Thursday, 1 August 2013
Police are investigating bomb threats made on Twitter against female journalists.
Guardian columnist Hadley Freeman, Independent columnist Grace Dent and Europe editor of Time magazine Catherine Mayer all received the tweet which Dent took a screen grab of and posted for her Twitter followers to see.
It was from anonymous user @98JU98U989, and said: "A BOMB HAS BEEN PLACED OUTSIDE YOUR HOME. IT WILL GO OFF AT EXACTLY 10.47PM ON A TIMER AND TRIGGER DESTROYING EVERYTHING".
A spokesman for the Metropolitan Police said: "We can confirm that the MPS has received allegations relating to bomb threats sent to a number of females on Twitter."
The spokesman said enquiries are continuing and so far there have been no arrests.
A screen grab of the threat was posted by Grace Dent
After receiving the threat, Freeman said on Twitter that she was calling the police, adding: "If it's illegal to threaten to bomb an airport, it's illegal to threaten to bomb me."
Dent described the threat as a "new low".
It comes as more than 100,000 people signed a petition calling on Twitter to beef up its procedures for dealing with abuse after a feminist campaigner and a female MP were targeted.
Caroline Criado-Perez and Walthamstow MP Stella Creasy have complained about receiving vicious tweets on the site in the past week.
A Scotland Yard spokesman said a 25-year-old man arrested by Northumbria Police on suspicion of harassment was released on bail.
Twitter has announced plans to include a button for reporting abuse within every tweet - something which is already available on its iPhone app.
But critics argue this does not go far enough and only directs users to the existing reporting form which, they claim, is too long and impractical.
Ms Criado-Perez, 29, said Twitter needed to "get a grip" on security after she received a barrage of abusive messages, as it emerged bosses were likely to face a grilling from MPs.
Twitter's head of safety, Del Harvey, told Sky News it has failed women who have faced rape threats.
She said: "I think that any time that someone feels we weren't responsive, or weren't reactive or we didn't care then, yes, we failed in that instance and we need to do better.
"And that's something that we have definitely had highlighted in terms of the need to educate people about what we've done and to get feedback on what we need to do better."
Wednesday, 31 July 2013
He’s already part of the elite footballing set – now it looks as if Cristiano Ronaldo is also part of the elite social networking set too.
The Real Madrid winger surpassed 20-million followers on micro-blogging site Twitter, leaving him a comparatively paltry three million shy of the top ten most followed celebrities on the hugely popular site.
Ronaldo, who is currently training in Los Angeles with his team mates, tweeted the news on July 27, shortly after reaching the milestone.
The elite: Cristiano Ronaldo has exceeded twenty million followers on micro-blogging site Twitter
‘Hey guys, #weare20million now! Thanks so much for your support. Stay tuned to win some special prizes,’ he posted.
Those prizes have so far included personalised mugs and smartphone holders as he encourages his adoring fans to send him photos of themselves – with the most retweeted winning the coveted gifts.
Followers have since been flooding his timeline with images in which they are captured wearing Ronaldo football shirts bearing the number 7 he wears for Real Madrid and the Portugal national team, as well as rooms filled with Ronaldo memorabilia.
Hero worship: Ronaldo signs autographs for adoring fans during Real Madrid's pre-season trip to Los Angeles
Mr. Popular: The Portuguese winger has developed a huge following on Twitter thanks to his exploits for Manchester United, Real Madrid and Portugal
In what has been a recurrent theme over the last week one follower wrote: ‘You are my inspiration!’ along with an image of a bedroom door decorated with pictures of the footballer.
Another reads: ‘you’re my idol<3,’ while the obligatory photo posted with the tweets shows off an impressive collection of Real Madrid, Manchester United and Portugal shirts.
Ronaldo’s career took off when she joined Manchester United as a teenager in 2003, taking the place of them Madrid bound David Beckham.
Fancy meeting you here: Ronaldo poses with former Manchester United, Real Madrid, Los Angeles Galaxy, AC Milan and England star David Beckham
Despite never having played in the same team, the 28-year-old had the opportunity to meet Becks during his current pre-season stay in LA, where the former England skipper is currently holidaying with his family.
Football on my mind: Retired David Beckham brings his boys to visit his old Real Madrid teammates at training camp
Not so ladylike! Helen Flanagan flashes her underwear in bondage-style black dress as she struggles to get into her car after night out
Ronaldo later posted a picture of their meeting on Twitter, adding: ‘Me and Beckham @realmadrid preseason in Los Angeles.’
Judging by his enormous popularity on the site it won’t be long before the footballer breaks into the illustrious top ten, which is currently occupied by the likes of Justin Timberlake, Taylor Swift, Lady Gaga and US President Barack Obama.
Despite his recent spate of bad headlines, teenage star Justin Bieber remains at number one with an impressive 42,410,536 followers at the last count.
When Google first unveiled Glass, one of its primary dictates to early adopters was that they hack the device in new and interesting ways. Now, after months of Glass apps that addressed everything from porn to giving a user the ability to control a Tesla, another developer has come up with an idea that might actually be handy to a wide range of users: AdSense and Analytics for Glass.
Developed by Kansas-based coder Chad Smith, the unofficial apps bring some basic data-tracking tools to Glass. Based on the screen shots, the Analystics for Glass app allows the user to view page views and visits for the current day, yesterday, last week, and last month, data that can be updated with a simple refresh. Smith's AdSense for Glass app allows a Glass wearer to view click-through rates, earnings, and page views for daily or monthly periods, effectively allowing an AdSense user to literally watch their money on the go.
In the spirit of the Google Glass developer community, Smith made the installation code for the Analytics and AdSense app freely available on Github. Although, at this point, it will likely take a fellow developer to make proper use of the available code resources. According to comments from Smith on his Google+ site, his next goal is to create a Glass app that allows users to search for and register domain names.
While this latest hack of the Glass device will indeed come in handy for some Glass users, just like the widely reported facial recognition and wink apps created for the device in weeks past, these apps aren't officially supported by Google, so users shouldn't look to the company for support, despite the deceptively official-sounding app names.
Monday, 29 July 2013
Caroline Criado-Perez faced a deluge of hostile tweets over the course of more than a day, including threats to rape and kill her, after she successfully campaigned for a woman's picture to be put on a new banknote.
A campaign in her support, calling on Twitter to introduce a button to allow speedy reporting of abuse, has already received thousands of signatures and she has received support from MPs and celebrities.
In response Tony Wang, the general manager of Twitter UK, said the company took online abuse seriously and called on people to report any "violation of the Twitter rules".
But Cooper wrote to Wang on Sunday saying the company's response was inadequate.
"Despite the scale and seriousness of these threats, the official response from Twitter continues to be extremely weak – simply directing Caroline away from Twitter towards the police, and, belatedly, directing users to abuse-reporting forms on Twitter.
"Of course it is right to report such abuse to the police, and it is very important that they investigate and pursue this case. But social media platforms also have a responsibility for the platform they give users. And in particular they have a responsibility not to tolerate this kind of abuse, rape threats and potentially criminal behaviour."
She added: "The response by Twitter has clearly been inadequate and fails not only Caroline, but many more women and girls who have faced similar abuse on your social network."
Cooper said more than 20,000 people had already signed an online petition asking Twitter to allow users to report abuse directly with one click.
She added: "I urge you to go further and ensure that Twitter carries out a full review of all its policies on abusive behaviour, threats and crimes, including more help for Twitter users who experience abuse, a clear complaints process and clear action from Twitter to tackle this kind of persecution."
There are already attempts being made to organise a boycott of the free social media platform on 4 August to highlight the issue.
Earlier Criado-Perez said: "It's sadly not unusual to get this kind of abuse but I've never seen it get as intense or aggressive as this. It's infuriating that the price you pay for standing up for women is 24 hours of rape threats. We are showing that by standing together we can make a real difference. We made the Bank of England change its mind; we can do the same with Twitter."
Criado-Perez, a freelance journalist who co-founded thewomensroom.org.uk and the Week Woman blog, and fellow campaigners were delighted last week when the Bank of England confirmed that the Pride and Prejudice author would replace Charles Darwin on the notes, probably in 2017. Criado-Perez organised a campaign which included a petition signed by more than 35,500 people after the Bank of England decided to replace Elizabeth Fry with Winston Churchill on new £5 notes.
The move would have meant there were no women apart from the Queen on sterling banknotes.
Stella Creasy, the Labour MP for Walthamstow, is one of those supporting Criado-Perez.
"What Caroline has had to deal with in the past day is not only disgusting, but criminal," she said. "A quick look at Twitter this morning shows that women are not prepared to stand by and take this kind of abuse. Twitter needs to get its house in order, and fast."
Wang tweeted: "We encourage users to report an account for violation of the Twitter rules by using one of our report forms. Also, we're testing ways to simplify reporting, eg within a tweet by using the 'report tweet' button in our iPhone app and on mobile web. We will suspend accounts that, once reported to us, are found to be in breach of our rules."
A Twitter spokeswoman added: "The ability to report individual tweets for abuse is currently available on Twitter for iPhone and we plan to bring this functionality to other platforms, including Android and the web.
"We don't comment on individual accounts. However, we have rules which people agree to abide by when they sign up to Twitter. We will suspend accounts that, once reported to us, are found to be in breach of our rules."
As Twitter has become more central to the lives of its 500 million-plus users worldwide, so its problems with disruptive users have grown. There are now more than 500m tweets sent every day. Once its prime problem was spammers trying to push porn or gadgets, its newest problem is trolls – people who use their accounts to write abusive messages targeting individuals.
On Twitter, any tweet which contains someone's "handle" – beginning with @ – will show up in their feed of mentions; neither needs to be "following" the other. Twitter has mechanisms to block any tweets from a specified user, to report spam, and – for users of its newest iPhone app – to report individual tweets. So how effective are those against trolls?
Solution: use the existing "block" button so you don't see abusive tweets
Pro: quick; already available
Con: The journalist Caitlin Moran says: "on a big troll day, it can be 50 violent/rape messages an hour. Exhausting and upsetting." They often come from different accounts, making blocking ineffectual. Caroline Criado-Perez, the latest target of abusive tweets, said: "When you are drowning in rape threats, when they are coming in every second, it's just not practical to report in this way."
Solution: report abusive tweets to Twitter (available in the latest version of the iPhone app, and coming to the Android and mobile website versions)
Pro: brings tweet to attention of Twitter
Con: requires the victim to take lots of action if many accounts and tweets are involved
Solution: report abusive tweets as spam
Pro: may get Twitter to act more quickly
Con: as with blocking and reporting, hard to make work broadly. And offenders could – and do – just create a new account.
Solution: retweet offensive tweets to shame senders
Pro: makes extent and source of abuse visible; women such as Louise Mensch and Mary Beard have used this method
Con: those involved may not feel "shamed", and tend to have very few, if any, followers, so retweeting simply gives them unwarranted publicity.
Solution: report abusive tweets to police
Pro: can lead to arrests and charges. A man has been arrested over online threats made to Criado-Perez
Con: police have to balance conflicting demands on their time: is a rape threat on Twitter more urgent than a real-life stalker or online fraud?
Solution: force accounts reported as abusive into "protected tweet" mode, so only their own followers can see them
Pro: makes abuse invisible to rest of Twitter, and to target of the abuse, unless they were following them
Con: Twitter would have to "force-lock" the account, which could mean delays in application.
Solution: "watch my account" button to alert Twitter when abusive tweets are aimed at a user, so that offensive accounts can be identified and stopped
Pro: quicker than trying to report abusive accounts individually - Twitter could take over the task
Con: Twitter might worry about becoming overloaded if people react too quickly to what they see abuse.
Solution: flag repeat offenders with a yellow flag, which appears on their account details
Pro: warns other users about known aggressive users and may discourage them from repeating bad behaviour, and more subtle than closing their account (they'd just open another)
Con: not effective enough and flags may become kudos in themselves, like Asbos.
Solution: impair the online experience of offenders by making the site load slowly
Pro: a slow site would discourages them from posting
Cons: might be seen as unfair; and they could just create a new account.
Solution: make it impossible to contact people on Twitter until you have a certain number of followers
Pro: stops people signing up in order to be abusive
Con: prevents people getting a message out – say, from an oppressed country – to influential users in the wider world. Also bots will harvest followers for you (or automatically get you to follow people who then often follow you back)
Solution: oblige people to use real names, or sign up with a credit card
Pro: would make people easier to find for arrests
Con: not everyone has a credit card (and criminals could steal details to set up accounts); some people, such as whistleblowers, need anonymity
Saturday, 27 July 2013
It follows a deluge of abuse and rape threats received by Caroline Criado-Perez, who successfully campaigned for women to be included on UK banknotes.
MP Stella Creasy told the BBC she was "furious" Twitter had yet to do anything about Ms Criado-Perez's abuse.
Twitter UK's Tony Wang said the company was "testing ways to simplify" reporting abuse.
Ms Criado-Perez, who had appeared in the media to campaign for women to feature on banknotes, said the abusive tweets began the day it was announced that author Jane Austen would appear on the newly designed £10 note.
She reported them to the police after receiving "about 50 abusive tweets an hour for about 12 hours" and said she had "stumbled into a nest of men who co-ordinate attacks on women".
Ms Criado-Perez, from Rutland, told the BBC she had also tried to contact Twitter's manager of journalism and news, Mark Luckie, about the rape threats she was receiving, but he did not respond and locked his tweets to become private.
She said the form that allows Twitter users to report abuse was not adequate - particularly when such a high volume of abuse was being received. "Twitter need to be on the side of the victims," she said.
An online petition has been started in response to the abuse Ms Criado-Perez received calling for Twitter to introduce a "report abuse" button. It had been signed by more than 9,000 people by 15:00 BST on Saturday.
Kim Graham from Great Yarmouth, Norfolk, put the petition online at 09:00 BST after seeing abuse that Ms Criado-Perez had been getting. She told the BBC the "report abuse" button was something that came into her mind after finding it was "harder than it should be to report abuse".
The petition says: "Abuse on Twitter is common; sadly too common. And it frequently goes ignored. We need Twitter to recognise that its current reporting system is below required standards.
"The report abuse button needs to be accompanied by Twitter reviewing the T&C [terms and conditions] on abusive behaviour to reflect an awareness of the complexity of violence against women, and the multiple oppressions women face. It's time Twitter started protecting its users."
Ms Criado-Perez's cause has been supported by other prominent tweeters, including the journalists Caitlin Moran and Suzanne Moore and Independent columnist Owen Jones.
Ms Moran has called for a 24-hour Twitter boycott on 4 August to try to get Twitter to come up with an "anti-troll policy".
Labour MP Ms Creasy said: "This is not a technology crime - this is a hate crime. If they were doing it on the street, the police would act."
She told the BBC she had been chasing Twitter for the past 24 hours but they had not yet responded to her.
"I am absolutely furious with Twitter that they are not engaging in this at all," she said.
A Twitter spokesperson said: "The ability to report individual tweets for abuse is currently available on Twitter for iPhone and we plan to bring this functionality to other platforms, including Android and the web.
"We don't comment on individual accounts. However, we have rules which people agree to abide by when they sign up to Twitter. We will suspend accounts that once reported to us, are found to be in breach of our rules.
"We encourage users to report an account for violation of the Twitter rules by using one of our report forms."
The general manager of Twitter UK, Tony Wang, later tweeted that the company was "testing ways to simplify reporting, e.g. within a Tweet by using the 'Report Tweet' button in our iPhone app and on mobile web".
A Metropolitan Police spokesman confirmed that "officers from Camden have received an allegation regarding comments made via a social network, that was reported on 25 July".
He added that "inquiries continue" but so far there had been "no arrests".
There have been some high profile arrests related to celebrities abused on Twitter, including a teenager arrested over the abuse of Great Britain's Olympic diver Tom Daley.
Guidelines published by the Director of Public Prosecutions Keir Starmer in June said there should be a "high threshold for prosecution in cases involving communications which may be considered grossly offensive, indecent, obscene or false".
Friday, 26 July 2013
If you're an MP who thinks he is old or to use Twitter, it's probably time to sign up to the Social Media site.
The new @TelePolitics list of MPs on Twitter has revealed that 470 Members of Parliament out of a total of 650 have now signed up to be on Twitter and air their riveting thoughts. That's roughly 75% of every Member of the Parliament. And the number is rising every week.
Research by James Donald, an undergraduate studying at the University of Nottingham, has stated that it's more fashionable among the younger MPs to be on Twitter. He's shown that 77 per cent of the 2010 intake are happy Twitterers and, Mr Donald says, "as older MPs retire and new, younger ones are elected, the total number of MPs using Twitter is going to go up". How long will it be before every single one of our Members of Parliament is on Twitter?
But, and this is clear, not everyone is happy to be on Twitter anyway. Individuals who entered Parliament between 1959 and 1979 still refuse to play ball. 75% of this age group have refused to sign up. And I'd expect nothing less. And despite all of this, there is still one MP under the age of 30 who isn't on Twitter? Can you guess who?!
It's James Wharton who was the last under-thirty MP to join Twitter. Did you guess right!?
Twitter has had to say sorry after it created a list of fake tweets from the accounts of real users to advertise one of it's own products.
The social media site promoted a new advertising service on it's company blog earlier this month and added bogus tweets to the blog but attributed the tweets to three prominent tweeters.
The technology site has now apologised for the "mistake" and updated its website so that the comments are now endorsed by it's own staff.
Twitter has also added a note on website that reads: "An earlier version of this blog post included an image with mock tweets from real users of our platform. This was not OK. Once we became aware of this mistake, we took it down immediately. We deeply apologise to the three users included in the earlier images."
The blog and accompanying endorsements were designed to promote Twitter's latest venture which allows companies to advertise their television advertisements on the social media site.
It featured the three posts from the three real users whereby they were apparently discussing commercials they had seen.
One tweet went: "What is the song in the new @barristabar commercial? I love it!!" and another went: "The @barristabar ad is giving me the coffee shakes. Looks so good!"
But the tweets were all fictional inventions made up in the minds of Twitter staff and the social networkers were unaware their Twitter usernames had been used.
The company later tweeted out to the trio saying: "Hey @Neil_Gottlieb, @WilliamMazeo, @subhash_tewari – so sorry about the confusion earlier today. We're fixing the problem now."
@WilliamMazeo, whose Twitter profile states he is from Brazil, tweeted back: "Don't do this again."
@Neil_Gottlieb, whose Twitter profile states he is in Philadelphia, tweeted: "Still curious how it happened."
Wednesday, 24 July 2013
Tuesday, 23 July 2013
Hit ‘em with a television commercial, then with a Twitter ad to really drive the message home. That’s the promise of Twitter’s TV Ad Targeting it’s rolling out to all US advertisers today after its beta launch in May. Twitter’s Nielsen studies say the combo deliver 95% stronger message association and 58% higher purchase intent than TV ads alone.
Twitter’s also hooking up advertisers with an improved analytics dashboard that pulls in what users are saying about their ad campaigns. That could help businesses refine their ads for maximum impact and retweetability.
Here’s how the Twitter TV Ad Targeting system works.
Say Nike runs a TV commercial campaign for its new Air Jordans across several shows and networks. Twitter tracks exactly when the ads are shown and on what programs. It then looks for people tweeting about those shows by naming or mentioning the show, or using the right hashtag — people that are likely to have seen the Nike commercial. Twitter TV Ad Targeting lets advertisers target these people with Twitter Promoted Tweets ads that show up in their stream. Those could include pure text tweets reinforcing the commercial, a link they can follow to learn more or make a purchase, or even a Vine to give viewers a second dose of video marketing.
The new ad tech is based on BlueFin Labs, a TV analytics service Twitter acquired in February. BlueFin’s co-founder Michael Fleischman says that its video fingerprinting tech lets Twitter automatically detect when a TV commercials airs so brands don’t have to give Twitter a heads up. That means these ads can easily complement existing TV campaigns without a ton of work.
Now Twitter isn’t the only place people are talking about TV. Trendrr today put out a study in partnership with Facebook saying that despite the widely held belief that Twitter rules real-time chatter, Facebook sees five times as much TV-related social activity as all other social networks combined, including Twitter. Trendrr was given special access to the data by Facebook, so it should be taken with some salt. The study also tallies Facebook Likes and comments as well as posts and shares, which don’t exactly match up to @ replies and favorites…if those Twitter feedback activities were even properly counted. It’s important to know whether Trendrr’s data treated Twitter fairly, so I’ll be talking to Trendrr shortly about methodology.
[Update: After speaking with Trendrr, the way it looked at Facebook and Twitter seems like more of a "apples to oranges" comparison. A spokesman wasn't able to immediately identify whether Trendrr was tabulating Twitter Favorites or new follows as "social activity". I'm waiting to hear back about that. For now, it's important to understand that how much social activity around TV each network generates is only a piece of the puzzle. How many people actually saw that actvitity is critical to an accurate comparison, and that's difficult because Facebook uses a filtered feed that doesn't show everything but keeps important posts visible for long periods of time, while Twitter's unfiltered feed shows everything but all posts get washed away as more tweets flood into the stream.]