By Steven Russolillo
(This post was originally published on sister blog MarketBeat.)
SecondMarket Inc., a platform for trading shares of private companies, laid off 10% of its staff on Friday as the company aims to cut costs ahead of Facebook’s upcoming initial public offering.
SecondMarket CEO Barry Silbert
Layoffs at the New York-based company come after Facebook early last week halted trading of its shares on the secondary market. The social network is aiming to account for its shareholder base ahead of its IPO, expected in May. It is anticipated to be the largest-ever offering from a U.S. Internet company.
“In a post-Facebook world, we have decided to eliminate some positions that are no longer core to our company’s long-term mission,” SecondMarket said in an email. The company said it has no additional planned layoffs, will continue to hire in “select areas” and aims to increase headcount in the future.
SecondMarket had about 150 employees prior to the reductions.
Facebook’s long-awaited decision to go public means private exchanges like SecondMarket and SharesPost stand to lose a big chunk of business.
Representatives from SharesPost weren’t immediately available for comment.
SecondMarket said it handled $558 million in private-company transactions last year, a 55% increase from 2010. About 61% of those transactions came from the consumer web and social media industries, with Facebook accounting for a large portion of that volume.
Private exchanges have benefited in recent years as more companies have waited longer before going public. Start-up employees and accredited investors have aimed to capitalize on big-name tech companies before they hit the public markets. Tech darlings, such as LinkedIn, Groupon and Zynga, attracted plenty of demand in the private markets before their IPOs last year.
But critics have questioned the long-term sustainability of these private-market platforms, especially since the pipeline of companies beyond Facebook appears to be thin.
Earlier this year, SecondMarket started a pilot program for trading in privately-held community banks in an effort to boost its growth prospects.
Article source: http://blogs.wsj.com/digits/2012/03/31/facebook-ipo-leads-to-layoffs-at-secondmarket/?mod=google_news_blog
Facebook scammers have reached another rung on the rip-off ladder, now hijacking the network’s live chat system to cheat users out of cash.
Experts say the con artists are getting more confident with every success and will learn details about the person whose profile they have hacked in order to appear more convincing.
A Hamilton woman recently lost $500 to the ploy, after “her friend” appeared on Facebook chat claiming she had been mugged in Manila and needed funds to fly home.
“I believed every minute of it,” Claire Spring said. “I rushed around panicked to send the money and it wasn’t until my daughter came home and asked if I’d checked if it was really my friend that I began to think, but by then it was too late.”
Her friend Julie, who is now concerned for her privacy and didn’t want her last name used, said she still felt guilty about what happened, although it wasn’t her fault.
“It’s so scary. How they got into my account is way beyond me.” Another friend, Paul Evans-McLeod, was also nearly taken in by the scam, but recovered enough to ask some security questions. He then raised the alarm, emailing Julie and then his friends with a copy of the conversation to help them avoid the trap.
“It was just the last couple of comments that raised my suspicions,” Evans-McLeod said.
“They were saying `go now’, `go quick’ and I thought it wasn’t the way Julie would have spoken to me.”
Netsafe executive director Martin Cocker said that reaction was completely natural.
“Because it’s contact through a real-time system people are much more likely to fall for it,” he said.
Cocker said Facebook users needed to ensure they had strong passwords, and be aware, because once scammers hacked into a profile they could use that information to fool others.
“Scammers are investing more and more time in higher return scams so they will make the effort of chatting with you because it pays off.” Cocker said Facebook was a regular target.
“It’s a natural evolution on the hacking on the email account, except they can learn a lot more about you.”
Both Spring and Julie reported the scam to police and the FBI online scam reporting system.
A police spokesman said the reality was that if people sent money to an unknown person overseas and it turned out to be a scam there was little that could be done to get the money back.
If you believe you have been the victim of a scam you can report it to the online reporting tool The Orb run by Netsafe.
– © Fairfax NZ News
Article source: http://www.stuff.co.nz/technology/digital-living/6673668/Facebook-friend-ploy-costly-for-woman
Facebook pushed its Timeline profile to all brand pages on Friday, a major aesthetic revamp to the face of businesses representing themselves on Facebook.
Introduced in September, the Timeline feature is a running list of your interactions with Facebook. Status updates, photos and app posts are displayed in reverse chronological order below a large cover photo. The feature was created during one of Facebook’s hackathon sessions and was originally dubbed ‘Memories.’ Until today, activating Timeline on brand pages was voluntary.
While Friday’s update is targeted at brand pages, rollout of Timeline for user profiles will continue over the next few weeks. The update is crucial to how Facebook pages are viewed on the site. Instead of mirroring the News Feed layout like the previous version of the Facebook Wall did, the new Timeline wall is highly customizable. Events can be added and removed by users as they fine tune their Timeline to their taste.
To promote the feeling that Timeline is a true chronology of a person’s (or company’s) lifetime, the dates of photos and events can be adjusted to appear in line with when the moment actually occurred. Users are prompted to add photos of major life events starting with their date of birth. Visitors to a user’s Timeline page can quickly navigate to a year to see those embarrassing prom photos from high school.
Of course, there is the usual uproar about Facebook ruining the service, as online petitions have sprouted up in the wake of the change. But nearly every Facebook update has been met with resistance by users. With today’s mandatory Pages migration and user profile migration already underway, it’s better to learn about the new service and get the most out of it since Facebook shows no sign of rolling back to whatever version you thought best.
Brand Pages began rolling out in late February. Early adopter brands using Timeline with fewer than 1 million Likes saw an uptick in user engagement, according to TechCrunch. Brands with 1 million to 10 million followers saw a 17.43 percent drop in comments and 11.57 percent drop per brand post.
Article source: http://arstechnica.com/gadgets/news/2012/03/facebook-timeline-rolls-out-to-all-brand-pages.ars?clicked=related_right
I can’t repeat his tweet in a newspaper. But I can tell you that this young man expressed his ardent wish that Stacey would get “rapedddd” by “every black man” in prison. Other users of the social networking site demanded a longer sentence, advised Stacey, 21, not to bend over to pick up the soap – another jokey reference to male rape – and hoped he would drop dead in jail. The person who posted the last sentiment added the pious hashtag “pray4Muamba”.
These people are not being prosecuted, to my knowledge. Their posts are as vicious, racist and sexist as Stacey’s rant, and some of them could be read as an incitement to violence. The difference is that they have popular sentiment on their side, a circumstance the judge was conscious of when he sentenced Stacey for a racially aggravated public order offence. Judge John Charles said he was jailing the student to “reflect public outrage”.
The judge also said the “whole world” was “literally” praying for Muamba’s life at the time of Stacey’s tweets, a claim as untrue as it is disturbing. I’d never heard of the footballer until he was stretchered off the pitch, and I was confident his survival depended not on God but the skill of doctors at the London Chest Hospital.
It quickly became clear to me that we were witnessing a Princess Diana moment, when compassion inverts its meaning in a wave of popular sentiment and becomes coercive. It was stupid and unfeeling of Stacey to crow over Muamba’s cardiac arrest but the most appalling language is commonplace on social networking sites. If Stacey’s tweets were a threat to public order – and it’s hard to see how they could be, since no one has to read other people’s tweets – so are thousands of messages posted by “trolls” who encourage hatred of women, gay people and foreigners.
A custodial sentence is wildly excessive and has worrying implications for freedom of expression, which is too important a subject to be brushed aside on grounds of “public outrage”. Personally, I’m disgusted by the casual use of the word “cunt” as an insult but I don’t think we should demand the arrest of every misogynist on Twitter. What we can do is challenge such people without engaging at the same level – trolls thrive on the adrenalin rush of invective – while trying to work out what fuels outpourings of abuse. In Stacey’s case that could have been achieved through a community sentence, combined with the realisation that he has to live with the shame of his actions.
Instead, a young man’s life has been wrecked and the trolls mocking him on Twitter are basking in self-congratulation. Sentimentality and cruelty are frequent companions, and feeling too often takes precedence over rationality in the virtual world. Alcohol-fuelled rants play a part but there’s also a conspicuous failure of empathy and contempt for civilised debate. Not one of these problems has been solved by making a scapegoat of a drunken idiot.
Article source: http://www.independent.co.uk/opinion/commentators/joan-smith/joan-smith-jail-is-no-place-for-mouthy-drunks-ask-liam-stacey-7606078.html
People who are scouring the web for content won’t be disappointed with Downtweet. This Twitter widget offers a new tweet search function that opens up various informational web sources. Downtweet is also 100% free for everyone in the world.
San Francisco, CA (PRWEB) March 31, 2012
Content is one of the most important things that must be considered in the cyberspace today. Without content, information delivery will be utterly slow. The developers of Downtweet know about this important need in the market. That is why they released and emphasized the power of Downtweet’s new Twitter search function. This advanced function is all about the proper utilization of different tweets around the world.
People who are looking for interesting content will find Downtweet amusing. This simple program has the capability to locate all global tweets, depending on the category selected. This is useful for writers and bloggers specializing in general and sensational topics. Navigating around the Downtweet website is also an easy thing to do.
To use Downtweet, the user must select a category from the drop-down list of a panel. The user can add up to six active panels. Once activated, these panels will display the tweets in just few seconds. This quick update feature saves time and doubles the reach of any Twitter search.
Since Downtweet is a widget, it can be installed to blogs or websites. It has been proven that widgets bring little to moderate amount of visibility to blogs. Downtweet brings an enhanced effect by entertaining a blog’s visitors. The visitors will now have a chance to search for web sources that match their expectations. Some bloggers even noted that Downtweet is an out of the box solution for hardcore tweet hunters. Others have used the program as prospect generators.
Most content tourists are always on the go. They tend to jump from one website to another, looking for ways on how to improve their craft. Others search for financial advice and latest gossips about famous Hollywood celebrities. Satisfied users of Downtweet have also begun writing reviews and recommendations. According to a Downtweet study, most users who benefited from Downtweet are bloggers with strong niches. For people who are looking for ways on how to search Twitter tweets, Downtweet is always free and available.
Downtweet.com has developed live Twitter software for any website or blog. Any site can add a Downtweet widget in a matter of seconds. Downtweet.com also acts as a Twitter portal for users to get instant Twitter streams. Downtweet widget users have the ability to customize the look and feel of Downtweet to fit the style of their website or blog. Downtweet is a free service.
Find Downtweet on Twitter
For the original version on PRWeb visit: http://www.prweb.com/releases/prweb2012/3/prweb9355504.htm
Article source: http://www.seattlepi.com/business/press-releases/article/Downtweet-Releases-Improved-Twitter-Search-for-3449432.php
NEW YORK (CNNMoney) — Twitter’s popular TweetDeck client was back up Saturday after it was temporarily taken offline over a glitch that allowed some users to access other users’ accounts.
“Hey @TweetDeck A bug in your software has given me access to hundreds of accounts. #YouShouldLookIntoThat,” Geoff Evason tweeted Friday.
Evason included a picture of his TweetDeck app, spattered with dozens of other users’ account icons, and went on to demonstrate his ability to tweet from another user’s account.
Twitter immediately took down the Web version of TweetDeck and posted the following tweet: “TweetDeck is currently down while we look into an issue. Apologies for the inconvenience.”
In a statement Saturday, Twitter said TweetDeck had been taken down so it could “diagnose” the problem.
“No one’s password was compromised, and we aren’t aware of any instances where this access was used maliciously,” the company said.
TweetDeck, which was acquired by Twitter in May 2011, is available as both a Web and desktop application.
On Friday, many users reported that their Web application was offline, and some said that their desktop version was also down. Other users, especially those on older versions of TweetDeck’s desktop client, appeared to be unaffected by the shutdown.
It’s the latest bug to hit the rapidly growing social network.
The company recently acknowledged a software flaw that makes it look as though users are not “following” people they actually are — a problem that has caused much confusion and frustration among Twitter’s power users. Twitter noted the problem and said its engineers were working to resolve it.
In 2010, Twitter experienced growing pains as it worked to strengthen its infrastructure and roll out new features. Members became intimately familiar with the iconic “Fail Whale.”
But as the company’s profile grows, its margin for error is dwindling. Twitter now claims more than 100 million active users and fields more than 250 million tweets a day.
As one Twitter employee recently told CNNMoney: “It’s not cute anymore if Twitter doesn’t work. There’s a lot more on the line.”
Article source: http://money.cnn.com/2012/03/31/technology/tweetdeck-bug-twitter/
LOS ANGELES (AP) — NBC’s talent show “The Voice” is jumping on Facebook’s “timeline” app bandwagon to give fans another way to vote for their favorite contestants.
The new application allows viewers to cast votes for “Voice” singers and connect with friends and others watching the show, NBC and Facebook said Friday. Voting on live performances begins Monday.
The Facebook app for “The Voice” is intended to create “a fully social online voting experience,” said Vivi Zigler, president of NBC Universal Digital Entertainment.
“We have been working very closely with Facebook to really build a social voting app that takes advantage of every whiz-bang, bell and whistle that Facebook has built for timeline,” Zigler said.
Besides serving as a ballot box and a bridge between viewers, the “Voice” app will lead users to new content, including performance videos and blogs, NBC said.
In January, when Facebook unveiled about 60 new apps that let people share the smallest details of their lives on their profile, now known as their timeline, the company said it expected developers to create thousands more.
Originally dubbed “frictionless sharing” by Facebook, the apps allow a user’s activity to be automatically shared through Facebook — although people can limit who’s able to see this activity when they sign up for the apps.
Nearly 3,000 apps have been launched in two months for websites ranging from The Onion to Nike to foodie site Foodily, Facebook said.
Making use of a timeline app for voting is innovative, said Justin Osofsky, director of platform partnerships at Facebook.
“The Voice,” which features Christina Aguilera, Cee Lo Green, Adam Levine and Blake Shelton as coaches, has seen a sharp increase in viewership in its second season and is drawing the young adult viewers prized by advertisers.
It’s also gaining ground on TV’s top competition shows, Fox’s “American Idol” and ABC’s “Dancing With the Stars.” Those programs have seen their total viewership drop by double-digit percentages compared with last season, while “The Voice” is up by double digits.
In a measurement of viewers ages 18 to 49, “The Voice” was second only to Wednesday’s edition of “American Idol.”
NBC is owned by Comcast Corp.
Copyright © 2012 The Associated Press. All rights reserved.
Article source: http://www.google.com/hostednews/ap/article/ALeqM5iMzg8w9uLEFQnAikXW0D8V_nA1oQ?docId=231327f5ec0e455c8e9a130be3c643ba
In this series, I’ll take a look at how Facebook did some things differently from most companies. These are very small product design decisions that can have a tremendous impact, starting with identity.
There was a time when Facebook and Twitter were neck-and-neck for which was going to be the dominant social network. In many ways, Twitter got it wrong.
Back in my CompuServe days, my online identity was 72457,0056. Handles aren’t that bad, but they’re not much better, either.
Real people refer to each other by names, not handles. Real people can’t remember arbitrary strings. Facebook made the right call by focusing on the names people use for each other instead of handles. (This shouldn’t we confused with the discussion of real names vs. pseudonyms.)
Although nerds, SEOs, and marketers care about getting a single letter username or being “rocky,” this isn’t a concern for a lot of regular people. A name is the most personal thing to someone, but many startups force people to give that up.
Computers need unique identifiers, but people don’t. Most people don’t have namespace collisions within their friend circles. To the extent that they do, they’re easily resolvable by context. (For example, I know two Mike McCarthys from two different companies.) Facebook has a unique identifier to address the needs of its computers, but I don’t know what mine is or the IDs that Facebook computers associate with my friends. I don’t have to.
One of my product-design mantras is “Don’t make people think like computers.” The most successful apps we use address this for us. With type-down on Gmail, I never actually have to remember someone’s email address. (My personal address on Gmail was designed deliberately such that it isn’t memorable, to prevent dictionary spam attacks.) With cell phone address books, we don’t have to remember people’s phone numbers.
Part of the reason Twitter never took off as a communications medium among the masses (versus a publishing medium) is that they’ve made it too damn hard to communicate with anyone. Twitter only searches against the handle when you start addressing someone. And the search algorithm doesn’t even make sense.
Look at this search for Carol:
For some reason, Carol matches against CharlotteHill. (All the letters are in there, but in a different order.) But if I try to enter @fuller, I get no results because Fuller isn’t in Charlotte’s handle, even though it’s part of her name.
Another problem is that Twitter only searches against the 500 most recently followed people. The other day, I wanted to meet my friend Jill Okawa Fletcher for a drink. But because I followed Jill a long time ago, she doesn’t come up when I do a search. (My friend Carol Glover doesn’t show up in the Carol search for the same reason.) This is really silly in 2012. Computing power and storage is cheap enough that you could search against the whole follower list. Google searches much larger datasets for its search suggestions.
This limitation makes it hard to communicate. And when you make something hard, people will do less of it. In many cases, they’ll say forget about it. In other cases, they’ll go to the trouble of searching Google to find the right handles, but get annoyed by it. I often Google “Twitter [real name]” to find the Twitter handle of someone I’m following. I shouldn’t have to use another product to accomplish core functions of your product.
Handles create another problem: they make it harder to onboard people. For very popular services, trying handle after handle only to find them taken creates a barrier to sign up. (My Twitter handle of rakeshlobster comes with its own backstory.) This reduces ROI on marketing dollars.
Google’s success can also be attributed to the need for people to relate with computers on people terms, not computer terms. The domain name system is unfriendly to humans. There can only be one Nissan.com, but that isn’t the car company. Google translated people’s desire to quickly find the car company, http://www.nissanusa.com/ (if you’re in the U.S.), into a $200 billion business.
Twitter is successful in its own right. But this fundamental element of product design influenced the divergent directions of Facebook and Twitter.
Copyright 2012, VentureBeat
Article source: http://www.washingtonpost.com/business/technology/secrets-of-facebooks-success-identity/2012/03/30/gIQA2sYwlS_story.html
Mr Galloway, expelled by Labour in 2003, said it was the “most
sensational victory” in by-election history. He received 18,341 votes –
a 56 per cent share. He said his victory represented a “total rejection”
of the major parties.
Bradford West is now the fourth constituency to have Mr Galloway for its MP.
Any late nights celebrating, however, would have been drink-free, as the
newest MP claimed in his campaign to be a “teetotal Muslim”.
At Mr Galloway’s official campaign rally in Bradford’s Hanover Square last
Sunday, footage of which was still available yesterday on his own website,
he said: “I’m a better Pakistani than he [Mr Hussain] will ever be.
“God knows who’s a Muslim and who is not. And a man that’s never out of
the pub shouldn’t be going around telling people you should vote for him
because he’s a Muslim.”
He added: “A Muslim is ready to go to the US Senate, as I did, and to their
face call them murderers, liars, thieves and criminals. A Muslim is somebody
who’s not afraid of earthly power but who fears only the Judgment Day. I’m
ready for that, I’m working for that and it’s the only thing I fear.”
One leaflet circulating Bradford in the days leading up to the election,
berated rival Labour candidate Imran Hussain: “God KNOWS who is a Muslim.
And he KNOWS who is not,” it said. “Let me point out to all the Muslim
brothers and sisters what I stand for. I, George Galloway, do not drink
alcohol and never have.”
Mr Galloway denies it came from him.
The politician, who relentlessly courted the Muslim vote in a city with a
large Asian population, dubbed his political triumph the “Bradford Spring”
in solidarity with uprisings in the Arab world.
He told constituents after his win: “All praise to Allah! By the Grace of God
we have won the most sensational victory in British political history. There
is a tidal wave waiting to break all over the country, not just in
Mr Galloway is due to hold a rally in Bradford on Sunday evening.
A spokesman for Mr Galloway said: “This is indeed a hoax. But Respect is
certainly intending to come to Blackburn very soon.”
Article source: http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/politics/9177902/George-Galloway-celebrates-Blackburn-triumph-on-Twitter-after-winning-Bradford-West-by-election.html
Sen. Al Franken this week warned antitrust officials to keep an eye on Internet firms like Facebook and Google, lest they become like the telco monopolies of years past.
“It isn’t time for alarm bells just yet. There are still some lines Google and Facebook aren’t planning to cross. Yet,” Franken, a Minnesota Democrat, said during a Thursday speech before the American Bar Association. “But wouldn’t we feel a lot more comfortable about that if we knew that market forces would act to stop such an egregious abuse of our privacy?”
Franken pointed to the telco monopolies of the last century, which were forced to disband in the mid-1980s. ATT convinced lawmakers that universal phone service was necessary and a monopoly was the best way to achieve it, Franken said. That, however, resulted in exorbitant long-distance fees.
As a result, Franken said, “ATT’s growing control over the wireless market fueled by large purchases of spectrum should have been cause for concern.” The senator said he was “proud” the Justice Department and Federal Communications Commission shot down ATT’s recent effort to purchase T-Mobile, but the antitrust battle is far from over.
“We must find a way to bring back effective antitrust enforcement in cases of vertical integration,” Franken said, particularly with new technologies.
That includes Google and Facebook. The search giant, Franken said, has “a copy of every single email you’ve written on that service as well as your friends’ replies,” while Facebook “in all likelihood has a unique digital file of your face, one that can be as accurate as a fingerprint and that can be used to identify you in a photo of a large crowd.”
Trouble is, he asserted, “the Fourth Amendment doesn’t apply to corporations. The Freedom of Information Act doesn’t apply to Silicon Valley. And you can’t impeach Google if it breaks its ‘Don’t be evil’ campaign pledge.”
Americans rely on the market to hold corporations accountable, but what if there’s no competition? Consumers’ “right to privacy can be a casualty of anti-competitive practices,” Franken said.
There are also few social alternatives to Facebook. “You might not like that Facebook shares your political opinions with Politico, but are you really going to delete all the photos, all the posts, all the connections the presence you’ve spent years establishing on the world’s dominant social network?”
Companies like Google and Facebook are, at their core, businesses. “When companies become so dominant that they can violate their users’ privacy without worrying about market pressure, all that’s left is the incentive to get more and more information about you,” Franken said.
Google and Facebook, however, might argue that any type of change to their privacy policies (or even site layouts) provoke heated debate from users, lawmakers, regulators, or anyone with Internet access, so it would be difficult to get away from truly invasive practices. But privacy snafus do happen, and Franken warned users to “remain constantly vigilant to ensure that big corporations aren’t abusing their market positions.”
In June, Google said the Federal Trade Commission had started a “review of our business,” but did not get specific on what types of documents the agency wanted. In September, Google executive chairman Eric Schmidt appeared before the Senate Judiciary antitrust committee – which counts Franken among its members – and denied that his company gives its own products search preference over that of its competitors.
In November, the FTC announced a settlement with Facebook that requires the social network to be more transparent about its privacy policies. According to the FTC, Facebook “deceived customers by telling them they could keep their information on Facebook private, and then repeatedly allowing it to be shared and made public.”
For more from Chloe, follow her on Twitter @ChloeAlbanesius.
For the top stories in tech, follow us on Twitter at @PCMag.
Article source: http://www.pcmag.com/article2/0,2817,2402431,00.asp
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