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Facebook Pumps Up Internet.org
July 29, 2015
Facebook on Monday announced it was scaling up Internet.org, creating a partner portal that makes it easier for mobile operators to offer its free basic services in new countries. Those basic services are bringing new users onto mobile networks more than 50 percent faster, and more than half of them pay for data and Internet access within 30 days of signing up, Facebook said.
Social Networks Funneling More News
July 15, 2015
News consumption on Facebook and Twitter has increased significantly in the last two years, according to a report from the Pew Research Center and the Knight Foundation. Sixty-three percent of Twitter and Facebook members surveyed said they got news from those social networks. For Twitter, that's an 11 point increase from 2013, when 52 percent of its members said they got news there.
Haters Force Leadership Change at Reddit
July 13, 2015
The haters have won at Reddit, forcing the ouster of interim CEO Ellen Pao and her replacement by cofounder Steve Huffman. Board member Sam Altman, who led a $50 million investment round in the firm, on Saturday announced Pao's resignation and Huffman's appointment, lashing out at the campaign against Pao. It was "sickening" to see some of the things Redditors wrote about Pao, he said.
Facebook Gives News Feed a Tune-Up
July 10, 2015
Facebook on Thursday slammed the hood, wiped its hands, and introduced the latest set of upgrades to its News Feed engine. The all-new 2015 Facebook News Feed gives users more control over the content they see when they cruise the world's largest social network. The new tools allow users to set their top friends, and content from those accounts will be given preference over others.
Raging Redditors Roar for Pao's Resignation
July 7, 2015
More than 208,000 people have signed a Change.org petition calling on Reddit interim CEO Ellen Pao to step down. Many Redditers fear Pao will run Reddit into the ground, the petition claims, noting that alternative sites have sprung up in recent months and received vast amounts of traffic. The immediate cause of the unrest was last week's dismissal of Victoria Taylor, Reddit's director of talent.
AT&T, Verizon and WhatsApp Flunk Privacy
June 22, 2015
An Electronic Frontier Foundation survey published last week gave AT&T, Verizon and WhatsApp the thumbs down when it comes to protecting user privacy. Google and Twitter also got a black eye. The five were among 24 companies the EFF evaluated on criteria worked out over the past four years. WhatsApp, now owned by Facebook, also took criticism in the EFF's fifth annual report, "Who Has Your Back?"
Costolo Out in Twitter's Latest Round of Musical Chairs
June 12, 2015
Twitter is changing CEOs for the fourth time in four years. Incumbent Dick Costolo is stepping down July 1 and company cofounder Jack Dorsey will take over as interim CEO while the board searches, both internally and externally, for a suitable candidate to hold the post. Costolo will remain on Twitter's board, and Dorsey will continue to serve as CEO of Square, which he also cofounded.
QuizUp Branches Out Into Social Territory
May 21, 2015
Popular trivia game QuizUp on Thursday issued an update that gives players access to a broader array of social networking tools. Users' exchanges had been spilling out of the trivia app and into forums, so developer Plain Vanilla Games decided it was time to build out the game's social features. QuizUp now aims to connect users through their shared interests.
Reddit Flaps Gums at Harassers
May 15, 2015
Reddit has announced a new policy prohibiting personal attacks. "We are updating how we apply existing policies to address new types of harassment on Reddit," said company spokesperson Heather Wilson. However, Reddit did not indicate what action it would take against harassers. Instead, it promised a thorough investigation by the company and a response based on the nature of the harassment.
Facebook's Instant Articles Raise Troubling Questions
May 13, 2015
Facebook on Tuesday introduced Instant Articles, a feature that lets publishers place their stories directly on its site. Nine major media outlets have signed on so far. The content is optimized for mobile devices, and Instant Articles currently is available only on iOS. Publishers get 100 percent of the revenue from ads they place with their content.
Users Choose to Wear Blinders, Facebook Suggests
May 8, 2015
Facebook, in collaboration with the University of Michigan, conducted a study on the diversity of news and opinions posted by members of the network, in an effort to determine whether its manipulation of News Feed algorithms could be responsible for creating an echo chamber of viewpoints. Users themselves are to blame if all they're exposed to is preaching to the choir, the study found.
Twitter's Timid Anti-Trolling Tweaks
May 7, 2015
Twitter recently amended its rules in yet another attempt to crack down on the abuses perpetuated by online trolls, but the changes may do little to protect victims. Its latest move was an extension of its ban on threats of violence against others or the promotion of violence against others. The company decided to let its support team lock down abusive accounts for specific periods of time.
Facebook Responds to Critics by Unlocking Internet.org
May 4, 2015
Net neutrality and Facebook's Internet.org initiative can and must coexist, insists CEO Mark Zuckerberg. Facebook on Monday announced that it will expand Internet.org to ensure that it doesn't conflict with the principles of a free and open Internet. CEO Mark Zuckerberg responded to criticisms of Internet.org and outlined plans to make the free service even more open.
Twitter Takes It on the Chin
April 30, 2015
Twitter's stock took a hit when investors got an early look at first quarter earnings, leaked just ahead of closing time on Tuesday, ahead of the company's Wednesday announcement. Shares plummeted about 18 percent from Tuesday's opening price of $51.84. The slide continued on Wednesday, with the loss of a couple more percentage points, and the share price hovered near that level through Thursday.
YouTube Marks 10 Years of Nondisruptive Revolution
April 23, 2015
YouTube on Thursday celebrated its first full decade in business. It was 10 years ago to the day that cofounder Jawed Karim uploaded the site's first video. It was a humble beginning: a 19-second clip of elephants, with Karim declaring that the pachyderms have "really, really long trunks." In fairness, it may have been in keeping with other notable firsts in technology.
LinkedIn Links Up With Lynda
April 9, 2015
LinkedIn on Thursday announced its intent to complete the acquisition of online business school Lynda.com by the close of 2015's second quarter. The deal, about 52 percent cash and 48 percent stock, is valued at around $1.5 billion. The terms are subject to adjustments, however, and there was still plenty of time left to make them when the agreement was announced.
Facebook Invites App Devs to Join in Messenger Family Planning
March 27, 2015
Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg this week told an audience at the F8 conference for Facebook developers that the company's future lies in its family of apps and in giving the network's members the ability to share what they want, where they want. "We're building this family so we can offer unique, world-class experiences for all of the ways that people want to share," Zuckerberg said.
Twitter's Periscope Allows Live Stream Replays
March 26, 2015
Live streaming from mobile devices has been having a rebirth of sorts with the proliferation of 4G, the continued rise of smart devices and the quickening pace of the demise of feature phones. Twitter has been seeking its own rebirth, and it's wagering that its renaissance will be influenced largely by Periscope, a new live-streaming app that just surfaced.
Facebook Aims to Turn Social Media Into 'the' Media
March 24, 2015
Facebook reportedly has been talking with multiple news organizations about hosting their content on its network, rather than linking to their websites. No deal has been finalized, but The New York Times, BuzzFeed and National Geographic are among its first likely partners. They may be interested in negotiating with Facebook now because they understand change is inevitable.
New Facebook Marketing Tool Chews Up Data, Spits It Out
March 17, 2015
Facebook has launched Topic Data, a new service that reveals to advertisers the subjects users discuss, the products they use, and the activities they follow. Marketers will be able to sift through data compilations of what users say about events, brands, subjects and activities. Data on all of Facebook's 1.3 billion users will be used -- anonymized and aggregated to protect their identities.
Facebook Talks Tough About Online Harassment
March 17, 2015
Facebook on Monday issued a new set of community standards, including provisions designed to clamp down on revenge porn, bullying, threats and other forms of online harassment. Facebook will remove content that appears to purposefully target private individuals with the intent of degrading or shaming them, or that threatens or promotes sexual violence or exploitation.
Twitter Tries, Tries Again to Reduce Abuse
March 13, 2015
Twitter this week updated its rules to combat online abuse and revenge porn, in the wake of continuing outrage among netizens. The most significant change is a new statement that users may not post intimate photos or videos that were taken or distributed without the subject's consent. Sounds good, but like last month's update, it's more bark than bite.
Private, Public Teamwork Needed to Fight ISIS on Twitter: Report
March 9, 2015
Social media firms should team up with the U.S. government to work out appropriate responses to extremism on their sites, recommends a Brookings Institution report. J.M. Berger and Jonathon Morgan last year launched a study to define and describe the population of ISIS supporters on Twitter. They found that ISIS ramped up efforts on Twitter following the suspension of many supporters' accounts.
Nextdoor Snags $110M for Community-Building Efforts
March 5, 2015
Nextdoor on Wednesday announced it has received $110 million in venture capital to grow its neighborhood-based network of residents and vendors. Nextdoor plans to use the money to develop additional ways for members to benefit from the recommendations shared on the social network. "People don't know their neighbors -- but we are changing that," said spokesperson Jennifer Burke.

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Is Microsoft starting to get cool again?
Yes - thanks to Satya Nadella's vision.
Yes - but only in certain areas, like AI and VR.
Maybe - it doesn't seem as stodgy as before.
No - it never was.