Category Archives: Social Media

News, views, analysis and tips on Social Networking and Social Media. News from Twitter, Facebook, MySpace, Orkut, Digg, Reddit and more.

Twitter Strikes a Deal with Yandex for Real-time Search

The popular micro-blogging site Twitter has partnered with Russia’s biggest search engine company, Yandex, in a move that will help boost the site’s real-time search and eventually help it compete with rivals, including Google and Bing search.

The partnership gives Yandex access to Twitter’s public tweets, and enables real-time searching at twitter.yandex.ru, giving its users access to the huge amount of data streaming off the messaging service. However, this deal does not include any of the private tweets, which the user has specifically chosen to “protect” them from being accessed by search engines and other Twitter users.

This will enable Yandex users to see the latest tweets on any subject, by using Yandex’s specific ‘Blogs’ search engine. The results will also include tweets of those users tweeting from Russia, Ukraine, Belarusian or Kazakh, as well as top feeds in other languages.

Anton Pavlov, Yandex’s blog Search Manager, said that it will also allow the Russian based company “to improve the quality of the search,” and users will be able to find tweets “just moments after they have appeared.”

Twitter Yandex Deal

Both companies have declined to disclose the financial details of the deal, however, a similar partnership between Twitter and Microsoft was closed at $30 million.

Twitter currently has more than 100 million active users, nearly 400 million visitors per month, and more than 250 million tweets are posted every day. The total valuation of Twitter is estimated to be $8 billion, although the company has not yet established a proper revenue generating model.

On the other hand, Yandex has about 60 percent market share in Russia, and this deal will perhaps open several doors for the company to come up with new strategies to do more in social networking. The company currently offers features similar to that of Google to share news and other information.

Yandex also mentioned in a press release that the company is currently focused on social networking search and trying to enhance its features. Anton Pavlov adds, “People share news, exchange opinions and discuss all sorts of matters in real time all the time. This kind of information will help us enhance our search results.”

Yandex also states that it has updated its Blog Search API, a tool for webmasters for creating services based on micro-blogging content.

UK Student Jailed for Hacking Facebook Despite ‘Ethical’ Claims

Trying to hack ethically into Facebook without any proper documentation can land you behind the bars. That is what happened to 26-year old Glenn Steven Mangham.

Glenn, a software development student in the UK, has been jailed for eight months for hacking into Facebook from his bedroom at his parents’ house in York in northern England.

Glenn was found guilty and admitted to infiltrating Facebook in May last year. According to Alison Saunders, London’s Chief Prosecutor, the incident was the most expensive one, where Facebook had to spend $200,000 (£126,400) dealing with crime. It is being termed as a “concerted, time-consuming and costly investigation.”

Student Jailed for Hacking Facebook

When Facebook learnt that someone was trying to hack the site, they alerted  the FBI, who then took over and traced the roots all the way back to the UK.  He found his way in by hacking into the account of a Facebook employee.

Glenn defended himself to the Southwark Crow Court by stating “It was to identify vulnerabilities in the system so I could compile a report that I could then bundle over to Facebook and show them what was wrong with their system.”

Facebook introduced the Bug Bounty Program in an aim to encourage security researchers to report loopholes and glitches on the social networking site, and as a token of appreciation, Facebook offered them a monetary bounty of $500.

Since Facebook pays ethical hackers for disclosing vulnerabilities, Glenn states that his intentions were not wrong, but were to help the social networking giant find a solution. However, the judge decided that this was not Glenn’s intention at the time.

Glenn has earlier helped search engine site Yahoo to improve its security by hacking into the Yahoo’s system and reporting the same to the authorities. He wanted to do the same for Facebook, but was probably out of luck this time.

The judge stated “You accessed the very heart of the system of an international business of massive size, so this was not just fiddling about in the business records of some tiny business of no great importance”. He also noted that Glenn had risked “putting in danger the reputation of an innocent employee of Facebook”.

The student was also given a serious crime prevention order restricting his access to the internet and confiscating his computer equipment.

We really don’t know if Glenn was telling the truth, but lack of evidence did land him in trouble. So, if you’re an ethical hacker or working for any bounty program, then make sure you have everything documented accordingly. It can definitely save you from trouble or landing behind the bars.

Facebook Launches Verified Accounts

Following the lead of Twitter and Google+, Facebook too will begin verifying accounts of celebrities and other public figures. After the account has been verified, Facebook will enable these users to have pseudonyms or use an “alternative name” or nicknames as their Facebook name, and will appear in lists of “People to Subscribe To.”

According to Facebook’s “real name policy”, users have to use their real birth names only. However, with the new verification system, verified users can use nickname while displaying their real names in the “About” section of their Facebook profile.

Facebook will begin the verification process very soon, reports Josh Constine of Tech Crunch. The verification process will start with users who have many subscribers. If you have a good number of subscribers, then you should be seeing a prompt message on your profile asking you to verify the account.

Facebook Verify Account

In order to verify a user profile, the user must upload a scanned form of photo identification and require either one government issued photo ID (driving license, passport, or similar) or two other forms of photo ID (work or school ID). Once the verification process is complete, Facebook will permanently delete the file and the scanned photos.

However, after a profile has been verified, Facebook will not provide a badge indicating that the account has been verified, unlike Twitter and Google+.

Verify Facebook Account

Verified accounts will start appearing on the “People to Subscribe To” list. Facebook announced Subscription in September, 2011, with an option feature that allows users to control what type of stories you can read from your friends and non-friends in your News Feed. In a way, Subscriptions help users to keep a track and stay up to date with people they’re not friends with.

As a matter of fact, verification of profiles is quite necessary, since an increasing number of scammers on Facebook are taking advantage of the popularity of celebrities by creating fake accounts. Currently, other users will have to wait a little longer to verify their accounts, since Facebook plans to verify accounts of celebrities and public figures first.

Twitter being so popular among celebrities, will verified accounts help Facebook get celebrities to use the social networking giant? I really don’t think so. It might end up something like Google+ where celebrities have a verified account, but hardly update anything.

Angry Birds Lands on Facebook

After a huge wait, the Famous have finally landed on allowing over 800 million users to start hunting those pigs who stole the birds eggs.

Play Angry Birds Facebook

There is not doubt that Angry Birds is one of the most famous games to come out in past few years. It is a simple enough game where you as a bird have to destroy all the pigs to avenge them for stealing your eggs and move ahead to the next stage.

Also Read: Cool Angry Bird Merchandise Collection

Angry birds was available for , Windows Phone 7 on windows desktop and on Google Chrome as well. However, it was missing on one of the biggest platforms on the web; Facebook. Rovio had initially announced that Angry Birds would be available for Facebook in March 2011, but it took them almost a year to actually do that.

Also Read: Angry Birds Question in Physics Exam

The gameplay remains similar to the app, however, with the Facebook app you will be able to share your high scores with friends and also play along with friends. If you can’t wait, you can start enjoying the game right away by visiting the Angry Birds Facebook App and granting it appropriate permissions. Happy Pig Bashing.

Twitter Makes HTTPS Default

Last year Twitter implemented a security feature that allowed its users to browse the site via a secured HTTP connection (HTTPS). This feature was not enabled by default and users had to go to their Settings and enable the feature. However, Twitter now wants to secure user profiles and has made the feature enabled by default.

Using HTTPS will not only help protect the privacy of millions of users, but also offers greater protection when accessing the network over unsecured Wi-Fi connections. Websites with a HTTPS connection is much preferred, since it is one of the most secure ways of sending and receiving content on the web. Many Google services including Gmail make use of the HTTPS protocol by adding up an extra layer of security.

Using a site over an unsecured Wi-Fi connection and without having HTTPS enabled, could let hackers gain access to your account with the help of a session cookie. In this case, if you’re using Twitter via an unprotected connection, then the hacker can possible post tweets and read all your Direct Messages without your knowledge.

Also Read: How Safe is Gmail, Twitter and Facebook? Is HTTPS Safe? We Show You How It Isn’t

With HTTPS enabled, it now makes Twitter secured and encrypts your login sessions. That way, no hacker can sneak into your account or gain access to it.

Twitter posted an official statement on its blog explaining the new feature –

Last year, we added the option to always use HTTPS when accessing Twitter.com on the web. This setting makes your Twitter experience more secure by protecting your information, and it’s especially helpful if you use Twitter over an unsecured Internet connection like a public WiFi network.

Now, HTTPS will be on by default for all users, whenever you sign in to Twitter.com. If you prefer not use it, you can turn it off on your Account Settings page. HTTPS is one of the best ways to keep your account safe and it will only get better as we continue to improve HTTPS support on our web and mobile clients.

As the feature now comes enabled by default, users, however, can opt-out if they prefer not to use it. Simply go to your Twitter Settings page and uncheck the “Always use HTTPS” option –

Twitter HTTPS Enable

It is recommended that you keep this feature enabled in order to keep your account and data safe. If you’re always using Twitter out and about, it is highly recommended that you use the HTTPS setting and leave it that way forever.

Facebook too has an option for its users to enable HTTPS, but this is yet to become a default feature.

Saudi Journalist Tweets Against Prophet Muhammad, Gets Death Sentence

With its rising popularity, Twitter has given a new meaning to free speech and highly engaging global communications. However, this popularity has come for a price. The opinions and sentiments that people tweet are being used as evidence against them, increasingly. This threatens the aura around Twitter, and the recent censorship attempts by various governments taint its image further.
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Recently, A Saudi Journalist, Hamza Kashgari, was extradited from Malaysia, for making seemingly blasphemous remarks on Prophet Muhammad. To make matters worse, Interpol was forced to hand over Kashgari. This same Interpol is supposed to remain politically neutral, and not intervene on cases of military, religious or racial nature. Article 3 of the Interpol’s constitution clearly states that

It is strictly forbidden for the Organization to undertake any intervention or activities of a political, military, religious or racial character.

The Guardian reports this incident, saying,

Kashgari, a newspaper columnist, fled Saudi Arabia after posting a tweet on the prophet’s birthday that sparked more than 30,000 responses and several death threats. The posting, which was later deleted, read: “I have loved things about you, I have hated things about you, and there is a lot I don’t understand about you … I will not pray for you.”

Kasgari is a 23-year-old journalist and faces the death penalty for this deed. This matter proves once again that regional laws govern the use of Twitter. It is only time before someone points a finger at the things we tweet.

Dad Shoots Daughter’s Laptop 8 Times For Complaining On Facebook

In a bizarre incident a father decided to punish his daughter for posting rants about her family on . The father whose name is Tommy Jordan posted an 8 minute video on where he reads a letter from his 15 year old daughter and then pumps 8 bullets into her laptop.

The post was first posted on Facebook with a message "Facebook Parenting: For the trouble teen" and had the message:

My daughter thought it would be funny/rebellious/cool to post on her Facebook wall just how upset she was and how unfair her life here is; how we work her to…

In addition to that, Tommy Jordan also posted a message on  his profile which can be seen here and read below:

Parents and Kids… watch.
Today was probably the most disappointing day of my life as a father and I don’t know how to correct the situation. Since I can’t seem to make any headway with my daughter on Facebook, I chose instead to remedy the problem permanently.

The video in question has already gone viral and has amassed over 2 million views since it was posted. These days many kids take to Facebook for ranting against their family or school teachers. However, is such a punishment justified? Would you go ahead and punish your children likewise?

If you are interested in following the entire saga, you can catch up Tommy Jordan’s speech and him shooting his 15 year old girls laptop in the embedded video below.

So what do you think? Is the dad right or does he sound bizarre to you?

Facebook Provides Easy Way to Hide Live Ticker

Last year, introduced a new feature on the social networking site called "Live Ticker" which displayed a live activity stream of your Facebook friends. Facebook Ticker was hated by a lot of users and also led to a few Facebook scams including the one where users were duped into believing that they could stop posts from showing in Facebook Ticker.

In the past, we wrote about different ways to hide the Facebook Live Ticker. However, Facebook now allows users to hide the Live Ticker easily with the recent changes they have made.

hide_facebook_ticker

If you are looking to hide the Facebook Ticker in your Facebook feed, you can now simply click the UP arrow key on the Ticker to hide the Facebook Ticker from view. Once that is done, you will no longer see the Ticker on your feed. If you want to see the Live Ticker again, you just have to click on the down arrow key and it will show up again.

Also Read:

However, one must note that hiding the Ticker will only hide it from view. There is no way to stop your posts from showing up on all your friends profile so don’t forget to stay away from Facebook scams which tell you that you can stop your posts from showing up in the Live Ticker.

Google, Yahoo!, Facebook and Microsoft Start Battle Against Email Spam

One of the biggest problems that the Internet has faced for years, and is facing still, is spam. It is estimated that more than 90% of the total Internet traffic is email spam. The figure has come down considerably, after Microsoft hunted for and took down a number of botnets. Nonetheless, the volume of spam is still high enough, that it is a matter of concern.

Spam is so popular and widespread, there are businesses based on spam, which thrive on the naiveness of the casual Internet surfer. Most of these spammers gather personal data or credentials, using phishing attacks.

This time, all tech giants, namely Google, Microsoft, Yahoo!, PayPal, Facebook and LinkedIn are going after spammers. They have decided to verify if the email sender is indeed the actual sender. Ars Technica writes on this, claiming that SMTP is too old to, and the concept of emails has become complicated since its birth.

Although methods like SPF and DKIM  have been used in email phishing protection already, they have their limitations. Instead, these tech giants are working on a new protection scheme called DMARC.

As with SPF and DKIM, DMARC depends on storing extra information about the sender in DNS. This information tells receiving mail servers how to handle messages that fail the SPF or DKIM tests, and how critical the two tests are. The sender can tell recipient servers to reject messages that fail SPF and DKIM outright, to quarantine them somehow (for example, putting them into a spam folder), or to accept the mail normally and send a report of the failure back to the sender.

As DMARC stores extra information about the sender, it has to record all the senders, to function effectively. This makes a global rollout compulsory for DMARC to be effective in fighting spam. In the next few months, we will see how the Internet community receives DMARC and whether it is effective against spam.

Google+ Finally Available for Teens, with Strict Privacy Controls and Guidelines

Google+ has restricted its usage to those above 18 years of age, since its launch last year. However, in a new development, Google has announced that going further, it will allow teenagers to create a profile on their social network. Besides opening up to teenagers, Google+ also introduced a new set of privacy policies and safety information to ensure an enjoyable Google+ experience for them.

Teenagers on Google+ can only be contacted by people in their immediate circles. They will also be warned every time they post a public post, and these are just some safety features for teenagers on Google+. While announcing Google+ for teenagers, Bradley Horowitz says,

Teens and young adults are the most active Internet users on the planet [1]. And surprise, surprise: they’re human beings who enjoy spending time with friends and family. Put these two things together and it’s clear that teens will increasingly connect online. Unfortunately, online sharing is still second-rate for this age group.

With Google+, we want to help teens build meaningful connections online. We also want to provide features that foster safety alongside self-expression. Today we’re doing both, for everyone who’s old enough for a Google Account (13+ in most countries [2]).

Teenager profiles on Google+ will enjoy special safety features when it comes to content sharing, and hangouts. This makes Google+ ideal for young adults, who face numerous problems like bullying and stalking online. Do not forget to read the Google+ teen safety guide and the updated pages at Google+ Safety Center.