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Infographic: How often do criminals use social media technology?

Are criminals using technology like Facebook, Twitter, Google Street View and/or Foursquare to help them commit their crimes?   Click here to visit original post.

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Be Careful Not To Tweet Away That Job Found Via Social Media

By Catherine Ngai

Mitchell Strobl is your average college junior at DePauw University in Greencastle, Ind., but the way he landed his new job is distinctly 21st century.  “I came across this website [through] a link that was posted [on my Facebook wall],” said Strobl, 20. The site lined up with his interests perfectly, and after contacting the president of HuntingLife.com, he was soon hired to become a writer and then a product reviewer for the hunting and conservation news site.

Stories like Strobl’s are rare, especially in a job market as tough as this one. The U.S. economy lost 95,000 jobs in September, and the unemployment rate is 9.6%, according to the U.S. Labor Department. As a result, new graduates and young professionals are trying new tools to improve their chances of finding work.

“Social media is a great way to learn about different employers as well as build professional networks that will help create opportunities and open doors,” said Holly Paul, PwC‘s U.S. recruiting leader. “I do think now that social media is so prolific and being used by students that…it’s an additive to what they’re doing to connect with other individuals that can help them in their job search.”

A month ago, the buzz about finding work via social-media sites hit a new high. After creating YouTube Instant, a replica of real-time search engine Google Instant for searching videos on YouTube, a 19-year-old Stanford student received a job offer via Twitter–even less than the 140-character limit–from Chad Hurley, co-founder and chief executive of YouTube.

While the success stories generate a lot of excitement, and may prompt some job seekers to rely solely on social media, career experts say that’s not a smart move.

“You really have to be careful with Twitter or Facebook, because it can seduce you into an informality that can really backfire,” said Lonnie Dunlap, director of career services at Northwestern University. “I do think that the traditional methods have to be there. And they have to be very well done. You can get someone’s attention through LinkedIn, but your goal is to get an interview.”

And keep in mind that the hard-copy resume and cover letter are far from obsolete. Mary Spencer, director of career placement at the Milwaukee School of Engineering, said she’s seen an increase in employers asking for paper rather than electronic portfolios at job fairs.

Also, a problem with social media such as Facebook and Twitter is that they may reveal too much personal information to potential employers. Paul, of PwC, oversees new hires and she said social media can cause an unnecessary mix-up of work and personal life. Her suggestion is to keep certain types of social networks completely personal–she says that’s how she uses Facebook–and other types completely professional, such as LinkedIn.

She said job candidates who don’t use social media aren’t likely to be penalized for that by prospective employers. “I personally don’t think that we’re there yet. The employer isn’t there yet,” she said. “The issue with students not using those [methods] means that they are not using a channel and an avenue right there in front of them for free.”

   Tips To Improve Your Chances

The degree to which your job hunt on social-media sites is successful may depend on the type of position being sought. For instance, most public-relations firms already connect to people through Twitter and have designated Facebook pages. Same goes for corporate communications positions. However, Kevin Nicols, the chief executive of a small publishing company, said that a search for any job–entry level and professional–can be enhanced through social media.

Three years ago, Nicols started two LinkedIn groups in the San Francisco Bay Area; they now have about 1,500 members. He said social networking is a tried and true method that has worked for him, as well as many of the people in his group. With social media, applicants are able to connect with people within certain companies who can act as an advocate for them within the company.

Nicols offered the following tips for using social media to enhance your job search:

-Become an active participant on a social network.

-Find people within your desired industry and let them know you’re searching.

-Once you become introduced to someone online, even though that might “soften the blow of cold calling,” don’t forget that meeting people face-to-face is still the ultimate goal.

-Practice what Nicols calls “good job karma”–rather than just asking for help from others, do your part to give back and help others out.

Finally, don’t forget that it’s not always as easy as some make it seem. Brittany Sykes, a recent graduate of Penn State University, has been on the lookout for a public-relations job in the entertainment industry since May. Sykes, 22, said she hasn’t had too much luck, although she follows many PR firms on Twitter and has seen a fair amount of job postings.

The job search can be challenging, she said, but the use of social media is bringing a little hope in her search. “I get stressed out sometimes when my parents drive me crazy [about finding a job]”, she said. “But I get really excited when I make some type of connection.”

(Catherine Ngai is a freelancer for MarketWatch. She can be reached at 415-439-6400 or via email at AskNewswires@dowjones.com.)

Have you checked your Facebook PhoneBook yet?

Image representing Facebook as depicted in Cru...

Image via CrunchBase

Facebook has shamefully added all of our friends phone numbers for everyone to see.  Was this a mistake or the evolution of facebook?  See it for yourself, go to the top right of your screen, click “Account” the “Edit Friends”.  On the upper left side of your screen is the “Phone Book”. Everyone’s phone numbers are now being published.  You need to manually change your privacy settings to fix this problem.
Unless Facebook changes their ways, you better get very familiar with the user interface on the facebook privacy page.

Q1 Labs Releases SIEM For Social Media

Image representing Q1 Labs as depicted in Crun...

By Mathew J. Schwartz
InformationWeek
September 28, 2010 08:00 AM

Q1 Labs on Monday announced the release of its latest security information and event management (SIEM) product, QRadar 7.0, which now has the ability to monitor social media networks and online communication tools, including Facebook, Gmail, LinkedIn, Skype and Twitter, in real time.

QRadar, as with most SIEM products, uses deep packet inspection technology to watch, in real time, for the presence of web-based malware or known vulnerabilities being introduced to the network, monitor for behavior that’s outside the norm, as well as to scan for data loss prevention, among other capabilities.

Q1 Labs said that the new QRadar will also be part of its Security Intelligence Operating System — “a unified architecture for collecting, storing, analyzing and querying log, threat, vulnerability and risk related data” — due out by the end of the year.

“Companies today face the increasing challenge of keeping their networks safe from hackers that have evolved, and that are taking advantage of new avenues of attack — such as social networking sites and applications utilized by partners, outsourcers and employees,” said Sandy Bird, CTO of Q1 Labs, in a statement. “They are also faced with keeping productivity up, due to the ‘always connected’ mentality of employees that want to be constantly connected to their social networks.”

Accordingly, the new version of QRadar extends SIEM to social networks, adding the ability to identify which users access which social networks, chart volume and patterns of usage, and inspect any content being transmitted via such services. In addition, the software can be set to automatically alert security managers when application activity, transmitted data or user behavior violates corporate policies or typical usage patterns, which may indicate that an attacker has breached the network.

Other new features in QRadar 7.0 include inventorying applications on enterprise PCs to determine whether they contain known vulnerabilities. In addition, the software can benchmark how users and applications normally behave, to detect anomalies, for example if a worker logs in at unusual times, or suddenly begins downloading excessive amounts of data from a cloud-based application, either of which could be the only indication that an account has been compromised.

Indeed, according to Gartner Group analyst Mark Nicolett, “application activity monitoring is important because application weaknesses are frequently exploited in targeted attacks, and because abnormal application activity may be the only signal of a successful breach or of fraudulent activity.”

Facebook adds “Not Now” option to friend denial features.

Sep 17th, 2010 by Chad Catacchio

Facebook will roll out a new option for friend requests according to Inside Facebook, adding “Not Now” to the current ways to accept/deny friend requests on the world’s largest social network.

When a user chooses the “Not Now” option, the friend request will be moved to a “Hidden requests” folder and the user will be able to go back later and approve or deny. If you go back later and then deny the request, Facebook will offer you the further option of marking the person as someone you don’t know, and then that person won’t be able to initiate a friend request with you in the future. So likely in effect this will mean a total block on this person.

As with the current system, none of these actions will be visible to the person that is getting denied / put on your wait-list.

By adding “Not Now” as an option, Facebook would seem to be making a smart play on two fronts: first of all, it is a way to make users feel less guilty when they don’t really want to be friends with someone, and on the other hand, Facebook might see some more connections as a result of this as some people may actually go back later and accept a friend request that they may have simply denied when that was the only alternative to accepting a friend request. Of course, Facebook thrives on friend connections, so any up-tick in those conversions can only help its network and bottom line.

We’ve sent Facebook an email asking when this option will be rolled out for the entire network, and what will happen to the current “Ignore” button, which seems to be absent in the screenshots taken by Inside Facebook.

UPDATE: Facebook just got back to us saying that the “Not Now” option will roll out over “the next day or two” and that it is indeed replacing the “Ignore” option.

http://thenextweb.com/socialmedia/2010/09/17/facebook-adds-grey-area-to-friend-denials-with-not-now-option/

Harrisburg University’s attempt to block Facebook, Twitter and IMs fails.

By Steve Kolowich,
Inside Higher Ed

The Harrisburg University of Science and Technology made waves last week when it announced it would block access to Facebook, Twitter, MySpace, and AOL Instant Messenger from its campus wireless network for one week. The idea was to make students, faculty, and staff reflect on the role social media plays in their lives.

Several days into the “shutdown,” the college’s inability to keep students away from social media is showing.

It was a bold ambition to begin with. Nationwide, 92% of students log into Facebook and spend an average of 147 minutes there per week, according to the Student Monitor. Harrisburg will not have a firm idea of how many students actually abstained from using Facebook and other blocked sites until it does exit surveys and focus groups. But Eric Darr, the provost behind the plan, says that based on his own anecdotal observations, the proportion of students who are actually going cold turkey is probably around 10% or 15%.

Meanwhile, some students have gone to great lengths to foil the university’s attempts to block them from accessing the sites on campus. Darr says he talked to three who hiked three blocks to log into Facebook from the lobby of a nearby hotel. Some particularly tech-savvy students have tried hacking the campus network to get around the block administrators put in place on Monday, says Charles Palmer, director of the university’s Center for Advanced Learning and Entertainment Technologies.

Still, the provost says that even if only a slim percentage of students actually renounce Facebook and Twitter for the week, the project will have been a success, if only because of the conversations it has started. The university never expected full abstinence from students, Darr says, nor was it trying to conduct a scientific experiment. “This extreme media coverage in and of itself is forcing more focus on social media,” he says, noting that he had just gotten off an interview with a radio talk show based in Seattle. “That was the whole point of this in the first place,” he says.

The proposed moratorium, originally reported last week by Inside Higher Ed, spread to some unlikely reaches, including a Latvian news site and NBC‘s Late Night with Jimmy Fallon. In his monologue on Monday, Fallon quipped that students assigned to write about the experience might title their essays, “We all have smartphones, dumbass.”

Not all, but some. “The blackout isn’t really that bad,” says Noel Stark, a junior at Harrisburg. “Anyone with a 3G phone can still view these sites on campus.” A number of faculty have also availed themselves of this workaround, says Palmer.

Then there is the fact, omitted from much of the media coverage (including Inside Higher Ed’s), that Harrisburg is nonresidential. Many students live nearby, but not under the umbrella of the campus wireless network. This means that while the college can try to prevent students from accessing social media sites in class, it cannot make students honor the spirit of the project once they get home. And it appears most students are not.

This is not to say the project has failed to inspire reflection. “Direct social interaction (aka the old fashioned face-to-face kind) seems to be increasing this week based on observation,” writes Rene D. Massengale in an e-mail. Massengale, an associate professor of biotechnology, says he has had thoughtful discussions about the project in his class. He says it has affected his interactions outside the classroom as well. “Sometimes I see a student I know with their head out of their PDA or computer, and I have to resist the urge to go introduce myself,” he says. “‘Hi, I’m Dr. Massengale — you know, that person who teaches your class.'”

Students in Harrisburg’s degree programs are required to have laptops, and, perhaps more than at many other colleges, students have their computers open in class. (“We are a paperless school,” says Mehdi Noorbaksh, coordinator of general education at the university.)

“It turns out that a number of them were on Facebook or chatting online,” says Palmer, the educational technologist. “We had one student who said, ‘I guess now I’ll have to pay attention in class.’ ”

“Some like it, some don’t,” says Gio Acosta, a junior. “Some say they’re getting [more] work done; some of them say, ‘I need my Facebook!’ ”

Acosta says he has been feeling the itch himself. Since being blocked from accessing the site on his laptop during class, Acosta has noticed an impulse to browse Facebook every 10 minutes or so. “I don’t know if that’s because it’s restricted, or because it’s part of me right now,” Acosta says.

He says he misses unwinding with Facebook between classes, when he does not have to be following a lecture but is still beholden to the proscriptions of the campus network. And Acosta has found it hard to keep track of his friends like he is used to, since most of them, remarkably, are more responsive to Facebook than to text messages. But while he is in class, the computer and information sciences major says, being barred from Facebook has helped him focus.

Once he gets home at night, though, Acosta says he makes sure to scratch that digital itch. “It’s fair game at home,” he says. “They didn’t make any rules about that.”

Facebook Competitor Diaspora Launches Developer Release | News & Opinion | PCMag.com

Facebook Competitor Diaspora Launches Developer Release

via Facebook Competitor Diaspora Launches Developer Release | News & Opinion | PCMag.com.

As promised, open-source Facebook competitor Diaspora launched its developer release Wednesday, making its source code available to the public.

“This is now a community project and development is open to anyone with the technical expertise who shares the vision of a social network that puts users in control,” the Diaspora team wrote in a blog post.

The company will now be “improving and solidifying” Diaspora – with the help of the community, they said.

Despite the open-source label, Diaspora said its goal is to create an “intrinsically more private social network.”

“Even the most powerful, granular set of dropdowns and checkboxes will never give people control over where their content is going, let alone give them ownership of their digital self,” according to the blog post.

Site creators Daniel Grippi, Maxwell Salzberg, Raphael Sofaer, and Ilya Zhitomirskiy initially described Diaspora as a “distributed network, where totally separate computers connect to each other directly, will let us connect without surrendering our privacy.”

Those computers are known as “seeds,” which will be owned by the user – hosted by them directly or on a rented server. That seed will then aggregate information – from Facebook, Twitter, or any other social network.

The founders discussed a social network that will focus on contextual sharing. “We live our real lives in context, speaking from whatever aspect of ourselves that those around us know,” they wrote. “Getting the source into the hands of developers is our first experiment in making a simple and functional tool for contextual sharing.”

Diaspora posted a few screen shots of the service, which looks very similar to Facebook (above). At this point, you can share status updates and post photos in near real-time via something called “aspects.” You can also find people across the Internet regardless of your seed’s location.

Diaspora plans an alpha release for October, at which time they hope to include Facebook integration, data portability, and internalization.

“It is by no means bug free or feature complete, but it an important step for putting us, the users, in control,” they concluded.

Have you ever wondered how some Facebook pages show specific content or offers only to fans?

By Tim Ware
Published September 9, 2010

social media how toHave you ever wondered how some Facebook pages show specific content or offers only to fans? If so, look no further.

One of the most popular FBML tags is fb:visible-to-connection. A favorite of marketers, this FBML tag allows a Facebook page to show different content to fans and non-fans. When a non-fan clicks the Like button – viola! – the non-fan content disappears and the fans-only content replaces it. As a method of motivating a visitor to become a fan of your page, this can be very effective.

This FBML tag is often—and erroneously—referred to as a “hack”; however, it was created by Facebook to do exactly what it does: ”to display the content inside the tag on a user’s or a Facebook page’s profile only if the viewer is a friend of that user or is a fan of that Facebook page.”

Examples of Brands Using Fans-only Content

There are many ways to motivate your visitors to Like your page. Here are a few examples from brands on Facebook:

Levi’s promises “Instant access to exclusive content.”
levis on facebook
teesey tees on facebook

DIGISTORE offers “Discount Codes, Unadvertised Specials, Free Monthly Giveaways.”
digistore on facebook

You get the picture. “We have great content here, BUT FIRST you gotta Like us!”

Of course, you should make sure that your “teaser” to non-fans is sufficiently compelling for them to Like your page. Many pages require a visitor to become a fan before displaying certain content, but they don’t convey the value of the content. Teesey Tees, above, comes very close to this.

Following are instructions on how to add fans-only content to your page.

Add the Static FBML Application to Your Page

First, you’ll need to add the Static FBML application to your page. Here is a tutorial.

NOTE: Static FBML can only be added to a Facebook page (i.e., Business Page, Company Page, Brand Page). It cannot be added to a personal profile.

What Is FBML?

FBML is Facebook’s own proprietary mark-up language that enables your tab content to interact with the Facebook API (”Application Programming Interface”). It is as easy to use as HTML.

Most FBML tags, including the ones I use in this article, have an opening tag and a closing tag. The content for each tag — HTML, CSS and/or more FBML — is placed between these opening and closing tags.

Creating Your Fans-only Content on Your Custom Tab

Once you’ve added the Static FBML application, the implementation of this FBML tag is pretty easy. The only part that is somewhat tricky is getting rid of the white space the fans-only content creates even though it’s not yet visible.

Facebook uses the “visibility:hidden” style to hide the fan content until the user Likes the page. However, this style rule still reserves the space for the content; it just doesn’t show the content. Consequently, the non-fan content is pushed down the page! However, this is easily solved with a bit of CSS “absolute positioning.” I incorporate this approach into the following examples.

The code for the FBML box:
<div id="wrapper">
<fb:visible-to-connection>
FANS-ONLY CONTENT GOES HERE
<fb:else>
<div id="non-fans">NON-FANS CONTENT GOES HERE </div>
</fb:else>
</fb:visible-to-connection>
</div>

As shown above, all the tab content will be contained in the “wrapper” DIV.

<div id=”wrapper”> opens this containing DIV. CSS styles are applied to the ID “wrapper” via the stylesheet.

All the fans-only and non-fan content is placed between the opening <fb:visible-to-connection> tag and closing </fb:visible-to-connection> tag. This content can be HTML, FBML and CSS.

The fans-only content comes first, followed by the non-fan content which immediately follows the opening <fb:else> FBML tag.

The non-fan content is contained within the <div id=”non-fans”> and </div> tags. CSS styles are applied to the ID “non-fans” via the stylesheet.

Immediately following the non-fan content is the closing </fb:else> tag, followed by the closing </fb:visible-to-connection> tag and, finally, the </div> tag to close the “wrapper” DIV.

Here is the Static FBML box with the above code, and the link to an external stylesheet:

facebook visible to connection

Here is the CSS for the external stylesheet (with example URL):
#wrapper {
width:520px;
margin:0 auto; border:0; padding:0;
position:relative;
}
#non-fans {
width:520px;
position:absolute; top:0; left:0;
}

Your external stylesheet should have only the CSS style rules. Don’t include the <style></style> tags!

If you can’t use an external stylesheet

If you don’t have a server where you can upload a separate stylesheet, you can “inline” the styles inside the HTML tags. Although this isn’t ideal, it’s an option if you can’t create a separate stylesheet, host it on a server and link to it with the <style> tag.

Here is the above example, with the styles for the <div> tags inlined (notice we don’t need the IDs if we use this approach):

example styles inlined

Testing and Troubleshooting

Testing and troubleshooting this particular FBML tag is a bit tricky, because when logged in as a user who is a page admin, you will see both fans-only and non-fan content when viewing the tab.

  • Create a user account for testing: The most efficient way to test is to create a Facebook account for testing only, or use a friend’s or colleague’s account. (Creating a new personal profile for testing may violate Facebook’s Terms of Service — See #4, Registration and Account Security — even if done with good intentions.) You can be logged in to Facebook as one user (the admin account) in one browser and logged in as the test account in a different browser (I use Firefox and Safari). Then you don’t have to keep logging in and out of Facebook as admin, then as tester, etc.
    When testing, you’ll need to toggle back and forth between Liking and Unliking a page. To Unlike a page, click on the Wall tab. Near the bottom of the left column of the Wall, you’ll see “Unlike”:
    unlike
    Click that to Unlike the page, and you can click the Like button to re-Like the page. Repeat as necessary.
  • Use an external stylesheet, NOT inlined styles: Most browsers will correctly display your page if you have inlined the CSS with the <style> tag, but NOT Internet Explorer 8!
    Because millions of people use this particular browser, your CSS should be in its own file (with the extension “.css”) and be referenced from your FBML page, with the <link rel=”stylesheet” type=”text/css” href=”URL-TO-EXTERNAL-STYLESHEET” />. You’ll need to have this file hosted somewhere on the web where you can link to it.
  • Double-check all URLs: If any files (images, CSS, etc.) are not being displayed or accessed, be sure to test the URLs for these files directly in your browser, typing or pasting the URL in the address bar to make sure you can access the file directly.
    browser address bar
    If you can’t access the file directly, then your URL is incorrect.
  • Check for proper syntax: Make sure that URLs are surrounded by matching quotes (single or double is fine, but they must match) and that they are plain-text, straight-up-and-down quotes (not “fancy” or “curly” quotes).
  • Check your Tab on the Most Popular Browsers and on Mac AND Windows: You want to be sure your tab is displaying properly on the most popular browsers (Firefox, Internet Explorer, Safari and Chrome, at the very least) and on both Mac and Windows. What displays well in Firefox, Chrome and Safari may not (and often doesn’t) display well on Internet Explorer.

What About Facebook’s Announcement on Killing Off FBML?

On August 19, 2010, Namita Gupta announced the impending phase-out of FBML. However, I expect that support for Static FBML and the fb:visible-to-connection tag will be around indefinitely. Static FBML is Facebook’s own application and just several months ago they offered Static FBML custom tabs as a consolation prize to users who were distraught over the killing off of the Boxes tab. I expect it will be supported well into 2011 and perhaps beyond.

Read this detailed article on the future of Static FBML and FBML, which includes the opinions of a number of expert developers.

Have you tried fan-only content on your Facebook page? What has been your experience? Please leave your comments in the box below.

Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

About the Author, Tim Ware

Tim Ware is the owner of HyperArts Web Design, helping businesses build and promote their Web presence. His focus these days is Facebook app development and Static FBML. Other posts by Tim Ware »

Google takes a few more steps on the path of Facebook Killerness.

Image representing Google as depicted in Crunc...

Image via CrunchBase

Google recently went on a spending spree, scooping up social media companies

galore, while being coy about its plans. According to the Wall Street Journal, Google CEO Eric Schmidt told Zeitgeist conference attendees in Arizona to look out for new social networking products before the end of the year. While these are expected to be launched as part of Google Me, details are skimpy at this time.

Instead of an all-out Facebook rival, Google plans to introduce social networking add-ons that will integrate with its core products, including Gmail and YouTube. For example, YouTube will share information in real-time about what videos are being watched by the people on your friend-list.

“With your permission, knowing more about who your friends are, we can provide more tailored recommendations. Search quality can get better,” said Schmidt.

Considering the number of gaming companies Google has acquired over the last few months, social gaming will likely be a big part of this offering. Acquired companies include virtual currency company Jambool, mobile games provider SocialDeck, and social game developer Slide. The company is also working on a partnership with social gaming heavyweight Zynga.

Google has struggled in the social networking space, with the long-forgotten Orkut and the more recent Buzz. Even so, Google kept shopping, adding like.com, a “visual search” technology, content aggregator Angstro, question/answer service Aardvark, and microblogging service Jaiku to its portfolio. Its own Social Search moved out of Google Labs earlier this year, as well.

There may be a slight hiccup in Google’s grand plans: Facebook. But not in the Facebook-killer kind of way. Currently, Google allows Facebook to let users pull over Gmail contacts as part of the FriendFinder application. Google wants similar access from Facebook, to pull user data into its platform, said Schmidt.

Considering the odds of that ever happening are not likely, Schmidt has just one thing to say: “Failing that, there are other ways to get that information,” said Schmidt…continue to article.

Facebook takes top spot for social networking-related malware infections, followed by YouTube and Twitter

This is icon for social networking website. Th...

Image via Wikipedia

Thirty-three percent of SMBs have been infected by malware propagated via social networks; 23 percent cited employee privacy violations on popular social media sites.

Thirty-five percent of SMBs infected by malware from social networks have suffered financial loss.  Facebook takes top spot for social networking-related malware infections, followed by YouTube and Twitter

      ORLANDO, Fla., Sept. 14 /PRNewswire

      Panda Security, the Cloud Security Company, today announced the results of its first annual Social Media Risk Index for small- and medium-sized businesses (SMBs). The study, which surveyed 315 US SMBs with up to 1,000 employees throughout the month of July, revealed that 33 percent of these companies had experienced a malware or virus infection from social networks, with 23 percent citing employee privacy violations resulting in the loss of sensitive data.  In addition, thirty-five percent of survey respondents that were infected by malware from social networking sites suffered a financial loss, with more than a third of those companies reporting losses in excess of $5,000.

      “Social media is now ubiquitous among SMBs because of its many obvious business benefits, yet these tools don’t come without serious risks,” said Sean-Paul Correll, threat researcher at Panda Security. “In Panda’s first annual Social Media Risk Index, we set out to uncover the top SMB concerns about social media and draw a correlation to actual incidence of malware infection, privacy violations and hard financial losses. While a relatively high number of SMBs have been infected by malware from social sites, we were pleased to see that the majority of companies already have formal governance and education programs in place. These types of policies combined with up to date network security solutions are required to minimize risk and ultimately prevent loss.”

      Social Media Benefits Outweigh Concerns

      According to the survey, SMB’s top concerns with social media include privacy and data loss (74 percent), malware infection (69 percent), employee productivity loss (60 percent), reputation damage (50 percent), and network performance/utilization problems (29 percent). However, these concerns are not deterring SMBs from reaping the business benefits of social media as 78 percent of respondents reported that they use these tools to support research and competitive intelligence, improve customer service, drive public relations and marketing initiatives and directly generate revenue. Facebook is by far the most popular social media tool among SMBs: Sixty-nine percent of respondents reported that they have active accounts with this site, followed by Twitter (44 percent), YouTube (32 percent) and LinkedIn (23 percent).

      Facebook Emerges as Top Source for Malware Infections

      Facebook was cited as the top culprit for companies that experienced malware infection (71.6 percent) and privacy violations (73.2 percent). YouTube took the second spot for malware infection (41.2 percent), while Twitter contributed to a significant amount of privacy violations (51 percent). For companies suffering financial losses from employee privacy violations, Facebook was again cited as the most common social media site where these losses occurred (62 percent), followed by Twitter (38 percent), YouTube (24 percent) and LinkedIn (11 percent).

      Social Media Governance and Education Are Prevalent Among SMBs

      To minimize the risks associated with social media, 57 percent of SMBs currently have a social media governance policy in place, with 81 percent of these companies employing personnel to actively enforce those policies. In addition, 64 percent of companies reported having formal training programs in place to educate employees on the risks and benefits of social media. The majority of respondents (62 percent) do not allow the personal use of social media at work. The most common disallowed social media activities include: Playing games (32 percent); publishing inappropriate content on social media sites (31 percent); and installing unapproved applications (25 percent). In addition, 25 percent of companies said that they actively block popular social media sites for employees, mainly via a gateway appliance (65 percent) and/or hosted Web security service (45 percent).

      Survey respondents included individuals involved in setting and/or enforcing policies related to network activities at 315 SMBs within the United States. A slideshow on the study’s results is available at: http://bit.ly/cD9wX4.

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