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Archive for the ‘Social Networking’

Facebook has a billion users in a single day, says Mark Zuckerberg

September 25, 2015 By: Dr Search Principal Consultant at the Search Clinic Category: Broadband, Browser, Computers, Customer Service, Facebook, Google, internet, Search Clinic, Social Media, Social Networking, Uncategorized

For the first time over a billion people used Facebook on a single day, according to company founder Mark Zuckerberg.

For the first time over a billion people used Facebook on a single day, according to company founder Mark Zuckerberg.

The “milestone” was reached when “1 in 7 people on Earth used Facebook to connect with their friends and family”, he said in a post.

Facebook has nearly 1.5 billion users who log in at least once a month, but this was the most in a single day.

The company gained its billionth user in October 2012. It was founded in 2004 by Mr Zuckerberg while he was a Harvard student.

In his post on Thursday, he predicted that Facebook’s reach would continue to grow.

“This was the first time we reached this milestone, and it’s just the beginning of connecting the whole world,” Mr Zuckerberg wrote.

In July, Facebook claimed that over half of the world’s online users visited the site at least once a month.

It was only back in October 2012 when Facebook first announced it had one billion users using the site at least once a month – and now, just under three years later, the site has managed to pull in that many in a single day.

The question is how can it continue to grow? Surely it will plateau at some point, right? Yes – but we’re a long way off that.

In Facebook’s headquarters in California on the wall a map of the world highlighted the countries with lots of Facebook users.

Sure, the US, Europe and India are almost at peak Facebook. But there are huge gaps – Africa, much of Asia, some of Latin America. That’s where Facebook is focused on now.

One billion in a day? No big deal.

Twitter launches anti cyberbully policy

April 27, 2015 By: Dr Search Principal Consultant at the Search Clinic Category: Personal Security, Search Clinic, Social Media, Social Networking, Twitter, Uncategorized

Twitter is to launch an anti cyberbully policy to act against violent threats as part of renewed efforts to tackle abuse.

Twitter launches anti cyberbully policyTwitter has acknowledged that its previous rules, which said a threat needed to be “direct” and “specific” to justify its intervention, had been too “narrow”.

The firm will still require a complaint to be made before it blocks an account, but it said it was also attempting to automatically make a wider range of abusive tweets less prominent.

The problem is not limited to Twitter – in March, a study of 1,000 UK-based 13 to 17 year olds by broadband provider Europasat indicated that nearly half of those surveyed had been sent abusive messages over the internet.

In February, Twitter’s chief executive Dick Costolo highlighted the issue when he sent a memo to staff telling them that “we suck at dealing with abuse and trolls on the platform and we’ve sucked at it for years”.

Twitter’s rules now state that it may act after being alerted to tweets that contain “threats of violence against others or promote violence against others”.

Twitter will tell some abusers to verify their phone number and delete several tweets before lifting a temporary ban.

By making its criteria more vague than before, the platform can now intervene if, for example, someone says that a victim ought to be beaten up.

It had previously required the aggressor to have provided specific details, such as the fact they planned to commit the act using a baseball bat at the victim’s place of work, before it would respond.

“Our previous policy was unduly narrow, and limited our ability to act on certain kinds of threatening behaviour,” wrote Shreyas Doshi, Twitter’s director of product management, on the firm’s blog.

“The updated language better describes the range of prohibited content and our intention to act when users step over the line into abuse.”

In addition, Twitter will begin freezing some abusers’ accounts for set amounts of time, allowing those affected to see the remaining duration via its app. Abusers may also be required to verify their phone number and delete all their previous offending tweets in order to get their account unlocked.

The firm said it could use this facility to calm situations in which a person or organisation came under attack from several people at once, where it might not be appropriate to enforce permanent bans on all involved.

While such decisions would be taken by Twitter’s staff, the company said it had also started using software to identify tweets that might be abusive, based on “a wide range of signals and context”.

Such posts will be prevented from appearing in people’s feeds without ever having been checked by a human being. However, they will still show up in searches and remain subject to the existing complaints procedure.

A side-effect of this could be that some abusive tweets become harder to detect.

The UK Safer Internet Centre, which represents a number of campaign bodies, welcomed the move.

“These are really good steps,” said Laura Higgins, the organisation’s online safety operations manager.

“Regrettably some people might fall foul of bad behaviour before Twitter can put some of these safeguards in place, but at least it is always looking for new solutions.”

“In cases when there is massive amounts of abuse and it’s all of a similar theme, I think the new system will be good at picking it up, and that’s great. But it would be good to hear what will happen to that data once Twitter has it.”

The announcements build on other recent changes made by Twitter, including hiring more workers to handle abuse reports and letting third parties flag abuse.

Search Clinic repeats the link to How to Report a Tweet or Direct Message for violations

Facebook reports slow growth and higher costs

April 23, 2015 By: Dr Search Principal Consultant at the Search Clinic Category: Facebook, internet, Pay Per Click, Search Clinic, Social Media, Social Networking, Technology Companies

Facebook shares fell after the company reported slower revenue growth, while research and development costs ate into profits.

Facebook reports slow growth and higher costsThe social networking company said profit in the first quarter of 2015 was £341 million, down 20% on a year earlier.

While revenue rose 42% to £2.33 billion- that was slightly below analysts’ forecasts. A bright spot was the rise in monthly active users, up 13% from a year earlier to 1.44 billion.

Notably, for those investors concerned about the firm’s efforts to appeal to younger users who access Facebook on their smartphones, monthly mobile users increased by 24% to 1.25 billion, a majority of the site’s users.

Facebook has been particularly adept at channelling that growing mobile user base into advertising dollars.

The company said that during the quarter, revenue from mobile ad sales made up nearly three quarters of total ad sales.

“This was a strong start to the year,” said founder and chief executive Mark Zuckerberg in a statement.

Investors have been worried about slowing revenue growth, as well as increasing costs at the company. Facebook has been spending more on research and development as it moves beyond its original social networking operation.

Spending on research and development jumped to £377 million from £120 million a year earlier.

The company has warned that those costs are set to increase, as it looks to expand some of its acquisitions including photo-sharing site Instagram, messaging service WhatsApp, and virtual reality firm Oculus Rift.

The trends are all going in the right direction. The cost rise is one thing that can derail this story. The question is, can they keep costs under control and what will be the new revenue streams around video, Instagram and virtual reality around Oculus?

Computer communication encryptions are a problem for police

March 30, 2015 By: Dr Search Principal Consultant at the Search Clinic Category: Computers, Cyber Security, data security, Social Media, Social Networking, Technology Companies, Telecommunications Companies, Uncategorized

Encrypted communications are the biggest problem for police, says Europol’s police chief.

Computer communication encryptions are a problem for policeThe European police chief says the sophisticated online communications are the biggest problem for security agencies tackling terrorism.

Hidden areas of the internet and encrypted communications make it harder to monitor terror suspects, warns Europol’s Rob Wainwright.

Tech firms should consider the impact sophisticated encryption software has on law enforcement, he said.

There is a significant capability gap that has to change if we’re serious about ensuring the internet isn’t abused and effectively enhancing the terrorist threat.

Mr Wainwright said that in most current investigations the use of encrypted communications was found to be central to the way terrorists operated.

“It’s become perhaps the biggest problem for the police and the security service authorities in dealing with the threats from terrorism,” he explained.

“It’s changed the very nature of counter terrorist work from one that has been traditionally reliant on having good monitoring capability of communications to one that essentially doesn’t provide that anymore.”

Mr Wainwright, whose organisation supports police forces in Europe, said terrorists were exploiting the “dark net”, where users can go online anonymously, away from the gaze of police and security services.

But he is also concerned at moves by companies such as Apple to allow customers to encrypt data on their smartphones.

And the development of heavily encrypted instant messaging apps is another cause for concern, he said. This meant people could send text and voice messages which police found very difficult or impossible to access, he said.

“We are disappointed by the position taken by these tech firms and it only adds to our problems in getting to the communications of the most dangerous people that are abusing the internet.

“Tech firms are doing it, I suppose, because of a commercial imperative driven by what they perceive to be consumer demand for greater privacy of their communications.”

Mr Wainwright acknowledged this was a result of the revelations by former National Security Agency contractor Edward Snowden, who exposed how security services were conducting widespread surveillance of emails and messages.

He said security agencies now had to work to rebuild trust between technology firms and the authorities.

The extent of the challenge faced by security services is shown in the scale of social media use by IS.

The programme also found evidence that supporters of ISIS are using encrypted sites to radicalise or groom new recruits.

Mr Wainwright revealed that ISIS is believed to have up to 50,000 different Twitter accounts tweeting up to 100,000 messages a day.

Europol is now setting up a European Internet Referral Unit to identify and remove sites being used by terrorist organisations.

Mr Wainwright also says current laws are “deficient” and should be reviewed to ensure security agencies are able to monitor all areas of the online world.

“There is a significant capability gap that has to change if we’re serious about ensuring the internet isn’t abused and effectively enhancing the terrorist threat.

“We have to make sure we reach the right balance by ensuring the fundamental principles of privacy are upheld so there’s a lot of work for legislators and tech firms to do.”

Twitter’s is only seven this month

March 28, 2013 By: Dr Search Principal Consultant at the Search Clinic Category: Computers, Dr Search, Search Clinic, Social Media, Social Networking, Technology Companies, Twitter, Uncategorized

Twitter celebrates its seventh birthday this month with 200 million users worldwide- who now send an average of 400 million tweets every day.Twitter's is only seven this monthThe service, originally called “stat.us” and then “twittr”, was launched in 2006 by Jack Dorsey.

He says he was inspired by signing up to blogging service Live Journal in 2000 and spent the next six years refining his idea for “a more ‘live’ LiveJournal. Real-time, up-to-date, from the road”.

Now people use Twitter to campaign, share and discuss news, fundraise, propose marriage, challenge authority – and try to catch the eye of teen heart-throb Justin Bieber, who at time of writing has more than 36 million followers.

On Twitter everyone is so accessible – you can tweet anyone. With Facebook, you have to be friends with them first.

The problem with Twitter – which is the power of Twitter – is that you are publishing into the world. It’s out there with the same power whether you have one follower or whether you have three million followers.

The joy of Twitter is that it’s a stream, you step into it, you step out of it.

You can look at the world in terms of before and after Twitter. Before Twitter, from a consumer standpoint, lots of news and information services were out there, but we hadn’t really been deep into the mobile-app revolution.

In the world after Twitter, suddenly people have access to real-time news and information.

Twitter bites

• Each message posted on Twitter can be up to 140 characters long, including web addresses, user names and hashtags
• There are 200 million active Twitter users worldwide
• Every day 400 million tweets are sent every day
• It took three years, two months and one day for the first billion tweets to be sent
• There are 10 million users in the UK, and 80% of them access Twitter via their mobile phones
• Of Twitter’s global users, 60% check the service on their phones
• Some 40% of Twitter users choose not to write any tweets themselves, but use the platform to follow news and interests

Google to shut it’s Reader RSS news feed service

March 14, 2013 By: Dr Search Principal Consultant at the Search Clinic Category: Customer Service, EReaders, Google, internet, Social Media, Social Networking, Technology Companies, Uncategorized, Website Design

Google is to shut down its Reader RSS news feed service in July as usage has declined.Google to shut it's Reader RSS news feed serviceA petition to save the service, which aggregates news content from web feeds, had 25,000 signatures in a few hours.

Experts say shutting Reader is part of Google’s plan to migrate more people to its social media service, Google+.

Google said in its official blog: “There are two simple reasons for this – usage of Google Reader has declined, and as a company we are pouring all of our energy into fewer products.”

It added users and developers who wanted to use alternatives could export their data, including their subscriptions over the next four months, using its Google Takeout service.

Google Reader launched in 2005, when Really Simple Syndication (RSS) feeds were a new way to keep tabs on favourite websites and blogs.

The news of its demise has led to a debate about the service on Twitter. Some said its launch had effectively destroyed other RSS competitors.

Security consultant @cortesi tweeted: “Google – a destroyer of ecosystems”.

In his blog, he added:” “Google destroyed the RSS feed-reader ecosystem with a subsidised product, stifling its competitors and killing innovation.  It then neglected Google Reader itself for years, after it had effectively become the only player.”

Now, he said, Google wanted people to experience their favourite websites in a more social way and was seeking to migrate its aggregation platforms to its social media service.

“This has been on the cards for a while. It is part of Google’s strategy to shift people to Google + and other social tools,” he said.

But Chris Wetherell, one of Reader’s chief engineers, told tech news site GigaOm it had been “doomed to fail from the very beginning because Google “never really believed in the project”.

PlayStation 4 console announced by Sony

February 22, 2013 By: Dr Search Principal Consultant at the Search Clinic Category: Customer Service, Gaming, internet, Search Clinic, Social Networking, Technology Companies, Uncategorized

Sony has announced its next-generation gaming console – the PlayStation 4.PlayStation 4 console announced by SonyIts new hardware is designed to offer superior graphics as well as new social features including the sharing of recorded gameplay clips.

It will succeed the PlayStation 3, which went on sale in 2006 and has sold about 75 million units.

Sony also confirmed a range of big-name software for the machine including Bungie’s upcoming “shared-world shooter” Destiny, which will include exclusive content for the PS4.

The developer’s previous title, Halo, helped drive sales for the rival Xbox platform.

A successful launch might spur on sales of Sony’s new televisions and other consumer electronics, helping turn around its fortunes.

Sony posted a £3.2 billion loss in its last financial year, marking the fourth year it ended in deficit.

But the firm has forecast a profit for the current financial year ending in March.

Sony said the console was “coming holiday 2013” suggesting it will go on sale in at least some countries in or around December.

Sony described the machine as being like a “supercharged” PC.

It runs off an x86-based CPU (central processing unit) – similar architecture to that found in most desktop computers – and an “enhanced” PC GPU (graphics processing unit). Both CPU and GPU are designed by the US firm Advanced Micro Devices (AMD).

It comes with the new DualShock 4 controller, which includes a touchpad, a “share button” and a lightbar, which allows a separate camera to track its movement.

Another new feature is that gamers can let one of their friends connect to their machine and take control of their character to help if they have got stuck, or allow several friends to watch their live progress as spectators.

While the graphics shown during the demonstrations were more advanced that those in current games for Nintendo’s Wii U, Sony must also convince gamers to choose its platform over PC-based systems.

Sony did not announce how much it plans to charge – perhaps holding the news back for the E3 gaming conference in Los Angeles in June or a later announcement.
Quantic Dream demo Developers say they can create more realistic looking in-game characters, making it easier to convey emotions

The PlayStation 3 was initially sold at a loss, so if that practice is repeated with the new model its launch may initially put fresh strain on the firm’s finances.

Facebook reports sharp drop in profits

February 06, 2013 By: Dr Search Principal Consultant at the Search Clinic Category: Facebook, internet, Mobile Marketing, Pay Per Click Advertising, Search Clinic, Social Media, Social Networking, Uncategorized

Facebook has reported a sharp drop in profits- partly due to increased spending on research and development.Facebook reports sharp drop in profitsThe social network site made a profit of £41 million in the final three months of 2012, compared with £133 million a year earlier.

Revenue was up 40% at £1.02 billion, largely due to a big jump in advertising revenue, a quarter of which came from mobile platforms.

Shares in Facebook fell by almost 6% in after-hours trading in New York.

The shares launched on the Nasdaq stock exchange in May at $38, and had halved in value by September.

They have since recovered to stand at $31 at the close of trading. The drop in after-hours trading suggests the shares will fall back again when full trading resumes on Thursday.

Revenue from advertising was £833 million, 41% up on a year earlier.

Mobile revenue, an important indicator of the company’s ability to capitalise on the growing move towards mobile platforms, accounted for 23% of overall revenue.

“In 2012, we connected over a billion people and became a mobile company,” said Mark Zuckerberg, Facebook founder and chief executive.

“We enter 2013 with good momentum and will continue to invest to achieve our mission and become a stronger, more valuable company.”

Social media UK laws to be reviewed

October 12, 2012 By: Dr Search Principal Consultant at the Search Clinic Category: Cyber Security, Facebook, LinkedIn, Search Clinic, smart phones, Social Media, Social Networking, Technology Companies, Twitter, Uncategorized

Social media laws in the UK are to be reviewed in the wake of recent prosecutions.Social media UK laws to be reviewedNew guidelines for policing social media are to be discussed to avoid a “chilling effect” on free speech, the most senior prosecutor in England and Wales has said.

Director of public prosecutions Keir Starmer QC said that the right to be offensive “has to be protected”- but that there had to be a balance.

His comments came in the wake of two prosecutions for offensive postings.

Matthew Wood was jailed on Monday for posting comments about missing girl April Jones. He was jailed for 12 weeks after he made several “abhorrent” postings about missing five-year-old April Jones on Facebook. Members of the public had reported his comments to the police who arrested the man for his own safety after 50 people went to his home.

The teenager’s 12-week prison sentence was followed by the prosecution of Azhar Ahmed, 20, who was given 240 hours community service after writing an offensive post about dead British soldier which posted that “all soldiers should die and go to hell” on Facebook. He said he did not think that the message was offensive.

The Crown Prosecution Service (CPS) will invite lawyers and academics, as well as representatives from social media companies such as Facebook and Twitter, to be part of the discussions.

The new measures are expected to be announced before Christmas.

A freedom of information request revealed that there were 2,347 investigations after complaints regarding posts on social media in 2010. This number rose to 2,490 in 2011 – about 50 different cases across the UK each week.

Mr Starmer said prosecutors were finding it difficult to work within the existing law.

“The emerging thinking is that it might be sensible to divide and separate cases where there’s a campaign of harassment, or cases where there’s a credible and general threat, and prosecute in those sorts of cases and put in another category communications which are, as it were, merely offensive or grossly offensive.”

Mr Starmer said the new guidelines would enable relevant authorities to use remedies other than criminal prosecution to address instances of offensive activity.

“The threshold for prosecution has to be high,” he added. “We live in a democracy, and if free speech is to be protected there has to be a high threshold. People have the right to be offensive, they have the right to be insulting, and that has to be protected.”

Facebook users spying on ex lovers damage themselves

September 19, 2012 By: Dr Search Principal Consultant at the Search Clinic Category: Cyber Security, Facebook, Social Media, Social Networking, Technology Companies, Uncategorized

Facebook users are risking psychological damage from using the website to spy on ex lovers, according to new research analysis.Facebook users spying on ex lovers damage themselvesAs many as half of Facebook users are risking psychological damage from using the site to spy on ex lovers, according to new research.

Two of the most cited reasons for accessing Facebook are to keep in touch with others and to surreptitiously monitor them – with between a third and half of users using it to check up on ex-partners.

With close to a billion users, it means hundreds of millions may be finding it more difficult to get over a broken romance.

If it was unhealthy being together in the first place, it may be even more emotionally damaging to continue following their lives.

Psychologist Dr Tara Marshall said in the past, such spying and keeping tabs with what your ex was up to was challenging. You could try and pry information from his or her friends, telephone, or drop by their place, but it was usually unlikely you would turn up much useful information.

This made it easy for people to distance themselves from the relationship and move on – an emotionally healthy breakup. But as long as you remain ‘friends’ with your ex on Facebook, they are now able to keep up with everything you are doing.

While satisfying a certain curiosity factor, it seems likely that it would make it far more difficult to actually emotionally distance yourself from your past relationship.

In a survey of 464 participants, most of whom were undergraduate students, she found people who remain Facebook friends with an ex-partner will experience poorer breakup adjustment and personal growth relative to those who do not.

The findings suggest continued online exposure to an ex-romantic partner may inhibit post-breakup recovery.  Notably, frequent monitoring of an ex-partner’s Facebook page and list of friends was associated with greater distress.

Dr Marshall, of Brunel Universoity, Uxbridge, said: “Previous research has found continuing offline contact with an ex-romantic partner following a breakup may disrupt emotional recovery.

“Analysis of the data provided by 464 participants revealed that Facebook surveillance was associated with greater current distress over the breakup, more negative feelings, sexual desire, and longing for the ex-partner, and lower personal growth.

“Overall, these findings suggest that exposure to an ex-partner through Facebook may obstruct the process of healing and moving on from a past relationship.”

Dr Brenda Wiederhold, editor of Cyberpsychology, Behaviour and Social Networking which published the research Facebook Surveillance of Former Romantic Partners: Associations with PostBreakup Recovery and Personal Growth , added: “This study sees again virtual life mirroring real life.

“Just as real life contact with ex-partners may inhibit growth, healing, and well-being, so may virtual contact.”