Facebook Considering Monetization of Posts Using “Tip Jars”

 

A Facebook user survey distributed this week has shown the social media giant is looking at ways for users to be able to profit from their posts according to The Verge. Some of the features being considered that would allow for the monetization of posts or the ability to promote your posts include a tip jar, branded content and even the ability to take a cut of Facebook’s ad revenue from your posts. Another idea that users were asked for their opinion was a “call to action” button which would let followers make donations and a “sponsor marketplace” which would allow users to match themselves with providers of related advertisements.

Currently, Facebook includes no avenues for individual users to earn money from the posts they make on Facebook, although publishers have been able to sell advertisement space inside of their Instant Articles format and brand sponsored posts are able to be shared on verified pages. Facebook is also testing new (and possibly intrusive) ways to introduce ad revenue into content on the site.

A number of social sites already offer ways in which users and content creators can profit from the ad revenue that their content generates, with YouTube allowing channel owners to earn money based on the views of monetized videos and the game streaming service Twitch partnering with popular streamers to allow them to earn money from subscriptions, running advertisements and merchandise sales. It is likely that Facebook, which values itself on real-time sharing, has seen the success of these programs and wants to offer their users a chance at earning money in the hopes it will draw more people to post higher quality content on the site.

When you consider the huge valuations of social media sites, the fact that very few of their users are paid for the content that contributes to it, it makes sense to offer some kind of reward schemes for top contributors, lest they migrate to other platforms in time. Whether this move to monetization could improve or worsen Facebook remains to be seen, as the plans are only conceptual. The questions regarding monetization are just a small portion of the survey focusing on users use of their profile pages, what they share and the makeup of their friends on the site.

DJI Have Created A Social Network For Drone Users

Enjoy your food or a video game? There’s a social network for that, all designed around bringing you together with like-minded people who all enjoy what you enjoy. If you are a fan of drones, then why not try DJI+Discover, the social network for drone users.

Create a profile and ask all those questions you’ve wondered about new parts, how to build your personalised drone or the best drone on the market with like-minded people. If you just like the idea of drones you can also use the app to search for professional drone pilots or even drone photographers (that is people who take photos and videos with drones).

With options to filter a map of your surrounding area between all, social and professional, you can quickly filter out the people you want to connect with. As an added bonus why not check out its recommended flying spots and the user-submitted photos, seeing the area around you from a drone’s point of view.

With options and choices galore, why not check out the app if you are interested in, want to hire or just curious about drones and their users. With the ability to quickly organise and share materials, drone users should check out the app and share their photos for the world to see with aspiring and experienced drone users.

Microsoft’s Racist AI is Back And It’s Still Crazy!

Remember that crazy TayTweets AI that Microsoft unleashed on the (mostly) innocent users of Twitter recently? The one that quickly pick up the bad habits of many online pranksters, turning it into a genocide-denying Nazi lover? Yes, that one. Twitter users be warned, it’s back!

Microsoft pulled the AI after it descended into madness last week, taking the time to re-tool their learning experiment and trying again. Unfortunately, it’s not really worked this time either, as in true-to-form style it wasn’t long before it because a drug smoking police hater.

While Microsoft were previously tweaking the timeline to remove the most offensive posts, while also vowing to only bring the AI back if they could “better anticipate malicious intent that conflicts with our principles and values.” It’s clear that there’s still a lot of work to be done. Of course, that’s the whole point of these experiments, and I’m sure they’re not out of ideas yet.

Drug smoking references aside, @TayTweets seemed to then descend into a total meltdown, spamming everyone with the same message over and over. The end result being Microsoft setting the profile to private, effectively taking her offline again.

Personally, I can’t wait to see what happens next, more entertaining madness, or a successful AI test, either would be worth watching unfold.

Facebook No Longer Supports BlackBerry’s Social Media Apps

If you look at the numbers, BlackBerry smartphones currently account for just 0.1 percent of sales in the US, while Android and Apple account for 58 percent and 39 percent respectively. Therefore, it doesn’t take much to realize that the company is in trouble, and it looks like things won’t improve in the near future, as social media giant Facebook has recently pulled support for BlackBerry social media apps. Furthermore, WhatsApp will pretty much do the same thing by the end of the year, which means that some BlackBerry users will have no choice but to switch over to other devices in order to be able to access basic social media apps. However, it’s worth noting that the BlackBerry Priv is based on Android v5.1.1 Lollipop, which means that they don’t necessarily have to move over to a new brand, just to newer smartphones.

During a recent blog post, BlackBerry’s representatives tried to remain positive, but they did express their disappointment in Facebook’s and WhatsApp’s decision. BlackBerry Senior Marketing Manager Lou Gazzola has stated the following:

“The app landscape continues to evolve, and in ways that are not always within our control. We are extremely disappointed in their decision as we know so many users love these apps. We fought back to work with WhatsApp and Facebook to change their minds, but at this time, their decision stands (but let them know how you feel on social media, using the hashtag #ILoveBB10Apps).”

Do you think that BlackBerry has a chance to make a comeback as long as it adopts Android on a wider scale?

Image courtesy of Abcnews.

Kanye West Caught Pirating Software in Social Media Blunder

Kanye West’s buffoonery on social media is reaching comical levels and makes me wonder if it’s all just a publicity stunt. Initially, West went on an e-begging campaign pleading Facebook CEO, Mark Zuckerberg for $1 billion and claimed he now has $53 million in personal debt. Here is just a brief snippet of his embarrassing remarks on Twitter:

“Mark Zuckerberg I know it’s your bday but can you please call me by 2mrw… You love hip hop, you love my art… I am your favorite artist but you watch me barely breathe and still play my album in your house … World, please tweet, FaceTime, Facebook, instagram, whatever you gotta do to get Mark to support me…(sic)”

“I know I can make the world a better place… I have done the impossible … I retook the throne of rap… I beat the fashion game…(sic)”

“Mark, I am publicly asking you for help… one of the coolest things you could ever do is to help me in my time of need.”

Of course the irony is, he’s asking for help on Facebook’s main competitor and cannot fathom why he’s being mocked by so many people. Once again, this might all be an act, and I’d usually refrain from giving Kanye West any publicity. However, the latest development is absurd, and left me completely speechless. In an amazing turn of events, Kanye West posted a picture on social media of his music tastes:

https://twitter.com/kanyewest/status/704873833564659712

On closer inspection you can see he was searching for a $189 synthesiser made by Xfer Records for Mac and Windows. Next to this tab, is a search entry on the Pirate Bay to illegally download this music application without paying. This really is unbelievable considering Kanye West spearheaded the re-launch of a music streaming service called Tidal designed to give artists a fair revenue share. The entire premise revolves around letting consumers know how damaging piracy is and providing a legal alternative. From this evidence, it looks very hypocritical and exemplifies how ridiculous this man is. Honestly, I worry about the future of humanity if people like Kanye West can become successful and obtain a position of significant influence.

Image courtesy of Vibe

Marc Andreessen Issues Apology After Social Media Backlash

Marc Andreessen is a venture capitalist best known for co-creating Mosaic, the first widely adopted web browser and has an estimated net work of around $600 million. Mr. Andreessen is also a Facebook board member and one of their most loyal supporters. On Tuesday evening, he defended Facebook’s Free Basics initiative which aims to provide internet access to impoverished nations through simplified phone applications. However, Indian regulators criticized the programme and claimed it only allowed for free access on certain services and discriminated against smaller companies. As a result, the Indian regulators believed Facebook was trying to “shape the users’ Internet experience”. When presented with this information, Mr. Andreessen voiced his opinion on Twitter (always a terrible idea) and made some extremely offensive claims:

https://twitter.com/pmarca/status/697226616812900352?ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw

Mark Zuckerberg released a statement distancing himself from Andreessen’s remarks and reiterated that they didn’t reflect Facebook’s attitude:

“I want to respond to Marc Andreessen’s comments about India yesterday. I found the comments deeply upsetting, and they do not represent the way Facebook or I think at all.

India has been personally important to me and Facebook. Early on in my thinking about our mission, I traveled to India and was inspired by the humanity, spirit and values of the people. It solidified my understanding that when all people have the power to share their experiences, the entire world will make progress.

Facebook stands for helping to connect people and giving them voice to shape their own future. But to shape the future we need to understand the past. As our community in India has grown, I’ve gained a deeper appreciation for the need to understand India’s history and culture. I’ve been inspired by how much progress India has made in building a strong nation and the largest democracy in the world, and I look forward to strengthening my connection to the country.”

As you might expect, the social media backlash and comments from Zuckerberg encouraged Andreessen to make a full apology:

https://twitter.com/pmarca/status/697399609929261057?ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw

https://twitter.com/pmarca/status/697404200368500736?ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw

This entire situation demonstrates why it’s so important to think before posting opinions online especially if you represent a huge company like Facebook. Clearly, the comments were misguided, and seemed quite reactionary to the decision to favour net neutrality.

Image courtesy of BusinessInsider

New Study Reveals Facebook Friends Are Unreliable

The advent of social media platforms like Facebook has made human beings adopt a more cavalier attitude towards friendships. When communicating online, people tend to see their friends list as an indication of their popularity and success among other individuals. As a result, it’s quite common for social media users to add old school friends, random people they encountered online and anyone else to increase the number of friends seen on a public profile. Don’t get me wrong, social media platforms are fantastic for keeping in contact with people across large distances, and some of my closest friends live in another country. However, there does seem to be this need to have thousands of online friends and show off. In extreme cases, some users even add individuals they never speak to which can only be down to an egotistical personality.

According to a new study by Robin Dunbar, human beings cannot rely on Facebook friends to exhibit a sympathetic response or act in a caring manner. Dunbar is already a renowned expert in this field with the paper, Dunbar’s number which argues people can only maintain 150 stable relationships. In this latest piece, Dunbar analysed a UK sample of 3,375 Facebook users between the ages of 18 and 65. On average, people had 150 Facebook friends but admitted they could only count on 4.1% of them during an emotional crisis. Furthermore, the data shows a mere 13.6% expressed sympathy. Here is a brief snippet of Dunbar’s findings and provides a great insight into his research:

“The sizes of the two inner friendship circles did not differ from those previously identified in offline samples,”

“Having a lot more than 150 followers doesn’t change things much, either. Heavy users of online social media do not have larger offline social networks than casual users, even though more of these may appear online for heavy users.”

While it’s important to reiterate that some online relationships are just as important as “real-life” ones, there’s a worrying trend of Facebook users only adding people on the basis of increasing the perception they are more popular. This really is a depressing notion and shows how narcissistic society has become.

How many friends do you have on Facebook?

87% of World Governments Have a Facebook Presence

Facebook has rapidly become an invaluable communication tool which many people rely on to keep in contact with relatives and forge key business relationships. It’s difficult to imagine the platform was originally set up to organize meetings between students at Harvard University. We live in an age where social media is arguably just as important as traditional news outlets which makes governments across the world try to engage with people on various platforms including Twitter, Facebook and more! Obviously, lots of this discourse between politicians and the electorate is heated as people vent their frustrations.

According to a new report released today by PR firm, Burson-Marsteller, 87 percent of 193 United Nation member countries have an official presence on Facebook. An excerpt from the study reads:

“Over the past eight years, Facebook has become the channel of choice for community engagement with world leaders,”

“Since then, a Facebook presence has become part and parcel of any social media political campaign and one of the best ways to engage with potential voters and citizens.”

This is an interesting development and showcases the influential nature of social media. Although, from my initial observations, Twitter’s more direct form of communication might become a new focus for governments to spread their campaign message. The way we all use media is changing, and reports from the public often provide a quicker indication of what’s transpiring. This doesn’t necessarily mean traditional news broadcasts will become obsolete, but there’s certainly a rise in community media. Typically, governments struggle to stay up to date with the latest technology and produce legislation based on outdated notions.

It seems they are hoping having a Facebook presence shows their understanding of the modern world and how ordinary people communicate. Overall, I’m not surprised by the findings, and I cannot help being suspicious of any official government presence on social media platforms.

Doctors Notes Is What Happens When Doctor Who Meets Social Media

Doctor Who is a science fiction show that has spanned generations, with multiple actors coming and going as both supporting and main characters featuring some of the biggest names in their credits and having inspired more than a few minds. It recently celebrated the ending of the 9th series, the 35th season to air in total after a 16-year break split the series in two. So why not celebrate it by rewatching the 9th season with some added content?

Doctor Who has spread from being a show from the BBC to a show enjoyed by people all over the world. The show is set to re-air on BBC America with a small twist, that is you can watch the whole series again, week by week with a little extra content. Ranging from comments from Twitter or Tumbler, with artwork and images laid over top of the show you can enjoy the series with all the extra content you could ask for, including little pieces of trivia like you can see in the trailer below at 0:14. With the series starting on January 30th, you could soon find yourself rewatching the series in the meanwhile as you wait for the next series later this year.

Do you think shows should have extra content like this laid over top of the show or should they focus on the show and avoid distracting you from the show?

Would-Be Bomber Found Guilty After Asking Twitter for Target Advice

 

The impression of terrorists in the current age as shady types who make use of encryption and anonymizing services to meticulously plan devastating attacks. In the case of Mohammed Rehman and his wife, Sana Ahmed Khan, this was not true. The couple was arrested and found guilty in the Old Bailey court on counts of preparing an act of terrorism. These plans of terrorism were uncovered by an undercover police investigator who saw Rehman posting publicly on Twitter asking for advice on what location in London he should target.

Mohammed Rehman and his wife had planned to commemorate the 7/7 attacks in London, 10 years on, by executing an attack on either the London Underground or Westfield Shopping centre. Either of this attacks would have had the potential for massive casualties. He seemed to make no effort to hide his online activities, with evidence found of him searching Youtube for footage of the London bombings and searched for information on his ‘beloved predecessor’ Shehzad Tanweer, one of the 7/7 bombers. Neither Rehman nor his wife made use of encryption or tools such as the dark web to plan their attack.

Rehman went under the Twitter name “Silent Bomber”, with the handle “@InServiceToGodd”. The profile even went one step further, with the bio reading: “Learn how to make powerful explosives from the comfort of ones’ bedroom.” Back in May, Rehman used the account to post to his followers “Westfield shopping centre or London underground?” he asked. “Any advice would be appreciated greatly.” He also included a link to an Al-Quida press release regarding the 7/7 attacks from 2005. He seemed to make no secret of his plans for terrorism, telling one Twiter user “Why don’t you head to the London Underground on the 7th July if you got the balls.” The account has since been suspended by Twitter.

What makes this case interesting is that it seems to directly oppose the growing claim from governments and security agencies that easy access to encryption and the dark net is blinding intelligence agencies. All of the information needed to discover this potential attack was fully public, and thankfully in this instance was found and acted upon by the correct authorities.

While it seems like a lot of the terrorism and fear in the world right now stems from IS and similar sinister groups, this case seems to imply that this is less true than we have been led to believe. This case was one of seven that David Cameron used as a justification for military actions in Syria, but it turns out that while the instigators may have idolized parts of IS’ ideals, they were in fact lone idiots trying to imitate.

If more of the 6 remaining foiled plots come to light as similarly careless and foolish, it risks undermining both military action and pushes for infringements on the privacy and freedom imposed on the British people with tools like the Snooper’s Charter.

Photograph: PA

A Runner Celebrates Star Wars With Running Maps

The new Star Wars movie has become the fastest movie to pass the $1 billion mark in global box office sales which marks just how popular the franchise is and how many fans it has around the world. A lot of those fans have been celebrating the new movie in all sort of ways from baking their favourite character to cosplay and theme nights as well as much more. One fan who also happens to be a vivid runner chose to celebrate the new Star Wars movie by running maps that in return would show various Star Wars motives such as the Storm Trooper, Darth Vader, or a Walker.

Gene Lu from Portland, US used his fitness tracking app to record the routes he took before posting the results on social media where it gathered quite a bit of feedback. Darth Vader and the Walker are probably the easiest to recognize, but the Storm Trooper isn’t bad either.

Creating images with running apps and the streets at your disposal isn’t anything new and last year we even saw someone propose to their loved one by writing “Will you marry me” on the virtual streets with their fitness tracking app. Users who want to experiment with this phenomenon and post their own creations online should keep what start and stop locations they pick and what times they post it online in mind. You wouldn’t want to tell the burglar when you are out and even tell him where on the route you are located.

Are you one of the millions that already saw the new Star Wars movie and if so, did you celebrate this new entry into the popular franchise in any particular way? Let us know in the comments and photos are naturally also more than welcome if you dressed up as your favourite Star Wars character.

Twitter is Trialing Timelines Listed in a Non-Chronological Order

Since the appointment of Twitter’s new CEO, Jack Dorsey, there has been a number of polarizing changes to the user-interface. For example, Twitter recently dropped the star icon to favourite tweets and replaced it with a like button. In the grand scheme of things, this seems like a fairly pointless exercise and doesn’t really alter the experience. Nevertheless, this small change made people quite vociferous although they adjusted to it quickly once the initial outrage had subsided. This is nothing though compared to the latest attempt to change the user feed and list tweets in a non-chronological order. A Twitter spokesperson said in an e-mail to Motherboard.com, that the order changes are:

“..an experiment. We’re continuing to explore ways to surface the best content for people using Twitter.”

Here we can see the random order and time stamps for each individual tweet:

I honestly cannot understand the logic of listing tweets in such a jumbled manner. The chronological system works perfectly because you can easily scroll through missed tweets and check the latest updates extremely quickly. If this is introduced, it will become very difficult to find a specific tweet. Clearly, it’s only an experiment at this time and being applied to a small number of accounts. However, it’s a terrible idea and should be scrapped.

Mobile Phones Can Inhibit Sleep According to Latest Research

Smartphones have rapidly become an integral part of daily life and many people are extremely addicted to social media websites. As a result, it’s quite common for smartphone users to take their handsets to bed and casually post status updates. According to a paper published in Frontiers in Public Health, this is detrimental to your health and results in sleep deprivation. The research shows that blue light from smartphones delays people’s natural body clock and keeps them awake during later hours.

Professor Paul Gringras, a doctor from Evelina Children’s Hospital in London, said every new model was:

“bluer and brighter.”

He also criticized smartphone manufacturers for not implementing a “sleep mode”. In an interview with the BBC, he argued:

“There is converging data to say if you are in front of one of these devices at night-time it could prevent you falling asleep by an extra hour.”

“It’s not good enough to say do less and accept this is the world we live in, they’re fun devices but we do need some protection on what they do at night-time.”

The bright light shining into people’s eyes is a major distraction. Additionally, instead of the brain slowing down late at night, the barrage of messages, videos and icons on modern smartphones makes this pretty impossible. If you value your sleep it’s imperative to switch your smart-device off, before you go to bed. Manufacturers have to do more as smartphone addiction is a reality.

Do you take your smartphone to bed?

Image courtesy of NeonTommy.

Google Hangouts Is Rolling out a New UI and Better Video Quality

Today we found out that Google has announced that they are bringing tweaks to Hangouts. The move is intended to streamline the user interface while at the same time improving the streaming video quality. Users can expect that calls will start faster and stay clearer and crisp throughout the call due to the higher video quality. User controls will be moved down to the middle of the screen at the bottom to give a larger more immersive experience while using the Hangouts app. There will also be a simplified invite system for starting up calls with your family, friends, and business contacts.

The information about the new user experience and improved quality was announced today by Google’s software engineer Eduardo Fernández. Today only a small test group of people will get the update, but over the next few days the update will be rolling out worldwide. Eduardo notes that there is good news for those who hate change, as there will be a setting in the Hangouts menu for “Original version” that will be laid out like what Hangouts currently looks like. This move will definitely be a big win for the users of the app since everyone will love the increased video quality since really, who doesn’t like better video quality? Do you use Google Hangouts or do you prefer Skype or something else?

SnapChat Daily Video Views Reach 6 Billion

Social media websites from Facebook to Snapchat have attempted to move beyond basic text communication and encourage video sharing. Currently, Facebook users watch on an average 8 billion videos per day, which almost defies belief. However, according to an interview with The Financial Times, Snapchat isn’t far behind and recently attained 6 billion video views in a single day. These astonishing statistics are put into perspective when you consider 6 billion views amount to each person throughout the world.

Arguably, many users are addicted to various social media platforms and watch an unhealthy amount of content. This skews the viewing figures to make each social media website appear to have a larger user-base. Despite this, their audience is still absolutely enormous and appears to be growing at a significant rate.

Snapchat is an interesting example as it seems better suited to video sharing than the competition. Its premise originally revolved around photo sharing and not status updates like Facebook and Twitter. As a result, video sharing is the next logical step and a more personal way of communication. The data shows Snapchat’s video service is expanding at a rapid rate and this isn’t a surprise.

Do watch videos on social media platforms, or find them distracting?

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.

This Emoji Keyboard Will Set You Back $100!

Emojis have quickly become the latest method for many people to communicate online and express emotion. Previously, people opted for text-based solutions which resembled a number of human responses. Up to this point, Emojis required a mobile touch interface to implement various icons during conversations on social media. This makes sense given most conversations rely on text and contains an emoji at the end to express emotion. EmojiWorks decided to create a traditional wireless keyboard which utilizes a emoji modifier.

Once the emoji key is pressed, the letters transform into emojis and allows for quick typing. I’m not entirely sure how useful this is, but it might be suitable for someone out there. In terms of pricing, the basic 47-emoji model will cost $80, the 94-emoji Plus has a retail price of $90 and the flagship 120-emoji Pro is set to cost $100.

There’s no current shipping date, but the manufacturer has taken pre-orders which will ship “no sooner than December 1st”. I’m almost speechless about this invention and I’m clearly not the target demographic. Perhaps, certain people use emojis quite often, and feel the need to end every sentence with at least one or two. Although, I’m not one to judge, and if it’s useful to someone, then it has a place in the current market.

Snapchat Defends Privacy Policy Changes

Photo sharing on social media websites has become extraordinarily popular due to the “selfie” craze as smartphone users try to capture the moment. Snapchat is one of the most popular choices and revolves around quick snapshots which vanish once the recipient has viewed the photo. That’s the theory though, and there have been concerns about Snapchat’s data policy. Only recently, the company decided to update its privacy policy and disclose their data retention in a more transparent way.

However, the terms caused a great deal of controversy and appeared to allow partners to intrusively access your data:

…you also grant Snapchat and our business partners the unrestricted, worldwide, perpetual rights and license to use your name, likeness, and voice in any and all media and distribution channels…” 

Kal Penn highlighted the privacy issues in the following tweet:

In lieu of this information, Snapchat has released a statement on this blog which reads:

“First off, we want to be crystal clear: The Snaps and Chats you send your friends remain as private today as they were before the update. Our Privacy Policy continues to say—as it did before—that those messages “are automatically deleted from our servers once we detect that they have been viewed or have expired.” Of course, a recipient can always screenshot or save your Snaps or Chats. But the important point is that Snapchat is not—and never has been—stockpiling your private Snaps or Chats. And because we continue to delete them from our servers as soon as they’re read, we could not—and do not—share them with advertisers or business partners.”

“It’s true that our Terms of Service grant us a broad license to use the content you create—a license that’s common to services like ours. We need that license when it comes to, for example, Snaps submitted to Live Stories, where we have to be able to show those Stories around the world—and even replay them or syndicate them (something we’ve said we could do in previous versions of our Terms and Privacy Policy). But we tried to be clear that the Privacy Policy and your own privacy settings within the app could restrict the scope of that license so that your personal communications continue to remain truly personal.”

Snapchat handled this entire situation quite badly especially when you consider how other companies have implemented similar policies and caused public outrage. Their PR team should have known better and conducted things in a more communicative way. Whatever the case, I’m not a Snapchat user, and some might feel the terms are enough to make them uninstall the app. However, I’m pretty sure, Snapchat’s target demographic isn’t majorly concerned about the updated policy.

Edward Snowden Joins Twitter – Only Follows NSA

“Can you hear me now?” The stark words of Edward Snowdens first tweet as he joins social media platform Twitter. The account went live recently, gaining 160,000 followers in less than an hour, a number that has skyrocketed to almost 900,000 in less than a day and continues to grow exponentially.

The simple message was retweeted 93,928 times, so it’s obviously something that resonates with his followers. He’s since been a little more vocal too, and given his nature of challenging the order of things, you can bet he’s not going to be a passive user of the platform.

As a slight tongue-in-cheek jab, Snowden only follows one Twitter page, @NSAGov; I’m sure they heard his message and any others loud and clear.

Even better, Neil deGrasse Tyson, Anonymous, WikiLeaks and more have started tweeting at him, sparking a few conversations that have sent Twitter into overload, making Edward Snowden one of the most interesting people to follow on the social media platform right now.

I’m looking forward to more updates from Snowden, if you want to stay tuned to the latest, you can follow him here @Snowden.

The Pope Argues Social Media Has Caused Loneliness

Social media is an integral component of modern society and theoretically helps people to stay in contact with friends, family members and business acquaintances. However, our over-reliance on impersonal communication is arguably causing humans to experience loneliness according to a speech by Pope Francis:

“Today’s culture seems to encourage people to not bond with anything or anyone,”  

“The most important thing today seems to be to follow the latest trend of activity, even at a religious level. Today consumerism determines what is important.”

“I would dare say that at the root of so many contemporary situations is a kind of radical loneliness that so many people live in today. Running after the latest fad, a like, accumulating followers on any of the social networks.”

This isn’t a new phenomenon as social media has been blamed for negatively impacting on people’s ability to converse with others. Furthermore, the ‘selfie’ culture and need to let others know of daily activities could indicate a rise in narcissistic behavior. On the other hand, this might just be a part of evolution as humans become more liberal and forthright with their routine.

It’s certainly an interesting discussion topic and I personally believe those addicted to social media who check-in online before brushing their teeth are extremely lonely and in denial. Social media is a wonderful invention providing we use it responsibility and not at the expense of human interaction.

Do you think social media is a cause of society’s problems?

Thank you Wired for providing us with this information.

Facebook Down – Again

Facebook suffered a major outage, which at the time of writing is still ongoing. It’s unclear what the issue is at this time, but it’s immediately apparent that it’s a major problem.

The site went down just shortly after 5pm BST, with the desktop version of the site throwing up the error message seen in the image above. Often, the mobile site will still work if the main site is down, but that isn’t the case at the moment and as you can see from the image below, many people are simply getting a blank feed.

Of course, Facebook being down isn’t all bad news, as Twitter traffic is now booming, with people flocking to the service to complain about their other social media of choice.

https://twitter.com/g00s3y/status/647085341233426432

Even Facebook’s status page is broken. When the damage report machine is broken, it’s rarely a good sign.

Fortunately, the world hasn’t imploded yet and with any luck we’ll be back sharing our instagram pictures, catmemes and political ramblings within no time. We’ll update you as soon as we know more.

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.

Mozilla Releases Firefox 41 Containing Integrated IM Functionality

Mozilla has officially unveiled the latest version of Firefox which incorporates an intriguing messaging service called, ‘Hello Beta’. According to Mozilla, this is the world’s first communication tool embedded into a browser which allows users to send and receive messages during a video call. The company said about this latest venture:

“Firefox Hello Beta, developed with our partner Telefónica, is the global communications system built directly into a browser and it will now let you send and receive instant messages when you’re in a video call in Firefox for Windows, Mac and Linux.”

While this might be true, I’m fairly certain other browsers have implemented something similar a long time ago. Also, many users might feel that this could make Firefox take up more system resources and become rather bloated. It’s certainly an interesting addition, but I highly doubt many people are going to use it for an extended period. There has been some confusion regarding this announcement and to clarify, this only works during video calls.

Ideally, I’d love to see Firefox adopt a simple layout without unnecessary features and optimizing RAM usage to make for the most efficient browser out there.

Which browser do you use?

Firefox 41 for Windows, Mac, Linux is now available for download and we’ve included a direct hyperlink for your convenience.

Facebook is Creating a ‘Dislike’ Button to Help Users Express “Empathy”

Facebook CEO, Mark Zuckerberg was originally skeptical of implementing a ‘dislike’ button but appears to have had a change of heart. Apparently, the ‘dislike’ function is now a necessity to “express empathy” and offer support to friends in bleak moments. Zuckerberg explained his plans and said:

“I think people have asked about the Dislike button for many years,”

What [users] really want is the ability to express empathy. Not every moment is a good moment.”

“We’ve talked about for a while how can people express a wider range of emotions.”

According to Zuckerberg, it could be some time until the button is publicly revealed:

“It’s surprisingly complicated to make an interaction that will be simple.”

In all honestly, I think this is an incredibly naive move and open to flagrant abuse. At first glance, it appears fairly suitable as friends shouldn’t begin trolling each other and disliking their activities. However, Facebook is awash with business pages, groups and other content which could turn into a colossal mess. I wouldn’t be surprised to see work acquaintances behaving in a petty manner as “friends” on Facebook can refer to a whole host of various relationships. In reality, it’s impossible to maintain more than perhaps 20 close-friendships and people with over 1000 “friends” could be targeted by people on their contacts list.

Unfortunately, people turn to social media for communication and rely on it too much. Therefore, many add so-called, “friends” to appear more popular and successful to their peers. I believe the ‘dislike’ button will only create a cesspool of hatred in a similar vein to Reddit comment sections, then again I could be wrong.

Thank you Digitalspy for providing us with this information.

Facebook Reaches Over a Billion Users in One Day

Facebook has reached another unbelievable milestone and recorded over one billion users within a single day. The announcement was made via Mark Zuckerbeg’s official Facebook account and the data indicates 1 in 7 people throughout the world used Facebook on Monday. It’s impossible to quantify how momentous this achievement is and it’s clear that social media has become an integral part of daily life.

In theory, the statistics could be incorrect as it’s possible for individuals to access multiple accounts. Therefore, did 1 in 7 real people actually use Facebook in one day? Honestly, I can believe it and know of many people who are addicted to Facebook. Instead of waking up in the morning and cleaning their teeth, they check Facebook and reply to any notifications.

To celebrate this event, many advocates of Facebook have been sharing inspirational stories about meeting long-lost relatives, and how Facebook changed their lives. Over the years, some critics expected Facebook’s popularity to curtail as people became disinterested with the monotony of posting life-events online. However, the opposite has occurred, and many social media services including Facebook and Twitter are as influential as ever. In the future, it’s perfectly feasible for Facebook to reach 10 billion people accessing the site in a day as the current numbers could be greatly reduced by the older generation not using computers.

Do you use Facebook on a daily basis?

Twitter Personal Information Requests Double In UK

The UK Government has made more than double the amount of requests about citizen’s data on Twitter compared to six months ago. Twitter’s open ethos means the company publishes a “Transparency Report” about the number of requests they receive globally. The information requests between January and July dramatically increased from 116 to 299. As a result, the UK Government easily exceeds other European nations such as France which only made 139 requests.

Despite this, the USA still accounts for the majority of cases and increased by a mammoth 52%. The statistics show that the USA made 2,436 requests within a 6 month period. In second place was Japan with 425 requests followed by Turkey which made 412. According to Emma Carr, director of Big Brother Watch,

“Thanks to the transparency reports of internet companies, we know police are already accessing data with far greater frequency than many other countries,”

“If the public are to have any confidence that surveillance powers are being used proportionately, then we should not have to rely on private companies to publish this data.

“The government should proactively be publishing their own transparency reports, highlighting exactly how many requests are being made, how often they are refused and why,”

The Security Services received a great deal of criticism for infringing the privacy of citizens and abusing their power. The internet should maintain an open ideology but it’s difficult to find a balance between security and privacy. Should Governments have the right to monitor online communications and request personal data? Let us know your thoughts!

Thank you BBC for providing us with this information.

Facebook Research Reveals “LOL” is in Decline

Facebook has conducted a research paper on the communication behaviour of its users and language used to express laughter. The data was collected during the last week of May and analyzed any prominent string of characters matching laughter. Interestingly, “haha” was the most popular response with 51.4%, followed by an Emoji which users said 33.7% during the testing period. The term, “lol” has almost become obsolete and only attributes for 1.9% of discussions. This is quite surprising because “lol” was once the automatic response to convey laughter and I thought it was still used by a large demographic.It seems “lol” is predominately used by people in their late 20s who grew up with this terminology. The age chart includes figures for the median (dashed line), 25th and 75th percentiles. In direct contrast, Emojis are extremely popular with the under 25s and a new means to communicate online. Although, the research doesn’t specifically state how e-language type doesn’t always relate to comedy. Often, these terms are used as a verbal filler to continue a conversation or put the other participant at ease. From a linguistic standpoint, this is why so many people use wordings like “haha” after mundane sentences to denote a sense of familiarity.       As someone who grew up with virtually everyone using “lol”, this proves how language dramatically changes over time. While it makes me feel rather old, I will stick to my style of communication, as habits are very difficult to change.

Do you use any of these terms online?