Tim Yang’s Weblog


Facebook, Foursquare and Twitter are not blocked in China… on Blackberry

Filed under: Howto, Social Networking, Travel — Tags: , , , , , — Tim Yang @ 8:25 am

You cannot browse many websites in China because of the infamous firewall. Facebook, Foursquare and Twitter are some of those affected. Gmail and Google Reader on the other hand are fine.

But when you use the Facebook, Foursquare and Twitter mobile apps on Blackberry, you can do stuff as normal. It’s not disabled or banned.

I tried this first on my Blackberry in Beijing on data roaming then on the hotel’s wifi. Both times it worked. I could upload photos and update my status on Facebook. I could also check Twitter feeds and check into Foursquare.

I also managed to get access on the Blackberry mobile browser. I was able to visit all banned sites on the browser (via wifi). I tried imdb.com, isohunt.com and youtube.com. All viewable.

It might be a Blackberry thing because when I tried it on the Android web browser (as well as Opera for Android), facebook.com and youtube.com both timed out. Facebook app on Android didn’t work either.

This might also be a new development because I appear to be the first one to notice it (although there have been thousands of Foursquare checkins in Beijing so far).


How to hide your Facebook friends list and status updates from everyone

Filed under: Howto — Tags: — Tim Yang @ 4:08 pm

Every day, the Facebook Help Center gets asked questions about hiding the friends list and status updates. But they nearly always go unanswered. So I’m providing the solution I use.

The trick is to operate a white list, not a black list.

  1. Create a new “Friend List”. A “Friend List” is what Facebook calls a sub-grouping of friends. Click on the Make A New List button in the Friends section. Let’s name the new list “Blocked”.
  2. Add all your friends to the new “Friend List”. Although there isn’t a “Select All” option to select all your friends at one go, Facebook makes creating a “Friend List” quite easy. Even if you have a few hundred, it takes only a few minutes to add all your friends by clicking on each picture. No need to type their names.
  3. Add the “Friend List” to Limited Profile. Go to Profile Privacy, scroll down to the Friends section, click on the Edit Custom Settings link. Type “Blocked” in the text box underneath Limited Profile. Then click “Okay” and “Save Changes”.
  4. Repeat Step 3 to hide your status updates. Under the Status Updates section of Profile Privacy.

The Caveat. This isn’t a perfect solution because Facebook isn’t designed to operate white lists. For instance, when you add new friends, they’ll be able to see your entire friends list and status updates until you manually add them to “Blocked”. So they may realise that you are hiding stuff.

But in most cases, it works. So give it a try.

Powered by WordPress