Your Facebook Friends Are Fakes, The Best Vines of 2015… [Tech News Digest]

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Your Facebook friends don’t really care, the most popular Vines of 2015, Skype hides your IP address, Tinder acknowledges STDs exist, and the robot that can solve a Rubik’s Cube in one second.

Facebook Friends Aren’t Real Friends

I’m sorry to have to break bad news, but the majority of your Facebook friends aren’t actually your friends at all. They’re fake friends, who really couldn’t care less about you.

This is according to a new study by anthropologist Robin Dunbar, who some of you may recognize as the originator or Dunbar’s number. That number is 150, and it signifies how many stable relationships the average person can sustain in real life. Which means Facebook is flawed from the start.

Dunbar’s new study looked at 3,375 Facebook users between the ages of 18 and 65. While these users had an average of 150 Facebook friends, only 4.1 could be counted on during an “emotional crisis,” and only 13.6 ever expressed any kind of sympathy. Which strongly suggests the rest are merely there as padding.

In the study, Dunbar states:

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“There is a cognitive constraint on the size of social networks that even the communication advantages of online media are unable to overcome. In practical terms, it may reflect the fact that real (as opposed to casual) relationships require at least occasional face-to-face interaction to maintain them.”

And that’s the rub. You can have hundreds or thousands of friends on Facebook, but you will never be able to keep up with them all in the real world. And that means that, even if you once considered them as friends, they will slowly but surely fade into the background.

In other words, Facebook friends aren’t real friends. No matter how much you’d like to think they are.

The Most Popular Vines of 2015

Vine is now three years old, having launched on January 24th, 2013. To celebrate this momentous occasion, Vine has collected the most popular, important, and/or memorable Vines of the last year together in an epic playlist.

The clips being heralded for their genius include Duck Army, What Are Those?!, and the altogether-more-serious clip showing the moment ISIS attacked Paris.

Vine, which lets users post short, snappy video clips, has also been responsible for several big memes over the past year. In order to help these memes grow, Vine has launched Trends on Vine, which will be used to track influential Vines as they evolve.

Microsoft Hides Skype IP Address

Microsoft is hiding Skype IP addresses by default in an effort to prevent DDoS (Distributed Denial of Service) attacks on gamers and streamers. And about time too. Unfortunately, it has taken Microsoft far too long to enact this change, as Skype has been leaking IP address information for several years.

This flaw allowed unscrupulous individuals to find someone’s IP address from their Skype ID, and bombard them with traffic, forcing them offline. Microsoft recently introduced the ability to hide your IP address from others, but the latest version of the Skype desktop client hides them by default. So, download it at your earliest convenience!

Tinder Protects Your Sexual Health

Tinder has added a Health and Safety section to its website to ensure its users are aware of the risks associated with casual sex. This section details basic information of STDs (Sexually Transmitted Diseases) and links to Healthvana’s free HIV and STD testing locator.

Dr. Jessica Carbino, lead sociologist at Tinder, said:

“Tinder is proud to empower millions of users to create relationships. An important aspect of any healthy relationship — whether formed on Tinder or otherwise — is ensuring sexual health and safety. We’d be delighted to see other major social networks follow in our footsteps in educating the public.”

Hook-up apps such as Tinder and Grindr, which pair people up with the minimum of fuss, have been blamed for a rise in STDs amongst young people. And it’s easy to see how enabling the generation which is glued to their phones to hook up with strangers has at least contributed to the problem.

The Robot Solves Rubik’s Cubes

And finally, us puny humans really don’t stand a chance once the machines take over. And the worst thing is, we’re the ones building the robots that will eventually take over the planet. As if the advanced humanoid robots aren’t enough of a threat, we now have robots capable of solving a Rubik’s Cube in around one second.

This is all achieved via a combination of Linux, an Arduino, stepper motors, 3D-printed parts, and webcams. The result is a Rubik’s Cube solved faster than you brain can process. I have never even solved a Rubik’s Cube, but even the world record for a human is 4.904 seconds, which is positively pedestrian in comparison to this thing. [H/T Reddit]

Your Views on Today’s Tech News

Do you agree that most of your Facebook friends aren’t real friends? Which Vine channels do you follow? Are you pleased to see Skype starting to hide IP addresses by default? Should Tinder do more to educate its users about STDs? Have you ever actually solved a Rubik’s Cube?

Let us know your thoughts on the Tech News of the day by posting to the comments section below. Because a healthy discussion is always welcome.

Tech News Digest is a daily column paring the technology news of the day down into bite-sized chunks that are easy to read and perfect for sharing.

Image Credits: Michael Coghlan via Flickr