April 2013

Recent Twitter Hacks Lead to Real-World Consequences

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It is beginning to be very apparent how much effect Twitter and social media in general is beginning to have on the real world. Twitter has led to many major changes in the real world; people have been fired because of posts on Twitter, diplomatic tensions have become created between the United States embassy in Cairo and the President of Egypt, revolutions have been fueled, and even lives have been saved. With real tweets having this level of power, t

On Tuesday, April 23, the Associated Press became victim to a recent cyberattack when it posted a tweet claiming that there had been explosions in the White House and that the President had been injured. Another Twitter account associated with the Associated Press quickly responded to the tweet to inform followers that the account had been compromised, but the damage had already been done. The Dow Jones industrial average quickly sank by more than 140 points. Generally, Twitter hacks have done little more than featured juvenile obscenities, but this is the first major case where a Twitter hack has led to serious real-world consequences.here can be genuine danger when fake tweets are made, something that has been occurring quite often recently through hacking.

Supposedly, this cyberattack was perpetrated by a group that refers to themselves as the Syrian Electronic Army, who has claimed credit for the Associated Press tweet that led to a plunge in the stock market. The group describes itself as an organization that intends to attack and deface websites in order to combat what they believe to be anti-Syrian media coverage. Personal information regarding the members of this group is currently unknown, so they could simply be activists or pranksters, or perhaps people who are affiliated with Syria’s al-Assad government itself.

Considering this is far from the first hack that a major Twitter account has had in recent months, Twitter has been pressed to respond to these exceeding security issues. It has been reported that Twitter hopes to launch a two-step verification system in the near future that will hopefully prevent future Twitter hacks from occurring, resulting in the same problems that were caused by the hack on the Associated Press’ Twitter account.

Twitter #Music Has Launched!

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In my last blog post, I talked about Twitter’s recent acquisition of We Are Hunted and their eventual plans to launch a music application that would work alongside Twitter. Well, it appears that the time has come already, as today Twitter officially launched and unveiled what they’re referring to as Twitter #Music, its title referencing the usage of hashtags that has become popular in recent years due to Twitter.

Similarly to Twitter’s recently released video app Vine, Twitter #Music is not directly included with the browser or mobile versions of Twitter; it can instead be downloaded via its own dedicated mobile app or accessed directly at the Twitter #Music page. At the moment, the app is only available on iOS and has not yet been announced for Android or Windows Phone, though it is likely that in the weeks to come, there will be formal announcements or releases for those platforms.

What Twitter #Music essentially does is it helps users discover new songs based on Twitter activity. It relies on tweets to detect what songs and artists are popular and also allows users to follow their favorite artists to see what they are listening to and following. The app pulls music from iTunes, Spotify, and Rdio to allow users to listen to previews of the songs that Twitter #Music has determined they might be interested in.

The main interface is separated into three tabs, the first two tabs showing information based on Twitter’s trending data to show off Popular and Emerging artists, respectively, additionally making it easy to immediately access that artist’s Twitter profile in a single click. The third tab is where recommendations are offered based on the artists that you have decided to follow on your Twitter account. Twitter #Music users can also see what their friends are listening to and can easily share with their own followers what music they are currently listening to.

It’s likely that, in the coming months, Twitter #Music will be evolving a lot more, as we will likely see Android and Windows Phone releases for mobile apps, as well as fine-tuning on Twitter #Music itself. As Twitter continues to expand – via Vine and Twitter #Music – it is also likely it will find other areas to delve into, which is likely considering it was recently reported that Twitter is in final negotiations with Viacom and Comcast to distribute TV clips via Twitter as well.  based on the artists that you have decided to follow on your Twitter account. Twitter #Music users can also see what their friends are listening to and can easily share with their own followers what music they are currently listening to.

Twitter Expands: From Vine to Twitter Music

IPicture 4-11-2013n recent months, Twitter has been pushing harder to expand their market and also to expand on the features that Twitter can provide for its users. The first instance of this would be Vine, the video-sharing mobile app that was launched in January. Thanks to a successful marketing campaign, Vine has become the most-used video-sharing application on the market, and Twitter has shown no signs of slowing down when it comes to additional expansions to their company.

Twitter’s most recent acquisition is a software company known as We Are Hunted, which will likely be the first step towards Twitter’s foray into music. We Are Hunted has developed a service that allows users to discover new music and provides a constant stream of music via a simple interface. It is likely the simplicity of We Are Hunted that has attracted Twitter to the company, considering Twitter’s tendency to aim for simplicity, with their 140-character limit on tweets and Vine’s 6-second limit on videos.

No official announcements or release dates have been made, but Twitter Music is likely to be on the horizon. The acquisition may be part of a response to Facebook’s recent overhaul of its own music section, though it is more likely that Twitter is just hoping to expand their horizons and offer even more interesting services to its large user base. The Twitter Music app will allow Twitter users to find songs and artists that are recommended to them based on artists that they are following, as well as artists that people they follow are following. Twitter Music will not require a pre-existing Twitter account to be used, a choice which might ultimately attract new users to the service.

Twitter has long been connected to musicians and artists and many famous musicians use Twitter to announce news about upcoming albums or tour dates, or just to interact with their fans. Some musicians host live-tweet events where their followers can actively interact with the artists that they admire. It’s likely that the Twitter Music app will allow even further connectivity between musicians and their fans, and it will surely be interesting to see how the app evolves upon its release, and as time goes on.

Facebook Home: Integrating Facebook Features with Android Phones

APicture 4-5-2013 couple weeks ago, there began to be rumblings of the possibility of Facebook finally announcing something that has long been rumored to be the next step in the company’s evolution, a Facebook phone. Though there were some blatant denials of this from CEO Mark Zuckerberg, it was known that Facebook was sure to be announcing something at the company’s next event, alongside one sentence – ‘Come See Our New Home on Android.’ The event in question wound up taking place on Thursday, April 4, and while Facebook did not announce a Facebook phone as rumored, they did announce something related to that.

What Mark Zuckerberg and Facebook did announce was something called ‘Facebook Home,’ which is a feature that operates as a custom homescreen for Android smartphones. What Facebook Home essentially does is integrates all of the features of Facebook and its various services – including Instagram and Facebook Messenger – fluidly and effortlessly into the homescreen of one’s Android phone. For instance, messages sent via Facebook are combined together alongside text messages, resulting in a single constant conversation.

Facebook notifications can be easily accessed through Facebook Home, even while other applications are running, a feature which most other smartphones cannot currently offer. Zuckerberg stated that launching a program that allowed people to transform their phones into ‘Facebook phones’ rather than launching a Facebook phone itself will allow the company to reach a larger amount of their user base. Zuckerberg stated even a great phone might only sell up to 20 million units, which would only reach 2% of Facebook’s active users. Thus, a program that will work on many different phones became the more viable option.

The first phone that will launch with Facebook Home will be the HTC First, released through HTC and AT&T. The phone will be available on April 12for $99.99. Though this announcement may not have been what people were expecting, it seems like a move in the right direction for Facebook, considering how many mobile users will likely be able to make use of the features offered by Facebook Home.