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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.
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.
Twitter Struggles to Stay Aloft on Wall Street
February 06, 2014
Twitter on Wednesday announced Q4 2013 revenue of $243 million, up 116 percent year over year, and a 30 percent YoY increase in average monthly active users. Wall Street reacted by sending its share prices down 21 percent, and analysts promptly downgraded the company. That could be because Twitter's forecast was less than sanguine. It expects next quarter's revenue to decline.
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.
Aussie Prime Minister's YouTube Video Blocked as 'Spam'
February 03, 2014
A YouTube video posted by Australian Prime Minister Tony Abbott was blocked after what national media described as "mischievous" spam reports. The video, "Delivering on our Promises," was replaced with a boilerplate YouTube message saying that the video had been removed because of "a violation of YouTube's policy against spam, scams and commercially deceptive content."
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.
Twitter Cards Users Get to Play With a Full Analytics Deck
January 27, 2014
Twitter has launched analytics for Twitter Cards to help users determine how well their media-rich tweets are performing on the network. Twitter Cards allow developers, brands and publishers to add photos, videos, deep links, content previews, and other rich media to their tweets. The analytics service is intended to help Cards users gain deeper insights into how their content is spreading.
India's Tech Tax Complaints Deepen
January 23, 2014
Perhaps foreshadowing a sequel to their much-publicized tiff with Nokia, tax authorities in India are claiming that Infosys and HP each owe oodles in unpaid taxes. India is irked about deduction claims made for software and manpower that was, as The Register reported, "developed and deployed on clients' premises." If such deductions relate to clients' premises, they are disqualified.
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.
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.
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.
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.

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