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College Student's Facebook Folly Could Cost $80K
March 03, 2014
A student at Boston College may have cost her family $80,000 -- and herself a trip to Europe. The student, Dana Snay, posted a Facebook status update boasting of her father's victory in an age discrimination case. The father, 69, was the headmaster of a school for years, but his contract was not renewed in 2010. This prompted a lawsuit, which was settled for $80,000 in late 2011.
Windows XP to Live On in China
February 25, 2014
A handful of Chinese Web companies are banding together to provide user support -- system upgrades, security services and the like -- to domestic users after Microsoft turns out the lights on Windows XP. Microsoft announced that it's going to punt on Windows XP in early April. Alas, an estimated 25-plus percent of China's computers run on the operating system. But fear not!
Spanish Woman's Twitter Musings Lead to Terror-Related Conviction
February 24, 2014
Twenty-one-year-old Spaniard Alba González Camacho was convicted of inciting terrorism thanks to some ill-conceived tweets about a far-left terrorist organization. She became the first person in Spain to be convicted of such charges for Twitter posts. González Camacho implored the terror group "Grapo" to murder politicians. Grapo was responsible for 80-some killings, mostly in the 1970s and 80s.
How Facebook Got Snookered in WhatsApp Deal
February 24, 2014
It's not often I see news that surprises me, but Facebook paying nearly $20 billion for an instant messaging app had me scratching my head. People have been paying too much for properties for some time, but this is crazy money for a class of product that stopped being trendy nearly a decade ago. I've come up with three reasons, none of which are mutually exclusive, as to how Facebook was tricked.
Facebook Wins WhatsApp Gold
February 20, 2014
Facebook on Wednesday announced the acquisition of WhatsApp in a $19 billion deal geared toward increasing its global connectivity. The company paid $4 billion in cash, $12 billion worth of Facebook shares and an additional $3 billion in restricted stock to acquire WhatsApp. Facebook was drawn to the company's ability not only to connect mobile users worldwide, but also to sustain rapid growth.
LinkedIn Beats the Bushes for Quality Content
February 19, 2014
LinkedIn is making a fresh push into the original content market by opening up its publishing platform. The company until now allowed only selected "influencers" to use the service's long-form publishing tools to craft posts offering professional advice, insights and inspiration to other users. Such influencers have tended to be well-known figures, including President Barack Obama.
Candy Crush Maker Wants Wall St. to Pour a Little Sugar on It
February 18, 2014
King Digital Entertainment, creator of the blockbuster social game Candy Crush Saga, is planning to go public. The company filed its initial public offering paperwork with the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission this week. The company's revenue soared by more than tenfold in 2013, rising to $1.88 billion from $164 million the previous year, the filing reveals.
Recognizing and Defending Against Creeping Violence
February 17, 2014
I spoke last week with a woman who built a house in Belize. Apparently it was burglarized several times. After she moved away, her husband mysteriously died there -- he had stayed to protect the house before they sold it. Then I got a visit from a friend who'd retired to Brazil but badly wants to come home. He recently had his gold chain ripped from his neck while he was on a private beach.
New Gender Identity Options Let Facebook Users Be Themselves
February 14, 2014
Facebook on Thursday added custom gender options for users to identify themselves other than "male" and "female." Users now can identify themselves as bigender, androgynous, cisgender, or in one of more than 50 ways. The move initially applies only to the company's 159 million monthly users in the U.S. Facebook plans to provide the additional options to users outside the U.S. as well.
Google's Long European Antitrust Nightmare May Be Over
February 06, 2014
It looks like Google and European regulators have, at long last, reached a settlement to allay antitrust concerns. Google has struck a deal with EC competition regulators, which now awaits formal approval. Under the terms laid out, Google would have to swallow its stiffest-ever antitrust penalties, but it would nonetheless avoid a finding of wrongdoing and a potentially massive fine.
Facebook at 10: All Mobile Systems Go
February 03, 2014
This week in 2004, Harvard undergrads became the first group to use Facebook -- the social network launched at the college. Fast-forward a decade, and the company is a technology mammoth, with 1.23 billion users and profit of $1.5 billion for 2013. Facebook is by most accounts a gargantuan success, and it is putting the pieces in place for its next decade and beyond.
Departures, Arrivals, Surveillance: Canada Used Airport WiFi Snooparound
January 31, 2014
Canadian authorities used information culled from a free Internet service at a major national airport to track the wireless devices of scores of travelers. The Communications Security Establishment Canada, or CESC, received information from the unnamed airport's free WiFi system and then used that data to track travelers whose devices later popped up at WiFi locations in other parts of the country.
On Paper, Facebook's a Different Story
January 31, 2014
Facebook on Thursday announced next week's launch of Paper, a free app for iOS that combines user and curated content into a personalized news medium. Users can create stories as well as receive stories based on their interests and organized into sections. The sections cover everything from sports, world news and animal pictures to business, photography and food.
Slipshod Security, Human Frailty Made @N Ripe for Plucking
January 30, 2014
GoDaddy reportedly has admitted one of its employees handed out customer information to a scammer who carried out a scheme to obtain a prime Twitter account. Naoki Hiroshima, a developer at Echofon, this week detailed how the scammer was able to force him to hand over his prime Twitter account, @N. The scammer used social engineering to accomplish his goal.
SEA Hackers Muck Up CNN Sites
January 24, 2014
CNN on Thursday became the latest media outlet to fall victim to hacking by the Syrian Electronic Army. The SEA hacked into and defaced various CNN social media accounts and blogs, the network's Catherine Shoichet reported. "Tonight, the #SEA decided to retaliate against #CNN's viciously lying reporting aimed at prolonging the suffering in #Syria," the SEA tweeted Thursday.
English Soccer Player Lobs One at Twitter
January 22, 2014
Stan Collymore, a retired soccer player from England, accused Twitter of sitting on its hands when it comes to combating abusive messages -- of which he has received many. Collymore, now a broadcaster, became a troll target after he suggested Liverpool forward Luis Suarez faked a foul -- "diving," in soccer parlance -- in a game played last Saturday.
Wife of Indian Minister Dead After Exposing Husband on Twitter
January 20, 2014
The wife of Shashi Tharoor, an Indian minister and member of parliament, was found dead in a luxury hotel in New Delhi days after exposing her husband's alleged infidelity via Twitter. The cause of death is not known, but a forensic expert reportedly dubbed it a "sudden, unnatural death." Private messages between Tharoor and a Pakistani journalist popped up on Tharoor's Twitter account Wednesday.
Facebook Gets More Topical
January 17, 2014
Facebook on Thursday announced Trending, a new product designed to surface relevant and timely conversations occurring on the network. Displayed to the right of the user's News Feed, Trending will feature a list of topics that have recently spiked in popularity, personalized according to subjects of interest to the user. It will include topics that are trending across Facebook in general, as well.
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.
Tech and the Art of Text
January 15, 2014
In 1999, Chris Baty was looking for inspiration to write a novel. He got together with some friends in coffee shops and started writing, with rewards of coffee for those who reached their word counts. It was the birth of National Novel Writing Month, which the following year would become NaNoWriMo, a Web-based community of writers who commit to writing a 50,000-word novel in 30 days.
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.

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