Tag: Twitter

Salesforce says Twitter Ye Not

frankie-loopmasters1Salesforce has said it has given up on its plans to buy social notworking site Twitter.

Salesforce CEO Marc Benioff told the Financial Times his company has “walked away” from cutting a deal and he was pretty much the last one left.

Neither Google nor Disney plan to bid on Twitter, despite reports saying both were interested. Apple is long gone and Verizon immediately launghed off the speculation.

Facebook was said to be uninterested, and someone mentioned Microsoft but then realised that it made no sense for Vole which is becoming an increasingly enterprise-focused company.

This is going to put pressure on the social notworking site to work out a way to restart user growth and improve its revenue.

Twitter will update investors on its earnings again two weeks from now, on 27 October and it’s likely the company will either address or be asked about where any acquisition talks go from here.

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.


IBM teams up with Twitter

ibm-officeBig Blue is very busy with its cloud data services and data analytics and today has penned an agreement with Twitter aimed at enterprises and developers.

The deal means IBM will deliver cloud data services with Twitter built in – meaning that companies can use analytics to mine meaningful data from the flood of tweets that hit cyber space every day.

IBM described Twitter as unlike any other data source in the world because it happens in real time, and is public and conversational.

IBM claims it can separate the signal from the noise by analysing tweets with millions of data points from other data that is public.

The deal means that developers can search explore and examine data using its Insights for Twitter service on Bluemix.

The company said it can also analyse Twitter data by configuration Biginsights on Cloud and combine the tweets with IBM’s Enterprise Hadoop-as-a-service.

It has already given 4,000 of its own staff access to Twitter data.


You’re trapped by mobile ads

330ogleA frenzy of competition from major vendors for advertising revenue including the mobile market means growth between now and 2020 compared to the conventional advertising market.

That’s the conclusion of ABI Research today, which said in a report the competition is between Yahoo, Facebook, Google, Microsoft and others to push adverts at you through your mobile device.

Growth in the mobile advertising market is set to grow 16 percent CAGR between 2015 and 2020, compared to the total advertising market at 11 percent.

ABI thinks that mobile advertising will represent over 50 percent of total advertising revenue in the next few years.

Right now, Twitter and Facebook have the largest chunk of the market and so the strongest mobile advertising revenues.

The research company believes that there will be plenty of acquisitions as the different players jockey for position to grow their revenues.

Google is the clear leader in the search advertising sector but it faces increasing competition in the years to come, too.

ISIS aiming for social media heads

o-ANONYMOUS-facebookTerrorist outfit the Islamic State has decided to take out the heads of the major social media companies for daring to take on the outfit.

On Sunday, an image circulated showing Islamic State supporters allegedly threatening Jack Dorsey, a founder of Twitter, in retaliation for the social network engaging an escalating war against the militant group.

ISIS relied heavily on American-built social media to provide a megaphone. Lately, however, the networks have fought back and shut down its access.

Now the social media that enabled ISIS to become the most famous terrorists on the planet—Twitter, YouTube, and Facebook is at war against them.

Twitter has gone through numerous waves in which tens of thousands of ISIS accounts have been banned in an attack designed to lessen their influence.

ISIS tried to arrange a cyberprotest in favor of a right to free speech in order to gain the attention of the world.

At noon ET on Feb. 26, the full might of ISIS’s social media operation was supposed to get #IslamicStateMedia and #الحملة_العالمية_لنصرة_الدولة_الإسلامية trending everywhere and squarely in the spotlight.

However it was taken to the cleaners by Kurds and conservative American activists who rhetorically attacked their common enemy so that neither the Arabic- nor English-language campaign had any success whatsoever.

ISIS social media jihadists were outnumbered and outdone during their own highly publicised campaign.

It turned out that Twitter made it impossible for ISIS to win by setting in motion the biggest strike against the Islamic State that social media has yet seen.

Some accounts were suspended three to seven times within one single day. But the incentive of the campaign kept these Islamic State supporters coming back again and again.

ISIS is now spending more time and effort than ever before to maintain their social media.

Apparently they are wanting blood with threats calling for the killing or harming of social media bosses appearing on the accounts they can still use. But it is looking like this is a rear guard action.

Coca-Cola quotes Hitler

coca-cola_olympic_games_in_berlin_1936Coca-Cola has been forced to withdraw a Twitter advertising campaign after a counter campaign tricked it into tweeting large chunks of the introduction to Hitler’s getting to know you book Mein Kampf.

Marketeers thought that the campaign dubbed “Make it Happy” during the Super Bowl, Coke invited people to reply to negative tweets with the hashtag “#MakeItHappy”.

The idea was that an automatic algorithm would then convert the tweets, using an encoding system called ASCII, into pictures of happy things – such as an fluffy mouse, a palm tree wearing sunglasses or a chicken drumstick wearing a cowboy hat.

Apparently, this was going to make people want to drink some sweet brown liquid with bubbles in it which can also be used to clean toilets.

In a press release, Coca-Cola said its aim was to “tackle the pervasive negativity polluting social media feeds and comment threads across the internet”.

Gawker editorial labs director, Adam Pash, created a Twitter bot, @MeinCoke, and set it up to tweet lines from Mein Kampf and then link to them with the #MakeItHappy tag – triggering Coca-Cola’s own Twitter bot to turn them into cutesy pictures.

For two hours on Coca-Cola’s Twitter feed was broadcasting big chunks of Adolf Hitler’s text, albeit built in the form of a smiling banana or a cat playing a drum kit.

Gawker managed to quote the words “My father was a civil servant who fulfilled his duty very conscientiously” in the shape of a pirate ship with a face on its sails – wearing an eyepatch – before Coca-Cola’s account shut down.

In a statement to AdWeek, a spokesperson for Coca-Cola said: “The #MakeItHappy message is simple: the internet is what we make it, and we hoped to inspire people to make it a more positive place. It’s unfortunate that Gawker is trying to turn this campaign into something that it isn’t.”

The statement concluded: “Building a bot that attempts to spread hate through #MakeItHappy is a perfect example of the pervasive online negativity Coca-Cola wanted to address with this campaign.”



Google forced to turn over Wikileaks materials

Julian AssangeA secret search warrant from a judge in a US federal court forced Google to turn over Wikileaks’ emails and data.
But that happened in 2012, and it wasn’t tell the end of last year that Google felt able to tell Wikileaks it had given the US Justice Department including emails and IP addresses of three staffers at Wikileaks.
Wikileaks responded today by saying it was “disturbed” by the revelation.  Wikileaks said that social networking company Twitter had refused similar requests.
The judge stopped Google from telling Wikileaks about the court order but later rescinded this decision.
On its web site today, Wikileaks said its lawyers have written to Google and the Justice Department to protest the revelations.
You can find what Wikileaks has to say for itself, here.


Twitter becomes urban planning tool

  Layout of businesses, nightlife and leisure areas in Madrid using Twitter are illustrated here. The uncolored part corresponds to residential areas.Computer scientists believe that Twitter is a good way to aid urban planning and land use.

Brother and sister scientists Enrique and Vanessa Frias-Martinez have ussyed a report suggesting that geolocalised tweets can be used for urban planning. Vanessa is a scientist at the University of Maryland while her brother works for Spanish telco Telefonica.

According to Enrique Frias-Martinez, geolocalised tweets are useful for planning because of the number of people tweeting on where they are and what they’re up to.

He said: “Thanks to the increased use of smartphones, social networks like Twitter and Facebook have made it possible to access and produce information ubiquitously.”

He said that Twitter can include latitude and longitude and information can be captured more efficiently than by using questionnaires.  It’s also far cheaper and more accurate than using traditional methods, he said.

The pair have mapped land use in New York, Madrid and London. The pair have published their paper in the journal Engineering Applications of Artificial Intelligence.

Scientists use Twitter to track mental illness

kingfisherPsychologists appear to believe that tweets from Twitter can help them garner data about common mental illnesses.

Glen Coppersmith, one of a number of computer scientists at John Hopkins University (JHU) said that looking at tweets from people who publicly mentioned their diagnosis lets them speedily and cheaply collect data on seasonal affective disorder, depression, bipolar disorders and post traumatic stress disorder (PTSD).

The scientists trawl through tweets and use computer technology to counter the high costs of collecting mental health data using surveys.

“With many physical illnesses… there are lots of quantifiable facts and figures that can be used to study things like jow often and where the disease is occurring. But it’s much tougher and more time consuming to collect this kind of data about mental illnesses because the underlying causes are so complex and because there is a long standing stigma that makes even talking about the subject all but taboo,” said Coppersmith.

Coppersmith also said the team didn’t want to replace surveys to track trends in mental illness.  Its techniques are meant to complement them.

PTSD is more prevelant at military installations in Iraq and Afghanistan. Depression happens in places that have high unemployment rates.

So what of the algorithms?  The scientists look for words and language patterns including phrases like “I just don’t want to get out of bed”.  The scientists looked at eight billion tweets.

Families frightened of social media

facebokTwo thirds of people in the UK won’t share their photographs online because they’re worried about privacy.

That follows widely publicised hacks of different social networking products including Twitter and Facebook.

A survey conducted by Berland on behalf of KatchUp showed that while 82 percent of families believe keeping in touch with each other is most important, the most common way people share photos using email, at 59 percent.

Other worries about sharing photos online include the time taken to filter photographs (49%), a fear of their data being collected by the social media (33%) and a dislike of advertisements (17%).

Two out of five people said they were worried about what the rest of their family could come across on social networking accounts.

As many as 59 percent of British people only want an inner circle of people to see photographs on social media.

And 38 percent and 30 percent of people thought it was “inappropriate” to share christening and photos of children.

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.

Google cuts out the server middlemen

HP-MicroServerA report said that Taiwanese original design manufacturer (ODM) Quanta will supply search engine giant Google with its servers in 2015.

Google has long abandoned the habit of using “brand name” servers from the likes of Dell, HP or IBM/Lenovo.

The news, reported in Digitimes, confirms a recent survey saying that the ODMs, which often build machines that are then subsequently branded, are taking market share from the brand names.

It’s not just Google that is following this path.  Amazon, Facebook and Microsoft also buy their servers direct.  Quanta has benefited more from these changes in buying patterns because it has been quicker to realise the money involved than rivals such as Taiwanese company Inventec.

Until comparatively recently, Quanta’s entire business was building notebook machines, subsequently branded by others.  But the bottom has somewhat fallen out of the notebook business with the rise of tablets and smartphones.

GCHQ head hits out at IT companies

GCHQ buildingThe newly appointed head of spy outfit GCHQ has said computer companies like Facebook and Twitter are not doing enough to help security services catch criminals and terrorists.

Robert Hannigan went a little further than that and accused technology outfits of being “command and control networks for terrorists and criminals”.

The Islamic State, for example, used the web as a channel to promote itself, frighten people and radicalise new recruits.

Hannigan said: “But increasingly their services not only host the material of violent extremism or child exploitation, but are the routes for the facilitation of crime and terrorism.”

He also criticised the security of communications saying that encryption methods which were once the domain of nation states are now commonplace.  For example, Apple and Google include encryption in their mobile operating systems as a way of protecting people’s security and privacy.

He wants the tech companies to provide more support.

Twitter is no fun for the many

tweetA group of researchers based at the Technical University of Madrid (UPM) has analysed Twitter and come up with ways to increase your influence.

People with few followers attempt to boost their popularity by increasing the number of tweets they send but this is costly and inefficient.

The researchers analysed thousands of conversations and discovered how to measure relates effort to influence by people using Twitter.

The structure of Twitter is the key to influence. Twitter is a heteregeneous network wherer there are a large number of people with few folllowers and a very few with up to 40 to 50 million followers.

Rosa M. Benito, a researcher at UPM, said: “Ordinary users can gain the same number of retweets as popular users by increasing their activity abruptly.”

The diagram shows a visualisation of the spreading of messages on Twitter (retweets network in green) on the followers network (grey). The nodes represent users and their size is proportional to the number of followers that they have. Red indicates users who have written original tweets and yellow indicates users who have retweeted them.

British Queen uses Twitter

Queen Elizabeth IIQueen Elizabeth II took advantage of opening a new technology gallery at the London Science Museum this morning by getting down and dirty and tweeting the world.

The first tweet by the Queen said: “It is a pleasure to open the Information Age exhibition today at the @ScienceMuseum and I hope people will enjoy visiting. Elizabeth R.”

She sent the tweet via the Palace’s @BritishMonarchy account.

The new gallery at the Science Museum includes Sir Tim Berner-Lee’s NeXT computer – he’s the chap who invented the World Wide Web.

The main theme of the gallery is communications and includes old kit such as business computer Leo, how mobile phones work, and how the digital revolution is changing the world.

British sponsors of the exhibition include plucky chip designer ARM and BT.