social

SmugMug acquires Flickr

Two photo-sharing services are teaming up, as SmugMug buys Flickr from Verizon’s digital media subsidiary Oath. USA Today broke the news and interviewed SmugMug CEO Don MacAskill, who said he hopes to revitalize Flickr . At the same time, he said he’s still figuring out his actual plans: “It sounds silly for the CEO to not to totally know what he’s going to do, but we haven’t built SmugMug on a master plan either. We try to listen to our customers and when enough of them ask for something that’s important to them or to the community, we go and build it.” Flickr was founded in 2004 and sold to Yahoo a year later. Yahoo, in turn, was acquired by Verizon, which brought it together with AOL to create a new subsidiary called Oath. Over the past couple of months, Oath (which owns TechCrunch) has...

Facebook has a new job posting calling for chip designers

Facebook has posted a job opening looking for an expert in ASIC and FPGA, two custom silicon designs that companies can gear toward specific use cases — particularly in machine learning and artificial intelligence. There’s been a lot of speculation in the valley as to what Facebook’s interpretation of custom silicon might be, especially as it looks to optimize its machine learning tools — something that CEO Mark Zuckerberg referred to as a potential solution for identifying misinformation on Facebook using AI. The whispers of Facebook’s customized hardware range depending on who you talk to, but generally center around operating on the massive graph Facebook possesses around personal data. Most in the industry speculate that it’s being optimized for Caffe2, an AI infrastructure deployed at...

Russia’s Telegram ban that knocked out 15M Google, Amazon IP addresses had a precedent in Zello

Russia blocking access to Telegram after the messaging app refused to give it access to encrypted messages has picked up an unintended casualty: we’re now up to over 15 million IP addresses from Amazon and Google getting shut down by the regulators in the process, taking various other (non-Telegram) services down with it. Telegram’s CEO Pavel Durov earlier today said that its reach in the country has yet to see an impact from the ban 24 hours on, with VPNs, proxies and third-party cloud services stepping in to pick up the slack for its roughly 14 million users in the country, and third parties refusing to buckle under requests from Roskomnadzor, the regulator, to remove the app from its stores and servers. “Thank you for your support and loyalty, Russian users of Telegram. Thank you, Apple...

Russia starts blocking Telegram for failing to turn over encryption keys

The Russian state telecommunication regulator has began blocking Telegram as expected. This comes after the messaging company refused to give Russian security services encryption keys. The service is expected to be blocked within the coming hours. According to several reports Telegram is still operational in the country though several service providers have started blocking the company’s website. Ran by its Russian founder Pavel Durov, Telegram has over 200 million users and is a top-ten messaging service made popular by its strong stance on privacy. Telegram is recognized as an operator of information dissemination in Russia and therefore the company is required by Russian to provide keys to its encryption service to the Federal Security Service. This is so the FSS can reportedly read the...

The psychological impact of an $11 Facebook subscription

Would being asked to pay Facebook to remove ads make you appreciate their value or resent them even more? As Facebook considers offering an ad-free subscription option, there are deeper questions than how much money it could earn. Facebook has the opportunity to let us decide how we compensate it for social networking. But choice doesn’t always make people happy. In February I explored the idea of how Facebook could disarm data privacy backlash and boost well-being by letting us pay a monthly subscription fee instead of selling our attention to advertisers. The big takeaways were: Mark Zuckerberg insists that Facebook will remain free to everyone, including those who can’t afford a monthly fee, so subscriptions would be an opt-in alternative to ads rather than a replacement that forces eve...

How to save your privacy from the Internet’s clutches

Another week, another massive privacy scandal. When it’s not Facebook admitting it allowed data on as many as 87 million users to be sucked out by a developer on its platform who sold it to a political consultancy working for the Trump campaign, or dating app Grindr ‘fessing up to sharing its users’ HIV status with third party A/B testers, some other ugly facet of the tech industry’s love affair with tracking everything its users do slides into view. Suddenly, Android users discover to their horror that Google’s mobile platform tells the company where they are all the time — thanks to baked-in location tracking bundled with Google services like Maps and Photos. Or Amazon Echo users realize Jeff Bezos’ ecommerce empire has amassed audio recordings of every single interaction they’ve had wit...

Facebook’s Bookmarks menu gets a facelift that makes its settings easier to find

Facebook is rolling out a redesigned bookmarks section in its app that will make it easier to navigate and access various Facebook settings – including Account Settings, Privacy Shortcuts, News Feed Preferences, Activity Log, Payments Settings, access to Help & Support, and more. None of the options in the updated menu are new to Facebook. Instead, the changes are focused on centralizing a variety of controls that were previously located in other places, where they may have been unknown to some users. The updated menu, at first glance, appeared to be a continuation of the redesign to Facebook’s Settings, announced last month. At the time, the company promised a revamped settings menu on mobile that moves settings from across 20 different screens to a single place. It also launched the ...

Facebook shouldn’t block you from finding friends on competitors

Twitter, Vine, Voxer, MessageMe. Facebook has repeatedly cut off competitors from its feature for finding your Facebook friends on their apps… after jumpstarting its own social graph by convincing people to upload their Gmail contacts. Meanwhile, Facebook’s Download Your Information tool merely exports a text list of friends’ names you can’t use elsewhere. As Congress considers potential regulation following Mark Zuckerberg’s testimonies, it should prioritize leveling the playing field for aspiring alternatives to Facebook and letting consumers choose where to social network. And as a show of good faith and argument against it abusing its monopoly, Facebook should make our friend list truly portable. It’s time to free the social graph — to treat it as a fundamental digital possession, the ...

Users and advertisers are mostly unfazed by Facebook scandal

Facebook’s downfall has, it seems, been greatly exaggerated — at least according to Facebook . Even with the Cambridge Analytica fallout and subsequent #DeleteFacebook campaigns, the site appears to be largely unfazed. An executive confirmed as much in a recent interview with The Wall Street Journal. A majority of users haven’t altered their settings and advertisers appear to be staying put. “We have not seen wild changes in behavior with people saying ‘I’m not going to share any data with Facebook anymore,’” Global Marketing VP Carolyn Everson told the site. And while the company has certainly been put under a microscope by Congress and other lawmakers internationally, Everson adds that Facebook isn’t really anticipating that much will change on the legislative side of the equation, eithe...

Facebook Stories adds funky AR drawing and Instagram’s Boomerang

You’ll soon be able to draw on the world around you and shoot back-and-forth Instagram Boomerang GIFs with the Facebook Camera. Bringing additional creative tools to the Facebook Camera could make it a more popular place to shoot content and help the company compete with Snapchat. “We wanted to give people an easy way to create with augmented reality and draw in the world around them” says John Barnett, a Facebook Camera Product Manager about the feature it calls “3D drawing”. It’s rolling out to users over the coming weeks. Matt Navarra first spotted the features. [embedded content] With AR drawing, you can scribble on the world around you, then move your camera and see the markings stay in place. It’s a fun way to add graffiti that only exists inside your screen. You can add the drawings...

First look at Instagram Nametags, its clone of Snapchat QR codes

Instagram is preparing to launch a feature called Nametags that lets you create a special image that people can scan with the Instagram Stories camera to follow you. TechCrunch broke the news of Nametags code in Instagram’s Android APK last month. But now thanks to reader Genady Okrain we have screenshots and more details of the Instagram Nametags feature. Nametags could make it easier for people to visually promote their Instagram account. It could make it simple to follow a friend you just met by having them open their Nametag and then you scanning it. Meanwhile, businesses and social media stars could post their Nametag across other social media handles, print it onto posters or handbills or even make merchandise out of it. An Instagram spokesperson confirmed to TechCrunch that it is te...

RSS is undead

RSS died. Whether you blame Feedburner, or Google Reader, or Digg Reader last month, or any number of other product failures over the years, the humble protocol has managed to keep on trudging along despite all evidence that it is dead, dead, dead. Now, with Facebook’s scandal over Cambridge Analytica, there is a whole new wave of commentators calling for RSS to be resuscitated. Brian Barrett at Wired said a week ago that “… anyone weary of black-box algorithms controlling what you see online at least has a respite, one that’s been there all along but has often gone ignored. Tired of Twitter? Facebook fatigued? It’s time to head back to RSS.” Let’s be clear: RSS isn’t coming back alive so much as it is officially entering its undead phase. Don’t get me wrong, I love RSS. At its core, it is...