A couple of months ago Facebook started to talk about a new security tool. It was initially only made available to a select group of users, but today it rolls out to all.
The aptly-named Security Checkup gives Facebook users the opportunity to double check the privacy and security settings they have in place, helping to ensure that private information is not shared with too large an audience. It can also be used to monitor logins and check for suspicious account activity, acting as a handy centralized hub for everything security-related.
Customer identity management firm Gigya has released its Q2 "landscape of customer identity" figures, showing how consumers are using third party identity providers such as Facebook and Google+ to log into other websites.
Facebook continued its dominance, now controlling two-thirds of all social logins, followed by Google+ (20 percent), Twitter (six percent) and Yahoo (four percent).
Workforce diversity is something that has been brought into sharp focus in recent months as companies such as Amazon, Microsoft, and Facebook reveal the make-up of their staff. White, middleclass, male employees dominate the world of technology, and this is certainly the case at Facebook -- even if a redesigned icon was an attempt to bring women to the fore.
Now the social network is embarking on something of a PR campaign, desperate to prove that it is doing everything it can to develop as diverse a workplace as possible. Today Facebook publishes sections of its employee training program that aims to eradicate the 'unconscious bias' that leads to -- in Facebook's words -- 'black sounding names' getting fewer callbacks than 'white sounding names'.
Facebook comes in for a lot of criticism, but one thing that managed to rub a lot of people up the wrong way is its real names policy. For some time the social network has required its users to reveal their real name rather than allowing for the adoption of pseudonyms. This has upset many, including musicians and the drag community.
Now a German watchdog has told Facebook that its ban on fake names is not permitted. The Hamburg Data Protection Authority said that the social network could not force users to replace pseudonyms with real names, nor could it ask to see official identification.
Since the beginning, Google+ has been seen as a mess. It has been dismissed as the social network for people who don’t actually like to be very social, and Google is only too aware that it needs to step up its game. You may well have wondered if the company knew what it was doing… today Google shares details of what it has planned.
Several months ago, Google announced that it was going to split up Google+ into a number of separate projects -- Hangouts, Photos, and Streams. We've already seen the arrival of Google Photos to replace Google+ Photos (you keeping up?) and now, as well as admitting that it made mistakes, Google gives a taste of what’s to come in the months ahead.
Mark Zuckerberg's Internet.org has come in for quite a lot of criticism since it launched. Designed to help get the entire world online, it has been argued that the program is in opposition to the idea of net neutrality and many of its backers have pulled out or complained about things since it kicked off.
But in many regards none of this matters -- it is the numbers that are important. Twelve months after the launch of Internet.org, more than a billion people have been connected to the internet free of charge. Moving into year two, the next part of the operation involves scaling things up.
LinkedIn caused a storm a couple of days ago when it removed the option to instantly download contacts. Many users of the professional social network were more than a little irked to discover that while contact exporting was still available, a wait of up to three days had been put in place.
Unsurprisingly, users revolted, having been particularly upset by the fact the change was implemented with no warning or announcement. But the company has managed to turn things around by quickly backtracking on its decision after listening to a stream of complaints on Twitter.
Sometimes it just takes someone with a big enough name -- and voice -- to draw attention to something that thousands of others have been saying for a long time. Proving this, Kim Kardashian (of all people) has made a suggestion for a feature that Twitter should adopt: editing. Twitter loves the idea. And when we say 'Twitter', we don’t mean 'people on Twitter' -- we mean Twitter itself: none other than co-founder Jack Dorsey.
Kardashian tweeted to her 33.8 million followers letting them know that she'd got in touch with Twitter to share her idea. In a matter of hours she received tens of thousands of replies, favorites, and replies. If she has husband Kanye West on board, that's another 13.5 million followers.
Videos on Facebook are big business. As well as drugged up post-dentist footage, there is also huge advertising potential. Now Facebook has announced a new set of options for video publishers -- including the ability to limit who is able to see videos based on their age and gender.
A social network might not be the first place you would think of to try to keep something private, but a new 'secret video' option makes it possible to restrict access to those people who have a direct link. Other new options include the ability to prevent embedding on other sites, but it is the audience restriction settings that are particularly interesting.
Part of using any social website is customizing the appearance of your account to your liking; now Twitter has bucked the trend and removed that option. As noted by TechCrunch, Twitter users are no longer able to adorn their profile with a custom background image.
It seems like something of a strange move, made all the more odd by the fact that Twitter has not made an announcement about the change. Firing up Twitter, users around the world will today find that their accounts look rather different. It's bright, white backgrounds all the way. So what on earth is going on?
Over the years Twitter has taken various steps to help users avoid spam, trolls, abuse, and other online problems. Today the social site takes the wraps off the Twitter Safety Center. This is home to advice about staying safe on Twitter and online in general, as well as including links to the various tools that Twitter has to offer.
The Safety Center is divided into three sections -- Tools, Policies, and Enforcement -- and the idea is that users are given the information they need to keep themselves safe. Each of the sections includes advice and guides about improving security, maintaining privacy, and avoiding unwanted content.
Facebook wants to make Messenger appeal to as many people as possible, so, last month, it announced that it will no longer require new users to have a Facebook account in order to use its increasingly popular messaging service. The feature was initially said to be offered in just a handful of markets, US, Canada, Peru and Venezuela.
Now, the feature is made globally available according to Facebook's David Marcus. Just like in the first markets, all that new users need to sign up for Messenger is their phone number.
It's been a tumultuous time at Reddit recently. The self-styled (albeit slightly sarcastically) Front Page of the Internet raised the ire of some users several months ago when it started to impose stronger restrictions on the type of content that could be posted. It started with restrictions on certain types of explicit content, followed by the killing off of harassment, hate, and abuse subreddits.
After the site fired AMA (Ask Me Anything) coordinator Victoria Taylor, there was an uprising. Moderators were unhappy, users were unhappy, and CEO Ellen Pao ended up resigning. As users left in their droves, finding solace in alternatives such as Voat, the site scrabbled to defend itself both to users, employees, admins, and volunteers. Today in an Ask Me Anything session, Reddit co-founder Steve 'spez' Huffman introduced a swathe of new restrictions on what users are allowed to say. In public, at least.
Twitter acted quickly to remove two Vines advertising the network's #DiscoverMusic campaign after warnings from an epilepsy charity. Epilepsy Action advised Twitter that the two ads could be dangerous to those suffering from photosensitive epilepsy.
The charity made a public appeal to Twitter in a tweet, and the company was fast to respond. Communications director Rachel Bremer thanked Epilepsy Action for drawing attention to the ads which were removed. The epilepsy charity was not alone in sending warnings to Twitter -- quite a few concerned tweeters got in touch with the company to point out the problem.
Add a few friend on Facebook, join a few groups, and follow a few people you know and your Facebook feed can collapse into a jumbled mess. The way Facebook's algorithm works means it's all too easy to see too much stuff you're not really interested in, and miss what you want to see most.
Today the social network is rolling out a new set of options that can be used to gain better control of what you see. The latest update gives prioritization options so you can be certain that you'll always see posts from a particular friend. Will it be enough to please those who are critical of how things work at the moment?