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.

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.


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.

Review: TweetLine — Not Just Another Holo Themed Twitter Client For Android

With Ice Cream Sandwich, Google effectively killed the argument that Android, as an OS does not look as beautiful as iOS. The big G has also taken steps to ensure and help developers in properly implementing the Holo UI in their apps. Over the last few months, the quality of Android apps has gone up drastically. Some absolutely stunning and beautiful apps have hit the Play Store including Hike, Tasks, and Solid File Explorer among others.

Even then, there is a lack of a beautiful and fully functional Twitter client for Android with a Holo theme. The official Twitter app for Android is nothing but a piece of garbage, and does not follow the Holo theme or feature a black theme. Some new Twitter clients have popped up recently on the Play Store that show quite a potential including Boid, Carbon, Tweet Lanes, and Twidere but they are very much a work in progress. Carbon will probably trump all the other twitter clients with its beautiful UI, but the app has been in development since ages and the developer just keeps pushing the release date back.

Today, we look at another new Twitter app for Android that has a Holo theme and shows quite a lot of potential — TweetLine. The app has a name that sounds very similar to Tweet Lanes but that’s about it.

Even though TweetLine uses the Holo theme, the developer has done a remarkable job of keeping the app’s UI distinct from its competitors. While UI is a subjective, I personally prefer the look of TweetLine over all other Holo themed Twitter apps. The White theme with Black action bar looks absolutely stunning, while the ‘True Dark’ theme will be appreciated by all AMOLED packing Android handset owners.

Even though TweetLine has a Holo theme, it supports all Android devices running Eclair (Android 2.1) or higher, which should please owners of Android handsets running Gingerbread or lower.

While TweetLine is still in alpha, it has all the basic must-have features required in a Twitter client covered, which its competition lacks. Below is the full feature list of TweetLine -:

– Pull-to-refresh to refresh each column (timeline, direct messages, mentions)
– Register the last tweet you read in the timeline to always find your tweets as you had left them
– Sharing pictures with TwitPic, Yfrog, Lockerz and pic.twitter
– The colorbar which allows you to assign a color to a user, a colored bar will appear on his tweets in your timeline
– Integration of a url shortener:
– Preview images in tweets as thumbnails, and can see the image full screen by clicking on it (with zoom support)
– Configurable action on the support along a tweet
– Android 4.0 themes available : Dark, Light, Light & Dark
– Change the text size and color of tweets
– Autcompletion on friends name
– Display the renewal hour of your API requests
– Edition of your profile
– Search tweets and users

The app also has plenty of customizations options including the ability to change the color of the font in the tweet, links, the ability to split the action bar into two if your device has a large screen and much more. The Tweet Composer window of the app will automatically show the contents of your clipboard while composing a tweet, which is very handy if you want to copy-paste something. However, I really did not like the Tweet Composer’s UI and hope the developer revamps it in a future update.

Even though TweetLine is in early stages of development, the app has a lot of potential. The lack of notifications might be a bummer for many, but with Twitter locking down developers from providing API access, there is not much the developers can do. The developer of TweetLine, HappyDr0id, is also working on adding other new features such as a Tablet UI, Multi-Account support, Widgets, Notifications and much more.

As a long time Plume user and a Carbon alpha tester, I must say TweetLine has won me over. With a couple of major updates, and a tablet UI, TweetLine might just become the best Twitter client for Android.

Download TweetLine For Android for free from the Google Play Store.

Review: Pictarine For Android

These days, almost everyone uses multiple social networking sites to stay connected with their friends and families by sharing text or photo updates. Facebook and Twitter allow you to share the latest pics with your friends and followers, while Instagram bring the functionality of adding amazing filters before sharing it with the world. Sadly, we have to keep a track on various apps to find out the latest pics shared on these social networks. To solve this problem, you’ll just need to head over to the Google Play and download the Pictarine app.

Pictarine for Android is an amazing app which brings all the pics shared by your friends on various social networking sites under one roof. This app not only allows you to connect popular social networks and services such as Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Google (Picasa), Flickr and Photobucket, but you can also connect to less popular photo sharing services like the Shutterfly, Windows Live, Dropbox, 500px and Tumblr. The size of the app is just 1.8 MB and and the current version is numbered 1.0.6. You can easily install the Pictarine app on devices with Android 2.2 or higher version of OS.

To get started with the app, you will need to sign up with your existing Facebook or Google account. The sign up process will not take more than 30 seconds. After signing up, you can connect various social networking services mentioned earlier. As you can see in the above screenshot, I have connected my Twitter, Google, Facebook and Instagram accounts. Currently, this app does not allows you to upload the photos from your device. However, you can easily like or comment on the photos shared by your friends.

On the left side, you will find 4 options – Photo Feed, Surprise Me, My Photos and Playlists. All of the photos shared by your friends on these services will be displayed under the “Photo Feed” section. As the name suggest, “Surprise Me” section will throw 12 random images from the connected services on your screen. You can easily refresh these images just by sliding the screen in the upward or downward directions.

My Photos” section allows you to view the images currently stored on your device as well as on the connected accounts. You can even select individual photos and create your own playlist. This feature helps you to organize your favorite photos and view them at a later date or share it with your friends. The playlist can be a mixture of your own photos as well as the ones shared by your friends. You can find all of your playlists in the dedicated “Playlists” section.

The user interface of the app is quite simple and it works as advertised. Instead of wasting your valuable time on visiting multiple social networks and apps, Pictarine will help you to easily discover, like, comment and share pics across various apps and devices. Sometimes you might feel a bit of lag while the images are loading. However, there is a lot of room for improvement. Overall, I personally liked this app and would definitively recommend it to our readers. You can also access Pictarine web app from their official website.

Price: Free
Rating: 4/5

[ Download Pictarine from Google Play ]

Google Acquires Wildfire, Social Marketing Startup

Google may be the juggernaut in the search advertising space, but Facebook poses a significant threat to it, with its new form of social advertising. While Google targets ads based on search queries by users, Facebook uses their social preferences, likes, shares, and other such data to target ads, which is arguably much more effective.

Today, Google acquired Wildfire, a social media marketing and advertising startup, which makes it easy for brands and companies to advertise on social platforms like Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, Google+, Pinterest and more.

The deal size is approximately $250 million, plus earnouts, according to AllThingsD. Wildfire has raised $14 million to date, and serves more than 16,000 customers including 30 of the top 50 global brands.

Google will likely integrate Wildfire’s social marketing/advertising platform with its search and display ad platform, enabling customers to manage their entire online advertising campaign from a single platform.

Google now offers ads across all categories — search, display, video, mobile, offline ads and social.

Google’ official press release said:

“In a complex and changing landscape, businesses want to manage and measure these efforts in an integrated way. We’ve been working towards this end for some time. For example, Google Analytics helps businesses measure the contribution of hundreds of social sites; our Admeld service has helped to serve ads in Facebook developers’ social apps; and our DoubleClick platform enables clients to run and measure ads across social websites. On Google+, brands use services like Vitrue, Buddy Media and others to manage their pages, with many more to come.

With Wildfire, we’re looking forward to creating new opportunities for our clients to engage with people across all social services. We believe that better content and more seamless solutions will help unlock the full potential of the web for people and businesses.”

Fake New York Times Op-Ed Fools the Twitterati

A fake op-ed written by someone masquerading as Bill Keller of New York Times has managed to fool thousands of people including some of New York Time’s own staff writers.

I came to notice the incident via a tweet by security researcher Christopher Soghoian who identified it as a fake New York Times URL. But interestingly, some of New York Time’s own writers such as Nick Bilton was fooled by the article and ended up sharing the story on Twitter. Adding insult to the injury, it looks like Bill Keller himself re-tweeted the fake op-ed. Now I’m not sure if his account was compromised and the tweet was sent by someone other than him. But as you can clearly see from the screenshot below, he retweeted a tweet by @journalismfest with the fake URL.

Bill Keller later tweeted as follows,


Nick Belton has also deleted his tweet and posted a clarification.


The other high profile accounts fooled by the article include WikiLeaks as well, about whom the fake article was about. WikiLeaks later tweeted wondering whether NYT had been hacked whereas in fact it was just a matter of a hoax page.

Apple Looking to Invest in Twitter? Makes Sense!

Apple may be looking to make a strategic investment in Twitter, and has already discussed it with the social networking company in the last couple of months, according to a new report by NYT.

Apple tried to enter the social space with Ping last year, but that was one huge failure. Just like Microsoft has been struggling with Search, and has hardly been able to topple Google despite pouring in billions of dollars into its Online Services division, mentioning Apple and Social in the same sentence just doesn’t seem right.

Apple may have realized that social just isn’t in its DNA; after all no one company can do everything right. Apple considered investing hundreds of millions of dollars in Twitter at a valuation of around $10 billion earlier this year, but apparently the deal didn’t go through as planned.

It did, however, integrate Twitter into iOS during the launch of the iPhone 4S.

While Google has Google+, Microsoft has a strategic investment in Facebook and continues to partner with it for Bing and other endeavors.

Apple needs to be more social, and Twitter seems to be the right partner for it, as there seems to be no clash between their ambitions, which are clearly in different areas.

Apple has tons of cash, and while Twitter doesn’t really need any right now (it raised nearly $1 billion and is making progress with its advertising business), both companies need each other. Twitter has benefited greatly from integration with iOS and Mac OS X, and would like to maintain its relationship with Apple, which has also gotten a bit cozy with Facebook lately.

We’re not sure whether the talks are still on, but apparently, they’re not. However, Apple investing in Twitter makes a lot of sense, for both of them.

Twitter Goes Down, Again! [Update: Service Returning to Normal]

You must have already noticed that Twitter is currently inaccessible and you are seeing the message — “Twitter is currently down for” when you visit the site via your browser. When we tried accessing the website on Google Chrome, we received an error message as follows –

Twitter Down

As you can see from the above screenshot, Twitter wasn’t loading properly. The images are missing and the message contains some funny characters Ruby on Rails markups.

Users checked if Twitter was down using the service, and many users are unable to reach the site. Twitter is aware of the issue and is currently looking in to it. At the time of writing this post, Twitter issued a statement stating, “Users may be experiencing issues accessing Twitter. Our engineers are currently working to resolve the issue.”

This is second time Twitter is experiencing this problem in the last two months. Last time in June, the company stated that the site was down due to a “cascaded bug.”

Update #1: It appears that mobile version of Twitter is also down, and users are receiving the message “Twitter Error” when trying to access their tweets from Twitter apps and the mobile site There seems to be a huge problem that Twitter is facing.

Update #2: Users are unable to access their tweets from the last one hour. Here’s a Twitter status information graph by DownRightNow

Twitter Down Status History

Update #3: Twitter is back! It looks like service is returning to normal.

Update #4: 

Twitter reports about today’s outage:

The cause of today’s outage came from within our data centers. Data centers are designed to be redundant: when one system fails (as everything does at one time or another), a parallel system takes over. What was noteworthy about today’s outage was the coincidental failure of two parallel systems at nearly the same time.

I wish I could say that today’s outage could be explained by the Olympics or even acascading bug. Instead, it was due to this infrastructural double-whammy. We are investing aggressively in our systems to avoid this situation in the future.

Twitter to Allow Access to Old Tweets and Download Them

If you ever wanted to read a tweet that you posted a few months ago, then you’re out of luck. Unfortunately, Twitter lets you access only the last few thousand tweets that you made, and anything beyond that is not shown.

However, Twitter is now working on a tool that will enable its users to download (Twitter backup) their entire Twitter history, right from the beginning to the last tweet you posted. Twitter’s CEO Dick Costolo said in a meeting with The New York Times, “We’re working on a tool to let users export all of their tweets. You’ll be able to download a file of them.”

This is a great move from Twitter. Allowing to access older tweets is what users have been wanting from a long time. Currently, Twitter users rely on third-party services which help them take backup of their tweets, however, that process is a little cumbersome. Some of the third-party services that enable Twitter users to access their Twitter history are oldtweetsBackupMyTweets, and Beckism.

Twitter Backup

While the Twitter team is figuring out a way to let users download their old tweets, Costolo said that the feature will not be released anytime soon. However, he was confident enough that such a feature will be made available to its users, who will be able to look through their entire history of tweets.

“It’s two different search problems,” he said. “It’s a different way of architecting search, going through all tweets of all time. You can’t just put three engineers on it.”

Other social networking sites allow its users to download their information present on their site. Facebook has the Download Your Information tool, while Google has introduced the Google Takeout feature, which “allows you to download a copy of your data stored within Google products.”

Image credits:

Foursquare Launches Promoted Updates; Focused on Monetization

Taking a cue from Facebook’s Sponsored Posts, and Twitter’s Promoted Tweets, Foursquare has launched Promoted Updates, yet another shot by the leader in the hyperlocal-social space to monetize its user base and generate revenue.

Promoted Updates work similar to Twitter’s Promoted Tweets. They are displayed on the top of Foursquare’s Explore tab on its mobile app, and are probably pay-per-action ad units, which clearly demonstrate ROI for the advertiser.

Promoted Updates are currently available only to select advertisers as part of a pilot program. They are essentially a paid version of Local Updates, which enables merchants to reach out to users in the vicinity.

They will be targeted using the user’s location and their check-ins, tips, likes and lists. The targeting will be done using Foursquare’s Explore Engine, which will ensure that all promotions are relevant.

While Foursquare has much fewer users than Twitter or Facebook, it has the capability to directly drive sales in a much more efficient way, which makes its user base all the more monetizable.

Foursquare’s Product Manager, Noah Weiss, said:

“This is the first time ever that we’re allowing businesses to pay to promote their business in Foursquare. It’s obviously a very exciting milestone for us.

Dennis (Crowley, Foursquare’s CEO) has always said that we’ll do it when we’re ready, and we’ll do it in a way that we think makes for a better experience for users. The timing now feels right … the product is in a place where it makes a lot of sense for merchants who want to drive customers into their stores and for users who are looking for inspiration about something to try out.”

via VentureBeat