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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

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.”

Queen Elizabeth sends first Tweet

October 24, 2014 By: Dr Search Principal Consultant at the Search Clinic Category: Computers, Dr Search, internet, Search Clinic, Technology Companies, Telecommunications Companies, Twitter, Uncategorized

The Queen has sent her first tweet to launch the Science Museum gallery.

Queen Elizabeth sends first Tweet“It is a pleasure to open the Information Age exhibition today at the @ScienceMuseum and I hope people will enjoy visiting. Elizabeth R.”

That was the Queen’s first tweet – sent through the @BritishMonarchy account – heralding the launch of a major new exhibition at London’s Science Museum.

Three years in the planning, the exhibition is one of the most ambitious projects the museum has undertaken.

The Information Age gallery, opened by the Queen this morning, takes visitors on a journey through the history of modern communications from the telegraph to the smartphone.

There is the first transatlantic telegraph cable which connected Europe and North America, the broadcast equipment behind the BBC’s first radio programme in 1922, and Sir Tim Berners-Lee’s NeXT computer, which hosted the first website.

The gallery’s chief curator Tilly Blyth hopes that visitors who may be somewhat blase about the digital revolution will come away with a longer view.

“We really want them to see that our predecessors lived through similar periods of change. Ours isn’t the only revolution – just the latest. in a series of transformations since the electric telegraph in the 1830s.”

You can construct a 1980s mobile phone network, making sure your cell towers are efficiently positioned. You can go into the web story box to find out exactly what happens when you click on a link. And you can plug headphones into a 1950s telephone exchange, and listen to the operators describing what their work involved.

Baroness Lane-Fox, who has campaigned for better access to and understanding of the internet, welcomes the new gallery: “It’s an amazing opportunity for people young and old to come and see the extraordinary developments in technology over the last hundred years or so. It really reminds me of the scale of ambition that people have had to change things.”

She hopes too that visitors will learn of the great contribution made by Britain to the development of communications – from Ada Lovelace, the woman who conceived the idea of computer programming in the 1830s, through to the 1950s when Lyons Corner Houses introduced the first business computer Leo, and on to Sir Tim Berners-Lee: “I hope that people who visit will have their ambition and excitement lit so we can continue to be world leaders in this field because it’s so important.”

The gallery certainly does show off the role Britain has played, and a number of British companies including BT and the chip designer ARM Holdings have sponsored the Information Age and supplied exhibits.

New Twitter popularity chart launched

March 31, 2014 By: Dr Search Principal Consultant at the Search Clinic Category: Customer Service, internet, Search Clinic, Social Media, Twitter, Uncategorized

The music Billboard organisation has announced a new set of music charts based on Twitter data.
New Twitter popularity chart launchedWorking with the social media platform, the Billboard Twitter Real-Time Charts will rank tracks and artists based on Twitter traffic.

Trends will be ranked in real-time over extended periods of time to track the longevity of successful songs and artists’ popularity.

The charts will also highlight the most talked about and shared tracks by new and upcoming acts.

The Twitter Real-Time Charts are set to launch in America over the next fortnight.

Bob Moczydlowsky, Twitter’s head of music, said: “When artists share songs and engage with their audience on Twitter, the buzz they create will now be visible to fans, other musicians and industry decision makers in real-time.”

Katy Perry is currently the most followed musician of Twitter with 51.8 million followers.

Official accounts of Justin Bieber, Lady Gaga, Taylor Swift, Britney Spears, Rihanna and Justin Timberlake are also in the top 10 most followed users on the site.

Billboard’s Hot 100 chart, which is based on radio play, streaming online, and sales, was recently expanded to include Spotify and YouTube streams.

They also launched an artist chart called Social 50 in 2010, which collects data from social media.

The new chart will be available on Billboard.com and will be shared on their Twitter account @billboard.

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

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.”

Apple is voted coolest brand in UK

September 24, 2012 By: Dr Search Principal Consultant at the Search Clinic Category: Apple, Computers, Google, internet, Technology Companies, Twitter, Uncategorized, YouTube

The world’s most valuable company- Apple Inc has clocked up another accolade- it has been voted the “coolest brand” in the UK.Apple is voted coolest brand in UK It beat Aston Martin, which has taken the top spot in six of the previous seven annual CoolBrands surveys.

Online and technology brands performed well, with YouTube pushing Aston Martin into third place. Twitter came fourth, followed by Google and the BBC’s iPlayer.

The results are decided by responses from 3,000 consumers and a panel of 39 experts.

Twitter, Skype and Nikon were in the top 20 for the first time in the 11 years of the survey.

Some of the luxury brands have dropped out of the top 20, including Maserati, Ferrari, Chanel, Vivienne Westwood and Alexander McQueen, which all featured last year.

A quarter of the top 20 brands are free to consumers.

“It is interesting that in this age of austerity our perception of cool has increasingly shifted from aspirational, luxury brands to free or more affordable brands that provide us with pleasure,” said Stephen Cheliotis, chairman of the CoolBrands expert council.

YouTube was among the biggest risers, having come in tenth place last year.

CoolBrands top 20

  1. Apple
  2. YouTube
  3. Aston Martin
  4. Twitter
  5. Google
  6. BBC iPlayer
  7. Glastonbury
  8. Virgin Atlantic
  9. Bang & Olufsen
  10. Liberty
  11. Sony
  12. Bose
  13. Haagen-Dazs
  14. Selfridges
  15. Ben & Jerry’s
  16. Mercedes-Benz
  17. Vogue
  18. Skype
  19. Nike
  20. Nikon

Wayne Rooney’s Nike Twitter ad banned by ASA

June 20, 2012 By: Dr Search Principal Consultant at the Search Clinic Category: Computers, Customer Service, Ecommerce, Online Marketing, Social Media, Technology Companies, Twitter, Uncategorized

The UK’s Advertising Standards Association (ASA) watchdog has banned a Wayne Rooney Nike Twitter campaign.Wayne Rooney's Nike Twitter ad banned by ASAThe ruling follows tweets by Manchester United footballer Wayne Rooney and his Arsenal rival Jack Wilshere who posted on to Twitter at the request of the sportswear firm.

The Advertising Standards Authority said that the messages did not make clear they were “identifiable as marketing communications”.

It is the first time that the ASA has acted against a Twitter based campaign.

The authority said it had intervened after receiving a single complaint earlier this year about two tweets – one from each of the sportsmen posted to their personal accounts.

Wayne Rooney’s tweet read: “My resolution – to start the year as a champion, and finish it as a champion…#makeitcount gonike.me/makeitcount”.

Jack Wilshere had posted “In 2012, I will come back for my club – and be ready for my country gonike.me/Makeitcount”.

Rooney has close to 4.8 million followers on his account. The offending tweet was posted on 1 January.

The complainant challenged whether the tweets were “obviously identifiable” as adverts.

Nike responded that the presence of its web address alongside a hashtag with its marketing campaign strapline distinguished the tweets from other personal posts by the players. It added that both sportsmen were well known for having being sponsored by the company.

But the ASA said the elements did not make the tweets “obviously identifiable” as adverts, bearing in mind that many Twitter users scroll through a variety of messages at speed. It added that not all of the social network’s users would have been aware of the “make it count” campaign, or the footballers’ relationship with Nike.

It suggested that in future firms should add #ad or some other clear indication that a message had been paid for.

Whilst this action by the ASA does break new ground, the fact that it has only just been announced- some six months after the event indicates that they don’t currently expect to be upholding many social media complaints.

However it does act as a reminder that people and business much take care and not assume that some sort of online impunity exists.

Artists move online to sell their work to wider audience

May 04, 2012 By: Dr Search Principal Consultant at the Search Clinic Category: Customer Service, Ecommerce, Facebook, internet, Online Marketing, Social Media, Technology Companies, Twitter, Uncategorized

Art galleries and curators are increasingly using the internet to sell art at affordable prices.Artists move online to sell their work to wider audienceSome websites are even letting people rent out works of art for less than the price of a monthly mobile phone bill.

Young artists are hoping that this will help them reach an entirely new audience.

They also rent out original works of art to people to try out on their living room wall before they commit to buying it.

The pictures are delivered with a curator’s description of the piece and a pair of white gloves to minimise damage.

The social networking part of the site encourages potential customers to join the online community and talk to the artists about their work.

This gives the artists a chance to promote their work to a new generation of collectors.

Some galleries are now just using their studio space as a marketing tool to promote their e-business.

DegreeArt is both a physical shop in Bethnal Green and a website, which allows art lovers to buy the works of art students, and those who have recently graduated.

It is co-directed by friends Isobel Beauchamp and Elinor Olisa.

The women realised there was a gap in the market for a company that could promote and sell graduate art work.

Both of them advise students on how to brand themselves post-university and surrounded by a colourful exhibition of pictures of rats and amphibians Ms Beauchamp stresses the importance of online promotion. If you don’t have Facebook, Twitter, Tumblr or Flickr then you’re missing a massive trick.

Ms Beauchamp says that artists now have to be business savvy and appeal to buyers with less disposable income.

Facebook share of UK social networks declines

January 11, 2012 By: Dr Search Principal Consultant at the Search Clinic Category: Facebook, Google, Social Media, Social Networking, Twitter, Uncategorized, Yahoo, YouTube

Facebook’s share of the UK online usage has fallen by more than seven percentage points in the last year- raising concerns that it may have hit saturation point.Facebook share of UK social networks declinesThe social network – which is expected to make an initial public offering (IPO) this year – still attracted significantly more online time than its nearest competitor, accounting for 52.6pc of all visits to social networks in December.

However, Facebook has lost substantial ground since the previous December, when it took a 58.5pc share of the UK’s social networking market, according to data from Experian Hitwise.

It slipped 1.3 percentage points last month alone.

The decline has raised concerns that Facebook is running out of steam in the markets where it is best established, whilst its competitors gain ground.

“Facebook’s growth is levelling out,” said James Murray, market research analyst at Experian. “Because Facebook had such a clear lead, it was always going to be difficult for Facebook to maintain [its position]. It has probably reached near enough its maximum growth.”

The figures will come as a blow to the company, which has been investing heavily in extending its reach and enticing users to click on its adverts, ahead of its long-awaited IPO. Facebook is expected to float with a possible valuation of  £65 billion ($100 billion)- the biggest technology IPO ever.

By contrast, YouTube, the user-generated video site owned by Google, grew its traffic by 45pc last year.

It accounted for just over a quarter of all UK visits to social networks in December, putting it 7.4 percentage points ahead of the previous year.

“We’re expecting video to be even more influential as a marketing channel, and marketers will have to adapt their strategies to incorporate a multi-channel approach in order to secure customers both on and offline,” said Mr Murray.

Twitter and Yahoo! Answers also made gains, but remained tiny by comparison, with 3pc and 2pc of all visits to social networks respectively.

Google’s social network, Google +, did not register in the top 10 most visited social networks at all.

However, Google grew its share of search engine usage market in the UK, edging up from a 91.3pc share of the market to 91.8pc.

Microsoft, its nearest competitor, was a minnow by comparison. Its suite of sites accountted for 3.6pc of all search engine visits in the UK in December, whilst Yahoo!’s popularity for searches fell nearly a percentage point to 2.5pc.