Articles about Social Web

Strange things happening during Lyft, Uber rides

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An average Lyft or Uber passenger can come across some really strange and hilariously twisted things, and for some of us reading these experiences is quite entertaining.

That’s why I would like to personally thank Hilary Mason for creating Twitter bots that retweet when someone includes the words "my uber driver" or "my lyft driver".

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Facebook ups the ante with new Security Checkup tool

Facebook ups the ante with new Security Checkup tool

Security and Facebook are not words that generally sit well together. This is something that the social network is only too aware of, and in recent years has taken various steps to try to improve the security and privacy of individuals' accounts. The latest tool in its arsenal is the new Security Checkup.

At the moment the tool is not being made available to everyone, but those who have been chosen to test drive it will be able to use simple on-screen prompts to change their password, turn on login alerts, and clean up login sessions, all from one handy location.

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Google starts to show tweets in search results

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Twitter has become more than just a soundboard for those looking to voice an opinion -- although obviously it is still that. It has morphed into a valuable resource for delivering information in real time. This is particularly useful when it comes to keeping up to date with breaking news.

Starting today Google will tap into this wealth of information for its search results. The feature is starting life in Google apps on iOS and Android mobile devices, but will spread its way around the world and to the desktop soon.

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Facebook rides roughshod over privacy laws

Facebook rides roughshod over privacy laws

Facebook and privacy are not words that generally belong in the same sentence, but a Belgian watchdog has expressed surprise at just how little regard for European law the social network shows. The Privacy Protection Commission says "Facebook tramples on European and Belgian privacy laws", and warns users to take action.

Mark Zuckerberg's site is accused to tracking users even if they are not logged into a Facebook account, and sidestepping questions from European regulators. Although the Privacy Protection Commission is not able to impose fines for failure to abide by European law, it is in a position to offer advice -- and the advice to people is to use software to block Facebook's tracking regardless of whether they use the site or not.

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Google+ Collections lets users curate posts, Pinterest-style

Google+ Collections lets users curate posts, Pinterest-style

Google+ is one of the more maligned social networks, but it's clear that Google is not going to give up on it any time soon; far from it. Today the search giant unveils a new feature that is more than a little inspired by Pinterest -- Collections.

The new feature lets users group posts together into collections. This is not just something that makes it easy to manage photos, videos and other content, but also provides a new way to create groups about any given topic. With the option of making collections public, private, or shared with a limited number of people, Collections feel like a natural extension to the way Google+ posts currently work.

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Google and Facebook offer support after Nepal earthquake

Google and Facebook offer support after Nepal earthquake

When disaster strikes, technology can often be put to good use. Following the devastating earthquake that struck Nepal this week, Google and Facebook are among the companies helping those in the area, as well as people looking for friends and relatives.

Google's People Finder does very much what it says on the tin. It's a very simple website that enables people to publish requests for information about loved ones, as well as giving those with information somewhere to share it. Facebook's Nepal Earthquake Safety Check provides a similar feature.

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How CEOs are failing to exploit social media

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Social media is a large part of many people's lives these days but it seems that people at the top of enterprises and large organizations are more reluctant to engage.

Management education advice site MBA Central has produced an infographic looking at how CEOs are lagging behind in their use of social media despite the benefits it can bring to their personal and professional reputation.

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Facebook revamps your newsfeed yet again

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Facebook is, once again, making changes to the algorithm that controls what appears in newsfeeds. If you had ever been under the impression that you were going to see a chronological list of status updates from your friends in your newsfeed, numerous changes over the years will have put paid to that notion.

It has been a source of many a social networking grumble, and now Facebook is taking steps to address the issue. Depending on how you use Facebook, you may be connected to not only real-world friends, but also companies, celebrities and even TV shows. Your newsfeed has likely turned into less of a collection of bon mots from your mates and more of a stream of updates from entities you're only vaguely interested in. Now your friends will be given greater priority.

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Twitter moves non-US accounts to Ireland away from the NSA

Twitter moves non-US accounts to Ireland away from the NSA

Twitter has updated its privacy policy, creating a two-lane service that treats US and non-US users differently. If you live in the US, your account is controlled by San Francisco-based Twitter Inc, but if you're elsewhere in the world (anywhere else) it's handled by Twitter International Company in Dublin, Ireland. The changes also affect Periscope.

What's the significance of this? Twitter Inc is governed by US law, it is obliged to comply with NSA-driven court requests for data. Data stored in Ireland is not subject to the same obligation. Twitter is not alone in using Dublin as a base for non-US operations; Facebook is another company that has adopted the same tactic. The move could also have implications for how advertising is handled in the future.

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Zuckerberg says Internet.org is not anti-net neutrality... but it is

Zuckerberg says Internet.org is not anti-net neutrality... but it is

A few days ago Mark Zuckerberg conducted a Q&A on Facebook. Despite tens of thousands of comments, very little of interest came out of the session -- he works 50-60 hours a week, likes Oculus (surprise, surprise), and he stands behind his Internet.org project which is providing internet access to people all over the world, including those in remote and developing locations. As is to be expected from a Q&A session, Zuckerberg also found that he had criticism levelled at him in addition to questions, including criticisms of his beloved Internet.org.

Some people pointed out that even in the US there is still a digital divide, while others complained that Internet.org goes against the principles of net neutrality. This obviously struck a nerve because the Facebook founder felt the need to defend the program and express his support for net neutrality. My colleague Manish Singh wrote about this, but is Zuckerberg right? Can Internet.org and net neutrality really live happily side by side?

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Instagram is OK with a little nudity, preferably at a distance

Instagram is OK with a little nudity, preferably at a distance

Photo-sharing site Instagram has updated its community guidelines to make it clear what sort of images are acceptable. If you were hoping to use your account to supply your followers with a stream of pornography pics, you're out of luck, sadly. Nudity is -- for the most part -- out (we don’t allow nudity on Instagram), including "close-ups of fully nude buttocks"; distant shot of butts are, seemingly OK, as are close-ups of partially clothed cheeks.

Whether we're talking about Twitter, Facebook, Instagram or any of the other countless social networks out there, users frequently fall foul of acceptable content guidelines. Images of nudity and violence are frequently complained about and Instagram's latest guidelines now make it abundantly clear what’s OK and what's not.

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WikiLeaks leaker Chelsea Manning joins Twitter from prison

Wikileaks leaker Chelsea Manning joins Twitter from prison

Despite being incarcerated for leaking classified documents to WikiLeaks, Chelsea Manning has joined Twitter. The solider formerly known as Bradley Manning has been approved to receive gender-reassignment hormone therapy, but is not permitted access to the internet.

To get around this restriction, supporters of Manning have set up the @xychelsea account on her behalf. Tweeting is due to start today, and Manning will dictate messages over the phone so "her own candid thoughts and comments" can be shared with Twitter users.

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Flickr adds support for public domain photos

Flickr adds support for public domain photos

When you stick a photo online, how can you make it clear that you are happy for anyone to use it however the heck they want? By adding support for the Public Domain and Creative Commons 0 designations, Flickr just made things a whole lot easier.

The site has long been home to a raft of images made available under Creative Commons licenses, but now options have been expanded further. If you're happy to forego the copyright you have to your picture, Flickr now lets you become a photographic philanthropist.

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Facebook introduces scrapbooks for photos of your kids

Facebook introduces scrapbooks for photos of your kids

Facebook is about more than being social; it's about presenting a version of yourself to other people. When you share a photo of your meal, you're making a statement: "look at this delicious expensive meal I can afford", "look at the fancy restaurant we're visiting", or "gosh, aren't I healthy for making this salad?". But of course Facebook is not just filled with photos of food -- there are also photos of kids, presenting an image of family life.

Starting today, Facebook is rolling out a new scrapbooking feature designed specifically for pulling together photos of your child. The idea is to make it easier to collect together photos into one place so you can view all of your memories without having to jump from place to place.

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Facebook apes TimeHop with On This Day

Facebook apes TimeHop with On This Day

History. It's so much more reliable than the future. You know where you stand with things that have happened. This is possibly why they are often looked back upon (is that not the only way to view such things?) with such fondness. Unless they were bad things, of course.

Latching on to the general liking for getting moist-eyed and nostalgic, Facebook is rolling out a new On This Day. It's something that borrows heavily from services like TimeHop, and gives users of the social network a new way to check back on the content they've posted. It's something Facebook has experimented with already with its Year In Review, but this is a more wide-reaching feature.

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