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Social Media in the News: Facebook Tweaks Sharing Control with New Plugin; Colin Powell Warns Users ‘Too Interconnected’

Facebook has just launched the Shared Activity plugin which allows users to control the visibility of their actions while using apps developed for the platform, according to a blog post signed by Andrew Chen. The plugin allows Facebook users to set a default audience for in-app activities or adjust the size of the public that previous published actions reach.

“For example, when an individual uses a music app, she could modify the privacy settings, through the plugin, for specific song listening activities, without needing to go back to Facebook to control what’s shown.” wrote Chen. “Similarly, if a person, through a travel app, likes a restaurant or reviews a hotel, and decides that these activities should only be viewable to a select group on friends on Facebook, he can control this within the plugin as well.”

Chen specifies that using this plugin will not save users the trouble of adjusting the privacy settings of the apps they use.

However, this is an important step in keeping users safe not only from prying eyes, but also from scams.  Users might be inclined to use a specific app or to try to access a certain type of content precisely because their friends are doing it. If a friend accidentally fell into a likejacking trap and you noticed the friend’s supposed endorsement of a suspicious link, chances were you would have clicked and got duped too. The Shared Activity plugin steps in to save you the trouble of explaining embarrassing “likes” and allows you to make them invisible altogether.

Speaking of visibility, former Secretary of State Colin Powell recently approached the pros and cons of making more intensive use of social media both in the private and in the public sector, reports zdnet.

“There are dangers with [the information revolution], especially the social part of it, where we are so interconnected that we might be too interconnected,” Powell said. Nevertheless, he acknowledged the importance of young generations learning to master these tools, which also entails the others’ responsibility in protecting them within virtual social environments.

Powell noted the special skills youth now bring to the military or  State Department . “You better keep up with them. They’re not going to keep up with you,” he said.

Touching on social media’s contribution to social change, Powell spoke both about the benefits and the potential negative outcomes, such as “overwhelming the system,” of a medium that reaches people across the globe at amazing speed. Speaking about the need to integrate social media in all aspects of our lives, he said leaders themselves should embrace technology advances instead of trying to block them.

“The potential is there, but you have to have leaders who are comfortable with the technology and not terrified,” Powell said. “These leaders won’t be able to stop it. You can’t stop it. Vladimir Putin can’t stop it, and the Middle East leaders can’t stop it.”

About the author

Ioana Jelea

Ioana Jelea has a disturbing (according to friendly reports) penchant for the dirty tricks of online socialization and for the pathologically mesmerizing news trivia. From gory, though sometimes fake, death reports to nip slips and other such blush-inducing accidents, her repertoire is an ever-expanding manifesto against any Victorian-like frame of thought that puts a strain on online creativity. She would like to keep things simple, but she never does.