Posts Tagged ‘social media’
After the General Election, a lot of people are suddenly finding out that social media is an echo chamber of your own views. So many have presumed that they’re making a difference by telling everyone they’ve voted and getting a bunch of likes and retweets on the issues that concern them.
However, social media is not the real world because online, you can almost entirely surround yourself with people who agree with you – and that’s no good.
A study shows that Facebook users almost only every click on links that they agree with. While you may have friends that have a wide spread of political views, people are only looking at the things that confirm what they already think – which sees people thinking they’re ‘right’, and therefore, lacking the need to sensibly debate anything.
The new research published in Science shows that there’s a self-sustaining “filter bubble”. Hark at how many people were surprised that the Tories did so well in the election, and you’ll see just how filtered some people’s bubbles really are.
The new study was overseen by Facebook’s in-house scientists, who wanted to see if their algorithm was creating this filter and therefore, creating a political polarisation.
They mapped out the site’s users according to which parties they’d said they support, and over 10 million Facebook users were mapped on a five point scale, according to whether they were conservative or liberal. The boffins then analysed news content and things they’d liked, and tried to work out how often people see stories that they weren’t expected to agree with.
And they discovered that the Facebook newsfeed largely works as an echo chamber, with users less likely to even see stories that they didn’t agree with.
So there you have it. Don’t assume you’re correct, just because ‘everyone’ on the internet agrees with you.
Facebook are tag-teaming with RiskIQ in a bid to tackle malware and adverts that are filled with horrible, computer borking stuff. They’re right too as well because the social network is riddled with games and links filled with dodgy things.
This new deal will see RiskIQ monitoring millions of Facebook advertiser landing pages in a bid to thwart anything malicious getting through. Then, with the data, Facebook will hack down anyone distributing threats.
“RiskIQ helps Facebook detect and block threats planted in third-party ads that violate our policies and can put people at risk,” said Jennifer Henley, Facebook’s director of security operations.
“The additional insight they provide helps us protect the integrity of our global network and create a trusted environment for the people on our platform.”
“We are extremely proud that Facebook chose RiskIQ to help protect their users from malicious and fraudulent activity,” said Elias Manousos, CEO of RiskIQ. “Our platform’s global visibility into the user experience on Facebook allows us to provide the social network giant with the intelligence they need to keep users safe every day.”
Basically, statuses that had links in them, were rejected by the social network. It also looks like it has retrospectively deleted updates that had already been posted. If you tried to post something to your wall with a link to something in it, you were shown a message saying that Facebook “believe the link you are trying to visit is malicious”.
This ‘bug’ only affected posts which had links to content outside of Facebook. At the time of writing, it looks like this has been partially resolved.
“An error in our system that helps block bad links on Facebook incorrectly marked some URLs as malicious or inappropriate,” said a Facebook spokesperson. “As a result, some existing posts were hidden, while other posts were blocked completely. We’ve resolved the issue and the remaining affected URLs are being unblocked. We apologize for the inconvenience this has caused.”
So what’s the problem? It seems that Facebook’s tool which automatically scrapes pictures from links that are posted, so you see a preview of the link with an image, is the thing causing the kerfuffle.
This is a pretty big problem for Zuckerberg though, as publishers will have lost a fair amount of traffic with Facebook, which means they’ll be looking at how much ad-money to throw at them. And while Facebook has historically had very few technical difficulties, the past couple of years have been a bit of a mess.
In January, it went down completely, while in April, the site was unavailable to some Android. Maybe if Facebook stop tinkering with absolutely everything all the time, and just let it be for a while…
Twitter is going to start messing around with everyone’s timelines. This is irritating news for those that like the platform and it’s ‘live’ feel. Of course, those that don’t like or understand Twitter will resort to making tired jokes about photographs of people’s lunches or puns like ‘twatter’.
One of Twitter’s big successes was that the information you wanted came in real time, unlike Facebook that curates your timeline and gives prominence to posts based on a variety of algorithms, rather than what you’ve decided to look at yourself.
Facebook basically take all the posts you might see, and reduces them down to around 300 posts. That means there’s a lot of things your friends (or pages you’ve liked) are disappearing through the virtual cracks.
According to chief executive Dick Costolo, Twitter won’t be applying a Facebook-style filter. “As we iterate on the logged out experience and curate topics, events, moments that unfold on the platform, you should absolutely expect us to deliver those experiences across the total audience and that includes logged in users and users in syndication.”
“By organising our content in a way that’s easily discovered and consumed, we extend the reach of Twitter far beyond the 302 million people who log in every month,” said Costolo. “We first introduced the logged out home page on desktop in the US and we intend to bring it more places over time, while also iterating on it and making improvements that keep it informative, entertaining and relevant.”
It looks like Twitter are happy to risk the irritation of early adopters in a bid to make the network more accessible for newcomers. Or, most pertinently, this will make it easier for Twitter to make some money from adverts that can’t be easily placed in the current system.
And money is on the mind of Twitter’s bosses, as trading in the social network’s shares was suspended in New York after a tweet containing the company’s latest results kicked off a drop in the company’s value. Twitter’s value dropped by 20% and when trading resumed today, the company lost more stock, even though monthly users to the site were up by 18%.
For such a huge platform, Twitter accounted for less than 1% of the $145bn digital advertising market last year, while Google’s share was over 31% and Facebook’s, 8%.
Something needs to be fixed at Twitter, but will it be something that alienates core users?
Facebook – everyone’s favourite, honest – have added a video-calling feature the Messenger app, so your massive, nasty face can appear when you’re bothering someone who was sat at home, minding their own business.
Of course, this isn’t a new thing as you’ve been able to do this on Skype for ages, and of course, Apple FaceTime is a thing. Anyway, this new-to-Messenger feature, is available immediately on Apple iOS and Android.
“Today, we’re introducing video calling in Messenger. Now you can have face-to-face conversations with your friends and the people you care about, via Messenger,” said Stan Chudnovsky, Head of Product for Messenger and Param Reddy, Engineering Manager.
You’ll be able to use it if one person is on Apple and you’re on Android, or whatever.
This follows a spate of announcements from Facebook, including the social network’s tinkering with our timelines for the millionth time. You’ll also be able to send money through FB too, if you like. They also made Messenger available on desktop too.
All these developments won’t stop people from hating the company though. There’s still a legal case knocking about, with 25,000 people suing Facebook over privacy concerns. Still, for those that use the site and maybe have family living overseas, this video-chat function might be just the thing.
The social network has announced yet another change to the feed algorithm, which apparently means you’re going to see much more of what you actually want. Of course, they’re not going to trust you to curate it yourself like you’re a capable adult or anything. Don’t be ridiculous.
Basically, this new way of doing things means that you’ll see more status updates and photos from friends whose profiles you actually visit, rather than the dribbling nonsense you normally get from businesses and that lad from your school who is depressed and racist.
Facebook wrote in a blog that they believe “people are worried about missing important updates from friends they care about.” Facebook product manager Max Eulenstein and user experience researcher Lauren Scissors (!) said: “Content posted directly by the friends you care about, such as photos, videos, status updates or links, will be higher up in News Feed so you are less likely to miss it.”
“If you like to read news or interact with posts from pages you care about, you will still see that content in News Feed. This update tries to make the balance of content the right one for each individual person.”
They continue: “Previously, we had rules in place to prevent you from seeing multiple posts from the same source in a row. With this update, we are relaxing this rule. Now if you run out of content, but want to spend more time in News Feed, you’ll see more.”
We’ll give them 3 months before they mess with it again.
For example, someone jokingly suggested Sue Perkins for Top Gear, which saw people sending her death threats. Some of these people are actual adults with actual jobs. Some people thought they’d threaten to sexually assault a woman for suggesting that Jane Austen should be on the £10 note.
Imagine getting arrested or a criminal conviction for something as lame as that?
With that, Twitter want to try and tackle the situation, which will no doubt see some people shrieking like someone with a 2-bar heater in the bath with them: WHAT ABOUT MY HUMAN RIGHTS?! WHAT ABOUT MY RIGHT TO FREEDOM OF SPEECH?! While others will just set up a sock-puppet account and carry on as normal, like they’re notorious MP [comment removed under legal advice].
There’s a couple of policy changes which is looking at this. Twitter will allow its support team to lock abusive accounts for periods, then ask users to confirm their phone number, while asking them to delete certain tweets.
Shreyas Doshi, director of product management at Twitter, said: “The updated language better describes the range of prohibited content and our intention to act when users step over the line into abuse. This feature takes into account a wide range of signals and context that frequently correlates with abuse, including the age of the account itself, and the similarity of a tweet to other content that our safety team has in the past independently determined to be abusive.”
“It will not affect your ability to see content that you’ve explicitly sought out, such as tweets from accounts you follow, but instead is designed to help us limit the potential harm of abusive content.”
Now, the Twitter policy has got rid of ‘direct, specific threats of violence against others’ and is now stating that ‘threats of violence against others or promot[ing] violence against others’ is not acceptable. You can still call them names though, so don’t worry.
Do remember this though: if you’re concerned that you aren’t being allowed to say what you want on a social media platform or indeed, in the comments on a websites, your freedom of speech isn’t under threat because you can still go and set up a Tumblr account or whatever, and spout off about whatever you want, whenever you want. So stop crying like a big internet baby.
Twitter have decided that they want everyone to be able to dive into your private inbox, whether you know them or not. The women of the internet must be thrilled at the idea of loads of men who are complete strangers, dropping unsolicited photos of their chipolata sausages into their DMs.
Mercifully, you need to tick a box in the Settings and Privacy menu to activate this baffling new feature. The default setting sticks to the idea of only receiving private messages from people who mutually follow each other.
That said, if you do fancy this new thing, you can still block specific people from DMing you if you think they’re going to be a pest or spam you with their latest JustGiving nonsense or event they’ve put on.
A Twitter blog post says: “Today, we’re changing how direct messaging works so that it’s even easier for you to communicate one-to-one or with a chosen group of people, anywhere in the world. Previously, if you wanted to send a Direct Message to the ice cream shop down the street about how much you love their salted caramel flavor, you’d have to ask them to follow you first.”
“With today’s changes, the ice cream shop can opt to receive Direct Messages from anyone; so you can privately send your appreciation for the salted caramel without any barriers.”
This is asking for trouble.
This year, the UK will see the time spent on mobile devices overtake that spent on desktops and laptops, according to latest estimates. We’re talking about non-voice activity here, which means we’re finally ridding ourselves of the awful experience of having to actually talk to other humans in phone calls.
We’re still glued to our phones though, tweeting and liking things on social media and constantly referring to IMDB to see who that woman is from that thing.
According to eMarketer, in 2015 UK adults will spend an average of two hours and 26 minutes a day on mobile, compared with two hours and 13 minutes on desktops and laptops. They’re cumbersome things that don’t fit in your pocket, while phones are on-hand so you can slag off Katie Hopkins’ latest TV appearance to the thrill of your internet friends.
Since 2011, the time spent on laptops and the like, has only increased by a few minutes per year – however, time spent on mobile devices has shot up by around 20-30 minutes each year. This is mostly accounted for by smartphones (62% of time spent on them) and tablets taking up the slack.
“UK adults aren’t moving their media consumption habits to digital platforms at the expense of traditional ones,” said Bill Fisher, analyst at eMarketer. “Rather, they are adding it to their overall media day.”
“This also holds true for platforms like social media, with time spent via mobile adding to time spent via laptops and desktops.”
Paddy Power’s advertising schtick of ‘get a response at absolutely any cost’ came under fire this week as they promoted the Liverpool-Newcastle Premier League game by likening it to people being beaten and killed in police custody.
You can imagine that this has gone down really well.
As you can see, they tweeted: “Newcastle have suffered more Kop beatings over the last 20 years than an unarmed African-American male”, which is a spectacularly insensitive way of looking at some of the things that have been happening in America recently.
While this prompts the debate of ‘we should be allowed to joke about anything’/'why on earth would you joke about something so horrible’, the response to the promotion was mixed. Some simply lolled while others tweeted things like “This is the most disgusting tweet I’ve read in probably my entire time on Twitter” and “How dare you make the execution of Black men in America the butt of your jokes.”
The timing of the tweet was certainly ill-advised, as only last week, in South Carolina, police officer Michael Slager was charged with the murder of Walter Scott. Of course, Paddy Power have previous, making jokes about the Oscar Pistorius murder trial and another gag about a blind footballer kicking a cat into a tree. They also, bafflingly, sent Dennis Rodman to North Korea to try and make the world a better place.
In response to the latest promo tweet, a spokesman for Paddy Power said: “It’s clearly an acerbic reference to recent police activity in the US. And obviously, no offence was meant.”
If they wanted attention, they certainly got it.
You may recall that 25,000 people were suing Facebook over personal privacy issues, which were roundly laughed at by the social network.
The Belgian Privacy Commission (BPC) made claims that Facebook were tracking all visitors to their site – even those that didn’t have a Facebook account. It is one thing tracking your own customers, but those that haven’t signed up certainly won’t want to be followed around online by Zuckerberg’s company. There were also allegations that Facebook were tracking those who had explicitly chosen to opt out of being tracked.
Facebook rejected the claims, but it turns out that they were a little hasty in doing so. It turns out that they had a bug, honest.
They said the bug resulted in collection of non-Facebook user’s data via websites embedded with their ‘Like’ button and, with a straight face, said that it was an accident.
“We don’t, and this is not our practice. However, the researchers did find a bug that may have sent cookies to some people when they weren’t on Facebook. This was not our intention – a fix for this is already under way,” said Richard Allan, Facebook’s vice president of policy for Europe.
He continued: “The report gets it wrong multiple times in asserting how Facebook uses information to provide our service to more than a billion people around the world. If someone opts out, we no longer use information about the websites and apps that person uses off Facebook to target ads to them.”
“People can opt out of seeing ads on Facebook that are based on the websites and apps they use off Facebook through the industry-standard Digital Advertising Alliance opt out, the European Interactive Digital Advertising Alliance opt out or the Digital Advertising Alliance of Canada opt out. Here, they can opt out of these ads from Facebook and from more than a hundred other companies. People can also opt out using their phone settings,” he added.
“Facebook honours this choice on any device where you use Facebook, whether it’s your phone, tablet, or desktop. When you opt out, Facebook no longer shows you these types of ads, but it also means Facebook does not add this information to the interest lists we use to decide what ads to show you.”
Are you having that?
This particular legal action is over in Austria where there’s a class action lawsuit going down thanks to alleged privacy violations and apparent participation in the US National Security Agency’s (NSA) PRISM programme. A law graduate called Max Schrems is heading up the case on behalf of 25,000 or so Facebook users based in Europe and beyond.
Some of the users being represented are from the UK and Ireland.
“There is a wide number of issues in the lawsuit and we hope to kind of win all of them and to get a landmark case against US data-gathering companies.”
Schrems is hoping for compensation of somewhere in the region of £360 for every user.
If you live your life coupled to social media, then you’ll know that someone, at some point, is going to spoil the ending of a new film or TV show for you. Even if you avert your gaze from your timeline, the information that Character X Gets Killed By His Mum!!! will filter into your brain (sorry to fans of hit sci-fi thriller, Character X, there).
Well, Google are looking at ways of correcting this with some fanciful patent which could put an end to the spoiler as we know it.
The patent shows a system that would keep track of your progress on the shows, films and books you’re into and enable you to block posts about what Google thinks will contain spoilers by blurring out words and giving you a pop-up warning.
Quite how Google will implement this over social networks it doesn’t own is another matter, but trivial things like that haven’t bothered them in the past.
It might concern some freedom of speech sorts, but if it stops people crying themselves inside out because someone has spoiled a bit of Game of Thrones, it might well be worth it.
Customer service law tells you that the customer is always right. Of course, we all know that is very obviously not true as the customer can sometimes be a complete git.
Over in Tralee, in County Kerry, Ireland, someone at Burger King had found they’d just about had enough of pesky customers and their online criticisms.
When Emmet Oh Connor [sic] complained about the Tralee branch having the “worst drive thru service ever” and that “by the time u even make ur order mcdonalds wud have 20 cars done” [again, sic], one of the staffers gave this response.
Even though we tend to side with the consumer, in this instance, we can’t help but laugh at the curt response from the employee at Tralee Burger King.
Have it your way, indeed.
Facebook are giving their Messenger app some muscles as they look to woo businesses and brands (brands is a cuddle way of saying ‘businesses who want you to feel like they’re a lifestyle choice’) out of loads of money.
There’s going to be a rake of new features, enabling people to integrate their own apps with Messenger (thanks to a new thing called Messenger Platform) and companies will be able to enhance online shopping and bug everyone on Facebook (thanks to a thing called Businesses on Messenger).
Mark Zuckerberg reckons these new tools will end up in social media tools replacing the old types of talking to companies.
“Currently, if you want to get in touch with a business, most of us probably still call,” Zuckerberg said. “But I actually don’t know anyone who likes calling businesses. It’s just not fast or convenient and it definitely doesn’t feel like the future.”
David Marcus, also of Facebook, added that this would restore the “personal and delightful experience” that customers have when shopping at little local shops for local people. David Marcus clearly hasn’t been to Royston Vasey.
Anyway, the whole deal here is that Messenger Platform will help people plug apps into Messenger which will allow users to share photos, audio or whatever, more easily. Alongside that, businesses will be able to play with the format too. Expect to get some animated gifs from Oreos or something, in the near future. Or, you can live chat with IAMS about your cat that just choked to death.