Mark Wilson

Twitter slaps abusive accounts with temporary timeouts


After promising to do something to tackle the problem of harassment, Twitter recently announced plans to stop repeat offenders. An even more recent tweak to lists backfired, and the latest measure sees abusers hit with a timeout rather than a ban.

It is an attempt to placate those who want to see something being done, while simultaneously trying not to anger those affected. The restrictions seem to be -- at the moment -- limited to hiding the offender's tweet to everyone but his or her followers, but it's possible that others may be implemented as well.

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Google partners with Telenor to bring enhanced RCS messaging to Europe and Asia


A potential successor to SMS has received strong backing from Google as it partners with Telenor to launch RCS messaging in Europe and Asia. Rich Communications Services is more feature-rich than traditional SMS and Google's latest partnership sees the technology spreading outside of the US and Canada.

With support for features such as group chat, read receipts and high resolution image sharing, RCS has a lot going for it. There's just one catch. In integrating RCS support into Android, Google is providing the "upgraded SMS experience" through its own Messenger app.

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Job ads on Facebook mean you could apply for your next position through the social network


Ads on Facebook are something of a pain, but they could actually about to become rather more useful. Starting tomorrow, the social network will allow business pages to host job ads and anyone interested in the positions will be able to apply directly via Facebook.

Job ads on Facebook were trialed towards the end of last year, but the official rollout starts now. It's a change that sees Facebook treading firmly on LinkedIn's toes, and it's something that has the potential to work well for Facebook, employers and job applicants alike.

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Google expands fact checking to help tackle fake news


It's something that should delight Donald Trump -- Google is helping to fight fake news. Whether the company's move to help keep web users better informed is in keeping with the US president's penchant for "alternative facts" remains to be seen, but for everyone else it is great news.

Google is far from being the first technology company to lend its support to the fake news fighting army -- Facebook and the BBC are already doing their bit too. The expansion of Google News fact checking means that the Fact Check label is spreading further around the globe, giving people in more parts of the world the assurance that what they're reading has been verified.

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Yahoo notifies users about 'forged cookie' security breaches and it could cost the company millions

Yahoo sign logo building

Yahoo -- or, rather, its users -- have not been doing very well recently when it comes to security. Having already revealed details of a huge historic attack that led to the theft of details for millions of accounts, Yahoo is now notifying an unknown number of users that their accounts may have been breached by hackers using forged cookies.

At the same time, Bloomberg is suggesting that the impending deal with Verizon has been renegotiated. The latest revelations coupled with the previous security issues could have just cost Yahoo $250 million.

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Privacy-protecting Ghostery extension sold, Ghostery Inc becomes Evidon after acquisition


There's big news in the world of Ghostery Inc, the company best-known for the browser extension that boosts privacy. The firm's consumer operations have been sold to Cliqz, a German company part-owned by Mozilla, where the Ghostery extension will live on.

Ghostery Inc is rebranding to its former identity of Evidon, which will have a B2B focus. Evidon Inc will provide "monitoring and consent solutions for over 500 leading brands across the world." The deal with Cliqz is an all-cash affair, but details have not been released.

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Brexit forces Microsoft to push up Surface Book price by £150


The UK's decision to leave the European Union continues to hit the pockets of consumers. The latest victim of Brexit is Microsoft's Surface Book, with every model in the range hit with a £150 price hike.

While not a direct response to the Brexit vote itself, the resulting drop in the value of the pound has already seen many companies push up prices to compensate. We've already seen Apple increase the cost of apps in the UK by 25 percent, and Microsoft has already increased the price of enterprise software. Representing an 11 percent price jump, the new Surface Book price tag makes the already-expensive laptop even less attractive to would be buyers.

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'Refugee' Julian Assange arrives on Twitter


Wikileaks founder Julian Assange has activated his Twitter account. His profile gives his location as the Ecuadorian embassy in London, and describes him as "refugee" who is "picking the lock to the chain that enslaves mankind -- ignorance."

Within minutes of activating the account, Assange managed to amass thousands of followers, and this is a number that is sure to skyrocket in the coming days now that the account is actually being used. So what did the reclusive man have to say with his first tweet?

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[Updated] PayPal very sneakily increases its charges and adds weird non-discouragement clause for sellers


Nobody likes to share bad news, and PayPal is no different. Price increases certainly fall into the category of bad news, and PayPal has decided to publish the details as "Policy Updates". But it's not just the price hike that's included in this misleadingly-titled document -- there's also something rather weird.

If you are a seller -- such as on eBay or other shopping sites -- you will soon be subject to a "non-discouragement clause". What does this mean? In short it means that sellers are not permitted to encourage shoppers to use another payment method instead of PayPal. Let's drill into the detail.

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Microsoft aims to calm cloud security fears with revamped Trust Center site


The modern Microsoft places more importance on the cloud than ever before, and this means addressing the security concerns that users might have. As part of this, the company has upgraded and redesigned its Trust Center, home to a wealth of security information.

Designed to provide "support and resources for information professionals, as well as the legal and compliance community," the Trust Center is also of interest to anyone concerned about security in general and those who want to know how Microsoft is complying with laws around the world.

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Twitter tweaks Lists because of potential for abuse -- and then reverses the changes


Twitter has tried various methods of cracking down on trolling and abuse, and it is now rolling out its latest batch of safety measures. The most recent change only lasted a few hours before it was killed off due to protests.

In a seemingly well-intentioned move, Twitter decided to no longer notify users when they were added to lists. The idea was that lists could be used as a form of abuse: you might not be able to message someone, but you could add them to a list called "you're a douchebag", and they would be notified. But the change did not last very long at all.

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Google officially brings Instant Tethering to Pixel and Nexus


It's only a matter of weeks since we were talking about the impending arrival of Instant Tethering. This delight of technology makes it possible to quickly and painlessly share a data connection between devices, and now it's officially available to Pixel and Nexus devices.

To use Google's explanation, Instant Tethering means "you can automatically share a cellular data connection between certain Pixel and Nexus devices via Wi-Fi when they're signed in to the same Google Account." Now the rollout is official, and many people are able to make use of this very handy feature.

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Google Maps for iOS and Android gains Lists to save and share your favorite places


The days of dedicated satnavs are surely numbered, with the likes of Waze and Google Maps bringing turn-by-turn directions to smartphone owners for free. The feature set for these apps just keeps on growing, and Google Maps now includes a new Lists feature which lets you use the app to create and share lists of places.

There are lots of possible uses for Lists -- Google suggests using it to create your bucket list of places to visit, but it's better used to draw up a list of places to visit on vacation, say, and then share it with friends who are planning a similar trip. While lists can only be created in the iOS and Android app, they can also be viewed on the desktop.

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WhatsApp adds two-step verification -- here's how to enable it 


It has been a little while coming, but WhatsApp is finally rolling out support for two-step verification to its messaging app.

The extra layer of security means that it is now more difficult to gain unauthorized access to an account, and it is a feature that is being made available to iOS, Android and Windows users. With the feature enabled, if you -- or anyone else, for that matter -- tries to verify your phone number on WhatsApp, you -- or they -- will have to provide the 6-digit passcode you create.

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Forget prayers, thoughts and sad faces; Facebook Community Help lets you actually help those in crisis 


When there is an emergency somewhere in the world -- be it a natural disaster, terrorist attack or humanitarian crisis -- it has become normal to see Facebook's Safety Check feature kick in. As well as letting those affected by the crisis in question let their loved ones know that they are OK, Safety Check activations also result in a flood of thoughts, prayers and sad-faced emoji being sent by Facebookers.

But what about sending actual help? Sending thoughts and prayers is something of an empty gesture, whereas offering shelter, food and other supplies could actually help to save lives. Facebook has now expanded its Safety Check tool to include Community Help, enabling helpful souls to lend support in times of need.

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