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Social Networks Prep for Key Role in Presidential Debates
September 23, 2016
The Commission on Presidential Debates, which has run them since 1988, last week announced initiatives with social media, academics, and media organizations to engage the American public in substantive conversations before, during and after this year's debates. The first debate between presidential candidates Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump is scheduled for Monday at Hofstra University in New York.
Alphabet Think Tank Spearheads Online Counterterrorism Campaign
September 14, 2016
Alphabet think tank Jigsaw and startup Moonshot CVE last week demonstrated a new counterterrorism technology tool. The groups have been collaborating to steer social media users away from terrorist propaganda. They have developed sophisticated algorithms to target potential ISIS sympathizers with counter narratives when they search for certain terms online or through social media.
Facebook's Sandberg Expresses Regret Over Deletion of Historic Vietnam War Photo
September 12, 2016
COO Sheryl Sandberg has acknowledged that Facebook was wrong to delete posts showing an iconic image of a naked girl fleeing a napalm attack during the Vietnam war. The admission came in a letter to Norwegian Prime Minister Erna Solberg. Facebook last week repeatedly deleted the Pulitzer Prize-winning photo, "The Terror of War," on grounds that it violated its nudity restrictions.
Can Apple Beat Snapchat and Instagram at Their Video Game?
September 1, 2016
Snapchat and Instagram, look out. Apple has you in its sights. The company reportedly is working on a video-sharing app with features similar to those found in Snapchat and Instagram. The app, possibly slated for release in 2017, will allow users of Apple devices to record a video, apply filters and draw on it, then share it with others on a variety of social networks.
Nextdoor Tackles Racial Profiling at Street Level
August 30, 2016
Nextdoor last week rolled out to all 110,000 of its neighborhoods a new form-based process for making crime and safety reports. Implementation of the tool reduced incidents of racial profiling by 75 percent in areas where it was tested, according to CEO Nirav Tolia. Some Nextdoor members had begun using the site to post problematic messages targeting racial minorities.
US Government's Social Media Vetting Idea Draws Fire
August 26, 2016
A coalition headed by the Center for Democracy & Technology, the Internet Association, and the American Civil Liberties Union this week filed objections to a Department of Homeland Security proposal to collect social media information from visitors entering the United States. The proposal, published in June, calls for the addition of a request to the I-94W form required for aliens seeking entry.
Instagram Opens Snappy New Events Channel
August 26, 2016
Instagram last week announced a new Explore video channel that gives users an easier way to find and watch events. The channel aggregates videos from concerts, sporting events and more, and its personalization features flag events that might be a good match for users' individual interests. The new channel initially will be available only to U.S. users.
WhatsApp Shaves Off a Little More Privacy
August 25, 2016
WhatsApp on Thursday announced an update to its terms and privacy policy -- the first in four years. Among other things, the changes will affect the ways users can communicate with businesses while continuing to avoid third-party banner ads or spam messages, according to the company. However, WhatsApp will begin to share some personal details about its 1 billion users with Facebook.
Twitter Steps Up Counterterrorism Efforts
August 24, 2016
Twitter last week announced it had suspended 235,000 accounts since February for promoting terrorism, bringing to 360,000 the total number of suspensions since mid-2015. Daily suspensions have increased more than 80 percent since last year, spiking immediately after terrorist attacks. Twitter's response time for suspending reported accounts has decreased dramatically.
Adblock Plus Mouse Roars at Facebook
August 11, 2016
Adblock Plus on Thursday announced that the open source community had created a filter to neutralize Facebook's latest offensive in its ongoing battle with ad blockers. Any Adblock Plus users who want to implement the workaround will have to update their filterlists manually. "For this round of the cat-and-mouse contest, looks like the mouse won," said Adblock Plus spokesperson Ben Williams.
Facebook Aims to Scrub Clickbait From News Feed
August 9, 2016
Facebook last week announced a new move to fight clickbait in the News Feed: downranking links from Web domains and Facebook Pages that consistently post clickbait headlines. Those that stop posting clickbait no longer will be downranked. Users who post links that lead to a clickbait domain on their personal Facebook page also could have their posts downgraded, according to Facebook.
Is the Internet Turning Donald Trump - and You - Into an Idiot?
August 8, 2016
President Obama was viewed as the first techie presidential candidate when he launched his campaign, and he has been connected at the hip with Google for a large part of both terms. However, the brilliance his teams displayed with using analytics never seemed to carry over into running the country, which was disappointing. Most of the U.S. government still has systems that are decades out of date.
Instagram's Stories Inspired by Snapchat
August 3, 2016
Everyone has a story to tell, and Instagram on Tuesday announced Stories, a new way for users to tell theirs. Stories allows Instagram users to string together images and videos for a dynamic slide show presentation that can be shared with friends or the entire Instagram community. Rather than sharing content individually with others on the platform, a user can choose to share it through a story.
Facebook Nurtures Open Source Projects in Incubator
August 3, 2016
Facebook last week launched its Incubator on GitHub in order to distribute its own open source software projects. Facebook has open sourced almost 400 projects to date. New projects will be posted on Incubator pages to gauge community reaction and rate of adoption. Facebook plans to use in-house and actively develop all projects posted on the Incubator page.
Aquila Test Flight Carries Facebook's Internet Ambitions Aloft
July 26, 2016
Facebook has carried out the first full-scale test flight of Aquila, a high-altitude solar-powered unmanned aircraft designed to provide Internet access to remote regions. The company had flown a one-fifth scale version of the airplane for several months. The full-sized craft has the wingspan of a Boeing 737 -- 46 yards -- but reportedly weighs less than 900 pounds fully laden.
LinkedIn Spiffs Up Sales Navigator
July 22, 2016
LinkedIn this week announced three updates to Sales Navigator. One is deeper integration with Salesforce CRM data, allowing leads and accounts to be imported into Sales Navigator automatically. More than 20 LinkedIn customers already are using this feature. The second is direct integration of Sales Navigator with Gmail. The third is a new recommendation tab on the Sales Navigator mobile apps.
Tinder Social Feeds More-the-Merrier Impulses
July 22, 2016
Tinder has announced the launch of Tinder Social, a new platform that helps users plan group nights out. The new platform will help users plan double dates or larger group events, creating new opportunities for people to make connections, the company said. Tinder took the platform for a test drive in Australia and found that users wanted a better way to add friends to their night out in real time.
Facebook Messenger Counter Rolls Over to 1 Billion
July 21, 2016
Facebook on Wednesday announced that the number of people using its Messenger app every month has surpassed 1 billion -- a major milestone for what is arguably the most important tool in the company's growth strategy going forward. A growing number of people are using Messenger to communicate with friends, send money, plan events, play games and tell jokes, the company said.
Twitter Lets Anyone and Everyone Apply for a Blue Badge
July 20, 2016
Twitter on Tuesday announced it has opened up the application process for verified account status, which previously was reserved for celebrities and other high-profile users. Any user may now file an online application to have an account verified. Twitter account verification, denoted by a blue badge icon, flags individuals and organizations as authentic, the company explained.
Facebook's OpenCellular Offers DIY Wireless Access for Remote Regions
July 14, 2016
Facebook last week introduced OpenCellular, an inexpensive, open source wireless access platform. Telecom operators, entrepreneurs, OEMs and researchers will be able to build, implement, deploy and operate wireless infrastructures to serve people living in remote areas. The platform is available in various options, ranging from a network in a box to an access point.
Music Industry Boos Google's Antipiracy Performance
July 13, 2016
Google on Wednesday released an update of its online antipiracy efforts. YouTube has generated more than $2 billion to content copyright holders by monetizing user-uploaded content through its Content ID rights management system, Google said, adding that more than 90 percent of all Content ID claims result in monetization. YouTube also paid out more than $3 billion to the music industry.
Facebook Lets Messenger Conversations Go Dark
July 13, 2016
Facebook last week said it would begin testing long anticipated end-to-end encryption capabilities in its Messenger app, enabling users to have secret conversations. The new level of security means that a message will be visible only to the sender and the recipient -- Facebook won't even be able to read it. Users can set a timer to limit the amount of time that a message remains visible.
US Pummels ISIS in Online Combat
July 11, 2016
The U.S. government's campaign to counter ISIS' social media presence is bearing fruit. More anti-ISIS content than pro-ISIS content is appearing on the Net by a ratio of six to one. Twitter traffic for accounts affiliated with the Islamic State is down by 45 percent compared to two years ago, and the average number of followers for an ISIS account has plunged to 300 from 1,500 in 2014.
Twitter to Carry Live Convention Coverage on the Web
July 11, 2016
Twitter will stream CBS News' live coverage of the Republication and Democratic National Conventions, the companies announced Monday. Twitter and CBS previously partnered on one of each party's presidential primary debates. In both instances, CBS' coverage included real-time metrics and curated tweets, and questions Twitter users submitted during the broadcasts were put to the candidates.
Facebook Live Video of Shooting Aftermath Triggers Anger, Anguish, Questions
July 8, 2016
Americans have expressed outrage at Wednesday's police shooting of Philando Castile, an African-American man, which happened in St. Paul, Minnesota, during a traffic stop for a broken tail light. Castile was shot in front of his girlfriend Diamond Reynolds and their 4-year-old daughter, who were in the car. Reynolds used Facebook Live to stream video of the aftermath of the shooting.
Pichai Account Trespassers Claim Their Hacking Heart's in the Right Place
June 29, 2016
Hackers late Sunday broke into CEO Sundar Pichai's Quora account and through it accessed his Twitter followers, according to reports. The group taking credit for the breach, OurMine Security, previously hit other prominent high-tech figures, including Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg, Spotify CEO Daniel Elk, Amazon CTO Werner Vogels and former Twitter CEO Dick Costolo.
Social's Turning Point
June 24, 2016
Microsoft's acquisition of LinkedIn for more than $26 billion has created quite a stir -- at least in my world. The deal can boast a number of superlatives: the largest sale of a consumer Internet company in history; the largest sale of an enterprise software/cloud company in history; the third-largest sale of a technology company since 2001; and the largest Microsoft acquisition ever.
C-SPAN Resorts to Social Media to Cover Gun Control Sit-In
June 23, 2016
C-SPAN cameras in the U.S. House of Representatives were shut off Wednesday morning during a sit-in over gun control legislation, but the cable network soon began broadcasting social media streams from legislators taking part in the event. House Democrats, led by Rep. John Lewis, D-Ga., had refused to stop their protest, which demanded a vote on gun control.
Twitter Applies '140' Rule to Video Seconds
June 22, 2016
Twitter on Tuesday launched enhanced video services that will allow users to post longer videos -- up to 140 seconds. It also announced a new platform for celebrities and public figures to share their stories. Because sports, news, music and other videos increasingly are the type of content that goes viral on Twitter, the company decided to expand content parameters.
Instagram Blows Past Competition to 500M Mark
June 22, 2016
Instagram on Tuesday said it had passed a milestone, with its community having grown to more than 500 million members -- more than 300 million of them using the site on a daily basis. The Instagram community has become more global, with more than 80 percent of Instagrammers living outside the United States. Instagram's user base has more than doubled in two years.
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Is fake news a major problem?
Yes -- people don't know which news to trust.
No -- it's very easy to spot.
Yes -- it's propaganda warfare, and the U.S. is losing.
No -- people have always believed what suited them.
Yes -- but only temporarily, as people are catching on.
No -- much of it actually isn't fake.