The Curious Case of the Facebook Algorithm

social-media-1233873_960_720I have been on Facebook for more than a decade and have 3000 plus friends but the last few years the News Feed Algorithm has been showing me the same 25-30 friends, blanking the other 3K. I noticed sub-conciously and stopped looking at the feed for months, but would just post my articles since I am a journalist. So I decided to do an experiment. Every day I would snooze 5 of those friends for a month. Would the algorithm replace them with 5 others. It didn’t and I was down to just 5 friends after some days. I logged in all day and was shown a static feed of those 5 friends. So I snoozed those 5 and waited next day for nothing.

But no, dozens of new friends popped up who I hadn’t seen in the feed for years. So I kept up my experiment and started snoozing 5 friends a day. After a few months, I was probably seeing the posts a 100+ friends, but still not the other 3K plus. Why does Facebook do this? Why does it thrust a useless algorithm down my throat? Why can’t I see all 3K friends in real time? Because then my feed would be totally different even if I checked 10 times a day instead of becoming static if I log in 2-3 times a day. I guess it also worked the other way around as some people messaged me asking: Why weren’t you on Facebook for all these years? Also in the last few years I got practically zero friend requests. Maybe 1 a month at best. And now I am getting dozens of friend requests a day. What is the logic of that?

Silicon Valley Social Media claims to have a domain of billions of pages, billions of videos, billions of articles posted by billions of people, but it will never show you that ocean. It will take a glass from that ocean and tell you that you are allowed to see that only and nothing else.

A Twitter account hacked, hijacked, renamed repeatedly and gone

I had been on My Twitter handle @sunilrajguru since 2009 and have Tweeted more than 15K Tweets, with more than 5K followers, but all that has just vanished.

I had given my email ID and mobile number as a safeguard but don’t remember whether I did opt for a two factor authentication.

It all started when I got a mail saying someone tried to change my password…

Suspicious Yahoo Twitter

So I went to change my password, but I found I couldn’t even login to Twitter

Then I got this message saying my email ID had already been changed…

Address change

So now I couldn’t use my old email ID or mobile No. to change any details or change PW, they couldn’t be found.

I complained to Twitter Support Hacked Account, got a reply and further replied with the extra details.

Meanwhile, my handle vanished.

Account doesnt exist

Then my followers reported following an account which they never followed. When they clicked the link to my profile, their mobile cache showed my old account which got immediately refreshed to this…

Hacked Account Renamed

Same joining date. Same followers. A lot of my followers reported getting this when they clicked my profile.

So it appears my account was Hacked, Hijacked & Renamed.

Then I got an email from Twitter saying that they couldn’t locate my account or other details…

Twitter can't find

And this person, thanks to his or her hacking skills, gets 5K followers for free.

And I lose my 15K Tweets!

Identity Theft is one thing, this is a taking over of someone’s identity and renaming it to their own!

All in all a neat trick!!!

Post Script…

The hacker keeps changing the name of the handle multiple times, so I can’t keep track.

For Twitter Support it should show as one continuous account from 2009-20, but apparently it doesn’t, so nothing much can be done by the user!

Meanwhile I am off Twitter, but opened another account in my name in case I ever decide to get active again and no-one else takes my username.

Also the highest ReTweets I got for a single Tweet was in excess of 3000. That has been preserved thanks to good ole Wayback Machine.

3200 Retweets

Also one from 2010, the earliest it captured

Twitter 2010

Harrowing tale from another tech journo…

The day my Twitter account was hacked and left to rot out in the sun

The Jio Data revolution…

iphone-518101_640Desktop ho ya laptop ya ho mobile, 100GB per connection per device zaroori hone wala hai.
2017 will be year of Indian data explosion.

Reliance gives mobile data at fantastic rates.
That’s Jio.
All other players scramble to match that.
That’s Aur Jeene Do.

If all calls are free and mobile data is dirt cheap, then how will they make money?
Acche Din for consumers.
Bure Din for mobile operators.

Tum itna jo muskura rahe ho,
Kya Whatsapp forward hai jisko chhupa rahe ho?

Great for government.
Convenient for citizens.
Terrible for privacy.
#Aadhar

These versions by Sunil Rajguru

The rise of #PokemonGO

pokemon-1593089_640Wizard of O̶z̶ ‪#‎PokemonGO‬
Somewhere over the rainbow… is a Pokestop.
Just follow the black tar road… follow the white cement road.

Things never heard before.
“Dad, can we go for a walk!”
‪#‎PokemonGO‬

Sign before all private property…
‪#‎PokemonGOers‬ shall be prosecuted!

Matter of time before someone names a new variety of fruit ‪#‎PokeManGO‬.

These versions by Sunil Rajguru

The leader with the most Twitter followers shalt win

twitter-848528_640Nowadays in democracies, Twitter seems to be playing a great role and whoever with the most Twitter followers simply wins the elections and consolidates after that. It’s almost a cent per cent record.

First take the case of US President Barack Obama (https://twitter.com/BarackObama). At around 75 million followers he is in a league of his own. But in 2008 he was a rank non-entity and he was supposed to stand absolutely no chance against Hillary Clinton. But Hillary wasn’t even on Twitter then and was soundly thrashed by Obama who debuted on Twitter in 2007 a year after its launch.

Obama thrashed Mitt Romney (https://twitter.com/MittRomney) who after being on Twitter for a good seven years is yet to cross the 2 million mark. This year’s US Presidential race saw no surprises too.

Hillary (https://twitter.com/HillaryClinton) beat Bernie Sanders (https://twitter.com/berniesanders) on Twitter by 7.2 million to 2.7 million. The same thing happened in the offline world and Hillary got the Democratic ticket.

Absolutely nobody gave Donald Trump a chance in the Republican race with many saying he wouldn’t even make it to the Top 5. But on Twitter he (https://twitter.com/realDonaldTrump) thrashes Ted Cruz (https://twitter.com/tedcruz) by 9.4 million to 1.3 million, again a no contest which played itself out in the offline world.

Now also the mainstream media is staunchly behind Hillary, but it is usually social media which proves to be the deciding factor in the end. Trump is way ahead on the Twitter count, so you can’t count him out!

The Number 2 global politician on Twitter is Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi (@narendramodi) with 20.6 million followers. His rival Rahul Gandhi wasn’t even on Twitter. That also showed in the offline world when Modi’s BJP thrashed Rahul’s Congress by a whopping seat margin of 282-44 in the Parliamentary elections.

Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono (@SBYudhoyono) has 9.1 million followers and he won his two Indonesian Presidential terms. Recep Tayyip Erdoğan (@RT_Erdogan) has 8.5 followers and he has been Prime Minister/President of Turkey since 2003.

Premiers David Cameron of UK and Benjamin Netanyahu of Israel were predicted by the mainstream media of losing their respective elections, but they won. Not surprisingly they are Twitter leaders in their political worlds.

Most of the politicians are national leaders, but regional head honcho and New Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal (@ArvindKejriwal) is biggie in the Twitter world with 8.1 million followers and that’s why he won 67/70 Assembly seats in the 2015 Delhi elections!

So whenever you want to watch a democratic election keep your eyes firmly on the Twitter followers of every leader, for it appears that the latest commandment is…

The leader with the most Twitter followers shalt win!

© Sunil Rajguru

Social media musings…

Troll.
Noun.
1. Critic.
2. Opponent.
3. Fault finder.
4. Fact checker.
5. Who differs in opinion.
and lastly
6. Stalker, abuser and one who threatens.

Social media has made all of us philosophers, writers, photographers, videographers, voyeurs, experts, agony aunts, attention seekers and trolls.

Fake story goes viral. Millions page views.
Fake story debunked. Millions more page views.
Particle-antiparticle pairs can be created from nothing.
Same with news!

These versions by Sunil Rajguru