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Twitter Takes It on the Chin
April 30, 2015
Twitter's stock took a hit when investors got an early look at first quarter earnings, leaked just ahead of closing time on Tuesday, ahead of the company's Wednesday announcement. Shares plummeted about 18 percent from Tuesday's opening price of $51.84. The slide continued on Wednesday, with the loss of a couple more percentage points, and the share price hovered near that level through Thursday.
YouTube Marks 10 Years of Nondisruptive Revolution
April 23, 2015
YouTube on Thursday celebrated its first full decade in business. It was 10 years ago to the day that cofounder Jawed Karim uploaded the site's first video. It was a humble beginning: a 19-second clip of elephants, with Karim declaring that the pachyderms have "really, really long trunks." In fairness, it may have been in keeping with other notable firsts in technology.
LinkedIn Links Up With Lynda
April 9, 2015
LinkedIn on Thursday announced its intent to complete the acquisition of online business school Lynda.com by the close of 2015's second quarter. The deal, about 52 percent cash and 48 percent stock, is valued at around $1.5 billion. The terms are subject to adjustments, however, and there was still plenty of time left to make them when the agreement was announced.
Facebook Invites App Devs to Join in Messenger Family Planning
March 27, 2015
Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg this week told an audience at the F8 conference for Facebook developers that the company's future lies in its family of apps and in giving the network's members the ability to share what they want, where they want. "We're building this family so we can offer unique, world-class experiences for all of the ways that people want to share," Zuckerberg said.
Twitter's Periscope Allows Live Stream Replays
March 26, 2015
Live streaming from mobile devices has been having a rebirth of sorts with the proliferation of 4G, the continued rise of smart devices and the quickening pace of the demise of feature phones. Twitter has been seeking its own rebirth, and it's wagering that its renaissance will be influenced largely by Periscope, a new live-streaming app that just surfaced.
Facebook Aims to Turn Social Media Into 'the' Media
March 24, 2015
Facebook reportedly has been talking with multiple news organizations about hosting their content on its network, rather than linking to their websites. No deal has been finalized, but The New York Times, BuzzFeed and National Geographic are among its first likely partners. They may be interested in negotiating with Facebook now because they understand change is inevitable.
New Facebook Marketing Tool Chews Up Data, Spits It Out
March 17, 2015
Facebook has launched Topic Data, a new service that reveals to advertisers the subjects users discuss, the products they use, and the activities they follow. Marketers will be able to sift through data compilations of what users say about events, brands, subjects and activities. Data on all of Facebook's 1.3 billion users will be used -- anonymized and aggregated to protect their identities.
Facebook Talks Tough About Online Harassment
March 17, 2015
Facebook on Monday issued a new set of community standards, including provisions designed to clamp down on revenge porn, bullying, threats and other forms of online harassment. Facebook will remove content that appears to purposefully target private individuals with the intent of degrading or shaming them, or that threatens or promotes sexual violence or exploitation.
Twitter Tries, Tries Again to Reduce Abuse
March 13, 2015
Twitter this week updated its rules to combat online abuse and revenge porn, in the wake of continuing outrage among netizens. The most significant change is a new statement that users may not post intimate photos or videos that were taken or distributed without the subject's consent. Sounds good, but like last month's update, it's more bark than bite.
Private, Public Teamwork Needed to Fight ISIS on Twitter: Report
March 9, 2015
Social media firms should team up with the U.S. government to work out appropriate responses to extremism on their sites, recommends a Brookings Institution report. J.M. Berger and Jonathon Morgan last year launched a study to define and describe the population of ISIS supporters on Twitter. They found that ISIS ramped up efforts on Twitter following the suspension of many supporters' accounts.
Nextdoor Snags $110M for Community-Building Efforts
March 5, 2015
Nextdoor on Wednesday announced it has received $110 million in venture capital to grow its neighborhood-based network of residents and vendors. Nextdoor plans to use the money to develop additional ways for members to benefit from the recommendations shared on the social network. "People don't know their neighbors -- but we are changing that," said spokesperson Jennifer Burke.
Twitter's New Safety Rules: Hot Diggity or Hot Air?
March 3, 2015
Twitter has announced actions to further protect users of its network -- but it left them vague. The company is rolling out unspecified improvements to its reporting process for content issues including impersonation, self-harm, and the sharing of private and confidential information, aka "doxing." It's also beginning to add new enforcement actions for use against accounts that violate its rules.
Facebook Launches ThreatExchange to Stymie Cybercrime
February 13, 2015
"Threat researchers do already share this data manually," Jeremy Demar, director of threat research at Damballa, told TechNewsWorld. "The value in systems like this isn't the ability to share raw intelligence [it's the] structured data that allows for the information to be accessed quickly and easily by the users." ThreatExchange is based on Facebook's ThreatData threat analysis framework.
Facebook Lets Members Prepare for the Digital Beyond
February 13, 2015
Facebook on Thursday announced a new feature for members who want to plan for their passing into the digital beyond. The feature allows Facebook members to appoint a "legacy contact" to administer their account when they die. Legacy contacts will, among other powers, have the authority to download an archive of the deceased member's public information, including photos, posts and profile information.
Promoted Tweets Fly the Coop
February 4, 2015
With Wall Street breathing down its neck for growth, Twitter on Tuesday launched a new advertising initiative that aims to boost revenues and add to its more than 284 million members. The initiative aims to expand the reach of "Promoted Tweets" on Twitter. Promoted Tweets are ads that Twitter inserts into its members timelines. Now, the company wants them to be seen elsewhere, too.
Twitter Adds Cliques and Flicks
January 28, 2015
Twitter on Tuesday announced two new offerings that could bolster its efforts to compete with Facebook. The new group functionality will let them direct message up to 20 members of a group simultaneously. They also will be able to shoot, edit and share video from within Twitter's mobile app. Twitter will be rolling out the new features in the coming weeks.
Gadget Ogling: A New Galaxy, Awesome Audio, and One Ring That Doesn't Rule
January 17, 2015
Welcome to Gadget Dreams and Nightmares, the column that takes freshly announced gadgets out for a hypothetical test run, rendering judgement long before they hit the shelves. In the offing this week: Samsung's latest mid-range smartphone, a gesture-based ring, shiny headphones and much more. Samsung has another mid-range smartphone in the Galaxy A7.
Facebook Adds Amber Alerts for Missing Kids
January 14, 2015
Facebook on Tuesday announced that it has begun a new effort to help find missing children by incorporating Amber Alerts into the news feeds of its 185 million U.S. users. Through the effort, which is part of a partnership with the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children, the alerts are sent only to users in targeted search areas. They're shown on both desktop and mobile devices.
Writers Worldwide Chilled by Government Surveillance
January 6, 2015
Concern over government surveillance has been so heightened by confidential information leaked by former intelligence hand Edward Snowden that writers in free countries are as worried as those in autocratic nations, according to a new report. Three-quarters of writers in countries classified as "free" told researchers they were "worried" or "somewhat worried" about surveillance.
Experts Forecast the End of Privacy as We Know It
December 18, 2014
Privacy's future appears muddy at best, judging from a survey released Thursday by the Pew Research Center and Elon University's Imagining the Internet Center. More than 2,500 Internet experts and analysts were narrowly divided on whether policy makers and technology innovators would create a secure, popularly accepted and trusted privacy-rights infrastructure by 2025.
Facebook Search Tool Finds Posts in a Haystack
December 9, 2014
Facebook has made it possible for users to perform keyword searches for individual posts on the social network. "With a quick search, you can get back to a fun video from your graduation, a news article you've been meaning to read, or photos from your friend's wedding last summer," said Tom Stocky, Facebook's vice president of search. Users still have the option of using search phrases as well.
Grooveshark Tries a Different Tack
December 9, 2014
Grooveshark on Monday confirmed that it will launch a new mobile app that allows subscribers to chat while listening to user-created music stations. Dubbed "Broadcasts," the new app will debut next month, offering an ad-free social radio listening experience on both Android and iOS. Stations will be "created by people rather than by algorithms," said spokesperson James Pearson.
Google Sets Its Sights on the Under-12 Set
December 8, 2014
Google soon will begin targeting kids 12 and under with tailored versions of its products, likely including its search functionality, along with offerings such as YouTube and Chrome. The company is pushing to change make its products fun and safe for children, Pavni Diwanji, Google vice president of engineering, said last week. The new initiative reportedly will begin next year.
Gadget Ogling: Seeing E-Ink Everywhere, Breathing Easy and Brewing Beer
December 6, 2014
Welcome, dear readers, and set aside that last leftover-turkey sandwich for a short while as we explore the murky landscape of freshly announced gadgets. On the menu in our post-Thanksgiving edition are a pair of e-ink smart devices, wearables with a health focus, an intelligent home brewing kit, a kitschy kitchen product, and perhaps the most useless item we've included in this column to date.

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