Social Media Companies

Instagram tests letting you rethink your terrible new username

Instagram is about to give its users some time to think over that name change.

An automatic username lock feature has been discovered in the latest alpha version of Instagram’s Android application. The change, which is currently in testing, would give the previous owner of an Instagram handle up to 14 days to revert back to their old username after changing it.

Instagram will start locking old usernames for 14 days after changing so the previous owner can revert to it within the grace period

This is the end of username grabber bots 😀 pic.twitter.com/mAAgbDYny2

— Jane Manchun Wong (@wongmjane) March 20, 2019 Read more…

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Facebook has removed 1.5 million videos of the New Zealand shooting, but questions remain

We already knew that Facebook moved quickly on Thursday to stop videos of the New Zealand mass shooting from spreading, but now we have some actual numbers.

In a public statement and identical series of tweets dispensed by Facebook Newsroom, the company confirms that 1.5 million videos were removed in the first 24 hours following the terror attack on two New Zealand mosques that left 50 dead and 50 injured as of Sunday. Of those, 1.2 million were stopped before they were even uploaded.

The news and accompanying statement comes from Facebook exec Mia Garlick:

In the first 24 hours we removed 1.5 million videos of the attack globally, of which over 1.2 million were blocked at upload…

— Facebook Newsroom (@fbnewsroom) March 17, 2019 Read more…

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Facebook’s News Feed changes were supposed to make us feel good. It’s not working.

More than a year after Facebook changed its News Feed algorithm to make us feel better, new data suggests we’re still sharing the same old garbage as before. 

NewsWhip, an analytics company that tracks how content spreads across Facebook, put out a new report looking at how last year’s News Feed changes have affected what’s being shared on Facebook. Unsurprisingly, its findings aren’t very encouraging.

For context: Mark Zuckerberg announced sweeping changes to News Feed last January, promising that “we feel a responsibility to make sure our services aren’t just fun to use, but also good for people’s well-being.” As a result, he said, the company would be making adjustments to News Feed in order to optimize for “helping you have more meaningful social interactions,” rather than pure engagement.  Read more…

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Slack removes more than two dozen accounts tied to hate groups

Slack is giving the boot to users with ties to hate groups.

On Thursday, the messaging company announced that it had removed more than two dozen users that were affiliated with hate groups. In all, Slack banned 28 accounts.

“The use of Slack by hate groups runs counter to everything we believe in at Slack and is not welcome on our platform,” the company said in a statement.

Last week, the online media collective Unicorn Riot published leaked Slack messages that revealed white nationalist group Identity Evropa was using the platform to organize events. Slack is traditionally used by businesses as an internal messenger and file-sharing tool. However, as leaked messages show, members of Identity Evropa preferred to use Slack over alternative sources, like Discord, for its localized event planning. There was also a growing distrust of Discord as a safe space for their private communications. Read more…

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Facebook loses two important executives amid new privacy push

Two of Facebook’s most important executives are leaving the company amid its decision to refocus its platform around encryption and privacy.

Chris Cox, Facebook’s Chief Product Officer, and Chris Daniels, who has lead WhatsApp since the departure of founder Jan Koum, are both leaving the company. Both men are long-serving Facebook veterans — Cox was one of Facebook’s earliest employees, and Daniels has been with the company since 2011 — and trusted lieutenants of Mark Zuckerberg. 

Their departures come barely a week after Zuckerberg announced sweeping changes to Facebook, in order re-orient the social network around encryption and privacy. A big piece of that plan hinges on combining the messaging infrastructure of WhatsApp, Instagram, and facebook Messenger. In a memo to employees, Zuckerberg suggested the events were linked. Read more…

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Twitter wants to gather more info about reported tweets with personal information

Twitter would now like its users to get specific when reporting tweets containing personal information.

In a tweet on Thursday, Twitter unveiled a new process for users when flagging tweets that contain details like a user’s home address, phone number, or email.

We want to move faster in reviewing reported Tweets that share personal information. Starting today, you’ll be able to tell us more about the Tweet you are reportingpic.twitter.com/quJ2jqlYIt

— Twitter Safety (@TwitterSafety) March 7, 2019

Twitter walked its users through the process in a GIF. Upon discovering a tweet with their personal information, a user would tap “Report Tweet” as they would have previously done. After designating the post as “abusive or harmful” and including “private information,” the user will be presented with a list of options detailing the different types of information. Users will be able to check off as many of the options that apply.  Read more…

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U.S. users are leaving Facebook, new study shows

Facebook’s bleeding users by the millions in the United States, a new study by Edison Research claims

The silver lining, though? Most of those users are switching to Facebook-owned Instagram. 

Edison Research’s new “The Infinite Dial” study, which looks at digital media consumer behavior in America, has concluded that Facebook now has about 15 million users fewer in the U.S. than it had in 2017. 

This might not be visible in Facebook’s quarterly earnings reports, which have shown tremendous growth in that period. In January, Facebook reported it had 2.32 billion monthly active users, a 9% increase year-over-year. But those are global numbers, and Edison Research’s study looks only at users in the U.S., as explained by Edison president Larry Rosin in an interview with Marketplace. Rosin also says that their definition of “usage” may be different than Facebook’s.  Read more…

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Twitter says it can tell if you actually believe that bullsh*t you’re spreading

The internet is a confusing place. It’s not always clear if that weird Twitter account spamming your mentions is a well-intentioned idiot or a malicious actor – unless you work for the social media giant itself, that is. 

Speaking to a group of security researchers and journalists at the annual RSA conference in San Francisco, Twitter vice president of trust and safety Del Harvey explained that the company is remarkably good at distinguishing between accounts intentionally spreading misinformation and those just plain ignorant of basic facts. Essentially, Harvey explained, Twitter has a pretty good idea whether or not you believe the bullshit you’re spreading.  Read more…

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