Archive for: ‘September 2018’

How not to win friends: Facebook sneaks in fees to promote posts

11/09/2018 Posted by admin

Dazzle Strands has found its views on Facebook have dropped from 800-1000 to 90 per post in just a matter of months. Brands have to pay just to promote their posts to the people who “like” their page.
Nanjing Night Net

It’s not just an impost on brands – Facebook also charges for promoting personal posts to friends.

Facebook is being accused of an underhanded bait and switch, with brands and even personal users now forced to pay for “promoted posts” to reach all of their “likers” and friends.

Evidence suggests that the algorithm that determines which posts appear in your News Feed, called EdgeRank, has been tweaked so that posts are visible for under 15 per cent of your connections unless you pay.

For individuals the cost to promote a status update is $US7.20 ($A6.95) and for brands the cost depends on how many fans or “likers” they have, but is around $US20 ($A19.30) per post to reach 3000 fans and $US200 ($A193) to reach 50,000 fans.

Catherine Cincotta, 33, from Melbourne, runs hair accessory firm Dazzle Strands, which has about 4000 likes on Facebook.

“I was getting at least 800 to 1000 post views and then July hit and then all of a sudden it started going progressively down so I was starting to see 300, 200 and now it’s at about 90 on average,” she said.

“I find this to be underhanded … all of a sudden the posts are being suppressed and you’re getting bombarded with requests to advertise with them.”

Lisa Dale, 32, runs an online gift hamper business, Signed Sealed Delivered, and Facebook is one of her main avenues for promotion. She also has about 3000 fans and has noticed her post views have likewise trailed off significantly, despite her fan base growing.

“They’ve sucked me in. I’ve worked so hard to build up this great page and now the only way I can maintain it now is to pay. If they were going to do it, they probably should’ve done it at the start,” said Dale.

Mashable journalist Matt Silverman wrote in a recent column that Facebook’s EdgeRank was creating artificial scarcity by “rigging the game and then asking users to pay to level the playing field”. The New York Observerwrote that “Facebook is broke, on purpose, in order to extract more money from users”.

Last week blog Dangerous Minds wrote a post titled “Facebook: I want my friends back”, accusing the company of turning down the volume on users’ Facebook reach. To reach the blog’s entire 50,000 fan base Facebook charges $US200 per post.

“We post seven days a week, that would be about $14,000 per week, $56,000 per month … a grand total of $672,000 for what we got for free before Facebook started turning the traffic spigot down in Spring of this year — wouldn’t you know it — right around the time of their badly managed IPO.”

Earlier this week Simon Dell, director of Brisbane-based marketing firm TwoCents Group, said for his firm’s page the average “reach” over the past 10 posts was 195 or 16 per cent, but at times it dropped to just 94 views.

One of Dell’s clients had an average reach of just 12 per cent of their 5400 fans and another was 19 per cent.

“Facebook isn’t seeing fans as a community anymore, they’re seeing them as numbers,” he wrote on MarketingMag南京夜網.au. “Being able to reach just 15 per cent of your brand advocates who have opted in to receive your communication isn’t a great ROI for your time and effort.”

Facebook has been under significant pressure to turn its huge user numbers into revenue and the company is now worth a bit over half as much as it was when the company went public. Its shares are worth

$US21.94 ($A21.18) down from the offer price of $US38 ($A36).

In a recent blog post Facebook ads engineer Philip Zigoris wrote that any changes Facebook makes to its news feed algorithm were more to do with offering users more relevant posts than making money.

“Regardless of whether you’re paying to promote a story or just posting one to your Page, the news feed will always optimise for stories that generate high levels of user engagement and filter out ones that don’t,” he wrote.

The response from readers was mostly negative with most complaining that they shouldn’t have to pay in order for their posts to be visible by their friends.

“So tell me, how are people meant to engage with the content if they’re not being shown the content in the first place?” wrote one.

Another said: “I have to tell you the vast majority of my friends really hate this, find it very frustrating, and the only thing that keeps them from leaving Facebook is all their friends are here and there is no real option … yet.”

Facebook declined to comment for this story.

This story Administrator ready to work first appeared on Nanjing Night Net.

AFP ends investigation into swearing Rudd video

11/09/2018 Posted by admin

Kevin Rudd fluffing his lines in that video.The Australian Federal Police has closed its investigation of the leaking of a damaging video of former prime minister Kevin Rudd swearing and banging a desk.
Nanjing Night Net

The release of the video, posted anonymously on YouTube, escalated the tensions between Mr Rudd and Prime Minister Julia Gillard which contributed to February’s leadership ballot.

An AFP spokeswoman said it had not found ”sufficient material or evidence to substantiate charging of any person for theft or unauthorised disclosure” of the video.

”The AFP has finalised the matter and as such, it is not appropriate to comment further,” the spokeswoman said in a statement.

A spokesman for Mr Rudd said he had no comment.

The video shows Mr Rudd fluffing his lines while trying to record a video message for Chinese New Year in 2009.

In a series of out-takes he expresses frustration at the diplomats from the Australian embassy in Beijing, who had scripted the message in Mandarin.

”Tell these d—heads in the embassy to just give me simple sentences,” Mr Rudd says in the video. ”This f—ing language… it just complicates it so much.”

At another point, he appears to ask a staffer to cancel a scheduled meeting.

”Tell them to cancel this meeting at 6 o’clock will you… I don’t have the f—ing patience to do it.”

The video appeared on YouTube on February 18, under the title ”Kevin Rudd is a Happy Little Vegemite”.

Four days later, Mr Rudd resigned as foreign minister and announced his intention to challenge Ms Gillard for the leadership. The following Monday he was trounced in a caucus ballot, 71 votes to 31.

At the time Mr Rudd commented that the release of the video was ”a little bit on the unusual side”.

An internal review by the Prime Minister’s department found the video had not come from within the department. At the time, Ms Gillard denied her office was involved in the release of the video, saying it did not have access to the material.

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This story Administrator ready to work first appeared on Nanjing Night Net.

No campaigning? Well, not much in Sandy’s aftermath

11/09/2018 Posted by admin

US President Barack Obama and Mitt Romney may have officially suspended their election campaigns to concentrate on relief for victims of Hurricane Sandy, but with just a week to go before the election, it’s clear some political footsoldiers and commentators have not got the message.
Nanjing Night Net

Mr Romney five times ignored questions put to him at an Ohio event — officially a storm-relief fundraiser — about comments he once made advocating stripping funds from the Federal Emergency Management Agency.

Instead, he told the audience in a gymnasium in the city of Kettering: “We have heavy hearts, as you know, with all of the suffering going on. I appreciate what you have done.”

Reporters at the event noted women proudly showing off t-shirts that read, “Obama — you’re fired”.

Having spent Monday night at the White House keeping tabs on the storm’s progress and overseeing the emergency response, President Obama today visited a Red Cross shelter in Washington, DC.

“We certainly feel profoundly for all the families whose lives have been upended … The most important message I have for [those affected] is that America’s with you,” Mr Obama said.

But even before the storm surge had peaked, high-profile conservative columnists attacked the President for playing politics.

“He says he’s not concerned about the impact on the elections,” Charles Krauthammer said on Fox News.

“I’m sure he’s very sincere on that. It is a little odd that he shows up in the briefing room, where he hasn’t shown up in the briefing room for about, what, a month-and-a-half on Libya, or for everything else for that matter? Then you get the photo-ops of him in the situation room deploying, I guess, the utility crews who will restore power all over America.”

Meanwhile, a Salon南京夜網 commentator wrote that Mr Romney’s Ohio event was “surreal enough to be a campaign parody, with the candidate comparing the federal government’s hurricane relief efforts to the time he and some friends had to clean up a football field strewn with rubbish and paper products”.

Perhaps the weirdest political comments on the storm came from Michael Brown, the Bush-era FEMA chairman who was widely discredited for that administration’s lacklustre response to Hurricane Katrina. On Sunday night, he accused the President of getting involved too soon. He stood by those comments today.

One man who has garnered universal praise for his response is the combative New Jersey governor Chris Christie, who is one of Mr Romney’s most high-profile surrogates.

On Monday, he attacked the Democrat mayor of Atlantic City before praising President Obama for his energetic response.

“I have to say, the administration, the president himself and FEMA Administrator Craig Fugate have been outstanding with us so far,” he told reporters.

Mr Christie, who many expected to run for president this year, dismissed the election as not a priority.

“I’m sure that while the national election is obviously very important, that the people of New Jersey, in this moment, would really be unhappy with me if they thought for a second I was occupying my time thinking about how I was going to get people to vote a week from today,” Christie told reporters today.

Mr Romney will resume his campaign events Wednesday in the US, while Barack Obama is not expected to return to the campaign trail until Thursday.

How the storm will impact upon the election is unclear. Three of the eight major daily tracking polls — the lifeblood of the campaigns and the political media in the last few days of a deadlocked election — have been suspended.

On a more practical level, early voting has been disrupted across the north-east, although it is impossible to predict exactly how this might affect the election. The President was thought to have an advantage among early voters until recent polls suggested Mr Romney had whittled this down.

It is also unclear now whether the impact of the storm could hinder people from getting to the polls next Tuesday. If that is the case, polling places could open longer.

This story Administrator ready to work first appeared on Nanjing Night Net.

Collar bomb hoaxer was in a psychotic state, court hears

11/09/2018 Posted by admin

“intelligent and articulate” … Paul Peters admits he strapped a fake bomb to Madeleine Pulver. Madeline Pulver’s parents Bill and Belinda arrive at court. today
Nanjing Night Net

Madeleine Pulver had a device, which she believed to be a bomb, attached to her by an intruder.

A psychiatrist who assessed the man who attached a fake collar bomb to a Sydney teenager believes the man was in a “psychotic state” when he did it, a court has heard.

But Jonathan Phillips told Sydney’s District Court that did not mean Paul Douglas Peters’s actions weren’t well thought out when he broke into the Mosman home of schoolgirl Madeleine Pulver.

Dr Phillips is giving evidence today at the sentencing of Peters, who admits strapping the fake bomb to the neck of Ms Pulver on August 3, 2011.

Attached was a note that Peters has now admitted was an extortion attempt.

Dr Phillips said that assessing Peters was as complex as any case he had tackled and there were times he struggled to understand what the former businessman was talking about, the court was told.

The court heard that electronic evidence showed Peters had edited two ransom documents contained on a USB stick attached to the fake bomb for a total of 503 minutes.

Dr Phillips said Peters may have been “intermittently psychotic over a period of time” leading up to the offence.

He said he believed Peters’s account of not being able to recall the actual attachment of the device to Ms Pulver, saying people often had memory black outs “in situations of incredible stress”.

The consultant psychiatrist described the offender as being both “intelligent and articulate”, having lived “free of mental illness” for much of his life.

“It’s unusual for a person with a [trouble-free] life record to then move to commit an extraordinarily callous and dangerous act,” he said.

However, during conversation about the book he was writing, his thoughts became disordered and fragmented.

“I found [him] very difficult to follow,” the psychiatrist said, adding he had found the book to be nonsensical.

“He lost me when he began to talk about it.”

Peters is expected to be sentenced later this year.

The hearing continues before Judge Peter Zahra.

This story Administrator ready to work first appeared on Nanjing Night Net.

Breach bail and lose $50,000, ex-HSU boss told

11/09/2018 Posted by admin

A raft of new charges … Michael Williamson.Former union boss Michael Williamson will forfeit $50,000 if he breaches his bail conditions, which include an order to stay away from a key union official and the couple who allegedly provided him and Federal MP Craig Thomson with American Express cards.
Nanjing Night Net

Williamson, a former head of both the Health Services Union and the Labor Party, was hit with another 28 charges when he arrived at Waverley Local Court today.

Those charges include 27 charges of cheating and defrauding the union of more than $600,000. He is alleged to have channelled union funds into a company run by his wife Julieanne.

Mrs Williamson’s company Canme, named after the first initials of the couple’s five children, is alleged to have been paid more than $15,000 per month by the union from 2001 until 2009.

Mrs Williamson billed the union for doing archiving work. However, the police are alleging that such services were never provided.

Williamson was also charged with money laundering $400,000. The police charge street claims that he did “knowingly deal with the proceeds of crime”.

Williamson, whose court appearance today lasted only a couple of minutes, was arrested earlier this month and charged with 20 offences, mainly related to his attempts to hinder the investigation of his activities by detectives from Strike Force Carnarvon.

According to police documents tendered in court, on 13 September, 2011, the day after the strike force was established, Williamson is alleged to have recruited Brad Bird “to carry out a criminal activity” by hindering the police investigation.

Bird and Williamson were co-owners of United Edge, a company which was charging the union $1 million per year to provide IT services.

John and Carron Gilleland, who ran Communigraphix which printed the union’s newsletter, are also mentioned in the charge sheet.

It was revealed last year that Mr and Mrs Gilleland had provided secret commissions to Williamson and federal MP Craig Thomson in the form of American Express cards, which were attached the Gilleland’s account.

Williamson is alleged to have recruited Carron Gilleland to hinder the police investigation in April this year.

Williamson’s son Christopher also features in a charge relating to hindering police. In May this year Chris Williamson is alleged to have smuggled documents from the union headquarters while a police raid was taking place.

Outside court Detective Superintendent Colin Dyson, head of the Cyber and Fraud Squad, indicated that Williamson was likely to be charged with further offences and that two senior union officials may be charged over this matter.

As part of Williamson’s bail conditions he was ordered not to approach or contact the Gillelands, HSU east’s former acting general secretary Peter Mylan, his former business partner Brad Bird and union whistleblower Kathy Jackson.

Williamson’s matter was adjourned until January 24.

This story Administrator ready to work first appeared on Nanjing Night Net.