Twitter rolls out 280-character limit to all users


San Francisco, After running a successful trial with few users, Twitter has finally rolled out its new 280-character limit virtually for all users. In September, Twitter launched a test that expanded the 140-character limit so that users could express themselves easily in a tweet. “Our goal was to make this possible while ensuring we keep the speed and brevity that makes Twitter, Twitter. “Looking at all the data, we’re excited to share we’ve achieved this goal and are rolling the change out to all languages where cramming was an issue,” the micro-blogging platform said in a blog post on Wednesday.

During the first few days of the test, many people tweeted the full 280-limit because it was new and novel but soon after, the behaviour normalised. “We saw when people needed to use more than 140 characters, they tweeted more easily and more often. But importantly, people tweeted below 140 most of the time and the brevity of Twitter remained,” said Aliza Rosen, Product Manager, Twitter.

Only five per cent of tweets sent were longer than 140 characters and only two per cent were over 190 characters. In addition to more tweeting, people who had more room to tweet received more engagement (Likes, Retweets, @mentions), got more followers and spent more time on Twitter during the experiment.
“Japanese, Korean and Chinese will continue to have 140 characters because cramming is not an issue in these languages. In fact, these languages have always been able to say more with their tweets because of the density of their writing systems,” the post said.

The average length of a tweet in Japanese is 15 characters, and only 0.4 per cent of tweets hit the 140-character limit. But in English, a much higher percentage of tweets have 140 characters (nine per cent). Most Japanese tweets are 15 characters while most English tweets are 34.

According to Twitter CEO Jack Dorsey, this is a small change, but a big move for them. “The 140 limit was an arbitrary choice based on the 160 character SMS limit. Proud of how thoughtful the team has been in solving a real problem people have when trying to tweet. And at the same time maintaining our brevity, speed, and essence!” Dorsey had tweeted during the time of trial.

The 140-character limit has been around since 2006 and has become part of the product’s personality.

by agency




Soon, taxmen will be prowling on Facebook snooping for black money, spending patterns


New Delhi: A photo of your shiny new luxury car on Instagram or a costly watch on Facebook may lead the taxman to your doorstep as the tax department from next month will begin amassing virtual information to trace black money. ‘Project Insight’, likely to be launched next month, will use big data analytics to match information from social media sites to deduce mismatches between spending pattern and income declaration.

The tax department will analyse mismatches in income declarations and spending patterns to trace tax evasions and black money, an official said. The government has also made linking of PAN with Aadhaar mandatory to get a 360-degree view of a person’s income and assets.

The tax department had last year signed a pact with L&T Infotech for implementation of Project Insight, which is designed to strengthen the non-intrusive information driven approach for improving tax compliance. “Currently, beta testing is on and the integrated platform for Project Insight should be launched by next month,” the official told PTI.


Project Insight has been initiated by the income tax department for data mining, collection, collation and processing of such information for effective risk management with a view to widen and deepen the tax base. It will help the taxmen monitor high value transactions, and curb the circulation of black money. However, some experts are wondering whether the new privacy law will impact the tax man’s snooping activities in the social media.




WhatsApp voice calling is here and this is how you activate


While several online reports have claimed that the voice calling feature on WhatsApp has arrived, there is no official announcement or confirmation from the company. Several blogs suggested that users need to download the latest version of Whatsapp or get version 2.11.528/531 to activate the feature. However, this may not work. Even newer versions like 2.11.561 is yet to get the feature. So, upgrading to the latest version will clearly not work.

Another round of online reports informed that users will only get the calling feature activated on their accounts if someone makes aWhatsApp call to them. Suggesting that an invitation is required.

For the record the latest version of WhatsApp (as of March 14) is 2.12.7. You can download it from the website and insatll the apk file. However, you will need someone (who already has the feature) to call you to activate it on your device.

So, if you haven’t received the calling feature even after updating to the latest version, it’s better to forget about it for the moment and wait for the official announcement. When WhatsApp announced its WhatsWeb, the feature was available across all versions. So, we can expect the same this time for voice calling.

Meanwhile, several malwares and fake WhatsApp calling apps have appeared to take advantage of curious users.




Facebook rewards $10, 000 to 10-year-old for discovering flaw in Instagram


New York: The social networking giant has paid $10,000 to a 10-year-old boy for spotting a bug in Facebook-owned photo-sharing platform Instagram.

According to a report in technology website VentureBeat.com, Jani from Finland discovered the security flaw in Instagram on his own.

He found a bug in Instagram which requires you to be at least 13 before even signing up, that let him delete any comment on the social network.

“He reported the bug by email, offered proof by deleting a message on one of Facebook’s test Instagram accounts and it was fixed in February. Facebook paid him the bug bounty in March,” the report added.

“I would have been able to remove anyone, even Justin Bieber,” the report quoted Jani as saying.

The Finnish boy wishes to become a security researcher. “It would be my dream job. Security is very important,” he was quoted as saying.

He used the reward money to buy a new bike, football gear and computers for his two brothers.

Like Google and Microsoft, Facebook also has a bug bounty programme.

In February, Facebook announced that it had paid $4.3 million in rewards to more than 800 security researchers for over 2,400 submissions since launching its bug bounty programme in 2011.

IANS




Facebook makes News Feed more relevant


New York: In a move to make your News Feed more informative, Facebook has tweaked its algorithm to bring news that’s relevant and of interest to you.

“Our goal with News Feed is to show people the stories most relevant to them, so we rank stories so what’s most important to each person shows up highest in their News Feeds,” said Facebook in a blog post on Friday.

According to Jie Xu, Research Scientist, Akos Lada, Data Scientist and Vibhi Kant, Product Manager at News Feed, when Facebook rank and make improvements to News Feed, it rely on a set of core values.

“These values — which we’ve been using for years — guide our thinking and help us keep the central experience of News Feed intact as it evolves,” they wrote.

To better understand how the social media giant can show people the most informative stories to them, it talks to people and ask them how it can improve what they see when they check Facebook.

“With the new update, we are creating a new ranking signal to predict what is most informative to you, so those stories appear higher in your feed,” Facebook said.

“First, we look at the stories that people tell us they find informative. People from our Feed Quality Programme look at each story in their feed and rank it on a scale of one to five – one being ‘really not informative’ and five being ‘really informative’,” it added.

The stories people rate as informative and really informative help create a new prediction about how informative Facebook thinks hey will find each story.

“We then combine this signal with how relevant the story might be to you personally a” taking into account things like your relationship with the person or publisher that posted, or what you choose to click on, comment on or share a” to best predict stories that you might personally find informative,” the post read.




Beware! New scam on WhatsApp claiming to offer "free internet" without Wi-Fi is false


New Delhi: New malware on most popular messaging app, WhatsApp is a new threat. This malware claims to offer free internet without Wi-Fi connection.

This scam lures people to click on ads, download apps and even attacks smartphone with malware.
Welivesecurity reported that a WhatsApp scam message is spreading around internationally and changes language according to the country it appears in.

The message offers the user free internet facility without Wi-Fi connection. The message also asks the users to recommend a few friends or share within groups in WatsApp. Once the message is shared, the user is allowed to proceed to claim the so-called free service.

In this fashion, link in the message takes the user to various websites which then forces the user either to visit malware or download a few apps from the app store. However, at the end, no free service will be offered. This scam message is to gain money through advertisements shown and even apps downloaded by the users.




Facebook, Instagram ban developers from using data for surveillance


New York: To curb spying by authorities and other law enforcement agencies, Facebook has banned developers from using data obtained from them to provide tools that are used for surveillance.

In a post on Monday, social networking giant that also own Instagram explained that over the past several months they had taken enforcement action against developers who created and marketed tools meant for surveillance, in violation of their existing policies.

“Our goal is to make our policy explicit. We want to be sure everyone understands the underlying policy and how to comply. We also adopt policies that limit how developers, advertisers, and others can use our platform,” said Rob Sherman, Deputy Chief Privacy Officer at Facebook in the post.

According to a report in the Guardian on Monday, the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) has praised the policy reform saying that written policies must be backed up by rigorous oversight and swift action for violations.

“Now more than ever, we expect companies to slam shut any surveillance side doors and make sure nobody can use their platforms to target people of color and activists,” Nicole Ozer, technology and civil liberties director at the ACLU of California, was quoted as saying.

Civil rights groups have raised their concerns about mass surveillance under Trump administration, and as such, this announcement from Facebook and Instagram comes as a victory for these activists.

“It’s very important right now that tech companies like Facebook take a stand to be human rights champions, because otherwise they’ll be used to violate human rights,” Malkia Cyril, Executive Director of the Center for Media Justice, was quoted as saying.

Centre for Media Justice is a part of a coalition that pushed for the anti-surveillance reforms.

The ACLU had allegedly found that Facebook had let “special access” to Geofeedia — a controversial startup — that was working with law enforcement agencies to track streams of user content.




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