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In the land of the free, the United States, the department of Homeland Security has just approved a one-year contract which will see them investigate the effectiveness of using social networks to look for instances of bioterrorism, pandemics and other health and security risks.
The department of Homeland Security are paying Accenture Federal Services $3 million the scan the social networks for keywords in real-time, where they'll monitor if growing threats or health trends can be identified. An example would be if an individual talks of their nasty cough or cold on a Facebook status update, the software would be looking to see if key medical terminology is repeated in connected groups, or from other individuals from the same locale.
Managing director for Accenture's public safety department, John Matchette, has said that "this is big data analytics", and has admitted that the technique hasn't been proven yet, adding:
In theory, social media analytics would have shown timely indicators for multiple past biological and health-related events.
Facebook don't ever sleep, they don't ever rest, and are continuously tuning their social network, day and night. Today brings a change in terms of the visual look of its Friendship Pages, which highlights the time you've spent with a family member, partner or friend.
They've now auto-created a perfect Timeline-like profile page for couples, which gets filled with events, photos, likes, mutual friends and statuses that the two have shared. Friendship Pages works between you and any friend, not just for those with a significant other, but if you're in a relationship, Facebook.com/Us will automatically direct you to a Friendship Page of your and your partner. I just tried it and it directed me to a page about my wife and I.
The new update is rolling out today, but I have yet to have received the new-look page unfortunately. There's an included button on the page that lets you "Share Friendship", which is nice.
I'm sure you've already heard, but if you haven't, Barack Obama has just won the 2012 US presidential elections, entering his second term as Commander-in-Chief. But, there was something else at play here, as he tweeted his victory on social networking site Twitter, breaking records.
His tweet "four more years" is now the most retweeted tweet ever, which - at the time of writing - has reached an astonishing 570,123 retweets. Over half a million retweets is phenomenal and it will surely pass 1 million in the coming 24 hours or so. Twitter only recently removed their retweet counter from '50+', so this is not only a record breaker, but it will set a very high record to be broken.
Obama's tweet being retweeted only counts the social network's built-in retweet function, so there are probably thousands upon thousands of manual retweets.
For several years now, Craigslist has been the go-to site for anyone looking for local classifieds with many people content with its overall use. A number of Craigslist-like websites have popped up recently such as Backpages, but none have been able to make any sort of dent in Craigslist's dominance in the classifieds world. Although, if today's report turns out to be true, Facebook could finally give Craigslist a run for its money.
According to a report by The Daily, Facebook is currently working on a tool that would allow for users of the social network to publish listings that would announce things like apartment rentals, furniture for sale and even job listings. The section, which is being called Marketplace for now, will also give the user the ability to share their listing that would show up in their friends' news feeds.
Social networking site Twitter has opened its wings and flown across the pond to Korea, where they hope to focus on localised features and building partnerships with brands and celebrities in the country. Yonhap News is reporting that Twitter has looked at Korea as one of its most important markets, which is mostly thanks to its increasing Internet users as well as the quality of service in the country.
Vice president of the Marketing Department for the Asia-Pacific region, James Kondo, said that the areas that Twitter would focus on when it came to furthering their business were partnerships with handset manufacturers such as natives Samsung and LG, mobile operators, media companies, celebrities and talent agencies - hopefully they give Psy a call.
Othman Laraki, Twitter's vice president of Growth, International and Revenue, the social network are already working with Daum (Korea's second most popular web portal) and LG Uplus, who are Korea's third-largest mobile operator. Laraki adds:
[Korea is] a country where we've seen a lot of early adopters that have taken to Twitter in a very energetic way and we don't necessarily see that in all countries.
Facebook passes 1 billion monthly active users, has had more than 1.1 trillion likes since February 2009
We knew it was coming, but Facebook have confirmed some amazing stats for the biggest social network ever. Facebook reached their one billion monthly active users (MAU) on September 14, at 12:45 PM Pacific time.
Since the launch of the social network, they've experienced 1.13 trillion likes, 140.3 billion friends connected, 219 billion photos uploaded, 17 billion location-tagged posts and check-ins, and 62.6 million songs have been played 22 billion times - enough music to fill around 210,000 years of music.
Facebook's numbers found that the median age of a Facebook user is 22, with the top five countries connected to Facebook when they reached the one billion MAU milestone were Brazil, India, Indonesia, Mexico and the US. The social network enjoys an insane 600 million mobile users.
I feel really weird typing Mars, NASA, social networks and check-in all in the same sentence, but here we are. NASA have announced that their Curiosity rover had "checked in" on Mars through Foursquare.
This has given NASA the bragging rights of checking in from an entirely different planet, and will use the location-based social network to share updates and pictures whilst roving around on Mars. Now all the space agency has to do is become the Mayor of Mars, and they'll be one step closer toward being a true, space hipster.
In space, no one can hear you check-in, or can they?
Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg is set to announce something that is being dubbed as a "historic milestone" during an interview with Matt Lauer on the TODAY show, tomorrow. Zuckerberg's interview will be the first television interview post-IPO, and with the historic milestone being thrown around, most people are wondering what the Facebook founder could announce.
We know that Facebook could smash through 1 billion users, but are they all active? This could be the announcement, and the social network probably burst through 1 billion users a while ago, but daily active users is a completely different number - this could be the 'historic milestone' - one billion active users. No other site can claim this, and no other site is even close. Competing social network, Twitter, has 555 million users for example.
Digital marketing agency, iCrossing, examined Facebook's usage and based on the site's growth rate, the firm estimated that Facebook would hit one billion users sometime in August this year. Facebook have also had quite an amazing last six months, growing from 800 million users, to close to one billion. In the past three years, we've seen the social networking site go from 300 million users, to close to (if not more than) a billion now. Insane.
Facebook have just unveiled something very new: Facebook Gifts. The idea behind Gifts is to let you purchase, and send real-life gifts to friends and family. Facebook have said that members would be able to buy gifts as part of a birthday reminder, or by visiting their friends' Timeline.
RIght now, Facebook Gift options are limited to a few items such as Starbucks gift cards, cupcakes, chocolate and the usual stuffed animals - the social networking site have said that there will be new gifts added every day. When giving a gift, you can post the present straight onto the recipient's Timeline, or through a private message.
The receiver can then "unwrap" the gift with the option to keep it, exchange it for something in another color, size or choose something else entirely - as long as its of equal value. Facebook Gift payments can be done at the time of the purchase itself, or the gift-giver can be billed at a later time. Gift notifications, once received, will have the recipient needing to supply their mailing address - so that the physical item can be delivered.
Facebook felt like it really hit a brick wall a few months ago, where it seemed to stand still (for me at least) on its feature set. Not anymore, we're seeing huge strides in the social networking sites abilities, with the latest news that Dropbox are rolling out a feature with Facebook that will let you share your Dropbox files directly to Facebook Groups.
To share with your Facebook group, click 'Add File' on the group's page. Once you choose to link Facebook to your Dropbox account, you'll be able to search through your Dropbox and select what you'd like to share. Docs, photos, and videos shared from Dropbox will show up on the group's wall and can be viewed on a smartphone or tablet.
This feature is definitely something suited for businesses, where they can share files quickly and painlessly. It saves having to have a web browser tab open with Dropbox, and shifting between Facebook and the cloud storage site. But then there is the biggest question of all: are you comfortable sharing business-type files on Facebook?