Trick or Tweet: Tidbits from the Tech Front


Facebook plans to keep profiles of the dead. Death doesn't erase the digital footprints that people leave in life and Facebook has announced it won't erase them either. The site will "memorialize" profiles of the dead if their friends or family request it.

Such accounts will be different from regular Facebook profiles, according to The Associated Press. For example, the site will remove any contact information and bar people from logging in. The person's profile also won't appear in the "suggestions" section of Facebook, and only the deceased person's confirmed friends will be able to find them in a search. The development comes as Facebook becomes an important social hub for its more than 300 million active users worldwide to keep up with friends and family.

And in other social networking news...

Hollywood studios have begun inserting anti-Twitter clauses into stars' contracts in order to prevent leaks of confidential information via social networking. Cameron Diaz and Mike Myers are among the first to sign contracts including language said The Hollywood Reporter. Their contracts with DreamWorks for the next film in the Shrek franchise are said include a clause forbidding postings to any "social networking site, blog, or other Internet-type site."

And finally, in a special story called "Trick or Tweet" Wired reported that as many as one in every 500 links posted on Twitter lead to sites hosting malware. The spread of malware is aided by the popular use of short URLs on Twitter, which generally hide the real website address from users before they click on a link, preventing users from self-filtering links that appear to be dodgy. As I've said before, if you're a Twitter user you should learn how to handle these short URLs. There are several ways to see the underlying URL, unfortunately most methods are still inconvenient.

One of the easiest ways to check short URLs is an add-on for Firefox called Long URL Please. It automatically converts any short URL on the Web. You won’t even see a short URL, you’ll only see the underlying link. Others take more work, for example, Untiny and PrevURL will check short URLs for you but you have to copy and paste the short URL into these sites. Or if you’re an avid Twitter user, you might like TweetDeck. It organizes your Twitter account on your desktop and can preview most short URLs. Of course in every case, you may see URLs you don’t recognize so you still won’t know if the site is safe.
MfG,
Erin



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