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Friends: How many is too many?

Okay, I'll admit it: I don't have time to read more than half the tweets and status updates sent out by my friends on Facebook and the people I'm following on Twitter. And I only have 200 on Twitter and 350 on Facebook. In fact, on most days, I probably only read one third of the chatter (and I don't mean that in a pejorative way). There have been a few pieces floating around the Web lately that say the average person can only keep track of about 100-300 people maximum; after that, it just becomes white noise. (And did you know Facebook limits you to 5,000 friends?) And it also works against the very idea of social media: that you're creating a community to "interact with," (that's the 2.0 model) not amassing thousands to "speak at" (the 1.0 model).

So what about all these friends of mine who have 1,000 Facebook friends or 2,000! What about my Twitter followers who are following that much, or even say 25,000 people? Clearly most of the followers/friends have been "hidden" or banished to a far away tweetdeck column that they don't read, right? Because it would be impossible to read any significant amount of such volume. So if that's the case, here's the question: Why have 2,000 friends on Facebook? Why follow 25,000 people on Twitter?

One theory: it's impolite not to Friend or Follow someone who has initiated the same. Or how about this theory: it's all about the numbers--the more you have, the more popular you are - and who doesn't like to be popular?

What's your take? How many friends or followers do you have and how many is too many? We'd love to know how you handle the issue and what you think about all the white noise.

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Facebook Just Made It Easier to Tell the Difference Between Fake News and Real Reporting
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On Facebook, fake news stories "reporting" international conflicts over Toblerones can appear alongside fact-checked journalism from trustworthy outlets. This leads to some bogus stories racking up thousands of shares while real news stories are deemed "fake" by those who disagree with them. With its latest news feature, Facebook aims to make the distinction between factual and fictional posts clearer.

As The Verge reports, articles shared on Facebook will now display a "trust indicator" icon. Clicking on it reveals information about the publisher of the piece, including their ethics statement, corrections policy, fact-checking process, ownership structures, and masthead. By providing that context, Facebook hopes that more users will make better decisions about which news outlets to trust and which to disregard.

The social media network is launching the feature with a handful of publishers and plans to open it up to more down the road. But unless it becomes mandatory for all media pages, it won't be the end of Facebook's fake news problem: Phony sites and real publishers that leave this information blank will still look the same in the eyes of some readers. Additionally, the feature only works when people go out of their way to check it, so it requires users to be skeptical in the first place.

If you want to avoid the fake news in your feed, looking for trust indicators is a good place to start. To further sharpen your BS-detecting skills, try adopting the CRAAP system: The American Library Association has been using it to spot sketchy sources since before the Facebook era.

[h/t The Verge]

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How to Stop Instagram Photos From Automatically Posting to Facebook
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If you have Instagram photos you don’t mind sharing with your aunts, exes, and former high school classmates, Facebook is the perfect place to post them. But some pictures are better suited to more intimate audiences: For those scenarios, you’ll want to unlink your Facebook from your Instagram account. The Daily Dot put together a simple how-to guide.

To keep your Instagram photos from automatically showing up on your Facebook profile, head to the Instagram app. Go to your profile, tap the gear icon next to Edit Profile, and then scroll down to the Linked Accounts option under Settings. If every photo you share through Instagram is published on Facebook, you should see Facebook highlighted in blue with a checkmark next to it under Linked Accounts. After tapping this, hit the Unlink Facebook button and Unlink a second time when the app asks you to confirm your decision.

Once that’s taken care of, any new posts you share through Instagram will only be seen by your Instagram followers (unless your account is linked to Twitter or some other social media site, in which case you can follow the same steps above). To undo this action, just return to Linked Accounts and tap Facebook to join the two accounts again.

This is a smart way to limit your social media presence or curb potential damage if hackers ever access your Instagram. But if you’re looking to distance yourself from Facebook because of issues you have with the site itself, simply unlinking it from Instagram won’t cut it. Facebook owns Instagram, so any information you post to either profile goes to the same place. There are better ways to control how Facebook handles your personal data. Read this to learn more about the social media giant’s ad targeting practices and what you can do about them.

[h/t The Daily Dot]

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