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Archive for the ‘The week in social’ Category

The week in social: Gnip, Friends Nearby, and Curalate for Tumblr

Sunday, April 20th, 2014

Facebook to provide mobile payment service

According to a new report, Facebook is planning to work with the Central Bank of Ireland to gain approval to offer a mobile payment service, although the social networking giant and the Bank have both declined to comment. In addition, Facebook has had talks about partnership with three UK based startups; TransferWise, Moni Technologies, and Azimo. Despite these details, it is not necessarily clear in which territories these services would become available, or in what time-frame an announcement or the activation of the services would take place. Competitors for Facebook in this space will include Venmo, Google Wallet, and arguably the most popular, PayPal. According to the report, mobile transactions globally are expected to grow an average of 35% each year up through 2017.

More information on Reuters.


Google purchases Titan Aerospace

In the race to develop technology that would add additional reach to their services, Google has purchased the company Facebook was rumored to be eyeing, Titan Aerospace. The price was the acquisition of the New Mexico-based company was not disclosed, however Google has said plans for the company include using technology to gather pictures and provide internet access to more remote points of the world. Although Facebook was also bidding to buy the company, they ended up acquiring Ascentra, a UK-based company with a similar technology for $20 million. Both Facebook and Google are said to be focusing on solar-powered drones that their acquired companies provide due to their fewer limitations against alternatives such as balloons, which are more affected by weather, and battery powered drones, which can only stayed in the air for a few hours. It remains to be seen what additional applications these new technologies will have for their respective acquirers.


Read more on Wall Street Journal.


Twitter airport departure app sends updates via DM

The Leeds Bradford Airport has launched an application that works directly through Twitter and will allow users to request flight information and receive it directly through direct messages on the popular micro-blogging service. The use the new feature, users have to follow @LBIAirport on Twitter, and they will be followed back. From there, all they need to do is direct message the account with the flight they want information on, and it will provide a flight status. This can also be used for people who are picking up passengers to see when gates open. Leeds Bradford is a quickly growing airport in the UK, with over three million passenger traveling through in 2013 alone.


More information on Media Bistro.


Twitter purchases Gnip

Earlier this week, Twitter announced through its blog that it is acquiring Gnip, a Colorado-based company that helps to analyze and draw conclusions from indexed public tweets that can offer a wealth of information to marketers, brands, journalists, and more. Gnip is a provider of social data and a long-time partner with Twitter. Through the acquisition, Twitter hopes to develop more complex data sets and data enrichments. Twitter has promised to share additional details about the acquisition in the future.

Read more on Twitter Blog.


Tumblr to introduce Curalate analytics

Tumblr is one of the most popular social networking sites on the web, however it is still growing adoption among brands for marketing purposes. To improve its visibility and trace the ROI of its use for marketing, the multimedia-focused social network is adding visual analytics from the popular Pinterest and Instagram analytics company Curalate to its platform. Curalate’s technology will allow users to measure the impact of photos that are posted that may not have hashtags or otherwise trackable pieces of information attached to them. Based on this new announcement, Curalate is now the only company to offer visual analytics across Facebook, Tumblr, Instagram, and Pinterest. Analysts have stated that spend on Tumblr is increasing, and it remains to be seen if additional analytics on the site will attract more marketing dollars.

More information on Social Times.


Google adds photo-insert button for mobile Gmail

Google is continuing its integration of Google+ into other apps, and its latest feature allows users to add Google+ pictures they have uploaded into an email through mobile Gmail. In order to get the new feature, users have to turn on “auto-backup” on their Google+ accounts, and the feature will automatically backup all photos and videos uploaded onto the network. Users can also upload an entire album if they have organized it on Google photos. Users will have started to see the button as of last week. It remains to be seen how much further the integration between Google+ and Google’s other products will go as the web services giant seeks to create a seamless web.


Read more on CNet.


‘Lucky Bastards’ debuts on social before TV

The new show from the Esquire Network, Lucky Bastards, premiered last week on Facebook before its actual TV show time on Wednesday at 10pm EST. The purpose of the move for the network was to generate social buzz and conversation for the show ahead of its primetime debut. Deena Stern, SVP for Marketing & Digital at Esquire Network, said in a quote to Lost Remote, “…we think that ‘Lucky Bastards’ is filled with buzz worthy, water-cooler and social media-worthy moments, so we offered the premiere episode to our Facebook fans prior to its April 16 television premiere.”

More information on Lost Remote.


YouTube uses traditional media to promote social

Recently, the video-sharing network, and the second-largest search engine on earth, YouTube, has started using traditional broadcast advertising to promote special content on its site, in addition to print, billboards, and even subway wraps. Although YouTube attracts the young demographic of viewers, the stars of videos that they are watching do not have mainstream visibility. Susan Wojcicki, YouTube’s new CEO, is trying to make stars on the network real-life famous, or essentially household names, with the new ad tactics. For Wokcicki, this is considered the third evolution for the business, evolving to improve its relationship with users and marketers on Madison Avenue alike.


Read more on Social Times.


Joe Biden joins Instagram

This past Wednesday, Vice President Joe Biden officially joined Instagram. Although the account is managed by his staff, posts from the Vice President himself will be signed with a “-vp” in the comments. The launch of the account coincided with an appearance with President Obama in Pennsylvania to make announcements about job training grants. Other top political figures and institutes include President Obama and the White House also have Instagram accounts.


More information on Social Times.


Facebook debuts Friends Nearby

Announced in a blog post this past Thursday, Facebook is beginning to the roll out the Friends Nearby feature, which allows users to find where their friends are if they opt to turn the feature on. The feature will periodically alert users who have turned it on to their friends’ whereabouts, or if they are on the move. Users can also toggle the feature to be notified of the activities of specific groups of friends, or to only show their locations to those same groups. Users can also share a place they are heading to, or a specific amount of time they are planning to be at a given destination. The new feature will roll out over time to Android and iOS users.


Read more on Facebook Newsroom.


Twitter launches mobile app promotion options

Twitter has long offered marketers options to extend the reach of their content through promoted tweets and promoted accounts, but through a blog post earlier this week, the micro-blogging giant announced a new feature that would let mobile application downloads be advertised directly within the Twitter feed. These options will exist within Twitter and also through the mobile advertising exchange network of MoPub, a company Twitter acquired last year. All of the ads will still run through the central interface of ad.twitter.com for ease of management. The program has been in beta, with recent partners including Spotify, HotelTonight, and Kabam.


More information on Twitter Blog.


Line introduces sticker-selling marketplace for users

Line Messenger, an application that is increasing in popularity and aiming to hit 1 billion users by 2015, has introduced a new feature called “Creators Market”. The new feature lets users create and sell their own stickers, a new method to draw in users, and also a secondary revenue stream for the additional paid features such as the company-created stickers. Stickers that are created by users are reviewed by Line, and then put into the web store, where Line takes 50% of the proceeds, and the users getting the remaining amount after any applicable taxes. Stickers on the application were originally introduced in 2011, and many other apps have followed suit, including Blackberry’s BBM.

Read more on TechCrunch.

The week in social: Twitter relationships, Carousel and TapTalk

Sunday, April 13th, 2014

Facebook tweaks News Feed algorithm

Facebook is making changes again, as they begin testing out additional new tweaks to the news feed algorithm. However, these tweaks will be seen as more of a fix than anything else as it aims to filter and remove posts that are “like-baiting” and contain “spammy links.” According to Facebook’s blog post about the changes, spammy posts are those that actively encourage users to Like, comment, or share content with their friends. Posts and stories that utilize the “like-baiting” strategy and end up receiving more likes tend to get more visibility, but are seen as working the system. It’s important to note that these “like-baiting” posts do tend to be “15% less relevant” than stories that receive the same engagement organically.


Read more on Facebook Newsroom.


LinkedIn removing Products and Services tab

We can now say good-bye to the Products and Services tab on LinkedIn’s Company Pages because on April 14th, this feature will retire as LinkedIn aims to focus more of its attention on “creating a platform where companies can deliver timely, engaging content to our members.” After the change takes place, companies will be encouraged to use the Company Pages or Showcase Pages to promote products and services, instead. The Company Pages send updates to the followers’ feeds and is an ideal place for content about the company itself, while Showcase Pages provide a place to showcase a particular product and build engagement around that product.

Find out more at Social Times.


Facebook’s new privacy changes

How do you ensure that your private posts on Facebook are indeed private and continue to stay that way? Oddly enough, with Facebook’s help. At the moment, users currently select the privacy level of each post from a drop-down menu on Facebook’s web version. With the potential change, the drop-down menu will include short definitions that explain what each group entails. In addition to this, Facebook has also been looking into a pop-up reminder that features a cartoon dinosaur encouraging users to pay attention to this privacy setting. These changes come after many users voiced concerns that the company isn’t providing enough privacy offerings and that the privacy issues already in play simply change too much.

More information on Mashable.


Twitter’s new pop-up notifications

Are you using the web to access Twitter? If so, be prepared to begin receiving pop-up notifications when a user re-tweets, mentions, or messages you. Twitter announced this new, interactive feature Thursday, mentioning that the notification will appear in the lower-right hand corner of a user’s timeline. With this change, direct messaging will become more accessible and increase the popularity of DMs. Never fear though, if users aren’t fans of the new change, there will be an option to turn off notifications in Twitter’s settings.


Read more on Twitter’s Blog.


Facebook removes Messenger from app

Facebook made a new change this week as they began to notify users that they will no longer have the option to send and receive messages on Facebook for iOS and Android. Instead, users will have to download Facebook Messenger to chat on mobile. By using messaging within Facebook’s main apps, it remained slow, buried and average at best, according to Facebook. By forcing users to adopt a new messaging behavior, Facebook hopes to provide users with a cleaner, easier and more focused messaging experience. However, many users have expressed concern over the changes, already upset by all the additional changes Facebook is making.

More information on Digital Trends.


Carousel, Dropbox’s new photo and video archive

Dropbox has just announced Carousel, a new application that serves as a photo and video archive and sharing platform. The company hopes that Carousel will become the go-to place for people to store and access their digital photos. Dropbox users can currently access the application at Carousel.com, also available on mobile, Android and iOS, and can store as many videos and photos as permitted by the user’s Dropbox plan. The service is being marketed as “one place for all your memories” and accessing galleries will be faster than even native storage apps on mobile photo galleries.

Learn more on The Verge.


Google Glass now available to everyone

Starting April 15th and for $1,500, Google is letting any American resident purchase a Google Glass unit that can be shipped with the buyer’s favorite shade or Glass-specific frame included. The catch here is that there are limited spots available, making it a first-come, first-serve process so if someone is interested in making the purchase, it would be best to sign up as soon as possible. Google previously opened the Explorer program to friends and family first, however, by expanding it to a much broader user base, Google hopes to gather more beneficial feedback from the industry. It remains to be seen how social applications will continue to evolve with this technology.


More information on TechCrunch.


Twitter rolls out refreshed user profile pages on web

Announced earlier this week, Twitter is rolling out large changes to the user profiles displayed on the web. users will now be able to customize their cover photos, have a larger profile picture, and the profile will feature special tweets including the ones that have received the most engagement from other users. A user will also now be able pin a tweet to the top of their profile. The new profile was available earlier this week to a small number of users but will be rolling out over time to the majority.


More information on Twitter Blog.


Minors in California can erase online history

A new revision to the California Online Privacy Protection Act, also known as CalOPPA, will go into effect on January 12015. This new tweak allows Californians 18 and younger to erase content and personal information posted to any website. That content includes online chats, audio, and photographs and will affect websites incorporated in different states that minors use from California. The new change also imposes new fines and restrictions for online operators and apps that are specifically advertising to minors.

More information on VentureBeat.


Meet TapTalk, a new video-messaging App

Meet TapTalk, a brand new video-messaging app that adds a location to your photo or image as you send it off to family and friends. By connecting via Facebook, the app lets users tap a friend’s image to take a picture. If a user chooses to take a video instead, they simply hold down on the picture for a few seconds. Similar to the ever-popular SnapChat, photos and videos sent from this app cannot be saved, nor can users upload or send a photo taken previously. In fact, the biggest difference between SnapChat and TapTalk really is simply the ability to share a map of where users are, making it highly popular when in an urban environment.


Read more on TechCrunch.


FTC approves Facebook/WhatsApp deal with a warning

Facebook’s $19 billion deal with WhatsApp has passed another hurdle as the Federal Trade Commission approved the deal while giving the social site a stern warning on privacy obligations. The warning given to Facebook stated that the site will need to honor the existing customer privacy terms that WhatsApp already has in place. The FTC will continue to monitor the privacy practices at WhatsApp moving forward to ensure that both companies’ “honor the promises they have made to those users.”

Find out more on Gigaom.


Active Twitter use ruins relationships

Beware active Twitter users. By being overly active on the popular social site, users may end up causing a bit of trouble for personal relationships. A new study from the University of Missouri stated that “active Twitter users are more likely to experience Twitter-related conflict in their romantic relationships, leading to other relationship issues, including emotional or physical cheating, breakup, and even divorce.” Over 581 Twitter users over the age of 18 were studied and based on the results, both Twitter and Facebook use can have negative effects on romantic relationships. 

Learn more on Mashable.


Twitter users not actively tweeting

According to Twopcharts, a site that monitors web activity, 44% of Twitter’s 974 million registered users have actually never tweeted. In fact, 30% of existing Twitter accounts have sent 10 or fewer tweets, and only 13% of registered accounts have tweeted more than 100 times. Because of the growth and the fact that new users may find Twitter difficult to navigate, Twitter has introduced new changes to the site, including restyling the user profile and adding in pop-up notifications.


Find more information on The Wall Street Journal.

The week in social: Vine messages, Twitter emoji, and GroupXit

Monday, April 7th, 2014

LinkedIn publishes requests from NSA

As of 2011, LinkedIn starting publishing transparency reports to give users an understanding of requests for information it has received from the Government, and most recently, requests from the NSA. According to the latest report, the professional social network received 75 requests for information from 110 different users between July and December of 2013. Transparency reporting has become a standard for any company where private data is concerned, in order to maintain the trust of users. Although there is no other real specific information that the reports from LinkedIn offer, it is a move to make users feel comfortable that out of 300 million users, it is unlikely that they will be affected.

More information on Social Times.


Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg’s salary reduced

Mark Zuckerberg, CEO of Facebook, is already a multi-billionaire worth nearly $27 billion, but a report in a regulatory filing with the Securities and Exchange Commission has been issued stating that in 2013, he took only $1 as his base salary. In 2012 when Facebook went public, Zuckerberg took a salary of over $500 thousand. Zuckerberg is current the 22nd most wealthy person in the world, and he follows in the footsteps of founders of both Google and Apple by taking a salary of only 1 dollar.

Read more on Bloomberg Businessweek.


YouTube, Google+, and LinkedIn drive highly engaged traffic

Measuring site referral traffic yields useful data for marketers and interested parties alike, but sites that drive the most traffic overall may not also be the ones that are driving the most engaged traffic. According to a study completed by Sharaholic earlier this week, YouTube, Google+ and LinkedIn drive the most engaged traffic, with users staying on the referred site the longest, and also taking the most actions in terms of page visits. YouTube is by and large the leader, driving the most referrals, most pages visited, and the lowest average bounce rate; the number of people who leave a site after landing on a first page. The report for Shareaholic also denoted that Pinterest, a once quickly growing web traffic referral source, was sixth, behind YouTube, and others such as Facebook.

More information on VentureBeat.


Twitter acquires European companies to position for social TV

In an effort to ramp up its social TV offerings, Twitter will be purchasing France’s Mesagraph, and the UK’s SecondSync. MesaGraph works with large broadcasting companies in France, while SecondSync works within the UK broadcasting industry through the development of social analytics products. It is believed that Twitter is purchasing these companies because that have broadcasting relationships currently standing in Europe. The details of the deals, such as the acquisition prices, have not been disclosed, but as part of the announcements, Twitter is also expanding its current relationship with Kantar, an analytics firm owned by WPP, as part of the same strategy to increase global reach of its social TV plans.

Read more on TechCrunch.


Google+ introduces content views on profiles

As Google+ has been known for lack of usage among common social media users, an effort by Google prove otherwise sees the online services giant adding view numbers to profiles, photos, and other posts on Google+. Profile views will appear underneath the user’s main profile photo, to the side of the follower count. Users will have the option to hide these figures in their setting through a simple checkbox.

Read more on The Next Web.


Mobile users spend 17% of time in Facebook

In a series of statistics from Flurry, an application analytics company, it is shown that mobile users spend 86% of their overall time on applications, with 17% of this time specifically on Facebook. 32% of time is spent on mobile gaming apps, while 14% of overall mobile device time is spent on web browsers. Overall, small increases were seen in mobile device usage from last year, with an increase of 2.5% The sample for the report was taken specifically from users who own Android and iOS devices.

More information on Social Times.


YouTube tops entertainment applications

Based on additional information from Flurry, YouTube as a mobile application accounts for 50% of entertainment on smartphone and tablet devices. The same report also denotes that the mobile application space is quickly, and continually evolving, with newer applications such as Pinterest, Snapchat, Spotify, and WhatsApp gaining more popularity and wider adoption. It remains to be seen if the time spent between entertainment apps, social networking, and productivity app will have a different split in the coming year.

Read more on Re/code.


New application GroupXit lets users leave group text chats

Often times, mobile users get stuck in group-text conversations that they do not want to be a part of, and a new application is helping these users privately exit these conversations. GroupXiT is an app that not only lets you exit group conversations, but will also let you block individuals participants out of a group. Co-founder Amos Winbush told BetaBeat, ““That’s what were about – allowing the user the ability to decide what conversations they want to be a part of, what individuals they want to communicate with, and if they decide they don’t want to be bothered, to just turn off the chat altogether,”. Another unique feature of the application is that the others will not know that someone has exited the chat, helping avoid that potentially awkward moment.

More information on BetaBeat.


WhatsApp experiences second major outage since Facebook acquisition

The past Wednesday, a large group of users started reporting a WhatsApp outage on Twitter, the second major outage since the private messaging service has been acquired by Facebook earlier this week. Users reported seeing an error message that read, “Sorry, our service is experiencing a problem right now. We are working on it and hope to restore the functionality shortly. Sorry for the inconvenience.” The evening before, WhatsApp announced a new milestone in usage, processing 64 million messages in a single day, an all time high.

Read more on PC Mag.


Twitter begins supporting Emoji on the web

A new feature for users of Twitter who make the web their primary platform, Twitter’s web interface is now supporting the use of Emoji, cartoon-like images that can express objects, faces, and more. While Emoji will appear of the web interface of Twitter, currently they are not appearing for tweets that are embedded on websites, and they are not supported on any other platform, including mobile platforms such as Android and iOS. It is likely that given the popularity and demand for the new feature, that the option will be incoming shorty.

More information on The Next Web.


Tumblr introduces “Tumblr Pro” as April Fool’s prank

Many social networks and online services companies get in on the fun for April Fool’s Day, from Google Map’s Pokemon Master job listing, to Kickstarter changing its name to “Kickstart”. One prank that let other users know if one fell for it was a free upgrade on Tumblr to “Tumblr Pro”. Users just had to click a banner, but instead of getting an upgrade to their account, they would receive a top hat on their avatar that let everyone else know they fell for the gag.

Read more on The Huffington Post.


Vine adds messaging in new update

In the biggest update to the 6-second video sharing app since it launched, Vine has added a messaging service as part of its functionality. Vine messages, or VMs for short, can be sent to users who have Vine, but also to users via email and SMS if they do not currently have Vine. The VM messages that are sent create one-to-one conversations, but the same VM can be sent to multiple users. As an additional measure, Vine also lets users send simple text-based messages to friends on the network.

More information on The Verge.

The week in social: Facebook buys Oculus, Twitter photo tags, and Pinterest ads

Monday, March 31st, 2014

Privacy groups file update with FTC responding to WhatsApp blog post

Privacy on WhatsApp has been a public concern, and a concern of privacy groups, since Facebook announced its acquisition of the private messaging service several weeks back. Addressing these concerns on the company blog, CEO Jan Koum stated that privacy is built into the company’s DNA and that they would not have gone through with the acquisition if it meant compromising on their values. The Electronic Privacy Information Center and the Center for Digital Democracy issued an updated filing with the FTC, requesting that the commission look very closely at the deal in question to ensure the rights of users are protected. It remains to be seen what, if any action will be taken from this filing, however the deal between the two social networks is attracting greater and greater attention as privacy concerns continue to rise for users of WhatsApp.

More information on AllFacebook.


11% of Twitter users who signed up in 2012 are still active

Based on a new report from Twopcharts, approximately 40% of each of the 20 million new accounts Twitter registers each month send at least one tweet, but according to the same report, it is predicted that only a quarter of those accounts will be tweeting in one year’s time from now. The report goes on to show that users trend towards signing up, but then not continuing to remain active users. Out of the nearly 259 million new accounts created in 2012, only 10.7% of them were tweeting in February of this year. A Twitter spokesperson has declined to comment on the information according to the Wall Street Journal, on the basis that they do not respond to third-party data.

Read more on Wall Street Journal.


President Obama joins Quora to answer questions

Becoming the question-and-answer social network’s first verified users, President Obama joined Quora earlier this week to answer already existing questions about the Affordable Care Act, otherwise known as Obamacare. All the answers to questions he provides will be available to view on his profile. Verified profiles moving forward will look and function similar to those on Facebook and Twitter, with a blue verified checkmark on the profile itself, and there is an unreleased method the company is using to decide how a user becomes verified. Other verified users include Ashton Kutcher and NBA star Jeremy Lin.

More information on ReadWrite.


Users who post more on Instagram get less engagement per post

A new study has cited that regardless of how many followers a user has on average on Instagram, the more photos that user posts, the less engagement in terms of likes they receive. The study, originally reported by the New York Daily News, also states that posting too much decreases likes two times as quickly as comments, quoted by Saeideh Bakhshi. In addition, the study cites that photos with faces in them, or “selfies”, are 38% more likely to get likes, and 32% more likely to receive comments, pointing to the most popular type of content on the photo-sharing social network.

Read more on BetaBeat.


Pinterest prepares advertising rollout

Although Pinterest long-ago announced their plans to offer advertisers the option to promote pins, timings for the rollout have officially been set for the 2nd quarter, and Pinterest itself has noted that there is high demand for advertising options on the pin-sharing social network. Pinterest as a company is also setting suggested guidelines to make sure that promoted content is useful to users, and an example cited noted that if Hellman’s were to provide a promoted pin that featured a recipe, it would be more valuable than just a promoted brand image, according to Jennifer Gardner, Unilever’s director of media investment partnerships North America, in a statement to the Wall Street Journal. Pinterest’s currently valuation is said to be around $3.8 billion.

More information on AdWeek.


Instagram is testing Facebook Places

Instagram currently allows users to post the location where they are taking a photo using location data provided by Foursquare, but a small group of users is being presented location options based on Facebook Places, according to a story from Fast Company. An Instagram spokesperson noted that it is common for the company to trial new features, and this potential integration would make sense given that it would bring location-data for the popular photo-sharing social network back within the Facebook family. Foursquare declined to comment on the story in question.

Read more on Fast Company.


Twitter adds photo tagging and multiple photos in tweets

Twitter has just introduced several new features to photo sharing, debuting earlier this week. The micro-blogging service now lets users tag up to ten people in photos, and add up to four photos in a single tweet. With the photo tagging, users also don’t use any additional characters out of the 140 character limit. The new features are currently available on the Android and iPhone native applications.

More information on Twitter Blog.


Facebook purchases Oculus VR

The makers of the Oculus Rift, a virtual reality head-unit display, have agreed to be acquired by Facebook for $2 billion in a combination of cash and Facebook stock. The company will continue to work out of its Irvine, California headquarters, and continue development of the Rift unit. The deal is expected to be completed sometime in the second quarter. Over 75,000 development kits for the Rift have been ordered, and Facebook plans to help expand the hardwares reach to support communication and education, among other verticals, in addition to gaming, one its major applications currently. CEO of Facebook Mark Zuckerberg said in a statement that, “Mobile is the platform of today, and now we’re also getting ready for the platforms of tomorrow. Oculus has the chance to create the most social platform ever and change the way we work, play, and communicate.”

Read more on AllFacebook.


Twitter looks into vanishing tweets

Earlier this week, tweets have been disappearing from the popular micro-blogging social network Twitter. Most notable of these disappearances includes Ellen DeGeneres’ Oscar tweet, considered the most popular tweet in the world by the number of favorites and retweets. Twitter has stated that it is looking into the cause of the disappearances, and has stated that it is a bug causing the issue. When users try to click a link that was originally attached to a specific tweet that no longer exists, they are brought to a standard “404″-type page. Accounts that have had tweets deleted include CNBC, Daily Mail, and Lady Gaga. It remains to be if or when the error will be fully corrected.

More information on CNET.


Facebook extends lookalike audiences

In a post on Facebook Business earlier this week, Facebook expanded the capabilities of lookalike audiences. Additions include now being able to identify new advertising targets based on who visits a marketer’s website, mobile application, or people who are connected to the brand’s page. The post from Facebook business details example scenarios where users could utilize the new lookalike audiences features. The post later details that although these allow marketers to target audiences more efficiently, they still protect the identities of those who are being targeted.

Read more on Facebook Business.


Instagram has more mobile users in the USA than Twitter

Cited in a report from E-Marketer released recently, Instagram now has more mobile users in the United States than Twitter. According to the report, Instagram has 35 million smartphone-based mobile users, and Twitter has just under 31 million. Twitter is still ahead of total usage though, with 240 million active users each month in the US, whereas Instagram trails behind at 200 million total.

More information on The Next Web.


LinkedIn debuts Content Marketing Score

The professional social network, LinkedIn has launched a new feature called the Content Marketing Score, that allows marketers to measure the impact of organic and paid content on LinkedIn. The score is calculated by taking social actions on the site and being divided by the total audience. Engagement is measured across Sponsored Updates, Company Pages, LinkedIn groups, and more. It remains to be seen how this will be measured against current standards and if the Content Marketing Score will be a tool that all brands use to measure their LinkedIn footprint.

Read more on Social Times.

The week in social: WhatsApp privacy, Cloak, and Twitter impressions

Monday, March 24th, 2014

TED takes over section on Facebook Pages app

Marking the first time since its launch that Facebook’s Pages application has worked with a partner, the entire Ideas section has been devoted to content based on the 2014 TED conference taking place in Vancouver, which started this past Monday. Facebook is using the Ideas category to focus on a specific topic or type of content, and previous coverage under the Ideas section has included International Women’s Day and the SXSW conference. This is potentially seen as a move to experiment with how content from partnerships is viewed by users, and could lead to further integration of the partnership system or sponsored content.

More information on VentureBeat.


Cloak helps users avoid people they don’t want to see

Riding on the heels of a new trend emerging in social media, a new application called Cloak allows users to avoid people they don’t want to see or interact with. Cloak takes a user’s social media data to determine if and how close friends are to a user, specifically so they can avoid that person, using GPS technology. The application was created by a former BuzzFeed employee, and the location data is gathered from Foursquare and Instagram. Other similar apps that exist and serve similar functions include Hell is Other People, which recommends safe distances to stay away from other people connected to you via social networks.

Read more on Daily Dot.


WhatsApp addresses privacy concerns on company blog

Earlier this week, the co-founder of WhatsApp, Jan Koum, wrote a blog post on the company site to “set the record straight” about privacy concerns regarding the application since its acquisition by Facebook was announced in February. Koum iterated that the privacy of conversations taking place on WhatsApp is one of the company’s primary concerns, and noted several personal experiences as reasons for why “privacy is coded into our DNA”. Koum later goes on to confirm that the WhatsApp would not have accepted to acquisition offer if it meant compromising the company’s core values.

More information on WhatsApp Blog.


Vimeo acquires video-creation app Cameo

This past Tuesday, Vimeo announced through a press release that it would be acquiring mobile cloud-based app Cameo. The application, which debuted in October 2013, allows users to customize videos with advanced editing tools and filter themes. The application was awarded Apple’s Editor’s Choice and iTunes “Best of 2013″ for video applications. The acquired Cameo team will report to Vimeo’s CTO. Terms of the deal were not provided, however from the press release it appears that the two teams will work together to continue to promote and improve the the Cameo app.

Read more on PR Newswire.


Google and Viacom settle YouTube lawsuit

In 2007, the beginning of Viacom’s lawsuit hit Google, and the search and web services giant was forced to remove approximately 160,000 different videos from YouTube. Viacom claimed copyright of the videos in question, and an ongoing legal battle has been taking place between the two companies since. A settlement was announced earlier this week, and although terms of the deal were not disclosed, the two companies stated that they look forward to working together in the future in a joint issued statement. The original lawsuit was filed for $1 billion for videos posted between 2005 and 2008.

More information on Lost Remote.


Twitter testing tweet impressions

As is the case with many new features that Twitter introduces, the micro-blogging giant is quietly testing showing everyday users how many people see their tweets. Previously a feature that users could only see natively via the ads manager for promoted tweets (or through a reach measurement tool), the feature has not rolled out for a majority of users. The new feature addition is seen as part of Twitter’s continuous redesign, an effort to introduce new features that will increase usage and Twitter growth plateaus.

Read more on The Verge.


Facebook seeks beta testers for its Messenger Android app

Facebook has started a new beta testing program for its upcoming Messenger app on Android. The public beta gives users who sign up early access to new features in exchange for reporting bugs and other anomalies. The Facebook Messenger app saw a major overhaul with version 3.0, and it is likely that this testing program will lead to the next major app revision. Facebook has also warned users that the as all new features are in testing, the app may be less stable than they are accustomed to.

Read more on Facebook Engineering Blog.


Facebook pushes mobile ad growth in 2014

A report from eMarketer has projected that Facebook will account for over 21% of the global mobile advertising market in 2014, an increase by over 4% from 2013. Although this is significant growth, Google is still the market leader with a potential 46.8% share for 2014, as stated by the same report. Twitter is projected to grow 0.4% to 2.6% overall for 2014, and the industry on a whole is slated to grow over 75% overall, to a total of $31.45 billion. This figure will potentially account for a quarter of total worldwide digital advertising spending.

More information on All Facebook.


Twitter experiments with removing @ mentions

A feature that is extremely popular with users and often used, Twitter is testing the removal of @ mentions on its Android app. The head of news at Twitter, Vivian Schiller, said at the Newspaper Association of America’s mediaXchange conference in Denver, that @ mentions were “arcane”, and that they may be moved into the background of the service. Updates to the story have shown that Schiller has remained vague about the actual future of @ mentions, but the feature is testing the removal of them in an alpha version Android app for certain users.

Read more on BuzzFeed.


Twitter creates tool to help users find their very first tweet

Celebrating its 8th birthday this past week, Twitter has created a simple tool that lets users see their first again. Users can also look of the first tweet of any other user, just by entering their Twitter handle within the tool. The microblogging platform has also created a hashtag for the event, called #FirstTweet. Twitter has created this tool as a way of thanking their users for contributing to the social network for the past eight years.

More information on Twitter Blog.


Twitter no longer pursues encrypting direct messages

Twitter is no longer actively pursuing a project that would encrypt direct messages and make them more difficult for government sources to intercept. News leaked that Twitter was initially looking at this feature last November, in an effort to prevent hackers or the government from monitoring communications. Twitter has declined to comment on why they are no longer actively developing the feature, despite having a reputation for fighting requests by the government for data.

Read more on The Verge.


Pinterest now available in additional languages

Through a series of blog posts on its site, Pinterest has announced its availability in several new languages. Among these languages include Romanian, Hungarian, Greek, and Hindi. Pinterest has a been aggressively expanding into new languages and new countries, as part of its overall goal to extend its network worldwide. It remains to be seen if any additional or unique features will exist within these geographies. The announcements have been separated into individual blog posts, and each post shows some popular pins that have been created.

More information on Pinterest Blog.

The week in social: F8 returns, Weibo going public, and Facebook video ads

Sunday, March 16th, 2014

Facebook announces return of F8 conference

Last Saturday, Facebook announced the return of the F8 developers conference, after an absence of three years. A technical-focused one day conference, the event will cover more information relevant to developers with a likely focus on mobile app development, as opposed to large consumer product reveals, the focus of the event in the past. Facebook has been making small tests with advertising partners to show ads in mobile apps, and this is likely among the topics to be covered. Tickets to the conference will cost $495 dollars and be distributed by an online application. The conference will be held April 30th at the San Francisco Design Concourse.

More information on CNET.


Facebook redesigns Pages feed

Earlier this week, Facebook released the updated Pages design that has been rumored for several weeks. The left side of a Page will now feature information about the business or entity, such as location, hours of business, and website URL. The right side will feature a feed of status updates, which gives a larger focus to multimedia content such as images. Page administrators also have more top-level access to ads running on the page and new likes without having to separately access the Ads Manager. An additional new feature is the Pages to Watch section, which allows Page admins to create a list of Pages similar to their own, in order to track and compare performance.

Read more on Facebook.


Bitly to sign licensing deal with SEO company Moz

Bitly, the popular service for creating trackable, shortened URL links for a variety of purposes, is entering a licensing agreement with the SEO company Moz to provide social insights data. Bitly will be providing Moz “limited” access to its user base information. Because Bitly’s service spans social networks like Twitter and beyond, access to user base information through licensing will allow new clients such as Moz to see the popularity of links, how quickly they spread, and their impact on the sharing of information. The agreement is seen as a move to use the information for a different type of client, versus previously being a tool for brands to directly measure the reach of their content.

More information on BetaBeat.


Good Morning America debuts Social Square

ABC, through its program Good Morning America, has unveiled a new “Social Square”, aimed at more actively engaging viewers through social media. With a room “built to expand”, as explained by ABC News senior editor of social media Andrew Springer, the room features monitor equipped to feed in social data from social networks such as Twitter and Instagram. Additional features include a “social slot machine”, that will gather viewer questions from a combination of social networks including Facebook and Google+. Viewers can also engage via Spotify to choose music that will play during on-air segments. It remains to be seen if other networks will pick up similar tactics to engage their audiences through social.

Read more on LostRemote.com.


Twitter hires former YouTube executive for video ads

Former YouTube executive Baljeet Singh has been hired by Twitter to be product director in their revenue organization, where he will be tasked with increasing the amount of video and the quality of video on Twitter, and selling advertising for it. Singh brings five years of experience from Google and YouTube, and is credited with developing skippable pre-roll video advertising. Singh’s job responsibilities will be three-fold, refining Twitter’s video-play software, adding more video to Twitter, and selling video advertising on the micro-blogging social network. These changes come to Twitter in part as a result of posting a loss in its first quarter since going public.

More information on The Verge.


Millennials trust user generated content more than traditional media

Research unveiled at the SXSW 4th annual Social Media Advertising Consortium shows that millenials trust user generated content up to 50% more than traditional media when it comes to marketing messages. Overall, millennials are said to absorb 18 hours of content across different mediums and devices. User-generated content consumption accounts for approximately 30% of that time. While traditional media makes up for a larger proportion, 34%, millennials trust the user generated content up to 50% more, and find that content 34% memorable. The study comprised of 1,000 adult men and women aged 18-36. The study was conducted by Crowdtap and Ipsos Media CT with SMAC.

Read more on Social Times.


Instagram updates Android application

The Instagram application on Android has seen a large update this past week, with the largest change being an increase in overall performance across all supported Android devices. In a blog post from the company itself, it was stated that profile data now loads twice as quickly, and the application size has been cut in half to increase speed throughout use. Visuals have also been simplified in an effort to keep the focus on uploaded and edited photos, and action buttons for larger devices have been placed in new locations to make access on larger-screen devices easier.

More information on Instagram Blog.


Pinterest introduces feed specifically for shopping

Pinterest has created a specific feed for different things users can purchase, as announced earlier this week on their business blog, called the Gifts feed. The feed is currently a work in progress, and it only shows Product Pins, which display information such as pricing details, and availability on where an item can be purchased. According to internal information, Product Pins get more click through than regular Pins. The new feed also features filters for price so that users are able to search for Product Pins that are within their spending range. Users that want their products to show up on the Gifts feed need to enable Rich Pins.

Read more on Pinterest Business Blog.


Facebook testing premium video ads

In December, Facebook started testing premium video ads as a new method of advertising on the social networking site. This past Thursday, Facebook opened up the ad options to select brands. The advertisements will function as 15 second clips in a user’s newsfeed, playing without sound, and halting play if a user scrolls past them on the feed. If a user clicks the advertisement, it will expand into full screen and provide audio. The advertisements are bought in a different method than traditional right-rail ads on Facebook, and advertisers purchase them based on Targeted Gross Rating Points to reach their audience in a given amount of time. Delivery is measured by Nielsen Online Campaign Ratings, and advertisers pay by what is measured to have been viewed. Users will begin seeing the premium video ads over the next several months.

More information on Facebook.com.


Vimeo debuts new, unified API

Vimeo has launched a brand new unified API, currently in open beta, which replaces its previous Advanced and Simple APIs. This new API features OAuth support for authenticated calls on videos, users, groups, channels, uploads, and albums. Vimeo launched its original API in 2007, and over time the API was developed into Simple and Advanced versions. The new API allows app developers to upload directly to Vimeo on the client side, as well as providing OAuth 2 support. Throughout the next year, Vimeo intends to add additional features.

Read more on Programmable Web Blog.


Adult Swim creates TV episode using Instagram clips

Rick and Morty, a show on Cartoon Network’s Adult Swim, has been split up on the company’s Instagram account into 109 15-second clips. The clips were uploaded in reverse order so that users could not see the entire episode’s contents until Friday. The company stated “It’s our latest frustrating exercise in audience engagement,” to its Facebook page. The network plans to release more short-form content in the future, but a spokeswoman for the company confirmed that the recent episode upload to Instagram is unrelated to that push.

More information on The Verge.


Weibo planning to go public

One of China’s largest and most dominant social networks, Weibo, is planning to go public in the United States, announced on Friday. The Twitter-like social network is seeking to raise $500 million USD in the process, however this number could change as the process of the IPO develops. In the last year, Weibo brought in $188 million in revenue, triple its number from 2012. The company is losing money still, however the net loss is decreasing as time passes and revenue increases. Weibo faces competitive pressure from other social and messaging companies such as WhatsApp and WeChat on its path to continued global growth.

Read more on Buzzfeed Business.

The week in social: Flawk, free Getty Images, and Twitter growth slows

Monday, March 10th, 2014

Twitter growth quickly slows down

According to a report from eMarketer earlier this week, the growth of monthly active users (those who have used a service at least once in a month) for Twitter is slowing down both in the United States, and internationally. In the last three years, Twitter grew by 140%, but within the last quarter of 2013, growth has been reduced to 40%. Despite having added many new features just prior to, and after its IPO, projections state that growth will continue to decline.

More information on Mashable.


Pinterest offers unlimited secret boards to users

During the Holidays, Pinterest introduced a feature that would allow users to create secret, or private boards that only they would be able to view. At the end of last week, the pin-sharing social network announced that users would be allowed to save an unlimited number of different secret boards, whereas previously there was a cap. Pinterest suggests that use cases for secret boards can include planning gift or Holiday lists, or for setting personal or private goals and using saved pins to help plan. Users can also invite others to participate with a secret board.

Read more on Pinterest Blog.


Getty Images offers new embed feature for web and social

Getty Images, the popular photo purchasing website, earlier this week announced a new feature for embedding photos. Allowed for non-commercial use only, users can now embed photos directly from Getty Images to websites, blogs, social media sites, and other online channels. Categories of photos that can be embedded include news, sports, celebrities, music, and fashion. When a photo is embedded, it will include the author credits, and if it is clicked, users will be sent to gettyimages.com where the photos will be available for purchase for commercial use. The new feature will be functional wherever HTML is supported.

More information on Getty Images.


Yahoo to stop third-party access to accounts

This past Wednesday, Yahoo announced that users would no longer be able to access services using third-party and social log-ins, such as Facebook and Google. The changes will rollout gradually according to Yahoo, and users will be required to sign up for a Yahoo ID to access services going forward. Yahoo has been making significant changes to its online experience since appointing Marissa Mayer its chief executive in 2012, including changes to its email and finance portals. There is no official word on a completion timeframe for the changes.

Read more on Reuters.


Facebook Messenger now available for Windows Phone

Facebook Messenger has arrived on Windows Phone, a move announced by Microsoft at Mobile World Congress. Features of Facebook Messenger on Windows Phone include seeing who is online for a group or private chat, sending messages, and adding pictures or stickers to messages. Users can also share their location via GPS. Facebook friends are added to the contacts list on Facebook Messenger by default, and new users can be added manually through contacts.

More information on Windows Blog.


Kickstarter passes $1 billion in pledges

Kickstarter, the crowd-sourced funding website, announced a milestone of having $1 billion pledged for all of its projects across 5.7 million people. Creating a brand new interactive webpage to mark the achievement, users can scroll through to see interesting facts relative to the milestone. Breakdowns including dollars pledged by country, and how much was pledged over time are included. Influential contributors are also shown, highlighting their profiles, and projects they have contributed to. Although launching in 2009, more than half of all pledges made took place in the last 12 months.

Read more on Kickstarter.


Organic reach for Facebook pages plummets

According to reports from Social@Ogilvy, the organic reach of brand pages on the social networking giant is decreasing, and has fallen by almost 50% since October 2013. The study, which included an analysis of 106 different pages, showed that organic reach of Pages to their fans decreased from around 12% to around 6%. There is suspicion that this is a purposeful move from Facebook to increase the number of Page administrators that utilize Facebook ads to increase the reach of their content.

More information on AdAge.


Ellen DeGeneres breaks record for most retweeted tweet

Ellen DeGeneres hosted the Academy Awards, otherwise known as the Oscars, on March 2nd, and during the show, took a picture with a host of other celebrities, a group “selfie”, and posted it on Twitter. The post became the most retweeted tweet of all time, surpassing the previous record-holder, Barrack Obama. The tweet currently has over 3 million retweets and nearly 2 million favorites.

Read more on Wall Street Journal Blog.


Facebook begins rolling out News Feed design updates

Earlier this week, Facebook was said to be planning to roll out a redesign of its News Feed product. Among the changes will include a showing larger pictures, as well as updated designs for buttons and links. The move to give more attention to in-stream photos comes from the fact that photos receive the most engagement from users on average, according to individuals familiar with News Feed performance. Although minor in nature, the changes are said to be rolling out to most users in the upcoming weeks.

More information on Re/code.


Vine updates content rules

Vine, the six-second video sharing social network, has updated its rules with respect to the types of content it will allow on its service. Through a blog post earlier this week, Vine explained that a small percentage of content is “not a good fit for our community”, referencing sexually explicit content. Users are able to report content that they see that violates Vine’s updated Rules and Terms of service by clicking “Report this post”. Vine has stated that although they don’t mind explicit sexual content on the internet, they “prefer not to be the source of it.”

Read more on Vine Blog.


Zynga to reboot three popular games

Zynga, the creator of popular social and mobile games, is rebooting three of its most popular franchises, Zynga Poker, Words with Friends, and FarmVille, said to be a mobile-first version. Zynga has been losing marketshare of social and mobile games to competitors such as the Finland-based Supercell. The changes are coming under the leadership of new CEO Don Mattrick. As part of its forward-going strategy Zynga is trying to create game franchises that are “Evergreen”, with fanbases that will grow over time as the games themselves expand and develop. It remains to be seen if company outlook will continue to take a positive turn, on the heels of its stock rising consistently over the past six months on hope that the company’s new CEO will breathe new life into it.

More information on TechCrunch.


Flawk allows users to host real-time Q&As on Twitter

A new network that allows users to host Q&A sessions with their followers similar to Reddit’s “Ask Me Anything”, Flawk seeks to redefine how an individual communicates with its audience on a one-to-many platform. Users gain access to Flawk through their Twitter accounts, and can then chat, ask and vote on various questions. A Flawk URL is created based on each individual user’s Twitter handle, such as Flawk.to/Beyonce, and it is then controlled by that user for real-time conversations. The live chat of a user appears below the space where the account owner posts content, including photos, videos, and answers to questions. It remains to be seen how the platform will develop and if the user base will grow.

Read more on Flawk.

The week in social: Twitter Amplify, Facebook ad sets, and LinkedIn in China

Monday, March 3rd, 2014

Film Festival makes Instagram timeline of Charlie Chaplin

Earlier this week, marking the 100th anniversary of Charlie Chaplin’s first silent film appearance, the Toronto Silent Film Festival turned their Instagram feed into a timeline of the actor’s life. A unique take on the use of Instagram, the timeline is shown by viewing the feed sideways. The feed includes text, images, and short video clips from Chaplin’s movies. The timeline is viewed using the smartphone application, when the mobile device is turned on its side. The festival itself runs from April 3rd through the 8th.

More information on The Verge.


Twitter debuts Amplify program at the movies

The Twitter Amplify program has traditionally partnered with TV networks and entertainment properties to bring specific branded, and real-time content to users across a variety of subjects, such as ESPN and Ford showing instant replay tweets during college football games. The latest step in this partnership has been an agreement with NCM media, a company that shows advertisements on the big screen before a movie starts, to create an entertainment series that is supported by Twitter data relating to movies and their stars. NCM media is currently seeking a partner for a one year relationship, and the content to be actually shown will be determined once a partner is brought on board.

Read more on AdAge.


LinkedIn launches in China

Earlier this week, LinkedIn announced its launch of a Chinese-language website. The site uses a simplified version of Chinese characters for text, and the company’s hope is that the new site will attract up to 140 million new users. This would increase the user base on LinkedIn by around 50%. Currently, there are four million LinkedIn users in China. LinkedIn worked closely with the Chinese government during the launch, and CEO Jeff Weiner has stated that adhering to censorship regulations and requests to filter content is “… going to be necessary for us to achieve the kind of scale that we’d like to be able to deliver to our membership.”

More information on Wall Street Journal Blog.


Scientists create social media lie-detector

Scientists are creating a social media lie detector that will take information from Facebook, Twitter and other social sites, and will sort information into one of several categories; speculation, controversy, misinformation, and disinformation. Named “Pheme”, researchers have developed an application prototype in Europe. Information will be scanned from tweets created by news outlets and individuals, and sources will be evaluated in real time, in order to confirm the validity of the information provided. Pheme is being developed in a collaboration of five universities and four companies in Europe, and a final version will be launched in 18 months, with prototypes being tested earlier.

Read more on Social Times.


Facebook ends email address service

Facebook has removed its email service, the ability to create an @facebook.com email address for all users. The major reason cited was low adoption among its current user base. The service was launched in 2010, part of Facebook’s strategy to become the overarching communication tool of internet users. After the email addresses are terminated, all users who currently have an active address will have their emails forwarded to the primary email address they have on file for their Facebook account.

More information on The Verge.


Facebook introduces Ad Sets to advertising options

Starting on March 4th, Facebook is rolling out an additional layer to its advertising structure. Whereas traditionally, advertisements would be nested under specific campaigns as a two layer system, now Ad Sets are being introduced. Ad Sets function as an intermediary layer between campaigns and the ads themselves, to help marketers further differentiate between ad objectives on a granular level. The structure changes will be rolled out to all Facebook ad users, however current ad objectives, spend, and metrics will be unaffected for currently running campaigns.

Read more on All Facebook.


Facebook brings online education to Rwanda

SocialEDU, Facebook’s pilot program for education announced earlier this week, is using Nokia smartphones to help bring online courses to students in Rwanda. Facebook has partnered with the local government, a telecom company, devices manufacturer, and educational content provider, to build on previous successes with Massive Open Online Courses (MOOCs). An application will be created in combination with Facebook and edX.org, and free data access will be given to all course participants through Airtel networks. The initiative was announced on Facebook’s newsroom blog by Internet.org.

Read more on Facebook Newsroom.


LinkedIn announces block feature

Last week, LinkedIn announced a much in-demand service for users, the ability to block other users. In addition to being able to block another member, users can now also disconnect any existing connection they currently have with another user, customize public profiles and activities feeds, as well as toggle photo and profile visibility. In a community post, LinkedIn head of Trust & Safety Paul Rockwell recommends that users turn on anonymous browsing of profiles first when utilizing these new features.

More information on LinkedIn Community.


Dale Earnhardt Jr. joins Twitter

Dale Earnhardt, the popular NASCAR race car driver, earlier this week joined Twitter after a win at the Daytona 500 race in Florida. Prior to the race, Earnhardt made a promise that if he won, he would join the micro-blogging service. Earnhardt was notorious for refusing to join the popular social network, but after his win, he sent out his first tweet, and the racer now has over 230k followers.

Read more on USA Today.


Facebook changes how tagged posts are shown

Earlier in January, Facebook announced trends, which highlight global hot topics to users. Earlier this week, the social networking giant announced an additional way that stories featuring topics of interest would be seeded to users. Now, when a Page tags another Page in a post, the post will appear to a number of the people who like or follow the page. An example given in a Facebook Newsroom post cites that if someone likes Dwight Howard, they may see a post from the Bleacher Report Facebook page where the athlete has been tagged. This currently happens for users with updates when it comes to friends and personal connections, but is new for Pages content.

More information on Facebook Newsroom.


Google being ordered to remove anti-Muslim video from YouTube

A federal appeals court earlier this week ruled that Google must remove an inflammatory film, titled “The Innocence of Muslims” from its YouTube video sharing platform. The film has previously been linked to violent protests taking place across several countries. An actress in the film, Cindy Lee Garcia, sued Google and the filmmaker, citing that the film interpreted her performance in a way that was unforeseen. After the court ruled that Garcia may have a copyright claim to the film, it was ordered to be taken down. Upon the film’s release in 2012, protests erupted in several countries, but had subsided somewhat with the arrest of the filmmaker, Nakoula Basseley Nakoula.

Read more on CNN.


Google+ adds photo editing features across Android devices

Earlier this week, Google updated its Google+ application for Android, with several new features specific to photos. Photos can now be edited starting on one device, and finished across another if progress is incomplete, with all edits being saved in the cloud. In addition, new edit and filter options have been added. Finally, a total library photo view has been added where users can see every single one of their photos by swiping or scrolling through.

More information on The Next Web.

The week in social: Facebook buys WhatsApp, BBM stickers, and Zipline

Monday, February 24th, 2014

Facebook potentially testing YouTube subscribe buttons

Earlier this week, Facebook users started to see links to subscribe to the YouTube channel where a video was posted from, next to the other engagement columns such as “like” and “comment”. There is speculation that this is added when someone shares a YouTube video directly to Facebook, and no other means, such as directly pasting the video link into a status update, appear to recreate the effect. Similar features are currently not available on Google+ or YouTube, and it remains to be seen if this will become an officially announced feature, and the reasoning behind its inception.

More information on All Facebook.


PopTip releases Instagram analytics tool Zipline

The social media language monitoring startup PopTip has launched a new analytics platform for Instagram, that allows brands to choose specific keywords and track conversation that is happening on the photo-sharing social network. Already at work for Nike, PopTip cofounder Kelsey Falter said, “We have analysis going on Twitter and Instagram on Nike right now, and it turns out that there is 4x the volume of Nike mentions on Instagram than on Twitter, and that’s powerful information for Nike to have.” PopTip originally started out as a polling tool that would allow brands to ask tagged questions on social networks, but since has evolved to offer Zipline, at a cost of $6,500 per month to interested brands.

Read more on TechCrunch.


Chrome plugin adds photo editing to Facebook

A new photo-editing plugin for Google Chrome, called Photon, allows users to add photo filters similar to that offered on Instagram directly to their uploaded Facebook photos. The plugin is free on the Chrome Web Store, and offers a number of different features, among these including; adding edit and download buttons to photos, advanced editing functions, and uploading or editing photos directly through a new tab in Chrome.

Read more on All Facebook.


WhatsApp acquired by Facebook for $16 billion

In a press release issued earlier this week, Facebook announced that it would be buying WhatsApp for a total of $16 billion, four of which will be in cash, and $12 of which will be in Facebook stock. In addition, the agreement will provide $3 billion to WhatsApp’s founders and select employees that will vest over a period of four years after closing of the deal. Facebook has bought WhatsApp after reported failed acquisitions of other messaging services such as Snapchat. WhatsApp will continue to operate as an independent application, and the co-founder and CEO, Jan Koum, will join Facebook’s board of directors.

Read more on Facebook Newsroom.


Twitter transforms Twitter Ads API

Earlier this week, Twitter unveiled a rebrand and a new website for its Twitter Ads API, introducing it as the Marketing Platform Program. The original purpose of the Twitter Ads API was to create partnerships that would allow marketers to improve their Twitter Ads programs. The new Marketing Platform Program combines the original Twitter Ads API with partners in measurement and targeting, and the partners help clients improve direct response, branding, and live initiatives, according to a blog post from Twitter.

More information on Twitter Blog.


Facebook launches core audiences for advertising

Earlier this week, Facebook launched Core Audiences for targeting across all of its advertising products. This new option will allow advertisers to target how ads are served based on location, demographics, interests, and behaviors. In addition, Facebook is adding to the Ads Create Tool, and Partner Categories is chief among these new features, which was once only available through use of the Power Editor, an advanced ad building tool on Facebook. Partner Categories allow advertisers to build targets with respect to offline actions.

Read more on Sprout Social.


YouTube updates playlists and user interface

YouTube has started introducing changes to its interface that will allow users to more easily navigate the creation of playlists on the video-sharing social network. When videos are added to playlists, they can now be viewed directly within the guide screen, either from videos that a user has added to a playlist, or a playlist from another channel. The YouTube web app also now has an appearance that falls in line with its mobile apps, with center-aligned content. Also added is a new homepage design, that has a drop-down menu next to the YouTube logo that lets users view their playlists and subscriptions.

More information on The Next Web.


LinkedIn publishing now open to all users

As LinkedIn moves to position itself from a professional social network, to an overarching business information site, it is now opening its publishing platform to all users. Previously, only “influencers” have been given the ability to write blog posts and publish other specific content, but now any update published by a user will be visible on their public facing profile, and users can follow others, even if they are not in the same network. It is possible that popular or highly regarded content from general users can be featured on other locations of the site by LinkedIn editors.

Read more on Venture Beat.


Sunnybrook Hospital live tweets open heart surgery

Earlier this week, it was announced that Sunnybrook Hospital, located in Canada, would be live-tweeting an open heart surgery for a 57 year-old with coronary artery disease. A first for a Canadian hospital, the updates included pictures and the hashtag #SBheart. Other surgeries have been live-tweeted before, such as a knee surgery at the Ohio State University Medical Center in 2011, and others, including Sunnybrook have taken place since.

More information on Media Bistro.


Blackberry adds store and stickers to BBM

BBM, the popular messaging app from Blackberry, is adding stickers and a virtual store to its messaging app, which is seen as a move to keep up with other messaging apps in an already crowded marketplace. Stickers, which function as large emoticons with special looks and/or animation, are popular on messaging apps for the amount of personalization they allow a user to add to a message. The new BBM Shop will let users buy stickers, and additionally give them access to free collections, such as BBM Emoticons. Blackberry will also be partnering with other companies to bring branded stickers to the Shop.

Read more on Blackberry Blog.


BitStrips raises $15 million in funding

BitStrips, the popular application for making personalized comic strips that are often shared on social networks, is repotedly raising $15 million of series B funding. Although details of the deal are not confirmed, if it does go through, this would total $18 million in funding for the Toronto-based startup. Within two weeks of launching back in October of 2013, it was the number 1 free application on the iOS app store.

More information on TechCrunch.


WhatsApp founder apologizes for service outage

Shortly after Facebook announced the acquisition of messaging service WhatsApp, the application had its “longest and biggest outage in years”, as summarized by co-founder and CEO Jan Koum. WhatsApp was down for a total of approximately four hours, and Koum publicly apologized, and offered details on what caused the outage, apparently a faulty network router, that caused a cascading failure, and ultimately causing the service to crash. Koum has stated that after this outage, steps would be taken to prevent a similar problem from occurring again. The downtime has received significantly more coverage than it might have due to the high-profile nature of its acquisition earlier this week.

More information on The Verge.

The week in social: Facebook genders, BitTorrent Live, and Tapiture

Sunday, February 16th, 2014

Hackers can use Snapchat to disable iPhones

A new security vulnerability recently discovered by a security researcher reportedly allows hackers to temporarily freeze the operation of iPhones via denial of service. The researcher, Jaime Sanchez, who works for Telefonica in Spain, discovered the hack with another researcher, which allows a single user account to send thousands of messages at once, clogging the service, and ultimately disabling the device that was sending them. The way the vulnerability was discovered was through the token creation system for messages. Whenever a message is created, a token is created to verify the sender’s identity, but the hack allows old tokens to be recreated so more messages can be sent at once. It remains to be seen how Snapchat will respond to this issue.

More information on LA Times.


Lithium Technologies to acquire Klout

Klout, the social presence scoring startup, is potentially going to be sold to Lithium Technologies, a social customer service company. Although there are no official details on the deal, current speculation notes that the deal is signed and not closed, and that the acquisition price could be $100 million or more. Klout has raised several rounds of capital, the most recent of which was $30 million for round C two years ago, and an overall total of $40 million, while Lithium Technologies has raised a total of $150 million in funding overall. Timing and additional details remain to be seen.

Read more on Re/code.


Twitter testing profile redesign

As it is common for Twitter to quietly test new features and tweaks to its micro-blogging service, a new profile look and feel has been discovered for some users. Earlier this week, a new profile design was discovered by Mashable editor Matt Petronzio that moves the profile photo to the left of the screen, and increases the size of the photo. In addition, the feed itself has been completely overhauled, with content no longer being displayed in a vertical feed, and more focus on visual content. There is currently no official comment on the changes, or timing on when they will be rolled out.

More information on Mashable.


Tapiture raises $2.25 million

Social sharing and commerce site Tapiture, previously touted as the “Pinterest for Men”, has raised $2.25 million in seed funding, a combination of capital and a convertible note. Investing was led by JUMP Investors, but also included sports figures and celebrities including Hilary Swank and Dwight Howard. The company is now focusing on social sharing and purchasing, being called a place to “access millions of your favorite things”. The site currently has 3 million unique monthly visitors, and 100 million page views per month. Social commerce has been a quickly emerging trend and it remains to be seen how Tapiture will contribute to this.

Read more on TechCrunch.


BlackBerry updates BBM for Android and iOS

Earlier this week, Blackberry updated BBM with several new features that have been hotly anticipated. Among these include BBM voice, which lets users make voice calls of WiFi or through use of their cellular data plan. BBM Channels have also been added, which function similar to chat room where users can talk about specific topics of interest. Dropbox integration has also been added to make file sharing on the mobile messaging service easier. Lastly, some minor features that have been added include new emoticons, larger group maximum for messages, and picture or audio clip sharing through messages.

More information on BlackBerry Blog.


BitTorrent launching live video streaming app

As an extension to BitTorrent Live, the file-download network is soon introducing a mobile application. BitTorrent Live allows users to live stream video not through a single company’s servers, but through peer-to-peer connections, where a broadcaster sends their feed to several viewers, who in turn send it to several more, sharing the bandwidth load. The mobile application, while announced, does not have many confirmed details as of yet, including which platforms it will be available on, how how rich the feature set will be. BitTorrent Live is currently in Beta, and the mobile application will launch in Alpha when it arrives.

Read more on The Verge.


Twitter trends now available in 50 more locations

Twitter trends, already available in many regions including a US and Worldwide view, are now becoming available in 50 specific territories. New locations include countries in the Middle East as well as some of their specific cities, and Twitter has stated that more countries will be added future as they look to expand the reach of trends globally.

More information on Twitter Blog.


Facebook cuts mobile ad partners

Facebook has removed two companies from its mobile advertising measurement program, HasOffers, and Kontagent, for violating policies regarding data retention and data disclosure. The specific offenses the two companies committed included holding onto data longer than their contracts would allow them to, and not having their app developer advertisers notify users of data collection. The result for the two companies is that they will no longer be able to add new advertisers or provide Facebook measurement. Facebook is increasingly taking its mobile ad business more seriously as mobile ad revenue has surpassed that of desktop, for the first time ever in Q4.

More information on Adexchanger.


Facebook offers gender identity option to users

As Facebook pushes users to show their true identities on the social network, a new feature for “custom gender” has been added to user profiles, and users who do not identify with male or female are allowed to choose a neutral gender identity. This feature is currently available for English-speaking users in the United states and was announced on Facebook’s diversity page. Currently there are no figures available on how many users have identified themselves using these new options.

More information on Facebook Diversity Page.


LinkedIn study shows 81% of small business uses social media

A new study completed by LinkedIn shows that over 81% of small businesses are using social media as at least a part of their forward-going growth strategies. In addition, 94% of those are using it for specifically marketing purposes. The results from this story bring conclusions on several fronts, notably not only for businesses themselves, but for social networks that provide advertising, such as Facebook and Twitter. The overall study was carried out in a partnership between LinkedIn and TNS, from a survey of almost 1,000 companies in the United States and Canada.

More information on Mashable.


HLN seeks to become TV home for social generation

As part of an overall rebranding for the HLN TV network, news the network reports going forward will be curated from social platforms and blogs, in an attempt to be involved in the conversation as opposed to just reporting it, according to president Albie Hecht. To kickoff its focus on social sharing, a new show premiered earlier this week, called “RightThisMinute”, focusing on viral videos from across the web, and their background stories. Previously known as a traditional cable news network, it remains to be seen how the new social storytelling format of the network will be perceived.

Read more on Lost Remote.


GIFs added to Pinterest on mobile

Earlier this week, Pinterest added GIFs to its mobile apps. The new feature was created during a “Make-a-thon”, an all-night event where new features for Pinterest are created and tested. The feature was build in an overnight session and launched on the web at first, with parallel development taking place for mobile. GIFs on mobile had been a high-demand request from Pinterest users who wanted to save them to their profiles, and for now on mobile, they are available through Android and iOS applications.

More information on Pinterest Engineering Blog.