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Netflix are poised to introduce new social sharing features to US-based customers next year, just days after a Senate bill passed which allowed them to do so.
The company will begin pushing out the new feature in 2013 after the bill is signed into law by now second-term President Obama. For a while now, Netflix has let customers in Canada and Latin America to post what shows they're watching through Facebook's "frictionless sharing", which is the same method used to share what music they're listening to, or what they're reading.
It was only until that bill was passed that the Video Privacy Protection Act blocked Netflix from such social sharing features for video, as it was illegal. The new bill was passed by the House of Representatives, and then approved by the Senate, and has amended the VPPA so that customers can opt into sharing their video data using online means instead of requiring written consent.
Today we can share almost every aspect of our daily lives on Facebook. Where we eat, where we shop, even what our workout routine consisted of is easily share-able on the social networking site. Letting your friends see what you watched on Netflix however, has not been possible up until now.
It would seem that sharing your Netflix history on Facebook would be as simple as pulling some data from an API and integrating it with your Facebook account. Unfortunately, U.S Law prevented that from happening. The Video Privacy Protection Act, prevented Facebook and Netflix from sharing your video viewing history.
The new bill basically updates the old antiquated law and allows you to share your Netflix history with everyone who views your Facebook timeline. Social video sharing under the new bill will come with two stipulations: Netflix and similar companies will be required to give users a "clear and conspicuous" option to stop automatically sharing their views, and customers must be asked once every two years if they would like to continue sharing their views.
Congress only passed the bill after removing language that would require police to obtain a search warrant to access citizens' emails and other digital messages dating more than six months. Currently, police only need search warrants for emails younger than six months.
I don't know what has taken the largest social network in the world this long, but we should soon have drag-and-drop support for photo uploads on Facebook. Stop. The. Presses.
Facebook have confirmed to none other than ABC News that they have been running limited trials of an updated Timeline that shifts the news feed into a single column, replaces the thumbnail navigation with simpler-looking tabs and also makes all profile page information available when scrolling.
Also included in this otherwise bigger update than it sounds, is there would be new privacy shortcuts, activity log and untagging tool should be going live tonight.
Twitter confirmed today that it has began the process of rolling out a new feature that will allow users to download their tweets. The feature had reportedly been rolled out this feature to select users earlier this month but now the feature should be avaliable to everyone.
Users can activate the feature by going to Settings. There they can check off an option to request your Twitter archive. An email with instructions on how to access the archive will be sent when it's ready to download.
The feature is set to fully deploy over the next few months so not all users will be able to download their tweets today.
The Unabhaengiges Landeszentrum fuer Datenschutz (ULD), Germany's data commissioner, has ordered Facebook to remove its real name policy, accusing the company of violating German data protection laws which give users the right to use pseudonyms online.
Both Facebook's US and Irish offices are included in the regulators report, noting that it has "instructed the two companies by decree to [amend the policy] and ordered the immediate execution of orders," which Facebook has said it will fight "vigorously."
Facebook comes under fire from time to time for its insistence that users only create accounts with the real full names. Facebook has even went as far as setting up a system for other users to report those who violate the real name rule.
As Twitter CEO Dick Costolo promised, the bird-themed social network are finally letting some users download a complete archive of their digital tweets.
This new option hasn't reached everyone yet, with select users seeing the new feature rolled out, which will let you enable an option hidden in the web client's settings page under the heading "your Twitter archive".
The archives don't look too bad at all, as they've been wrapped in HTML and organized by the month. So if you want to rewind all the way back to 2006 and have a look at those tweets that will most likely make you cringe, begin your preparations!
If you are a Google+ fan (we are!) then things got really exciting for you today. Google launched many new features for the service today including the ability for Android users to back up the full sized photos taken by their phone.
While Google+ has always allowed users to backup their Android phone generated photos, the size was capped around 4 megapixels. Today's update removes that constraint and allows any size image to be uploaded. The caveat being that free storage is limited to 5GB with additional storage space being available for purchase.
This new backup feature is no doubt partially the result of Android 4.2's new "Photo Spheres" feature which creates 360 degree panorama's. This update allows users to share these extra large images on their Google+ photo stream.
This time of the year, everyone likes to take a moment and reflect on the highlights of the past 12 months and Facebook just made that much easier. Today Facebook released a personal Year In Review to each of its one billion users. Users are able to view your top 20 moments of the past 12 month this simply by visiting facebook.com/yearinreview.
We are still unsure on how Facebook is deciding what constitutes a "Top Moment", but we are sure that it involves likes, comments, and shares. We have seen some reports of users top moments just being random unimportant post that got a fair number of likes or shares. A personal example was when my Alma mater lost a football game to a rival school. It was not that big of a deal to me, but Facebook deemed it as one of my top 20 moments of 2012.
Sources contacted Facebook and asked about the personalized Year In Review, and Facebook responded: the idea is to "give people an interactive experience to look back at 2012. People will notice stories they have forgotten about it, which makes it more nostalgic."
You may have noticed this already, but photo-sharing service Instagram has halted all Instagram and stored gallery Cards from Twitter. At first it was reported as a temporary problem, but has been confirmed to be here to stay.
Instagram has officially stopped all photo integration with Twitter, so now your links to photos will work like normal, but there is no way to quickly preview them through Twitter.
Just a few days ago Twitter removed Card support from the social networking site, but today's move is a little more drastic. I guess this is what happens when the bigger social network buys you out, they don't want you flirting with the competitor at all, huh?
Quick, close the Facebook tab that you have open on your browser, remove the Facebook app on your phone and get into Microsoft's latest social network, Socl. Socl has just launched, and is a social networking project from Microsoft's FUSE research group.
There was a beta up until its launch that was limited to a handful of people, but now anyone who sports a Facebook or Microsoft account can sign up for free. Not that most people really care, as Facebook has (for most of us) become such an integral part of our everyday lives. I think Microsoft, and even Google, will find it next to impossible to combat this without some fundamental changes in their respective social networks.
Socl looks nice, but I'm so invested in Facebook it's hard to switch. Who knows how much longer Socl will be here for, but since it has an official launch, and it's Microsoft, you can probably place bets that it'll be around for a little while longer yet.