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Facebook’s data and Mega’s suspicious aims: top tech stories you should read

If you’ve ever run a university society, or looked after your employees salaries, you’ll know that keeping tabs on more than a handful of people’s data can be a nightmare. Now imagine having to keep track of a billion people. That’s what the data brains behind Facebook have to deal with. Mind-boggling right?

Creating a video with Twitter-owned Vine seems like a much more relaxing idea…until a massive news event happens right in front of you. Suddenly you’re not so much a glorified gif artist as an on-the-spot reporter. The way things are going there’s also a strong chance that a large number of those videos will be coming from Brazil, if current social trends are anything to by.

Intrigued? Find out more in our round up of stories from around the web, where you’ll also get a behind-the-scenes look at Ubuntu’s new smartphone and find out why Kim Dotcom’s Mega might not be the pirate safe-haven he’s playing it up to be.

Meet the data brains behind the rise of Facebook

With a billion monthly active users who are each greeted with a personalised home page, notifications and messages every time they log into the service, it’s no wonder that what is going on behind Facebook’s blue and white façade is quite complicated — and that the team runs into problems because the site is growing exponentially. Wired takes a look at the infrastructure and technology running behind the scenes to make the social network run in real-time and the people who helped construct the systems that make it happen.

Pirates beware: Kim Dotcom’s Mega isn’t the safe haven he says it is

Hmm. Megaupload — the site that was shut down by the feds and landed its owner Kim Dotcom in trouble for copyright infringement — is no more, but he has launched a new project: Mega. Is it just another front for a pirate-friendly service, or is a legitimate cloud storage option for the DropBox-weary? If it is, why is the lowest paid option for a giant 500GB a month — way more than what your average user would need? And why did they decide to use an encryption method which may offer them plausible deniability if the files turn out to be pirated?

Brazil: the social media capital of the universe

With China’s exploding online economy largely wrapped up behind the Great Firewall, there is another emerging market that’s getting a lot of attention recently: Brazil. If you look at all the stats, you’ll see why. The amount of time the country spends on social media is outstripping the global average, Twitter has set up a local office, regional YouTube hits are becoming global ones, and the hyper-social culture is driving serious online chatter.

Watch as Vine becomes the next great news-gathering tool

It’s still early days for Twitter’s Vine app, but the gif/video clip maker is already gaining users and a reputation for pornography. But it could be a great tool for journalists. Huh? Well, maybe. It hasn’t really been used for that purpose yet, but the nature of the platform makes it easy to capture authentic shots of life and share them in real-time. But we may have to wait for the next protest or disaster to really see Vine in action as a citizen journalism tool.

The inside story of Ubuntu’s gesture-centric smartphone

No buttons. Just touch. Ubuntu’s new phones are definitely going to make an impression, changing how you navigate around. This interview with Canonical’s team delves into the Japanese design inspiration, ideas about efficiency and how steep of a learning curve users will experience with the future devices.

Author | Lauren Granger

Lauren Granger
While studying towards her Bachelor of Journalism degree at Rhodes University, Lauren gave into her fascination with everything digital. As she was more interested in creeping tech sites and Twitter than she was in picking up one of those printed things called 'newspapers', she decided to specialise in... More

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