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Facebook to Share User Data With Russian Search Engine
January 15, 2014
Facebook will start peddling user data to Yandex, Russia's top search engine, as part of a deal between the two tech giants. Yandex will get full access to public data from users in Russia, Turkey, Ukraine, Belarus and Kazakhstan. Yandex will use the data in question -- which includes posts and comments that have not been classified as "private" -- to enhance its search results.
Facebook May Branch Into Deeper Discussions
January 14, 2014
Facebook on Monday announced its acquisition of Branch, which it plans to use in a new unit or product called "Facebook Conversations." Branch's model mimics an Internet forum in that the users create "branches" to discuss topics. Links are shared and friends are invited to participate. Participants can branch off further to discuss related topics.
Google Gives Gmail More Pluses
January 10, 2014
Google on Thursday started rolling out changes designed to further integrate its Gmail and Google+ platforms. The updates make it easier for Google+ users to contact other users without knowing their email addresses. Going forward, when users with both a Gmail and a Google+ account begin typing a contact's name into an email draft, a list of Google+ contacts will appear along with other contacts.
Snapchat Manages to Cough Up Brief Apology
January 09, 2014
Snapchat on Thursday finally apologized for last month's data breach. A website dubbed "SnapchatDB.info," which went live on New Year's Eve, published the user names and phone numbers of 4.6 million Snapchat accounts. The company now allows users to opt out of the Find Friends functionality that harvested the leaked data. "We are sorry for any problems this issue may have caused you," it said.
Facebook, Zuckerberg Unload 70 Million Shares
December 20, 2013
Facebook and CEO Mark Zuckerberg are selling close to 70 million shares of Class A common stock, which carries one vote per share, in advance of the company's being listed on the S&P 500 index. Facebook will use its proceeds from the sale of 27 million shares for working capital and other general corporate purposes, it said, but it does not yet have plans for any specific uses for the money.
Portrait of the Artist as a Social Media Fan
December 18, 2013
Artists are using social media to market their work, communicate their ideas and even create new forms. Kiran Umapathy's Headphones Project, for example, documents what randomly selected headphone-wearing strangers are listening to with a story, photo and link to the song. This project -- like many other art projects these days -- lends itself well to social media sharing.
Facebook's Donate Button Spurs Social Giving
December 17, 2013
Facebook has announced a new feature that allows users to donate money to nonprofit organizations through the site, a move designed to help raise both funds and global awareness for the charitable causes. Facebook was inspired to launch the donation feature following last month's successful partnership with the International Federation of Red Cross.
Twitter Nearby Could Trigger Major Marketing Opportunities
December 17, 2013
Twitter reportedly is testing Nearby, a new timeline feature for its mobile app that displays tweets from people who are geographically close. Both the users viewing the tweets and those tweeting must have their location tagging option enabled for the feature to work. The Nearby service will display tweets from people within a certain range, whether the user is following them or not.
Twitter's Block Backtrack Scores Points
December 13, 2013
Finding itself at the center of a social media firestorm, Twitter on Friday acted quickly to placate users who were concerned about changes it made to its blocking functionality Thursday afternoon. Twitter effectively turned the block button into a mute function, allowing a blocked user to follow, retweet, favorite, and publicly share tweets of the user who had imposed the block.
Instagram Hitches Wagon to Private Messaging
December 12, 2013
Instagram has dipped its toes into private-photo and video messaging waters. Instagram Direct allows the community's more than 150 million monthly active users to send photos and videos within a group. The process of sending a private message works just like posting a photo or video publicly: Take a new photo or upload an existing one, slap on a filter and effects, and add a caption and tags.
How to Use Twitter's New Crisis Alerts
December 12, 2013
Local government emergency managers have been trying for years to figure out ways to alert members of the public about crises and incidents, like natural disasters, that could affect them. Limited success has been achieved with auto-dialer implementation, which is dependent on phone lines' capacity. Twitter thinks it may have the best answer, though.
Snapchat Wants to Make Ousted Cofounder Shut Up
December 10, 2013
Attorneys for Snapchat executives Evan Spiegel and Robert Murphy have applied for a restraining order and order to show cause against cofounder Reggie Brown, who is currently in litigation with the company over his ouster. The restraining order would keep Brown from publicizing confidential details about the ongoing case, in which he alleges he was unfairly removed from the company he cofounded.
Snapchat Deletes $3B Facebook Bid
November 14, 2013
The furor around popular technology startups shows no sign of letting up. The latest big-money rumor centers on Snapchat, the company behind the eponymous 2-year-old smartphone messaging app that has yet to earn a cent. Facebook reportedly made an all-cash $3 billion offer, but Snapchat turned it down as it was considering a potentially more lucrative deal.
Twitter Leaves Your Timelines Up to You
November 14, 2013
Twitter announced changes to its timeline feature on Tuesday, unveiling a feature that allows users to create custom data streams within TweetDeck. The custom timelines are designed to help users curate a stream of tweets centered around specific hashtags, events, people or any other piece of information a Twitter user deems noteworthy. The timelines are public and on their own page.
How to Refresh a Twitter Feed Automatically
November 14, 2013
One of the great things about Twitter is the ability to keep abreast of what's happening. Whether it's local news, influential tweeters or buddies, you can quickly get a snapshot of what's going on that matters to you. I've written before about how to get breaking news on Twitter, but the approach I discussed there requires the user's intervention.
FB Jockeys for Inside Track in Wireless Industry
November 12, 2013
Facebook has reportedly joined the GSM Association, making plain its heightened interest in mobile and wireless. GSMA is a group made up of mobile operators and other technology companies interested in standardizing and promoting the GSM cellular system. Nearly 800 of the world's mobile operators are members, as are more than 200 companies in the broader mobile ecosystem.
Is LinkedIn Being Sued for Doing Just What It Says It Will Do?
November 08, 2013
A class action asserting that LinkedIn harvests and sells users' email addresses was brought in September 2013. More than a month after the lawsuit was filed, LinkedIn still uses the same approach to collect email addresses and personal information -- that is, it encourages users to "sync your contacts. Stay in touch. Bring your email, contacts, and calendar in one place."
How to Use Social Media Dashboards
November 07, 2013
Social media are becoming an ever-increasing part of marketing. If you've been finding one-user, consumer-oriented clients for Twitter and Facebook cumbersome for your business, it may well be time to move over to a social media management tool like Hootsuite. These kinds of tools allow you to manage more than one social network; schedule posts like messages and tweets; and more.
Google Turns Hangouts Into Office Space
November 05, 2013
Google on Monday introduced a new social media feature called Helpouts, a real-time channel that's designed to let businesses and individuals give and get help over live video. Powered by Google's Hangouts video chat platform, Helpouts can be used to offer instruction in a wide range of areas, from fixing a garage door to removing a computer virus to speaking conversational French.
Teen Dropout Rate Spooks Facebook Investors
October 31, 2013
Facebook on Wednesday reported a rise in third-quarter profit and growth in mobile ad revenue. It posted total revenue of $2.02 billion, a 60 percent jump from the $1.26 billion it reported in the year-ago quarter. Advertising accounted for $1.8 billion of that revenue. Facebook now has 1.19 billion active monthly users, an 18 percent jump from the same period a year ago.

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