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This week in Facebook news

Not a week goes by that Facebook doesn’t issue a handful of releases or create a buzz around itself, and this one was no exception. Here are five of the top Facebook stories you may have missed from the last five days.

Mitt Romney is bleeding Facebook friends

romney facebook page bleeding of friends

With the election over and along with it Mitt Romney’s campaign, and now Mitt Romney’s Facebook page is stuck in social media purgatory. Campaigners will no longer be updating the page, it just simply “exists.” Whatever the motivation may be, followers of the former presidential candidate’s Facebook page are unliking Romney in droves. “Refresh the page – 12.08 million. Refresh again – 15 less,” Caitlin Dewey of The Washington Post wrote when she first realized what was transpiring. We checked it out for ourselves, and indeed, we were witnessing an exodus of former followers fleeing his Facebook page – based on our eyeball calculation, we estimate about 10 followers were unliking the page every second. At this rate, should it be maintained, the “Likes” count will plummet to zero in just two weeks.

Fedex encourages shipping using its Facebook app

Just in time for the holiday season, and not long after Facebook Gifts was officially announced, Fedex is making a foray into making shipping social – sort of. Fedex’s newly launched Facebook App is called Ship To Friends, which is undoubtedly inspired by Facebook Gift’s own shipping process. On one hand, when we checked out the app we could see the value in the fact that it simplifies the process of shipping a package on the Web. If you’ve ever tried shipping a package on Fedex’s own website, you’ll know how frustrating it is to navigate as well as figure out the price and size of the package. Ship To Friends takes you through the process, with the prices listed clearly alongside delivery hours and dates. It makes you wonder why Fedex.com’s native shipping feature isn’t as easy to use as its Facebook app.

A couple caveats to note from our testing is that that international shipping isn’t supported and the app doesn’t send a shipping request to friends — meaning you can’t request that your friends enter in their own mailing addresses, which is a feature offered on Facebook Gifts. 

Facebook testing audio notifications

facebook audio notification settings

You might remember the days of the iconic “You’ve got mail” alert. It was annoying yet endearing, and apparently something similar may be heading to Facebook. Facebook confirmed with Venturebeat that alerts, which ping users when they receive new notifications, are being tested selectively. The alerts, if rolled out to all users, can be turned on and off in the account settings page.

Popular Facebook users can now get in on Promoted Posts

Facebook promoted post for over 5000 friends

The upper echelons of Facebook users, who have more than 5,000 friends and/or subscribers, were unable to reap the “benefits” of the Promoted Posts advertising product that Facebook launched last month. Namely journalists, celebrities, politicians, and anyone else who would most likely have thousands of subscribers are the ones this change applies to. For those of us that fit in the 5,000 friends and fewer category are only charged $7 for a post to be promoted. It’s being reported that these users are being charged a premium of $49 to promote a post to friends and subscribers.

Facebook inflates egos, users lose self-control

Facebook can be addicting for some people, and for others it can boost self-esteem. A study by researchers from The University of Pittsburgh and Columbia University examined the effects of social media on human behavior and according to the paper, users are selective on what they share online and tend to portray themselves on social networks in a positive matter. This effectively boosts their self esteem. Interestingly enough, the study mentions that people looking in a mirror tend not to feel good about themselves. With this in mind, the researchers found a correlation between high self esteem and self control. “Enhanced self esteem from using a social network can have a detrimental effect on behavior,” says researchers Keith Wilcox of Columbia Business School, and Andrew T. Stephen of The University of Pittsburgh. “We present evidence suggesting that greater social network use is associated with a higher body-mass index and higher levels of credit card debt for individuals with strong ties to their social network.”

The root of the problem is that “elevated feelings of self-worth can lead to more impulsive or indulgent behavior. Citing Wilcox’s previous research, the study adds that inflated feelings of pride, which is related to self esteem, “results in more indulgent choices in subsequent tasks that are unrelated to the source of pride.”

We’ll go ahead and add this to the mountain of behavioral effects social networks are having on us. 

Facebook testing commenting threads

facebook comment threading

If you’ve ever cursed Facebook for overlooking the ability to comment on a comment, it looks like you’re in luck. A blogger and social media manager of Kairay Media discovered that comment threading was enabled on a Filipino Facebook page.

This feature, limited to a small test group, enables users to reply to comments. You’ll see a “Reply” button next to “Like” on the original comments. The replies to the comments can also be “Liked.” A third level of commenting isn’t supported. Facebook confirmed that the structure, as of testing, is as follows:

1. Comment

2. Reply to comment

Facebook’s spokesperson also provided us with the same statement, explaining the purpose of the feature:

“We are testing a new way to add comments to a post on Facebook. With this test you will be able to reply to another comment as well as the original post. This is just a small test at this stage.”

Comment threading, while being tested out at a limited scale, is a much awaited feature that many of us will be glad to embrace. For one thing, it should help to contain those heated arguments or side conversations in its own thread without disrupting the general flow.

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