Posts Tagged ‘social media’
Bongo, a text service aimed at young people, is in deep doo-doo after parents complained their children had run up bills for hundreds of pounds.
In case you’re not 11, Bongo is a monkey, who answers all your questions. A bit like a primate 8-ball, or a monkey God. You can ask him anything, probably stuff like ‘am I normal?’, ‘How do I tell Leanne from school that I fancy her?’ or ‘how big is your knob?’
It also tells you about yourself, by using your details and names in your contacts book – saying things like ‘Darren Boggins is the hottest lad at Slagheap High School and Amber Bigknockers thinks he’s well fit.’ Etc.
Bongo, which is owned by an Australian company based in Melbourne, has been fined £70000 by UK regulator PhonepayPlus after some parents were hit with bills for £200. It seems that children were (obviously) unaware that each question/text cost a massive £2.50 a pop. And that’s a lot of money just to ask a monkey whether it’s gay.
The fact that texts were at premium rate and this information was delivered in miniscule small print, practically undetectable to the human eye, caused the regulator to give them the fine. Bongo was also advertised on TV and during One Direction shows.
The world is full of people who take to social networks to voice their OUTRAGE and UMBRAGE at the first sign of a problem. But the number of people who think customer service has improved since social media made them more accountable has actually doubled.
Almost a quarter of the 2047 people who took part in the consumer survey from the British Standards Institution said that customer service had got better since 2008 – thanks to our new found ability to troll companies online. And HALF of the people in the survey actually said that they trust lunatic online opinion and customer reviews from disgruntled people calling themselves kaleesi26773. Jeeeeez.
But although some think that social media ‘shames’ companies into providing better customer service, 29% thought that it was getting worse. They complained of bad attitudes from employees, rubbish products that didn’t work, and uncompetitive prices.
Dan Palmer from BSI said: ‘Although this research shows that customer service has improved greatly, businesses still have a long way to go in bolstering the loyalty of their customers.’
But what would we do if we got brilliant customer service across the board? Where would all that bile go? What would we do if you take away our right to pen a vicious product review about a fan heater on Amazon, or slag off a cold cup of coffee at our local café on Trip Advisor, or write a sarky tweet to @southwesttrains?
Surely, Britain would grind to a halt…
When WhatsApp announced that they’d been bought by Facebook for eye-watering amounts of money, we half-heartedly suggested that everyone was going to delete it. However, there was always going to be some truth in that because some people really, really hate having anything to do with Zuckerberg and Co.
Then, last week, WhatsApp went down, leaving millions without the opportunity to send photos of their under-carriages to near-strangers. It was obvious that people were ready for alternatives.
Doing the best trade out of the whole shebang – WhatsApp’s millions aside – were WeChat and Telegram. With the latter, despite it still being a new app, they saw a huge spike in downloads, with almost 5 million people signing up with Telegram on Sunday. That made it the number one iPhone app in 48 countries.
Durov, who created Telegram, said: “The app’s growth rate increased around 3x to 800,000 – 1 million new downloads a day across iOS, Android and Windows.”
Through their Twitter account, they relayed just how mental their weekend had been, astonished that an app that has only existed since last October, should suddenly start doing so well.
WeChat saw an immediate spike too. When the news of the Facebook takeover was announced, within 24 hours, We Chat had 379% more users.
Of course, there’s a huge number of people who just don’t care who owns WhatsApp, but if you do get jumpy about privacy concerns (something that is understandable, seeing as Facebook have a rather troublesome history in that field) or just want to try an alternative, there’s enough out there.
It’s worth noting too, that Vine are doing rather well at the minute, which could well be something to do with Facebook’s involvement with Instagram and their failure to correct some pretty big problems it is having (many Android users can’t upload videos to the service and it keeps crashing).
It seems for the most part, everyone is having a look at WeChat and Telegram. The founders of WhatsApp won’t care because they’re preposterously rich now and probably having Pina Coladas for breakfast.
The Local Government Association has had an idea. They think that social media platforms need to take some responsibility for NekNominations and post health warnings everywhere, which is an idea more stupid than NekNominations themselves.
There have been five deaths in the UK linked to the latest ‘craze’ (such a craze that virtually no-one is doing it) and the LGA – who represent loads of councils – think that Twitter and Facebook should spell out the risks to everyone with messages similar to “shock cautions emblazoned on cigarette packets”.
If you’ve missed it, NekNomination is basically people daring each other to drink gigantic amounts of booze with forfeits and the like.
Katie Hall, chair of the LGA’s Community Wellbeing board, said: “This is an utterly reckless and totally irresponsible craze which has tragically claimed lives. More should be done to highlight the dangers and persuade people not to participate.”
“We believe social media operators have a responsibility to provide health warnings to user groups and individuals. The LGA is looking for these corporations to show leadership and not ignore what is happening on their sites. We are urging Facebook and Twitter executives to sit down with us and discuss a way forward which tackles this issue head on.”
Of course, this is one of the most gaspingly dimwitted things uttered this week. Saying Twitter or Facebook should be responsible for people being stupid is like saying British Telecom should be responsible for people talking to the speaking clock, or pen manufacturers should be culpable that people draw penises on toilet walls.
Social media is just a communications tool, like shouting out of a window or smoke signals. Instead of asking the medium to be responsible, why don’t we just accept that, with things like NekNomination, we simply need to view it as natural selection at work.
New research has confirmed what we knew all along – that Tuesday is an arse. In fact, it’s such an arse that it’s become the new hump day, the term we all use to refer to the summit of the poo pile that is the average working week. And it’s also the day that workers feel most dissatisfied with their jobs.
Using social media tracking tools, data from Computeach shows that more people apply for other opportunities or further education classes during their Tuesday lunch break than any other day of the week. In fact, it rises by 27%.
And by scoping out Twitter – that ever reliable barometer of our work dissatisfaction – using a monitoring tool called Topsy, they found that we write our most negative ‘my boss is a ****’ tweets on a Tuesday. Negativity goes down towards the weekend and then spikes again on Monday, with a few dark rumblings on Sunday evening.
But if Tuesday is the biggest stool in the gleaming toilet that is the working week, it’s also because it’s the day we feel most inclined to do something about our miserable lives. Web psychologist Natalie Nihai supported the findings, saying that ‘after a Monday slump, workers perhaps have more resolve on a Tuesday.’
So come on – take Tuesday by the horns and go and get yourself that brilliant new job! (At Lidl).
Twitter is about to leap from your phone, into your mouth and right down into your stomach, giving you indigestion and making some off-hand commentary as it drops out of your hole.
How? Those git-boxes at Birds Eye have made Mashtags – food which trolls your stomach lining. Next, they’ll probably make ‘food based on Buzzfeed, which will be Pinterestaurant quality or some nonsense.
This has to stop.
If you’re interested, they come in symbols like ‘@’ and ‘#’ and all that rubbish. If you buy these for your children, you should be beaten and left in the street as an example.
The weather out there in UKland, is pretty grim. Virgin Trains sent a tweet out telling everyone to ABANDON TRAVEL like they were in Dad’s Army.
And no, it isn’t funny.
[via Dawn H Foster]
When Twitter redesigns things and tinkers with the format, there’s a usual chorus of booing and hissing from users. The conversation ‘blue lines’ and the recent rejig saw everyone vomiting blood with pure, unswerving hatred.
It seems, the simpler Twitter is, the more people like it. However, when companies want to make a decent amount of money out of something, they have to poke around a bit and try and work out ways of making the whole thing more profitable.
And there’s a new redesign on the way that could see some spectacular crying from Twitter users, mainly because the social network could end up looking like Facebook.
As you can see, the new layout shoves your profile photo and bio to the left and, down the middle, will be a revamped timeline that again, reeks of Zuckerberg. It also has a sniff of Pinterest about it, but only mental cat spinsters use that.
Twitter will be getting jumpy because their first financial results after its IPO were pretty lousy. Usually, redesigns are a way of working out how to make adverts nicer and more noticeable in a busy timeline.
Someone make a clone of Twitter, the way it was a couple of years ago, and you just might make yourself a crapload of money if everyone starts sulking and jumping ship.
Has Twitter eroded your ability to think for yourself? Or will you have to ask Twitter that question and then report back with an answer from @bumdragon47?
Well, an honorary fellow at Edinburgh University reckons that social networks like Twitter and Facebook can chip away at our analytical thought processes and make it harder to form individual opinions, because we just copy each other.
Dr Iyad Rahwan, from the Masdar Institute of Science and Technology, tested groups of 20 people by asking them three trick questions over and over again. When answering individually, people tended to stick with the answer they’d given, even though it was wrong.
Then he asked another group to answer the questions. Finally, everyone was put in a group, and could see each other’s answers. When the people who had given an incorrect answer saw that others had given a more convincing, correct answer – they changed their answers without even thinking.
If you’ve ever secretly copied anyone’s homework, you would probably just put this down to human nature, rather than some dreadful, unthinking hive mind created by social media. But Dr Rahwan believes that our innate copycat tendencies might mean that Twitter users will just rely on other people’s opinions rather than forming their own.
Which does possibly go some way to explaining the pitchforky outrage that regularly sets Twitter alight. And it also might explain why Katie Hopkins has so many followers.
Anyway, I’ll ask Twitter about it and get back to you.
Every couple of weeks, the death of Facebook is predicted either by us or other people. Possibly through hope rather than based in any kind of reality. Fact is, their views on privacy can be hugely problematic, the fact that it isn’t immediately obvious how to work the network is a pain… new algorithms mean that your news feed now has posts disappear, old status loiter around for no reason and Buzzfeed articles get preference over everything else, it seems that, if someone was to release it as a new product in 2014, you’d laugh in their faces.
Yet we hope; and new research suggests that a recent spike in figures with Facebook is like an illness getting stronger, shortly before it vanishes. The research reckons Facebook will Do A Myspace and by 2017, will have lost 80% of users.
John Cannarella and Joshua Spechler of Princeton deduce that Facebook is set for a massive fall. They say: “Ideas, like diseases, have been shown to spread infectiously between people before eventually dying out, and have been successfully described with epidemiological models.”
They think that Facebook has been in decline in terms of data usage since 2012 and that the site will shrink to 20% of its maximum size by December 2014: “Extrapolating the best model into the future suggests that Facebook will undergo a rapid decline in the coming years, losing 80% of its peak user base between 2015 and 2017.”
However, research from one camp suggests that young people are gravitating away from Facebook while other studies say that it is still the most popular social network with young users. Of course, both of these could be true.
Facebook’s shares are doing well this week, so we’ll have to wait and see if this a social network getting stronger or peaking before perishing.
The government has opened up their doors to allow we, the people, to petition against the things that really matter in modern Britain. And so, to an official petition started by ‘James’ who want to ban mothers from using Facebook.
The blurb is expertly concise.
However, with only two people signing up thus far, it looks like the mothers of Facebook could be winning this battle, annoying their offspring by uploading embarrassing photos of you when you were young and signing up for things that are clearly scams.
If you’re a celebrity that would like to throw their weight behind this cause, visit epetitions.direct.gov.uk/petitions/44820
Apart from perhaps an app telling you how to dismember a body and bury it in some wasteland, there can be few things more heinous than the catchily named ‘Plastic Surgery and Plastic Doctor and Plastic Hospital Office for Barbie’ game.
Aimed at NINE year old girls, who are already being hothoused to think that they’re fat and worthless, the ‘fun’ app features an ‘unfortunate girl’ who is so hideous that only surgery can help her. Then, with a swipe of your finger, you can cut up her face and body and suck out all that gross fat.
But thanks to a Twitter campaign by the pressure group Everyday Sexism, Apple has agreed to lipo suck the app off iTunes and consign it to the digital dustbin. Over 4000 Twitter users railed against the app developed by a company called Corina Game, calling on Apple to withdraw it immediately. While Apple didn’t comment, the game was deleted from the App Store last night.
Over on Android, it turned out that you could also buy a similar plastic surgery app, which featured a woman called Barbara who ‘liked to eat a lot of burgers and chocolates and found that she is ugly.
Today plastic surgeon is going to make operation on her body and face in order to return cute Barbara’s look. She is afraid of all of this.’
Ha ha! Fear! Knives! Mutilation! What a fun game for little girls, eh? After Everyday Sexism found out about that too, Google also quietly removed the app from Google Play, but not before it had been downloaded nearly 1 million times.
Perhaps Apple and Google need to pay a little bit more attention to some of the garbage they’re peddling in their app stores?
Found someone to be annoying online? Do you wind people up on social media or in the comments of articles? Well, say hello to the painfully wide Anti-Social Behaviour Bill which sets to criminalise anyone being annoying and, more vaguely, anyone threatening to be annoying.
Have a look at this nonsense.
A group are already furious about this proposed law and rightly want to put the scuppers on it. Courts would be able to impose these new rules on anyone indulging in “conduct capable of causing nuisance or annoyance to any person”.
That’s 99% of anyone talking online, potentially getting slapped by the law simply for winding someone up. That said, we could potentially arrest charity muggers. Swings and roundabouts.
Fighting against it are Reform Clause 1 group who say that these baffling new rules are a “threat to free speech” and you can find out more about it at the parliament page for the antisocial behaviour crime and policing bill.
Facebook are staring at a class action lawsuit over allegations that they have been monitoring people’s private messages illegally. Facebook aren’t new to personal privacy issues, but this one is a humdinger of an accusation.
The lawsuit reckons that when users share links with each other privately, Facebook scans it to profile the user’s web behaviours. If this is true, then Facebook are systematically intercepting messages and mining them for personal data and then potentially sharing it with data aggregators and marketers.
Facebook said the allegations were “without merit” and, in a statement, they said: ”We will defend ourselves vigorously.”
The lawsuit claims that Facebook reviews private messages “for purposes unrelated to the facilitation of message transmission”, continuing: ”Representing to users that the content of Facebook messages is “private” creates an especially profitable opportunity for Facebook… because users who believe they are communicating on a service free from surveillance are likely to reveal facts about themselves that they would not reveal had they known the content was being monitored.”
“Thus, Facebook has positioned itself to acquire pieces of the users’ profiles that are likely unavailable to other data aggregators.”
So, to the ugly business of money. The lawsuit wants to claim for the greater of either $100 (£61 to you) a day for each day of the violations or $10,000, for each user.
Pesky hackers have dumped a huge database of 4.6 million Snapchat users’ mobile numbers and usernames online. That’ll teach Snapchat for crowing about being one of the few private social networks out there eh?
In fact, the company, just days ago, had been boasting about new safeguards they’d put in place to fix a security vulnerability. Then a site called SnapchatDB unleashed their database (although they mercifully left out the last two digits of each phone number, which is something).
The hackers posted the information to “raise awareness” of the issue.
“This information was acquired through the recently patched Snapchat exploit and is being shared with the public to raise awareness on the issue. The company was too reluctant at patching the exploit until they knew it was too late and companies that we trust with our information should be more careful when dealing with it,’’the hackers said, adding: “’For now, we have censored the last two digits of the phone numbers in order to minimise spam and abuse.’’
With that, you might want to know if your – or someone you know – account is safe. The quickest way to find out is to visit lookup.gibsonsec.org where you only have to enter your username (no phone numbers or emails or anything like that) and you’ll be told immediately if you’re okay or not.