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

Gay dating app Jack'd stored users' private images and data on unsecured AWS server

The gay dating app Jack'd, which has more than a million downloads in the Play store, stored images that users marked 'private' and posted in 1:1 chat sessions *on an unsecured AWS server.* Read the rest

'Zucked: Waking up to the Facebook Catastrophe,' by Roger McNamee [BOOKS]

“The time has come to accept that in its current mode of operation, Facebook’s flaws outweigh its considerable benefits”. — Roger McNamee in ZUCKED.

Facebook de-platforms 4 Myanmar armed groups. Military behind Rohingya abuse didn't like them either.

Is Facebook following government orders in Myanmar?

Instagram to blur self-harm images after Molly Russell's suicide

Molly Russell, 14, took her life in November 2017.

Google+ accounts and pages will be shut down April 2nd, says Google

Google announced last fall it's killing off Google+ because of the social network's laughably “low usage” and “challenges involved in maintaining a successful product that meets consumers’ expectations,” plus revelations of serious security vulnerabilities. Read the rest

New privacy hires at WhatsApp: Nate Cardozo (EFF), Robyn Greene (Open Technology Institute)

This bodes well for WhatsApp users. Read the rest

Twitter is slow-rolling out a simpler web interface, some users get it first

“A new Twitter is coming,” tweeted Twitter today.

“Some of you got an opt-in to try it now. Check out the emoji button, quick keyboard shortcuts, upgraded trends, advanced search, and more. Let us know your thoughts!” Read the rest

The sad history of Livejournal as a lens for understanding the state of social media today

Like Facebook, Livejournal was built in a bright student's dormroom; but unlike Facebook, LJ wasn't built "for nonconsensually rating the fuckability of stolen photos of undergrads," but rather as a community-minded platform for self-expression and connection-forging. Read the rest

Mark Zuckerberg: Facebook's horrible year was pretty good, actually

In a year-in-review post, Facebook's Mark Zuckerberg said on Friday he is “proud of the progress we've made.”

Yes, he really is that deluded. Read the rest

Woman whose son died at birth wrote this to tech firms who keep reminding her

Gillian Brockell is very brave. Read the rest

Without social organizations, social technologies will eat us alive

The bane of the futurist's existence is that almost daily you see, hear, or read something and want to scream, "I told you so." Sometimes, it's a cause for exhilaration—we got it right—and other times, it makes you angry—why didn't we do something about it earlier, why did we not heed the warning signs?

Right now, I am in the latter state. As stories of Facebook's deflection and manipulation of public opinion dominate the news cycle, I am harking back to things I and others wrote almost ten years ago, in the early days of social media. In 2010, while seeing the great promise of social production (work that involves micro-contributions from large networks of people who often receive "payment" in the form of fun, peer recognition, and a sense of belonging, i.e. social rather than monetary currencies), I started worrying about its shadow side. It seemed that many social media platforms had the potential to re-create the manor economies of the past in the digital world.

Reflecting on the lawsuit brought by bloggers who contributed free content to Huffington Post but didn't get any financial returns when the site was sold for $315 million to AOL, I saw similarities between the medieval and emerging digital manor economies:

Just like digital manor economies today, the manorialism of feudal society in medieval Europe integrated many elements of commons production. In most manors, peasants and tenants were assigned rights to use the commons—pastures, forests, fisheries, soil—within each manor's boundaries…The dark side of manor economics, however, lay in the fact that it perpetuated huge inherited disparities in incomes.

Read the rest

Algorithmic anti-semitism and computational propaganda

Just days before the horrific mass murder at Pittsburgh's Tree of Life synagogue, my Institute for the Future colleagues Sam Woolley and Katie Joseff published a deeply upsetting study on how social media bots and computational propaganda are being used to instigate and amplify anti-semitism online and manipulate public opinion. From the paper:

This report explores the ways in which online propaganda, harassment and political manipulation are affecting Jewish People in the runup to 2018 U.S. midterm elections. In the course of our research, members of this group have described a marked rise in the number of online attacks their community is experiencing. This is proving especially true during electoral contests and major political events. Correspondingly, our analyses suggests that tools like social media bots, and tactics including doxxing, disinformation, and politically-motivated threats, have been used online during the 2018 midterms to target Jewish Americans. According to interviewees, veiled human users—rather than automated accounts—often deliver the most worrisome and harmful anti-Semitic attacks.

As part of the wider paper series focused on “humanizing the effects of computational propaganda” this empirical work details the ways in which the Jewish socio-religious population in the U.S. is being disproportionately targeted with disinformation and abuse during this crucial political moment. We use a mixed methods approach in this research, deploying both qualitative and quantitative analysis in order to generate both a culturally deep and statistically broad understanding of how computational propaganda is being leveraged against this community...

Analysis of 7,512,594 tweets over a period from August 31, 2018 to September 17, 2018 shows the prevalence of political bots in these efforts and highlights groups within the U.S.

Read the rest

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