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February 23 2014

February 20 2014

October 22 2013

Report: Facebook Revokes Ban on Beheading Videos

Multiple reports, including from the BBC and CNN, are suggesting that Facebook has given users the green light to once again post graphic videos of beheadings to the social network.

The BBC, which originally reported the change, wrote that Facebook "confirmed it now believed its users should be free to watch and condemn such videos."

Facebook had temporarily banned decapitation videos in May, and it appears that the social network lifted that ban after taking a few months to review and decide upon the best policy. The BBC was alerted by a reader when video of a woman being beheaded surfaced on the social network last week. Users pleaded in the comments for Facebook to remove the video, which led the BBC to investigate Read more...

More about Facebook, Policy, David Cameron, Social Media, and Beheadings

May 11 2012

New ‘Facebook Terms and Policies Hub’ Answers Your Policy Questions

Facebook, infamous for its changing policies and confusion among users about what they’re getting themselves into when they use the world’s largest social network, has finally aggregated all its terms and policies under the same roof.

That roof — Facebook.com/policies — contains, in the words of Facebook, “Everything you need to know, all in one place.” The Facebook Terms and Policies Hub, as it’s called, is clear and easy to navigate, with headlined links and sub-headlines. However, all of these links actually lead to a lot of information.

Clicking on the three big links — Statement of Rights and Responsibilities, Data Use Policy and Community Standards — leads you to details about privacy, account security and how your information is shared. It also links to information about Facebook’s position on just about everything controversial on the Internet, and by extension, on Facebook. Violence, bullying, hate speech, nudity and intellectual property are just a few of the issues on which Facebook has a firm stance.

The policies portal also has links regarding ads and sponsored stories, credits, pages, platform payment terms, promotions and branding resources.

A spokesperson for Facebook released the following statement regarding the new hub:

“This week, we began rolling out the Facebook Terms and Policies Hub, a central resource for all of our policies. Our hope is that this new resource will make our policies more transparent and accessible for the people who use Facebook by offering easy access to answers to specific policy questions ranging from platform to ads to content.”

With the range of policy questions aggregated under the Facebook policies hub, it’s a reminder of just how expansive the world’s largest social network is — and how important it is for users to keep up with Facebook as it continues to expand. Facebook privacy has always been a contentious issue among users, but the inclusion of topics like sponsored stories and page information under the same “policies” roof emphasizes something important: There are many different sides of Facebook. It’s not just a social network — it’s a business.

Are you satisfied with Facebook’s new terms and policies hub? Sound off in the comments.

More About: Facebook, policy

January 04 2011

3 Lessons for Keeping Your Social Business Systems Secure

Brian Roddy is the senior vice president of engineering for Jive Software.

The recent news of government secrets posted to WikiLeaks has refocused enterprise IT on data security.  Due to the ease of gathering and transmitting massive amounts of data in a short period of time, the cost of a single leak continues to grow exponentially.   Meanwhile, thanks to exciting innovations in the consumer web, employees are demanding the benefits and openness of social networking inside the enterprise.  Enterprise social solutions yield huge, measurable benefits.  It’s just a matter of time before these two forces collide in your organization — if they haven’t already. 

While social networking has relaxed an individual’s notion of privacy, “oversharing” in the enterprise context leads to increased risk. This risk is increased by unsanctioned social freeware that encourages employees to bypass IT altogether. In the name of openness and the cloud, these freeware solutions actively solicit people to share confidential company information with their co-workers, completely outside of the enterprise, on a system without any formal corporate controls. This is a regulatory lawsuit waiting to happen.

But, there are alternatives. Enterprise social software can be securely deployed from the cloud or from within the enterprise if adopted in the right way. To address these challenges, IT has to rely on the same tried and true security approaches, adapted for the new, social world. And most of the work involves addressing AAA — authentication, authorization and accounting — in the context of these new, open systems.
Here are three lessons my company has learned by working with our customers that you can use in rolling out secure deployments of social business software to avoid your own WikiLeaks-like disaster.

Lesson 1: Authentication

Authentication enables a system to validate a user’s identity. For more than 10 years, enterprises have been rolling out single sign-on systems to simplify the management of usernames and passwords across multiple internal systems. A huge advantage is that, if needed, you can revoke a user’s account in one place and know that he or she will be denied access to all the integrated systems. 

Integrate your SSO into your social system.
In the context of a social system, the identity of the user becomes paramount. Integrating this system with the store of usernames and passwords not only gives you the ability to authenticate, but provides access to other data in the directory such as organization structure. The good news is that adoption of open industry standards has radically simplified this kind of integration. Almost every company has adopted SAML (Single Assertion Markup Language) as the integration method of choice.  Even some of the holdouts, like Microsoft, are now on board with providing this cheap and consistent mechanism across software. This lets solutions from both inside and outside of the enterprise connect.

Segment authentication between your internal and public communities.
An interesting and related development is that many companies now have multiple single sign-on systems. It’s oxymoronic but true. One SSO is used for internal employees; another is used for external partners, vendors and/or customers. Because external communities are an important part of the social system, all the same requirements and challenges apply in both contexts. One company we spoke with had the same SSO for both internal and external communities and often people accidentally posted internal documents externally. Maintaining clear separation between these communities is important, as is keeping a bridge between them to allow the right communication and collaboration.

Don’t forget username and password basics.
It’s more important than ever to remember the human element. External communities are targets of hackers all the time. People still leave passwords with their default values.  People still create guessable passwords. The same goes for usernames. In one instance, a company set up its system so that an end user could choose “admin” as his username.  This wasn’t done maliciously but the person did get administrative privileges and could have done real damage.

Lesson 2: Authorization 

Authorization is the function of specifying the kind of data or functionality a user can access.  The data that was published on WikiLeaks is an example of the danger of loose authorization.  Very few individuals should have access to that much confidential information.  In the enterprise context, the Sarbanes-Oxley Act (Sarb-Ox) mandates documented controls on access to information systems that can affect the finances of publicly held companies. 

Map your existing data security policy to your social system.
To address Sarb-Ox compliance, some enterprises have invested in enterprise entitlement software that provides a rich model that defines access to data. Although this software is powerful, because it is relatively new and complex to deploy, it is not broadly adopted yet.  If available, it provides a great starting point for integration with social business software. Even if not, most companies have a well-documented data security policy.  Make sure your social system has enough fine-grained controls to map this policy directly to the forms of collaboration provided by the system. 

Use your community to help secure data.
One example of where social software can provide surprising value is on the community policing of data availability. A few of our customers have implemented reward schemes for their employees who discover data that has been incorrectly shared. This helps catch a surprising amount of mistakes that cannot be caught programmatically.

Lesson 3: Accounting

Accounting typically refers to having controls and auditability of the security systems in place. This facilitates strong governance and forensics when things go wrong.   More recently, people have included regulatory electronic discovery requirements in this category.

Have an e-discovery plan.
There’s a wide range of systems for supporting security accounting. The current hot trend is around e-discovery solutions that can not only store this information but also help facilitate forensic investigations. This is top of mind for many IT departments today.  Many of these systems were designed around e-mail. Unfortunately, the way people have integrated with them is by converting every transaction within systems (instant messaging, social business software, etc.) into an e-mail. Software is evolving rapidly and most vendors will have new capabilities that are much more suited to the richness of communication.  Get educated on these solutions and start thinking about how you could roll them out.

Leverage social business software to simplify e-discovery.
Besides the obvious requirement to eventually connect the social business software to these kinds of systems, there are some hidden benefits to collaboration systems.  By combining messaging, forums, document sharing, etc., these systems provide an excellent integrated source for what was previously disparate data. This makes it easier to aggregate the needed information into a single system.

Don’t Let a “WikiLeak” Happen to You

The benefits of enterprise social solutions are too great to ignore.  And so are the security risks. Unsecured cloud-delivered solutions are creeping into and around enterprise in an undisciplined and dangerous way.  Your company must be proactive in addressing these challenges. You need to define your security requirements for these systems and create a roll-out plan that embraces not only the critical community aspects but also how to map to compliance and regulation.  It’s not overly difficult; it just takes a little time and forethought.  The end results are powerful and give you the best of both worlds.

More Business Resources from Mashable:

- HOW TO: Win the War for the Most Talented Employees
- 3 Tools Realtors Can Use to Increase Sales on the Web
- 7 Handy iPhone Apps for Creating Expense Reports
- HOW TO: Get the Most Out of Facebook Insights for Small Business
- 6 Free Chrome Apps and Extensions for Small Businesses

Image courtesy of iStockphoto, gulfix

Reviews: Wikileaks, iStockphoto

More About: enterprise, policy, privacy, security, social media, social software, software, wikileaks

For more Business coverage:

November 30 2010

October 05 2010

Why the Social Web Is the Guardian of Net Neutrality

Global Network Image

Jon Goldman is CEO of the multiuser content-sharing platform Qlipso, which recently acquired the assets of online video site Veoh.com. He lives and works in Los Angeles.

The spread of broadband Internet access allows us to explore and devour an array of content (entertainment, news and information) with a convenience and speed unimaginable to those accessing the web a mere 5 to 10 years ago. And in the past two months, discussions within the Internet and media industries about the continued viability of net neutrality have centered on those issues of convenience and speed.

Proponents of net neutrality have come out in full force rallying around the notion of a free and uninhibited Internet; one controlled only by consumers’ imaginations and desires, rather than corporate profits. They argue that an Internet divided into separate, and potentially unequal access points would give favor to those companies willing to pay top-dollar to have their content and entertainment available to consumers and businesses who are also willing — and able — to pay a premium for access.

Facebook spokesman Andrew Noyes articulated why net neutrality is so important when he told Information Week that “Preserving an open Internet that is accessible to innovators — regardless of their size or wealth — will promote a vibrant and competitive marketplace where consumers have ultimate control over the content and services delivered through their Internet connection.”

In the long run, however, proposals like the one from Google and Verizon in August do not represent the doomsday scenario many are predicting, primarily because of the influence of the social web on our Internet usage.

Google’s and Verizon’s Plan

Following the joint proposal from Google and Verizon outlining their views for how Internet and broadband services should be controlled and accessed in a 21st-century marketplace, consumer advocacy groups, government officials and pundits have accused the companies of colluding to create an Internet they can control with the services and websites they offer. In other words, sites not affiliated with or owned by these two companies will be slower, drastically affecting the user experience and information flow.

The main issues for detractors of the proposal are exceptions given to wireless Internet providers and for potential new services that broadband providers could offer, such as advanced educational services, or new entertainment and gaming options.

Both Google and Verizon have claimed that exceptions are necessary for broadband web access because that market is still largely in its infancy, and any type of regulation on broadband development and access points could constrain innovation.

Even if Google and Verizon succeed and the government regulates the Internet in favor of the big companies, users will still demand alternative points of access. Additionally, the success of user generated content has shown that the high production values offered by established (and potentially “favored” media) may not be what the majority of users are after. In other words, constraining the Internet may turn out to be expensive hunt for fool’s gold.

How We Got Here

Facebook Map Image

The rise of the social web has tipped the balance of information sharing power from corporations to users. Many of the remaining ties consumers once felt toward their favorite search engine or broadband provider have been loosened, making user recommendations the most critical factor in e-commerce decisions. The same thing has happened with content. What our friends watch, play or listen to is increasingly the deciding factor in what media we choose to consume.

This has two important effects on the net neutrality debate. First, social media has rewired people to expect an open and unrestricted Internet. It’s clear to most web users that a controlled Internet (whether by corporations or government) is not in the best interest of the user (or in the long run, the marketplace of ideas). Second, consumer choice is at high level. Most users are not restricted by a single point of access, both to the web as a whole and for discovery of the information it contains.

Both points are relevant for framing why the social web will ultimately save net neutrality. Social media has trained us, as denizens of the web, to demand neutrality, and the breakdown of information and access to silos allows us the freedom to make good on threats to bring our business elsewhere.

What the Future Holds

We’ve become so used to open access, to an open web, that closing it off is kind of like trying to put toothpaste back into the tube. We cannot simply turn back the clock on the Internet and magically rebuild a system whereby some websites, broadband access and types of content are given artificial priority over others. People will continue to expect an open web, regardless of regulation – especially since the social tools used by hundreds of millions of people are predicated on this openness.

Much the same way that the print media and music industries failed to recognize the coming disruptions and subsequent attacks from more nimble and innovative digital startups, strategic mistakes by Google, Verizon or others will enable innovative entrepreneurs committed to a free and open Internet to step in, address consumers’ desires, and take advantage of their larger rivals’ missteps.

And for the still-emerging world of the Internet, a place dominated by the social web and user voice, it may be OK for corporations to test the benefits that can come from a system of tiered access. It will not be the death knell for openness.

Whether it’s Google, Verizon or any other company trying to place restrictions on Internet access and artificially promote their services over others, the social web has given users and many entrepreneurs a warrior mentality when it comes to defending net neutrality.

Ultimately, the social web will balance things out, and consumers will continue to dictate the types of content they access and from where.

More Tech Resources from Mashable:

- Net Neutrality: 7 Worst Case Scenarios
- How Brazil is Blazing a Trail for Electronic Democracy
- 10 Killer Firefox Tips, Tricks and Shortcuts
- 11 Astounding Sci-Fi Predictions That Came True
- 10 Dead Simple Gmail Tips, Tricks & Shortcuts

Image courtesy of iStockphoto, geopaul

More About: Google, law, net neutrality, policy, social media, social web, tech, verizon

For more Tech coverage:

August 09 2010

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