Aug 302010
 

The security train wreck called Facebook is up to its old tricks again. I friend sent me  a screen shot of a message she recently received when trying to log in to her Facebook account:

My friend is at a complete loss as to how to proceed. She a) doesn’t have a cell phone and b) wouldn’t give Facebook her phone number even if she did own cell phone.  Clicking on the “Why am I seeing this?” link just takes you to the basically useless all-in-one Facebook help page. She reported the problem to Facebook but has only received the usual canned response back. She can’t even get in to her account to delete it, which is what she would really like to do since she is so upset with Facebook.

I have a question. What genius at Facebook thought this was a good idea?

The stupidity of this just boggles my mind. Are the people working at Facebook so clueless that they think everyone in the world has a cell phone? Given Facebook’s security track record do they really think that everyone would be willing to give them their phone number?

I wish there was a good alternative to Facebook. Unfortunately there isn’t at this point in time and I don’t see one on the horizon. It’s a shame that they can treat their users with such contempt and not suffer any consequences.

Aug 122010
 

The puzzle

Lately it seems like many of the web sites I browse stall for 5  or 10 seconds while they load. Sometimes they refuse to load at all and I have to hit the reload button to get them started again. When this happens I tend to look at the lower left corner of Firefox to see the domain of the content that is holding up the web page.  In many cases this is a domain other than the website that I am trying to load, such as advertisement servers.

After a while I noticed that an inordinate number of times web pages would be slow to load the domain that seemed to be holding up the works was fbcdn.net .  One particularly frustrating day I went looking for this offending domain. A little research and I discovered this was the FaceBook Content Developer Network domain.  The servers at fbcdn.net are used for providing most of the static content of Facebook, such as member pictures, images, buttons,  and other content that does not change.  With 500 million users on Facebook you can imagine what an incredible load these servers are under every day. They are also responsible for providing static content outside of Facebook and this is where the problem lies.

The answer

The next time I noticed a piece of content from fbcdn.net was holding up the loading of a non-Facebook web page I looked at the page source.  I discovered that the piece of content that was slow to load was one of those Facebook “Like” buttons. That’s when it occurred to me that since so many web sites are adding Facebook “Like” buttons the slow response of the servers at fbcdn.net could account for a major slowdown in the web browsing experience of almost everyone on the Internet!

What can be done?

If you are not a Facebook member you could use an ad-block add-on to your web browser and add the fbcdn.net domain to the block list. If you are a Facebook member I don’t think there is much you can do. Blocking fbcdn.net would pretty much ruin your Facebook experience.  If you are a webmaster you could remove the “Like” button or at least load it as far down your web pages as possible so that it impacts your readers less.

Of course the real answer would be for Facebook to make their server farm fast enough to handle the load. There’s no telling when that will happen.

Jul 152010
 

Linking your different social media accounts so that they feed one another is a great way to cut down on the time spent maintaining your social media presence.  One of the simplest of these is linking your Facebook business page so that it feeds your Twitter account.

A short while after setting up your Facebook business page there is usually a message displayed asking if you would like to link to your Twitter account. Here is the procedure to follow if you didn’t take advantage of that message at the time it as displayed.

  • Log in to the Twitter account that you want to link your Facebook page to.
  • In a different browser tab or Window log in to the Facebook account that was used to create your business page
  • Go to the following page http://www.facebook.com/twitter/
  • You should see a page like this:

  • Click the Link A Page to Twitter button and you will be shown  a list of pages associated with this account:

  • Click on the Link to Twitter button next to the page you would like to link
  • You will be sent to a twitter page to authorize the connection. (Be sure that you are linking to the correct Twitter account!)

  • Click the Allow button
  • At the time of this writing the redirect back to Facebook is not working. If that is still true when you link the accounts you will need to manually navigate back to the Facebook link page. (http://www.facebook.com/twitter/)

  • Click the Edit Settings button to display the types of posts you would like to send to Twitter
  • Select the types of posts you would like to send to Twitter and click Save Changes.
  • Your Facebook posts should now automatically post to your Twitter account.