Twitter Cock-Blocking Reports On User Numbers

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(Photo credit: Twopcharts)

From Business Insider:

“Twitter has taken the unusual step of shutting off its datapipe to certain companies that have published their own stats on how big Twitter’s user base really is, according to two sources.

The move comes after Twitter’s stock was hammered in the early part of the year when investors discovered growth in monthly active users (MAUs) was slowing or stagnant, and that measures of engagement per user were on the decline.

Most people who sign up for Twitter abandon it, it seems. Also, most people on Twitter don’t tweet, according to third-party apps that accessed Twitter’s data firehose.

Now, companies that used to provide that data have been axed from Twitter’s application programming interface (API), the firehose of data that software development companies can plug into in order to build useful products for Twitter and its users.

Twitter declined to comment when reached by Business Insider.

We don’t know why Twitter has begun culling developers from its API, but one theory might be that it has nothing to do with wanting to restrict who sees user data. Rather, Twitter has been slowly building a very nice data business of its own, which will probably book $100 million in revenue this year. The company may simply have decided it is time to end the free ride for developers who give away for free what Twitter would rather charge for.”

Study Finds Journalists Covering 2012 Debates On Twitter As Useful As Tape Recorders

From Poynter:

“During the 2012 U.S. presidential debates, political journalists on Twitter primarily repeated candidate claims without providing fact checks or other context, according to new research published in The International Journal of Press/Politics.

Authors Mark Coddington, Logan Molyneux and Regina G. Lawrence analyzed tweets from 430 political journalists during the debates to see how much they engaged in the checking of candidate claims. The resulting paper is “Fact Checking the Campaign: How Political Reporters Use Twitter to Set the Record Straight (or Not).”

They found that 60 percent of the journalist tweets “reflected traditional practices of ‘professional’ objectivity: stenography—simply passing along a claim made by a politician—and ‘he said, she said’ repetition of a politician’s claims and his opponent’s counterclaim.”

Journalists largely repeated the claims and statement of candidates, rather that check or challenge them. (…)

In the end, 15 percent of the tweets reflected the traditional fact-checking approach. These tweets saw journalists “referencing evidence for or against the claim and, in a few cases, rendering an explicit judgment about the validity of the claim …”

The data showed that checking was done more frequently by those in the data set who identified themselves as commentators rather than reporters. This again suggests that traditional notions of objectivity may be a factor.

It is indeed a challenge to do real-time fact-checking when you have no idea what candidates may say at any given moment. In an interview with me in 2012, the Associated Press’ Cal Woodward explained how they scale up their fact checking efforts for debate night:

We have anywhere from three to six or more people who are sitting at home or in the office watching a debate. When they hear something they’ll flag it and tell my editor [Jim Drinkard], who is the gatekeeper, and he will make a call if we think it’s strong enough to be developed. Sometimes they give me an item that’s pretty much already written, and I’ll slip it in.”

NBC Host Stops Tweeting After “Whiteness” Post

From Mediabistro:

“Following strong pushback from the Jewish community in May for Twitter comments deemed anti-semitic, MSNBC’s Touré has apparently found his social media solution: stop tweeting.

BuzzFeed’s Dorsey Shaw noticed yesterday that “The Cycle” co-host hasn’t tweeted since May 27, when he penned a tweet apologizing for “using a shorthand that was insensitive and wrong.”

The shorthand was in response to a user describing their family’s experience during and after the Holocaust. “The power of whiteness,” Toure tweeted in response.“It was Touré’s personal choice to stop tweeting after deciding he has more valuable things to do than be on Twitter,” an MSNBC spokesperson tells TVNewser. “This was not a push or decision made by management.””

Hacker Sentenced To 4 Years For Hacking Burger King Twitter Account, Spared Having To Eat There


From Media Bistro:

“25-year-old Cameron Lacroix, a resident of New Bedford, Massachusetts – who was already infamous for hacking into Paris Hilton’s cellphone and a number of other high-profile incidents – has pled guilty to a hacking spree that targeted computer networks around the U.S. between February 16 and 19, 2013.

Lacroix accomplished this by breaching protocols of the customer support service Zendesk and downloading millions of records belonging to Twitter, one of many large companies who use Zendesk. Lacroix used this information to hack into a number of Twitter accounts, one of which belonged to Burger King.

And then hilarity ensued.”


To Stop Being Powerfully Irrelevant, Bing Strengthens Partnership with Twitter


(Photo credit: Media Bistro)

From Media Bistro:

“Bing is vying to become the supreme Twitter search tool, and it definitely has a leg up on its rival Google. In a recent announcement, Bing unveiled new ways to search Twitter hashtags, profiles and celebrity news via its search engine.

In a blog post on Friday, Bing announced that it was extending its partnership with Twitter, which was renewed back in November, by serving up tweets in its search results whenever anyone types in a hashtag or a @username. (…)

When a user types the “#” symbol followed by a few letters, Bing will display the most popular, matching hashtags as suggestions. And completing the search will surface relevant tweets related to that hashtag. The functionality works much the same for @usernames, with suggestions popping up as a user types “@” and a few letters. Additionally, and unlike Google, verified Twitter profiles that appear in Bing search results will now prominently display “verified” just beneath the profile name.”

Twitter Looking To Infiltrate Your DVR

From Social Times:

“Twitter has been struggling to make a profit for some time now, and estimates of user growth have fallen short. The company is trialling two possible solutions to create consistent expansion of the user base and value generation within the network. Can ridding Twitter of its ‘Town Square’ doctrine and revamping its look to bring in new users? (…)

To that end, the company recently implemented features that turn the service into more than just a social network. In a partnership with Comcast and NBCUniversal, users will be able to access television content through Twitter by setting a DVR to record. They can also tune into a live show, or start on-demand programming through their cable box. Additionally, Twitter partnered with Amazon to allow shopping via the hashtag #AmazonCart.”

Twitter Working Hard So Your Courage Doesn’t Have To

From Tech Spot:


(Photo credit: Tech Spot)

“It’s a common occurrence in the social networking realm – you follow / friend a relative, co-worker or someone you just met at a bar but soon after, you’re regretting the decision. Perhaps they ramble too much or don’t share the same views on certain topics as you do.
Whatever the reason, their posts drive you mad but you can’t bring yourself to unfollow them as doing so might lead to awkwardness among friends, create a rift in the family or be bad for business.

Some sites like Facebook allow you to hide posts from such people but others, like Twitter, offer no such option (unless you’re using a third-party app like Tweetbot). Fortunately, the microblogging platform is now said to be testing a mute option in its official Twitter app.

According to multiple reports, some users are now seeing the mute option in both Android and iOS versions of the company’s main app. The functionality is pretty basic – you simply won’t be subjected to tweets and retweets from those you’ve muted and they’ll be none the wiser. At this point, however, the feature is ineffective in blocking direct messages or notifications via tagging.”

NBC Not Drinking Twitter’s Viewership Kool-Aid Yet






(Photo credit: Wikipedia)

From Recode:

“You know how Twitter is supposed to be TV’s friend?

Things look a little less congenial today.

That’s after a pointed article in the Financial Times, where a top NBC executive says that Twitter’s most important selling point to the TV industry — “We’ll deliver eyeballs to your shows” — hasn’t panned out.

That’s a red flag for Twitter, which has been trying to create a symbiosis with the TV Industrial Complex for years, and is selling that link to investors as well.

But there’s no there there, says NBCUniversal* research chief Alan Wurtzel.

He comes to that conclusion after looking at the effect of Twitter, as well as Facebook, on NBCU’s ratings during the Winter Olympics. Wurtzel saw lots of chatter about Sochi on social media, but none of that seemed to translate to increased viewership.”

Conversnitch: the lamp that eavesdrops on conversations, then tweets content



(Photo credit: Twitter)

“As former NSA director Michael Hayden learned on an Amtrak train last year, anyone with a smartphone instantly can become a livetweeting snoop. Now a whole crowd of amateur eavesdroppers could be as close as the nearest light fixture.

Two artists have revealed Conversnitch, a device they built for less than $100 (£60) that resembles a lightbulb or lamp and surreptitiously listens in on nearby conversations and posts snippets of transcribed audio to Twitter. Kyle McDonald and Brian House say they hope to raise questions about the nature of public and private spaces in an era when anything can be broadcast by ubiquitous, Internet-connected listening devices. (…)

It screws into and draws power from any standard bulb socket. Then it uploads captured audio via the nearest open Wi-Fi network to Amazon’s Mechanical Turk crowdsourcing platform, which McDonald and House pay small fees to transcribe the audio and post lines of conversation to Conversnitch’s Twitter account. “This is stuff you can buy and have running in a few hours,” says McDonald, a 28-year-old adjunct professor at the Interactive Telecommunications Program at the Tisch School of the Arts.”