By Me Today: Facebook Denies ‘Lizard Squad’ Hacking Claim

The story begins:

Facebook Inc. on Tuesday denied being the victim of a hacking attack and said its site and photo-sharing app Instagram had suffered an outage after it introduced a configuration change.

The disruption “was not the result of a third party attack but instead occurred after we introduced a change that affected our configuration systems,” a Facebook spokeswoman told The Wall Street Journal. “We moved quickly to fix the problem, and both services are back to 100% for everyone.”

By Me Yesterday: The World Leader in Mobile Facebook Access? Indonesia

My WSJ Digits post begins:

Indonesia leads the world in terms of the percentage of its Facebook users who access the social network on their mobile devices.

That’s according to research firm eMarketer, which said Thursday that some 92.4% of Facebook users in the country — 62.6 million people — tap into the social network via their phones at least once a month. That’s up from 88.1% last year and 77.7% in 2013.

Click through for more.

My Q&A with Dan Neary, Facebook’s Asia-Pacific VP

It begins:

Dan Neary oversees Facebook Inc. ’s advertising operations across Asia-Pacific, a fast-growing region that is home to some of the social network’s biggest markets.

Nearly all of Facebook’s revenue—some $3.2 billion as of the third quarter—comes from fees companies pay to show users ads.

As the Menlo Park, Calif.-based company continues to add to its 1.35 billion monthly active users globally, many are coming from emerging Asian countries such as Indonesia and India.

Moreover, such users are accessing the platform not just on PCs, but increasingly on mobile devices, presenting new challenges and opportunities for Facebook and advertisers.

Mr. Neary, a 49-year-old Chicago native who began his career at Kellogg Co. before holding senior positions at Skype and eBay Inc., is tasked with ensuring the company continues to profit in an ever-changing technological environment.

In a recent interview at Facebook’s offices in Singapore, Mr. Neary discussed the shift to mobile, as well as what Facebook’s photo-sharing service Instagram and messaging app WhatsApp can contribute to the company.

Mr. Neary was cautious in addressing Founder and Chief Executive Mark Zuckerberg ’s October visit to China and possible expansion there, saying only that having access to the country’s 1.3 billion people is an important part of Facebook’s future growth plan.

Click through to read the whole thing.

You may recall that some of my similar interviews in the past — part of our “Boss Talk” series — include chats with BlackBerry Chief Executive John Chen; Twitter’s vice president of Asia Pacific, the Americas and emerging markets, Shailesh Rao; and Evernote Chief Executive Phil Libin.

‘Hunger Games’ Salute, Facebook outage and more: a Belated Roundup of Thai Coup Stories

As I mentioned in my previous post, I traveled to Bangkok to help out with our coverage following the May 22 military coup.

Here are links to a few of the stories I worked on:

And, perhaps most memorably:

The lede:

Anti-coup protesters in Thailand are adopting a symbol of resistance from a science fiction movie in which citizens struggle against a tyrannical government in a dark, dystopian future.

A few dozen demonstrators on Sunday gathered in a flash-mob style protest at a Bangkok shopping mall, where many held anti-army signs and raised their hands in a three fingered salute aimed at nearby troops.

The gestures were similar to those used by heroine Katniss Everdeen and other characters in “The Hunger Games: Catching Fire,” a globally popular movie based on one of Suzanne Collins’s hit trilogy of books. Western films and other popular culture are widely consumed in Thailand.

To hear me discussing the three-fingered “Hunger Games” salute, see the WSJ Live video embedded above and online here.

And finally, for more on the Facebook issue, see this story I wrote just a few days ago:

Our Story on WhatsApp in Asia

Quick note to share a WSJ story I helped out on Thursday about challenges Facebook may face in Asia following its acquisition of WhatsApp:

Facebook Inc. ‘s $19 billion deal for WhatsApp in part is a move to bolster the U.S. company’s position abroad.

But in Asia—which has the world’s largest, and possibly most avid, social-media audience—Facebook still has its work cut out for it.

That is because in Asia, even more than on Facebook’s home turf, the big, growing social-media market is on mobile phones. And if Facebook wants to be as dominant on smartphones in Asia as it has been on personal computers, WhatsApp will need to lure users away from three popular apps in the region: Naver Corp.’s Line, Tencent Holdings Ltd. ‘s WeChat and Kakao Corp.’s Kakao Talk.

Visit WSJD for more stories on the deal.

Self-Promotion: New WSJ Southeast Asia Real Time Story about Facebook’s Popularity in Bangkok

The story is here, and begins:

There are more Facebook users in Bangkok than in any other world city. That is the somewhat surprising finding of a global ranking of the social networking behemoth’s users based on their metropolitan areas.

Bangkok has some 8.68 million Facebook users, followed by Jakarta (7.43 million) and Istanbul (7.07 million), according to a list published by the well-known international social media analytics company Socialbakers.

Please give the piece a read and — you knew this was coming — consider “liking” it on Facebook.

A Facebook feud between Korn and Nattawud

Today’s Bangkok Post on a Facebook feud between Thailand’s Finance Minister, Korn Chatikavanij, and Nattawut Saikua, a red shirt leader:

It all started simply enough with a post on Facebook by the finance minister after taking his wife out to an innocent dinner at at unnamed restaurant on Thong Lor.

He was told that he had been seated at a table that had just been vacated by Nattawut, prompting a little swipe on his FB page remarking that he was amused how the person who called himself prai (peasant) actually had the same kind of lifestyle as the person he accused of being ammart (elite).

Within a matter of seconds, there was a response, and by Monday morning, he had received over 800 comments and almost 6,000 “likes”.

On Sunday morning, Nattawut posted on his own Facebook page how his dinner the previous night had become an online issue.

“Listen, Korn, because there are people like you that oppression still exists. Why do you have to define prai as being poor, stupid and accepting their downtrodden plight. What can’t prai eat at the same restaurant as the capitalists? Long live the people!”

(Emphasis mine.)

Around the web: August 25th to August 30th

Some links that have caught my eye of late:

Newley.com traffic stats for 2008

A quick look at my Google Analytics traffic stats for 2008 reveals the following:

Visitors and Page Views
31,480 people visited Newley.com this year (an average of 2623 per month) for a total of 50,901 page views

— Visitors from 162 different countries came to Newley.com during 2008. The top ten countries were the United States, Thailand, the UK, Canada, Australia, Singapore, India, the Philippines, Malaysia, and Indonesia. And folks from small countries, like Tuvalu, Palau, Bhutan, and Kiribati also came to the site.

Traffic spiked1 in late November, as you can see in the graph above. That’s when anti-government protesters shut down Bangkok’s airports, leading to a flurry of folks finding the site via Google searches for news about the situation.

Most Popular Posts
Some of the most viewed pages were:
Jalapeno Hands: A Cautionary Culinary Tale (10,104 page views). This post, about my friend C‘s cooking accident2, ranks highly in a Google search for jalapeno hands and jalapeno burn. Judging from the 179 comments on the post, this epidemic has been simmering in the cooking world for some time…
Waffle coated hot dog: Consumed in Kanchanaburi, Thailand (1,321 page views)
Ecuadorian slang (1,220 page views)
How to use Skype: A Tutorial: (1,054 page views)
About me (888 page views)
Bangkok airport closure: Fri. update (872 views)
Journalism — my page of clips (560 page views)

Other Posts
Some posts from 2008 (and a few from 2007) that I like — but which haven’t attracted as many eyeballs — include:

Our Northeast India Trip: Top 10 Images
How to Learn Thai
The Asus Eee PC: 10 Things You Need to Know About the World’s Coolest Gadget
Why I Love My Grandmother
Best Burger in Bangkok
Audio Slide Show: State of Emergency in Bangkok
Newley.com Exclusive Video: November in Bangkok
StateStats: Analyzing Google search patterns
My Favorite Podcasts: Updated

RSS, Twitter, and Facebook
— According to Feedburner, which I use to manage my RSS feed, Newley.com has 692 subscribers. But I reckon that a glitch has inflated this number artifically, and that the actual number of subscribers is in the neighborhood of 250. (Not a subscriber? Grab the feed here.)

— I’m happy to report that my recently-launched Newley.com Facebook page has attracted 51 fans in just a couple of weeks.

— And Twitter, which I began using in 2008, has quickly become indispensable for me. I have 183 followers. You can find me on Twitter here.

Thanks to all of you for reading. If you have any suggestions for how I can improve the site, please leave a comment on this post or email me (newley [at] gmail.com).

  1. The dip in October occurred when I changed the site’s design and neglected to include the Google Analytics traffic code, resulting in a lack of data for a time. []
  2. Moral of the story: always wear kitchen gloves when peeling jalapenos! []