Series of Tweets Cost Elon Musk Chair Position, Major Fine

As part of a settlement with the Securities and Exchange Commission, Tesla CEO and co-founder Elon Musk has agreed to pay a $20 million fine and step down as chairman of the California-based electric automaker for three years. The SEC accused Musk of securities fraud after he tweeted from his personal Twitter account that he had secured enough funding to take Tesla private. Musk has admitted to no wrong-doing. In addition to Musk’s significant personal fine, Tesla has agreed to develop leadership reforms and pay $20 million for not properly vetting the CEO’s tweets. Continue reading Series of Tweets Cost Elon Musk Chair Position, Major Fine

Usernames No Longer Included in Twitter 140-Character Limit

Twitter is following up on last year’s promise to offer its users more room in their tweet replies. Now, when a user responds to another’s tweet, that individual’s username will not be counted as part of the 140-character limit in the response. “The move is part of a broader effort at Twitter to go ‘beyond 140’ characters and give people more room to tweet without dramatically altering the company’s signature 140-character limit,” notes Recode. “For a while in late 2015 and early 2016, the company considered expanding the character limit to 10,000 characters. But that plan fell through.” Continue reading Usernames No Longer Included in Twitter 140-Character Limit

Twitter and Pepsi Ink Deal to Add Promoted Stickers to Photos

If you’re in the U.S., India, Russia, Canada or Mexico, the next time you want to tweet a photo, the top stickers will come from PepsiCo. The company, which has created almost 50 different stickers, is Twitter’s first partner in promoted stickers. Of those, only eight will be available to Twitter users, specific to 10 countries, including those listed above. In the U.S, Twitter users have the option of two Pepsi cans side by side, smiley emoji, a barbeque grill, and a ballet dancer’s feet clad in red pointe shoes. Continue reading Twitter and Pepsi Ink Deal to Add Promoted Stickers to Photos

Twitter Eyes Machine Learning with Acquisition of Magic Pony

Twitter announced it is acquiring London-based artificial intelligence startup Magic Pony Technology to help provide a professional polish to tweeted live videos. The social giant reportedly paid about $150 million to purchase Magic Pony. Twitter CEO Jack Dorsey said he was buying the company “so Twitter can continue to be the best place to see what’s happening and why it matters, first.” Twitter has been emphasizing video in recent months, and machine learning is “increasingly at the core of everything we build,” said Dorsey. In addition to using machine learning, “Magic Pony’s technology uses artificial intelligence for visual effects,” notes Bloomberg. “It can be used to clean up pixelated images or create new images” and “to improve video streaming.” Continue reading Twitter Eyes Machine Learning with Acquisition of Magic Pony

Twitter Character Update Makes Room for Interactive Content

Twitter is planning a series of changes designed to make communication easier via the social platform, hopefully without alienating its loyal base (earlier proposed changes led to public outcry). Notably, Twitter will modify the 140-character limit of a tweet, which often frustrates some users, but in many ways has come to define the service. “Under the rule-bending, tagging users by their handles at the beginning of replies and adding photos, GIFs and videos will no longer count against the 140-character limit in tweets,” reports The New York Times. “Twitter users will also be able to quote and ‘retweet’ — or rebroadcast — their own older tweets, which was not possible before.” Continue reading Twitter Character Update Makes Room for Interactive Content

Silicon Valley and Security Experts Face Off Over Encryption

A group of 14 preeminent international cryptographers and computer scientists reported that offering government access to encrypted communications puts the world’s confidential data and infrastructure at risk. The report is in response to demands by the U.S. and British governments that technology companies provide a digital key for encrypted data. Conflict has been heating up between privacy advocates and government agencies over encryption, and the report is the latest move by technologists to counter government demands. Continue reading Silicon Valley and Security Experts Face Off Over Encryption

Apple Music to Pay Royalties During New Service Trial Period

Apple Music, the highly-anticipated $10 per month streaming music service, is launching this month with a free three-month trial for music fans. Last week, Apple’s Robert Kondrk said that the company was planning to pay 71.5 percent of subscription revenue to all music owners. However, Kondrk also noted that Apple would not be paying owners during the three-month trial period. Following criticism by Taylor Swift and others, Apple changed its plans. Apple’s Eddy Cue quickly explained via Twitter that Apple would make sure that artists are paid. Continue reading Apple Music to Pay Royalties During New Service Trial Period

Twitter Earnings Disappoint as Company Struggles with Growth

Twitter stocks plunged this week after the company’s first quarter financial report showed less revenue growth than originally expected. The social network’s revenue grew 74 percent, which is lower than the company’s projections and its performance in the previous quarter. Twitter executives blame some of the company’s new advertising models as contributing to the slow growth, but other analysts believe that Twitter still has not found its niche among users and advertisers. Continue reading Twitter Earnings Disappoint as Company Struggles with Growth

New Twitter Feature Offers Workaround to Character Limitation

Twitter has officially launched its “retweet with comment” feature, which enables users to embed a tweet in a tweet — and bypass the social platform’s 140-character limit in the process. This will allow users to share and comment on tweets without the need to shorten the original tweet, while preserving context and meaning. (However, users are not able to embed the full retweet and comment.) The new feature is currently accessible via the Twitter site and iPhone app; an update to the Android app is expected soon. Continue reading New Twitter Feature Offers Workaround to Character Limitation

LiketoKnowit Gives Instagram Users Easy Way to Shop Online

LiketoKnowit is a website that allows Instagram users to easily locate items, such as clothing and jewelry, in an Instagram post and then purchase them online. After signing up on the website, whenever a user “likes” a post on Instagram that links to “liketoknow.it,” they receive the information about the product in their inbox with links to shop online. RewardStyle, a company that allows fashion bloggers and publishers to earn commissions on items they link to, developed the site. Continue reading LiketoKnowit Gives Instagram Users Easy Way to Shop Online

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

Kits for Internet-Connected Devices to Hit RadioShack Shelves

RadioShack plans to stock DIY kits in its retail locations that provide consumers with the ability to create an array of connected devices. New York startup LittleBits has been selling sets that allow users to connect, for example, a sound detector to a LED light, for illuminating a small space every time a radio is turned on. LittleBits now offers its $99 Cloud Starter Bundle that connects gadgets to the Internet, while companies such as Bug Labs and Electric Imp are also offering ways to create connected devices. Continue reading Kits for Internet-Connected Devices to Hit RadioShack Shelves

Survey Finds the Twitter Buzz Around Movies Has Real Impact

Nielsen and Twitter teamed up to study how consumers decide to go see a movie, and they found that Twitter played a major role in that decision. About 87 percent of surveyed moviegoers said that Twitter influenced their choice of movie and 47 percent said that they saw a movie based on recommendations from family or friends on Twitter. The survey also found that in general, 62 percent of moviegoers use the Internet or mobile apps to look up films before their theatrical release. Continue reading Survey Finds the Twitter Buzz Around Movies Has Real Impact

World Cup: New Records for ABC, Univision, Facebook, Twitter

The numbers keep rolling in for the FIFA World Cup. Last week we reported that the Germany-Brazil semifinal set new viewing records and knocked out this year’s Super Bowl for the most Twitter activity during a sports event. Now it’s being reported that Sunday’s championship match between Germany and Argentina drew 30 million U.S. viewers, shattering the previous record for a final, thanks in part to the Spanish-language audience. Additionally, new usage records were set for Twitter and Facebook. Continue reading World Cup: New Records for ABC, Univision, Facebook, Twitter

E-Commerce: “Buy Now” Buttons Appear in Twitter Mobile App

One new feature suggests that Twitter may be experimenting with online shopping. “Buy Now” buttons began appearing in the mobile app this week in tweets from Fancy, an online retailer. The buttons previously took users to a checkout page, but the function is no longer active. If the function is restored, it will be the first time that Twitter allows users to pay for products from a tweet. Twitter has been expanding its e-commerce capabilities since the company went public. Continue reading E-Commerce: “Buy Now” Buttons Appear in Twitter Mobile App

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