Facebook The Motion Picture [Movie Review]

The Social Network

Ah, Facebook… that online social network service where you can collect friends (most of whom you’ve never met or probably never will) like bottle caps and Poke and Super Poke them ad nauseum. Where you and your friends (those you actually know) can plan flash mob events and disrupt public places like malls and train stations and then tell everyone all about it via… . where else? Facebook.

But have you ever wondered how Facebook came about?

That is the focus of David Fincher’s latest film, The Social Network, written by Aaron Sorkin (of The West Wing fame, among others). It tells the story of Mark Zuckerberg, brilliantly played by Jesse Eisenberg (Zombieland, Adventureland), a student in Harvard who after being dumped by his girlfriend (played by Rooney Mara) sets about to find a new project to get him over his break-up grief.

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How Facebook can turn you into mindless drones?

jaron lanier

I had a chat with a friend of mine the other day. He seemed down so I asked him if everything was OK, to which he replied that his week had gotten off to a bad start and it was making him depressed. Treading carefully, I asked if he would like to share. His answer shocked me.

“My friend defriended me on Facebook”, he replied.

He elaborated further, saying that this friend, whom he had known since high school and whom he had been contact with on and off throughout the years (as opposed to regular contact) had one day decided to reduce his Facebook contacts to only those he often stayed in touch with, and since he only met up or talked with this guy once in a blue moon, he ended up in the dreaded “Defriended” list. And he wasn’t the only one. A few other school buddies also didn’t make the cut and were equally depressed.

I thought this was utterly ridiculous but sensing that his sadness was genuine, didn’t make a fuss about it. But seriously, getting depressed because you were removed from someone’s contact list on an online app?

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Coming soon: Facebook Credits available at retail stores in Asia

Facebook Credits virtual currency platform set to expand its payment options in Asia. Facebook and MOL Global just announced a strategic partnership to enable the purchase of Facebook Credits using MOLPoints, an online micropayment system developed and managed by Malaysia-based MOL, one of the largest internet companies in South East Asia.

Credits, the official virtual currency on Facebook, enables the purchase of gifts and virtual goods for games and applications on Facebook platform. Popular games like Farmville, Millionaire City, Hotel City, Petville, Bejeweled Blitz, Hotel City, Barn Buddy, Likeness and hundreds other games and applications are already accepting Facebook Credits (up-to-date list of games here). There are over 200 million unique Facebook users playing games each month. Soon, these social gamers can buy Credits using MOLPoints. And they can reload the MOLPoints through MOL’s network of over 500,000 physical (e.g. 7-Eleven, cybercafes, bookstores), online banking and mobile payment channels, in over 80 countries.

“The relationship with Facebook demonstrates MOL’s growing role as a leading payment provider for social networking sites in Asia, especially in our core countries of Malaysia, Singapore, Indonesia, Philippines, Thailand and India,” said Ganesh Kumar Bangah, group chief executive officer for MOL Global.

He added, “Over the last few quarters, we have seen a double-digit increase in payment transactions and payment volume. This partnership continues MOL’s momentum to build the largest end-to-end content, distribution and commerce network in Asia.”

According to Vaughan Smith, director of business and corporate development at Facebook, “working with MOL means we can offer the benefits of Facebook Credits to millions of people in Asia using a payment system that is already widely used and trusted. We’re investing in the long-term future of Facebook Credits and we view this agreement as a major opportunity to broaden the availability of a simple, unified currency that can be used in games and applications across Facebook.”

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How Facebook, Twitter and Foursquare are joining the World Cup fiesta

Today is World Cup 2010 kick-off. And today’s most popular social networks – Facebook, Twitter, Facebook – are joining the fiesta. I’ve listed here, in order of interestingness:

1. Twitter

The microblogging social network launches a dedicated World Cup 2010 page to make it easier for people to follow #WorldCup conversations on Twitter. You can Live Tweets about each match. It also features Top Tweets, which are “algorithmically selects and retweets some of the most interesting tweets about the World Cup.”

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Fastest Growing Asian Countries on Facebook

facebook f8

These new figures are compared to the figures extracted in March 01 2010. Refer to table below: South Korea with the largest increase of 65%, between March 01 2010 and June 01 2010. Other countries with double-digit growth rate are Thailand with 28.3%, India 27.7%, Japan 21%, Pakistan 12.9%, Malaysia 12.3%, and Vietnam 10.4%. Compared to figures extracted in March 01 2010, total Facebook users in Indonesia and Taiwan have shown decline (not sure if it’s really declining or errors in figures extracted from Facebook.com or something else).

Between March and June this year, Thailand replaced Hong Kong as the sixth largest Facebook users in Asia, Pakistan replaced Singapore in no. 8 spot, and South Korea jumped from no. 13 to no. 11, replacing Vietnam. Also, Malaysia is fast approaching Taiwan to become the fourth largest Asian country on Facebook.

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105,779,710 users and new estimates of Twitter users in Asia

At Chirp, Twitter revealed its total registered users – 105,779,710. With this ‘official’ figure, let’s take another stab at estimating total Twitter users in Asia. This is a revised estimates to the previous posting, Twitter in Asia, by Country. The estimates now is based on the ‘official’ total registered Twitter users and Twitter population’s percentage breakdown, by country (source: Sysomos).

During Chirp, co-founder @ also revealed that 75% of Twitter traffic comes from outside Twitter.com. So, Fred Wilson’s argument that “Twitter ecosystem is about 3x Twitter.com” seems to apply. However, comScore’s estimate of 60 million unique visitors at Twitter.com may be way off! The use of the 60-million figure in my previous estimates resulted in inflated estimates of Twitter population in Asia.

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Facebook in Asia: Total Users and Age Groups [Latest STATS]

See the latest report: Facebook in Asia: A Growth Story in 2011

Facebook marked its 6th anniversary on February 05 2010 with a population of 400 million users. On February 11 2010, the social network hit another milestone – more than 100 million people actively using Facebook on their mobile phones. Today, there are over 3 billion photos being uploaded to Facebook each month and more than 500,000 active applications on its Platform. And recently, FastCompany magazine named Facebook, as the World’s Most Innovative Company 2010.

These days, 70% of Facebook users are from outside US. In Asia, Facebook is fast becoming the one the region’s leading social networks. Indonesia has the fourth highest number of Facebook users in the world, after US, UK and Turkey. With 18.9 million users, Indonesia is well ahead of Philippines, the country with 10.5 million Facebook users (refer to table below). This is followed by India (6.8 million), Taiwan (5.8 million) and Malaysia (5.1 million). In terms of penetration rate, Hong Kong has the highest “Facebook users per country population” rate in Asia, at 39%, followed by Singapore (38%), Taiwan (25%), Malaysia (18%) and Philippines (11%). The total Facebook users in Asia is 59.6 million, or about 15% of the global Facebook population.

Facebook Users in Asia, by Country
(as of March 01 2010)
No. Country Estimated Total Users* % of Population^ % of Total Online Users#
1 Indonesia 18,943,640 7.88 63.15
2 Philippines 10,518,420 11.44 43.83
3 India 6,829,340 0.58 8.43
4 Taiwan 5,808,940 25.21 38.36
5 Malaysia 5,094,600 18.00 30.14
6 Hong Kong 2,769,900 39.26 56.78
7 Thailand 2,525,280 3.96 15.68
8 Singapore 1,895,580 38.01 56.25
9 Pakistan 1,803,860 1.07 9.75
10 Japan 907,540 0.71 0.95
11 Vietnam 761,260 0.89 3.47
12 Bangladesh 748,440 0.46
13 South Korea 510,560 1.02 1.36
14 Sri Lanka 483,340 2.39 41.54
  TOTAL 59,600,700    
* Total Users from Facebook.com / ^ Total Population from Wikipedia.com / # Total Online Users from The World Factbook (CIA)
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Facebook Acquired A Malaysian Startup

Facebook has acquired Octazen Solutions, a Kuala Lumpur-based maker of Contacts Importer software, reported on GigaOM. Octazen’s software already in-use on Facebook and helps the social networking giant to “grow by making it easy for users to invite their contacts on other services,” such as Gmail, Hotmail, Yahoo and others. This ‘old’ PDF document explains a bit more on how the Contacts Importer works.

Octazen Solutions – Contacts Importer Web API

According to the article, Facebook said the acquisition as “talent acquisition”. Octazen’s two employees will join Facebook as engineers and remain in Malaysia (Octazen with an office in Taman Melawati, Kuala Lumpur), making them social network’s first Asia-based full-time employees of Facebook.

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Twitter in Asia: Total Users, by Country

According to Sycomos latest report on Twitter, Asian countries constitutes about 7.74% of the Twitter unique users worldwide. Indonesia topped with 2.34% of unique users, followed by Japan (1.47) and India (0.97). On a global perspective, more than half of Twitter unique users (56.59%) are located in the US and followed by UK (8.09), Brazil (6.73), Canada (4.36) and Australia (2.63). This is based on analysis of active 13 million unique users, between Oct 16 2009 and Dec 16 2009.

comScore reported the total global unique users of Twitter.com has reached 60 million. However, Fred Wilson argued that “Twitter ecosystem is about 3x Twitter.com.” Twitter ecosystem refers to all interactions with Twitter APIs, via the plethora of third-party Twitter apps i.e. Tweetdeck, bit.ly, Facebook, iPhone apps, etc.

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Over 3.5 Million Users and Facebook is Still Not Malaysia’s Buzziest Channel

According to the latest Digital Brand Index (DBI) by Edelman and Brandtology, Twitter overtook Low Yat Forum as the Malaysia’s buzziest channel (in terms of brand mentions). In the Top 10 list of Buzziest Channel in Malaysia, Malaysia’s leading social network, Facebook, is no where in sight. On methodology, the survey states it “monitors key brands.. across a list of popular online channels.” With 350 million population worldwide, Facebook is undeniably one of today’s most “popular online channels.” The absence of Facebook in the Top 10 – it’s either not covered in the DBI survey or it implies Facebook users in Malaysia converse less about brands compared to Twitter’s users. If it’s the latter, is Facebook a viable media for brands in Malaysia?

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AirAsia the First Airline with 100,000 Fans on Facebook; Southwest Will Be the First with 1,000,000 Fans

On the morning of December 9 2009, AirAsia became the first airline in the world with 100,000 fans on Facebook. This makes the award-winning airline the most popular Malaysian brand on Facebook; also, one of the top Asian brands, in terms of Facebook fans. The airline with less than 50,000 fans in August this year. In 4 months or so, the airline organically grew its fan base and surpassed the 100,000 mark. However, within a day, the 100,000 mark is surpassed by US-based Southwest Airlines.

Fans Growth of AirAsia Facebook Fan

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