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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.
Snapchat Deletes $3B Facebook Bid
November 14, 2013
The furor around popular technology startups shows no sign of letting up. The latest big-money rumor centers on Snapchat, the company behind the eponymous 2-year-old smartphone messaging app that has yet to earn a cent. Facebook reportedly made an all-cash $3 billion offer, but Snapchat turned it down as it was considering a potentially more lucrative deal.
Twitter Leaves Your Timelines Up to You
November 14, 2013
Twitter announced changes to its timeline feature on Tuesday, unveiling a feature that allows users to create custom data streams within TweetDeck. The custom timelines are designed to help users curate a stream of tweets centered around specific hashtags, events, people or any other piece of information a Twitter user deems noteworthy. The timelines are public and on their own page.
FB Jockeys for Inside Track in Wireless Industry
November 12, 2013
Facebook has reportedly joined the GSM Association, making plain its heightened interest in mobile and wireless. GSMA is a group made up of mobile operators and other technology companies interested in standardizing and promoting the GSM cellular system. Nearly 800 of the world's mobile operators are members, as are more than 200 companies in the broader mobile ecosystem.
Is LinkedIn Being Sued for Doing Just What It Says It Will Do?
November 08, 2013
A class action asserting that LinkedIn harvests and sells users' email addresses was brought in September 2013. More than a month after the lawsuit was filed, LinkedIn still uses the same approach to collect email addresses and personal information -- that is, it encourages users to "sync your contacts. Stay in touch. Bring your email, contacts, and calendar in one place."
Google Turns Hangouts Into Office Space
November 05, 2013
Google on Monday introduced a new social media feature called Helpouts, a real-time channel that's designed to let businesses and individuals give and get help over live video. Powered by Google's Hangouts video chat platform, Helpouts can be used to offer instruction in a wide range of areas, from fixing a garage door to removing a computer virus to speaking conversational French.
Teen Dropout Rate Spooks Facebook Investors
October 31, 2013
Facebook on Wednesday reported a rise in third-quarter profit and growth in mobile ad revenue. It posted total revenue of $2.02 billion, a 60 percent jump from the $1.26 billion it reported in the year-ago quarter. Advertising accounted for $1.8 billion of that revenue. Facebook now has 1.19 billion active monthly users, an 18 percent jump from the same period a year ago.
Google+ Gets a Makeover
October 31, 2013
Google has introduced a slew of changes that will make it easier to enhance and share digital media on Google+. It unveiled the new features at a Tuesday event in San Francisco, where it also revealed that Google+ now has 540 million active monthly users who upload 1.5 billion photos each week. Several of the Google+ updates are aimed toward helping users work with those photos.
Social Media's Winning Educational Ways
October 30, 2013
Social media is changing the way teachers teach and students learn. When students from the Montclair Kimberley Academy visited Ireland a few years ago, they blogged on Wordpress, posted photos on Flickr, uploaded videos to YouTube, and tweeted. That social media engagement contributed to their education in new and profound ways, said their teacher, William Stites.
Instagram Gives Users Sneak Preview of Ads
October 26, 2013
Instagram on Thursday gave users a taste of what its upcoming sponsored photos and videos will look like. Instagram has assured users that the posts will feel natural and not compromise the network's aesthetics. The photos and videos will appear in the same format as an ordinary Instagram post, with a few modifications. The brand name will appear in the top left corner of the photo or video.
LinkedIn Brings Users' Profiles to the In-Box
October 24, 2013
LinkedIn on Wednesday announced three new mobile apps designed to increase users' productivity and mobile reach. First and foremost, LinkedIn Intro is a brand-new mobile app for iPhone Mail that gives users a preview of the credentials of people who send them email from popular email accounts. The app embeds users' LinkedIn profiles into the emails they send so the user sees the sender's image and credentials.
Facebook Tells Content Producers Which Stories to Share
October 23, 2013
Facebook has introduced Stories to Share, a tool to help media outlets -- from online publications to TV broadcasters to music startups -- maximize value. Appearing in the media panel of a publisher's Facebook page, Stories to Share makes recommendations based on the number of shares a post has received. When an article gets a certain number of Likes, it will appear in the list.
Facebook: Decapitation Vids Are OK if You Oppose Decapitation
October 22, 2013
Facebook has reversed a ban that it implemented earlier this year forbidding the posting of graphic and gruesome content such as videos of decapitations and other atrocities. The company apparently made this about-face some time ago, but it only became widely noticed when the BBC reported on it this week after being alerted by a reader over a page with a clip of a masked man killing a woman.
Huawei: No One Bothers Us for Data
October 18, 2013
Chinese telecommunications giant Huawei, long suspected of being in cahoots with Beijing authorities, said Friday that no government has ever asked it to divulge information about citizens. Translation: Anyone concerned about government meddling should be more concerned with Washington's connections to U.S. companies than Beijing's connection to Huawei. It called for global standards on security.
Facebook Gives Teens a Longer Leash
October 18, 2013
Facebook on Thursday made two seemingly contradictory changes to its settings for teen users. On one hand, it narrowed the audience that can see teens' posts by default; at the same time, however, it made it possible for the first time for teens to open up their posts to the public at large. Until now, the default audience for posts made by kids aged 13 through 17 was "friends of friends."
Facebook to Set Up Shop in Israel's Tech Hub
October 14, 2013
Facebook on Monday announced it was acquiring Onavo, a 3-year-old company that has developed a data compression technology for smartphones, among other things. Israel-based Onavo will give Facebook a foothold in a market known for its advanced tech talent base. While Facebook is clearly interested in global expansion, the driving focus behind this acquisition is most likely Onavo's technologies.
Google's New Rules: You're in the Ad Game Now
October 12, 2013
Google has announced changes to its Terms of Service that will take effect Nov. 13. In short, users' profile names and photos will be served up together with content such as reviews they share, ads they +1, comments they post, or who and what they follow. Only people users choose to share content with will see their profile names and photos. Users under 18 will not be affected by the ToS change.
You Can Run but You Can't Hide on Facebook
October 11, 2013
Facebook announced Thursday that it will finish killing off the privacy setting that previously let users opt out of searches. Members of the social network used to have a privacy setting called "Who can look up your Timeline by name?" that allowed their profile to be hidden from searches within the site, even if another user typed in their name exactly.
Comcast Recruits Twitter to Connect Viewers With Shows
October 10, 2013
Comcast is teaming up with Twitter to launch a new feature that will allow Twitter users to tune into live TV shows via the social network, making the site a go-to spot for television conversations and viewing. Dubbed "See It," the feature unveiled Wednesday allows Twitter users to control their set-top viewing with the click of a button marked "See It" that will be displayed on the tweet about the show.

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