There are an estimated 220 million fake people on Facebook. So how can you tell who’s who?
Fake identities are the third most common complaint, according to the Federal Trade Commission, so we tried a free app, Legitifi, that tries to find out if the person you’re about to hire or date is who he says he is. It’s touted for checking out baby sitters, dates, handymen, caregivers, and could be used even for ride services and airline passengers.
Legitifi’s identity-checking algorithm does some obvious things, like checking whether the same person posts under more than one name on Facebook, LinkedIn and other sites. The only dating site they check is Tinder.com. If a social media profile is too new, that also raises a flag.
There’s a big catch to all this: The person you want to check has to agree to install Legitifi first. We suppose it’s a red flag if the person refuses to install the app, but it could also be embarrassing to ask new friends and neighbors to be Legitified. Once they’ve installed the app, they can have others vouch for them. You’ll see a list of “vouchers” off to one side. We immediately wondered if criminals would vouch for each other. Seems likely, but you can check their ratings too. If someone is a registered sex offender, you’ll get a message as “possibly dangerous, may include criminal convictions,” even if they’ve never installed the app. NOTE: You can also do this by asking Google for a list of sex offenders in your neighborhood, county or ZIP code.
So Just Remember This
Joy is always forgetting where she put her phone, her keys and other items. Bob only forgets when she doesn’t forget, so as to complete the circle and create harmony in the universe. Now she can tell Google Home, the little device with the digital assistant inside, to remember it for her.
She starts by saying “Hey, Google: Remember that …” and then fills in the three dots with whatever she wants: “Hey Google,” she says: “Remember that my phone is usually on the kitchen table,” and Google answers that she’ll remember that. Should you forget what your Google Home remembers, you can just ask: “Hey Google, what did I ask you to remember?” It could be a long list, with old birthdays and things to do. To clear it out, just say “Hey Google, forget what I asked you to remember.”
Amazon’s competing device, Alexa, can do the same. If you enable the “Remind Me” skill, you simply say “Alexa, remind me about Veronica’s birthday.” (Of course you may not know anybody named Veronica, and she may not play the harmonica, on the beach at Santa Monica, but should it ever come up that’s how you would do it.)
• “If You Spend Most of Your Day Sitting Down, Be Aware of This Weird Health Risk.” Google that to find information about the consequences of sitting too much. Americans sit more than the Swedish, Germans, Japanese and the people of every other industrialized country. What happens from prolonged sitting? Your butt muscles refuse to fire, resulting in what they call “dead butt syndrome.” (Don’t let this happen to you.)
• “Eight Coolest TED Talks on Psychology.” TED Talks are found at Ted.com. But there are so many, it’s hard to separate the good stuff from the kinda pointless. By Googling this phrase, you can find some of the all-time winners, such as Rebecca Saxe, talking about mind reading. This has been viewed over 2.8 million times. (You’d think they would just get the message telepathically.)
• “Ten Podcasts That Will Make You Smarter.” Google that phrase to find Inc. Magazine’s list of the most-cited online radio shows. No. 1 is by a guy named Tim Feriss, who writes books like The Four-Hour Work Week and The Four-Hour Body, both of which have a number of ridiculous self-help suggestions. No. 2 is James Altucher, who we heard in person several years ago at an investor’s conference. He said “You can’t go wrong buying Apple.” (Well, he was right and wrong, as it bounced around.)
• “Doorman” lets you schedule your packages for delivery between 6 p.m. and midnight, using their own staff to do so. If you’re traveling, you can put them on hold for up to 30 days. The service costs $19 a month. Works for U.S. Mail, FedEx and UPS. (Doorman is not yet available in the Little Rock area.)
• “Audible Channels” are free for Amazon Prime members. You can listen to programs and lectures on your way to work, exercising or trying to nap. Joy is currently hooked on interviews with recipients of the MacArthur “Genius” award. Google the phrase “Audible Channels” for more info.
Adding a Password to Windows XP
A reader wondered how to add a “lock screen” to her Windows XP computer. “Lock screen” is a function that prevents anyone from using your computer without a password.
Windows XP is a little behind in this area; Windows 10, Windows 8 and the Mac all make you sign on with a password before you can get to work. Here’s how to set that up in Windows XP: Click “Start” then “Control Panel.” Click “User Accounts.” (If you’re in “list view,” look to the end of the list, since it’s alphabetical.) Now look for “Pick the Account You Want to Change,” and click your user name. Then click “Create Password.”
Too Many Text Messages
If text messages are filling up your phone, here’s how to manage them without having to delete them one by one:
On an iPhone, go to “Settings” and click “Messages.” Under “Keep Messages,” change the “Forever” setting to either one year or 30 days. On an Android phone, click “Settings,” then click “All Apps.” From there, click the message app you use. In either “Messages,” or “Messenger,” click “Storage” then “Clear Data.”
The Numbers Report
Here are some Facebook facts, according to Zephoria, a market research firm:
• Facebook has 1.94 billion active monthly users.
• The most common age bracket is 25 to 34 — about 30 percent of all users.
• Five new profiles are created every second.
• Seventy six percent of women use Facebook; 66 percent of men do.
• Three hundred million photos are uploaded to Facebook every day.
• Every 60 seconds, 510,000 comments are posted.