14 August 2012


Some years ago, in 2008 and 2009, when we were working on a political campaign in Australia,and we placed much of what we were doing on our web pages, we were contacted by someone from an organisation in Los Angeles doing similar work in the US of A. This person suggested that if we join Facebook, then the social media network would be able to see more about our campaign and rally round to help.

This didn't happen and we received no assistance from anybody in the United States, so the Facebook exercise was a waste of time and effort.

What did happen was that my profile and details were then recorded on Facebook and many people made contact, some of whom I knew, some of whom I didn't and some appeared there with whom I didn't wish to have contact.

Now when one subscribes to Facebook, one is given to understand that one can unsubscribe whenever one wants to. Oh yeah?? Just try and unsubscribe and see what happens - or doesn't happen!

After several attempts to unsubscribe and after attempts to contact Facebook and get some feedback and response, without success, I decided to write to Mark Zuckerberg himself - after all Facebook was his brainchild and he should therefore have some solution to the unsubscribe problem.

So I write in December 2011, and now, on 14 August 2012 I am still waiting for feedback. Will I get any? Don't hold your breath!

IN the mean time, below my letter which is here, I have posted articles about Facebook and some of its problems. I hope they get worse and worse until Facebook fails altogether as it deserves to do. The arrogance of Mark Zuckerberg and organisations like his know no limits and they deserve to be brought to their knees!

To: Mark Zuckerberg
1601 S. California Avenue
Palo Alto
CA 94304

Mannie De Saxe
PO Box 1675
Preston South
Australia 3072
2 December 2011

It is impossible to contact facebook by normal means and I am frustrated by my inability to make a complaint in some normal manner by email.
I believed that by unsubscribing from facebook I would be removed altogether without my name appearing anywhere on any page.
However, under the name De Saxe as a facebook page, my name appears twice, together with other people who have the same surname.
The following item appears on one of your sites but does nothing to help make a formal complaint:

Reporting Abuse
If you see something on Facebook that you believe violates our terms, you can report it to us. Please keep in mind that reporting a person, organization, or piece of content doesn't guarantee its removal from the site.
Because of the diversity of our community, it's possible that something could be disagreeable or disturbing to you without meeting the criteria for being removed or blocked. For this reason, we also offer personal controls over what you see, such as the ability to hide or quietly cut ties with people, Pages, or applications that offend you.
Content that does violate our terms may be removed from our site and (in some cases) subject to legal or other action.

I have had enough of trying to get my name removed from facebook altogether, and unless your organization makes some concerted effort to ensure that my name never again appears on facebook, I will have to consider my further options.

It is strange how facebook keeps its own privacy sacrosanct but destroys everybody else’s privacy once they connect to facebook.

Try finding contact details for Mark Zuckerberg and see how far you get!

Mannie De Saxe

Facebook is left wondering - what's not to like?

August 4, 2012

Julian Lee, Media writer

Since its headline-grabbing stockmarket float, the social media behemoth has tested the patience of investors, writes Julian Lee.
Find out the 10 main uses for social media monitoring in Oz.

Clock is ticking ... Facebook's share price is heading south. Photo: AP
At Facebook's California headquarters they must be wondering what went wrong. In a little more than two months the social networking site has gone from the darling of the media and Silicon Valley to the whipping boy of Wall Street.

The hype that surrounded its stock market debut in May when its valuation hit $US104 billion ($99.3 billion) has given way to disbelief and derision. Has the bubble burst or is it simply a coming of age for the business which, until recently, was the plaything of founder Mark Zuckerberg and a coterie of savvy investors.

''The early investors could see the long-term plan for something like Facebook,'' says analyst David Cowling of Social Media News. ''Now it's the public and they want to see their shares grow, they want to make a quick buck. And they aren't getting it and now they are asking why not.''

Shares are almost half the $US38 they were on the first day of trading and while Facebook brings in new ways of advertising and explores how to get people to stay on the site longer, the clock is ticking as the patience of investors wears thin.

Yet as the share price heads south, it's business as usual for the rest of us. Every day Facebook's global user base inches closer to the 1 billion mark. An extra 50 million people joined in the past three months, pushing the worldwide user base to 955 million.

Australians continue to be the biggest users of Facebook - a mantle we have kept since 2009 - with 11 million users spending on average 21 minutes and 40 seconds a visit.

''Users couldn't give a stuff," says social media expert Tiphereth Gloria of the advertising agency VML. "Everyone [in finance] is getting their knickers in a knot but people are using it just as much as they were before.''

Growth comes at a cost, however. Investor demand for more ad revenue presents Zuckerberg with a dilemma. His mission, to preserve Facebook's ''user experience'', is an uncompromising one. ''We don't build services to make money; we make money to build better services,'' he is quoted as saying.

The constant criticism is taking the shine off the Facebook brand. "There's clearly some brand damage and if there's not much sign of a change in the longer term then it could get worse," says California-based Brian Blau, research director at analysts Gartner. "But I don't think we're there yet."

To get more revenue Facebook is pushing sponsored stories or posts - ads that appear in a user's new feed whenever a friend indicates they like an advertiser - as a solution to advertisers. It is also slowly overcoming the problem of how to make money from ads served up on mobile phones, constrained as it is by the limited real estate of the device screen.

But, says Blau, advertising is not the only solution. "The real question is how they are going to keep people interested in their site. How are they going to keep people engaged," he says. And that is unlikely to be by ads.

As Facebook has changed the way we communicate, Blau believes it will also transform other aspects of our lives such as how we shop, work and play. He points to Google and Amazon, both of which have branched out beyond their core offering of search and books into other services. Gaming apps, for example, where people can buy credits for games such as FarmVille, have proved profitable for Facebook, although it is an area that is flatlining.

"What we are seeing is an experiment in real time and they [Facebook] are experimenting with their [investors'] money," Blau says.

Watchdog clamps down on Facebook

By Julian Lee
Aug. 6, 2012, 7:40

Promotional ... the Advertising Standards Board has ruled that company Facebook pages are advertising and must comply with codes and laws.

A LANDMARK ruling that Facebook is an advertising medium - and not just a way to communicate - will force companies to vet comments posted by the public to ensure they are not sexist, racist or factually inaccurate.

In a move that could change the nature of the social networking site forever, companies could be fined or publicly shamed for the comments that appear on their Facebook ''brand'' pages.

Last month the advertising industry watchdog issued a judgment in which it said comments made by ''fans'' of a vodka brand's Facebook page were ads and must therefore comply with industry self-regulatory codes and therefore consumer protection laws.

A media lawyer is warning that the Advertising Standards Board's ruling on Smirnoff's Facebook page will put the onus back on companies to be more vigilant about the nature of the comments people are posting to their company pages.

Large advertisers such as Qantas, Telstra and Coles are increasingly reliant on their Facebook pages to get consumers to ''like'' them and get free referrals to their network of friends.

John Swinson, a partner at law firm King & Wood Mallesons, said the board's ruling "turned people's opinions into statements of facts".

Mr Swinson said that if, for example, a member of the public posted a comment on Smirnoff's site that claimed it was the purest Russian vodka and would lead to success with the opposite sex and Smirnoff failed to remove it, the company could be liable on a number of counts.

"Smirnoff is Australian not Russian. So that is false. It may not be the purest so that could also be misleading.

''And to imply that you would have greater success with girls would contravene the advertising codes," said Mr Swinson.

In a note to clients, Mr Swinson warned that the standards that govern regular TV, radio or billboard advertising might now apply to third-party posts on Facebook pages.

And because the competition watchdog is cracking down on claims made by companies in social media - principally by people who are paid to do so - Mr Swinson warns that advertisers could end up in court.

Misleading and deceptive advertising is covered by Australian consumer law and each month the ad regulator publicly censures errant advertisers.

Although the Advertising Standards Board dismissed the original complaint about Smirnoff, which centred on sexism, under-age drinking and obscene language, it ruled industry codes applied not only to what a company was posting on its Facebook page but to the user-generated comments that followed.

The board's determination also cited a recent case of a health company, Allergy Pathway, which was fined for allowing misleading and deceptive "testimonials" to remain on its Facebook and Twitter pages.

The board's comments threatened to have "far-reaching ramifications" for social media, which thrived on people's ability to share information quickly, said a consultant, Thomas Tudehope.


Doing business Facebook to Facebook
August 13, 2012

Max Mason

Social media is proving a communication boon for small businesses. Photo: Reuters
Small businesses are increasingly using social media to interact and create a rapport with their customers, according to a new survey.
The Sensis e-Business report showed that 27 per cent of small to medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) that used the internet also used social media, an increase of 17 per cent since 2010.
Of the 1808 businesses surveyed, 92 per cent of SMEs were connected to the internet.
''We've been seeing consistent growth in the use of social media used in business,'' said report author Christena Singh.
The predominant form of social media used by SMEs was Facebook.
Businesses using Facebook reported more interaction with customers, good customer feedback, increased networking opportunities and increased sales.
''Any business where they are trying to build a strong customer rapport, create brand loyalty and customer dialogue, tend to be the businesses that find social media particular useful,'' said Ms Singh.
Sam Korotkov, event director at The Wall, a weekly event at The World Bar in Sydney's Kings Cross, said Facebook was a vital part of their marketing strategy.
''With Facebook is there a way to involve people without spamming them?'' he asked.
''The content that we provide is all about keeping them interested. We talk about current affairs, we use new music, we keep them involved and turn our page into a small service, almost like a source of news and entertainment, rather than blatantly pushing products.''
Mr Korotkov said using social media required minimal effort, with the rewards far outweighing the small amount of time taken to use it.
''Facebook is like an espresso shot of marketing. It's the information there as you want it, it's obviously not in depth but you're able to draw out a lot of things. There isn't a lot of preparation involved, preparing posts and sourcing content; once you have it, you can link it.''
For Sam Gabrielian, owner of Dose Espresso, social media were not part of his strategy when he opened his cafe in November last year. ''We decided to start a Facebook page because our customers requested a page with some photos and some of our products,'' he said.
Taking things a step further, Gabrielian decided to offer customers a 10 per cent discount if they liked Dose's Facebook page.
''We did that for two weeks. We found the likes built up very quickly; it was a kind gesture to the customers,'' he said.
Facebook has become a key component for letting customers know what's happening at the cafe, which constantly changes its menu.
''Our customers actually wanted to be notified when we had certain coffees,'' said Gabrielian.
''For instance, we were running a kopi luwak for a short time, and people would come in and ask for it and they would just miss out.''
Ms Singh said she expected to see continued growth in the use of social media by small businesses.
''We're seeing 62 per cent of the Australia population [on Facebook], so there certainly is an opportunity,'' she said.
''Social media peak at the 18-19 age bracket, 95 per cent; as that population becomes older we will see it become a much more important part of the marketplace.''


Storm over Target's 'trampy' fashion sense
August 14, 2012
'Target, we want our children portrayed as children'
Mum of a six-year-old, Gretta Hawkhead, has inadvertantly become part of a social media campaign against Target's "grungy" girls 7+ clothing.
AN OUTRAGED Port Macquarie mother has created a social media nightmare for discount department store Target after she used its Facebook page to call on the retail giant to sell girls' clothing that doesn't make them look like ''tramps''.
In an open post on the retailer's Facebook page over the weekend, primary school teacher Ana Amini wrote: ''Dear Target, Could you possibly make a range of clothing for girls 7-14 years that doesn't make them look like tramps … You have lost me as a customer when buying apparel for my daughter as I don't want her thinking shorts up her backside are the norm or fashionable.''

Gretta Hawkhead, mother to Mia, 6, has joined the outrage on Facebook that Target's clothes for young people are 'not appropriate'. Photo: Angela Wylie
When The Age went to print last night the post had attracted more than 44,000 ''likes'' and 2300 comments - most of them from parents criticising the retailer for selling ''hooker-style'' clothes to young girls.
Mrs Amini, who has an eight-year-old daughter, told The Age yesterday she was ''overwhelmed'' by the response but hoped Target would listen to its customers and stock more ''age-appropriate'' clothing.
''I wasn't expecting this kind of response, but I do hope they listen to the feedback and do something about it. I'm obviously not the only one who thinks their clothing is inappropriate for little girls.''

Short shrift ... An example of girls' wear listed on Target's online store. Photo: Target Online Shop
Patterson Lakes mother Gretta Hawkhead took to Facebook to support Mrs Amini's call for clothing that did not sexualise young girls.
Mrs Hawkhead complained that much of Target's 7-year-plus range was made up of short shorts and dresses, low-cut necklines, sheer lace, or ''grungy'' clothing.
''It's very provocative and not appropriate for young girls at all,'' said the mother of six-year-old Mia. ''They're still children and you want to keep that innocence for as long as you can. But Target seems to think that once they turn seven, they're young adults.''
Last night, Target posted a response on Facebook, inviting customers to email them with their concerns about ''specific products''.
Target Australia's general manager corporate affairs, Lynn Semjaniv, told The Age it had recently introduced a process for customers to assess products before they go into stores.
''We know there is a huge diversity of opinion when it comes to children's clothing and that everyone has a different perception, which is why we believe in taking great care to ensure that our range is both age-appropriate and something that our customers' children will love … We are taking the feedback we have received from our customers on Facebook very seriously … for current and future product decisions.''

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Preston, Melbourne, Victoria, Australia
90 years old, political gay activist, hosting two web sites, one personal: http://www.red-jos.net one shared with my partner, 94-year-old Ken Lovett: http://www.josken.net and also this blog. The blog now has an alphabetical index: http://www.red-jos.net/alpha3.htm