Thursday, June 30, 2016

Facebook puts friends above publishers in “News Feed Values” and ranking change

After the conservative trends fiasco, Facebook is pushing itself to a new standard of transparency. The company is publishing a formal “News Feed Values” document that details how it decides what shows up in your feed — a common question amongst users.

Those core values are that friends and family come first, that the feed should inform and entertain, that Facebook is a platform for all ideas, that authentic communication beats spam, that you have the controls to hide or highlight what you want, and that Facebook will keep iterating to improve the experience.

Facebook is also making a feed ranking change today that literally puts its primary value that “Friends and family come first” into practice. The News Feed will now show posts from friends higher up in the feed than posts from Pages like news outlets. Pages should expect a decline in reach and referral traffic, especially if they rely on clicks directly to their posts rather than re-shares by their followers.

While the News Feed is ranked by a computer algorithm, Facebook’s Adam Mosseri explains “News Feed is a system that’s designed and built by people, those people have values, and those values are reflected in how we make decisions on a regular basis.” By publicly solidifying those values, users may gain faith that Facebook doesn’t have ulterior motives when deciding the best content to show them.

Read Josh Constine's article at

Wednesday, June 29, 2016

Dear millennials: Instagram doesn't owe you anything


It's time to stop freaking out about your Instagram feed.

Yes, Instagram has started rolling out its new algorithmic-based feed, which may make posts appear "out of order." Yes, it's a big change and yes, people are freaking out about it.

But they shouldn't. Complaining on social media about an Instagram update is about as pointless as expecting your iPhone battery to last all day.

Read Karissa Bell's opinion at

Tuesday, June 28, 2016

Instagram now has more than a half a billion users

Instagram has reached a new milestone.

The photo sharing app now counts more than 500 million monthly active users, up from 400 million in September, Instagram announced Tuesday.

Of those, more than 300 million people use the app every day, according to a statement from the company.

Read Karissa Bell's article at

Monday, June 27, 2016

Hover Camera is a personal drone for selfie lovers

If you’re done with selfie sticks and are looking for what comes next in the narcissistic world of self-photography, look no further than Hover Camera, a new “personal” drone that gives you a different — more aerial — view of you and your life.

Hover Camera is a tiny foldable drone that hovers around you, controlled by a compatible smartphone app, snapping 4k video and photos via a 13-megapixel camera. It is seriously portable, and made of carbon fiber so durable, too. Most impressive for those with young kids or pets around, its wings are enclosed and out of reach of hands, which probably makes it one of the safest drones around.

The device has been developed by U.S.-Chinese company Zero Zero Robotics for the past two years and is intended to go on sale over the next few months. There’s no confirmed price for Hover Camera right now, but Zero Zero Robotics CEO and founder Mengqiu Wang told us that the final cost will be sub-$600. The plan is to make it available in China and the U.S. first, before later going in sale in Europe and other parts of the world.

Read Jon Russell's article and see a short video at

Sunday, June 26, 2016

Seven tips on keeping your phone safe while traveling

You may not think of it this way, but the phone in your pocket is really an extension of you -- it contains everything from personal photos and videos to critical contact information.

It's also valuable data that cyber criminals can exploit. This means you need to make sure your phone is protected. While your device can be compromised anywhere, you may expose yourself to additional risks while on a trip.

"When you're traveling, you may do some things differently than you'd do at home," said Michael Kaiser, executive director for the National Cyber Security Alliance or NCSA, a nonprofit public-private partnership that promotes safe and secure use of the internet.

For instance, Kaiser said you might be tempted to use an unprotected Wi-Fi network to save on roaming charges if you're traveling abroad. And you may not consider the risks of sharing your location via apps or pictures you post on social media.

"You might not want to share with the world that you're in Hawaii for the next two weeks and no one is at your house," he said.

You are in luck, NCSA has put together tons of tips that can help you be more secure online. Here's a summary of the tips most relevant to mobile devices to help ensure you don't become a victim of cybercrime while on vacation.

  1. Clean up your device
  2. Turn on password or biometric protection
  3. Turn off location tracking on apps and manage privacy settings
  4. Backup your data
  5. Beware of public Wi-Fi hotspots
  6. Turn off Wi-Fi and Bluetooth when you're not using it
  7. Turn on "find my phone" and remote wiping

Read Maggie Reardon's complete article at

Saturday, June 25, 2016

Twitter quietly launches tags to location feeds with Foursquare

Finally Twitter will let you see when tweets are from a specific place, like a business, sports stadium, or music festival. After a reader tipped us off, Twitter confirmed to TechCrunch it’s now rolling out this new location feature to all iOS users, with other platforms coming later.

Location feeds linked to from these tags could inspire people to tweet more while out and about, fuel Moments about particular places, and improve Twitter’s ad targeting data. Better location functionality could be an important building block for Twitter’s future products and revenue potential.

What’s new is that specific location tags now appear in the main Timeline and on profiles, clueing people in to the fact there are location feeds to browse. The Foursquare branding and design of the location feeds is new too. Despite confirming the news to us previously, Twitter says a basic version of location feeds was available before, but there was no way to tell a tweet was tagged with a location unless you opened its detail view.

Foursquare is powering precise place identification for the Twitter feature. In exchange it gets prominent branding, links back, and the ability to improve its own database.

Foursquare CEO Jeff Glueck tells us “We’re excited about this integration, which has been getting deeper over time. Location can provide important context for any moment, and our location intelligence is best-in-class. We’re proud to support Twitter in the US, Canada, Brazil and many other geographies. Stay tuned for more to come.”

Twitter has always been obsessed with hosting the what and the when. Here it’s finally getting a grip on where.

Read Josh Constine's article at

Tuesday, June 21, 2016

Here's how your Facebook Messenger inbox is getting smarter

The Facebook Messenger app is about to be updated with a new design that also makes its inbox smarter.

The new look, which rolls out later this week, will change how the app's home tab is organized. Right now, it acts as a pretty standard inbox, showing all of your message threads with the most recent on top.

In the redesign, Messenger's home screen will still display some of your most recent conversations at the top — but it will also add more personalized information farther down.

At a Wired conference in New York, Facebook's Vice President of Messaging Products David Marcus described the update as a "first stab at reinventing the inbox."

Read Karissa Bell’s article at

Friday, June 17, 2016

How data thieves hook victims — and how to beat them

Say what you will about the thieves who ply their trade in the digital realm, you can’t deny they put in a hard day’s work. After all, according to Verizon’s just-released 2016 Data Breach Investigations Report, which analyzed an astounding 100,000 digital security incidents last year, these crooks continue to succeed at stealing corporate and personal data and records by the millions.

And while high-tech trickery and sophisticated technical exploits are certainly employed by some, Verizon’s report suggests that most thieves rely on basic human frailties to do their dirty work. In particular, 63 percent of the successful data breaches studied involved weak, default or stolen passwords, and nearly one-third of the so-called phishing emails (see below) were actually opened by unwitting recipients. The message is clear: Your digital world is more vulnerable than you ever thought. Encouragingly, however, protecting yourself is way easier than you might imagine.

Gary Davis' article discusses:

  • Phishing: a foolproof plan for crooks
  • How to tell is you've been phished
  • Hook removal: how to fix the damage

Thursday, June 16, 2016

'Spam King' Sanford Wallace Sentenced to 2½ Years for Facebook Scheme

Sanford Wallace, the self-proclaimed "spam king" who has bedeviled Web users since the dawn of the public Internet two decades ago, has been sentenced to 30 months in prison and ordered to pay hundreds of thousands of dollars in restitution for bombarding Facebook users, according to court records.

Wallace, 47 — also known as "Spamford" and the handle he preferred himself, "the Spam King" — pleaded guilty in August to electronic mail fraud and to criminal contempt of court, according to sentencing documents filed Tuesday in U.S. District Court in San Jose, California. The contempt charge was leveled against Wallace for disobeying previous orders from one of his many court cases never to access Facebook in the first place.

Judge Edward J. Davila also sentenced King to mental health treatment and five years of probation once he's released. And he barred King from possessing or using any computer without the permission of his probation order.

According to the 2011 indictment, Wallace — using the aliases "David Frederix" and "Laura Frederix," along with at least 1,500 fake Internet domain names (including "") — illegally obtained Facebook users' account information to lure them into clicking on a link that would download their friend lists and redirect them to other websites.

In just four days over three user sessions from November 2008 to February 2009, he flooded more than 550,000 Facebook users with more than 27 million spam messages, prosecutors said.

Total damages assessed against King approach $1 billion, according to court records. It's not known how much, if any, of that money Wallace has turned over.

Read Alex Johnson's article at

Wednesday, June 15, 2016

Never forget where your car is parked

Forgetting where you parked could soon be an issue of the past, thanks to a new feature in Apple's upcoming iOS 10 that automatically remembers where your car is located.

Via AppleInsider reader Ophir.

Using Apple Maps for directions in the upcoming iOS 10, a user's iPhone will remember a vehicle's location at the end of of a trip. This is done automatically for a trip that does not end at the user's home address.

The new feature, first discovered by reader Ophir, notifies a user that their vehicle is parked and drops a pin on a map in its location. Users can get directions to their parked car, or edit the location to pinpoint it more accurately.

A parked car also shows up automatically as a recommended destination in Apple Maps. That means a "Parked car" option will show up on the Apple Maps lock screen widget for easy access, if a user has it enabled in iOS 10.

Read Neil Hughes' article at

Tuesday, June 14, 2016

With iOS10, Apple may have solved a huge privacy riddle

With iOS 10, your phone will suggest which phrase or address you might want to use next in a message. Your Maps app will show you restaurants nearby you'd probably want to visit, and the Photos app will recognizes faces and scenes.

Sounds nice — until you stop to think about how your phone (or, soon, your Mac) knows all this, and how it's compatible with your privacy.

To be able to make these sorts of predictions, Apple must have a lot of information about you and your habits, and it must store that data somewhere. Logic implies that, if you want your data to be absolutely safe from prying eyes, you can forget about your phone finishing your sentence. You can't have your cake and eat it, too.

But maybe you can.

Read Stan Schroeder's article at

Monday, June 13, 2016

Unique Habits of Ridiculously Likeable People

Too many people succumb to the mistaken belief that being likeable comes from natural, unteachable traits that belong only to a lucky few—the good looking, the fiercely social, and the incredibly talented. It’s easy to fall prey to this misconception.

Being likeable is under your control, and it’s a matter of emotional intelligence (EQ). Unlike innate, fixed characteristics, such as your intelligence (IQ), EQ is a flexible skill that you can improve with effort.

To help you improve your EQ, Dr Trvis Bradberry uncovered the key behaviors that emotionally intelligent people engage in that make them so likable. Read his article at >

Thursday, June 9, 2016

Passwords for 32M Twitter accounts may have been hacked and leaked

There is yet another hack for users of popular social media sites to worry about. Hackers may have used malware to collect more than 32 million Twitter login credentials that are now being sold on the dark web. Twitter says that its systems have not been breached.

“We are confident that these usernames and credentials were not obtained by a Twitter data breach – our systems have not been breached. In fact, we’ve been working to help keep accounts protected by checking our data against what’s been shared from recent other password leaks,” a Twitter spokesperson said.

Whether or not the leaked Twitter credentials are authentic, it never hurts to change your password — especially if you use the same password across several sites.

Read the complete article at

Monday, June 6, 2016

Your Instagram feed will never be the same again

Instagram is officially giving its feed the Facebook treatment.

The photo app is finally rolling out its new algorithmic timeline, which orders your feed based on "what you care about" rather than chronology. The changes should appear "soon," though Instagram says it's already live for many users.

The update will make Instagram feeds much more similar to Facebook's, with users seeing posts based on factors like popularity and other social signals, rather than strictly chronologically. The change, which Instagram first announced in March, has proved to be controversial among Instagram's user base, who worry that their followers may not see their posts.

But in a blog post Friday, the company said that people who have had access to the new timeline have been more engaged with posts than with the old timeline.

"With this new ordering you won’t miss your favorite band’s video after the concert, even if it took place across the world in a different time zone," the company says. "And no matter how many accounts you follow, you should see your best friend’s latest posts."

Of course, as with any big Instagram change, the feed change has sparked mixed reactions. Some users are still not happy about the app messing with the order of their timelines, though others approve.

See Karissa Bell's complete article at

Friday, June 3, 2016

Need more emoji in your life?

Selfie, Shrug, ROFL, Face Palm, Whiskey, Clowns and more among new emoji arriving in June

New emoji are coming! The organization that approves new emoji before they hit your keyboard has just announced 72 more emoji which will be added to the Unicode standard (Unicode 9.0) later this month. This selection includes several fun additions, including those reflective of internet slang – for example, Rolling on the Floor Laughing – which has its roots in the acronym ROFL – is one of the upcoming emoji and shows a tilted smiley face with a wide mouth and closed eyes. Another surely popular addition will be the shrug, which people tend today to type out with symbols like ¯_(ツ)_/¯.

Plus there is a clown face, a Pinocchio-like lying face with a growing nose, a cowboy, and several “sick” faces like a green nauseated face, a sneezing face, and a drooling face (which looks more sick than salivating.).

If you can't wait for a preview, see Sarah Perez's complete article at

Thursday, June 2, 2016

What social media platform(s) are you using?

Are you on Facebook? Snapchat? Twitter? Instagram?

The list seems endless.

And which has the most users?

Or do you even care, as long as your friends can find you and vice versa?

Sarah Frier reports in BloombergTechnology that Snapchat has passed Twitter in daily users.

Snapchat Inc. has 150 million people using the service each day, said people familiar with the matter. That makes the four-year-old messaging app more popular than Twitter Inc. by daily active users.

Snapchat has been growing quickly, boosted by its popularity among young people. The app had 110 million daily users in December, said the people, who asked not to be named because they weren’t authorized to speak about the numbers.

Twitter, which was founded in 2006, has less than 140 million users interacting with the service daily, according to an average of analysts’ estimates surveyed by Bloomberg. The short-messaging service was once the largest social network after Facebook Inc. but has since been surpassed by Facebook’s other apps, including Instagram, Messenger, and WhatsApp.

Read the complete article at