My Thoughts on Technology and Jamaica: @Facebook gets Mission Impossible serious with Poke as the @Snapchat bringing “Sexting” back

Thursday, February 7, 2013

@Facebook gets Mission Impossible serious with Poke as the @Snapchat bringing “Sexting” back

“This is mainstream, this is normal, this is almost mundane for some of the people we spoke to”

Professor Andy Phippen from Plymouth University commenting on the joint study with NSPCC conducted for BBC Channel 4 into the phenomenon of Sexting

Looks like the Gloves are off as far as Facebook’s concerned. Facebook is getting serious about Mobile Computing as I’d predicted in my Geezam blog article entitled “How to add Emoticons to your Facebook posts”.

It seems that if you can’t beat ‘em, you gotta clone ‘em; thus Facebook upgraded Poke, that little used feature in Facebook to a full blown App called ….well….Poke as reported in the article “Facebook releases Snapchat competitor App called Poke”, published December 21, 2012 - 12:54PM PT By Eliza Kern, GigaOM. 

And yes (like duh-uh!!) it’s a clone of Snapchat, baby, as reported in the article “Facebook releases Poke, its Snapchat clone”, published December 21, 2012 December 21, 2012, by Molly Mchugh, DigitalTrends which they launched on Friday December 22nd 2012!

Snapchat…what? Which Social Network’s that?

No worry; if you’ve never heard of Snapchat; few people in Jamaica without a real smartphone with their noses stuck in a Blackberry and banging away at BB Messenger have. However, as Jamaicans begin to fall in love with smartphones and their much improved higher resolution Cameras and Video Shooting capabilities as noted in my Geezam blog article entitled “Apple iPhone boosts Jamaican smartphone usage as BB goes Chapter 11 Bankruptcy”, Snapchat’s notoriety grows on you like a Cannabis plant!

As Snapchat’s popularity catches on outside of the continental US of A, it may mark the return of Safe Sexting (no pun intended)…if there’s such a thing.

Yes, while Jamaicans and to a great extent Americans fritted away their time on their Desktop Computers and Laptops with Facebook, Twitter, which were born in the Desktop era and the other competing Social Networks, most of which were born Mobile, another little Kingdom was rising built on the premise of Safe Sexting.

For the uninitiated who never owned a Camera phone back in early first Decade of the 21st Century, Camera phones gave rise to the phenomenon of Sexting; Millennials [ages 18 to 28] sent lurid, revealing and very unflattering picture of themselves taken with camera phones, often with dire consequences if the recipient was a pervert.

Among Millennials, Sexting is almost passé it seems; not uncommon either for adolescents to have seen a girl’s breasts and other body parts before ever seeing their face as indicated in the article “Snapchat fends off Facebook despite video glitch”, published 02 Jan 2013 10:07AM GMT By Matt Warman, Consumer Technology Editor, The UK Telegraph.

The problem back then was that once pictures were sent, they cannot be retrieved or deleted on the recipient’s phone, making the recipient capable of doing damage to your fragile High School or College reputation using one’s image of your less-than-flattering nude doppelganger.

Snapchat’s hugely popular App, which is 4th on Apple iTunes 100 Chart, popped up on the Mobile Social Networking Radar back in May 2012, neatly solves that problem; pics can be set to “self-destruct” Mission Impossible style as noted in the article “Snapchat auto-delete sexts seconds after they’ve been viewed”, published May 8, 2012 by NattGarun, DigitalTrends.

Should you choose to Accept this Mission…er…I mean Snapchat’s App Terms of Usage as suggested in the article “Terms & Conditions: Snapchat’s privacy policy has too many secrets”, published December 16, 2012 By Andrew Couts, DigitalTrends, on your smartphone, Millennials [ages 18-28] can safely begin re-living your “sexting” fantasies.

This setting a preset period of time ranging for 1 to 10 seconds as reported in the article “What’s so special (and so dangerous) about Snapchat”, published December 14, 2012 By Kate Knibbs, DigitalTrends for those provocative pictures worth a thousand words and stares to disappear.

True, screen capture Apps can be used to capture you private emotions expressed in the picture and preserve it for further viewing among fellow perverts. The first failsafe is that the pics are deleted off both the sender’s and the recipient’s phones – unless you the sender decide to save the picture sent on your phone permanently, usually not a good idea. Snapchat already has a feature that notifies the sender if their naughty snaps have been copied.

But fret not.

The screen capture feature in most smartphones can be easily thwarted via the App disabling the screensaver feature on the smartphones, if Snapchat chooses to make this upgrade. If your recipient is no longer in your circle of trust and Snapchat reports that he’s using Screen-capture software to have a permanent reminder of you nude copse cadaver, you may soon be able to remotely delete that which can do Social Damage straight off the person’s phone.

Making only the most tech-savvy geek the only persons capable of raining on your Sexting parade! It’s the instantaneous fleeting pleasure of sending any picture without consequence that’s the catch here folks; users seem to agree, sending some twenty million (20,000,000) snaps per day, an average of about 232 pictures per second as clocked in the article “Facebook to Launch Its Own Snapchat Competitor App”, published December 16, 2012 at 10:57 pm PT by Mike Isaac, AllThingsDigital!

Snapchat has also launched a similar feature for self-destructing 10-second “Sexting” Videos. Traffic as of writing this article now stands at fifty million (50,000,000) pictures per day…with no end in sight as to its phenomenal rise as tallied in the article “Snapchat’s adding video, so sext me, maybe?”, published Dec 14, 2012 - 10:07AM PT By Eliza Kern, GigaOM.

Definitely cause for Facebook to worry and hence explains why they decided to launch a standalone App on Friday December 22nd 2012 despite already having native Apps for Google Android and deep integration into iOS 6.0 on the Apple iPhone 5 as reported in the article “Apple’s iOS 6 Includes Deep FaceBook Integration”, published June 11, 2012 by Sarah Kessler, Mashable and reported in the article “Apple kicks Google Maps off iPhone, adds FaceBook”, published Wednesday, June 13, 2012, The Jamaica Observer.

Still, it’s not without danger, as tests by BuzzFeed FWD indicate that it’s possible to retrieve the videos by just simply connecting a Laptop of PC via an external Cable to your Apple iPhone or Google Android smartphone.

Then using a file Manager Program such iFunBox or even a computer Running Ubuntu or Fedora, any hidden photo or video files in the area where Snapchat temporarily stores its videos and pictures as surmised in the article “Turns out Snapchat, Poke videos don't actually disappear”, published December 28, 2012 6:39 AM PST by Lance Whitney, CNET News can be easily located and retrieved.

BuzzFeed FWD found that the bug in Snapchat was as such that the pics were indeed kaput after 10 seconds but apparently the detonator (cheeky devil ain’t I?) for the videos failed to go off, so to speak , and self-destruct, making them easily recoverable long after the 10 seconds had passed. To this, the Snapchat founder Evan Spiegel responded to Buzzfeed, quote: “there will always be a way to reverse engineer technology products”. A fix is in the works, preferably as suggested above in this article.

Numbers like that got Big Blue…that’s Facebook….worried, as it appears they just wasted US$700 million acquiring Instagram that’s barely clocking 5 million images uploaded per day. Instagram’s trying to monetize images as reported in the article “Don't blame Instagram users - blame Instagram”, published December 19, 2012 2:14 PM PST by Casey Newton, CNET News via a change in its Terms of Usage Policy.

This got the attention of Reality Star and Instagram’s biggest user Kim Kardashian, who was so upset with them that she made the veiled threat of deleting her account as reported in the article “Kim Kardashian: Instagram's No. 1 enemy?”, published December 21, 2012 7:02 AM PST by Chris Matyszczyk, CNET News.

Meanwhile upstart Snapchat’s making a mockery of FB’s business model by allowing people to send images and videos that’re only temporarily stored on their Servers only to wind up self-destructing on a recipient’s phone, even copping US$8 million in Venture Capital funds from the very same company that fuelled Instagram’s rise from obscurity. Folks, Irony defined!

Thus predictions of FB launching competitors to Snapchat as stated in the article “Facebook expected to release a sexy Snapchat clone”, published December 17, 2012 By Francis Bea, DigitalTrends were really inevitable. Facebook’s barely got a presence on smartphones and Tablets. Many of these new Social Networks are born in the Mobile Computing world, an area of potential growth for the now Stock Market traded Facebook.

Same reasoning can be applied to explain why Facebook had launched a Messenger to compete with WhatsApp as reported in the article “Will Facebook Make Snapchat And WhatsApp History? Maybe Not”, published 12/21/2012 @ 8:24PM by Parmy Olson, Forbes Staff; Mobile Computing on smartphones and Tablet’s where the action’s at.

So far FB’s failing!

After Poke’s launch on Friday December 22nd 2012, it has failed to gain traction with the Mobile masses, dropping completely off the radar of the Apple iTunes Top 100 apps and failed in spectacular fashion as reported in “Everyone Is Talking About Facebook's Massive Flop”, published Dec. 27, 2012, 12:15 PM by Nicholas Carlson, Business Insider

Not surprising at all; in order to join Poke, you have to allow the Poke App access to your Friends list! NOT a good idea given FB’s poor track record with Privacy. Non too crazy about people seeing private snaps and 10 second videos that may linger around forever and ruin your job prospects for life

Nobody’s gonna forgive FB for its past privacy slip-ups and trust FB with their very intimate spur-of-the-moment pictures that may wind up being seen by their FB peeps….or worse their boss!

If FB’s serious about Poke (and I doubt that they are anyway….) they have to radically improve Privacy on Facebook by simply allowing smartphone and Tablet users to make random friends. Frictionless sharing isn’t how humans are socialized in real life; we hold back really private sensitive stuff as it does hurt when it’s known.

Rather than draw your friends list from FB, a crucial mistake, they need to allow persons to make their own friends in the Mobile phone world all over again. After all it’s a new medium; why keep the same old Friends from FB?

The intimate nature of Sexting suggests a prelude to sex, a process similar to Inboxing on FB as described in my Geezam blog article entitled “Social Network Prostitution: FOMO drives Millennials to “Inboxing””.

With something so intimate as a photo of one’s self that should only be seen when you in the bedroom, a Privacy-snafu FB and their sexting app Poke not to be trusted; Snapchat’s gonna be King of Sexting for a long time as they’re  bringing “Sexting” back.

Only time’ll tell if this’ll work to FB’s advantage or if FB’s genuinely interested at all. This as FB appears to be grasping for straws as they ride on the rising popularity of competitor Snapchat with their take on Sexting in an App named Poke.

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