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Twitter Tagging: It's Not the Characters, It's the Mileage
March 28, 2014
Twitter has bolstered its photo-sharing capabilities with the addition of two new features: the option to add up to four photos per tweet, and a function allowing users to tag up to 10 other people in a photo. Both features are designed to make photos more social. When a user shares multiple photos in a tweet, the images will automatically create a collage.
Microsoft Launches Public Cloud in China
March 27, 2014
Microsoft is now offering general availability of its Azure cloud service in China, becoming the first multinational company to provide public cloud services in the Middle Kingdom. Microsoft is partnering with 21Vianet, a Chinese data center services provider, a marriage that likely helped appease Beijing officials. Until now, all major cloud providers in China have been Chinese.
China Seeks Answers About NSA/Huawei Report
March 25, 2014
China's government is asking the U.S. to explain itself -- and to knock it off with all the cyberespionage -- following reports that the National Security Agency has had its way with Chinese telecom giant Huawei. The NSA reportedly penetrated Huawei servers to monitor communications among company executives, and to gain access to the dealings of Huawei customers.
Twitter Bags Encryption Program
March 25, 2014
Twitter rose to notoriety by being the place where people spilled the minutiae of their lives, but there are times when its users don't want everyone online to see what they're thinking. For those occasions, there's direct messaging. When direct messages are sent by one tweeter to another, there's a certain expectation of privacy there -- even though little is done to protect those messages.
Nuzzel Aims to Calm the Chatter
March 24, 2014
Nuzzel, a service that helps users pick out the most popular items from their social media feeds, launched to the public last week. The aggregating network made its debut in 2012, but until last week, it required an invitation to join. Now anyone can use the service, which is spearheaded by Friendster founder Jonathan Abrams.
NSA Lifts Middle Finger to Middle Kingdom
March 24, 2014
Oh, there have been some good National Security Agency revelations. Like the one about the NSA tapping German Chancellor Angela Merkel's phone. Or the one about the NSA planting agents inside World of Warcraft, or impersonating Facebook in a global quest to spread malware. Delicious as all those stories are, however, last weekend's NSA bombshell may take the cake.
Twitter Offers Trip Down 8-Year-Long Memory Lane
March 21, 2014
It's been eight years since Twitter first began to impose its 140-character regime on the social world, and to celebrate, the company this week launched a new, nostalgically minded tool. At First-Tweets.com, Twitter users now can fondly reminisce about -- and, of course, tweet and share -- what they said the first time they ever took to the twittersphere.
Chinese State Media Prompts Amazon to Close Store
March 21, 2014
China's state media seems to have the ear of U.S. tech companies. Amazon's China unit closed down a third-party store after state media criticized Amazon for selling fake cosmetics. Amazon's China unit took the accusations seriously, it said, promising to "strengthen the process of scrutiny." The fake-product accusations were floated on China Central Television.
Chinese E-Commerce Giant Plans Stateside IPO
March 17, 2014
Gargantuan Chinese e-commerce outfit Alibaba soon will begin the process of launching an initial public offering on the New York Stock Exchange. Early forecasts suggest that the IPO could raise $15 billion. The announcement seemingly ends speculation about whether Alibaba would be listed on the NYSE or in Hong Kong. Alibaba apparently found some of the SEHK's rules particularly unpalatable.
Zuckerberg Bends the President's Ear
March 14, 2014
CEO Mark Zuckerberg posted on Facebook that he called President Obama to complain about NSA surveillance. "The Internet is our shared space," he wrote. Most people "work together to create this secure environment and make our shared space even better for the world. When our engineers work tirelessly to improve security, we imagine we're protecting against criminals, not our own government."
NSA Deploys Botnet Armies, Spoofs Facebook
March 13, 2014
The latest revelations about NSA surveillance indicate the agency could infect millons of computers with malware, and has spoofed Facebook servers to capture traffic from targets. "It is not surprising that the NSA would create and deploy malware," said CDT's Harley Geiger. "What is surprising is the evidence the NSA is prepared to do so on a scale that could affect millions of computers."
Report: US Tech Titans Making Bank From Offshore US Treasury Securities
March 13, 2014
Apple, Microsoft, Google and Cisco have accumulated enormous amounts of money via interest payments from the U.S. government, according to a report from the UK's Bureau of Investigative Journalism. The companies together hold $163 billion in U.S. government debt. Of that $163 billion, $124 billion is in U.S. Treasury securities, much of which is held offshore.
Judge Freezes Assets of Mt. Gox Honcho
March 12, 2014
A federal judge in Chicago froze the U.S. assets of Mark Karpeles, the chief of the now-defunct Bitcoin exchange Mt. Gox, and allowed possible victims to demand evidence surrounding what some believe is massive fraud. Tokyo-based Mt. Gox, once the largest Bitcoin exchange in the world, last month went belly up because of what Karpeles has claimed was a massive hacking theft.
Turkey PM, Prez Go Round and Round About Social Media
March 10, 2014
Turkey's prime minister and president are spewing conflicting talking points on the nation's stance toward social media. It turns out the one who's getting nailed on social media is the one who wants more restrictions. Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan last week vowed to restrict social media after this month's local elections, but President Abdullah Gul said that was "out of the question."
Privacy Groups Bring WhatsApp Worries to FTC's Door
March 07, 2014
The consumer privacy backlash stirred up by Facebook's recent deal to purchase WhatsApp for $19 billion is now in full swing. The Electronic Privacy Information Center and the Center for Digital Democracy jointly filed a complaint about the deal with the FTC. Following the announcement of the agreement, both companies offered reassurances that WhatsApp user data would be safe from Facebook.
Facebook Floats Idea of Buying Drone Maker
March 04, 2014
Facebook reportedly is in talks to buy drone maker Titan Aerospace to bolster Internet.org, the project that aims to provide Internet connectivity everywhere in the world. Facebook, which is one of the main backers of Internet.org, may buy Titan for $60 million. Titan builds near-orbital solar-powered drones that can fly for five years before needing to land.
Samsung Phone Captures Golden Moment at the Oscars
March 03, 2014
Several members of Hollywood's elite walked out of LA's Dolby Theatre clutching golden statues on Sunday, but it might have been Samsung that landed the largest victory at the event. Early in the show, host Ellen DeGeneres stopped to capture the moment by using a Samsung phone to take a selfie while on stage. She later repeated the gimmick from the audience -- surrounded by a bunch of stars.
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.

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