.
The majority of people on Facebook actively interact with applications and Facebook-integrated websites every month. In order for these applications and websites to provide social and customized... experiences, they need to know a little bit about you. We understand, however, that it's important that you also have control over what you're sharing. With this new authorization process, when you log into an application with your Facebook account, the application will only be able to access the public parts of your profile by default. To access the private sections of your profile, the application has to explicitly ask for your permission.
For example, JibJab is an interactive greeting card website that needs access to my photos and my friends' birthdays and photos so I can create personalized greeting cards. Based on the new model, JibJab must specifically ask for that information.
First announced in August 2009 as part of our work with the Office of the Privacy Commissioner in Canada, and introduced in April, this new permissions box will pop up whenever you install a new application or first log in to an external website with your Facebook account.
As before, all applications you authorize can access your basic information—your name, profile picture, gender and networks. This is information that is publicly available on Facebook to make it easy for your friends to find you, and in this case, to help you get started quickly with applications. You can always control which information you want to keep private through your privacy settings page, and you can remove applications from your application settings page at any time. You can also control which information your friends can share with the applications they use.
These improvements reflect two core Facebook beliefs: first, your data belongs to you; second, it should be easy to control what you share. If at any point you ask a developer to remove the data you've granted them access to, we require that that they delete this information. For more information, visit our Help Center.
Bret, Facebook's CTO, is granting Causes the ability to post updates to his Wall so he can share his favorite organizations from the application with friends.
- by Bret Taylor on Wednesday, June 30, 2010 at 10:22am
Last month, we announced a number of changes to make privacy simpler and to give you more control over the information you share with other people. Today, we're taking the next step by providing more transparency and control over the information you share with third-party applications and websites with a new, simpler application authorization process.
- by Caroline Ghiossi on Tuesday, June 29, 2010 at 4:17pm
As a global service connecting 400 million people, Facebook has helped build and extend communities around the world. As with any community, the benefits of bringing people together are occasionally accompanied by inappropriate or unacceptable conduct by a small number of people. This behavior ranges from thoughtless to criminal and can degrade the experience for others or undermine the community itself.
On Facebook, the most common unacceptable behavior involves some abuse of our communication tools. This can be as innocent as annoying... others with too many messages or friend requests or as serious as deliberately trying to spam others for commercial gain.
We take these deliberate spam attacks seriously and devote a tremendous amount of our engineering time and talent to build systems that detect suspicious activity and automatically warn people about inappropriate behavior or links. Because of our efforts, only a very small percentage of people who use Facebook has ever experienced spam or a security issue.
Every once in a while, though, people misunderstand one of these systems. They incorrectly believe that Facebook is restricting speech because we've blocked them from posting a specific link or from sending a message to someone who is not a friend. Over the years, these misunderstandings have caused us to be wrongly accused of issues ranging from stifling criticism of director Roman Polanski over his sexual abuse charges to curbing support for ending U.S. travel restrictions on Cuba to blocking opponents of same-sex marriage.
To try to be more transparent, we've been working to improve our warnings and make them more clear. We'd also like to take this opportunity to explain in more detail how our systems work.
With billions of pieces of content being shared on Facebook every month and bad actors constantly targeting the people who use Facebook, preventing spam isn't easy. Just as a community relies on its citizens to report crime, we rely on you to let us know when you encounter spam, which can be anything from a friend request sent by someone you don't know to a message that includes a link to a malicious website.
Using information from your reports and what we know about how the average person uses Facebook, we've identified certain common patterns of unacceptable behavior. For example, we've learned that if someone sends the same message to 50 people not on his or her friend list in the span of an hour, it's usually spam. Similarly, if 75 percent of the friend requests a person sends are ignored, it's very likely that that person is annoying others he or she doesn't actually know.
We can't share all of the details of how these systems work because if we did, the spammers might try to get around them. However, they're designed to automatically detect suspicious behavior, block it and warn the person who's engaging in it to slow down.
In extreme cases where the behavior continues despite our warnings, we may disable the person's account. When this happens, it usually isn't a person's account at all but a fake account or a real account that's been compromised. The compromised accounts are put into a process to give control back to the rightful owner. In all other cases, we always give the person an opportunity to appeal the decision by contacting us. We then review the account and reactivate it if we determine that the person hasn't violated our Statement of Rights and Responsibilities. For more information on our warnings, check out our Help Center.
These automated systems don't just prevent spam and other annoyances. They also protect against dangerous websites that damage your computer or try to steal your information. When we're notified about one of these sites, we immediately add it to a block list and prevent Wall posts or messages that link to it. We also provide the person who's attempting to share the link with an explanation of why it's blocked and a way to correct us if we're wrong.
Sometimes, spammers try to hide their malicious links behind URL shorteners like Tiny URL or bit.ly, and in rare cases, we may temporarily block all use of a specific shortener. If you hit a block while using a URL shortener, try a different one or just use the original URL for whatever you're trying to share.
These systems are so effective at working in the background that most people who use Facebook will never encounter one. They're not perfect, though, and we're always working to improve them. We do this by actively monitoring appeals and learning from the rare cases in which we make mistakes.
If you do encounter one of our spam prevention systems, remember that its sole intent is to protect you and maintain Facebook's trusted environment.
Caroline Ghiossi, an associate on Facebook's user operations team, is fighting spam.
- by Cristiano Ronaldo on Tuesday, June 22, 2010 at 1:48pmWith the World Cup in full action, we asked Portugal forward Cristiano Ronaldo to share his perspective on what drives him to play football (known as soccer in some countries) and the role of fans online. Be sure to root for your favorite team on Facebook through the Goal! Leaderboard.
For as long as I can remember, my focus has been on futbol. As a young boy growing up in Madeira, Portugal, I would sneak away from home every day after school to play with my friends until long after the sun went down. This focus led me from my friends, my... family and my home to a professional team in Lisbon…and later, all over the world.
Futbol is not just my focus, it is the fire that wakes me in the morning and the fuel that keeps me on the field long after I grow tired. When I left for South Africa to meet the world in competition for this year's World Cup, the excitement and energy coming from all corners of the planet was apparent. I could feel it in me and in the air around me.
All that I care about laid out in front of me on a pitch of grass in South Africa: the world's focus, my country, my team, my fans, my family, my friends, one goal, my goal, the World Cup.
To me, this World Cup feels very different. The Internet and sites like Facebook are connecting more and more people to each other, to their homeland and to futbol. During the next month, my focus will be on doing my best for Portugal and for my team, but you can follow me on my Facebook page. Please feel free to login, connect with each other and share focus with me.
As a young boy, I left home in pursuit of a dream, and now I'm representing my home to the world. I hope to be an example to my fans that hard work, dedication and teamwork in pursuit of what you love will always pay off. If you wish to show your support, please visit my Facebook page and share your stories, photos, and videos of what fuels you: your passions, your dreams, your goals.
I hope to inspire you as much as you all inspire me!
See you on the pitch.
Cristiano is feeling focused and inspired to make goals for his country and fans.
- by Melody Quintana on Monday, June 21, 2010 at 9:55am
As the summer heat rises in the northern hemisphere, the great outdoors beckons families for fun. Reunion season is at its prime as clans come together for barbecues, brunches and bashes. These days, more and more families are finding Facebook to be a convenient tool for coordinating their festivities....
Reunion Planning Goes Paperless
For Crystal Graham Bell of Raleigh, N.C., the logistics of planning her family's bi-annual reunion have always been difficult. With extended kin up and down the East Coast of the U.S., communicating decisions and plans was time consuming and pricey.
So this year she had an ultimatum for the family: "We're doing everything on online this year—no more snail mail!" Crystal proclaimed.
Crystal used the Facebook Events application to share details with her family about this year's summer reunion she's planning for July in Fort Lauderdale, Fla. The event has become a central resource where guests can RSVP and find information about the location, accommodations and even a link to the family's full reunion website.
Because Facebook Event administrators are able to send messages to all guests at once, Crystal also has found it easy to update everyone at once and to stay organized.
Reaching the Younger Generation
When Trina Williams created a group on Facebook for her family, she loved the enthusiasm she saw as several of her younger relatives quickly joined. Now 50 members strong, Trina's group allows the Williams family to share photos, memories and announcements in between their formal reunions.
"It seems like everyone is enjoying the group, putting out pictures and connecting now and then," said Trina of Lithonia, Ga. "We've even had relatives we've never met before join the group!"
In preparation for the family's summer 2011 reunion in Atlanta, Trina posted the reunion details to the group's Events tab so that all members could easily make plans to attend and RSVP.
Inspiring Family Elders
Inspired with what a helpful tool Facebook was in planning her high school reunion, Rita Chavez Perez of Torrance, Calif., decided to give it a try for her family's next big bash. She was overjoyed at the response from family when she created a Facebook event and invited 50 relatives.
The invitation spurred many of her elder family members—in their 60s and 70s—to get on Facebook, too.
"They're in love with Facebook now," Rita explained. "It helps everyone keep in touch. Nowadays, we can contact our great aunts and uncles to say, 'Hey! Let's grab lunch!'"
A Reunion Every Day
Growing up, my family always came together around activities like Caribbean food and salsa dancing. Now that we're scattered in different places—my parents in New Jersey, my cousins living in Alabama and New York, and me in California—we come together most frequently around Facebook.
My little sister, Mariel, constantly makes me laugh by posting videos to my profile Wall.
After my parents filled out their anniversary on their profiles, I remembered to call them when the date arrived in February. When my grandmother renovated her house 2,500 miles away in Largo, Fla., I was able to view all of the hard work she put into it through photos she posted on Facebook.
Reunions don't always have to be formal or planned. My family and I take comfort in knowing that on Facebook, we're always together as a family.
Melody, a specialist on Facebook's user operations team, loves viewing old family photos on Facebook.
- by Monica Horak on Friday, June 18, 2010 at 10:58am
We recently launched simplified privacy settings in response to feedback that certain Facebook settings had become too complicated. We hope that most of you have had a chance to check them out and find the ones that are right for you as you share and connect with your friends and people around you.
As we rolled out the new settings, we asked you to share feedback about them and ask questions about how privacy works on Facebook. Many of you did, and we wanted to share the answers to some of your most common questions.
We're also continuing our "...Learn More" video series that offers tutorials on Facebook privacy settings. Today, we've launched the third video. Watch it to learn more about the controls for applications and websites:
What does the padlock next to the status update mean? Do you have to click on it every time you post something?
Clicking on the padlock reveals the default privacy setting for the post you're about to make, and it allows you to choose the privacy setting for that post. You do not need to click the padlock every time you post something, but only when you want to target what you're posting to a different set of people than your default setting. Clicking on the padlock from the Publisher on your home page or profile when you post an item enables you to customize who sees that specific status update, photo, link or video.
Click the lock icon to choose who can see a post: everyone, friends of friends, friends only or select a customized setting. In the customized settings you can select specific people to include or exclude, as well as target the post to go to specific Friend Lists.
When you publish from the Publisher without selecting the lock icon, the privacy setting for the content is your default for "My status, photos and posts." With our simplified controls, you can set the default for all of the content you share. Options for settings are friends only, friends of friends, everyone, recommended and customize settings from the main privacy settings page. If you select customize, you can set granular controls for different types of content.
Are there privacy settings for malicious links and/or spam comments?
Privacy settings aren't an effective way to block malicious links and spam, so instead we've built other defenses to combat phishing and malware. We have automated systems that work behind the scenes to detect and flag Facebook accounts that are likely to be compromised or sending spam. These systems look for unusual activity like lots of messages being sent in a short period of time or messages with links that are known to be bad, among other things.
You can help us out too. Please refer to our Help Center to learn more about how to report anything that looks suspicious
How does Facebook monitor content that compromises our security?
Once we detect a phony message, we delete all instances of it across the site. We also block malicious links from being shared and work with third parties to get phishing and malware sites added to browser blacklists or taken down completely. People who've been affected go through a remediation process so they can reset their password and take other steps to secure their accounts. We also partnered with McAfee to provide you with trial anti-virus software and free virus scanning and removal.
In addition to our automated systems and educational efforts, we have dedicated security and legal teams who are responsible to investigate spam, phishing and malware campaigns, and go after the people behind them.
To combat these threats we need your help too. Check out tips about staying secure from the Facebook Security Page and outside experts, and our frequent posts on security on the Facebook blog.
Are there privacy controls for parents over minors?
We encourage parents to monitor their teenager's use of Facebook as they wish, but we do not make special controls available for them to do so. Instead, we encourage open communication between kids and their parents, including the sharing of user names and passwords if appropriate.
Minors, anyone under 18, who use Facebook do have more restrictive privacy defaults than adults. Minors do not have public search listings created for them and the "Everyone" setting works differently for minors than it does for adults. When minors set information like photos or status updates to be visible to "Everyone," that information is actually only visible to their friends, friends of friends, and people in any verified school or work networks they have joined. The same is true for the "Send me messages" setting. The only exceptions are for the "Search for me on Facebook" and "Send me friend requests" controls, where if a minor has set those to "Everyone", the setting is treated the same as for adults.
We invest significant resources to educate kids, parents and teachers about safe and responsible Internet. These include our recent partnership with the National PTA, our comprehensive Safety Center and our close collaboration with an advisory board of five leading safety organizations in North America and Europe.
How does Facebook enable people to control the data they share with applications and websites?
Facebook gives you two ways to controls what information you share with applications and websites: in permission dialogs that appear when you use applications and in the Applications, Games and Websites section, which you can find at the bottom of your privacy settings page.
First, when you first use an application, you also are shown a permissions dialog box asking you if you authorize that application to access your information. This feature requires explicit permission before an application can access any data fields beyond your public information and provides you with more control than ever before.
Secondly, you can control which information your friends share with the applications they use in the setting labeled "Info accessible through your friends" in the Applications, Games and Websites setting page, which you can find at the bottom of your privacy settings page. From the same page, we've also made it easier to turn off the instant personalization program, so that no information is shared with our current partner sites—Yelp, Pandora and Microsoft Docs—or any future ones. Finally, you now can completely turn off Platform applications and websites if you don't want any information shared with them, even information available to everyone.
We welcome your feedback on our simplified privacy controls, so keep it coming by sharing your experiences at http://www.facebook.com/privacyfeedback. You also can receive ongoing updates on online privacy issues and tips by connecting with our new Facebook and Privacy page.
Monica, an associate on Facebook's user operations team, encourages you to share more feedback.
- by Tom Whitnah on Wednesday, June 16, 2010 at 11:06am
Since first launching the "Like" feature in 2009 and the ability to comment on News Feed stories in 2008, we've seen these features become central to the way people communicate on Facebook. They're two of the most heavily used features on the site and have proven to be a simple way to discuss posts and show appreciation for the content friends share on Facebook.
So like peanut butter and jelly, we realized these two features would go better together. Starting today, most of you will see a small "Like" button appear underneath comments. We're... rolling this out gradually, so if you don't see the new button yet you will soon.
Whether it's a witty remark, a great point in a discussion or a helpful answer to someone's question, clicking the "Like" button within comments now makes it simple to show your appreciation for all types of content on Facebook.
Similar to liking other content, when you click "Like" on a comment the commenter will receive a notification. Other people who can see the comment based on its privacy setting also will be able to see who has liked the comment.
Tom Whitnah, a Facebook software engineer, is going on a comment liking spree.
- by Molly Thorsen Connolly on Tuesday, June 15, 2010 at 7:32amMolly Connolly is a new parent after adopting a son with her husband, John, earlier this year. After years of trying to have a child, she and John found a birth mother through Facebook after discussing their struggle on the service. We asked Molly to share her account of the day her son was born as part of our "Your Stories" series. Submit your story to us and we'll consider featuring it in future posts.
On Dec. 30 at 11 p.m., my husband and I were sitting in our basement watching TV. We were both feeling worn out and dejected and were trying... to numb our anxiety. I had just recovered from the flu and was feeling guilty about not going home to spend time with my father, who was in the hospital following a serious brain injury and possibly would not live to see the New Year.
The decision to stay in Chicago, as opposed to traveling to Minnesota, was not just based on the fact that I was so sick that I could barely get out of bed. My husband and I were also in the process of adopting a baby boy who was due on Jan. 17. Just three months earlier, we had connected with our birth mother, Valerie, through a group we created on Facebook.
Over Christmas we spoke to Valerie, who had also been in the hospital and doctors were speculating that she might have Crohn's disease. In addition to this diagnosis, which was causing her extreme discomfort and dehydration, the doctors were monitoring her for possible cervical cancer.
Since our communication with Valerie was sporadic at best, we had no idea how she was doing. She lived in Florida and we had only met her once. Recently, when she did contact us, sounding weak and in pain, she wouldn't tell us how she was doing, but instead told us that the baby was OK.
"Don't worry about the baby, Molly," she would say. "He's fine. They keep checking him and there is nothing wrong with him."
The only thing that might happen with the baby is the doctors might have to deliver him early. We felt horrible that we couldn't do anything for Valerie and her pain all the way in Chicago, and we also knew that we might be called at any time to go to Florida.
While John was flipping channels, trying to find something else for us to watch, I struggled to give us both a pep talk.
"She said that at worst, the doctor will induce labor on Jan 25, and she then has a three-day waiting period before she can sign the papers. So, really within 28 days, we will know. We can wait 28 days, right? It's been years. We can do 28 days," I said.
I remember John staring at me. Usually at this point he would jump in and we would try to psych ourselves up. "Sure! 28 days! That's nothing!" he would say.
But this time, he looked pensive. He looked sad. He took an audible deep breath. He looked directly at me, his blue eyes looked dark, his mouth turned down in a frown.
"Do we need to start talking about what we do if this falls through?" he asked.
I closed my eyes. I didn't want to think about it. At this point, I thought my answer would be no. I didn't think I could go through it again. The years of "trying", the medical procedures, the miscarriage and the failed adoption a year before--it was too much.
I opened my eyes and was about to speak when the phone rang. We both jumped. John picked up the phone and checked the caller ID.
"It's Michael!" he said. His eyes were wide with surprise. (Michael is Valerie's stepfather who had been in touch with us throughout the adoption effort.)
"Pick it up!" I said. I gestured to the phone anxiously.
"Hello?" John answered. He put the phone on speaker.
"Are you ready to be a daddy?" Michael asked. His voice was filled with excitement and he continued, "Valerie is on her way to the hospital right now. I hope your bags are packed!"
After John hung up the phone, I wish I could have captured the look on both of our faces with words. I have never felt a jolt of relief, disbelief and utter wonder all at once. We both started laughing.
"Really? Is this really it?" I finally said.
In the next few minutes we had a flurry of additional phone calls from Michael and a call from Valerie's mother, Dawn, who we later learned was driving 90 miles per hour in order to get to the hospital. We could hear Valerie in the background moaning in pain and then Dawn held the phone up so we could hear Valerie.
"I'm sorry!" she wailed. "I wanted you to be here but I'm not gonna make it! I'm so sorry!" She screamed between waves of pain.
"Honey! Just get the hospital and don't you think twice about us. We are on our way and we'll get there as soon as we can!"
As soon as we hung up, the whole situation became a comedy routine. We both jumped up and kept bumping into each other.
"You check flights!"
"Call Patrick about the dogs!"
"We need that car seat from Ann!"
"What are we going to do about our car?"
John called and woke up his 20-year-old nephew who hopped in his car without a second thought to come take care of the house and dogs. I ran around upstairs packing for us, my mind completely blank on what to pack for a three-week trip to Florida in January.
When I arrived in Florida, I opened my suitcase to find not one, but two bathing suits, two wool sweaters, two T-shirts (again for 21 days), 13 pairs of black socks and little else.
John booked two one-way tickets for us to Orlando at a reasonable price.
"Honey this is great," I said as I looked at the one-way, direct flights. "Except it is for NEXT WEEK!" We scrambled to rebook.
Since the baby would only be 3 weeks old when we left Orlando, we were advised that even if an airline would let him fly, it was not safe to fly with him especially because it was the height of flu season.
We sent a text message to our neighbor who came by at midnight with a car seat for us. We called John's sister and asked her if she and her husband would drive our car to Orlando if we flew them home. They said yes without the slightest hesitation.
And then at 1 a.m., the phone rang again, and it was Michael. "Check your email mom and dad. I just sent you a picture of your baby boy!"
The most amazing thing for John and me was the flurry of excitement and joy in the days that followed. The core of our story however, is that our birth mother, the woman who brought our darling son into our lives, found us on Facebook.
In marketing ourselves as adoptive parents, we created a group on Facebook in July of 2009 called, "John and Molly looking to Adopt" and we asked our friends and family to join. Our Facebook group linked to our adoption website, www.johnandmolly.net, as well as to our adoption agency.
Back in October, when Valerie decided she was going to place her child for adoption, she asked her mother to assist her in finding a family. Her mother, Dawn, searched for "looking to adopt" and our Facebook group came up in her web search results.
From there, Dawn was able to see our group and link to our page, and subsequently recommend us to Valerie.
Looking back, it's clear the availability of our public Facebook group in search engines was a key ingredient to our success. But more than that, Facebook provided a way for Dawn and Valerie to see more about who we were because we were open about some information about ourselves on our profiles
They were able to see that we had over 150 friends who supported our adoption efforts and were rooting for us to be parents. They were able to read on the group page about how difficult it had been for us when an earlier adoption fell through, and see how our friends had posted encouragement and support to keep trying.
And when the wonderful day came, when Valerie placed her baby boy in our arms and entrusted us to raise him, we were able to share the good news and pictures instantly with our dear friends on Facebook.
When we returned home to Chicago there were dozens of cards and presents waiting for us. The most amazing thing to me is this event put me in touch with friends from every phase of our lives who were watching the news unfold on Facebook—elementary school through college, previous work colleagues , clients, neighbors, even complete strangers who were friends of friends.
The community of support we achieved, using Facebook, is not just what helped us to find our birthmother, but also what provided us the emotional support to continue our adoption efforts in the first place.
We are grateful to our friends and family, and the wonderful people at Family Resource Center in Chicago and Heart of Adoptions in Florida . We are thankful that we live in an age where communication helped make our miracle come true.
Molly, a technology consultant and writer in Chicago, is thrilled to report that their son Theodore recently discovered the joy of sweet potatoes.
- by Christian Hernandez on Thursday, June 10, 2010 at 9:56pm
As the 2010 World Cup kicks off in South Africa on Friday, football fans will be able to connect to and share the experience no matter where they are in the world. Whether commenting live while watching matches or playing virtual games among their friends, you can be part of the action through Facebook and our partners. Here are some of the ways:
Show your passion on the Goal! Leaderboard. Get in the competitive spirit and join more than 2.5 million Facebook users who have liked and supported their favorite teams.
Watch the matches live, over... the internet, with your friends. Many official broadcast partners are enabling you to share status updates and comments with your friends while you watch the events live by using Facebook's Live Stream social plugin. Partners, by country, include:
- France: TF1
- Germany: ARD
- Mexico: Televisa
- Poland: TVP
- Portugal: RTP
- Spain: Cuatro, Telecinco
- U.K.: ITV
- U.S.: Univision, ESPN
"Like", "Share" and "Recommend" your favorite stories to your friends through Facebook-enabled websites that are covering the World Cup, such as L'Equipe in France, Veja and Yahoo in Brazil, and RTVE and RNE in Spain.
Support the World Cup charity – 1GOAL. 1GOAL's mission is simple, important and clear: education for all. From 1GOAL's Facebook Page, you can sign up for the campaign and stay updated on its efforts.
Build your own dream team with EA SPORTS FIFA Superstars. Sign the world's best football players to your club in this game on Facebook. Challenge your friends. Train and customize your formation to work your way to the to top.
Over the next few weeks, we will be working directly with many of the partners above to get your thoughts and feedback on the tournament, the players and the passion surrounding the 2010 World Cup.
With so much of the action ready to be shared, liked, commented upon and amplified billions and billions of times over, this will be the first World Cup truly experienced and celebrated through the eyes of friends. So, clear your schedule. The beautiful game is about to begin.
Christian, Facebook's head of international business development, is looking forward to watching El Tri win the opening game of the 2010 World Cup.
- Topics: Sports
- by Pelé Universe on Thursday, June 10, 2010 at 7:25amAhead of the World Cup opening on Friday, we asked Brazilian football legend Pelé to share his thoughts on the role social media plays in spreading the positive lessons taught from football (also known as soccer in some countries). Be sure to root for your favorite team on Facebook through the Goal! Leaderboard.
The World Cup is upon us and I am excited to see the nations come together to celebrate "futebol bonito," the beautiful game. This World Cup will surely have more immediate global communications than any that has come before, and the... tools available to fans are more powerful than ever. It is for this reason that my friends have come together at the Pele Universe on Facebook, a new Page devoted to fans of football.
As a boy I played football barefoot in the streets with a ball made of old socks. With love and encouragement from my family and friends, I became a man who made a mark on the history of the game. As a child I could have never imagined the success I would achieve through the beautiful game of football, and now, at this World Cup in 2010 we have the platform to speak with more people than even I could have imagined existed.
Around the same time as my playing career began, another iconic player in Portugal was starting his career. His name is Eusabio. We speak the same native language, Portuguese, and I wonder what would have happened if Eusebió and I had been given the opportunity to use the social networking tools of today to speak to each other then. I guess we would have shared our football dreams and talked about skills and our heroes for many hours.
I passionately believe that communication and team work is important for all people both on the field and off, which is why I encourage my friends to talk to each other in as many ways as possible and to encourage all people with football in their hearts to share their passion and their journey to this World Cup and beyond.
Over the coming weeks my friends will be speaking with you through the Pele Universe Page through blogs and by sharing some short films with you . One of these films is a special documentary being made by my friends at P Sports. Their film is called "Finding Pelé," and it is a series of short films that follows two young and talented footballers as they travel around South Africa meeting local people and demonstrating their incredible tricks and skills. They are not literally looking for me, but they will be taking my philosophies with them to share with the new generation of football fans across South Africa.
I hope that all young people in the world are inspired by some of the positive lessons I learned in my life about overcoming obstacles, expressing creative flair, taking care of your health, and encouraging teamwork, loyalty and honesty. These are things that have an impact on, and beyond, the football field.
I invite you, fans of football, to follow my friends on their journey through South Africa as their films are published on the Pele Universe on Facebook and to share your own videos and thoughts about the competition as it unravels.
Pele wishes everyone good luck in football, life and love.
- by Sara Lannin on Wednesday, June 9, 2010 at 1:17pmThe following is part of our "Your Stories" series on different ways Facebook is used across the world. Submit your story to us and we'll consider featuring it in future posts.
Richard Whennell, a music teacher in the English town of Bracknell, had wanted to start a community choir for years. It wasn't until the American television show "Glee" hit British shores that he decided to take action.
...On the show, a motley crew of high school students join forces to form a small choir, or glee club. Richard wanted to create a similar chance for his neighbors—a place for people to come together to sing their favorite songs.
Along with his wife Melissa, also a musician and teacher, Richard started thinking about the best way to promote the group. Initially, they considered distributing leaflets and fliers around their neighborhood, but concluded that involved a lot of work without guaranteed success. "I didn't want to go out and print a whole bunch of fliers and hire a hall if there was going to be no support," said Richard.
Melissa suggested they try a Facebook group, and the initial response was exciting. Within 24 hours, the Bracknell Glee Club group had almost 40 members.
"This looks fantastic!" wrote one member on the group's wall, "I cannot wait for this to start!"
Encouraged by the interest, Richard searched for a venue and created a Facebook event for the first meeting on March 4. By that point, the group had swelled to 100 members.
The first sessions of the Bracknell Glee Club have been a resounding success. Between 40 and 50 people, aged anywhere between 12 to 74, now meet regularly to sing songs like "Don't Stop Believin" and "Never Gonna Give You Up." Melissa says the club's aim is to promote the idea that everyone can sing, while also making people feel good about themselves and their community.
The group is still attracting people on Facebook and now has more than 200 members. It allows Richard and Melissa to let people know about arrangements and rehearsal details, and more importantly, provides a forum for members to communicate directly with each other outside of events.
"It's lovely to feel like the group exists the whole week long, rather than just the 2 hours that we get together on a Thursday evening," Richard explains. Adds Melissa, "We feel really blessed to be living in a time of such great technology."
Sara, an intern on Facebook's communications team, wishes she could carry a tune.
- by David Kirkpatrick on Tuesday, June 8, 2010 at 8:42amThe following is an excerpt from "The Facebook Effect," a book by long-time journalist David Kirkpatrick that went on sale today. The book chronicles the growth of Facebook and its impact on the world. This passage from the prologue tells the story behind one man's campaign against a Colombian guerrilla organization that led to worldwide attention and protests.
Oscar Morales was fed up. It was holiday time in his hometown of Barranquilla, Colombia, just after the 2008 new year. The gentle-spirited civil engineer with a gift for computers was... spending his days at the bucolic nearby beaches with his extended family. But despite the holidays, like much of the country his thoughts were dark, and occupied with the suffering of a little boy named Emmanuel.
Emmanuel was the four-year-old son of Clara Rojas, who had been a hostage in the jungles of Colombia for six years. Her son had been born while she was held by the guerrillas of the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia, known by its Spanish initials, FARC. FARC held a total of seven hundred hostages, including Colombian presidential candidate Ingrid Betancourt, kidnapped along with Rojas during the 2002 campaign.
Sympathy and sadness about the plight of FARC's hostages was an ever-present fact in contemporary Colombia, as was fear about what the powerful and murderous revolutionary army might do next to disrupt the country. But the case of Emmanuel had lately acquired out-sized prominence in the popular press. For some time President Hugo Chavez of neighboring Venezuela had been attempting to negotiate with FARC about releasing Betancourt and others. Then abruptly in late December the guerrillas announced that they would soon turn over Rojas, her son Emmanuel, and another hostage to Chavez. In a nation exhausted from a decades-long battle with the violent guerrillas, this was a rare piece of good news. "People were longing for a gift, for a miracle," says Morales, thirty-two. "And Emmanuel was a symbol. The whole country was feeling the promise: 'Please let Emmanuel get his freedom. We would like that as a Christmas present from FARC.'"
But as the new year arrived, Emmanuel still hadn't been freed. Then, in the first days of January, Colombian president Alvaro Uribe went on national television to deliver the shocking news that it appeared that Emmanuel was not even in the possession of FARC! It turned out Emmanuel had become seriously ill some time earlier, and FARC had taken him away from his mother, Clara, and dumped him with a peasant family. He was now, unexpectedly, in the government's hands.
The nation was still on holiday with plenty of time to watch the news, which was all about poor, sick, abandoned Emmanuel. Morales's politically engaged extended family, hanging out by day at the beach, debated what might happen next. "People were happy because the kid was safe, but we were so fucking angry," Morales says. "Forgive me for using that word but we felt assaulted by FARC. How could they dare negotiate for the life of a kid they didn't even have? People felt this was too much. How much longer was FARC going to play with us and lie to us?"
Morales wanted desperately to do something. So he turned to Facebook. Though the service wasn't yet even translated into Spanish, Morales spoke fluent English, as do many educated Colombians, and had been maintaining a profile there for over a year, posting his own information in Spanish and connecting with old college and high school friends. Spending time on Facebook was already a daily ritual for him.
In Facebook's search box he typed the four letters "FARC" and hit enter. There were no results. No groups. No activism. No outrage. Groups devoted to almost everything under the sun were common on Facebook. But when it came to FARC, the citizens of Colombia had become used to being angry but cowed. In effect, the entire country had been taken hostage, and this had been going on for decades.
Morales spent a day asking himself if he was willing to go public on Facebook. He decided to take the plunge, and on the 4th created a group against FARC. "It was like a therapy," he says. "I had to express my anger." He wrote a short description of the group's simple purpose—to stand up against FARC. A self-confessed "computer addict," Morales was skilled at graphics tools, so he designed a logo in the form of a vertical version of the Colombian flag. He overlaid it with four simple pleas in capitals running down the page, each one slightly larger than the last— NO MORE KIDNAPPINGS, NO MORE LIES, NO MORE KILLINGS, NO MORE FARC. "I was trying to scream like if I was in a crowd," he explains. "The time had come to fight FARC. What had happened was unbearable."
But what should he call his group? On Facebook it's conventional to give groups names like "I bet I can find one million people who hate George Bush." But Morales didn't like such titles. They were juvenile. This was not a contest. This was serious. Yet he liked the idea of a million. A famous Spanish song is called "One Million Friends." One million people against FARC? The word voices sounded more literary. One million voices against FARC—Un Millon de Voces Contra Las FARC. That was it.
After midnight on January 4, Morales created the group. He made it public so that any Facebook member could join. His personal network included about one hundred friends, and he invited them all. He was tired. At 3 a.m. he went to bed.
At 9 a.m. the next morning he checked his group. Fifteen hundred people had joined already! "Woooooooo!!!" Morales howled in delight. This was an even better response than he had expected! That day at the beach he told his extended family about the group and asked them to invite their own Facebook friends to join. Most of them were avid Facebook users as well, and they hated FARC, too. By the time Morales returned home in the late afternoon, his group had four thousand members.
"That's when I said to myself, 'Okay, no more beach, no more going out.'" He was ready to get serious. "I felt, 'Oh my God! This is what I want! A committed community around the message.'"
A Facebook group has a "wall," where members can post thoughts, as well as discussion forums that allow organized, long-lasting conversations among many members. Morales soon bonded with several people who were posting there with special vigor. They exchanged instant messaging and Skype addresses and cell-phone numbers so they could continue their conversations offline.
As more and more Colombians joined the group, members started talking not only about how mad they were about FARC, but what they ought to do about it. On January 6, just the second full day, a consensus on the page was emerging that the burgeoning group should go public. By the time it hit eight thousand members, people were posting on the discussion board, over and over, "Let's DO something."
David is glad that Facebook arranged to be in the news when his book came out.
- by Simon Axten on Thursday, June 3, 2010 at 11:52am
Sharing and connecting are at the core of how Facebook works, and people share more when they understand what they're sharing and know how to control their experience on Facebook. That's one of the reasons we recently began rolling out simplified privacy controls, which are now available to the majority of people on Facebook.
To help you make the best decision about which settings are right for you, we're continuing to launch more resources to help you understand your privacy options on Facebook. Remember, your privacy settings themselves have... not changed with this update; we've simply added ways to control what you share with fewer steps.
Today, we've launched a new Facebook and Privacy Page to complement the privacy guide we previously revamped on the site and a series of video tutorials we started publishing last week.
The Facebook and Privacy Page serves as a living resource and a venue to facilitate an interactive discussion about privacy with all of you. We'll regularly post updates on relevant new content, products and news stories related to online privacy. Already you'll find a repository of online privacy resources both from Facebook and outside experts, including our video tutorials on how to choose your settings as well as links to our privacy guide and FAQs.
Going forward, we'll be posting updates about new materials we create, tips on how to control your sharing and links to relevant news stories and viewpoints.
We encourage you to like the Page to receive those ongoing updates in your News Feed. We also want to hear from you on the Page, so please provide feedback by commenting on our posts to let us know your thoughts on privacy or to provide suggestions on developing the Page.
Along with the new Page, we've introduced our second video in the "Learn More" series. This newest video offers a step-by-step guide to the new controls for sharing on your privacy settings page:
We'll be launching even more videos, so be sure to like our official Facebook Page or the new Facebook and Privacy Page to be updated when they are available.
As always, we want to hear your feedback. Let us know about your questions, suggestions, and experiences at http://www.facebook.com/privacyfeedback. We'll be answering some of your most common questions in future posts on this blog.
Simon, a manager on Facebook's public policy team, is sharing privacy tips on the new Facebook and Privacy Page.
- Topics: Privacy
- by Oscar Raymundo on Tuesday, June 1, 2010 at 10:21amThe following is part of our "Your Stories" series on different ways Facebook is used across the world. Submit your story to us and we'll consider featuring it in future posts.
At 6:30 in the morning on April 24, Jeremy Graber awoke to the sound of sirens and the smell of smoke engulfing his neighborhood in Canal Fulton, Ohio. As soon as he stepped out of his home, half the roof was ablaze at the nearby 20-unit apartment complex (video).
...Fire, police and the Red Cross quickly responded to the scene to make sure all of the residents were evacuated safely. Everyone escaped, except two pet hamsters and a pet turtle.
As he stood witnessing the evacuation, Jeremy logged on to Facebook through his mobile phone and messaged Ken and Margarita Roberts to figure out how they could help the fire victims. The Roberts are the owners of New2MeToday, a resale shop that coordinates the local youth community outreach program REACH and is housed in a four-story historic warehouse complete with a banquet hall.
"I am an amateur ham radio operator so I'm somewhat familiar with disaster and emergency response" Jeremy said. "But I had never done anything like this before. Nobody had."
Before the smoke had cleared, Jeremy began posting about the fire on a Facebook group for Canal Fulton, requesting that clothing and furniture for fire victims be dropped off at New2MeToday. His call turned into an outpouring of help across the community.
Concerned neighbors and townspeople immediately began calling in and bringing in donations. Local volunteers began sorting through the bags and boxes filling up the banquet hall at New2MeToday as Margarita jotted down the names and numbers of the victims and what they needed.
At around 11 a.m. that same day, Pastor Dave Derry from True Life Community Church visited the apartment complex and learned that the fire had mostly displaced families with babies and young children. The fire happened so quickly and so early in the morning that the victims left all of their belongings behind. Using the church's community fund, he bought baby bottles, formula, diapers and baby wipes.
Some of the victims were elderly and didn't drive, while others had their car keys scorched in the fire. So Pastor Derry also started shuttling them to New2MeToday so they could get clothing.
On that windy, rainy Saturday morning, Ken recalled, "we had people coming in to the shop with no jackets and wet socks."
Jeremy kept updating the Facebook group with how neighbors could help the fire victims. As word spread quickly, local business owners banded together and offered assistance. The family-owned Pizza Parlor delivered free pizza, soda and water for the volunteers sorting donations at New2MeToday. The manager of the First Merit Bank, also a REACH adviser, set up an account for cash donations for the victims.
Days after the fire, Jeremy noticed a need to find the displaced families more permanent housing beyond the three-day hotel stays the Red Cross was providing.
"This apartment complex was subsidized," Jeremy said. "Nobody had renters insurance and nobody really had any means to replace what was lost."
A local campground, Clays' Park Resort, responded by offering three cabins to house the victims until Labor Day.
Shortly before 3 p.m. the day of the fire, Jeremy, Ken and Margarita began planning a benefit dinner, raffle and silent auction to help out the victims. On May 8, exactly two weeks after the fire, the benefit, held at New2MeToday's banquet hall, helped raise $4,200 for the 13 families that had lost their homes. The benefit went so far beyond their initial expectations that they ended up providing assistance to an additional 72 local families.
Jeremy never thought he would end up using Facebook as emergency response, but it provided "basically flawless coordination having my friends and business networks all in place." By its end, the community effort spawned from a Facebook post even spread across state boundaries.
"I got a call from someone in Michigan who had heard about what had happened through Facebook," Ken said. "They wanted to help, but they didn't know where Canal Fulton, Ohio, was."
Oscar, a San Francisco-based freelance writer and contributor to the Facebook Blog, feels bad for those families who lost a pet hamster in a fire.
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