Think of video piracy, and talk of BitTorrent probably isn’t far away. While torrented movies and TV shows account for a large proportion of pirated material, it is far from being the end of the story. Even sites as seemingly innocuous as Facebook can be part of the problem.
The social network is not really used as a way to share the latest blockbuster movies, but it is home to a lot of 'recycled' content, the rights for which are not necessarily owned by the uploader. Responding to growing complaints from video publishers, Facebook is ramping up its fight against piracy, boosting the existing Audible Magic audio fingerprinting tool, introducing a video fingerprinting utility, and ensuring that repeat offenders are kept off the site.
The aim of Mark Zuckerberg, through Facebook, has been to connect the world. On Monday this week, the social network saw one billion people logging on to send messages, post photos, write status updates, and generally be social. One billion people in a single day.
Or to put it another way -- as Zuckerberg does -- "1 in 7 people on Earth used Facebook to connect with their friends and family". There aren’t many companies or services that can claim to have such a wide reach, so the palpable pride is entirely understandable.
Social media is an incredibly powerful tool. It's not without good reason that ad campaigns start on Twitter and Facebook in the hope of going viral. As with any medium, social media is full of positive and negative content. Content you're interested in seeing, and stuff you really aren't.
But the difference with the likes of Facebook and Twitter is that you're not always in control of what you see. The horrific shooting live on TV in Virginia highlights this perfectly. As with any tragedy or big news story, many were quick to take to social networks to share information and thoughts. They also shared video footage of the killings which automatically played in people's timelines.
Sounding like a character from a James Bond movie, M is Facebook's personal digital assistant. Ready to compete with the likes of Cortana, M will live inside Facebook Messenger and take artificial intelligence a step further. Rather than just helping you to find information or create calendar entries, M will actually perform tasks on your behalf.
Once up and running, M will be able to book restaurants for you, purchase shopping, and more. It will also be possible to use the service to ask for advice -- such as looking for somewhere to visit nearby, or gift suggestions -- and Facebook says the AI behind M is "trained and supervised by people".
Facebook is known as The Social Network, but it's about more than just being social. It's also used by businesses, charities, and other organizations to promote products, services and causes. To make it easier for non-profits to raise money Facebook is introducing a Donate Now button.
This is something that makes life easier for the donor and the recipient. Many non-profits are small operations which may not want to go to the trouble of setting up a fully-fledged website with a donation page. For people who discover a worthy cause through Facebook, it makes sense to be able to hand over some money through the same medium.
Twitter has blocked Politwoops from using its API, effectively killing the service that archived and published tweets deleted by politicians. Politwoops has a number of international sites, each concerned with the politicians of different countries and it monitored the account of prominent politicians for deleted tweets before publishing them for all to see.
The US version of the service was denied API access earlier in the year, but over the weekend Twitter extended the ban to a further 30 Politwoops accounts. The tweets deleted by those in politics are often far more telling and revealing than those that remain in place, and this was the reason for Politwoops existence. Not for the first time, Twitter has entered the political arena, indicating that it views the deletion decisions of elected politicians as more important than the right of the electorate to see tweets that have been self-censored.
Twitter has inadvertently given a wealth of priceless advertising to a Welsh car company despite refusing to run its ads. Used car dealership Ceir Cymru has been operating in North Wales for over 30 years, but has been told that it is not able to advertise in its native tongue.
Twitter Ads supports just a limited number of language, and Welsh is not included. Having applied to use the service Ceir Cymru was told by Twitter that it would not be able to advertise as more than half of its tweets are in Welsh -- hardly surprising for a car dealership in Wales. Ceir Cymru says Twitter is "stamping on minority languages".
It's a little while since Google and Twitter announced a partnership that saw the integration of tweets into search results. When this feature started to roll out back in May, Twitter integration only applied to iOS and Android devices. Today it rolls out to desktop search results as well.
The new desktop integration means that it is now possible to search for hashtags, trending topics, and Twitter accounts with a regular Google search. Including real time events in search results is not new for Google, but Twitter integration adds a new dimension.
As promised back in June, the character limit for Direct Messages on Twitter is being increased. The 140 character barrier is being dropped so messages sent between Twitter users can be much, much longer than before.
The character limit for regular tweets remains the same -- and tweets via SMS are still subject to the same restrictions -- but private conversations can now be much more verbose. The increase will affect Twitter.com, iOS and Android mobile apps, TweetDeck, and Twitter for Mac.
If you've added your mobile number to your Facebook account, you might want to reconsider in light of a new security exploit. A software engineer was able to access user data just by entering their mobile number. Profile pictures, names and locations were all accessible even for users who had not made their number public.
There is potential for such harvested data to be misused by malicious parties, as it provides an easy way to link a mobile number to an individual. Reza Moaiandin was able to use a special tool to quickly generate tens of thousands of numbers which, when passed through a Facebook API, fed back the associated user profiles.
Facebook has become much more than just a social network for connecting with friends and family, evolving into a way to get in touch with companies and even celebrities. Today the site announces that celebrities are now able to share live video from the Facebook Mentions app directly to fans.
Regular Facebook users need do nothing more than follow the celebrities they are interested in, and any live video that is broadcasting by someone they follow will appear in their news feed. While comparable to the likes of Periscope and Meekat, Facebook Live is not a direct competitor as it is only available to those with verified accounts -- but it also has features that neither of these services offer.
Yesterday we reported about the arrival of the Windows-powered update to Xbox One consoles in November. In the excitement we completely forgot about Microsoft's older console. Well, that's not strictly true -- we did mention that Xbox One is gaining backwards compatibility with many 360 games, but the humble Xbox 360 has a significant update of its own.
Currently available to those signed up to the preview program, the latest update brings a decidedly social element to the Xbox 360. The new Activity Feed displays gaming activity, message and more not only from Xbox 360, but also Xbox One and Windows 10. This is something that gamers have been hoping for for some time, and Microsoft has demonstrated that it has not completely forgotten about the ageing Xbox 360.
If you can't make it to Lollapalooza this year, there's no need to be jealous of your friends who are attending. At the music festival, Facebook has started testing a new feature that allows people to live stream events on the social network, taking on the likes of Snapchat head-on.
Music festivals are far from cheap -- a full weekend pass costs $275 and that's before you factor in travel, food, and so on -- so the prospect of a social powered livestream will appeal to many... particularly those to whom the idea of camping is abhorrent. Facebook's Place Tips feature can be used by those in attendance -- including performers -- to post videos, photos and updates that can be enjoyed by those who chose to stay at home.
What do you do if a story appears in your Facebook that you're not interested in? You might just ignore it, or you might try to train Facebook about your preferences by selecting the 'hide' option.
But if you're the sort of person who hides a lot of stories, Facebook might start placing less importance on your dislikes. This might sound counter-intuitive, but Facebook is convinced that it makes sense, saying that for some people opting to hide a story "isn't as strong a negative signal". So who are these people?
Approximately half of the world’s online population accesses Facebook on a monthly basis, the social media giant has reported.
By the end of Q2 2015, 1.49 billion people accessed the website at least once in a month, up 13 percent from the same period last year and representing half of the estimated global online population of 3 billion, Facebook said.