This week in Facebook: How to ‘kill’ your friends’ profiles, earn $10, and cure your loneliness

Facebook

Miss out on all the various Facebook happenings from this week? We’ve got you covered in this week’s round up of everything going on with the social network. 

How to fake anyone’s death on Facebook

If you have a grudge against someone, you can “kill” them on Facebook – and by that, we mean that you can take down their profile. Buzzfeed reported a loophole identified by a tipster proving doesn’t take much effort to take down a profile that doesn’t belong to you. It’s more difficult, actually, to reinstate the profile after it has been memorialized.

memorialization request

All you need is to fill out Facebook’s “Memorialization Request” (like the screenshot by Buzzfeed above) for the deceased individual. You’ll need to submit a “proof” of their death, but all it takes is a URL to an obituary (and it doesn’t have to be of that specific individual). Or if you find an obituary with the person’s same name, that also works. That’s pretty devious, bordering on terrible, but you can do it. 

We don’t advise you try this — but here’s to hoping Facebook patches this security hole. 

Update your Facebook status to curb loneliness

As contradicting as it may sound, psychology researcher Fenne große Deters of the Universitat Berlin discovered that users will feel more connected to friends by publishing status updates, and that receiving comments and Likes can actually help ease loneliness. He explains this phenomenon by comparing publishing status updates to a snack: “Similar to a snack temporarily reducing hunger until the next meal, social snacking may help tolerate the lack of ‘real’ social interaction for a certain amount of time.” So if you’re away from friends, loneliness sets in and makes you want to feel connected to them — so just hop onto Facebook and share to your heart’s desire. It’ll make you feel better.

How to claim $10 from Facebook

facebook settlement vs fraley

Remember the class-action lawsuit filed against Facebook over using your pictures for Sponsored Stories? Reports are saying that Facebook has been sending out emails to every user that was affected, describing the lawsuit and notifying them that they are eligible to claim up to $10 as a piece of the class action suit. If you see an email from legalnotice@facebookmail.com, DO NOT delete it (as spammy as it sounds). The letter is authentic and you really can claim the money from the $20 million set aside in a fund that Facebook is using to pay its users. There’s a catch, however: If too many people claim their share (and exceed the $20 million) the offer is null and instead goes directly to a charity organization. Or you can even opt out to pursue your own lawsuit against Facebook, but considering the legal force that they’ve employed we’d recommend against it unless you plan on pursuing another class action suit.

You can read more about the settlement here. Oh, and you have until May 2, 2013 at 11:59 p.m. PST to apply for the payment.

Facebook, redesigned

facebook redesign

Fred Nerby, a designer based in Brisbane, Australia, reimagined what Facebook might look like based on a different take on the social network’s user experience and design. And boy, does it look pretty. We can see a hint of the new Myspace with the flat, borderless “Metro” design that Microsoft employed to revamp Windows 8, and of course the obvious Facebook-specific elements like the blue color, and identifiable navigation bars. What’s missing here is the ever-important Facebook ad units, but to be frank the current design would be able to intersperse native ads into the tile-structure News Feed and would offer a far better ad browsing experience than the banner ads that you probably ignore on the far right side of your center stream.

We can wish for a design like this, but considering that Facebook is more concerned with archiving your life from birth to today – which is what motivated the Timeline redesign – we can chalk this up to a pipe dream. But have fun looking.

Facebook is (almost) the king of the world

world map of social networks december 2012

Only five top social networks remain, based on Vincenzo Cosenza’s infographic “World Map of Social Networks,” with four of these trailing far behind Facebook when looking at the total global market share. And all four of them are for the most part confined to dominating the single countries or locations near or in where they were founded – QZone in China, V Kontakte and Odnoklassniki in Russia, and Cloob in Persian countries including Iran. Of course, other social networks still exist, but Cosenza’s graph goes to show that Facebook is in fact taking over the world.

Emerging Tech

Awesome Tech You Can’t Buy Yet: Halfbikes, VR for all your senses, and more

Check out our roundup of the best new crowdfunding projects and product announcements that hit the web this week. You may not be able to buy this stuff yet, but it's fun to gawk!
Social Media

Facebook says it unintentionally uploaded email contacts of 1.5 million users

Facebook says that over the last two years it unintentionally uploaded the email contacts of 1.5 million users as they signed up to the social networking service. The process has ended and the email addresses are being deleted.
Smart Home

Oh, Zuck, no! Facebook rumored to be creating a voice assistant to rival Alexa

Facebook hasn't been a big player in the smart speaker market, but that may be changing: The social media giant is reportedly working on a digital assistant to compete against Alexa and others.
Gaming

Get the most life out of your Xbox One controller with these tips

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Social Media

Facebook’s tributes section serves as an online memorial for deceased users

Death doesn't stop Facebook users from sharing memories, and now those memorialized posts have a dedicated spot on the network. Facebook Tribute is a section on memorialized profiles for users to write posts and share memories.
Social Media

How to protect yourself from GoFundMe scams before donating

Can you spot a GoFundMe scam? While the fundraising platform says scams make up less than a tenth of one percent of campaigns, some do try to take advantages of others' charity -- like a case last year that made national news.
Social Media

Your Facebook newsfeed is getting a spring cleaning, and so is Messenger

Hows that newsfeed looking? Facebook has shared an update on efforts to clean up the newsfeed, as well as what tools are coming next. Facebook has new Trust Indicators, while Messenger gains badges for verified accounts.
Social Media

Looking to officially rid your inbox of Facebook messages? Here's how

Deleting messages from Facebook Messenger is almost as easy as scrolling through your News Feed. Here, we show you how to delete an entire conversation or a single message, both of which take seconds.
Social Media

LinkedIn: Now you can express love, curiosity, and more with new Reactions

LinkedIn is following in the footsteps of Facebook (three years later!) with the rollout of new reactions that give users more ways to express themselves when responding to posts in their feed.
Social Media

Twitter’s experimental Twttr app is even more popular than the real thing

Twttr, the new app that lets regular Twitter users test new features, is proving more popular than the main app, according to the company. The revelation suggests some of the innovations may land for all Twitter users soon.
Social Media

Messenger and Facebook, together again? Facebook tests integrating chats

Longing for the old days where Facebook and Messenger were one app? Facebook is testing an integrated chat option. While Messenger remains more feature-rich, the test brings some chat functionality back into the Facebook app.
Social Media

How to download Instagram Stories on iOS, Android, and desktop

Curious about how to save someone's Instagram Story to your phone? Lucky for you, it can be done -- but it does take a few extra steps. Here's what you need to know to save Instagram Stories on both iOS and Android.
Social Media

Facebook, Instagram, and WhatsApp went down worldwide for 2 hours this morning

Chaos erupted on the internet this morning, as Facebook, Instagram, and Whatsapp all went down from 6:30 a.m. to approximately 9 a.m. Thousands of users were unable to access the sites or send or receive Whatsapp messages.
Mobile

Skype screen sharing for mobile will let you share your swipes on dating apps

Skype is prepping the launch of screen sharing for mobile so you can share your swipes on dating apps, shop with buddies, or, perhaps, show a PowerPoint presentation to coworkers. It's in beta just now, but anyone can try it.