How to Remove Duplicate Facebook Entries from Motorola Droid Contacts

One mildly irritating bug I’ve noticed on my Motorola Droid is that some of my contacts accumulate duplicate Facebook profiles in their contact information.  Opening their contact information can show from 5-7 additional Facebook profiles, but they all open the correct profile page.


Here’s a quick fix I came up with to remove the duplicates:

  1. Open the Facebook application.
  2. Touch the Menu button and select Settings.
  3. Scroll down and touch Sync Contacts.
  4. Select Remove Facebook data.  This will delete all Facebook contacts from your phone (but don’t worry, they’re read-only and we’ll restore them in the next step).
  5. Repeat the entire process but this time change the synchronization settings back to Sync all.

Your Facebook contacts will now synchronize and the duplicates should now be removed.

Twitter Now Supports Geotagging (but you have to enable it first)

You’ve probably heard the buzz for the last few weeks, and now it’s official – Twitter now supports geotagging your tweets.  What exactly does this mean?

From Twitter Support:

Twitter’s Geotagging feature allows users who opt-in to the service to selectively Geotag their tweets with their exact location and provide more context to users about their surroundings. This great new functionality allows you to join into a local conversation and annotate the world around you as you travel from one place to another.

twitter-geotagging-globeSo the next time you’re enjoying the food at a certain restaurant, you can let your followers (or anyone, really) know exactly where you’re dining.  Or if you’re at a terrible concert – same thing.  The geotagging feature will post your exact location with your tweets, allowing you to add additional location-based context to your tweets and connect with other users at a local level.

Sounds kinda scary, doesn’t it?  Unfortunately for the more private users, this feature is something that most popular social network sites are considering and many are already adopting.  The ever-growing Foursquare, a geolocation-based game, builds its entire premise on the fact that you will share your location with your friends.

Twitter’s Geotagging Is Opt-in

There are a couple things that Twitter has committed to that should put you at ease, at least temporarily.  First, geotagging is an opt-in feature and you must manually enable it before any applications can geotag your tweets. (To enable, click the “Enable geotagging” button on your Twitter Settings page).

twitter-geotagging-settingSecond, Twitter explicitly states “We require application developers to be upfront and obvious about when they are Geotagging an update”.  If you use an application that posts your location without properly notifying you, you should contact Twitter immediately.

This Is Just The Beginning

twitter-geotagging-backpackerWhether this feature explodes in popularity or not (my guess is that it will), this is only a sign of bigger things to come.  Now that Foursquare has shown that people enjoy playing location-based games, companies like Facebook and Twitter are also eager to enter the geotagging market.

The number one concern in all of this is privacy.  We’ve seen several privacy disasters in Facebook’s history, so unless you carefully manage your personal information it could put you in a precarious situation.  Twitter already warns that even if you delete your location information after its been posted, it by no means is guaranteed to be removed from their partner sites (read: sites who clone and repost tweets).

As for me?  I’ll give it a try, but I’d be much more enthusiastic if you were able to customize the level of accuracy to your location.  I would feel more comfortable posting geotagged tweets if it gave my location within a mile or two, rather than to the accuracy of my mobile phone’s GPS.  This service is brand new though, so maybe that’s something we will see in its future.

How do you feel about geotagging your social updates?  Are you excited or afraid to let your friends (and stalkers) know where you’re at?  Share it with us in the comments.

Facebook Can Use Your Likeness in Advertisements Unless You Disable It

Did you know that Facebook could use your name and picture in advertisements shown to your friends?  They can (and already are) unless you’ve dug through several layers of settings and manually disabled it.

Facebook explains:

Facebook occasionally pairs advertisements with relevant social actions from a user’s friends to create Facebook Ads. Facebook Ads make advertisements more interesting and more tailored to you and your friends. These respect all privacy rules.

So what does that mean?  Well, if I was to add “amateur science” to my interests, you could legitimately see something like this on your main page:

Ok, so this isn't a real advertisement. But you get my point, right?
Ok, so this isn't a real advertisement. But you get my point, right?

While there isn’t anything particularly harmful about this type of advertising, it is making you an unknowing spokesperson for something you might not want to publicly support.  Even worse, this feature is enabled by default and hidden deep within your privacy settings.

Here’s how to prevent your likeness from being used in Facebook ads:

  1. Click Settings –>  Privacy –> News Feed and Wall
  2. Click the easily-neglected Facebook Ads tab at the top of this page
  3. facebook_advertisements_ads_tabSet the Appearance in Facebook Ads field to ‘No one’

You’ll now be free of any accidental or unknown participation in Facebook advertisements.

What are your thoughts about Facebook’s decision to include you in advertisements by default?  Share them in the comments.

Become a Facebook Power User with Facebook Fixer

facebook-logoSure,  you know how to use Facebook pretty well – but there are dozens of features you can add to the popular social networking site with Firefox and Greasemonkey scripts.  Greasemonkey is an add-on for Firefox that lets you enhance webpages with user generated scripts, and can enable features in Facebook like:

  • Enlarging profile pictures and photos when you hover your mouse over them
  • Enhanced viewing of  photo albums
  • Links to download videos
  • Google Calendar integration

To get started, download and install Greasemonkey.  After a browser restart, head to the Facebook Fixer script page and click the Install button.  Click the install button in the resulting dialog box.  The Facebook Fixer script will be enabled as soon as it’s installed (but if you already had Facebook open, you’ll have to refresh the page).  Now let’s cover some of the features!

Bigger Photos with Less Clicking: My favorite feature of Facebook Fixer is the ability to enlarge profile images or photo album images just by hovering your mouse over the thumbnail.  You’ll even see a user’s bigger profile picture if you aren’t their friend on Facebook.

facebook_poweruser_imageenlargeImproved Photo Albums: Aside from enlarging images with a mouseover, you can also view the album’s full-sized images on one page.  In a photo album, click the ‘Show Big Pictures’ link at the top of the page.


You can also view all photos in an album on a single page by going to Settings (located at the top right in Facebook) –> Facebook Fixer and checking the “Automatically load thumbnails for all images in an album on a single page” button.


Download Facebook Videos with a Single Click: You’ll now be able to download any videos your friends uploaded to Facebook by clicking the ‘Download Video’ button on a video page.

facebook_poweruser_downloadvideoAdd Friends’ Birthdays to Google Calendar: If you’re an avid Google Calendar user, you’ll appreciate the ability to add your friends’ birthdays to your calendar with a convenient link.  Facebook Fixer also provides several other birthday enhancements, like age and astrological sign.

facebook_poweruser_birthdaysDozens of Additional Options: Check out the Facebook Fixer options screen by clicking Settings –> Facebook Fixer.  You’ll be able to change how images are displayed, adjust the transparency of Facebook menus, and enable all kinds of goodies in that window.  For more information about other features Facebook Fixer offers, check out the author’s script page.

facebook_poweruser_settingsA Few Broken Things: Due to changes in Facebook’s code and design, Facebook Fixer can break occasionally.  If you find yourself having problems with this script, check out the script’s homepage to download the most recent version.

Facebook Fixer is a great example of how users can dramatically enhance a website with Greasemonkey scripts.  The Greasemonkey script community at is very active, so check it out and let us know if you find some other interesting scripts!

How To: Filter the Noise From Your Facebook News Feed

Update: We’ve published a new edition of this article for the updated version of Facebook.  Check that out instead.

Facebook has made some interface changes lately which have caused some frustration with its core users.  Most recently, they’ve removed the ability to exclusively view status updates on the Friends tab, which leaves you with only the “full firehose” of the homepage’s News Feed.  Since the News Feed displays all recent activity, my homepage has become completely inundated with quiz results and “Top 5” lists which completely obfuscate my friend’s status updates.


Since the only thing I really care about on Facebook is what my friends are up to, I found a simple way to display only status updates on the homepage by default.  To do this, navigate to your Facebook homepage and look for the Status Updates widget in the top left corner.  If the widget isn’t visible, click the “More” button and look for it in the expanded list.


Click and drag the Status Updates widget above the News Feed widget, which will cause it to be enabled by default.  From now on, your Facebook homepage will only display your friends status updates.

Have any tips that have improved your Facebook experience?  Share them in the comments!

Facebook Releases Desktop Application, Aptly Named Facebook Desktop

fbdesktop6Facebook – the world’s fastest growing social network – wants to keep you connected to your social network without the web browser.  Using their newly released Facebook Desktop application, you can connect with friends, view your stream, and publish information right from your desktop computer.

To install Facebook Desktop, you first need to install the free Adobe AIR platform.  Since it is based on Adobe AIR, Facebook Desktop can be installed in Windows, Mac, or Linux [check out our guide on installing AIR in Ubuntu].  Once you’ve installed AIR, simply download and extract the Facebook Desktop installer to get started.

To install the application, double click the extracted Facebook_Desktop_for_AIR.air file and approve its installation as shown below.


Next, the application will ask you to sign in to Facebook and provide your approval for the application to access your News Feed and Wall, as well as publish posts and comments.


Once you’ve jumped through the authorization hoops, you’ll be presented with a News Feed much like the one you see on the Facebook homepage.  From here you can browse your friends’ news and statuses, comment and “like” updates, and publish your own updates using the “What’s on your mind?” box at the top.


Facebook Desktop provides a clean and easy-to-use user interface for getting the latest information from your social network.  The initial version of this application is very simplistic and clearly intends on furthering the “Twitterization” of Facebook – but you really can’t blame them for trying the same methods that have made Twitter so popular.

Have any thoughts about the Facebook Desktop application?  Do you think Facebook’s attempts at redesigning their user content have been beneficial?  Share it in the comments!