CES: Examining the Results of the Radical Disruption of News

“The Future of News” panel at CES 2018 drew together pundits across the political spectrum to puzzle out the difference between news and opinion, what exactly fake news is, and how to pop the partisan bubbles. A conversation led by United Talent Agency head of digital media Brent Weinstein started his challenge to define the line between news and opinion — if consumers even care. The Daily Wire editor-in-chief and conservative political commentator Ben Shapiro said that the news media should not portray itself as objective. Continue reading CES: Examining the Results of the Radical Disruption of News

Small Sellers on Facebook Live Lack Essential Business Tools

Facebook debuted its Live streaming video feature in 2016 to profit from the popularity of live video, especially among younger viewers who were turning to Snapchat. Now, small businesses have adopted Live streaming to create an interactive shopping experience that combines sales with a very human connection. Tracie Reeves, for example, has 25,000 Facebook followers who watch her six-day-a-week two-hour show, “My Mermaid Treasure,” where she sells cultured freshwater pearls dyed numerous colors, keeping viewers glued with raffles and giveaways. Continue reading Small Sellers on Facebook Live Lack Essential Business Tools

Pew: 67 Percent of Americans Turn to Social Media for News

According to new data from Pew Research Center, 67 percent of American adults “get at least some of their news on social media,” up from 62 percent in 2016. Facebook is most popular for news, followed by YouTube and Twitter. While percentages did not significantly change year-over-year for platforms such as Facebook, Instagram, Reddit and Tumblr, an increasing number of adults are turning to Twitter, YouTube and Snapchat. Interestingly, millennials do not represent all new social media news consumers. The research found that 55 percent of today’s Americans age 50 or older say they get news on social media sites, a 10 percent increase over last year. Continue reading Pew: 67 Percent of Americans Turn to Social Media for News

Google Creates a Unified Corporate, Consumer Gmail Policy

Google has just standardized its Gmail policy, saying it will no longer scan the user emails of its free consumer service in order to serve targeted ads. The company adopted this policy with its G Suite corporate customers’ emails, and now adds its consumer service to avoid confusion and create a single policy. Google says the new policy, which will impact 1.2 billion consumers, will become active later this year. The company will continue to serve ads, but will draw data from YouTube or search rather than emails. Continue reading Google Creates a Unified Corporate, Consumer Gmail Policy

Katy Perry Is First to Achieve 100 Million Followers on Twitter

Singer Katy Perry, who joined Twitter in early 2009 and just released a new album called “Witness,” has become the first to achieve the 100 million follower milestone on the social platform. “The second most-followed Twitter account belongs to Justin Bieber, who currently has 96.7 million followers,” according to Variety. “Next in line are Barack Obama (90.8 million), Taylor Swift (85.1 million) and Rihanna (74.1 million).” While these figures do not specify the number of spam accounts or bots, Twitter CEO Jack Dorsey said bogus bots represent less than 5 percent of accounts. Perry also broke her own YouTube record last month when single “Bon Appetit” reached 16.8 million views in just 24 hours. Continue reading Katy Perry Is First to Achieve 100 Million Followers on Twitter

U.S. Claims That Russian Hackers Were Behind Yahoo Attack

The Department of Justice officially charged four people yesterday in connection with Yahoo’s 2014 data breach that reportedly resulted in the theft of data from 500 million Yahoo accounts. According to the indictment, the Russian government used the data obtained by two intelligence officers (Dmitry Dokuchaev, Igor Sushchin) and two hackers (Alexsey Belan, Karim Baratov) to spy on White House and military officials, bank executives, cloud computing companies, a senior level airline official, a Nevada gaming regulator, as well as Russian journalists, business execs and government officials. Continue reading U.S. Claims That Russian Hackers Were Behind Yahoo Attack

Facebook Open-Sources fastText Tools That Stifle Clickbait

To keep track of the massive amount of data shared on Facebook, the company’s Artificial Intelligence Research (FAIR) lab created fastText, which offers a variety of techniques that make it more accurate and easy to do. Today, Facebook is making fastText open source, available on GitHub, so developers can use its libraries anywhere. Among the techniques fastText uses are “bag of words” and “subword information.” Facebook will use fastText to cut down on “clickbait,” an ever-present irritation on the Internet. Continue reading Facebook Open-Sources fastText Tools That Stifle Clickbait

Pre-Release Piracy Grows Across Facebook and Publications

Movie studios that use Facebook to promote upcoming films — such as “Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice,” which has 4.4 million likes on its Facebook movie page — have discovered a potent downside to the extra publicity. Pirates post links to copyright-infringing streams; spam includes chain letters, pornography, phishing, malware and hate speech. Illegal sites are harvesting personal data and running money scams and now targeting publications with embedded Facebook comments, including BuzzFeed, ESPN and Huffington Post. Continue reading Pre-Release Piracy Grows Across Facebook and Publications

Carriers, Twilio Clash Over Text Messaging Regulatory Status

Text messaging is a regulatory gray zone that is currently the object of a dispute between AT&T, Verizon and other wireless carriers, and Twilio, a software company that enables automatic text-sending, with consumer advocacy groups Public Knowledge, Common Cause, and Free Press. Twilio is petitioning that the FCC impose common carrier regulations on text messaging, which means carriers could not block or throttle texts. The carriers say they’re protecting consumers against spam. Continue reading Carriers, Twilio Clash Over Text Messaging Regulatory Status

Could Facebook Patent Be Used to Approve or Deny Loans?

Facebook just filed for a patent that tracks how users are networked together. The patent can be used to prevent people from sending spam to those they’re not legitimately connected with. But the patent filing also describes a less savory possibility: that banks and other lenders could examine the credit scores of those in your network when deciding whether or not to make a loan to you. For some experts, at least, this conjures up visions of housing discrimination, aimed at the poor and people of color. Continue reading Could Facebook Patent Be Used to Approve or Deny Loans?

Twitter Will Remove Plagiarized Tweets on Copyright Grounds

Twitter is cracking down on plagiarized tweets, since tweets are considered the intellectual property of the original tweeter. Users can request to have copied tweets removed on copyright grounds. Twitter has deleted several copies of a stolen joke originally penned by freelance writer Olga Lexell after she reported the infringement. Although most social media-related copyright claims involve embedded media or links rather than text, anyone can submit a claim through Twitter, and the company will remove the tweet if the request is valid. Continue reading Twitter Will Remove Plagiarized Tweets on Copyright Grounds

Twitter Users Can Change Setting to Expand Direct Messaging

As promised, Twitter is moving forward with new changes to expand its private messaging feature that will allow users to receive private messages from any account. Twitter’s previous messaging policy forbid users from exchanging private messages, unless both users were following one another’s accounts. The new change, a setting option that will have to be manually enabled, may prompt more users to make use of Twitter’s Direct Messaging service, which has yet to gain significant traction. Continue reading Twitter Users Can Change Setting to Expand Direct Messaging

The Instagram Rapture: Millions of Fake Accounts are Purged

Instagram, the photo- and video- sharing service owned by Facebook, is deleting all the accounts it has identified as “spammy.” As a result, more than 29 percent of Instagram’s own followers disappeared last week. According to software developer Zach Allia, stars such as Justin Bieber and Kim Kardashian also lost millions of followers. The purge was intended to combat fake accounts, a problem that leads to hijacked hashtags, artificially inflated follower counts, and increased advertising costs. Continue reading The Instagram Rapture: Millions of Fake Accounts are Purged

Instagram Now Bigger Than Twitter, Looks to Brand Advertising

Instagram — the photo- and video-sharing app owned by Facebook — announced yesterday that it presently has 300 million monthly active users, up 50 percent in nine months (more than 70 percent of its users are now outside the United States). The new numbers suggest that the social service is more popular than Twitter today (Twitter recorded 284 million monthly active users for Q3). Instagram is looking to leverage its meteoric popularity to engage users in new ways, and draw advertisers at the same time. Continue reading Instagram Now Bigger Than Twitter, Looks to Brand Advertising

Twitter Effectively Combats Spam with New BotMaker System

Twitter unveiled its new BotMaker system this week, designed to address its growing spam problem. The machine learning models and other techniques traditionally used to classify messages as spam do not always work with the real-time nature of Twitter, so the company developed BotMaker, which scans messages as part of bulk data analyses. According to Twitter, the system has resulted in a 40 percent reduction in spam since it was rolled out and now handles billions of events each day. Continue reading Twitter Effectively Combats Spam with New BotMaker System

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