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With much of our country and the world navigating an uncharted course through the short- and long-term impact of COVID-19, we extend our most heartfelt and best wishes for the health and safety of you and your families. Our concerns and support extend beyond our own community to all who are affected by this health crisis. We know that many of our alumni and friends across the world are being impacted by this issue, and we continue to keep you in our thoughts during these challenging times.
As you may know, the University at Buffalo has implemented a distance learning model for our students and is moving to a remote work accommodation for our faculty and staff to the extent possible. It’s important to share that, in this ever-evolving situation, our two guiding principles are the health and safety of our community, and the continued academic progress of our students.
In many ways, it is your ongoing support of UB that enables the university to provide the resources to support our community in these difficult times. Whether your gifts have been to the UB Fund, or to a specific scholarship or research initiative, each and every day we put your contributions to work where they will have the maximum impact at UB. Thank you for your investment and commitment to UB.
While we won’t be able to see you in person at UB programs and events in the short term, we are working on ways to keep your connection to UB – and to each other – strong. Pursuant to recent University, CDC and local health department guidelines, all alumni, in-person gatherings, including events, conferences, meetings and other forums, are being cancelled or postponed until at least early June.
Published May 6, 2019
Dr. Melanie Green, a professor in the Department of Communication, was featured in the recent MarketWatch article “Mark Zuckerberg wants people to join Facebook groups, but critics say it’s another way to collect your most intimate data,” by Quentin Fottrell.
The article discusses the unveiling of Facebook’s redesign, in which online groups or digital “living rooms” will be integrated into the platform. “Now we’re focused on building the digital equivalent of the living room, where you can interact in all the ways you’d want privately,” says Mark Zuckerberg, “We’ve redesigned Facebook to make communities as central as friends.”
By removing the iconic blue banner at the top of the page, Facebook hopes to invite users to have more group conversations and to reduce abusive content as a response. This redesign is intended to encourage users to reveal even more personal beliefs and details from their lives.
Despite Zuckerberg’s enthusiasm and confidence about the platform’s future, privacy advocates and communications experts are skeptical about the site’s redesign. Critics argue that by encouraging groups of people to share their passions and interests online, advertisers are gaining valuable data, even more than is gained now, from these “private” conversations.
On the other hand, Melanie Green and others see Facebook’s redesign as a positive and genuine effort from the platform to encourage improved conversations among users. Green mentioned that the #DeleteFacebook hashtag went viral in response to privacy scandals and caused some people to leave Facebook, post less frequently, or share less personal information. “Therefore, people may be seeing less content from their personal friends,” says Dr. Green.
The question remains, should you trust Facebook’s redesign? “We regularly hear from people who tell us that groups are now a central part of their Facebook experience,” a Facebook spokesman said, “They are an everyday resource for people to connect over things they care about – a place to exchange new recipes, learn what’s happening in their neighborhood or to simply bond over a love of dogs.” “They are also a place where people share life events, like moving, parenthood or new careers.” Users have to decide whether having more intimate and meaningful conversations is worth the possibility of advertisers spectating those conversations.
Read the full article here.