Twitter to cull inactive users

Dormant Twitter accounts not confirmed before an 11 December deadline will be closed, reports the BBC. Twitter's updating its user agreement, and if you can't agree to it, you're gone.

A spokeswoman also said it would improve credibility by removing dormant accounts from people's follower counts, something which may give a user an undue sense of importance. The first batch of deleted accounts will involve those registered outside of the US.

The firm bases inactivity on whether or not a person has logged in at least once in the past six months. Twitter said the effort is not, as had been suggested by some users on the network, an attempt to free up usernames.

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County sheriff attempts to return methamphetamine to poor soul who lost it

Marin for the win!

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How cities can serve as a model for social media platforms to build better community spaces

Eli Pariser is the author of The Filter Bubble, a book which lent its name to a recent Congressional bill about social media transparency. He’s also one of the co-founders of Upworthy (and, full disclosure, my former boss).

In other words, Pariser has spent most of his professional life obsessing over how to harness the power of the internet for good, particularly when it comes to positive community building. In a new TED Talk (below), he takes an almost anthropological approach to solving the many, many issues faced by major social media companies right now. It’s a useful and insightful perspective, particularly for a time when Facebook is cowering under the pressure of conservative conspiracy theorists, while Twitter took the approach and ended up empowering oil companies by throttling climate activists.

I think there’s something to be said about building online communities in the same way we build urban ones. As much as people might long for the peace and quiet of a nice home in the suburbs, it also changes your relationship to the people around you. Look at cars, for example—they’re a necessity in most places, and undeniably convenient, but they also isolate us in our commuter bubbles. By contrast, public transportation forces you to interact with other kinds of people who you might otherwise not cross paths with. That can help create empathic bonds (even if that bond is built upon complaints about public transportation). This is not to say that one is necessarily better than the other; in his speech, Pariser also cites the community meetings he attended growing up in a small town in Maine as one model for building mutual respect, even when people are being obnoxious. Read the rest

TikTok bans political ads because they clash with its 'positive, refreshing environment'

Political ads to be banned on short-form video app

Instagram filter lets you wear Case's Neuromancer headset

On the left is Josan Gonzalez's illustration of Case's headset for the Brazilian edition of Neuromancer, and on the right is a 3D-version created with Blender and Photoshop.  Using this Instagram filter, you can wear the headset (with visor up or down).

(via William Gibson and Vinicius Imbimbo.)

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Disney almost bought Twitter but backed off because "the nastiness is extraordinary"

Profiled By Maureen Dowd at The New York Times, Disney CEO Bob Iger says that the company almost bought Twitter in 2017, but decided against it because "the nastiness is extraordinary."

"I like looking at my Twitter newsfeed because I want to follow 15, 20 different subjects. Then you turn and look at your notifications and you’re immediately saying, why am I doing this? Why do I endure this pain? Like a lot of these platforms, they have the ability to do a lot of good in our world. They also have an ability to do a lot of bad. I didn’t want to take that on.”

He makes a point of liking David Portnoy's feed, though. It's always important to remember that guys like Iger don't really have any public beliefs about anything, just presentations for different audiences.

I liked the phrase the Hollywood Reporter attributed to Iger regarding Twitter -- that it gave him an unshakeable "feeling of dread" -- but it's not in the actual profile and I'm pretty sure he didn't say it.

Iger's memoirs, The Ride of a Lifetime: Lessons Learned From 15 Years as CEO Of The Walt Disney Company [Amazon link], are out and reportedly contain a lot more about why Social Media, Especially Twitter, is Bad. Read the rest

In Cambridge Analytica clean-up, Facebook says it killed 'Tens of Thousands' of apps

Of course they announced it at the end of the day on Friday, that's what you do with bad news. Read the rest

Facebook claims to be taking white supremacist violence more seriously, LMAO

Days since last Facebook scandal: Zero.

Demetrification: improving social media by removing public like/follower/repost counts

When social media was young, it was obvious that it had some pathologies -- perverse incentives that drove people toward antisocial behaviour. Back in those days, a company named Flickr did some radical things that made it (briefly) the best social network on the internet (until Yahoo bought it and all but destroyed it): among other things, Flickr did not publicly display follower or favorite counts, and it would allow you to export all of your data to any rival service, provided that the rival service would implement an export function that let you change your mind and switch back to Flickr, creating a kind of mutual network of anti-lock-in services. Read the rest

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

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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.

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