12-Year-Old Girl Facing Criminal Charges Over Emoji Use

A 12-year-old girl from Fairfax, Virginia, USA has been charged with threatening to commit an attack against her school in a post on Instagram, The Washington Post reports. The offending message in question contained no direct threats, nor any verbal intent that the girl meant harm against her school or anyone within it. However, the content of her message, included particular ideograms that have been interpreted by police as demonstrating intent to harm others.

Her message read:

Killing ?

“meet me in the library Tuesday”

? ? ?

The use of a gun, knife, and bomb emojis in a message regarding her school’s library were deemed enough by Fairfax police to charge the girl with a criminal offence, after staff at Sidne Lanier Middle School were made aware of its content on 14th December, 2015. Due to her age, the police and courts has not released the identity of the girl.

“She’s a good kid. She’s never been in trouble before,” the girl’s mother said. “I don’t think it’s a case where there should have been charges.”

“I think something is definitely lost in translation,” defense attorney Pratt said, referring to the police misinterpreting the use of emojis by teens. “These kids are not threatening cops, they are just trying to say, ‘I’m tough.’ It’s posturing.”

“Emoji are new enough that people are finding their footing,” Tyler Schnoebelen, a linguist and founder of a company called Idibon, added. “Almost all of these cases have emerged in the past couple years. They are all going into fresh legal territory.”

Dalia Topelson Ritvo, Assistant Director of the Cyber Law clinic at Harvard Law School, thinks that the semantics of emojis are even more fluid and dependant on context and intent than words.

“You understand words in a particular way,” Ritvo said. “It’s challenging with symbols and images to unravel that.”

Despite the charges filed against the girl, a spokesperson for Fairfax County schools has called the alleged threat “not credible”.

Instagram Blocks App That Lets You Be Other Users

In a very brief burst of popularity, the app that allowed anyone to view the Instagram feeds of any public user has had its access to the Instagram API removed. In only 8 days since its launch, Being had already accumulated 400,000 users, with 11,000 people downloading the app during the last day that it was available. The app had even managed to be placed on the featured page of their App Store, which may have been the downfall of the app. Whether the app’s loss of access to the Instagram API was intentional on the part of either the app developer or Instagram themselves is yet to be confirmed.

The purpose of Being was to enable people to see Instagram as another person would, be it friends, family or even celebrities. Being functioned by collecting information on who the person you were to become followed and using this to reconstruct their feed on the app like they were viewing Instagram themselves. This allowed users almost a window into the lives of any other users, able to see all of the feeds they follow, from entire lists of friends to their interests.

While nothing that Being does is illegal, it is easy to see why the app may have been shut down, as while all of this information could likely be collected manually by one dedicated enough, it could be seen as infringing their privacy, even though all of the data was public. If Instagram willingly pulled the plug on the app, they are yet to release a comment.

Is Google Glass Being Killed Off?

Google Glass, the Alphabet Inc. wearable device that was pulled from the market in January 2015 after a decidedly mixed reception, could be dead after the company pulled all social media accounts connected to Glass, while its Google+ page featuring a “Goodbye” post. While an enterprise version of Google Glass is rumoured to be in development, it seems the consumer model is being quietly killed off.

The Google Glass Instagram account has now been closed:

As has its Twitter account:

While its Google+ page remains, its final post (now deleted, but recorded by the Daily Mail) is effectively saying goodbye to Google Glass “Explorers”. ‘Hi Explorers,” the post read, “we’ve had a blast hanging out with you on G+ throughout the Explorer Program. From now on, if you have any questions about your Glass, you can get in touch with us here.”

An FCC filing made last Summer suggests that Google Glass is not entirely dead, though. The team that developed the first version of the wearable is said to be developing an enterprise edition, under the working name of “Project Aura”, with Nest CEO Tony Fadell and designer Ivy Ross heading up the team, which may be an audio-only headset.

Breathtaking Images From an Astronaut Aboard the ISS

Space has always provided a glimpse into many a fascinating world over the years, from research that has been undertaken by NASA to the Astronauts who have boarded the International Space Station as well as successfully landing on the moon. One such Astronaut, Scott Kelly, has been posting breathtaking images on social media that have included Twitter (1,158 photos and counting) and Instagram (684 posts and counting) during his yearlong visit to the ISS, below is a snapshot of these images.

The first image represents the massive blizzard passing over Chicago on Saturday 23rd January 2016, the image looks awe-inspiring.

The next image below is of what is known as “thundersnow” from the blizzard and was captured, again, on the 23rd January 2016.

The next image below, wow, is of an aurora and was captured on the 27th August 2015, this looks akin to a science fiction film.

The next image below is of Spain, well, more specifically Barcelona and was captured on the 28th July 2015, this is both a stunning and a detailed image.

The next image below is the Astronauts latest Twitter post as of writing (26th January 2016) and has the caption “Day 304. That’s 4,864 orbits a’round’ our beautiful planet #Earth. #GoodNight from @space_station! #YearInSpace”, it is certainly a brilliant image.

The last image is of Scott Kelly undertaking a Q&A on Reddit from space, well, yes, as you do, this image was posted on the 23rd January 2016

Why You Haven’t Heard about the Thing You Can’t Say on Facebook

Have you ever heard about the social media website Tsu.co? I’m going to guess that most of you haven’t, and that’s mostly because we now know that;

  • The first rule of Facebook is you don’t talk about Tsu
  • The second rule of Facebook is you don’t talk about Tsu
  • The third rule of Facebook is you don’t talk about Tsu

Actually, it’s not just Facebook directly, but also Instagram and Messenger are actively blocking any instance of the web address, so much so, that Facebook has backdated the ban, deleting more than 1 million Facebook posts, including images, videos and comments that ever mentioned Tsu.co.

So what the hell is going on? I hear you ask.

“We’re persona non grata,” said Sebastian Sobczak, who founded Tsu. “You can type in all sorts of seedy websites, and you can get to them. But not us. We don’t exist.”

Tsu, a new social network which claims to share advertising revenue with its users. The site keeps 10%, you keep 45% and you friends which you invited split the rest. If that sounds a little bit like a pyramid scheme, it’s because it’s pretty obvious it is. Of course, people love money, so there’s certainly an incentive to use the service over the current business models at Facebook, but to me, it sounds a little too good to be true and not worth the hassle.

“Tsu said it had been receiving a decent amount of traffic from Facebook, averaging more than 2,534 visits a day. When that dropped to zero, Tsu appealed to Facebook, arguing that it didn’t violate Facebook’s terms of service, because it did not pay users to push content to Facebook.” said CNN.

“We do not allow developers to incentivize content sharing on our platform because it encourages spammy sharing,” said Melanie Ensign, a Facebook spokesperson.

If Facebook didn’t ban this, there’s a chance that social media channels could quickly become flooded with links to Tsu, as people try to earn extra revenue, suddenly sharing your photos becomes financially motivated, rather than just socialising. Facebook has now marked the links as spam as of September 25th.

Is Facebook trying to stop a competitor stealing their users, or is this a smart move to block what could be seen as a scam in the long run? Who knows, but one thing is for certain, you sure as hell can’t type Tsu.co into Facebook to talk about it.

Instagram is Now More Popular Than Twitter

Instagram is now officially more popular than Twitter and exceeded 400 million monthly users for the first time. This compares to Twitter’s current community of 304 million monthly active users during the last quarter. Unbelievably, the data shows Instagram’s user base increased exponentially by 100 million in just nine months. There has been a dramatic growth in Japan and Brazil which could explain the figures released today. Instagram released a statement regarding this momentous occasion which reads:

“Instagrammers continue to capture incredible photos and videos from all corners of the earth (and even the solar system). We’ve seen inspiring moments like the first surface image of Pluto and Champions League celebrations, as well as striking locales like the white pools of Turkey and a Namibian desert ghost town. These are just a few of the more than 80 million photos per day shared on Instagram.”

“Also, a few notable names have joined Instagram in the last 100 million. The most followed accounts include David Beckham from the UK, Caitlyn Jenner from the US, Indonesia’s Raffi and Nagita, German soccer player Toni Kroos and South Korea’s T.O.P.”

“When Instagram launched nearly five years ago, 400 million seemed like a distant dream. Now, we continue to strive to improve Instagram — helping you experience the world through images and connect with others through shared passions.”

Now that the company is becoming such an influential social media platform, it’s trying to entice sponsors to pay for adverts and make the service more profitable. Film trailers are already quite common on Instagram and I expect other media forms to take advantage of such a massive user base. Personally, I find Twitter much more useful, but it’s interesting to see how various social media services change over time.

Do you use Instagram?

Image courtesy of MarketingLand.

Thank you Sky News for providing us with this information.

‘Tweet-A-Pizza’ Coming to Domino’s This Month

Do you fancy Domino’s pizza and use Twitter on a regular basis? Then you will be happy to hear that the company is looking into techy ways of attracting customers and will add a ‘tweet-a-pizza’ system starting from May 20th in the US.

What all of this means is that users who have a Twitter account will be able to order a pizza just by tweeting the pizza emoji to @Dominos. This will place Domino’s ahead of all other major restaurant industry companies just by adding a way for customers to order their pizza through social media.

However, the decision was no taken on a whim. Statistics show that the company already has more than 50% of its sales taking place digitally, so it was only logical to add such a feature and make it the next big thing. Through this move, Domino’s is likely to take advantage of the publicity and boldness to further increase its sales in the following months.

Twitter has a lot to gain from this as well. Other companies are already using the “Buy Now” service on tweets to promote and sell their products and Twitter can only benefit from all of this by offering their users a way to buy stuff in their social media environment, while also making more profit out of it.

While Domino’s looks to be expanding its technology and offering more purchase options to customers, we are likely to see more companies take the same approach in the near future. Domino’s also mentions that it is already looking into expanding the purchase option to Facebook and Instagram in the future. So what do you think? Would you ‘tweet-a-pizza’ from Domino’s?

Thank you USA Today for providing us with this information

Image courtesy of Huffington Post

Tinder Adds Instagram Support so You Can Share Your Most Private Videos with Strangers

Tinder made quite a bit of progress lately, especially on its subscription side. However, the Facebook integration doesn’t seem to be enough for the company, which now aims to roll out a new update that adds Instagram support to its growing ‘swipy’ world.

The latest Tinder update is said to let you swipe through Instagram photos, with support of up to 34 photos and videos for each account. The company has even integrated so as to redirect you to the person’s Instagram profile upon tapping a picture, providing he or she has the profile public.

Instagram is said to provide Tinder users with a better overview of how socially connected you are to the person you are about to swipe. Up until now, the Facebook integration showed you the friends you have in common with the person you are viewing, but it wasn’t enough to get you a match. Tinder aims to bring a more detailed feature that lets you have a glimpse of who that person is and hopes to bring better matches in the future.

Tinder has also announced that the integration will be available for both free and pro subscribers, so if you either use the app just for a laugh or hope to find your other half, you can still fiddle with the company’s latest feature. But let’s be honest about it, who uses Tinder as a professional dating app? Do you?

Thank you The Verge for providing us with this information

Video courtesy of The Verge and image courtesy of Business Insider

Latest Doom Mod Adds Instagram Filters and a Selfie Stick!?

Doom may be 22 years old, but the modding community just doesn’t want to give up on this game! Not only have we currently got the stunning Brutal Doom mod bringing the game up to a more modern and considerably more violent standard, now we’ve also got something a little more… hipster.

InstaDoom adds 37 real Instagram filters to the game. They’ve all been carefully recreated in the Doom Engine and to make things even sillier, they’ve even modded in a selfie stick.

Not the most useful mod ever, but I just love that this game is still getting the attention it deserves and it may be the first good use of a selfie stick I’ve ever seen.

You can download the mod over at DoomWorld.

Lizard Squad Hacks Taylor Swift’s 51 Million Follower Twitter Account

It was just this morning that we reported on Lizard Squad claiming responsibility for the earlier Facebook and Instagram outage, now it seems that the hacking group has taken another Social Media behemoth – Taylor Swift. For 15 minutes, Swift’s account featured two Tweets that referred to the reptile-themed cyber attackers.

Even though it was only 15 minutes before they were deleted, both tweets handing shoutouts to two Lizard Squad accounts, received 1 -2 thousand retweets and more than 11 thousand combined favourites. It’s also worth mentioning that her 20 million follower Instagram was hacked too, with a similar plug for one of Lizard Squad’s members.

Lizard Squad keeps on making the headlines lately following their massive DDoS attacks on both PSN and Xbox Live last Christmas. Just this past weekend, they took down the website of Malaysia Airlines, leaving the message “404 – Plane Not Found” shortly before promising to dump some “loot” found on the site’s servers. Plus this morning, the group hinted at their involvement with last night’s Facebook and Instagram outage.

We can only wonder what they’ll try next.

Source: The Verge

Twitter Introduces Group DMs and Video Uploads

Twitter is launching group direct messaging and video upload functionality, in a move that incites competition with its rival, Instagram.

The direct messaging service allows users to message multiple people at once as part of a joint conversation, so long as intended recipients are following each other. The video function allows 30 second non-looping clips to be uploaded, designed to exist “alongside” Twitter-owned Vine, according to the company.

In an announcement on the company’s blog, Twitter said:

“We designed our camera to be simple to use so you can capture and share life’s most interesting moments as they happen.”

“In just a few taps you can add a video to unfolding conversations, share your perspective of a live event, and show your everyday moments instantly, without ever having to leave the app. Viewing and playing videos is just as simple: videos are previewed with a thumbnail and you can play them with just one tap.”

Group DM and video functionality are now available with the latest versions of the Android and iOS Twitter apps.

Source: The Guardian

Lizard Squad Claims Responsibility for Facebook Outage

As you probably know by now, Facebook and Instagram both experienced outages in the last few hours. Droves of Social Media addicts turned to Twitter to vent their frustrations at the “social apocalypse”. Now, news has surfaced that Lizard Squad is claiming responsibility.

Yes, the group behind the Christmas DDoS attacks on PSN and Xbox Live have declared that it was indeed them who caused the outage.

Now considering their notorious Christmas attacks and the fact that they shut down the website of Malaysia Airlines just yesterday, it makes it seem likely that it was indeed Lizard Squad who were behind this outage.

However, Facebook has since issued a statement, claiming that the outage was not caused by any sort of attack, but that it was their fault due to a change in their systems.

“This was not the result of a third party attack but instead occurred after we introduced a change that affected our configuration systems. We moved quickly to fix the problem, and both services are back to 100 percent for everyone,” the company said in a statement emailed to CNBC.

So who knows? Perhaps Lizard Squad is using their new-found fame to claim responsibility for what was just a glitch?

Source: RT

Twitter Begs Power Users to Stop Using Instagram

Twitter has been messaging high-profile users, imploring them to tweet photos directly, rather than links to Instagram. The message includes an image comparison, showing the difference between a Twitter photo and an Instagram link (above).

After Instagram was purchased by Facebook in 2012, Twitter stopped supporting Twitter Card integration for Instagram photos, so instead of the image only a link is displayed. The move was considered spiteful at the time, since Twitter had expressed an interest in buying the photo sharing app before Facebook pipped them to the purchase. The decision seems churlish now that Instagram’s 300 million userbase now surpasses Twitters 284 users.

In an effort to mitigate the damage, Twitter introduced its own Instagram-esque photo filters towards the end of 2012, but it has done little to sway the younger demographic that has flocked to Instagram over the last two years.

Twitter’s latest attempt to gain back photo traffic smacks of desperation. Whether it will work remains to be seen.

Source: TechCrunch

HitchBOT, the Hitchhiking Robot, to Travel Across Germany

HitchBOT, the Canadian hitchhiking robot, is set for a road trip across Germany. Last year, HitchBOT thumbed its way around Canada, from Halifax to Victoria, talking and tweeting along the way.

Professor Frauke Zeller, HitchBOT’s co-creator and German national, is looking forward to the robot’s trek across her homeland, and the spirit of altruism she hopes it engenders, saying, “I think being helpful to something that needs help is something that is innate to everybody.”

Upon being given a ride, HitchBOT explains to the driver what its purpose is, and ask if it can be plugged in to charge its battery. The robot has built-in WiFi and GPS, so its progress can be tracked and the bot can post live updates to Twitter and Instagram.

In anticipation of the impending journey, HitchBOT tweeted on Monday:

HitchBOT’s German adventure begins on 13th February, and is expected to last for 10 days.

Source: The Star

What is the Most Intagramed Place on Earth?

Why it’s “the happiest place on earth” – Disneyland of course! Yes, the original of Disney’s massively successful theme parks – Disneyland in Anaheim, California, is the most Instagramed place on earth.

The company released a list of places with the most images attributed to them in 2014 and the famous theme park took the top spot. The rest of the list, included bellow, gives some surprising locations, places you probably wouldn’t associate with Instagram, while there are others that are just plain obvious.

  1. Disneyland — Anaheim, Calif.
  2. Dodger Stadium — Los Angeles, Calif.
  3. Times Square — New York, NY
  4. Siam Paragon (shopping mall) — Bangkok, Thailand
  5. Gorky Park (amusement park) — Moscow, Russia
  6. Musée du Louvre — Paris, France
  7. Red Square — Moscow, Russia
  8. Madison Square Garden — New York, NY
  9. Yankee Stadium — New York, NY
  10. The Dubai Mall — Dubai, United Arab Emirates

Source: Re/code

Instagram Spam Purge Jettisons Millions of Accounts

Since its popularity rocketed, photo-sharing platform Instagram has been plagued with spam accounts. To rectify the problem, Instagram staged a massive purge of users it deemed to be spammers, removing well over 20 million accounts.

The purge, dubbed the “Instagram Rapture”, has had a huge impact on the top 100 Instagram accounts, with celebrities such as Justin Bieber and Akon, losing 3.5 million and 2.5 million followers, respectively. Instagram itself lost 18,880,211 followers. Kevin Systrom, Chief Executive and founder of Instagram, said, “We’ve been deactivating spammy accounts from Instagram on an ongoing basis to improve your experience.”

“As part of this effort, we will be deleting these accounts forever, so they will no longer be included in follower counts. This means that some of you will see a change in your follower count.”

Source: BBC

Instagram is Now Worth $35 Billion

As well as having more users, Instagram is now worth more than Twitter at $35 Billion. Citigroup raised the app’s valuation from $19 billion to $35 billion. 

The image centric social networking service was purchased by Facebook in April 2012 for a now rather cheap $1 Billion. Instagram has grown at an extraordinary rate and has quickly become one of the internet’s most popular social networking sites. 

Ever since the accusation, the company has done little to modify the app or to integrate it into Facebook. Instagram has remained extraordinarily simple, utilising only images, filters and comments to get to this big milestone. 

Being bigger than Twitter, Instagram only expands Facebook’s dominance posing the question of whether Instagram may even one day eclipse it’s parent site too. 

Source: Wired

New Polaroid Camera Prints Your Pics and Posts Them to Instagram

Polaroid’s new camera not only prints your digital photos, it can also post those pictures to Instagram.

The 14-megapixel Socialmatic is more than just a camera: it is an Android device, capable running a plethora of different apps. It has WiFi connectivity to post photos to your favourite social media sites, including Instagram, Facebook, and Twitter. Plus, its design is heavily inspired by the Instagram logo.

The Socialmatic features a 2-megapixel ‘selfie’ camera on the rear – above its 4.5-inch LCD touchscreen – Bluetooth, and GPS. The camera costs $300 with 10 printing sheets, or for 100 sheets included, it’s $344. 25-packs of photo paper cost £25, or two packs for $45.

Source: Wired

Instagram Passes Twitter, Now Has Over 300 Million Monthly Active Users

Instagram is continuing to grow, with the Facebook-owned image-sharing site now boasting over 300 million monthly active users. This number has swollen considerably from March this year, a number that is up over 100 million in that time. Instagram now has more monthly active users than Twitter, which is sitting at around 284 million monthly active users.

There are over 70 million images shared every day that find themselves with over 2.5 billion “likes” according to Instagram. There have also been over 30 billion photos shared since Instagram first opened its doors. Instagram’s CEO Kevin Systrom has said that they are seeing many more people join from the world of fashion, with young teens flocking to the site. Over 70% of Instagram’s users are also found outside of the United States.

Source: TechSpot.

Did Twitter CFO Accidentally Tweet Plan to Buy Bieber Startup?

In what looked like it was meant to be a direct message, Twitter CFO Anthony Noto tweeted on his personal account, “I still think we should buy them. He is on your schedule for Dec 15 or 16 — we will need to sell him. I have a plan.” The tweet was subsequently deleted. Now, CNBC reporter Kristin Cwalinski has determined, thanks to her source, that the “he” in question is actually Justin Bieber, and the “them” Noto showed interested in buying is Shots.

Shots is a smartphone photo app – for iOS and Android – designed to take and share “selfies”. The app also has integrated chat function. But how does Justin Bieber factor into this? Well, the principal investor in the app, used predominantly by females under the age of 24, is the diminutive pop poppet himself, Justin Bieber.

Twitter already owns Vine, the six-second video app, but it user-base has severely diminished since the Facebook-owned Instagram added video functionality to its photo sharing facility.

Source: ars technica

Facebook’s Outage Scares Everyone… Again!

Millions of users have noticed today that around 12 pm Eastern Time, the social media giant, Facebook, went down for about 30 minutes. This is not the first time the website and its services are unavailable, having the social media giant experiencing similar issues just over a month ago.

Mashable has reported that it was able to access the website during the outage, though the response time is said to have been slower than usual. Users were reporting that they have been greeted with a “Sorry, something went wrong.” message when attempting to load the Facebook page.

It is said that even Facebook’s developer webpage went down during the initial outage, but went back up shortly afterwards. It then displayed a warning message describing the problem and that Facebook engineers are working to fix the issue.

Facebook is currently experiencing an issue that is affecting all API and web surfaces. Our engineers detected the issue quickly and are working to resolve it ASAP. We’ll update shortly.

The above message was displayed after the first occurrence at 12 pm ET, having the engineers change the message to the below mentioned one at around 1:45 pm ET.

Traffic and error-rates are almost back to normal after a coordinated intervention by our engineering teams. We are now monitoring the situation and we have our best engineers determining the root-cause of this issue that affected much of our web fleet. We apologize for any inconvenience and we aim to ensure that this issue does not repeat.

Mashable confirmed the outage through the Down for Everyone or Just Me and It Is Down Right Now services as well. During this time, Twitter was flooded with user messages regarding the outage.

The mobile version of the social media giant was reported to be down as well. Users are stated to have been greeted with the “Error loading News Feed” message inside the app. Even Instagram was reported to have been taken down during the outage, though nobody has confirmed the service’s outage.

A Facebook representative has issued an official statement regarding the issue experienced this morning, though it does not explain what exactly caused the outage.

“Earlier this morning, some people had trouble accessing Facebook for a short time. We quickly investigated and are currently restoring service for everyone. We’re sorry for the inconvenience.”

Thank you Mashable for providing us with this information
Images courtesy of Mashable

Orlando Bloom Throws Punch In Justin Bieber’s Direction… And Then Goes Back for More!

There is normal life and then there is… showbiz life. This is the case of Justin Bieber allegedly receiving a punch in his direction from well-known movie star, Orlando Bloom, after the two meet face to face at a restaurant in Ibiza.

Metro reports that Hollywood star, Orlando Bloom, has seen Justin Bieber at the Cipriani restaurant in Ibiza in the early hours of Wednesday morning. At dawn, it all went ‘bananas’ and ended with Orlando reportedly going for a punch towards Justin’s face after the ‘youngster’ made a rude remark about Bloom’s ex-wife, Miranda Kerr.

[youtube]https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=r3LiXnYS-Yc[/youtube]

Information dating back to their break-up reveals that Orlando and Kerr decided to split in October 2013 after rumors were going around that Bieber was spending too much time flirting with Orlando’s ex-wife at Victoria’s Secret show in 2012. The tension in their marriage apparently was too much for the two and they later broke up.

Sources for The Sun tell a different story, where Bieber made the remarks regarding Orlando’s ex-wife after the Hollywood star attempted to punch him. It is said that a ‘shouting match’ began between the two, having their friends eventually calming them down.

The little fiasco appears to have gotten worse when Justin uploaded a photo of Miranda to his Instagram account, featuring her with a crown symbol, before swiftly deleting it. The reason for its deletion is still unknown.

Twitter fans are also showing their support for Orlando (which is to be expected), while Bieber’s fans don’t look too impressed by his reckless behavior.

It is said that representatives for both parties have been contacted by various press, however there have been no official statements for neither of them up until now.

Thank you Metro for providing us with this information
Images and video courtesy of Metro

Watch Dogs Browser App Brings the Hacking Experience into Your Browser

Everyone who has played Ubisoft’s latest hacking game title, Watch Dogs, knows about what Aiden Pearce, the main character in the game, has in his smartphone. For those who do not know, his smartphone is basically a mobile NSA tracking and hacking ‘supercomputer’, having the power to disable traffic lights, fiddle with bridges, smartphones, power lines and even the city’s grid.

Although in the real world you cannot do all of this with just a smartphone, Ubisoft has apparently made a ‘light’ version (without all the hacking features of course) of the app, which is available in your browser. Real world data from cities such as Berlin, Paris and even London can be displayed and accessed via the Watch_Dogs WeAreData browser app, displaying publicly accessible location-based data.

The application in question appears to display where mobile phones are, show and read tweets from the locations they were triggered, link CCTV feeds, traffic lights and more. It is said that each city displays a host of data, including transportation, network nodes, city infrastructure such as ATMs and public toilets, social media data from Twitter, Instagram, Foursquare and Flickr, all displayed with location data and positioned accordingly.

Though this seems as an incredible tool, it has its limitation. All data gathered by the app is said to come from sources which gave their consent on sharing location information. There is no information or data from unauthorized sources from, let’s say, the government. Nonetheless, it is fun to click around and see how the connected world is and looks like daily, and even spy on ‘unsuspected’ victims who post location tags and/or pictures all around these cities. Anyone interested in looking at one of the three available cities can go on the Watch_Dogs WeAreData website here.

Thank you Cult of Mac for providing us with this information
Image courtesy of Cult of Mac

Facebook Will Buy WhatsApp For $16 Billion In Cash and Shares

Recent news point to Facebook engaging into an agreement to purchase the popular mobile messaging app, WhatsApp, for $16 billion in cash and stocks. The Verge states that a SEC document filed recently confirms the purchase agreement.

The same plan of action was filed with the pruchase of Instagram as well, that being the ability of WhatsApp operating as an independent messaging application and not integrated into Facebook’s Messenger, stating that the purchase will accelerate Facebook’s aim to bring socializing and connectivity all around the world.

“WhatsApp is on a path to connect 1 billion people. The services that reach that milestone are all incredibly valuable.” said Facebook CEO, Mark Zuckerberg. “WhatsApp will complement our existing chat and messaging services to provide new tools for our community.” he added.

Statistics report showing around 450 million people accessing the WhatsApp application each month, having 70 percent of the total amount of users active each day. The changes will also bring WhatsApp’s CEO Jan Koum to Facebook’s board of directors. Koum also assured users that the deal will not affect the app’s usability by adding advertising principles, as “there would have been no partnership between our two companies if we had to compromise on the core principles that will always define our company, our vision and our product”.

Thank you The Verge for providing us with this information