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Social networking

  • Facebook launches ‘On this day’ feature to show users posts from the past

    Scrolling down Facebook to find an old post, photo, or shared article can be a nightmare. Even though you can navigate the archive in months and years, things can still get lost in the stream. That is now a thing of the past thanks to Facebook's introduction of a new feature called On This Day. According to the social giant, On This Day is a “new way to look back at things you have shared and posts you’ve been tagged in on Facebook.” On This Day shows users content from this date in the past. Users might, says Facebook, see...

  • Instagram launches Layout, its own photo collage app

    Instagram has launched a standalone app that allows users to combine multiple photos into a single image, dubbed Layout. Instagram described the app as fun, simple and it offers a new way for users to flex their creativity, allowing users to remix up to nine photos at a time. “From imagining mirrored landscapes to sharing multiple moments from an entire adventure, we’ve seen these kinds of visual storytelling happening on Instagram and we’re inspired by it. With Layout, it’s easier than ever to unlock your creativity — and we can’t wait to see what you’ll make next,” the company said...

  • Facebook announces new ad product aimed at expats

    Facebook today announced a new advertising product aimed at people whose current country of residence is different from their home country. According to Facebook, the service is aimed at providing relevant ads to the social network's 92-million or so expats. People in marketing, it says, can now connect with expats living within a given country (like expats living in Brazil) and expats originating from a specific country (like people born in Brazil living abroad). Nationality-specific targeting is currently available for people from Brazil, Indonesia, China, South Africa and India. Read more: Facebook’s had to adapt its plans to...

  • Facebook revamps its community standards, adds more clarity

    There appears to be an increasing tweaking of guidelines by blogging and social platforms to protect their users. Twitter cracked down on trolls, Google’s Blogger on adult content and now Facebook is revamping its Community Standards. Facebook is not changing its guidelines or adding new ones, it is simply providing clarity and examples because according to it, there has been confusion around what they mean by nudity or hate speech. There has always been an imbalance between what Facebook Community Standards says and what it ultimately does. In a joint statement by Monika Bickert, Head of Global Policy Management, and...

  • US, India lead government requests for Facebook user data

    Facebook has released its latest report on government requests for user data and while Western countries are making fewer requests, they still very much lead the way, along with India. Between July and December 2014, the social network received 35 051 requests for government data, up from 34 946 in the first half of the year. Of those, some 14 274 came from various entities within the US government. According to Facebook, the requests concerned 21 731 user accounts and "some data" was provided in 79.14% of cases. A little over half of the requests came in the shape...

  • The US government filed for 95% of all Pinterest user data requests in 2014

    In its annual transparency report, Pinterest claims that the United States government was responsible for the majority of requests for user information in 2014. Of the 41 requests Pinterest received, 39 demands for information in 54 accounts were from the United States. Canada followed with one request for three accounts and Australia with one request for one account. Both Canada and Australia had their requests denied, but Pinterest ceded to 32 American demands, denying only seven from the US. "While the vast majority of requests are straightforward and routine, there are some occasions where we think the nature, scope or...

  • Run a Facebook page? You could be about to lose a whole load of likes

    In a blog post yesterday, Facebook announced that it is updating the way likes on Pages are calculated. The way it will do this is by removing inactive accounts, which are memorialised and voluntarily deactivated accounts. At face value, this might have a few Page managers panicking. A Facebook Page is, after all defined by its likes. The more likes that a page has the more popular it is. But it could actually benefit those managers, especially if they're running a business Page. While a page might look impressive based on the likes it has, if it has memorialised and...

  • Facebook now pretty much ubiquitous among SA students

    If you're a South African university student and don't use Facebook, then you're part of increasingly tiny minority. How tiny? Well according to new research from World Wide Worx and Student Brands, just three percent of students in the country aren't active on the world's most popular social network. According to the study, Facebook is by far the most popular social network among students. Twitter came in second at 67%, followed in third place by YouTube, with 44%. The most recent entrant into the social arena, WeChat, has already reached 22% of the student market. Facebook's lead shouldn't be...

  • Facebook adds new feature for suicide prevention

    On 25 February 2015, Facebook began rolling out a feature update that would aid suicide prevention. The effort was announced at the fifth annual Compassion Research Day at Facebook’s headquarters in Menlo Park, California. The news first broke on the University of Washington website. The tool will allow users to flag concerning content on Facebook and notify it easily. Every now and then users see ‘I cannot take it anymore’, ‘Everything is just too much’ status updates and do not know what to do about it, but now if you spot amongst your friends a status update that is...

  • Twitter to crack down on serial trolls by tracking their phone numbers

    Twitter has announced that it is now going to decisively deal with trolls as part of its long term plan. In the past Twitter was ambiguous about its stance regarding trolls, as evidenced by its inaction around Gamergate. Although there were constant threats of assault, death and rape, Twitter frequently failed to act. And when it did, it was often weeks later with no concrete action. But the general public clearly views trolling as a serious matter which needs to be dealt with. In Sweden, there is even a television show called Trolljägarna (Troll Hunter) which, as the name...

  • Facebook rolls out new settings for users when they die

    A few years ago, a friend’s birthday reminder popped up in my timeline at some point during that day. I had planned to wish him a happy birthday until I remembered that I had been to his funeral a year earlier. People, out of the same forgetfulness, had written all kinds of sweet messages on his wall. This torment is about to end now with Facebook’s new setting. On Facebook, one can now choose a "legacy contact" that has the option of having your account permanently deleted or taking control of some aspects of it after your death. This...

  • Twitter revenue beats estimates but user growth stalls

    Today Twitter has released its financial results for the quarter and fiscal year ending on 31 December 2014. The results are mixed, featuring a growth in profit but a tiny growth in user count, which compared to Facebook’s and Instagram’s should be of some concern. The growth in users increased by a mere 1.4% in the fourth quarter, down from 4.8%, compared to the third quarter in 2014. For the drop in user growth, Anthony Noto, Twitter CFO, hazards possible causes for it. He suggests that the roll out of iOS 8 cost Twitter 4-million monthly active users. Image: Gigaom There are...

  • Feeling down? Facebook could be a factor

    Researchers at the University of Missouri, Columbia have found that Facebook can lead to depression. According to the researchers, the envy we feel towards our friends on the social network may lead to depression. Margaret Duffy, a professor and chair of strategic communication at the MU School of Journalism, wrote that “We found that if Facebook users experience envy of the activities and lifestyles of their friends on Facebook, they are much more likely to report feelings of depression.” Based on a survey of 700 students, the researchers found that users who engage in “surveillance use” and “browsing the website...

  • Facebook, Twitter report record figures for Super Bowl 49 posts

    Data from Facebook and Twitter has revealed record amounts of activity across both social networks during the Super Bowl. While the event is about as American as you can hope to get, but global interest in the event is growing rapidly. Small wonder then that Super Bowl 49, which the Seattle Seahawks and New England Patriots contested, was the biggest and most talked about Super Bowl in Facebook history. Facebook has revealed that more than 65-million people (15-million more than last year) took to the social network to discuss the Super Bowl, conjuring up 265 million posts, comments, and likes....

  • 5 things we learned from Facebook’s quarterly results

    If you're not a numbers person, it's pretty easy to skim over the quarterly financial results released by tech companies. After all, you might think, as long as said tech company keeps producing the product -- or products -- I love, why should I care what its operating margin was or, for that matter, what provisions it's made for income tax. Hidden in those numbers however are plenty of interesting insights into the companies reporting them. Take Facebook for instance. Its recently released Q4 and full year 2014 results show a company far more at ease with its ability...