Social Media Saturday: Facebook's Dark Web Dragnet, Twitter's Audio Cards, Tumblr & Vine Launch New Apps
This week in social media, Facebook explained how it wants to help keep you and your data safe, Twitter added an audio feature (not their failed music app) while officially confirming that it's tweaking your timeline. Meanwhile, Vine launched an Xbox One app, and Tumblr launched its first OS X desktop app with Yosemite.
It's time for Social Media Saturday!
While huge data security breaches seem to appear on a once a week basis now, Facebook's security engineer Chris Long explained in a blog post on Friday how the company is protecting their users' passwords.
They apparently take it more seriously than a matter of coding two-factor logins.
Long talked about Facebook's hands-on approach to protecting user passwords, which includes searching common password-posting "paste" sites on the dark web. Using an automated process, Facebook collects possible stolen login credentials and matches them against their own data. If a match is found, Facebook initiates an automatic password change the next time you login.
Facebook isn't just protecting your data online: It's using a new tool to help you let loved ones know if you're alright in the event of a natural disaster or crisis.
This week Facebook instituted the new feature called "Safety Check" to quickly communicate your status with the click of one of two buttons: "I'm safe" or "I'm not in the area."
(Photo : Facebook)
The company's blog post explained that Safety Check is activated by Facebook after a natural disaster but only if you're in the area -- measured either by your home city listed on your profile, your last login location measured by the "Nearby Friends" feature, or the city where your IP address is registered.
If you're in the affected area, you'll receive a notification on the website or your phone asking if you're safe. Your reply will be posted as a News Feed story and notification so loved ones can quickly make sure you're okay. It's better than calling, since voice networks notoriously get quickly congested after big crises, and it helps users while, of course, keeping their loved ones glued to Facebook. Win-win.
New Audio Cards
Twitter might not have made good with its failed music app last year, but it's trying again, in the form of "Audio Cards" -- built into the iOS and Android Twitter app.
More than just music, the audio card system promises to bring podcast content, news and other audio (re: advertisements!) to your Twitter stream, all docked in the background while you continue browsing your Timeline.
According to Twitter's blog post, its first audio partner is SoundCloud, through which some notable audio-ready media accounts like @NPR, @WashingtonPost, @BleacherReport, @ThatKevinSmith, and more, are launching audio extras for their followers.
"The Spirit of Experimentation" or: Yes, We Are Fiddling With Your Timeline
On Friday, Twitter released a blog post optimistically titled "The spirit of experimentation and the evolution of your home timeline," in which Twitter's Trevor O'Brien confirmed what hardcore users had feared for a long time: "In many cases, the best Tweets come from people you already know, or know of. But there are times when you might miss out on Tweets we think you'd enjoy."
The nimbly worded announcement basically confirms that Twitter has been experimenting with some user's timelines, adding tweets from accounts they don't follow, much like Facebook edits users' News Feeds. The Twitterati won't be happy to hear this confirmation, and nothing in the blog post indicated that Twitter is done with its spirit of experimentation -- or the "evolution" of your timeline, like it or not.
Two New Social Media Apps with Opposite Philosophies:
Vine for Xbox One
Twitter-owned Vine released its app for Xbox One this week, making it possible for gamers to sink into a hole of seven-second videos when they're not watching TV or playing a video game.
In fact, according to Xbox's blog Vine can be snapped next to your games, TV or other entertainment apps, so those little loops can continue distracting you even when you're in the middle of something else. And thus, the youth enter a bold new age of ADD.
Tumblr for OS X Yosemite
For those who want to focus singularly on their social media, like Tumblr fans, there's a new desktop app for OS X that lets you post directly to your Tumblr. And when you're not using it to post content, it's also a browser "that goes to Tumblr and only to Tumblr," said the company in its classically quirky announcement.
"The rest of the Internet?" Tumblr said. "Don't worry about it. You're not missing anything."
You can download it here.
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