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'Buy' Button Could Turn Facebook Into Impulse-Shopping-Ville
July 18, 2014
Facebook is testing a function that would allow users to buy products without leaving the site or app. Small and medium-sized businesses in the U.S. that are taking part in the trial can add the Buy button to ads displayed in users' News Feeds or in posts on their pages. Users will see the Buy button in relevant ads whether they're on the Facebook website or using their mobile device.
Comcast Rep Tears Into Fleeing Customer 'Like a Pit Bull on a Pork Chop'
July 15, 2014
Comcast on Tuesday was scrambling to repair the damage after a phone representative's rude treatment of a couple trying to disconnect their service went viral, thanks to a recording posted on the Web. The couple -- former Engadget editor Ryan Block, now at AOL, and his wife, TV host and writer Veronica Belmont -- called Comcast over the weekend and asked to cancel their service over the phone.
The Social Media Fraud
July 07, 2014
I spent much of last week talking about Facebook's infamous study of nearly a million customers and the company's attempts to make half of those customers happier and the other half more depressed. Setting aside how insanely stupid it was for Facebook to do this is the fact that with social media, isn't social the real problem? Could the entire segment be a fraud?
Emotional Backlash Unlikely to Unsettle Facebook
July 02, 2014
It's unlikely that Facebook's psych experiment that turned some 700,000 of its users into involuntary lab rats will hurt its brand or advertising revenue. However, Facebook's research on the emotional impact of content in the News Feeds of its members has unleashed a torrent of criticism. Facebook has faced this kind of outrage before, though, and the results have almost always been the same.
Google Gives Orkut Users Eviction Notice
July 01, 2014
Google on Monday announced that it is bidding farewell to Orkut, its first attempt at a social network, which saw fair international success before Facebook took over the scene. Launched in 2004, Orkut provided a place for users to display profiles, hang out and connect with others. The site gained popularity outside the U.S., particularly in Brazil and India.
Manipulative User Research Earns Facebook a Shiner
June 30, 2014
Once again, Facebook is embroiled in a controversy over privacy. This time, hackles have been raised by publication of a study for which the company manipulated the News Feeds of nearly 700,000 subscribers. The study concluded that negative messages on social networks make people sad, and positive ones make them happy -- and those feelings can spread through a social network to third parties.
Facebook, NY DA Lock Horns Over User Data Warrants
June 27, 2014
Facebook, not known for respecting users' privacy, is battling a New York County district attorney's demand for all information pertaining to the accounts of several hundred of its subscribers. DA Cyrus Vance's office issued 381 secret warrants for the information in July of 2013 in a hunt for retired police officers and firefighters wrongfully claiming Social Security disability benefits.
Wall Street Goes Gaga Over GoPro
June 27, 2014
Action camera maker GoPro, which went public Thursday, saw its share prices skyrocket, closing at $31.34, 30 percent over its asking price of $24. That was a rare positive note in an otherwise down market, but it has raised questions. Is the price justified, considering that GoPro has only one product? Can the company meet the challenges of going public? What about the competition?
Path Adds Another Avenue for Mobile Gabfest
June 23, 2014
Path has hived off its mobile-only messaging service as a standalone app named "Talk," it announced Friday. It also ended limits on the number of friends users can communicate with, and announced its purchase of place messaging pioneer TalkTo as it sets itself for growth. The Talk app has a new feature, Ambient Status, that shows users' current status at a glance.
SnappyTV Could Amp Up Twitter Amplify
June 19, 2014
Twitter just announced a new addition to its social-TV arsenal: SnappyTV, an online service that allows content owners to clip, edit and share video from live broadcasts in near-real time. "As we continue to invest in video, it's important for us to provide tools that make it easy for TV broadcasters, businesses, and event producers to share high-quality videos," said Twitter's Baljeet Singh.
Facebook's Slingshot Draws a Bead on Snapchat
June 18, 2014
I'll show you mine if you'll show me yours. That's the idea behind a new photo-sharing app Facebook released Tuesday for Android and iOS devices. Slingshot lets you send an image or video to a group of friends. However, they can't view what you've sent until they first send you something. After that, they can view what you sent them and either respond to it or swipe it into oblivion.
SC to Mull Free Speech vs. 'True Threats' on Social Media
June 16, 2014
Are threats to people made on social media websites protected under the First Amendment? The U.S. Supreme Court has agreed to consider that issue in the case of Anthony D. Elonis v. United States. Elonis already has served jail time for threats he made on his Facebook page to his wife, an FBI agent and former coworkers. It's jail time his lawyers say their client shouldn't have served.
Instagram Adds Subtlety to Its Editing Repertoire
June 09, 2014
Instagram, Facebook's popular free mobile app for editing and sharing photos, has never had a reputation for subtlety. It's image-editing tools and filters have had more in common with a palette knife than a fine sable paint brush. That's changed, though, with the latest version of the app. Version 6.0 of Instagram, which has an estimated 200 million users, was released last week.
Iranians Caught Cyber Snooping on High-Value US Targets
May 29, 2014
A cyberespionage campaign with links to Iran for at least three years has been targeting U.S. military and congressional personnel, journalists and diplomats, as well as U.S. and Israeli defense contractors and members of the U.S./Israel lobby, according to a report released Thursday by iSight Partners. The spy ring used more than a dozen phony identities on online social networks.
Zappos Gives Old-School Job Recruitment the Boot
May 28, 2014
Zappos is ditching conventional job posts to recruit its new hires, instead launching Zappos Insiders, an internal social network designed to improve the process. Job recruitment can be a vicious cycle on both ends, according to Zappos HR Manager Michael Bailen. Companies need to look for new hires who are passionate and professional, but they are under pressure to complete the process quickly.
Chinese Media: Cisco Is Playing on US Cyberspy Team
May 28, 2014
Cisco has been accused of being in bed with U.S. cyberspying efforts, according to a Chinese state media outlet. Cisco "carries on intimately" with U.S. spying apparatuses, the outlet claims, and plays "a disgraceful role" in efforts to prop up U.S. power over the Web. Cisco denied the accusations. Beijing definitely seems to have taken umbrage with last week's U.S. indictments for cyberespionage.
Twitter Poised for Growth Spurt in Asia
May 28, 2014
Twitter is positioned for some nice growth in the coming months and years, according to a report released Tuesday by eMarketer. However, that growth largely will be occurring in emerging countries. What makes that trajectory problematic in the view of some investors is this: It was Twitter's U.S. user base that accounted for close to three-quarters of the company's total ad revenue in 2013.
Iranian Court Wants a Word With Zuckerberg
May 28, 2014
Facebook cofounder and CEO Mark Zuckerberg has been summoned by an Iranian court over privacy-violation concerns, according to news reports on Tuesday. The court in question, located in Iran's southern province of Fars, reportedly also opened a case against Facebook-owned social networking services WhatsApp and Instagram and ordered that they be blocked.
China Calls for Increased Testing of IT Products
May 23, 2014
The ever-testy cyberstandoff between the U.S. and China got a new twist when Beijing announced that it would start "cybersecurity vetting of major IT products and services" used for national security and public interests. The vetting is designed to prevent suppliers from using their products to control, disrupt or shut down clients' systems, or from using the systems to scoop up information.
Facebook Wants to Eavesdrop on Your Entertainment
May 23, 2014
Facebook is rolling out a new feature that encourages users to share their entertainment experiences on mobile devices. The new audio identifier uses the gadget's microphone to listen in on any content playing. When posting a status update, a Facebook user will see an audio icon on the screen, searching to identify a song, TV show or movie. If it finds a match, the user can choose to share it.
Pinterest Tacks On New Marketing Tool
May 22, 2014
Pinterest on Tuesday revealed that it was rolling out an analytics tool for marketers designed to offer them more information on which content does well. The new Business Insights API lets businesses track which of their boards, pins and products are attracting the most engaged users, as well as which ones aren't garnering clicks. Devs also will be able to use the API to track user activity.
Iran Releases Fans Detained Over Music Video
May 22, 2014
Iran has released at least some of the people who appeared in a music video for a song by American pop artist Pharrell Williams. The video, set to the Williams tune "Happy," showed people dancing on rooftops of the capital of Tehran. It is not clear if all of the people arrested for making the Tehran-based video have been released or if they later will be put on trial.

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