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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.
Google+ Helps Prolific Photogs Tell Short Stories
May 21, 2014
Many shutterbugs are familiar with this bugaboo: They shoot scads of photos of a vacation or event, but they never find the time to put the pics in a form where they can be shared with friends and family. Google now has an app for that. It's called "Stories." Stories "can automatically weave your photos, videos and the places you visited into a beautiful travelogue," said Google's Anil Sabharwal.
Facebook Gets Nosier Than Ever
May 20, 2014
Facebook recently made it easier to pry into your friends' private affairs on the social network. Specifically, the Ask button -- which already has been available to those seeking more information about many other aspects of a given user's life -- now is an option when it comes to a user's relationship status as well. If users choose to answer, the information then is added to their profile.
Anonymous Philippines Harasses China
May 20, 2014
Anonymous Philippines, the Philippines branch of the hacktivist collective Anonymous, defaced more than 200 Chinese websites over a territorial dispute between the two countries. The group announced the move on its Facebook page, offering a detailed list of all websites it had infiltrated. The hacking spree stems from the dustup over Scarborough Shoal, also known as "Huangyan Island."
Russian Rocket, Satellite Don't Quite Make It
May 19, 2014
A space-bound satellite designed to provide Internet access to remote regions in Russia and neighboring states was destroyed when its ride blew apart mid-flight. The Proton-M rocket, affixed with a European-built Express AM4R satellite, seemed to be doing just fine until nine minutes into the flight, when it exploded some 93 miles above Earth. The exact cause of the crash apparently was not known.
Twitter Introduces an 'I Can't Hear You' Button
May 13, 2014
Twitter has launched a new feature that gives people the power to silence fellow tweeters without having to unfollow them. The feature is designed to give users more control over what pops up in their daily feeds. If someone mutes a follower, the muted user's tweets and retweets won't show up in the muter's feed, and notifications about that user's activity will not appear.
Samsung Invests $2B in Biopharmaceuticals
May 12, 2014
Samsung is investing at least $2 billion in... biopharmaceuticals? With this foray into the drug industry, Samsung hopes to become a major player in biotechnology, which is expected to be a booming industry in coming years. A key component of this play is so-called biosimilars -- cheap versions of brand-name biotechnology drugs that no longer are protected by patents.
Nintendo Won't Include Gay Characters in Sim Game
May 08, 2014
Nintendo won't include same-sex romantic activities in English editions of an upcoming life simulator game. The company has faced pressure, including a fan-fueled social media campaign, to let users have gay relationships in Tomodachi Life, a game whose characters are modeled after real people. The company never meant for the game to be a "social commentary," Nintendo of America said.
Facebook's $2B Baby Oculus Denies Rival's Rights Claims
May 06, 2014
A simmering conflict between Oculus, a virtual reality startup Facebook bought last month for $2 billion, and ZeniMax Media began to boil Monday. ZeniMax las week claimed one of its former employees, John Carmack, improperly shared some of its tech with Oculus for use in its Rift virtual reality headset, which is touted as having the power to bring VR to the masses.
Amazon Rolls Its Shopping Carts Onto Twitter's Turf
May 05, 2014
Amazon is now allowing consumers to add items to their shopping cart simply by sending a reply on Twitter. Users who connect their accounts on the two services can add a product they see in a Twitter link to their Amazon shopping cart simply by replying to the tweet with the hashtag #AmazonCart -- or #AmazonBasket in the UK. The feature is available only in the U.S. and the UK at present.
Pinterest's Guided Search Finds Needles in Haystacks
April 29, 2014
Pinterest last week announced Guided Search, a new search engine for navigating its particular type of content -- user-provided pins, which now number around 30 billion, and an array of around 750 million boards. Guided Search is designed to help users discover pins they were not necessarily looking for, but that might interest them. For now, the feature is available only on mobile.
Google+ Daddy Vic Gundotra Bails
April 25, 2014
Vic Gundotra, who moved Google into the social media world, first with the ill-fated Buzz and then with Google+, on Thursday announced his departure from the company. "Now is the time for a new journey," he wrote, fittingly, on Google+. The announcement was laced with the usual praise for colleagues accompanying such statements. It was met with an equally platitude-laden response.
Facebook Dips a Toe Into the News Biz
April 24, 2014
Facebook on Thursday announced FB Newswire, a site aggregating content from posts users put up on their pages that it will offer as a resource to journalists. The content will be curated by Irish firm Storyful, which News Corp., at the heart of a cellphone hacking scandal in the UK, purchased in December. Journalists and media organizations "have become an integral part of Facebook."

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