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Facebook expands gender options for user profiles

Facebook recognizes that not everybody identifies themselves simply as a "male" or "female," so it's added the ability for users to identify themselves with a range of labels, including "other."

People can now select a custom gender identification, the pronoun they would like to be referred to publicly, and who can see their gender selection, Facebook announced Thursday. Your About page will now include options like "cisgender," "transgender," and "intersex," in addition to the previous "male" and "female" options.

You can also select … Read more

Advocacy group files appeal against Facebook privacy settlement

In August, Facebook settled a highly publicized class action lawsuit that took issue with the social network's use of people's names and photos in advertisements.

A lot has happened since the suit was first filed in 2011: The company paid $20 million, and the ad units in question, Sponsored Stories, will be retired. But the practice of having users appear in ads because they "liked" or commented on a piece of content -- the act that was so controversial -- is still in place at Facebook.

And some critics still have issue with a specific point … Read more

Facebook crowdsourcing gives lonely boy 1.4 million friends

Being 10-years-old is hard enough -- and add in an isolating syndrome like Asperger's and making friends can be even more difficult.

Such is the case of Colin. He is a 10-year-old boy who lives in Michigan and is on the lower end of the autism spectrum. Despite his efforts to make friends, he is usually made fun of and eats his lunch in the school office because other kids won't let him sit at their tables, according to his mother.

When Colin's mother, Jennifer Cunningham, asked him if he wanted a birthday party, he responded that there wasn't any point because he didn't have friends. That's when she decided to surprise him by creating a "Happy Birthday Colin" Facebook page. … Read more

Facebook: 200M people have watched their Look Back videos

For its 10th anniversary, Facebook gave each of its members a one-minute video set to music that featured their top social-networking moments. The company said Tuesday that nearly 200 million people have watched their "Look Back" videos.

The revelation came from Sheryl Sandberg, Facebook's chief operating officer, on Tuesday evening during a question-and-answer session at the Goldman Sachs Technology and Internet Conference.

"It was amazing," Sandberg said of the response to Look Back. "Almost 200 million people watched [their Look Back video], and 50 percent of people who watched their own video, shared it. … Read more

Ski resort mocks techies, then acts like one of them

There's a certain sense that those who work at Google, Twitter, and Facebook aren't entirely welcome in the Bay Area.

Their alleged wealth and callousness toward the rest of humanity makes them unappealing neighbors or even drinking companions.

The folks at North Lake Tahoe thought they would educate them on human behavior, should these numbskulled ingrates wander toward its snowy slopes.

As Skift reports, North Lake Tahoe's Tourist Board decided to release an Apres-Ski e-book in order to help those who might not be used to behaving appropriately when among mountain folk.

Skift tells me that this … Read more

Potty-breaking youngsters love their social networks

Social media is so pervasive that a growing percentage of young people refuse to part with their favorite networks -- even when nature is calling.

Some 40 percent of young adults ages 18 to 24 use social media in the bathroom, which is up from 32 percent in the previous year, according to Nielsen's Digital Consumer Report. The group is two times more likely than the national average to social network when visiting the loo.

Nielsen's report, published Monday, is compiled from a variety of sources and includes data from an online survey with a representative sample of … Read more

Facebook CEO and wife most generous Americans of 2013

Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg and his wife Priscilla Chan, both 29 years of age, made history as the youngest couple ever to top the list of the most philanthropic Americans.

Silicon Valley's junior power couple catapulted themselves atop the 2013 list, compiled by The Chronicle of Philanthropy, following a December gift of 18 million shares to the Silicon Valley Community Foundation. The gift was valued at just shy of $1 billion at the time of the transaction when Facebook's stock was trading at $55.12.

The 18-million-share gift to the foundation is becoming an annual tradition for the … Read more

Missed connections: Limbo in high tech's culture clash

On a recent Friday afternoon, Tammy Vaitai stood at a dais at the Bayview Shipyard in San Francisco. Unless you've walked into the youth-run Old Skool Cafe in that neighborhood, where she's the general manager, you probably don't recognize her name. But that afternoon, Vaitai was addressing a group of dignitaries that included some of the city's heaviest hitters: Mayor Ed Lee, Police Chief Greg Suhr, and prolific angel investor Ron Conway.

"Whether you are the hardworking engineer at Google, the busboy at Limon Rotisserie, a police officer in the Tenderloin, or simply a loyal … Read more

10 must-see videos of the week

As the Sochi Winter Olympics officially kick off this week, we're checking out some of the same technology Olympic organizers are relying on to generate snow at a resort in Lake Tahoe. These automated snowmaking systems (some of which can even be operated from a mobile phone) are making it easier and more efficient to make snow when Mother Nature doesn't want to cooperate.

Prizefight is also back at it with an epic rematch between the Roku 3 and third-generation Apple TV. It's been a year since their previous duel and both Editors' Choice streaming boxes have … Read more

Editing your Facebook Look Back video

This week, to celebrate turning 10, Facebook rolled out a sentimental campaign that automatically created videos for each user, based on photos and posts from the account, called Look back. My Facebook feed has been full of these videos all week.

The only problem with Look Back is that the photos aren't always that flattering or representative of what some users feel best represents their personal Facebook experience. Or, you know, maybe an ex or three are shown in the video.

When it first launched, Facebook didn't allow users to edit the videos, but as of today that'… Read more