OKCupid protests Mozilla’s CEO

2014-04-01 10-53-30_OkCupid _ Free Online Dating

Yesterday OKCupid changed their site to display a protest message over the appointment of Mozilla’s (of Firefox fame) new CEO. The message reads, in part:

Mozilla’s new CEO, Brendan Eich, is an opponent of equal rights for gay couples. We would therefore prefer that our users not use Mozilla software to access OkCupid.

It’s definitely an interesting, and unusual, way to bring to light something that wasn’t getting too much attention. A dating site is not where I’d expect to see something like. Reaching that audience is a good thing.

Getty goes free

Getty Images – one of the biggest photo banks out there - has given up the fight and are now offering all their images as free embeds rather than try and sue everyone who steals one of their pictures. Instead of charging you they’re letting you embed the image without a watermark but with a credit to them underneath. Fair enough really. At some point they may put ads in the embeds but there’s no plans for that in the near future.

Great news for blogs and smaller NGOs for sure. Finding free images is always a pain in the ass. Larger NGOs will probably still want to pay for the full rights to images though to have more control over them.

Word of warning though, the embeds are in iframes which means that Getty has control over them. At some point your picture could disappear without any notice. That’s really no different than how YouTube embeds work though.

That being said, free is still a hell of a lot cheaper than not free (that’s science). For example, a sweet picture of a dog playing poker would have cost me $565 dollars to license for a month. (Ed note: unfortunately Getty’s servers seem to be under duress from all the people embedding awesome pictures of dogs playing poker. It’s understandable. You’re stuck with this picture of a lady computing since I could rip the iframe code from that Business Week link).

You can search for embeddable images here.

The Inside Story of Tor

It’s perhaps the most effective means of defeating the online surveillance efforts of intelligence agencies around the world, including the most sophisticated agency of them all, the NSA. That’s ironic, because Tor started as a project of the U.S. government. More than half of the Tor Project’s revenue in 2012, or $1.24 million, came from government grants, including an $876,099 award from the Department of Defense, according to financial statements available on the project’s website.

via Business Week

Princeton vs Facebook: the (passive aggressive) rumble in the jungle

A little over a week ago researchers from Princeton released a study arguing that Facebook would see a rapid decline within just a few years. The study used an model based on the spread of disease and Google search data for both MySpace and Facebook to come to their conclusions.

Facebook, or at least one of their data scientists, was not keen on this and rebutted the study with his own debunking their methodology and showing that Princeton would no longer exist in the near future.

The death of PrincetonSo, the methodology was flawed, but how was it flawed. As Mike Develin points out a Google search does not reflect actual engagement with a platform. It may be an indicator but it’s not enough by itself. If we exclude the fact that mobile is now viable and a huge percentage of users never interact with Facebook through a browser we’re still left with the fact that MySpace “died” more then a decade ago. Facebook replaced MySpace while people were still excited about social networks. Social networks aren’t new anymore. They’re a fact of life.

That isn’t to say that Facebook is the Highlander of social networks though. It will decline sooner or later and be replaced by the next big thing (sorry Google+). Already 3 million teens have disappeared from the network. Well that, or depending on how you read the data, or they grew up and haven’t been replaced. Neither of those is a good outcome.

In any case, I’m just waiting for the nostalgia to kick in and for Friendster to get retro-cool.


Use of location based social media on the rise

Pew is reporting that the number of users setting their social media accounts to include location information has more than doubled since 2011 to reach 30% of users over 18 years old.

Auto including location data always seemed a step too far for me privacy wise and I think that shows in another result from the survey which shows a significant portion of smartphone users have turned off those features.

Topsy announces you can now search ALL tweets, I announce my undying love for Topsy

TopsyTopsy – the best Twitter search engine – announced this week that they have indexed every single one of the 425 billion plus tweets sent since Twitter launched in 2006.

I imagine most regular people are, at best, indifferent about this announcement but speaking as someone who wrote a dissertation on Twitter – yeah, they gave me a degree for that – I’m beyond excited.

Facebook has 50 million users in India and most of those are using mobiles

Over the past three years Facebook has grown from 8 million users to 50 million users. Most of those users are accessing FB on the phone. Now that’s not even 10% of the total population but it’s still a staggering number. If you’re doing work in India that’s something to keep in mind.

via Times of India

Twitter use in the US is up across all age groups

161540A recent study from Pew’s Internet and the American Life project shows that Twitter usage has risen across all age groups. A full 72% of all American adults now use at least one social network and for Twitter that number is 18%.