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Facebook Adds Training Wheels for the Humor-Impaired
August 19, 2014
Facebook has begun labeling some of the satirical news articles that appear in users' news feeds with a tag designed to prevent readers from mistaking the content for genuine news. The social network's "[Satire]" tag is apparently part of an experiment that's been under way for a month or so. The rules for its application don't seem to be entirely clear.
Twitter Experiment Elicits Howls of Disapproval
August 18, 2014
Twitter's latest tinkering with its members' timelines appears to be ticking off more than a few tweeters. The experiment opens timelines to tweets members' followers have tagged as favorites, as well as to some popular tweets gleaned from their followers' timelines. "Changing the rules of engagement for users without notice is very Facebookian of you Twitter," tweeted Peter Singer.
Twitter to Review Toothless Policies on Cyberharrassment
August 15, 2014
A deluge of hateful tweets after the suicide of actor Robin Williams earlier this week forced his daughter Zelda to publicly quit Twitter and Instagram. "We will not tolerate abuse of this nature on Twitter," Del Harvey, the company's vice president of trust and safety, said in a prepared statement. Twitter has suspended "a number of accounts related to this issue for violating our rules."
Vevo Music Videos Get Pinned
August 14, 2014
Pinterest said Wednesday that it has signed a deal that will allow users to create boards that include their favorite Vevo music videos. They now will be able to share, search for and watch Vevo videos on Pinterest, as well as pin videos to Pinterest straight from Vevo.com or the Vevo iOS app. The move is an indication that Pinterest is serious about providing a broader social platform.
Yelping Back: Using Yelp to Turn Customers Into Fans
August 12, 2014
After writing a positive review of Roy's Hawaiian Grill on Yelp, Matt Siltala received a "thank you" from the company. It's that kind of active involvement with Yelp that Avalaunch Media President Siltala recommends to his clients. "I love Roy's Hawaiian Grill because it's done that for me," Siltala said. "It makes you love the brand even more and go back more and spend more."
Facebook Staring at Fresh Privacy Class Action
August 01, 2014
Facebook is set for another legal battle over privacy, with a fresh class-action lawsuit fired up against the company. The legal action is the brainchild of Austrian law student Max Schrems, a noted campaigner against Facebook's treatment of user privacy. Schrems called on adult Facebook users around the world to join his suit after he filed a complaint in Vienna's commercial court.
The Social Side of Big Data
July 31, 2014
The power of Big Data technology is being successfully applied to understanding such complex unknowns as consumer sentiment and even intent. That understanding then vastly improves how businesses manage their customers' experiences -- increasingly in real time. Fortunately, today's consumers are quite willing to share their intents and sentiments via social media.
Twitter Claims Legions of Uncounted 'Users'
July 30, 2014
Twitter posted healthy revenue for the second quarter -- US$312 million, up 124 percent year-over-year. Its profit? Not there yet. However, even though the company reported a net loss of $145 million, investors are likely to overlook the lack of profit for some time. Financials aside, what Twitter really wants everyone to know is that it is big -- as in average monthly user big.
OkCupid's Confessed Hijinks Get Thumbs-Down
July 29, 2014
OkCupid has admitted carrying out psychological experiments on its users. Because OkCupid doesn't really know what it's doing, it needs to experiment to see what works and what doesn't, according to cofounder Christian Rudder. Every Internet company needs to test different things with users, and website visitors are subjected to "hundreds of experiments," he argued. "That's how websites work."
Bubblews Will Give You a Penny for Your Thoughts
July 29, 2014
Bubblews, a social media platform that offers to pay users for their posts, last week moved out of its testing phase, which began in 2012. It emerged with a new look designed to attract users who might be dissatisfied with other social media offerings. Bubblews is attempting to build a self-sustaining ecosystem in which users who create engaging posts are paid for their work.
Do Facebook Searches to Show Disability Fraud Violate the Constitution?
July 28, 2014
Looking for evidence of disability fraud, the district attorney for Manhattan last year obtained 381 search warrants and served them on Facebook as part of a long-term investigation into a massive scheme. The search warrants were "sealed," which means they were not made public. Ultimately, 106 former New York police and firefighters were arrested.
Facebook Rolls in Mobile Ad Dough
July 24, 2014
Facebook chalked up $2.68 billion in ad revenue in Q2, up 67 percent year over year, and mobile ads accounted for about 62 percent of that haul, totaling $1.66 billion. "The ability of Facebook to move into the mobile ad space and to monetize it successfully was heavily questioned last year," said Andreas Scherer, managing partner at Salto Partners.
Facebook Saves the Day From Slipping Away
July 24, 2014
Facebook has launched a feature that allows users to save content from their News Feed to read or watch later. Called "Save," it is designed help users who may be inundated by links to articles, music clips and videos to separate the wheat from the chaff. Users who see something intriguing now can choose the Save option in a dropdown menu in the upper right-hand corner of a post.
Investors Wise to Secret's Tantalizing Promise
July 22, 2014
Secret last week announced that a recent round of funding, to the tune of $25 million, would help it expand its social networking reach. Since its launch about six months ago, Secret has provided a platform for users to post anonymous notes on topics ranging from the ridiculous to the sublime. Though its draw is anonymity, Secret points users to posts by people in their circle of friends.
Attentive.ly's Social Marketing Taps Customer Interests
July 21, 2014
Attentive.ly recently released its application on the Eloqua platform, digging a deeper foothold for itself in the CRM enterprise space. Attentive.ly provides social marketing automation functionality in the form of a plug-and-play toolset that works with a CRM overlay. Using its tools, companies can organize customers in specific groups, listen to their online conversations, and send personalized marketing messages.
'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.
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?
Shame on Facebook
July 03, 2014
Do you remember those snotty little kids who didn't seem to understand the difference between right and wrong? You know, the little brats who thought the rules didn't apply to them. The kids who thought they could get away with whatever they wanted -- rules were for somebody else. Well, that seems to be a fitting description of Facebook, as it repeatedly breaks customer trust.
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.
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.

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