An Indian woman is divorcing her husband because he neglected to change his relationship status to 'married' on Facebook.
The husband, a 31-year-old businessman, reportedly told the court that updating his status had simply slipped his mind, as the pair wed only two months ago. But his 28-year-old IT professional wife pressed on with the divorce because she "couldn't trust him".
The judge reportedly told the newlyweds to undergo six months of counselling.
We've heard of Facebook causing marital strife before, but usually when a spouse has used the social networking site to reconnect with an old flame. Eighty-one per cent of lawyers surveyed by the American Academy of Matrimonial Lawyers in February 2010 said they'd seen an overwhelming increase in the number of divorce cases that used evidence gleaned from social networking sites like Facebook.
And though an argument over a Facebook relationship status may seem like a strange reason to split, it's hardly the weirdest grounds for divorce that we've ever heard.
10 Non-Corporate Facebook Alternatives
Certainly the hottest new social network, Pinterest doesn't have all the functions and features of Facebook quite yet -- basically, you're just posting photos to your different boards, which you can categorize by interest or hobby or whatever. You can also follow your friends' boards and comment on their pins. And that's it. Pinterest is a simple, visual concept that has a huge, vibrant community of active users. It hit 10 million users faster than any other social network and is now the third most popular social network in America, trailing only Facebook and Twitter.
Tagged has a remarkably similar arc to Facebook: Also founded in 2004, and also originally tageted at young people, Tagged is now open to everyone and allows you to customize your profile, play games, message friends, post photos, and meet new people. It has more than 300 million users and more than twenty million monthly active users -- not too shabby, and perhaps worth a look if you want a robust Facebook alternative that's not going anywhere. To see what Tagged is all about, check out this video introduction for beginners. You can sign up for Tagged here.
is one of several new social networks that seeks to improve on Facebook by making the experience more private and personal: Users are limited to 150 friends on the mobile-only service. A user is instructed to only add his or her closest friends, or anyone you'd invite to your birthday party; the average Path user has 40 connections. Path is sort of like a daily online journal that you open to your friends: You can post photos and videos using your smartphone's camera, update your location, share what songs you're listening to and more. Path has been praised for its intimate feeling and clean design. For more on this social network and its mission statement, check out the introductory YouTube video.
Speaking of intimacy: Pair is a social network in which you can only have one connection, as its name implies. Pair is a sharing service for couples (or really good friends, I suppose), available on Android and iPhone. It takes privacy to the extreme: Pair calls itself a "timeline for just the two of you, where you can post cute video messages and photos that no one else will see." Your significant other may be forcing you to join it any day now. On Pair, you can share photos, videos, location, and to-do lists; you can also play Tic-Tac-Toe with one another and draw sketches in real-time. One of the most precious features of Pair is its "thumbprint" feature, on which you and your partner can virtually press your thumbs together. Like Pair as a whole, you will probably either find this adorable or schmaltzy. Path is available for free in iTunes and the Google Play store.
The number of social networks based on your current location, and your proximity to other users of an mobile application, is on the rise. These "social-location-mobile" (SoLoMo) apps dominated the recent South by Southwest festival, and the app that got the most press was Highlight. Highlight is iPhone only, and the mobile app hooks up with your Facebook and notifies you when you are near a friend, or a friend of a friend, or another Highlight user with similar interests. You can view this person's Highlight profile, and if you're intrigued, you can message that person and perhaps make a new friend or connection. Highlight CEO Paul Davison explains the app to Anderson Cooper in the accompanying YouTube video. Highlight is available for free in iTunes.
Circle is, like Highlight, an app that tells you who's around you; unlike Highlight, it has a very pleasant design and lots of options for what information you share publicly and who can see you. You sign up for Circle with your Facebook account; the iPhone-only app shows you when Facebook friends are nearby, and also when friends of friends are close. You can choose to toggle on and off public visibility, if you don't want to be visible to friends of friends. Your profile shows your different Facebook networks (your college, high school, hometown, etc.) and you also have a mini-bio with your name, relationship status and interests. All of this can be toggled on and off as well. Circle is available on iTunes.
Another social location app for your iPhone, Kismet shows you who's around and lets you chat with your nearby neighbors; it also allows users to check in on Foursquare and see which other Kismet users are at their location. Kismet boasts a nice map view, which allows you to see a broad view of other Kismet users around you; there's also an invitation feature that allows you to invite your friends and other users to meet up at a certain place and certain time. You can download Kismet for iPhone here.
Our final SoLoMo app (and hopefully the last time I will ever have to write "SoLoMo" ever again) is Ban.jo, which differentiates itself by being available for iPhone AND Android AND on the web. Accessibility! Aside from cross-OS availability, Ban.jo is more of the same: See who's currently around you in list or map view, message nearby folks, check in and update LinkedIn, Twitter, Foursquare and Facebook. Ban.jo is also the only one of these apps publicizing the number of users it has: Its press kit claims that Ban.jo has over one million users worldwide in 185 countries. You can download Ban.jo for the iPhone or for Android; you can also try it out at Ban.jo's website.
Nextdoor is a social network for neighbors and neighborhoods. You join with your home address and are immediately placed into a home neighborhood; all of your connections, and all the content you see in your feed, comes from those that live near you. You don't have to make your address visible to your neighbors, but you do have to verify that you live there with Nextdoor in order to use the site. After you join, using Nextdoor is like a mix of browsing Craigslist and using your community bulletin board. You can find out what's happening in your 'hood and get recommendations for different local businesses and services; there's also a classifieds section for buying and selling. You can check out Nextdoor's pitch in the accompanying video. You can sign up for Nextdoor for free here.
A mobile app for Android and iPhone, Roamz brings in information from Twitter, Foursquare, Instagram and Facebook to let you know what cool stuff is happening around you — "where the locals go," it claims. That's the real draw of Roamz. It's a social network where you can post status updates and photos and also get information about the places nearby. Check out a video for the app — which its creators call "Social Googles for the Real World" — on the left. You can download Roamz for free for iPhone or for Android.
Twitter co-creator tells college grads to embrace constraint
In a commencement address this week, Twitter co-creator Dom Sagolla told Becker College's graduates to "seek out" constraints.
"Embrace constraints; seek them out. Many people feel that social or political constraints are an excuse to fail, but I find them to be freeing," Sagolla said. "You know, you look at Twitter with 140 characters to get your message across as a great example. Some of the best small companies thrive because their constraints inspire creativity."
Sagolla told the new graduates they were like "little start-ups."
"It is so important to be nice to the small people; say hello to security, appreciate admins," he said. "I firmly believe the lowest of us inevitably rise up."
He told a story of an intern who left Odeo, the podcasting company Sagolla worked at, which gave rise to Twitter, to "start his own thing". That intern was Kevin Systrom, who eventually sold "his own thing", which he named Instagram, for $US1 billion to Facebook.
"Manufacture your own personal brand; discover what you're best at doing and market it, sculpt it, hone it," Sagolla said. "You can still build something very important. Anyone is capable of success, as long as you define success for yourself."
Facebook Buys Karma
Social Network Purchases Another Startup On The Same Day As Its Public Debut
Shortly after markets closed on Facebook's first day as a publicly traded company, the social network bought another startup.
Social gifting service Karma announced the deal in a blog post written by co-founders Lee Linden & Ben Lewis.
Unlike another of Facebook's recent purchases, social discovery app Glancee, Karma's mobile app won't be shuttered as a result of its acquisition by Facebook.
"The service that Karma provides will continue to operate in full force," wrote Lee and Ben. "By combining the incredible passion of our community with Facebook's platform we can delight users in new and meaningful ways. As we say... only good things will follow."
Available on both iPhone and Android, the Karma app lets users send messages to friends on special occasions and then recommends personalised gifts to the recipient by pulling their data from Facebook. The recipient can customize their gift, swap it for another item or donate it to a charity. The app will also ship the gift to the recipient.
With Karma under its belt, Facebook makes yet another move to up its strength in the mobile space, which the social networking giant has admitted is a weak spot in its business.
The terms of the deal were not disclosed.
Twitter is tracking you
In the interest of helping you figure out who to follow, Twitter is following you.
Twitter announced this week that it will use information it collects about users' browsing habits across all sites with Twitter "share" buttons to recommend accounts to follow.
By tracking individuals during their visits to websites in what the social media site calls the "Twitter ecosystem" (which includes any page with an embedded Twitter widget), Twitter can monitor what stories or topics each user visits most, and use that data to suggest accounts that match their interests.
"We receive visit information when sites have integrated Twitter buttons or widgets, similar to what many other web companies — including LinkedIn, Facebook and YouTube — do when they're integrated into websites," Twitter wrote in a blog post. "By recognising which accounts are frequently followed by people who visit popular sites, we can recommend those accounts to others who have visited those sites within the last 10 days."
Twitter deletes or aggregates the data it collects after 10 days, and users have the option to opt out of having the their browsing tracked. In the same blog post announcing its "experiment" with tailored suggestions, Twitter also declared its support for a Do Not Track option and said it would not collect data on users who had enabled the setting on their browsers.
Though other web giants, such as Facebook, also track individuals as they peruse the web, Twitter's disclosure was seen as a surprising — and unwelcome — admission by some.
Twitter did not respond to a request for comment.
"Basically, every time you visit a site that has a follow button, a 'tweet this' button, or a hovercard, Twitter is recording your behaviour. It is transparently watching your movements and storing them somewhere for later use," wrote blogger Dustin Curtis, who said he was "shocked" by Twitter's admission.
Jules Polonetsky, co-chair of the Future of Privacy Forum, said Twitter's plan to collect browsing information "wasn't known" prior to Twitter's blog post. He noted that by using personal details to customise the Twitter experience, Twitter was actually using this data in more "robust" ways than Facebook.
Polonetsky also remarked that Twitter's decision to jointly announce its tracking "experiment" and support for Do Not Track was a "masterful" PR move that called attention away from its plan to collect more user data.
"Announcing the robust use of data along with a privacy measure has become a tried and true strategy for companies looking to demonstrate that they're both using data in new ways and that users have control over it," said Polonetsky. "They [Twitter] were quite savvy in linking the two announcements in a way that generally gave them a postiive reaction."
6 people Zuckerberg burned on the way up
1. The infamous Winklevoss twins have been giving Mark Zuckerberg grief ever since Facebook's launch back in 2004. The pair and a business partner (more on him later) commissioned Mark Zuckerberg to program a social-networking site they had founded called ConnectU, but they later alleged in a lawsuit that Zuckerberg ripped off their idea and launched Thefacebook (later, Facebook) instead. After settling with the company for $65 million in cash and stock, the twins claimed that Facebook misled them about the value of the company's stock. They appealed the settlement all the way up to the Ninth US Circuit Court — just one appeal shy of the Supreme Court — before throwing in the towel in June 2011.
2. Divya Narendra partnered with the Winklevoss twins on their ConnectU project during their time at Harvard. Narendra fought Zuckerberg in court alongside the twins and founded his own investor community, called SumZero, before claiming his share of the $65 million settlement with the social network. A plotline in the film The Social Network, which dramatised Facebook's founding, portrayed the Harvard students' working relationship and subsequent fallout with Zuckerberg.
3. Here's another name you probably recognise from The Social Network. The film portrayed Zuckerburg's deteriorating friendship with Facebook co-founder and fellow Harvard student Eduardo Saverin, culminating in a blatant betrayal on the part of Zuckerberg that ended his working relationship with Saverin. A new piece by Business Insider indicates that Saverin may not have been as much of a victim. As noted by BI, Zuckerberg planned to cut Saverin out of the company because he had failed to secure funding or set up a business model and had used the social network to run free ads for Joboozle, a side-project Saverin had developed. After a 2009 settlement with Facebook, Saverin retains an estimated five per cent stake in the company. His original stake was higher than 30 per cent. He recently renounced his US citizenship, presumably to avoid the capital gains taxes on the profit he stands to make off Facebook's imminent IPO.
4. Napster creator Sean Parker, who also served as Facebook's first president, played a huge role in the development of the social network. According to Henry Blodget's recent profile of Mark Zuckerberg, Parker was also instrumental in securing Zuckerburg's power over the company. However, as Blodget explains, despite Parker's contributions, Zuck and the company cut him loose a year after his arrival due to his "party-boy ways".
5. Zuckerberg also had a hand in the departure of Owen Van Natta, Facebook's former chief operating officer and the mind behind big deals like Microsoft's US$240-million investment in the social network. "His greatest strength was deal-making, not management," writes Henry Blodget. "In early 2008, in the wake of the disastrous launch of an advertising product called Beacon, Facebook's senior team determined that the company needed a different kind of executive running the business."
People Making Money From Facebook IPO
1. Mark Zuckerberg - Zuckerburg will remain the largest single shareholder of his brainchild even after it goes public. If Facebook is valued at its current estimate of US$100 billion, his shares will make him worth around US$28 billion. The 30.2 million of those shares he's offering for sale at the IPO will translate into about US$1.15 billion in cash if the company's price per share is US$38.
2. Peter Thiel - The PayPal co-founder and Facebook's first angel investor has an ownership stake of 2.5 per cent. Thiel plans to sell 16.8 million of his shares during the IPO, which means he might pocket over US$600 million in cash if the stock price ends up anywhere near current estimates.
3. Dustin Markowitz - When Facebook starts trading publicly, the 7.6 per cent ownership stake co-founder Moskowitz holds in the company is expected to make him US$7.6 billion in liquid assets.
4. Sean Parker - The co-founder of Napster has a 4 per cent ownership stake in Facebook, according to Fast Company.
5. Sheryl Sandberg - Multiplying the two million shares of stock the Facebook Chief Operating Officer holds in the company by the upper limit of the estimated US$38 price per share equates to US$76 million, the approximate value of her liquid assets when Facebook goes public.
6. Marc Andreessen - Facebook board member and Netscape co-founder Marc Andreessen owns about 3.6 million shares, according to public filings. That means he owns about 0.2 per cent of Facebook or an estimated US$200 million worth of stock.
7. Morgan Stanley - The Facebook IPO's high demand likely allowed it to haggle a lower than average fee from the banks selected to take the company public. As its top underwriter, Morgan Stanley is expected to charge a fee of about one per cent of the total public offerings, according to Reuters. At current estimates that could total more than US$18 billion. That means the investment bank will receive US$180 million.
8. David Choe - The graffiti artist painted Facebook's headquarters in 2005 and decided to take stock instead of payment. Choe will likely become a millionaire when the company goes public. The estimated value of his shares is US$200 million.
9. Goldman Sachs - The investment bank will make money not only as one of the underwriters of the Facebook IPO, but also through the sale of its 27 million company shares — worth about US$1 billion if the stock value is US$38 per share.
10. Mike Schroefper - The company's vice-president of engineering owns about 2.1 million shares, according to public filings. At an estimated US$38 share price, his shares will be worth around US$80 million.
11. David Ebersman - The Facebook Chief Financial Officer, who joined the company in 2009, now owns about 2.2 million shares, according to public filings. His liquid assets will be worth an estimated US$84 million after the IPO.
12. James Breyer with Accel partners - Accel Partners and principal partner James Breyer own about 11 per cent of Facebook and could take in US$1.86 billion from the sale of their 49 million shares at the IPO, provided that the stock price ends up at US$38 per share.
13. Digital Sky Technologies Global - The London-based investment firm owns 5.4 per cent of Facebook. DST Global could take away nearly US$1.7 billion of that amount in cash from the sale of its 45.7 million shares at the IPO.
14. Meritech - The venture capital firm will take home millions from its planned sale of its 7 million shares of Facebook stock during the IPO.
15. Mark Pincus - Zynga Inc CEO Mark Pincus reportedly owns about 0.5 per cent of Facebook stock, according to whoownsfacebook.com, but is expected to soon translate some of that stake into cash. Pincus is offering 1 million shares for sale at the IPO.
16. T Rowe Rice - The investment firm owns 1.2 million shares, or about US$46 million if Facebook shares sell at their upper estimated limit of US$38 per share at the IPO.
17. Mail.ru - The Russian internet company will reportedly offer 19.6 million shares for sale at the IPO, which means it stands to take home US$745 million if the stock price is US$38.
18. Reid Hoffman - The LinkedIn co-founder will reportedly sell 942,724 shares of his stock at the IPO. That means he will take home about US$36 million in cash, not including the value of the over three million shares he will still have left in the company.
19. Microsoft Corp - Microsoft is expected to walk away with more than US$200 million from the 6.6 million shares it plans to sell. The company's pre-IPO stake is reportedly 1.6 per cent or at current valuation, US$1.6 billion.
20. Tiger Global Management - The investment firm is offering 23.4 million shares for sale at the IPO, which equates to US$874 million for a US$38 share price.