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Reddit Has Had It With Trolls
December 2, 2016
Reddit has announced reforms designed to crack down on trolls and punish its most abusive community members. Reddit has identified hundreds of the most "toxic users," said CEO Steve Huffman, who founded the site 11 years ago while in college, and it has devised a plan to take action against them. Consequence for unacceptable behavior could range from warnings to timeouts to permanent bans.
Fact-Checking Social Content
December 1, 2016
There's an argument that it's not Facebook's job to fact-check the growing flood of fake news coming at us through its portal. After all, Facebook is just a set of pipes delivering something and is not responsible for the content. Nebulous others have that responsibility. However, Facebook is in the business of delivering content to a wide variety of people for a multitude of reasons.
Facebook Denies Ransomware Infiltration
November 29, 2016
Facebook has denied that its network and Messenger app were being used to spread ransomware to its users, contradicting the claims of a security firm. Two Check Point researchers last week reported they had discovered a new method for delivering malicious code to machines, which they dubbed "ImageGate." Threat actors had found a way to embed malicious code into an image, they said.
Friend Finder Data Breach Exposes 400M Swingers
November 19, 2016
Hackers have stolen information of more than 400 million users of Friend Finder Networks, which runs several adult dating and pornography websites, LeakedSource reported. This is Friend Finders' second breach in two years. Last year, hackers accessed 4 million accounts, exposing information on users' sexual preferences and extramarital affairs. More than 412 million users were compromised.
Twitter Cracks Down on Cyber Hate
November 17, 2016
Twitter on Tuesday suspended the account of Richard Spencer, one of the leading voices of the alt-right movement. It also expanded the use of several existing tools and changed policies to make it easier for users to fight back against abuse and harassment. Twitter suspended the accounts of Spencer, president of the National Policy Institute, a white nationalist think tank.
Post-Election Backlash Spurs Fake News Crackdown
November 15, 2016
Facebook and Google have amended their internal policies regarding advertising on fake news posts in response to increasing pressure from users and a growing controversy within the company. There are mounting concerns that the presidential election may have been influenced by unvetted fake news stories trending on the network during the past few weeks of the cycle.
Hype Video Broadcast App Has Niche Potential
November 14, 2016
The folks who brought Vine into the world last month introduced a new video broadcasting app called "Hype." Available for free from Intermedia Labs in the iTunes App Store, Hype not only allows users to broadcast live to the Internet, but also lets followers interact with their broadcasts in real time. At first blush, it might seem that Hype's offering closely mirrors Periscope and Facebook Live.
Russia May Kick Out LinkedIn
November 14, 2016
A LinkedIn block in Russia could be imminent, in light of last week's court ruling that the company broke a law requiring personal data on Russian citizens to be stored on servers within the country. Roskomnadzor, Russia's telecommunications and media authority, is waiting until it has the full text of the ruling before acting on it. Russia had 5 million registered LinkedIn members in Q1.
Twitter Shuffles Deck as COO Bain Steps Down
November 10, 2016
Twitter COO Adam Bain is leaving the company, according to a document the company filed with the Securities and Exchange Commission earlier this week. The news comes just weeks after Twitter's attempt to find a buyer failed. Bain ran the company's entire revenue business. CFO Anthony Noto will step into his vacated spot, meaning the company will need to find a new financial chief.
Facebook Share Price Falls Despite Blowout Quarter
November 4, 2016
Facebook on Wednesday reported a record Q3, beating analysts' expectations for the fourth straight quarter, but concerns among investors about increased expenditures and the company's future prospects drove down share prices. They closed Thursday at $119.95, down more than $7 from Wednesday's closing price of $127.17. Friday saw little movement, with a closing price of $120.75.
Twitter May Kick 300 Employees Out of Its Nest
October 25, 2016
Twitter appears close to slashing another 300 jobs, or about 8 percent of its workforce, as it works to recover from a failed round of acquisition talks with several suitors. The job cuts likely would be in sales. Twitter might be taking steps to make itself look more attractive to investors in preparation for its third-quarter earnings report later this week.
Fake News Taints Facebook's Trending Topics
October 15, 2016
Facebook's Trending Topics section recently has carried a number of trending stories that were either "indisputably fake" or "profoundly inaccurate," according to a report this week. The news feed six weeks ago ran a false story claiming Fox News had fired anchor Megyn Kelly for being a closet liberal who supported Hillary Clinton. Facebook removed the story, apologized, and promised to do better.
Snap Lines Up Bankers for Spring IPO
October 13, 2016
Snap this week hired Morgan Stanley and Goldman Sachs Group to manage its IPO, according to multiple reports. JPMorgan Chase, Deutsche Bank, Allen & Co., Barclays and Credit Suisse Group reportedly also will play a role. The IPO, expected as early as this spring, could result in a valuation of $25 billion or more. That would make Snap one of the highest-profile IPOs in years.
Surviving the Internet's Troll Apocalypse
September 29, 2016
Social media has sharpened humans' age-old appetite for public shaming, providing a stage and unlimited seating for an endless stream of immorality plays. Those who share even the simplest identifying details about themselves are vulnerable to being pushed into the glare of the spotlight. Anonymity frees many individuals of the consequences they might face offline for being abusive to others.
Germany Dope Slaps Facebook Over WhatsApp Data
September 28, 2016
Germany's data protection regulator on Tuesday ordered Facebook to stop collecting and storing data from WhatsApp users in the country. Facebook also must delete any data it already may have harvested from German WhatsApp users, according to Johannes Caspar, Hamburg Commissioner for Data Protection and Freedom of Information, who issued the order. Facebook purchased WhatsApp two years ago.
Tech Big Shots Rumored Lining Up for Twitter
September 26, 2016
Twitter shares remained strong Monday after Friday's sharp rise on reports that it was considering a possible sale, with Google parent Alphabet and Salesforce emerging as two of the most likely buyers. Twitter has faced enormous pressure, both internally and from investors, to consider a major shakeup. It has struggled to find ways to monetize its core 140-character microblogging property.
Social Networks Prep for Key Role in Presidential Debates
September 23, 2016
The Commission on Presidential Debates, which has run them since 1988, last week announced initiatives with social media, academics, and media organizations to engage the American public in substantive conversations before, during and after this year's debates. The first debate between presidential candidates Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump is scheduled for Monday at Hofstra University in New York.
Alphabet Think Tank Spearheads Online Counterterrorism Campaign
September 14, 2016
Alphabet think tank Jigsaw and startup Moonshot CVE last week demonstrated a new counterterrorism technology tool. The groups have been collaborating to steer social media users away from terrorist propaganda. They have developed sophisticated algorithms to target potential ISIS sympathizers with counter narratives when they search for certain terms online or through social media.
Facebook's Sandberg Expresses Regret Over Deletion of Historic Vietnam War Photo
September 12, 2016
COO Sheryl Sandberg has acknowledged that Facebook was wrong to delete posts showing an iconic image of a naked girl fleeing a napalm attack during the Vietnam war. The admission came in a letter to Norwegian Prime Minister Erna Solberg. Facebook last week repeatedly deleted the Pulitzer Prize-winning photo, "The Terror of War," on grounds that it violated its nudity restrictions.
Can Apple Beat Snapchat and Instagram at Their Video Game?
September 1, 2016
Snapchat and Instagram, look out. Apple has you in its sights. The company reportedly is working on a video-sharing app with features similar to those found in Snapchat and Instagram. The app, possibly slated for release in 2017, will allow users of Apple devices to record a video, apply filters and draw on it, then share it with others on a variety of social networks.
Nextdoor Tackles Racial Profiling at Street Level
August 30, 2016
Nextdoor last week rolled out to all 110,000 of its neighborhoods a new form-based process for making crime and safety reports. Implementation of the tool reduced incidents of racial profiling by 75 percent in areas where it was tested, according to CEO Nirav Tolia. Some Nextdoor members had begun using the site to post problematic messages targeting racial minorities.
US Government's Social Media Vetting Idea Draws Fire
August 26, 2016
A coalition headed by the Center for Democracy & Technology, the Internet Association, and the American Civil Liberties Union this week filed objections to a Department of Homeland Security proposal to collect social media information from visitors entering the United States. The proposal, published in June, calls for the addition of a request to the I-94W form required for aliens seeking entry.
Instagram Opens Snappy New Events Channel
August 26, 2016
Instagram last week announced a new Explore video channel that gives users an easier way to find and watch events. The channel aggregates videos from concerts, sporting events and more, and its personalization features flag events that might be a good match for users' individual interests. The new channel initially will be available only to U.S. users.
WhatsApp Shaves Off a Little More Privacy
August 25, 2016
WhatsApp on Thursday announced an update to its terms and privacy policy -- the first in four years. Among other things, the changes will affect the ways users can communicate with businesses while continuing to avoid third-party banner ads or spam messages, according to the company. However, WhatsApp will begin to share some personal details about its 1 billion users with Facebook.
Twitter Steps Up Counterterrorism Efforts
August 24, 2016
Twitter last week announced it had suspended 235,000 accounts since February for promoting terrorism, bringing to 360,000 the total number of suspensions since mid-2015. Daily suspensions have increased more than 80 percent since last year, spiking immediately after terrorist attacks. Twitter's response time for suspending reported accounts has decreased dramatically.
Adblock Plus Mouse Roars at Facebook
August 11, 2016
Adblock Plus on Thursday announced that the open source community had created a filter to neutralize Facebook's latest offensive in its ongoing battle with ad blockers. Any Adblock Plus users who want to implement the workaround will have to update their filterlists manually. "For this round of the cat-and-mouse contest, looks like the mouse won," said Adblock Plus spokesperson Ben Williams.
Facebook Aims to Scrub Clickbait From News Feed
August 9, 2016
Facebook last week announced a new move to fight clickbait in the News Feed: downranking links from Web domains and Facebook Pages that consistently post clickbait headlines. Those that stop posting clickbait no longer will be downranked. Users who post links that lead to a clickbait domain on their personal Facebook page also could have their posts downgraded, according to Facebook.
Is the Internet Turning Donald Trump - and You - Into an Idiot?
August 8, 2016
President Obama was viewed as the first techie presidential candidate when he launched his campaign, and he has been connected at the hip with Google for a large part of both terms. However, the brilliance his teams displayed with using analytics never seemed to carry over into running the country, which was disappointing. Most of the U.S. government still has systems that are decades out of date.
Instagram's Stories Inspired by Snapchat
August 3, 2016
Everyone has a story to tell, and Instagram on Tuesday announced Stories, a new way for users to tell theirs. Stories allows Instagram users to string together images and videos for a dynamic slide show presentation that can be shared with friends or the entire Instagram community. Rather than sharing content individually with others on the platform, a user can choose to share it through a story.
Facebook Nurtures Open Source Projects in Incubator
August 3, 2016
Facebook last week launched its Incubator on GitHub in order to distribute its own open source software projects. Facebook has open sourced almost 400 projects to date. New projects will be posted on Incubator pages to gauge community reaction and rate of adoption. Facebook plans to use in-house and actively develop all projects posted on the Incubator page.
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