Tag: social media

Judges scrap Indian Facebook law

India_flagThe Supreme Court in Delhi has decided that a law which could have people sent to jail for making pretty harmless comments on Twitter and Facebook is unconstitutional.

The judges say section 66A of the Information Technology Act breached the Indian constitution and struck it from the statute book.

The order was made after it was successfully argued that this section of the law violated the principles of freedom of speech and expression.

The law allowed people to be sent to prison for three years for sending emails or other electronic communications that upset or annoyed other people.

Several people have been arrested for posting comments about politicians on Facebook, and for sending tweets that annoyed people.


British army gets its own social networking unit

article-2630396-1DE5D1E700000578-447_470x721The British Army is setting up a psy-ops unit that will fight its battles on social media “in the information age”.

Head of the Army General Sir Nick Carter said the move was about trying to operate “smarter”.

Dubbed the 77th Brigade, the unit will be made up of reservists and regular troops and based in Hermitage, Berkshire.

Apparently, it has been inspired by the Chindits who fought in Burma in World War Two and seeks “new ways of allowing civilians with bespoke skills to serve alongside their military counterparts”.

Chindits was the name given to the Long Range Penetration (LRP) groups that operated in the Burmese jungle behind enemy lines, targeting Japanese communications.

The new unit will also use the old Chindit insignia of a Chinthe, a mythical Burmese creature which is half-lion and half-dragon.

The unit recognises that the actions of others in a modern battlefield can be affected in ways that are not necessarily violent and it draws heavily on important lessons from our commitments to operations in Afghanistan amongst others.

Recruitment for the brigade, 42 percent of whose personnel will be reservists, will begin this spring.

Its members will come from the Royal Navy and RAF as well as from the Army.



Facebook cracking down on fake news

UhCNNFacebook announced that it will update its news feed software to flag stories that might be false and limit their spread.

The social notworking site has been a key spreader of fake news, including celebrity deaths, fake science reports mostly because some seem to think that “satire” is the same as “made up news”.

Instead of looking at the comments on a given post, it has added an option for Facebook users to flag it as “a false news story” when they run across it in their feeds.

Facebook will also look at how often it has been deleted by the people who posted it. The theory is that a widely deleted post may be one that many users regretted posting because they realized it was bogus.

The site will not remove such stories from its feed. Instead, the company said it will reduce their distribution and add an annotation warning news feed readers that they may contain false information. A post that has been either widely deleted or flagged as false news by a large number of users will now come with a note like this when it appears in your feed:

“Many people on Facebook have reported that this story contains false information.”

It is not a big technology deal. Facebook’s software will not be analysing the actual content or substance of stories to suss out the fake ones. Instead, it thinks that relying on explicit feedback from human users—is far simpler and makes more sense. Humans are collectively better than bots at recognising bogus stories when we see them, although given the number of people who think that climate warming is untrue, vaccination gives kids autism, UFOs buzzed the International Space Station and President Obama is a Muslim we would not think that humans are doing that good a job.

To make matters worse so called “satirical” articles from sites like The Onion will not be flagged . The company found in its testing that these sorts of posts are not often flagged as false by users.  Goodness knows what this will do to Fox News’ presence on Facebook.

This is not the first time that something like a hoax-flagging algorithm has been tried on Facebook.  It had a “war on clickbait” which was based on the same ideas and it did not exactly end  Upworthy’s reign of terror even when it still runs stories with intros like “you will never believe what happened next”.

Social media no guide to human behaviour

humanoidsWhile researchers are mining social media in an attempt to understand human behaviour, some scientists are warning there are big pitfalls using the data.

Scientists at McGill University and Carnegie Mellon University say that thousands of research papers are based on data from social media and used to make decisions in both industry and government.

But there are serious problems using such data.  The researchers point out that Pinterest is dominated by women between the ages of 25 to 34, and other social media attract different users.

Researchers don’t know when and how social media providers filter their data streams while the way some of the social media websites are designed dictate how people behave.  Facebook’s absence of a dislike button skews the measurement of positive versus negative responses.

Attempts to discover the political attitude of people on Twitter only work with 65 percent accuracy while some studies claim 90 percent accuracy for gauging such views.

The researchers say that all of these factors should be borne in mind when attempting to use the data to discover how humans think.

Half of businesses have no integrated digital strategy

ibm-officeA survey conducted by IBM has shown that half of  decision making executives at SMBs don’t have an integrated digital strategy.

But to be fair, 65 percent of them know that not having social media strategy is a huge barrier.  And over half of  them don’t really understand how to position social media in their businesses.

The key points of interest are digitising front offices, analysing data from customer interactions on social channels and seeing future trends.

IBM believes that companies that have fused their digital and physical operations together using big data, mobile and cloud are 26 percent more likely to outperform their competitors.

Naturally, IBM has an axe to grind here – it wants to sell its own products to make sure it outperforms its competitors too.

You’re hired! By social networking

crowdsA survey of over 7,000 HR managers, recruiters, and recruitment companies has revealed that social networking is playing an important role in hiring.

According to oilandgaspeople.com, which is a jobs board for the oil and gas industry, 82 percent of employers check out candidates on their social networking sites. And, be careful what you stick on Facebook or Linkedin, because 64 percent rejected applications after examining people’s profiles.

A staggering 88 percent of recruiters use Linkedin, while 25 percent used Twitter and 33 percent industry based boards.

The reason for using social media, according to 77 percent of those surveyed, is that it gives better access to more candidates.  But cost comes into the equation too – 33 percent said using social networking was cost effective, and 41 percent it gave them better insight into job candidates.

Over 63 percent said social media is more effective than print ads for advertising jobs.

Salesforce gobbles up Clipboard

pacpacSalesforce has taken over Clipboard but is refusing to spit it out, marking an end to the company.

The customer relationship company bought the service, which allows users to save and share content for a reported figure in the ball park of $10 – $20 million, in a bid to get its foot into the social enterprise arena.

However the company doesn’t seem to want to continue with the service, which was launched two years. In a blog post Clipboard told its users: “We have some bittersweet news.

“We are extremely happy to announce that salesforce.com has signed an agreement to acquire Clipboard, allowing us to pursue our mission of saving and sharing the Web on a much larger scale.”

It said the service would be discontinued on June 30, 2013.

Clipboard’s CEO Gary Flake will be vice president of engineering at Salesforce.com. The company said that its core engineering and design team will join the cloud computing company to work at its Seattle office and report to Flake.

Users of Clipboard can still preserve their personal data in an archive from which the clips and boards can be viewed offline.

Avnet extends marketing initiative

avnettsAvnet has extended its Socialondemand service in the UK.

According to the distie, since the marketing initiative launched in April 2012, seven supplier partners and over 150 business partners have joined up.

It said in the last nine months 353 media posts have been reposted by business partners achieving click-through rates of up to 50 percent, with more than 86,000 downloads and retweets.

Initially introduced with Microsoft, Avnet socialondemand is a social media service which syndicates and disseminates targeted social media content from Avnet supplier partners to the social media connections of its business partners.

Avnet claims it’s able to input, categorise and target social media content and then control and track what, when and where it is published, for example, via business partners’ Facebook, LinkedIn and Twitter accounts.

Linda Patterson, marketing director, at the company said Avnet and supplier developed content went further and allowed partners to decide how and when to target customers, while tracking exactly when, where and by whom the content is being read.

She pointed out business partners often had stretched resources particularly in terms of their use of social media and yet they appreciate its value.

Salesforce announces real-time social ads in Social.com

Salesforce_Logo_2009Salesforce has brought out Social.com which it reckons will transform advertising – being what it claims as the first social advertising application which integrates social ads with CRM.

The application will allow agencies to run social advertising campaigns on Facebook and Twitter in conjunction with real time responses from customers and social listening, which Salesforce touts as a way to utilise data to maximise dollar return on ads.

Part of Salesforce Marketing Cloud, Social.com will let advertisers create optimise and ultimately automate the social advertising campaigns. The differentiator, Salesforce says, is that the competition mostly offers outsourced services, however, Social.com is here for agencies and advertisers to use themselves.

Using Social.com, Salesforce claims brands will be able to put together and launch social advertising on scale in mobile, as well as optimising them by testing and targeting different placement and creative combinations, then use data from Facebook and Twitter to figure out where to go next.

Social.com will also allow advertisers to alter advertising spend automatically, and automate how it is allocated using real time optimisation decisions.

Marketers will also be able to use Social.com to put offline and online purchase data side by side, as well as other useful data like customer loyalty, contest data, whitepaper downloads, and active campaigns. The idea is providing a bridging connection to existing and potential customers.

Social.com is generally available now, while real time customer data and listening should be generally available this Summer.