Twitter Removes ‘via’ Stamp, No Longer Display the Client Name

You can no more show off your favourite Twitter client on Twitter’s website as the social networking company has decided to no longer display the client name from which you have posted your tweets.

If you had observed closely, every tweet that loads up on your timeline had a little information stamp called ‘via’ that displayed the name of the client from which the user had tweeted. For instance, if it was done using a smartphone app like UberSocial, it would show at the bottom of the tweet as “via UberSocial.” Now, Twitter has removed this feature, and this has disappointed several developers.

In effect, Twitter has already disabled this for several tweeting clients, ensuring that their name no longer appears on the Tweet. This unexpected change was first noticed by IFTTT Platform Lead John Sheehan on App.net, and was followed up the The Next Web.

Twitter is more concerned about the reading experience and wants users to use first-party clients rather that third-party clients like Tweetbot, or Seesmic.

Twitter

This change from Twitter doesn’t stop users from using third-party clients, however, at a developer’s point of view, this is really disappointing. Not only the developers, but user also relied on this little feature to showcase that the tweet was sent from their favorite Twitter client.

One of the many reasons why Twitter introduced the ‘via’ stamp in first place was to generate interest between developers to develop clients for Twitter and increase Twitter posts and interactions easily. In a way, these little Twitter clients has made the social network so popular today, and Twitter here seems to be playing a dirty game. Users may not be affected much due to this change, but developers are the ones who will be affected hugely. And the only reason why this particular change has made into news is because of the woes of developers.

Earlier this month, Tumblr had faced problems over Twitter’s new API rules. Twitter revoked the friend-finding privilege from Tumblr, and it was the worst that Tumblr could expect. In a statement the company said that Twitter isn’t playing fair, and this move from Twitter is very upsetting.

Instagram too faced similar such problems, and removed the find friends feature from its service after Twitter revoked the API. With this, Twitter is making sure that app developers get less visibility on the website.

Following the new API rules, yesterday,  Tapbots pulled the alpha version of Tweetbot for Mac, reports Tuaw.

Google+ Starts to Rollout Pre-approved Custom URLs for Profiles and Pages

The most awaited Google+ feature is the vanity or custom URL for profiles and pages. It was reported last week that Google started to roll out Google Plus custom URLs to a selected number of celebrities and major brands, but today the social network has announced that is expanding this facility to a thousand more brands and profiles, including verified users.

The company has already pre-approved custom URL for brands like Toyota, Delta and celebrities like Britney Spears.

Google Product Manager Saurabh Sharma posted the following to Google+:

Today we’re rolling out custom URLs to thousands more verified (and well-known) brands and individuals. If you’re part of this expanded roll out, you’ll be prompted to claim your preapproved URL via email and/or when you visit your profile or page.

We’re making these changes over the next few days, and we’ll be offering custom URLs to many more profiles and pages in the future. We appreciate your patience in the interim, and we look forward to hearing your feedback!

Google+ Custom URL

If you’re one among those thousand profiles or pages that Google has chosen, you can expect to see a notification at the top of the screen when you go to Plus.Google.com. You will also receive an email from the Google Plus team stating that the social network has pre-approved a custom Google+ URL for you, which you need to approve it by clicking the “Claim URL” button. You can also go to your Plus profile and click the “Edit” button, and the prompt will be shown there.

Google+ Vanity URL

If the pre-approved URL assigned by Google doesn’t seem to please you, then you can request for a different one by clicking on the link that is provided in the email. Although it is not clear on what options you are provided with if you request for a different URL. Possibilities are that you will be allowed to pick from a URL from a list of pre-selected alternatives. Or, perhaps you can request Google for the exact URL that you want and wait for it to be approved.

Note: Google+ custom URLs are not case sensitive. That is, for instance, Google.com/+joelfernandes is same as Google.com/+JoelFernandes

If you’re looking to get a custom Google+ URL for your profile, then it is recommended that you keep checking your profile frequently for any updates or notifications. Also, keep an eye on your emails as you might be getting an email soon. It should also be noted that once the URL is selected, you cannot change it.

Facebook Redesigns Messages with Two-panel View

The social media giant Facebook continues to try and implement new changes to its site, as it has announced a new design for Facebook Messages. The goal that Facebook probably has in mind is to turn Facebook Messages into a full-fledged email client, looking forward to compete with the existing popular email services like Gmail.

The new Facebook Messages redesign has a two-panel layout, and looks very much similar to Apple’s Mail on the iPad. On the left side, you have the smaller panel that lists out your recent messages in your Facebook inbox.

The larger panel is placed on the right-hand side and is used to view conversations exchanged between your friends. Clicking individual messages on the left panel will open the entire conversations that you’ve had with your friends on the right panel. As usual, the reply box is placed at the bottom of the page and includes options for adding attachments that helps “bring conversations to life” by adding multiple photos and emoticons.

Facebook Messages Redesigned with Two-panel View

The new change also brings in a simplified search tool that is placed right above the left panel, allowing users to find messages or conversations by name or simply a keyword. The navigations have also been improved as the company has added new keyboard commands specifically for Messages.

To access the full list of available shortcuts, press “Alt + Q” on a PC or “Control + Q” on a Mac (Mac users take note: do not press Command-Q by mistake as this will quit your web browser).

Facebook in a post announced the new layout design:

Today we’re introducing improved features and a new look for Facebook Messages. The new side-by-side layout lets you click your most recent message on the left to see the whole conversation on the right. You can also bring conversations to life with multiple photos and emoticons. Now you can search by a sender’s name or keyword from the main messages view. And for easier navigation, we’ve added keyboard commands. To see the full list of available shortcuts, type Alt Q on a PC or Control Q on a Mac.

Facebook says the update will roll out to a small percentage starting today and will be available to all users in the next couple weeks. Back in June, Facebook forcibly switched to its @facebook.com email address to all its users without even notifying users about the change.

Twitter Blocks ‘Find Friends’ Service from Tumblr

When you sign up for a site like Tumblr, the first thing that you do after the registration process is find your friends from your existing social media accounts like Facebook and Twitter. However, the option to find your Twitter friends is no more to be supported on Tumblr. And yes, this is disappointing.

The popular social networking site Twitter has decided to revoke the friend-finding privilege from Tumblr, and this is perhaps the worst that Tumblr could expect. In a statement the company said that this move from Twitter is very upsetting even after being one of Twitter’s first partners.

Both Twitter and Tumblr have confirmed the removal. Tumblr issued the following statement to TheNextWeb:

To our dismay, Twitter has restricted our users’ ability to “Find Twitter Friends” on Tumblr. Given our history of embracing their platform, this is especially upsetting. Our syndication feature is responsible for hundreds of millions of tweets, and we eagerly enabled Twitter Cards across 70 million blogs and 30 billion posts as one of Twitter’s first partners. While we’re delighted by the response to our integrations with Facebook and Gmail, we are truly disappointed by Twitter’s decision.

The removal of friend-finding from Tumblr was noticed by Matt Buchanan, who tweeted “before” and “after” screenshots of the website’s “Find people you know” page:

Twitter Blocks 'Find Friends' API from Tumblr

Last month, Twitter delivered a similar blow to Instagram by disabling the “Find Twitter Friends” feature. Twitter, at that time, in repose to Instagram’s removal stated that “We understand that there’s great value associated with Twitter’s follow graph data, and we can confirm that it is no longer available within Instagram.”

Some Twitter employees appear disappointed with the decision. Immediately after the news broke out, Nick Bilton of The New York Times’ tweeted, “I don’t think people understand that Twitter is a start-up that has to make money, not a non-profit-up.” In reply to this, Twitter engineer Alex Choi replied, “I wholeheartedly agree, but this @tumblr business just stinks.

There is No “WhatsApp for Facebook” App; Ignore Any Requests

WhatsApp Messenger is one of the most popular cross-platform mobile messaging apps that enable users to exchange messages without having to pay for SMS. The popular app is available on all smartphones including Windows Phone, Nokia, and BlackBerry.

The application has its official Facebook page, however, it does not have any Facebook app as such that enables users to exchange messages from within Facebook. In the absence of this, scammers on Internet and Facebook have taken advantage of it and have created a number of bogus Facebook apps in the name of WhatsApp:

WhatsApp for Facebook App

According to Robin Wauters of TheNextWeb, “Now I’m an old man and I don’t really understand this Facebook thing, but I’m pretty sure there aren’t supposed to be this many WhatsApp Facebook apps on its platform in the first place.”

Well, just like Robin, there could be thousand other Facebook users who are muddled on whether a “WhatsApp for Facebook” app actually exists or not. Or, they could also be wondering on which app out of those hundred is legit. Users, be warned that none of these Facebook apps are legit, and there is no WhatsApp for Facebook app at all.

A few Facebook users have notified me about a WhatsApp request sent to them from a Facebook friend, which had links pointing to a bogus site. Upon clicking the link, users were taken to a fake Facebook WhatsApp app page, and were asked to grant permission to an app to access information and post updates on their behalf.

If users grant permission to the app, depending on the user’s location, they are redirected to different pages. For instance, users located in the United States, Australia, and Great Britain are redirected to a fake Starbucks gift card page.
WhatsApp Android

If you receive any such invites or request, simply ignore them. Also, make sure you inform the person who sent you the request to remove the app from his/her profile immediately. In case you have mistakenly installed the Facebook app, it is highly recommended
that you go to your Facebook Account settings and delete the app immediately.

How to Identify Fake Facebook Apps?

The first thing that you need to do is to check if the company or service provider has a Facebook app or not. Visiting the developer’s official website will give you a fair knowledge on whether the developer has created a Facebook app or not.

Secondly, most of the fake apps on Facebook have a suspicious name. For instance, notice the capital ‘A’ in ‘WhatsApp,’ yet many of those fake apps has been named with the lowercase ‘a’, which clearly indicates that they’re a fake.

WhatsApp is a mobile messaging company and doesn’t actually have a Facebook app. The company has also issued a statement on its website, saying, “This has nothing to do with WhatsApp, so please ignore the message… We don’t know if the app can cause any damage, but just to be on the safe side: don’t grant the request.”

We have reported many such similar scams running on Facebook. Facebook currently has over 950 million users visiting per month, and the social networking giant has always been the main target for spreading scam messages. Although it is quite difficult to identify scams on Facebook, we have provided some tips on How to Identify and Avoid Facebook Scams. Bookmark Techie Buzz Facebook Scams or Subscribe to Scam Alert Feed. We always keep you updated with the latest scams spreading on Facebook.

Indian Government Censors Parody PMO Twitter Accounts to Protect the People of North-East

The Indian Government has censored several Prime Minister’s Office (PMO) parody Twitter accounts, which were being used for humor and criticism. The Government found some of these accounts to be in poor taste, and highly offensive. The Prime Minister himself wrote to Twitter in June, asking it to censor these accounts. However, Twitter being a free-speech enthusiast, probably ignored the request.  Recently, the Government got another chance at removing all content criticizing the PMO, and made the most of this opportunity. However, what interests me is that this Twitter cleanup was performed by the Government, when scouring social media for rumors of hatred against Northeastern people. I say, there could not have been a better opportunity to make things right.

pmo-twitter-account

A PMO official remarked on this  Twitter content filtering, saying,

We are fine with parody, even though at times, it is in bad taste, and there is criticism of the government. However, we cannot allow anyone to misrepresent the PM’s office and tweet nonsense from these accounts.

According to the Government’s claims, both Google and Facebook had confirmed that Pakistan was the origin of all the hatred. The miscreants were using social media to instigate violence, and some of it was spreading through Twitter. However, the Government did not receive any response from Twitter, because there are no Twitter offices in India that the Indian government can work closely with.

The Indian government has already blocked over 400 websites, and restricted bulk SMS facilities, as measures of control against the ongoing tension. Though in the midst of all this ballyhoo, the Government has also blocked several PMO parody accounts. The purportedly blocked Twitter accounts are not blocked by Twitter, but by ISPs in India. The Department of Telecom is leaving no stone unturned to restrict the usage of media that can be used to spread rumors and create nuisance. Though surprisingly, the blocked account of PMOIndia is back as a new account on Twitter, and it is gathering followers rapidly.

Facebook Will Permanently Remove Your Deleted Photos in 30 Days

Sharing photos with friends on social media sites like Facebook is certainly a fun feature, however, whether to share or not personal/sensitive photos on the site is something Facebook users are always concerned about. The worst part comes when you’ve deleted a photo that you no longer want anyone to view it, but it still exists somewhere and can be viewed with the direct link to the photo.

This issue with Facebook has been there for a while. Three years back Ars Technica’s Jacqui Cheng questioned Facebook on why deleted photos were still accessible although they were deleted from the user’s account, or photo album.

Facebook

Well, Facebook did admit that it was facing certain problems and were figuring out a way to delete photos immediately after the user has deleted from his account. However, it seems like the issue has now been solved, and Facebook says that it will now delete photos from its servers within 30 days of getting a request. That is, the CDN links (direct photo links) will expire after a time period of 30 days after deletion.

Facebook spokesperson Frederic Wolens confirmed to Ars Technica that this was a result of Facebook’s new photo deletion policy and storage systems:

“As a result of work on our policies and infrastructure, we have instituted a ‘max-age’ of 30 days for our CDN links. However, in some cases the content will expire on the CDN much more quickly, based on a number of factors.”

He added, “As you know, the photos stop being shown to other users on Facebook immediately when the photo is first deleted by the user. The 30-day window only applies to the cached images on the CDN.”

It’s a big relief for all those worried Facebook users.  However, precaution is better than cure. So, it’s always good to be careful of what you’re posting in the first place, particularly when it comes to Facebook.

Facebook Adds “Expecting a Baby” Life Event

In addition to the getting engaged, or adopting a new pet “Life Events”, Facebook has added yet another event to the list called “Expecting a Baby” in Family and Relationships section on Timeline, where expectant parents can share their baby’s due date along with whether it’s a boy or a girl.

“Life Events are easy and expressive ways to mark significant moments in your life such as getting married, buying a house or traveling to new places,” according to a Facebook blog post. “If you choose to, you can now share that you are expecting a baby with your friends on Facebook.”

The “Expecting a Baby” feature allows you to add details like who the other parent is, a location, and a brief story that you’d like to share with your friends. You are also provided with an option to add a photo, so your friends on Facebook may start seeing more pictures of ultrasounds and pregnant bellies on their news feed or on your Timeline.

Expecting a Baby Life Event

If you’re expecting a baby, you should share the happy news with your friends and relatives on Facebook. In order to do so, simply go to your Timeline and click on the “Life Event” option from the sharing tool. From there, click on “Family & Relationships” and select “Expecting a Baby.” Add the necessary details that you want to share before clicking the Save button.

The happy baby announcement will appear on your friends Facebook news feed page in the Celebrations section, located in the Expecting a Baby Facebook Notificationupper-right corner where birthdays appear.

If you’re not using Facebook’s new Timeline layout, you will not be able to take advantage of this feature. Life Events is one of the many features that Facebook Timeline offers in which users can express there happy moments in their lives such as getting married or engaged, or moving to a new city. The new addition to the Life Events list “Expecting a Baby” began rolling out yesterday, and will available to all Facebook users in a couple of days.

Also Read: Your Next Login to Facebook Might Leave You Surprised

Facebook has also revamped the Events feature with the new calendar and list view that highlights a list of current and upcoming events. However, the engagement and marriage events won’t be listed or added to the calendar view.

Thumbnail image [via]

Facebook Verified App— Not So Verified After All

Every other person out there is developing apps nowadays, and while some apps are good at what they do, others abuse the security of their platform to steal data. In these dire situations, it comes as a relief when the platform starts checking these apps and gives them a badge of trust, like a “verified app”. Almost every app store has a verified app scheme. Android has a top-developer rating, Google Chrome Web Store shows a small green tick and Facebook had a “verified app” scheme too, until December 2009.

With Facebook, the verified app system worked a bit differently. Not only were these verified apps supposed to be secure, they also enjoyed certain promotional privileges, all for a price. Some developers have even paid Facebook $95,000 to enter as a verified app in Facebook! The Guardian writes,

Developers paid Facebook $375, or $175 for a student or non-profit organization, to be given the green tick. Verified apps were given other benefits including prominence in its search results and a higher ranking on the directory of apps.

What if you were using an app that said it was verified, when in fact it was just given the badge without any verification. After nearly two years and because of an ongoing FTC investigation, Facebook’s verified app system is under scrutiny now. Seemingly, the verified apps were nothing special, and they underwent the same checks as any other app on the Facebook platform. In short, Facebook charged developers for a fake verification, and a verified badge.

Guardian’s Josh Halliday has brought the matter to public notice, and this makes it hard times for Facebook. Facebook took a blow last Friday too, when another judgment was passed in the ongoing FTC Act investigation, which stated that Facebook would have regular privacy inspections for the next 20 years.

Although live only for six months, the verified apps system has earned Facebook a lifetime of notoriety. Facebook is yet to respond on this allegation. I seriously hope the response is something substantial, because if the allegation is true, Facebook being one of the largest internet companies out there, it undermines the whole system of verified apps.

App.net Reaches $500,000 Funding Goal, Keeps On Going

App.net Reaches $500,000 Funding Goal, Keeps On Going

App.net, a new and upcoming social network, recently reached their $500,000 funding goal with over a day left. As I’m writing this article, App.net has received $576,000 worth of funding, $76,000 over their original goal. And while it wasn’t expected that they would reach their funding goal, they started to receive more media attention during their last few days of funding, which ended up launching them over their goal earlier today.

If you’re unaware, App.net is a new social network with an optimistic new business model. Instead of using ads to fund their service they will charge users to join. As of now, they are charging $50 per year for member status or $100 per year for developer status. A $1,000 payment will give users access to all of the developer tools as well as a phone support and a meeting with Dalton Caldwell, the creator of App.net. App.net claims to be the only social network to not offer their users as products, but to be the product themselves.

If you would like to back App.net yourself and gain access to the beta, feel free to back their project within the next 31 hours. You can back App.net by heading over to their website and pledging the amount of your choice. And if you’re wondering, yesI backed it!