By Emily Senger - Thursday, May 16, 2013 - 0 Comments
Beware Saudi Twitter users, for the top leader of the Saudi Arabia religious police…
Beware Saudi Twitter users, for the top leader of the Saudi Arabia religious police says that he who uses the social networking service “has lost this world and his afterlife.”
The anti-Twitter rhetoric, which basically says that Twitter users are going to hell, comes from Sheikh Abdul Latif Abdul Aziz al-Sheikh and corresponds with a major uptake in Twitter use in the country, according to BBC News correspondent Sebastian Usher.
What religious leaders in the country are probably most worried about is that the surge in Twitter use could, potentially, help facilitate a public uprising in the country, as has been the case elsewhere in the Middle East, points out Mashable.
This concern about Twitter comes from leaders in the same country that refused to allow BlackBerrys unless the company formerly known as RIM made it easier for the Saudi government to monitor users’ messages.
BBC News points out that the imam of the Grand Mosque in Mecca has also condemned Twitter and the kingdom’s most senior Muslim cleric called Twitter users “fools.”
By Jesse Brown - Wednesday, May 8, 2013 at 12:06 PM - 0 Comments
Timothy Quinn has found a use for hate.
He and his team have built a tool called Hatebase that scours the world’s tweets for hate speech. Hatebase is an effort of The Sentinel Project for Genocide Projection, a Toronto-based NGO. It indexes real-time utterances of all known epithets and their places of origin. If hateful tweets are geo-tagged, Hatebase can pinpoint a surge in racism to its origin, getting as “granular” as a six-block radius.
Hate speech, Quinn says, is one of the main precursors to violence and mass atrocity. By constantly monitoring the world’s social media chatter, Hatebase aims to build an early warning system for ethnic conflict, even genocide. He brings up the Rwandan Genocide, immediately before which the term “inyenzi”, meaning “cockroach”, was widely used on the radio in the ’90s in an effort to dehumanize Tutsis by Hutus. “Inyenzi” reached peak usage right before the mass killings began.
If it happened again today, the word would probably spike on social media too, giving NGOs and the international community an opportunity to intervene and prevent atrocities. “I’ll know it’s a success,” says Quinn, “when we have Amnesty International, Red Cross, Ushahidi and USAid pulling our data.” By offering its data free through an API, other organizations can plug Hatebase in to their own systems. Quinn sees the tool not as a sole predictor of conflict, but as a powerful data point that can be layered in with other information to paint a detailed picture of trouble brewing around the world. Continue…
By Aaron Wherry - Tuesday, May 7, 2013 at 11:23 PM - 0 Comments
When the Ottawa Senators scored late in tonight’s game with the Montreal Canadiens to tie the score, Justin Trudeau was displeased.
hey buddy @JustinTrudeau habs or leafs?
Mr. Trudeau responded.
Mr. Canseco then attempted to continue the conversation.
As of this writing, Mr. Trudeau has not commented on what they should do about “Rod Ford.” But Mr. Canseco does now credit Mr. Trudeau with his knowledge of French swear words. Also, Mr. Canseco seems to think that, given the electoral significance of Ontario, Mr. Trudeau might consider supporting the Leafs.
See previously: Stephen Harper vs. Homer Simpson
By Emily Senger - Monday, May 6, 2013 at 5:50 PM - 0 Comments
The Onion‘s Twitter account has been hacked by a group claiming to be the…
The Onion‘s Twitter account has been hacked by a group claiming to be the Syrian Electronic Army. Either that, or the satirical news site has delivered a strange and disorienting joke that has fooled at least a few major websites, and many Twitter users.
Strange tweets started appearing from The Onion website’s Twitter account Monday afternoon, some containing anti-Israel statements. Those tweets were removed from the Twitter feed an hour later, but here’s a screen grab of some of them:
By The Associated Press - Tuesday, April 30, 2013 at 8:16 PM - 0 Comments
WASHINGTON – A week after hackers broke into The Associated Press’ Twitter feed and…
WASHINGTON – A week after hackers broke into The Associated Press’ Twitter feed and roiled financial markets, federal regulators say they need to find ways to deal with the impact of social media.
Members of the Commodity Futures Trading Commission didn’t outline immediate action Tuesday. CFTC Commissioner Bart Chilton suggested they consider imposing tougher cybersecurity rules for investment firms and others that trade. Firms could be held accountable and sanctioned if their security systems were inadequate to prevent a breech.
At a meeting of an advisory panel, Commissioner Scott O’Malia said regulators need to begin figuring out how to respond to social media.
The false tweet reporting explosions at the White House sent the stock market on a brief plunge. The CFTC, the FBI and the Securities and Exchange Commission are investigating.
By Jesse Brown - Monday, April 29, 2013 at 2:58 PM - 0 Comments
The tweet sounded like a joke. Kirstine Stewart, vice president of CBC English language services (translation: the woman who runs the CBC) has left the public broadcaster to head up Twitter Canada. Why did it seem like a prank?
Because there is no Twitter Canada.
So what does it mean?
For the CBC
It’s hard to see an upside to this for the Ceeb. Stewart was in the middle of steering a major “renewal” effort, an attempt to find steady footing following massive budget cuts and layoffs. News was “modernized”, radio razed, and a major emphasis on primetime TV ratings began to bear fruit. Online has languished, as it awaited new management, with the exception of one major project, the free streaming CBC Music service. Like these changes or hate them, most CBC employees accepted them, and welcomed Stewart as their face. She washed away much of the bad taste left by her predecessor, the detested Richard Stursberg. For those weathering the storm within the CBC, trusting in Stewart’s relentless positivity (is there a more exuberant executive on Twitter?) and believing that they would all pull through the bad times together, her departure can’t be good news. I know a number of young(ish) CBC employees who’ve been debating whether or not to keep building careers at the Ceeb, questioning what place it will have in tomorrow’s digital media environment. Morale must suck for them today.
Why is Twitter opening a Canada outpost anyway, and why do they want Stewart to lead it? Stewart’s first (mini) interview today was with U.S. site TechCrunch, which hurt my feelings, but which provided a hint about what Twitter will be up to here. Stewart spoke to TechCrunch in riddles, describing herself as a “longtime champion of great content,” an area where Twitter is doing “incredibly exciting” things. She also commented on Twitter’s newest ally, the massive ad firm StarCom MediaVest, which Stewart said is “really setting itself up as quite the partner”.
Reading the tea leaves here, this talk is all about Twitter’s second-screen dreams. Twitter CEO Dick Costolo recently remarked that Twitter’s future is intertwined with television, as a “complementary” media platform. Be it Oscars, Olympics, or news, Twitter sees huge traffic spikes when big TV events occur and viewers want to chatter about them. This audience is ripe for targeted advertising, and Twitter wants to work with big brands on hybrid campaigns. TV ad spots are bought at the national, not international level. If Twitter wants to piggyback Canadian TV advertising deals, it’ll need a Canadian office. So far, they’re hiring ad sales people here, not developers. Twitter Canada will likely have little to do with technology, a field Stewart has no experience in. She is a career television executive, and Twitter must be hopeful that she can cut them a clear path through Canada’s insular and change-resistant TV and advertising industries.
For Kirstine Stewart
What would you rather do, make TV shows or sell Twitter ads? Leaving the CBC for Twitter sounds sexy, but for an executive known for getting deeply involved in the creative side of television production, Twitter may prove a bore. True, it’s a far more dynamic setting than the CBC, but Stewart will be subservient to big decisions made in San Francisco, and she’ll have to compel Canadian brands to take chances and invest online, when they’re notorious for waiting to see how things go down in the U.S. first. It’s a lot less power than she’s used to.
There’s nothing bad about this for the rest of us, but there’s not much to get excited about either. Best case scenario: Twitter makes like Google and opens up a Canadian policy shop to deal with privacy, regulation, and free expression issues. Twitter has generally protected its users’ rights admirably in the U.S., and Canadians could use some of that here.
Follow Jesse on Twitter @JesseBrown
By Manisha Krishnan - Monday, April 29, 2013 at 1:04 PM - 0 Comments
A high-ranking CBC executive is leaving the public broadcaster to run Twitter Canada.
A high-ranking CBC executive is leaving the public broadcaster to run Twitter Canada.
Kirstine Stewart, who today changed her Twitter handle from @KStewartCBC to @kirstinestewart, has taken up a job as head of Twitter Canada after two years as executive vice president of CBC’s English Services.
So happy to have @kirstinestewart as our new Managing Director of Canada!
— Twitter Canada (@TwitterCanada) April 29, 2013
“I’ve had some of the happiest moments in my life at the CBC, and I’ve been honoured to represent such an important name to Canadians,” said Stewart in a media release.
Hubert T. Lacroix, president and CEO of CBC/Radio Canada, said Stewart has played a valuable role in establishing CBC as a “modern public broadcaster.”
The corporation is currently on the hunt for her replacement.
By Aaron Wherry - Friday, April 26, 2013 at 11:12 AM - 0 Comments
Delivered the inaugural speech to the Albany Club’s William Pitt Society. Spoke on Pitt, Burke & the conservative conception of Parliament.
In preparation for tonight’s speech, I finally got around to reading @WilliamJHague‘s masterful 2004 biography, “William Pitt the Younger.”
1/ Prime Minister at age 24, Pitt governed for 19 years, effectively founded the Conservative Party; modernized Britain’s public finances;
2/ massively strengthened Royal Navy, leading to victory at Trafalgar; was ahead of his time on abolition of slavery & Parliamentary reform;
3/ led the fight against French Jacobinism; and was a man of unimpeachable integrity. A remarkable leader in every respect.
By The Associated Press - Sunday, April 21, 2013 at 10:51 PM - 0 Comments
NEW YORK, N.Y. – Putting a new test to the adage that brevity is…
NEW YORK, N.Y. – Putting a new test to the adage that brevity is the soul of wit, Comedy Central is partnering with Twitter for a comedy festival played out in 140 characters and 6-second videos.
The Viacom Inc.-owned network said Sunday that the festival with the hashtag “ComedyFest” will debut April 29. Over five days, comedians will tweet jokes and post videos with the recently launched video app Vine, which limits footage to 6 seconds.
The launch of the festival, which Comedy Central is expected to officially announce Monday, was first reported by The New York Times.
Kicking off the social media festival will be an event Monday at the Paley Center in Los Angeles featuring Rob Reiner, Judd Apatow and Mel Brooks. So far, Brooks is a Twitter holdout.
By Colby Cosh - Thursday, April 11, 2013 at 3:31 PM - 0 Comments
No one dies anymore without leaving a little of themselves behind—in this case, on Twitter. The picture Rehtaeh left of herself in the last few months of her life (which includes a snapshot of a report card) may not be the one her parents or her self-appointed postmortem defenders would make, and who knows how faithful it might be to the broad sweep of her life. Probably not very. But it is a picture she assembled for the consumption of others, piece by piece; and her desperate deflection of darkening spirits by means of gangsta bravado, humour, and idealism is heartbreaking. I will leave it to the reader to treat this as forensic data and imagine possible implications for some revenge project or other. Such a thing might or might not be warranted; she hasn’t left us any clues here.
By Emily Senger - Tuesday, April 9, 2013 at 9:23 AM - 0 Comments
With just one tweet, the former president gets nearly 35,000 followers
Long-time Twitter holdout former president Bill Clinton is now on Twitter thanks to a little help — some would say coercion — from Stephen Colbert.
The two discussed social media and reaching out to youth before Colbert announced his surprise for the former president.
“Well, sir, I took the liberty of opening you a Twitter account,” Colbert said.
Clinton is a little late to the game, so the handles @PresidentClinton and @WilliamJeffersonClinton were already taken, but @PrezBillyJeff was wide open and available. A Twitter account was born, with the description: “I am President William Jefferson Billy Jeff Rodham Clinton. Stephen Colbert is my BFF.”
So far, Clinton has racked up nearly 35,000 followers by sending out only one tweet. He even got the hashtag for the Clinton Global Initiative University correct.
Just spent amazing time with Colbert!Is he sane? He is cool! #cgiu
— Billy Jeff Clinton (@PrezBillyJeff) April 6, 2013
By The Associated Press - Monday, March 18, 2013 at 8:01 AM - 0 Comments
NEW YORK, N.Y. – There may be another billionaire interested in New York City’s…
NEW YORK, N.Y. – There may be another billionaire interested in New York City’s top job.
Jack Dorsey, co-founder of the popular social media service Twitter and the mobile payments startup Square, reportedly says he wants to be mayor of New York one day.
In an interview aired Sunday on “60 Minutes,” CBS’ Lara Logan said Dorsey is serious about moving to the Big Apple someday and running for mayor.
By Emily Senger - Tuesday, February 26, 2013 at 1:47 PM - 0 Comments
Twitter users who operate on a Windows-based smartphone now get the same experience as…
Twitter users who operate on a Windows-based smartphone now get the same experience as users on iOS and Android platforms.
In a blog post Tuesday, the social media service announced an update to its Windows app that “brings the app in line with other Twitter apps.”
Notably, the updated app offers four tabs to allow users to navigate: Home, Connect, Discover and Me — something that iOS and Android users already have.
It also features new tweet and search icons and live tiles, which allow users to put Twitter links on their start screens. Continue…
By Emily Senger - Monday, February 18, 2013 at 10:39 AM - 0 Comments
Ranking system will allow developers to better search ‘noisy or high-volume feeds’
Prepare to be judged by Twitter. Starting Wednesday, Feb. 20, Twitter has announced that it will begin assigning values to each and every tweet using: none, low and medium. Eventually, “high” will be rolled out as well.
The idea is that the new data, which will be publicly available, will allow developers to better sort through the millions of tweets to find the data that is useful to them. In the words of Twitter developer Arne Roomann-Kurrik: “This will allow applications to more easily surface certain types of content from otherwise noisy or high-volume feeds.”
The exact way that the tweets will be valued is a bit unclear, but it’s likely that it will work in the way that top tweets appear now during a Twitter search. For instance, tweets that are being retweeted by many people, or tweets from people with a lot of followers, will likely be assigned a higher value ranking. Likewise, that tweet about your lunchtime tuna sandwich to your 201 followers might get a “none” or “low” ranking.
Sam Laird at Mashable writes that the new development seems like it will be good for users: “It’s definitely a positive for Twitter, which will have the power to designate “high” value tweets (in some cases, perhaps, for a price) and possibly experiment with new ways of displaying tweets.”
The downside, according to Laird: “On the other hand, judging the value of tweets is a significant and unprecedented step for the company. Some could find it a bit invasive and, well, judgmental.”
Another downside: The new rating system could make it difficult for users with smaller followings to be featured, even when they have something good to say.
By Aaron Wherry - Thursday, February 14, 2013 at 4:53 PM - 0 Comments
Liberal MP Sean Casey, NDP MP Peter Stoffer, Defence Minister Peter MacKay and Treasury Board president Tony Clement were involved in a spiriting series of exchanges this afternoon over the treatment of disabled military and RCMP veterans.
Liberal MP Rodger Cuzner was apparently unimpressed with Mr. Clement’s final response.
Tony Clement just offered the stupidest,most useless,irrelevant,unrelated,embarrassing ,condescending,flippant non answer I’ve heard in 12ys
By Emily Senger - Wednesday, February 13, 2013 at 9:56 AM - 0 Comments
Angry tweens flood Twitter after Grammy snub
By Emily Senger, Jaime Weinman, Jonathon Gatehouse, and Mika Rekai - Tuesday, February 12, 2013 at 7:00 PM - 0 Comments
Obama gets caught in “Skeetgate” and HMV learns the power of social media
Shorn for love
America isn’t the only place where young pop stars have to apologize for having a sex life. Minami Minegishi, a 20-year-old member of the Japanese musical group AKB48, shaved her head in penance after a gossip magazine showed her leaving the apartment of a backup dancer from another band. It wasn’t the romance with a rival group that caused the scandal, but the fact that, as Minegishi said in an apologetic YouTube video, she did not “behave as a good role model” and follow the band’s rules about sexual behaviour—namely, it’s off-limits to girls. The tearful apology didn’t help her cause—management demoted the star to a trainee team.
When U.S. President Barack Obama told the New Republic that “up at Camp David, we do skeet shooting all the time,” he probably never dreamed he’d set off a full-fledged new conspiracy theory, now dubbed “Skeetgate.” Many conservatives accused Obama of lying about his gun fandom; one Republican representative demanded to know “if he is a skeet shooter, why have we not heard of it?” The outcry grew so great that the White House released a photo of Obama shooting skeet at Camp David, which simply resulted in accusations that it was photoshopped, plus mockery of the “mom jeans” he was wearing in the picture. Continue…
By macleans.ca - Tuesday, February 12, 2013 at 5:05 PM - 0 Comments
[View the story "Noted on Twitter: People tweeting photos of dogs watching the Westminster...
By Emily Senger - Friday, February 8, 2013 at 10:26 AM - 0 Comments
City deletes tweet, issues apology
The City of Vaughan caused a stir Friday morning after going way, way off message in its social media account during a snowstorm in the city north of Toronto.
— Melissa Perri (@_melissaashley) February 8, 2013
The offensive tweet was soon deleted, but not before many people retweeted the original tweet, took screengrabs of it, or expressed their (mock) outrage. Continue…
By Jesse Brown - Tuesday, February 5, 2013 at 4:07 PM - 0 Comments
Few topics are covered so poorly as online privacy, few are handled with such indifference toward reader interest or facts. Take, for example, last week’s big scary Twitter hack. Twitter realized a significant number of accounts were compromised by a new attack. So it reset passwords. No one has reported any identity theft, fraud, or damage. Twitter issued a blog post to make sure those affected would get online and change their passwords. Somehow, this snowballed into a major privacy story.
While I was delivering some talking-head sound-bites on this item for a certain newscast, the reporter asked me why the Twitter hack was such a huge deal. I was stumped–it wasn’t. So she asked me why it was getting so much attention. I knew the answer, but held my tongue.
Here’s what I was thinking: it gets so much attention because print and TV news love to bash technology, especially social media, and can’t resist a scary story about how the people who use it should be very, very afraid. The truth is, despite years of fear-mongering stories about Facebook identity theft, Gmail phishing attacks and massive Twitter hacks, public interest and concern about these things remains very low. That’s because these things haven’t happened to the vast majority of us, or to anyone we know. For the small number of people this has happened to, the impact is typically minimal. The mainstream news has become the Boy who Cried Internet.
This is not to say privacy isn’t a valid concern when it comes to free Internet services. There’s much to worry about, but little of it has to do with Russian digital mobsters, Chinese military hackers or spammy Nigerian princes. The real data privacy danger–with social media, and beyond–comes from government.
Consider this: federal Privacy Commissioner Jennifer Stoddart’s office received just 18 complaints from the public about (alleged) Internet privacy violations in 2011. In 2010, the number was 19. In Stoddart’s 2011 ranking of privacy-challenged industries, the Internet came in at seventh place, way behind the financial industry, transportation, and telecommunications, which took the top three spots, in that order. Even the hotel industry was worse than the Internet, earning 24 complaints, though you won’t hear much about the privacy dangers of Holiday Inn on the news. But here’s the truly shocking thing: add up all of the public’s privacy gripes with private companies in 2011, and you get 281 formal complaints to the Office of the Privacy Commissioner.
Now look at the most recent OPC annual report on alleged government intrusions into our privacy: the number is 986. And that’s an almost 40 per cent jump over the previous year’s number of government-related complaints. As I’ll detail in the next post, these complaints aren’t trivial: the breaches are serious, with real implications, and they stem from a culture of privacy sloppiness (at best). So yes, you should be scared about your privacy. But it’s not Twitter you should be scared of.
Over the next few posts I’ll be telling you what, if anything, is being done about it. Then we’ll look ahead at the real privacy threats Canadians should be thinking about. (Hint: C-30, the defeated Internet Snooping bill just rumbled from its coffin and stuck a zombie finger through the dirt.)
Next: Civil servants with your data in their pants: Why it’s still OK to bring a USB key home in Ottawa.
Follow Jesse on Twitter @JesseBrown
By Emily Senger - Thursday, January 31, 2013 at 10:06 AM - 0 Comments
The French language police are carrying out their mission of cracking down on English…
The French language police are carrying out their mission of cracking down on English words encroaching on the French language by officially banning the Twitter term “hashtag.”
The Commission Générale de Terminologie et de Néologisme has decreed that hashtag shall henceforth be known as “mot-dièse,” which is from Gallic and translates to English as “sharp-word,” reports Time.
By Jonathon Gatehouse - Friday, January 25, 2013 at 1:35 PM - 0 Comments
For sale: 160-year-old converted church used to record The Suburbs
For sale: one crumbling piece of Canadian music history. Montreal indie rockers Arcade Fire have put their recording studio, a converted 160-year-old church in Farnham, Que., up on the block. The listing, posted via the band’s Twitter account last week, asks $325,000 for the red brick structure located on a quiet village side street, “walking distance to main road, shops and schools.” The group has sunk considerable money into the building since acquiring it in 2005, upgrading plumbing and wiring, renovating bedrooms and a kitchen, and adding a full recording studio in the basement. And the cozy set-up is where they laid down the bulk of their acclaimed 2007 offering Neon Bible and its hit 2010 follow-up, The Suburbs, winner of a Grammy as best album of the year.
But potential buyers should beware. The listing notes a couple of problems: minor water infiltration after heavy rain, and a roof that needs to be replaced at an estimated cost of between $23,000 and $44,000.
According to reports in the music press last fall, structural issues with the church became so bad that the group was forced to stop working on its next disc—due later this year—and find new recording space. “The roof is collapsing. It’s completely falling apart,” Jeremy Gara, the band’s drummer, told an Ottawa radio station.
For all its critical success—appearances on Saturday Night Live, opening for U2 and jamming on stage with Bruce Springsteen—it seems the seven-member band remains something less than rock-star rich. So faced with a repair bill that outstrips the $30,000 they received as winners of the 2011 Polaris Prize for best Canadian album, they’re moving on. Maybe Rush or Carly Rae Jepsen are in the market.
By Aaron Wherry - Friday, January 25, 2013 at 1:16 PM - 0 Comments
The Liberals decided to stage their own Question Period on Twitter this morning, tweeting questions at government ministers (who, so far, have failed to respond). You can follow the proceedings through the Liberal party’s Twitter account or my list of MPs on Twitter. Though the exercise probably served the Liberal side’s purpose—bringing attention to their concerns about government policy—it turns out that 140 characters doesn’t leave a lot of space for subtlety. Bob Rae’s two questions on government spending and the Parliamentary Budget Officer—here and here—were probably the sharpest.
By Jesse Brown - Friday, January 25, 2013 at 10:41 AM - 0 Comments
Vine lets you shoot and share videos with your phone. Big deal, right? But six years ago, I heard about Twitter, an app that lets you share sentences. I said “big deal” then too. I could already do that, just as I could already make and share videos.
Twitter turned out to be a big deal indeed. Its genius was its simplicity. Sure, I could already write sentences–lots of them–on my blog and share them with the world, but by constraining me to 140 characters and feeding my tweets into an opt-in stream with pushbutton network effect (the brilliant “retweet”), Twitter removed all barriers to real-time chatter with an unlimited audience. The result, we now see, was a pretty significant transformation in communication.
Vine applies the same factors to video. It constrains you to six seconds, max. It removes all trickier aspects of video production–even basic editing tools are absent. It processes all videos into files similar to animated gifs–those lightweight, looping meme-able moments that proliferate wildly. Vine is integrated with Twitter (naturally), so you can attach one to a tweet as easily as you would a photo.
Early hype has it that Vine will be huge. I’ve learned my lesson and won’t predict otherwise, but I do have some reservations:
- The written word is incredibly efficient. You can say a lot in 140 characters. But video? Less may be more here. Moving pictures often convey less info than still photos. What can you say with a six-second clip that you couldn’t say with a TwitPic? I guess we’ll find out.
- Streamlining video is a step in the right direction when it comes to the instantaneous culture of social media. But even constrained to six seconds of compressed loopage, a vine is much more data-heavy than a tweet. It apparently takes a full 30 minutes for Vine to process and post each clip. On the receiving end, the burden of loading a constant stream of twitching videos is already crashing and clogging twitter clients. (Incidentally, I’m not embedding any vines in this post, since this page filled with them keeps crashing my browser.)
- What the heck will we use it for? Twitter succeeds (for Twitter, at least) when it becomes second nature–when you barely think before you tweet. But people seem to be having lots of trouble thinking of anything substantive to share through Vine. Day one has brought us a barrage of pet videos and cinematic panoramas of people’s desks.
I look forward to eating these words in the days ahead, as users the world over stretch the limits of the micro-vid.
Follow Jesse on Twitter @JesseBrown