Posts Tagged ‘twitter’

UK government mulls idea of banning suspected rioters from social media

August 11th, 2011

Critics and hacker groups are lashing out at the UK government and at BlackBerry maker RIM after British Prime Minister David Cameron suggested the UK could block social media services and get user data from mobile phones to shut down further riots.

The UK government is debating whether it should shut down social media websites in order to stop further riots from taking place.

In his opening statement during a Commons debate on Thursday, Cameron told parliament the government is looking at banning individuals from using sites like Twitter and Facebook if they are believed to be plotting criminal activity.

“The prime minister did not go into specifics about how such a block could work, what evidence would be needed to trigger it, and whether it would apply only to individuals or could see networks shut down entirely — instead saying only that the government was looking at the issue,” Metro reports.

Cameron recalled MPs from summer recess to address the increasing violence and riots happening throughout London.

According to the Guardian, Cameron also said the government will hold meetings with Facebook, Twitter and Research In Motion (RIM), makers of the BlackBerry, to discuss “their responsibilities” in this area.

As the BBC reports, under UK law, police are legally allowed to request data from someone’s mobile phone if the information relates to criminal activity.

“Everyone watching these horrific actions will be stuck by how they were organised via social media,” Cameron told Parliament. “The free flow of information can be used for good, but it can also be used for ill.

“So we are working with the police, intelligence services and industry to look at whether it would be right to stop people communicating via websites and services when we know they are plotting violence, disorder and criminality.”

Cameron has also told broadcasters such as the BBC and Sky News they should turn-in unused footage to help police. That request has been met with opposition from broadcasters who say handing over unused footage would damage their editorial independence.

While the UK government continues to put the blame on social media websites for playing a role in the riots, Metro reports evidence has yet to show Facebook or Twitter played a significant role.

That said, technology has played a part; the uprising in the UK has been dubbed the “BlackBerry riots” by media because several reports indicate people are using the BlackBerry’s instant messaging features to plan and organize riots and looting.

Earlier this week Labour MP for Tottenham, David Lammy, went as far as asking RIM to shut down its BlackBerry Messenger (BBM) service on Twitter. “Immediate action needed,” he Tweeted. “[Londoners] cannot have another evening like last night tonight. BBM clearly helping rioters outfox police. Suspend it.”

RIM raised eyebrows when it confirmed via Twitter it was indeed helping police. “We feel for those impacted by the riots in London,” the Tweet reads. “We have engaged with the authorities to assist in any way we can.”

RIM’s move to help police has caused outrage among hackers and a BlackBerry blog was hacked in response.

The hack was sent as a warning by a group calling itself “Team Poison.” As Computer Weekly reports Team Poison has threatened to publish personal data of RIM employees if the company cooperates with police by handing over user data.

“Team Poison said it did not condone innocent people or small businesses being attacked in the riots, but said it supported attacks on police and government,” Computer Weekly reports. “The hacker group said it was opposed to Blackberry giving user information to police because it could lead to the wrong people being targeted.”

Meanwhile, Cameron says the government continues to use social media and technology to its advantage, publishing photos of people accused of looting online. “No phoney human rights concerns about publishing photographs will get in the way of bringing these criminals to justice,” Cameron said.

Jim Killock, executive director of online advocacy organisation Open Rights Grouptold the Guardian Cameron’s requests attack free speech.

“Events like the recent riots are frequently used to attack civil liberties,” he said. “Policing should be targeted at actual offenders, with the proper protection of the courts. How do people ‘know’ when someone is planning to riot? Who makes that judgment? The only realistic answer is the courts must judge. If court procedures are not used, then we will quickly see abuses by private companies and police. Companies like RIM must insist on court processes. Citizens also have the right to secure communications. Business, politics and free speech relies on security and privacy.”

Twitter launches ‘Twitter for Newsrooms’ resource guide

June 27th, 2011

Twitter For Newsrooms

Twitter today introduced a new portal for journalists called Twitter for Newsrooms. The resource is similar to Facebook for Journalists, in that it offers best-practice advice and tips on how reporters can use the social media outlet in their day-to-day job.

The information portal offers a number of sections relating to various journalistic tasks: reporting, engaging, publishing and a section called “extra.”

  1. Under the reporting section, journalists learn about using search to its fullest potential. You can learn about in-depth advanced searching techniques and finding sources; Tweetdeck and Twitter for Mac; mobile tips; and how to use Topsy to find older tweets.
  2. Under the engage section, users can learn how to use Twitter to connect with audiences, share news and build community. This section includes case studies, tips on how to brand your Twitter presence and a glossary.
  3. In the Publish section, journalists are given tips on everything from a toolkit called Web Intents, to a WordPress plugin for Twitter, to official display guidelines on using tweets in media, and an image gallery of Twitter logos.
  4. Finally, in the Extra section, Twitter provides links to blogs, support/help items, DMCA issues and Twitter in other languages.

While a lot of these tips may be familiar to Twitter veterans, Twitter for Newsrooms offers a wealth of information for journalists who are just starting out on the social platform.

What do you think about Twitter for Newsrooms?

Twitter: 40% of all tweets created on mobile

January 10th, 2011

Twitter CEO Dick Costolo. - Photo by Joi Ito

If you ever needed a bigger sign of where content consumption is heading, look no further than Twitter. The micro-messaging service that saw more than 25 billion Tweets in the last year says its users are increasingly moving to mobile platforms.

In an interview at the Consumer Electronics Show (CES), Twitter CEO Dick Costolo revealed nearly half of all Twitter posts are made from a mobile device.

“Mobile is a more and more and more common use of Twitter–40 percent of all tweets created on mobile devices,” Costolo told Kara Swisher of All Things D. “That might seem low, but it was 25 percent a year ago.”

Costolo also said 50 percent of active users are also active on mobile, indicating more and more people are consuming media on platforms other than a computer.

Costolo credits the increasing mobile usage to the launch of apps launches for iPhone, iPad, Android and BlackBerry.

According to a 2010 blog post from Twitter’s co-founder former CEO Evan Williams, Twitter’s mobile website, SMS, Twitter for iPhone and Twitter for BlackBerry are the most-used Twitter apps after the company’s website.

Twitter recently announced a new round of funding with investor Kleiner Perkins Caufield & Byers as well as existing investors. Swisher revealed the round brought in $200 million with a valuation of $3.7 billion.

In his interview at CES, Costolo said Twitter now has more than 350 employees, 100 of whom were hired in Q4 of 2010.

Mobile usage is on the rise across the board, and companies like Google are betting their future on it. According to Search Engine Land, Google’s AdMob unit is reporting more than two billion ad requests on a daily basis (more than quadrupling over the last 12 months).

Recent data released by comScore also indicates big mobile growth; 234 million Americans aged 13 and older used mobile devices for the three month average period ending in Nov. 2010 and 61.5 million Americans were said to own a smartphone (up 10 percent from the preceding three-month period).

The following is a breakdown of the most popular mobile operating systems:

Market share for mobile operating system

For more on the future of mobile, check out how media companies are harnessing the mobile space or the 11 key elements for the future of mobile.

[Cross-posted to Future of Media]

Video spoof sheds light on journalism’s obsession with social media

October 20th, 2010

Illustration by Matt Hamm

If you were to sit in on a meeting with the digital media team of any news organization, you’d hear discussion about Twitter, Facebook, Foursquare, YouTube and just about every other hot tech start-up that is playing a role in redefining the media landscape.

While the benefits of using social media are obvious, there comes a point where we have to ask: How much is too much? How much should a news organization rely on social media in its newsgathering-process, and how much should the “old-school” methods be utilized to gather info? The answer depends on the news organization, but KDFW has produced a spoof video (below) that is going viral. The video pokes fun at social media obsession in newsgathering.

Posted to its Facebook page on Monday, the video pokes fun at every social media tool and journalism’s increasing obsession with each. Some of the video highlights include a reporter who doesn’t say a word on TV, instead choosing to share news by sending tweets from his mobile phone; it showcases a reporter taking a picture with a corpse so she can post it to her Facebook page; and a reporter who checks-in on FourSquare to get coupons while reporting on-scene.

According to the Dallas Observer, the video looks to have debuted at the Lone Star Emmys. Here it is:

- Cross-posted to Future of Media

Report: Twitter to launch official tweet button

August 11th, 2010
Update, Aug 12: It’s official. Twitter has announced the Tweet button in partnership with Tweetmeme.
In the world of social media and sharing, a Twitter and Facebook button that allows readers to share a link can bring a website a great deal of traffic. According to an online report, Twitter is launching an official Tweet button as early as Thursday.

Up until now, the Twitter “Retweet” buttons that appear on most websites are powered by a third-party company called Tweetmeme. According to a report on Mashable, that is about to change and Twitter is launching an official Tweet button for sharing content online and counting how many times it’s been shared.

Mashable says documents it obtained indicate the feature could launch Thursday, but the official Twitter blog has yet to announce the feature. Mashable says the Tweet button “is designed to be the most comprehensive counter of retweets and shares across Twitter’s network” and will come in three versions (110×20, 55×20, 55×63) with five different settings for customization.

Providing its code via an API for third-party developers has helped Twitter grow tremendously, and many observers have cautioned Twitter about providing a service that will compete with one of a developer that helped it grow.

That being the case, it’s not immediately clear if Twitter has inked a deal with Tweetmeme or how Tweetmeme’s current service will be affected if Twitter launches an official button. Neither Twitter or Tweetmeme have responded to inquiries as of yet.

The following screenshots are courtesy of Mashable: