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Since the video of U.S. journalist James Foley being executed by Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIS) surfaced on August 20, there have been more than 28,000 pro-ISIS Twitter accounts created. Twitter has purged user accounts that shows ISIS-related violent photography or videos, which led ISIS to embrace other alternatives, but there are still plenty of pro-ISIS statements on Twitter.
Following 24 hours after the second U.S. journalist, Steven Sotloff, was murdered by ISIS, 10 percent of references to the video were positive. Both videos have shocked the west, intimidated ISIS rivals, and has called for increased military action against the group, operating in Iraq and Syria.
Embracing social media has been a great strategy for ISIS, as there have been more than 60,000 pro-ISIS accounts created since May. Using Twitter and other social networks gives ISIS direct access to journalists and potential recruits, including a growing number of American, British and western European residents picking up arms in the Middle East.
Social media is a great communication method for companies to reach their customers, but has become a successful tactic by terrorist organizations trying to spread propaganda and fear.
The Islamic State was booted from Twitter, but has found success using Diaspora and other social media outlets to spread propaganda, recruit new followers, and share shocking images and statements with those curious enough to look.
"Terrorist organizations have moved their online presence to YouTube, Twitter, Facebook, Instagram and other social media outlets," said Gabriel Weimann, University of Haifa professor, in a statement to the media. "They have turned to the new media not only because counterterrorism agencies have disrupted their traditional online presence but also because the new media offers huge audiences and ease of use."
If you spend much time on Facebook, you have seen people share content from sites like The Onion and others. Many of us know that the content from The Onion and similar sites is satire, meaning it's fake. The problem for some folks is that they think the content is real. The upside for those of us that know the content is satire is that we get to point out their mistake, and make fun of them for it.
Facebook is said to be testing a new satire tag for content in your newsfeed. At first glance it sounds like that will take away all the fun of tricking people into thinking these often outlandish satire stories are true. Facebook is reportedly only marking the content with the satire tag in user's newsfeeds after they click the article to read it.
That means at first glance, someone unfamiliar might think it's real. Facebook told Mashable, "We are running a small test which shows the text "[Satire]" in front of links to satirical articles in the related articles unit in News Feed. This is because we received feedback that people wanted a clearer way to distinguish satirical articles from others in these units."
Twitter reported its Q2 earnings this week and quieted some of the naysayers by posting user growth for the second quarter in a row. The growth rate is helping the company get over concerns from its previous quarter that it had peaked for popularity. Twitter saw its shares surge in after hours trading to $49.62 each.
That $49.62 share price was higher than the first-day closing price for the stock of $44.90. Twitter announced that it had added 16 million new users during the quarter. Those millions of new users represent 6.3% more people around the world who logged in at least once a month.
Twitter reported revenue of $312.2 million, which is more than twice its previous revenue. Even with more than double the revenue, Twitter remains unprofitable with a $144.6 million loss for the quarter.
Facebook is planning to begin forcing all users to download its new Messenger app if they want to continue chatting with friends. The forced migration will reportedly start in the next few days. European users of Facebook who wanted to chat had to download Messenger back in April.
Facebook is telling people that Messenger is about 20% faster for chatting than chat was using the main iOS and Android Facebook apps. After positive results in user engagement with the European test, Facebook is set to make everyone use the new app.
Users will get a few notices before chat eventually stops working on the main app and they have to use the new app. Facebook is notifying users directly about the change and once made, the messages tab will be replaced with a Messenger shortcut.
Most social media users feel jealous and inadequate, according to a report from British disability charity Scope.
The organisation surveyed 1,500 social media users and found that of these, over half of Facebook and Twitter users were left feeling like their life came up short compared to posts from peers. And although young people are the top demographic, many of those between 18 and 34 have considered quitting social media entirely, but stay online because it makes keeping in touch with friends easier. Roughly half of 18-34 year olds found that being an active user led to feelings of ugliness, being unattractive, or loneliness.
A chief event coordinator at Scope, Debbie Bines, suggested trying life without the internet for a little bit as part of the charity's Digital Detox weekend, which suggests frequent users take a 48 hour break from social networks. "Social media at its best is a great way to stay in touch with friends, as well as being the world's leading source of amusing cat pictures," Bines said. "But when things get out of balance and we start comparing ourselves to others, or feeling irritated, jealous or even ugly, it's got to be time to take a break."
Fans of social networking in the US really like to spend their time on Facebook. New statistics showing the usage of the site have turned up and show that the average American spends 40 minutes each day using the site. Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg has also said that the 40 minutes spent on the social network each day by most Americans accounts for one in five minutes spent on mobile in the US.
Overall, in the US, Zuckerberg says that people spend nine hours a day interacting with digital media on TV, on the phone, and via a PC. Facebook currently has 204 million monthly users in the US and Canada.
Facebook is also hosting Pages for 30 million businesses and has 1.5 million advertisers. There are also reportedly hundreds of apps that use the Facebook deep-linking standard called App Links.
In this fast-paced world, we simply can't keep up with everything that is going on, and that's without considering Facebook. But for people who breath the social network in everyday (guilty!), then the social network has something in store for you with its new Save function.
The new Save feature will allow you to use a bookmark-like system that lets you save content such as movies, places, TV, music or links so that you can view them at a later date. This is perfect in the example scenario of sitting on the bus or train, or even a doctors office, going through content, you can 'save' it, and view it later when you're not about to jump off the bus, or go into your appointment.
Facebook has said that the saved items will only be seen by you, unless you choose to share them with friends. The saved items can be viewed at anytime, anywhere, by simply tapping the "More" tab on your mobile, or clicking the left side of Facebook when you're using it in a web browser. If you haven't viewed your saved items after a short period of time, Facebook will remind you that you have saved these items by displaying them in your News Feed. This new function should roll out to everyone on iOS, Android and the web over the coming days.
Facebook has launched a new app called mentions that is very exclusive. In fact, we normal folk can't get our hands-on the app at all right now. The Mentions app is aimed only at actors, musicians, and other influencers and it is designed to help them discover and join conversations on Facebook.
Facebook only allows people who are verified public figures to get their hands-on the app and it is designed to display mentions to let the famous person know what the public is saying about them. Mentions also gives tools to make status updates, post photos, and videos like the normal Facebook app.
Another big feature for the famous person is the ability to host live Q&A session from within the app right from their iPhone. Facebook does have plans to make mentions more widely available in the future.
Facebook is trying to increase its position in the ecommerce world in the US with testing kicking off on a new buy button that lets people buy products on the social network. Facebook says that the buy button is being testing with a few small and medium size businesses in the US right now.
The button will be available on both the mobile and desktop versions of the website. The social network says that none of the credit card data shared with Facebook will be shared with other advertisers when completing a transaction. For now, Facebook isn't taking a cut of the money made during the purchase for itself according to a source.
A third party processing company processes all credit card transactions made on Facebook. Presumably, in the future once the test of the buy button proves effective Facebook will want a cut of the money.