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Social

  • #SocialMediaBlackOut ironically trends on Twitter in South Africa

    Yesterday we wrote about #SocialMediaBlackOut -- a hashtag that trended on South Africa's Twitter timeline for much of the week. Today it culminate in a 24-hour boycott of all social media activities. But judging by my timeline, some users aren't playing ball. The hashtag, which appeared on Monday as a spinoff of #DataMustFall -- aims to lurch people into taking action against steep data prices in South Africa. As a campaign, the blackout centres on two notions. Firstly, if users refrain from purchasing data, it affects telecommunication companies' bottom line. Secondly, not camping on social media for a day renders social...

  • #SocialMediaBlackOut: South Africa, here’s everything you need to know

    If you were scrolling through your Twitter timeline Monday, you might've noticed the hashtag #SocialMediaBlackOut out the corner of your eye. Don't worry though. It isn't some death knell for Twitter, Facebook and Instagram -- they're probably still function as per normal come Wednesday. But there might be considerably fewer users from South Africa on them if the hashtag's primary narrative is to be believed. What is #SocialMediaBlackOut? The thought of one might strike fear into amateur breakfast photographers, but the content isn't the reason for the campaign. It's largely how South Africans access said content. #SocialMediaBlackOut can be seen as a spinoff...

  • YouTube updates Restricted Mode to include LGBTQ content

    YouTube has taken advantage of Pride Month to update its Restricted Mode policies that back in March saw innocent LGBTQ content blocked. The company acknowledged that this mode, intended for schools and libraries, was unfairly targeting videos featuring the likes of same-sex kisses at weddings or "personal accounts of difficult events". ALL 3 OF MY RECENT VIDEOS (ABOUT ME BEING TRANS) ARE GONE AFTER YOU TURN ON HE AGE RESTRICTION FILTER I'M SO UPSET. 😡 https://t.co/IpVnL7zfph — Seaine (@SeaineLove) March 17, 2017 YouTube CEO Susan Wojcicki asserts that she has personally spoken to teens and creators alike on the importance of sharing this content, and...

  • 5 oddly fascinating and serene YouTube food channels

    No matter your hobby or obsession, you're bound to find a YouTube channel that caters to you. Me? I like ASMR and food. But what happens when you combine the two of them? Why, you might get these strangely fascinating and maybe even relaxing YouTube food channels. Food Surgeon One of the more popular channels on the list, the Food Surgeon, as the name implies, conducts surgery on... food. These procedures include transferring the insides of a peanut butter cup onto an Oreo, extracting seeds off a strawberry (and injecting Nutella into said fruit) and repairing a clogged liquorice artery. All of these videos...

  • Katy Perry hits 100m Twitter followers, but are they all human?

    It's taken a while, but a Twitter user has finally broken the 100-million followers barrier. And no, it's not Justin Bieber, Donald Trump or the Pope. It's Katy Perry. The recording artist, known for hits like Kissed A Girl and most recently Swish Swish, cracked the previously uncharted milestone this past weekend. It's been a long time coming though. Perry gained around 1.8-million followers in May 2017 alone, largely thanks to Backpack Kid no doubt. That swathe of new minions helped the star to break the 100-million ceiling, beating second placed Justin Bieber (96.8-million followers) and third placed Barack Obama (90.9-million) in...

  • YouTuber Austin Jones admits to soliciting child pornography from fans

    YouTuber Austin Jones, known for his acapella scene covers, has admitted to soliciting sexually explicit videos from underage fans. The 24-year-old has been released from a Chicago federal court on a US$100 000 bond. He has been ordered to stay in his mother's home at all times until his trial. According to a document released by CBS Chicago, Jones admitted to using Facebook to engage in sexually explicit conversations with some of his followers. "He directed them to make videos of themselves dancing in a sexually explicit way and instructed them on what to wear, say, and do in the videos, including...

  • Here’s how Facebook and Google plan to fight terrorism

    Both Facebook and Google have revealed how they are countering terrorist activity on their respective blogs this past week. These posts come after UK Prime Minister Theresa May criticised the internet for providing a safe space for terrorists to communicate -- and after Facebook itself dodged a lawsuit that claimed it was the reason Palestinian terrorists were able to kill numerous Israelis. Facebook revealed it is looking specifically at how artificial and human intelligence can work together, as well as partnering with other companies, NGOs and governments to bring an end to terror. The company is working on software that identifies when a user...

  • Twitter’s huge UI update ditches old reply button, adds realtime stats

    Twitter has today unveiled its brand new user interface for mobile devices and desktop. The subtle update comes after the company refreshed its brand and mission statement back in July 2016. So fresh. So clean. So live. Check out our new look. 👀👇https://t.co/ClWbwi8CEH pic.twitter.com/nR27POQkEi — Twitter (@Twitter) June 15, 2017 "Today, with lots of feedback and ideas from you, we’re refreshing our product too and making it feel lighter, faster, and easier to use. We listened closely and kept what you love. And for the things you didn’t, we took a new approach to fix and make better," notes Grace Kim, Twitter's VP of...

  • Donald Trump’s birthday on Twitter is surreal hell

    If you were interested in reading the US President's statements on a shooting involving US Congressmen yesterday, chances are you went to Twitter first. Of course, you likely got just what you'd expected: a half-hearted tweet by Donald Trump that promised only 'thoughts and prayers' followed by a barrage of partisan views chucking useless words at a brick wall. This activity -- of checking, of regretting, of burying your phone beside an old oak tree -- has become near routine. It's like a recurring nightmare or a stint in a hell -- except this time, Satan has upped the ante. Because yesterday...

  • Twitter cracks down on bots, but not ‘fake news’

    Twitter has announced that it is deepening its efforts to eradicate bots on its platform, but is letting its users figure out what is or isn't "fake news." The company is expanding its team and resources when it comes to spam so that bots can no longer clutter the search feature or manipulate trending topics. It is also building new tools and processes to help counter their efforts. VP of Public Policy Colin Crowell writes that it is necessary to detect "spammy behaviours" at the source. This includes looking for accounts who post numerous tweets at once. Accounts that are put under investigation have their visibility reduced, and are...

  • JK Rowling’s Twitter persona is weirdly fake

    In 2015, Noma Dumezweni was cast as Hermione in the then-upcoming Cursed Child. Harry Potter fans, who had long been asserting that black Hermione made more narrative sense, were ecstatic. So, too, it seemed was JK Rowling. Canon: brown eyes, frizzy hair and very clever. White skin was never specified. Rowling loves black Hermione 😘 https://t.co/5fKX4InjTH — J.K. Rowling (@jk_rowling) December 21, 2015 The Twitterverse went crazy, retweeting Rowling 77 000 times, lauding the author for her progressive stance. But for many, the tweet didn't make sense. She was taking credit for being progressive without acknowledging where she went wrong in the first...

  • Cape Town Railway Station trends on Twitter after riot, train fire

    Update #2, 10.40pm: Cape Town's Metrorail service again took to Twitter suggesting that it cannot at present confirm how the train fire will affect Tuesday's commute. "Too early to predict service changes. MorningPeak service advisory at 04:30 tomorrow morning," it wrote. Too early to predict service changes. MorningPeak service advisory at 04:30 tomorrow morning — Metrorail W/Cape (@CapeTownTrains) June 12, 2017 Update #1, 10pm: Cape Town's Metrorail service has now issued an update via the Metrorail Western Cape Twitter account. "Problems with Metrorail electrical power feeds were responsible for major delays experienced this afternoon," reads the statement. "Teams if technicians are currently working across the...

  • Winter in the Western Cape: Instagram laced with weekend snow pictures

    Last week's cold front brought some extreme weather to South Africa's Western Cape. Along with driving rain and gale-force winds in Cape Town, it also drove hot berg winds to the Garden Route, which fuelled the catastrophic Knysna fire. While the latter is now largely under control, there was another weather phenomenon that some took the time to capture with their smartphones and upload online -- snow. People are uploading their weekend snow adventure pictures in the Western Cape on Instagram The Western Cape's higher peaks this weekend -- including the Matroosberg, the Hottentots-Holland and the Hex River Mountains -- were laced...

  • Corbyn vs May vs Twitter: UK elects a hung parliament, the internet reacts

    Yesterday, the United Kingdom voted in their snap election called for by Prime Minister Theresa May. May, who was hoping to increase her Conservative Party's majority in the House of Commons, has seen the opposite take effect and the UK are now looking at a hung parliament. Their biggest opposition, the Labour Party, has gained 29 seats, assuring that the Conservatives do not have a house majority despite their lead. This could lead to May's resignation. Naturally, the liberal-leaning Twittersphere took to this news quite well. When the Brexit clock is ticking, you blow £143000000 of taxpayer money on a snap election after years of austerity,...

  • #KnysnaFire: locals turn to Facebook, WhatsApp for help

    Social media, for all its pitfalls and swathe of untruths, is seemingly the best way to keep abreast of new information emanating from a disaster. Take the #CapeStorm and more recently the #KnysnaFire for instance. Read more: Memeburn's ongoing coverage for the Cape Town storm and Knysna Fire The fire, which ravaged areas around the town of 70 000 people, is now heading towards Plettenberg Bay, the Eden District Municipality announced on a Facebook post Thursday morning. "Knysna looks much better, but our new high risk area would be the Bitou area. Currently people in Harkerville , portion of Kranshoek and by...