Category Archives: Consumerism.

How long does it take Facebook to actually delete your images?

When you upload a photo on Facebook, you have the option to delete it immediately. But how long does it take Facebook to actually delete an image?

facebook image delete test

To test that, I created a sample image and uploaded it to Facebook. The sample image and uploaded it to Facebook  at 11:35 AM MST, January 2nd, 2014.

I then deleted the image from Facebook 2 minutes later. They asked me to confirm the deletion, which I did, and I received a confirmation that the image was deleted.

But before doing so, I copied the actual URLs to the images – the ones that get sent to your browser for display. You can find them here:

Full size image - http://goo.gl/B6yDZe

Thumbnail - http://goo.gl/fUqOEx

If you can still see the images via the links above, Facebook hasn’t actually deleted them yet… which makes you wonder – what else haven’t they deleted?

Comment below if you can still see the image.

update: (I made one error on the image, I said “PM” in the text instead of “AM”. This has no bearing on the actual test – oops. :) )

 

Securing yourself from LinkedIn's "Profile Stats" feature

Turn it Off!If you read our previous post, you’ll probably be wondering how to turn off the LinkedIn “Profile Stats” feature, so that random websites can’t find out who you are, where you work, and what you do.

Luckily, LinkedIn does provide a way to disable (at least, anonymize) the feature.

Settings > Privacy Controls > Select what other see when you’ve viewed their profile

And select the “anonymous” option.

You’ve probably noticed that this option is discouraged, as you’ll lose the benefits of “Profile Stats”… but it seems worth it to me!

Logged in to LinkedIn? I just got your first and last name, company and position

Who's viewed your profile?

Creepy LinkedIn Feature

Updated 05/23/20013  - Added periodically updated sample to demonstrate – Added new post on how to disable – made minor clarifications.

If you’re viewing this page and you also happen to be logged in to LinkedIn, you probably just gave me your first name, last name, company name, and position.

A devious website’s paradise:

Profile Stats allow you to see which LinkedIn members have viewed your profile recently. As you can see in the provided image, 19 people have viewed my LinkedIn.com profile in the last 90 days. And if I click through, I can see a list of all those people who have viewed my profile:

Who's viewed me?

One thing you may have noticed right away is that much information is redacted from this record… but don’t worry, LinkedIn has a solution!  For a low monthly fee, I can become a premium LinkedIn subscriber; The redacted information becomes available, and the full name, company and position name of the people who have viewed your profile is now available for your viewing pleasure.

But why is this feature dangerous?

Perhaps you’re okay with LinkedIn sharing your name and company with the profiles you view on their service… that makes sense. But what about no-name random websites like mine?

The most awesome part of LinkedIn’s feature is that it’s enabled by default, so all I have to do to get your information is get you to view my Profile on LinkedIn… then I’ll see who you are.

The easiest way to do that is to simply have you load it in an invisible iframe or image tag.  To test this, I created a LinkedIn account and requested the profile from an image tag right here:…. Did you see anything? Nope. I hid it from you, but LinkedIn was still loaded on your behalf. Really! Look at the HTML source of this page, and you’ll see what I’m talking about.

So, for 1 line of common HTML code and a premium LinkedIn account, I can see your first name, last name, company name, position, and anything else you’ve shared publicly on LinkedIn, as long as you were logged in. When was the last time you logged out of LinkedIn? I swear they have the worlds longest cookie expiration, so it seems like I sign in once a year.

Now here’s the scary thing – how many other websites, both malicious and legitimate, have figured this out? Who knows far more about you than they should?

It is true that there are some technical challenges in correlating the actual web request with your individualized visit. The more heavily trafficked a website, the more difficult it would be to tie an individual name to an individual web request. But in my opinion, the damage is done: Some of my personal information may be available, whether I can be tied to a specific IP address or not.

Summary

I discovered this scary feature after reviewing some technical requests made by 3rd party software my company uses. The company who I saw using it will remain unnamed and anonymous, as I don’t believe it was being used maliciously, and I found their usage of LinkedIn’s feature to be ingenious, albeit scary. This highlights the increasing complexities of trusting large organizations with your data. While I’m okay with being part of the LinkedIn professional network, I’m not okay with them offering my personal information to websites I visit, all for one low monthly fee.

Update

Can I turn this off feature off?

Yes! More here!

Update #2: What you can see without a premium subscription

So it turns out, even without a premium subscription I’m seeing some interesting things. Often I’ll see a company name and position, but no first and last name. For instance, I know that  ”Media Producer” with Thompson Reuters just viewed the blog post about 10 minutes ago, as did an Officer with the Dept. of Homeland Security. Since I haven’t purchased a premium LinkedIn account, I don’t have more details… but even that information is pretty interesting. LinkedIn has also told me an Engineer from Adobe has viewed my profile, as well as several Professors at Universities around the world.

Very interesting! And scary.

 Update #3 A sample of people that are viewing this page

I thought I’d be cool to periodically  update a sample list with people viewing this page. No first and last names, of course. You can see it here. I think I’ll update it throughout the day of Thursday, May 23rd.

Should I have let Walmart reward me for stopping a shoplifter?

We needed to pay a visit to Walmart this evening, but we’d already done plenty of shopping, so my wife went in while I stayed with the kids in the car. Like many other men, I decided to circle the Walmart parking lot. You know, drive circles around the building, dodge other cars, that kind of thing.

Where "the goods" were being lowered onto the ground.

Where “the goods” were being lowered onto the ground.

I was doing slow, monotonous round trips around the side of the building when something caught my eye:  merchandise being slipped through the steel grates of the garden center onto the ground below. I stopped the car and continued to watch as item after item was set on the ground. All in all there was probably over 10 items there. It took only a moment to realize what was going on.

I immediately backed up the car and drove to the Walmart automotive center, maybe 50 yards away and around a couple of corners. I called into the shop and let them know what I’d seen. One of the automotive guys, we’ll call him Russell (Names have been changed) ran to a phone to let their loss prevention department know.

I went back to my car and parked a distance away to watch the rest of the story unfold. About 5 minutes later, a woman in a blue coat came out of the store with an empty basket, and immediately rounded the corner towards the merchandise now sitting on the sidewalk.

Unfortunately, Russell had hidden himself behind the corner, periodically peaking to see if his culprit would show up. She spotted him, immediately ditched her cart and did a brisk walk into the parking lot. I made eye contact with her, and she must’ve known I’d been watching because she immediately changed directions and began to zig-zag through the parking lot.

More sweet merchandise!

More sweet merchandise!

To make what could be an awesome part of this story shorter, I’ll simplify: I watched her about 15 minutes as she went throughout the parking lot, adjoining smoke shop, and Wendy’s restaurant before finally being picked up by a car. I was unable to get the license plate of her pick up because my view was temporarily obscured and I couldn’t see where she’d gone.

I went into the Walmart to see what they had recovered. Russell told me they’d recovered over $500 bucks worth of stuff, told me I was awesome, and said thanks. I accepted the gratitude and went on my way. On my way out, I decided to check out where she’d been dumping stuff.

I checked things out in the garden center and peeked out of the tarp to see how easy it was to slip stuff out of there. That’s when I noticed a ton of other stuff still sitting there after loss prevention had cleaned up everything on the sidewalk! This stuff was still outside the building, but stuck between a metal divider and the sidewalk, so you couldn’t see it from the outside of the building unless you knew where to look.

I went and told Russell what I’d found. He said

“Man that is awesome! You need to stick around so we can see if we can get you a gift card or something!”

I told him it was a nice gesture but it wasn’t necessary. “No way! Just stick around for a minute!”. I agreed. As Russell and another manager went and retrieved the additional merchandise, they found another $100.00+ worth of stuff! Unfortunately, it was getting late and they couldn’t find another manager to approve any sort of ‘Thank you’, so Russell said “hey man, give me your name and phone number and I’ll call you and let you know what we can do”.

I told Russell I was just happy doing the right thing and they didn’t need to do anything. He asked me if I was sure and I told him I was, and wished him a Merry Christmas.

The nail in coffin for me was the hanging around – I was just kind of “waiting” for my reward while they added up stuff and got permission from their management. So by the time they asked for my phone number it just felt odd accepting a reward for doing the right thing.

What do you think? I saved Walmart $500-600 worth of merchandise tonight, followed the would-be shoplifter around attempting to identify her, and spent time with them sewing up loose ends.

Should I have let Wal-Mart reward me for stopping a shoplifter?