Facebook and “Friends” in the Wake of Ferguson

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Scene from last Wednesday’s protest march (top); detail from a controversial post on the Facebook page of a Central Bucks West guidance counselor.

As a 29-year-old woman, this is how my Facebook feed tends to look: baby picture, wedding picture, baby-at-a-wedding picture, Supernatural spoiler (that last one might be my own contribution).

But over the past couple weeks, I’ve noticed an even less appealing trend: racist rant, thinly veiled racist rant, confusing meme that I suspect is a racist rant.

To clarify, I’m from the Northeast.

This is not, necessarily, to say that my hometown is any more backward than your own hometown. (Unless you’re from Amherst — you guys are pretty squeaky clean.) There’s an ugly, dumb contingent in every group of humans, and most of the time, I love that place. But post-Ferguson, I find myself rethinking my Internet relationship to the (Often, But Not Always) Great Northeast.

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Facebook Trying to Civilize Young People; Young People Resist

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It’s no surprise to anyone who’s ever had one that kids are mean. Really mean. Unspeakably mean. They’re enormously invested in social status, and the way to attain it, as far as they can see (they’re short), is to tear others down. For many eons, young people were only able to do this to those in their immediate vicinity, but now the miracle of technology allows them to stomp all over the feelings of young people around the world and drive them to suicide. (You can read about some particularly egregious examples here, if that’s how you like to spend your spare time.) This is why bullying, and cyberbullying in particular, have become such hot topics. According to Pew Research, 65 percent of those between the ages of 18 and 29 say they’ve been cyberbullied, and 92 percent have seen it done to somebody else.

Now Facebook is attempting to address the problem, at least on its pages, by teaching its users to empathize with others. A recent story in the New York Times discussed the work of Arturo Bejar, director of engineering for Facebook’s Protect and Care Team, which is exploring ways that Facebook users might let others know when their feelings are hurt by a post. Read more »

Rutgers Fans Wear “Ped State” T-Shirts to Penn State Football Game

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Someone in the Rutgers University social media department is probably getting a good talking-to this morning. Over the weekend, on the occasion of the Penn State vs. Rutgers football game, the official Rutgers Football Facebook page ran photos of Rutgers fans wearing “Ped State” t-shirts, mocking the school for the Jerry Sandusky scandal. Read more »

Local Trans Man’s Identity Stolen In Prosthetic Penis Scam

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When Philadelphia artist Jaden Remy joined the private Facebook group “All Transmen Know Each Other,” he expected to find support and allies in the 1,000-plus members. He never expected that his identity and pictures would be stolen in an elaborate scam to sell prosthetic penises to other transgender men in the online group.

“This isn’t the first time this has happened,” says Remy; younger, oftentimes naive, members of trans community are often targeted for these types of scams. In this case, two fake Facebook users, “Jessie Sexton” and “Skylar Jace Collins,” used Remy’s pictures in an attempt to sell discounted FreeToM Prosthetics, a penis prosthetic, to unsuspecting trans men in the group.

The scammers posted a status update, posing as Remy, that included photos of the prosthetic penis in question. (You can see that NSFW image here.) The update read, “It’s going to change the world. This is an amazing product every trans man needs to own. Message me for details.”

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Facebook Debuts Adorable Gay Pride Stickers

Courtesy of Facebook

Courtesy of Facebook

If you’re a fan of Facebook stickers — and who isn’t? — get ready to lose your mind over these 20 special LGBT stickies released just in time for Pride Month. There are little drag queens, elderly gay couples, proud parents — almost everything that’ll give you the gayest, proudest Facebook timeline ever. More from the social media giant:

“Facebook is celebrating Pride by adding these free Facebook Messenger stickers to the Sticker Store. … We see this as one more way we can make Facebook a place where people can express their authentic identity.”

Check out the full list of Pride stickers below:

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Exposed: Philly’s Big Banana Peel Problem

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“When I’m walking with friends, they tell me it’s a little awkward for them,” says Frank Danay. “They’re the ones standing next to the guy who’s in the gutter taking pictures.”

Danay’s buddies know better than to compromise the process. He’s simply chronicling another day of potassium-rich existence on the streets of Philadelphia, an apparent national leader in the field of wayward banana peels.

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Brian Sims Teaming With Facebook for “Open Dialogue” Series

1008428_600926903328758_984610268_oOn Friday, Philly State Representative Brian Sims will be a guest at the Facebook headquarters in Menlo Park, Cali., where he will take part in the social media company’s “Open Dialogue” series.

The initiative is a way to “connect elected officials and policymakers with their constituents in real-time, two-way discussions about the most pressing issues facing our nation.”

Here’s how it works: On Friday, at 5 p.m. (EST), Sims will take to his official Facebook page to take part in a conversation about some of the issues most important to him — namely the legal value of House Bill 300, the measure that would make it illegal in Pennsylvania to discriminate against LGBT people in the workplace and places of business.

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Facebook Becomes More Trans-Inclusive By Letting Users Customize Gender and Pronouns

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One of the myriad new options in your “About Me” section on Facebook.

The Facebook Diversity program just announced that Facebook will now allow users to enter a custom gender for their profiles, and it even goes a step further by letting you choose the pronoun you want Facebook to use when referring to you. Here’s the announcement:

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The Scariest Storm Prediction Images on Facebook

Storm Snow arrival times via  accuweather.com

Storm Snow arrival times via accuweather.com

For many of you planning to turn President’s Day weekend into a quick get-away from this winter o’ cold ’n’ doom ’n’ horrors, the impending nor’easter has likely thrown a big clunky wrench into your travel plans. 

While on hold last night trying to swap a Thursday morning flight for a Friday departure, a scroll through my Facebook feed filled me with abject dread. We’ve all had our share of terrifying (and vaguely/not-vaguely phallic) storm front imagery this winter, but there’s something about this latest batch of storm prediction shots that’s especially terrifying (and not-vaguely phallic).

The Scariest Storm Prediction Images after the jump »

This is What People Dislike About Facebook

In honor of Facebook’s 10th anniversary tomorrow, Pew Research just released an interesting study revealing how people use the social-media monster. Here are some fun infographics showing some of its results. You can read the rest of the study here.

This is what people dislike most about the site.

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