How many books could you read if you quit social media?

Omni Calculator asks a few questions about your internet usage and tells you what else you might consider doing instead. And yet, for some reason, I find myself wary of completing an online questionnaire about my online habits. Thankfully it's a simple calculation, writes Emma Charlton: Cutting out three 10-minute social media checks a day means you could read as many as 30 more books a year. Many of us are spending more time on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram than ever before: 2 hours and 23 minutes per day, on average, if you accept GlobalWebIndex’s Flagship Report for 2019. Read the rest

Facebook paid contractors to transcribe audio chats

Bloomberg reports that Facebook retains recordings of users' voice chats and paid contractors to transcribe them. Now that this has been exposed, the social media giant says it has "paused" the work.

Facebook Inc. has been paying hundreds of outside contractors to transcribe clips of audio from users of its services, according to people with knowledge of the work.

The work has rattled the contract employees, who are not told where the audio was recorded or how it was obtained -- only to transcribe it, said the people, who requested anonymity for fear of losing their jobs. They’re hearing Facebook users’ conversations, sometimes with vulgar content, but do not know why Facebook needs them transcribed, the people said.

Facebook is a fast zombie, sprinting at the details of your life, and can't see beyond the next bite. It can pretend to be human for brief moments when it perceives a threat, remaining motionless while something in its hungry mind utters a few words that it has learned will mollify prey. But it lurches back into motion as soon as your attention drifts away. Attributing human motivations and concerns to it is pointless, and the only option that makes any sense at all is to destroy it. Read the rest

Mounties accidentally stream homicide press conference with Facebook's cat filter turned on

The Royal Canadian Mounted Police aren't known for their sense of humor—especially in instances where investigating a senseless murder. When it's a double homicide, you can taste the gravitas right through your television or laptop display. Last week, a British Columbia RCMP press officer of telling the world that two young travelers—Chynna Noelle Deese, 24, and Lucas Robertson Fowler, 23—were found to have been shot to death, near Highway 97: It's a strip of road that runs from B.C.'s border with Washington all the way up to the Yukon. The RCMP's detectives are on the case. Deese and Fowler's people were notified. Everything was being handled as professionally as possible.

Until Facebook stepped in with that stupid kitty cat video filter of theirs.

From The Daily Beast:

Canadian police held a somber press conference this weekend to deliver details on a double homicide, but viewers tuning in on Facebook Live were left baffled: The police officer speaking about the slaying was shown with cat ears and whiskers. The Royal Canadian Mounted Police in British Columbia later explained that an “automatic setting” on Facebook Live had accidentally been switched on when they were announcing news about the killing of an American woman and her Australian boyfriend. After re-recording the entire press conference minus the “cat filter,” Sgt. Janelle Shoihet apologized for the “technical difficulties” viewers experienced the first time around.

So, that's awkward and awful.

On the off chance that anyone reading this has any information linked to the case, you'd be doing society a good turn by contacting the Dease Lake RCMP detachment at 250-771-4111

Image via Wikipedia Commons Read the rest

Only jerks are invited to Trump social media summit

Trump says Google wants to rig the 2020 election.

Amazon, Apple, Facebook, and Google to testify at Capitol Hill antitrust hearing July 16

Amazon, Apple, Facebook, and Google (Alphabet) will testify next week before a House congressional committee at a hearing on the power held by online platforms, and whether government should be regulating it. Read the rest

Instagram's new solution against bullying: Artificial Intelligence, and 'Restrict'

Instagram launched a new feature today, Restrict, intended to help vulnerable users avoid abuse. Facebook's Head of Instagram Adam Mosseri says the company will also be focusing on new uses for AI to crack down on bullying. Read the rest

Flickr offers the best social media experience going

On the whole, technology has been good to me.

In the mid-1990s, I was able to connect with a music magazine in Ireland--my first paying writing gig--via Hotmail. Over two decades later, I'm still writing for them. in 2009, Twitter connected me with folks who became good friends, online and face-to-face. Through them, I was able to shift out of a career that was slowly killing me with stress to begin a decade-long stretch of freelancing. Working remotely during that time, I found that I had a lust for travel, and as a consequence of one of my adventures, met my wife. Recently, I was able to land a full-time gig, still remotely, mind you, that has provided me with a steady income and a fabulous group of co-workers I'm happy to see on Slack every day.

That said, I'm also sure that a lot of the tech in my life is making me miserable.

Facebook is hot garbage, that tracks my movements across the Internet without permission. Twitter is full of thieves waiting to steal your joy and fill your days with dread. Instagram, owned by Facebook, often leaves me feeling expectant and desirous of accolades for my photos from people I've never met. Of late, outside of my work life, I've been taking strides to limit my interactions with tech and social media. I've donated all of the hardware I don't use on a routine basis to local charities, stepped back from owning multiple computers to just one and perhaps, best of all, have started relying on Flickr as a way to share what's going on in my life with the people I care about. Read the rest

Animated bar chart of the most popular social media networks from 2003 - 2018

Callum Booth of TNW created this animated bar chart showing the rise and fall of different social media networks over the last 16 years.

Firstly, I had no idea how old LinkedIn is – that damn network has been around since the beginning. We also talk a lot about MySpace’s fall from grace, but the creators of Friendster must be kicking themselves at losing such a big market share.

I was also surprised that Google Buzz (remember that?) was the third most popular social network for a year or two – what a world.

That’s just scratching the surface though, I’ve watched that social media bar chart race multiple times and always find another interesting nugget. One thing’s for certain, judging by how many times the top spot changed hands over the past 16 years, none of the social media giants should be resting on their laurels. Really, anything can happen.

Read the rest

Massive, careful study finds that social media use is generally neutral for kids' happiness, and sometimes positive

In Social media’s enduring effect on adolescent life satisfaction, a pair of Oxford psych researchers and a colleague from Stuttgart's University of Hohenheim review a large, long-running data-set (Understanding Society, the UK Household Longitudinal Study, 2009–2016) that surveyed 12,672 adolescents at eight points over seven years. Read the rest

White House asks fans to report anti-Trump 'political bias' online

'If you suspect political bias caused such an action to be taken against you, share your story with President Trump.'

Google tells U.S. House it spends 'hundreds of millions' on content review each year, found +1M 'terrorist videos' on YouTube in Q1 2019

Alphabet, parent company of Google and YouTube, told a U.S. House panel that it spends hundreds of millions of dollars on reviewing content each year, and claims to have identified at least one million “suspected terrorist videos” on YouTube in the first quarter of 2019. Read the rest

German model brilliantly pranks lewd and sexist Instagram commenters

German actress-model Palina Rojinski responded to the lewd and rude commenters on her Instagram by delivering a perfect prank. With help from German TV show Late Night Berlin, Rojinski turned the sexist creeps into the, er, butt of a joke. The image above that she posted brought out the usual male buffoonery but, as you can see below, all was not quite what it seemed.

View this post on Instagram

Danke Bernd, @damitdasklaas und @latenightberlin Wir hatten unseren Spaß! Ihr auch? Der ganze Prank #Busengate LINK IN BIO

A post shared by Palina Rojinski (@palinski) on Mar 26, 2019 at 12:06am PDT

(via PetaPixel) Read the rest

Twitter update lets iOS users go ‘Lights Out,’ adds automatic dark modes

Today, Twitter announced expanded 'dark mode' options for iOS users. Previously, Twitter offered a blue/gray dark mode theme, but they've added a true black/white “Lights Out” mode, and an automated dark mode.

“Giving more people options to personalize their experience on Twitter based on what makes them most comfortable is what the latest update to Dark Mode is all about,” Bryan Haggerty, Senior Design Manager at Twitter, said in the company's announcement.

Dim: Dim is the current Dark Mode theme that we introduced in 2016 – a blue/grey color that still gives people a more comfortable way to enjoy Twitter for any environment you’re in and helps reduce eye strain in low lit environments.

Lights Out: Our new theme for Dark Mode, which is a pure black color palette that emits no light since the pixels are turned off. This is a great option for those who want an even darker theme for low lit environments that reduces eye strain, and can potentially help with saving battery.

Automatic Dark Mode: Now, Twitter for iOS devices can enable automatic dark mode to switch from light to the dark mode theme of their choice according to their timezone. This feature takes the burden off of people to make the adjustments. If you’re using Twitter all day long, it’s better on the eyes to have a tool that adjusts for the varying environments, contexts, and atmospheres you’ll experience throughout the day.

You should be able to launch the new modes with a close/reopen of the app, if updates are enabled. Read the rest

There is a federal criminal investigation into Facebook's data-sharing deals

The Eastern District of New York empaneled a Grand Jury into the dirty data dealings of Facebook.

You'll never guess what app teens use for sexting these days

What's the hottest teen chat app right now? Not Snapchat. Not Tiktok. And not Facebook Messenger (like, eww).

Nope. It's none of those. Read the rest

Facebook + Instagram + WhatsApp outage 'resolved,' blamed on 'server configuration change'

'Sorry,' and it wasn't a DDOS, says Facebook.

Yacht dealers rely on Instagram "yacht influencers" to flip their wares

Alex Jimenez grew up poor in Puerto Rico, and is obsessed with yachts; by being one of the first people on Instagram to take a lot of pictures at yacht shows, he has become a sought-after "yacht influencer" who gets flown around the world to take photos of yachts that are going up for sale or whose owners are looking for renters. Read the rest

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