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WhatsApp Scraps Fee Model
January 18, 2016
WhatsApp on Monday announced that it would drop the annual subscription fee and allow people to use the service for free. Company founder Jan Koum announced the move at the DLD Conference in Munich. While more than 900 million people worldwide use WhatsApp to stay in touch with family and friends, the $1-a-year subscription fee could be a barrier to further growth, he said.
Foursquare Shifts Gears
January 16, 2016
Foursquare cofounder Dennis Crowley has assumed a new executive role, and the company has raised $45 million in a new round of funding led by Union Square Ventures. Crowley has moved from his perch as CEO into the newly created position of executive chairman, which will let him focus on developing new products. Jeff Glueck, who served as COO for the past year, has taken the CEO helm.
Periscope's Live Streams Now Pop Up in Tweets
January 13, 2016
Periscope on Tuesday announced integration with Twitter, allowing users to view its live-stream broadcasts directly in the Twitter iOS app. Previously, Periscope broadcasters could share only links to their videocasts in tweets. Now they can embed video directly into tweets, and the content can be set to autoplay. Periscope has more than 20 million user accounts, according to CEO Kayvon Beykpour.
Administration, Silicon Valley Bigs Meet to Strategize on ISIS
January 13, 2016
Obama administration officials last week met with senior executives from several leading Silicon Valley firms in a summit on how to combat the proliferation of terrorist communications on social media networks. Attorney General Loretta Lynch, FBI Director James Comey, and John Carlin, assistant attorney general for national security, represented the DoJ.
Facebook Messenger Dashes Past 800 Million User Mark
January 11, 2016
Facebook last week announced that its Messenger app had reached the 800 million monthly user milestone. Messenger lets users send text messages, stickers, photos, videos, voice clips, GIFs, their location and money. It's a standalone app, so one doesn't have to be a Facebook member to use it, and it's cross-platform, running on smartphones, tablets and desktops.
The EPA, Social Media and Politics
January 6, 2016
Before the Internet, messages were spread by television and newspaper ads and highway billboards. Today that is done through social media. Virtually everyone knows about it, and many people use it. Does it make any sense that a U.S. government agency could violate any laws for using social media to carry out its mission? That doesn't make sense to me.
Facebook Takes On Yelp, Angie's List
January 2, 2016
Facebook recently launched a service for members that provides recommendations and ratings on shops and service providers, a move that puts it in direct competition with Yelp. The tool provides star ratings on local service providers, including doctors, veterinarians and event planners. Users can leave references that detail their experiences with merchants or service providers.
Zuckerberg Defends Downsized Internet for Developing World
December 29, 2015
Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg on Monday defended his company's downsized version of the Internet, called "Free Basics," which is offered in developing nations around the world. "In every society, there are certain basic services that are so important for people's wellbeing that we expect everyone to be able to access them freely," he said, citing public libraries, hospitals and schools as examples.
All Security Pros Want for Christmas: Smarter Users, Decoy Networks
December 24, 2015
People like to see gifts from their wish lists under the Christmas tree, and security pros are no exception. Here are things some cyberwarriors would like old St. Nick to deliver to them. "It's probably never going to happen, but it would be fantastic to get smarter users who are less susceptible to social engineering," said Proofpoint's Ryan Kalember.
Forecasting 2016
December 23, 2015
My favorite Boston FM radio DJ was Charles Laquidara, who would end his show with the words, "If the creek don't rise, if the good Lord's willing, if there ain't no meltdown, we'll do it all over again tomorrow right here on The Biiiiig Mattress!" It impressed me that even one day out, he'd caveat his prediction of being there tomorrow. Unlike my hero, I will attempt to forecast the year ahead.
CRM Predictions: Spotting the Critical Connections
December 22, 2015
At this time of the year, there's a clamoring among the business publishing class for predictions. That is partly because prediction stories are considered easy to write, and once they're done the staff can go celebrate the holidays while their publication continues to deliver content. However, having written a lot of prediction stories in the past, I can tell you that they are not easy to write.
2015: Looking Back at an Amazing Year
December 21, 2015
I'm kind of surprised it took us so long to figure out that an iPod-like product with a Siri-like voice interface would be a massive hit in the home. As I write this, the numbers suggest the breakout product this holiday is the Amazon Echo. It once again showcases that if you create something that is plug-and-play easy and does at least one thing folks want to do well, it will be a hit.
Google, Facebook and Twitter Agree to Pull Hate Speech in Germany
December 18, 2015
Germany on Tuesday announced that Google's YouTube, Facebook and Twitter have agreed to its demands to remove hate speech appearing on their networks within 24 hours after a removal request has been made. The measures include best practice mechanisms that FSM, a nonprofit association dedicated to the protection of minors, and its members, including Google, have developed.
WhatsApp Brouhaha Breaks Out in Brazil
December 17, 2015
A Brazilian judge on Thursday lifted the ban a different judge had imposed on WhatsApp hours earlier, according to reports. It did not seem reasonable to affect millions of users to penalize Facebook, WhatsApp's owner, for failing to cooperate with judicial rulings, the judge reportedly said, suggesting that the imposition of a larger fine would have been more appropriate.
Twitter Alerts Users to State-Sponsored Cyberattack Threat
December 15, 2015
Twitter last week began warning some of its members that they may be the target of a state-sponsored attack on their accounts. Coldhak posted to its Twitter account a copy of the warning it received. It's among a small number of accounts that state-sponsored actors may be targeting in an attempt to obtain information such as email addresses, IP addresses and phone numbers, Twitter warned.
Yahoo Ropes In Gmail
December 14, 2015
Yahoo last week announced that it had integrated Gmail with the online version of Yahoo Mail, just two months after integrating Outlook.com, Hotmail and AOL Mail in a major redesign. It also has integrated Gmail support in Yahoo Mail for Android 5.1 and Yahoo Mail for iOS 4.0.4. Yahoo Mail for Android 5.1 began rolling out to Google Play last week.
Twitter Sics Promoted Tweets on Logged-Out Users
December 11, 2015
Twitter on Thursday revealed it's testing the expansion of promoted tweets aimed at logged-out users. The company has been searching for ways to monetize the patronage of the roughly 500 million logged-out users per month who hop off Google for a moment to read tweet or two. The glue here is more tweets, more content. The test will enable logged-out users to view promoted tweets.
Zuckerberg Has Muslims' Backs
December 10, 2015
Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg on Wednesday posted a message of support to Muslims in the Facebook community and around the world. Zuckerberg's post stands in stark contrast to presidential candidate Donald Trump's verbal attacks on all Muslims, including his call earlier this week to ban them from entering the United States. Supporters cheered when Trump suggested the ban at a rally.
Feinstein Revives Terrorist Activity Reporting Bill
December 10, 2015
Sen. Dianne Feinstein has reintroduced a bill that would require technology companies to alert law enforcement of certain activities that might be related to terrorist threats. It would mandate that technology companies notify authorities of communications regarding attack planning, recruitment, or distribution of information relating to explosives if they should become aware of that activity.
Social Media Firms Face Quandary Over Terror Prevention
December 8, 2015
Following the recent terrorist attacks in Paris and San Bernardino, Calif., social media companies are coming under increased pressure, both internally and externally, to protect their networks from being used as platforms for operational planning and propaganda. "We should build tools to help de-escalate tensions on social media," wrote Google Executive Chairman Eric Schmidt in an op-ed.
Facebook Lets Ordinary People Try Out Live Video
December 7, 2015
Facebook last week launched a beta of its Live Video service for a small percentage of iPhone users in the United States. Live Video reportedly will be available for the Android platform at a later date. Facebook also has launched a pilot to make it easier to share videos from mobile devices. Some iPhone and Android device users can tap the "What's on your mind?" prompt to trigger a drop-down menu of the options they can share.
Social Media's Troubling Terrorist Infestation
December 4, 2015
For individuals, social networking means sharing small moments and major events in life. For businesses, social media marketing can help build brands. For terrorist groups such as ISIS, the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria, social networks increasingly are the tool of choice for delivering messages of hate and recruiting new members to their cause. ISIS has exploited Twitter to send out propaganda.
Zuckerberg and Chan Pledge Billions to Charity in Love Letter to Baby
December 2, 2015
Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg and wife Priscilla Chan posted an open letter to their baby daughter, Max, explaining why they plan to give away 99 percent of their Facebook shares -- worth about $45 billion currently -- to philanthropic causes. The couple intend to make the donations gradually over the course of their lives. Zuckerberg and Chan seek to advance human potential and promote equality.
How to Go Viral: E-Commerce Marketing Strategies
December 1, 2015
Once you've started your e-commerce business, one of the first steps toward success is to get the word out about your products. With all the different social media and other platforms available, however, effective marketing is more complex than ever. It's important to have a balanced and far-reaching strategy -- one that's just as focused on reaching long-term goals as it is on going viral.
Austrian High Court to Rule on Class Action Status in Facebook Privacy Case
November 27, 2015
The Austrian Supreme Court will consider whether a suit against Facebook Ireland can proceed as a class action. Austrian privacy activist Max Schrems brought the suit to challenge the transfer of private data to Facebook's European subsidiary in Ireland. The Vienna Court of Appeals previously had ruled that the suit could be filed locally, as Schrems' claim fell under local privacy laws there.
The Mystery of the Missing LinkedIn Post Views
November 25, 2015
There's a disconnect between the number of connections a LinkedIn user has and the number of post views attracted, LinkedIn influencer Itai Leshem noticed. Prepping his startup for the launchpad, Leshem dug into LinkedIn's post distribution data for about six hours one day and found a number of LinkedIn influencers with millions of followers who averaged only thousands of post views -- or less.
Facebook Tests Tools to Make Breakups More Bearable
November 24, 2015
Facebook last week announced it was testing tools that will let people manage their post-breakup life on its pages. "Today social media means that you are guaranteed to run into your ex, and he or she might very well be wrapped around a new partner," relationship expert Wendy Walsh said. "Research has shown that those who don't disconnect electronically have a harder time getting over a breakup."
New Tech Targets Enterprise Ransomware
November 23, 2015
SentinelOne last week introduced an addition to its behavioral solution designed to address the problem of ransomware scrambling files on a computer. Ransomware has been a scourge not only for consumers, but for the enterprise, too. The malicious software can be particularly nettlesome for enterprises because they have to protect many endpoints -- phones, tablets, laptops, desktops and servers.
Google+ Tries On New Social Media Identity
November 19, 2015
Google has reintroduced its Google+ social network with major revisions to its look and feel, as part of a last ditch effort to make the struggling site a player in a much deeper and more crowded landscape. The site has undergone a major redesign that takes away some of the bloat that slowed down the navigation process, the company said. Its new focus is to serve as a virtual gathering place.
ISIS Mocks Anonymous' War Declaration
November 18, 2015
ISIS has rebuffed the declaration of cyberwar Anonymous issued. "The #Anonymous hackers threatened in new video release that they will carry out a major hack operation on the Islamic state (idiots)," reads a message posted in a Telegram channel believed to be affiliated with ISIS hackers. "What they gonna hack," it continues. "All what they can do is hacking Alansar twitter accounts, emails etc."
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