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Facebook's Ad Library API Draws Fire
May 1, 2019
Facebook has come under fire for its Ad Library API, which lets users perform customized keyword searches of all active and inactive ads related to politics or issues of national importance stored there. Released in beta last summer, the archive became available to everyone in March, following pressure from Mozilla ahead of the EU's upcoming parliamentary elections.
What Social Can Learn From CRM
April 25, 2019
There's been a chorus of calls from all corners for social media regulation -- from pundits like me to the halls of Congress and even from Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg himself. The social media community seems tied up in knots over what to do about the abuse happening within their communities, but if you look elsewhere you might see signs of solutions that could solve some fundamental problems.
Snapchat Refreshes App to Revive Prospects
April 9, 2019
New augmented reality features, an SDK for Stories, and a games platform highlighted Snapchat's first developer's conference. AR features announced at Snap's first Partner Summit: solving math problems by pointing the app's camera at them; AR effects for monuments, pets and people; buying what the camera sees through Amazon; and identifying songs through Shazam.
Zuckerberg Tries, Tries Again
April 6, 2019
Mark Zuckerberg's most recent effort to change the conversation about Facebook seems like just another attempt at self-justification. In a recent op-ed, he places the onus squarely on the shoulders of government to regulate how social media works. "I believe we need new regulation in four areas: harmful content, election integrity, privacy and data portability," Zuckerberg wrote.
What Lies Beneath Facebook's Sudden Embrace of Government Regulation
April 5, 2019
Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg called for greater government oversight and even regulation of the Internet in an op-ed piece published last weekend. Zuckerberg, who famously built the social network by playing by his own rules, said it was time for government and regulators around the world to step up and help rein in the Internet. The main point was to regulate what he called "harmful content."
Report: YouTube Too Fixated on Engagement to Curb Toxic Content
April 3, 2019
YouTube executives have been unable or unwilling to rein in toxic content because it could reduce engagement on their platform, according to a report that maintained the company has spent years chasing one goal: engagement. The problem YouTube now faces is how to create an effective mechanism to handle problematic content, observed Cayce Myers, an assistant professor at Virginia Tech.
How to Rein In Powerful Companies Without Ruining the US Tech Industry
March 18, 2019
Elizabeth Warren's desire to curtail Facebook, Amazon and other companies that have misused their massive power -- or may do so in the future -- is well founded. The U.S. appears to be trending toward civil war, and I'd place social media in general on the wrong side of this trend. However, we need a plan that will cure the problem without killing the patient.
Can Facebook Solve Its Worsening Privacy Problem?
March 14, 2019
The good news is that of the many troubles Facebook has, privacy seems to be front and center for both CEO Mark Zuckerberg and COO Sheryl Sandberg. The question is, will the actions they take to address the company's privacy issues be enough? If not, this is the kind of problem that can and will cause long-term damage to the Facebook brand. Its leaders need to come up with an immediate fix.
New Chrome Extension Aims to Make the Web Less Toxic
March 14, 2019
Jigsaw has released Tune, an experimental Chrome extension that lets users hide comments its algorithms identify as toxic. It is available for Mac, Windows, Linux and the Chrome OS. Tune builds on the same machine learning models that power Jigsaw's Perspective API to rate the toxicity of comments. Tune users can adjust the volume of comments from zero to anything goes.
Facebook's 2FA 'Security' Practices Violate User Privacy
March 5, 2019
Facebook has undermined privacy on its network by exposing mobile phone numbers provided to secure user accounts through two-factor authentication. That's because anyone can use the numbers to look up a user's account. One doesn't even have to be a Facebook member to do so. Moreover, there's no way to opt out of the setting, although it can be limited to "friends" only.
Apple's Plans for Subscription News Service Irk Publishers
February 14, 2019
Apple plans to launch a subscription news service at an event next month. Described as "Netflix for news," it would let customers access an unlimited amount of content from publishers for a single monthly fee. It will be based on a reworked version of Texture, the media subscription service Apple purchased last year. The monthly fee for the service is expected to be about $10.
LinkedIn Launches Streaming Video Service as Private Beta
February 13, 2019
LinkedIn has launched an invitation-only private beta of LinkedIn Live, a streaming video feature. The service initially will be available in the United States. After the invitation-only period, LinkedIn will post a contact form on its website for others who want to participate in the beta. The company will broadcast live content from conferences, product announcements, Q&As, and other events.
Zuckerberg's Take on Facebook's History Raises Eyebrows
February 6, 2019
Musing about Facebook's first 15 years, CEO Mark Zuckerberg positioned it as a David confronting a Goliath composed of hierarchical institutions. Facebook gives the masses a voice, he wrote. It brings communities together and provides businesses with low-cost outreach. Progress has been made in addressing the new social and ethical issues raised, including protection of privacy, he said.
Apple Banishes Facebook Data Reaper From iPhones
January 31, 2019
Apple has blocked a Facebook app that paid users for total access to all network data. The controversy over use of the Facebook Research app erupted earlier this week, with a report that revealed Facebook was paying users $20 a month for root network access to their phones. Facebook was on-boarding users of the program, which included teenagers, through Apple's Enterprise system.
Is Facebook's Five-Point Fix-It Plan Enough?
January 22, 2019
Many faithful Facebook users had the rug pulled out from under them during the last year. Both Sheryl Sandberg and Mark Zuckerberg appeared before the U.S. Congress and spilled the beans on how the company had betrayed its members. I don't think the company's leaders realized that Facebook was doing the wrong thing until recently. Now they have a five-point fix-it-plan. Will it work?
Facebook Adds Petition Feature to Global Community-Building Effort
January 22, 2019
Facebook has begun rolling out a new feature that's bound to charm political activists. Community Actions lets Facebook members create a page where they can describe what they'd like done, and set up a button that like-minded members can click to show their support. The page will show the government agencies and officials notified about the action, as well as the number of its supporters.
Abusive Tweets Hurled at Women Every 30 Seconds: Report
December 20, 2018
Women are abused on Twitter every 30 seconds, and minority women are harassed more often, according to Amnesty International. Volunteers for Troll Patrol, a crowdsourcing project set up by Amnesty International to process large-scale data about online abuse, sorted through 288,000 tweets sent to 778 woman politicians and journalists in the UK and the United States last year.
Firework Offers Snack-Size Original Content
December 19, 2018
Firework this week released a collection of shows consisting of 12 episodes that will run just 15-seconds each. The first, "Fireside Chat featuring Molly Tarlov," debuted Tuesday. Three more followed on Wednesday, and another is scheduled for release on Dec. 28. Users can download the episodes via the Firework app, which is now available on the Google Play Store and Apple App Store.
Facebook Staffers Once Brainstormed Ways to Sell User Data: Report
November 30, 2018
Facebook at one time considered charging companies for access to its user data, according to a report based on three pages of unredacted material from an 18-page document showing portions of some internal Facebook emails, mainly from about 2012 to 2014. The documents are linked to a lawsuit, Six4Three LLC v. Facebook Inc., alleging that Facebook's data policies were anticompetitive.
When the News Went Live... Online
November 15, 2018
The shift of live content from traditional broadcast television to online sources has significantly changed the video industry -- and especially, the news media industry. News typically derives its value and attracts viewers with live updates and real-time engagement. The rise of live online alternatives extends those capabilities to nontraditional voices in the digital realm.
The Secret Ingredient for Social Media Success: Elbow Grease
October 29, 2018
Many people would like to know the ingredients of the secret sauce that will get their Twitter and LinkedIn follower lists to grow. I just started using these services a few years ago, and I have tried some things that proved successful. I have learned from other successful users as well. Here are a few ideas that have worked for me. First, here's an update on my current status.
Former White House CIO Theresa Payton: 'There Are Grave Concerns About Election Interference'
October 26, 2018
Theresa Payton, CEO of Fortalice Solutions, is one of the most influential experts on cybersecurity and IT strategy in the United States. She is an authority on Internet security, data breaches and fraud mitigation. She served as the first female chief information officer at the White House, overseeing IT operations for President George W. Bush and his staff.
6 Tactics to Bring Out the Superpowers in Retail SMBs
October 23, 2018
There could be as much as a 22 percent increase in holiday sales this season. The 2018 U.S. retail e-commerce season will reach $123.4 billion, up from $106.14 billion in 2017, according to Statista's estimates. If you are a small business retailer, these numbers no doubt will bring a twinkle to your eye. However, to get your share, you will need to step up your game.
ACLU Sues Facebook for Facilitating Gender-Biased Job Recruitment
September 19, 2018
The ACLU has filed charges of unlawful gender-based discrimination with the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission against Facebook and 10 employers accused of targeting job ads at males only. The ACLU, Outten & Golden, a Washington, D.C. law firm, and the Communications Workers of America brought the class action. The complaint alleges that Facebook delivers job ads selectively.
Death Watch Begins for Google
September 17, 2018
The EU has been stretching its wings. In the shadow of Brexit, it apparently has decided it has the real enemy of the people in its sights: social media companies and Google. France is even more aggressive, suggesting that the EU's "right to be forgotten" law should apply worldwide. Given that it actually does fall within the legitimate purview of government, it is hard not to agree.
Facebook Goes Into High Gear to Fight Election Meddling, Fake News
September 14, 2018
Defending against foreign interference in American elections is one of the priorities Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg said he has been focusing on this year. The issue is highly sensitive, and it is one that has garnered a great deal of discussion in media reports and on the Web. Special counsel Robert Mueller warned in a court filing this spring that foreign interference efforts were still going on.
Google Digs In Heels Over Global Expansion of EU's 'Right to Be Forgotten'
September 14, 2018
Google took on French lawyers at the European Union Court of Justice this week, in an effort to fend off expansion of the EU's "right to be forgotten" judgment. The EU's attempts to broaden the scope of that judgment would be "completely unenvisagable," and it could result in impositions on the values of different countries around the world, Google argued.
The Thrill Is Gone for Many Facebook Users
September 6, 2018
American consumers' attitudes toward Facebook appear to be cooling, based on the results of a Pew Research Center survey. Forty-two percent of the roughly 4,600 people who responded to the May poll said they had taken a break of several weeks from checking the platform. "Facebook's probably losing subscribers for a number of reasons," said Frost & Sullivan's Michael Jude.
Senators Bash Google at Russian Election Meddling Hearing
September 6, 2018
An empty chair reserved for Google became the focal point for harsh criticism Wednesday at the U.S. Senate Intelligence Committee's hearing on Russian meddling in the 2016 elections. Facebook Chief Operating Officer Sheryl Sandberg and Twitter CEO Jack Dorsey testified at the forum. Several senators lambasted the absent company for being unwilling to answer important questions.
Facebook Cracks Down on Iranian, Russian Influence Campaigns
August 23, 2018
Facebook has removed more than 650 Facebook and Instagram pages, groups and accounts originating in Iran and Russia for "coordinated inauthentic behavior." The goal is to improve the trustworthiness of Facebook connections. Although it has been making progress in its efforts, the people responsible for the inauthentic activity are determined and well funded, Facebook said.
See More Articles in Social Networks Section >>
Is "too much screen time" really a problem?
Yes -- smartphone addiction is ruining relationships.
Yes -- but primarily due to parents' failure to regulate kids' use.
Possibly -- long-term effects on health are not yet known.
Not really -- lack of self-discipline and good judgement are the problems.
No -- angst over "screen time" is just the latest overreaction to technology.
No -- what matters is the quality of content, not the time spent viewing it.