TIME Social Networking

Reddit to Award Lottery Fund to 950,000 Lucky Users

Flush with $50 million in capital, the social media site finds a novel way to give back

Reddit announced new details of a lottery fund that will siphon off one-tenth of the company’s share value and randomly distribute it to roughly 950,000 lucky users, in a bid to encourage contributions to the media-sharing website.

“To celebrate all of you and your contributions, we plan to give away reddit notes in a random lottery,” the company announced in an official blog post on Friday. Reddit relies on users to cull the web for interesting content and submit it to the wider community for an “up” or “down” vote, thereby driving stories of general interest to the top of the site.

Reddit first announced the lottery payout idea in September 2014, shortly after it closed a $50 million round of fundraising. Starting in fall of 2015, Reddit plans to notify the winning users to set up an online wallet, into which the company will deposit a “Reddit Note,” which users will be able to trade on an open exchange.

TIME Social Networking

This Is Why You Just Lost a Bunch of Instagram Followers

The Instagram logo is displayed on a smartphone on December 20, 2012 in Paris. Lionel Bonaventure—AFP/Getty Images

Instagram eliminates millions of fake accounts in a matter of hours

Judgement Day came for millions of fake Instagram accounts this week in a crackdown so widespread it’s been dubbed the “Instagram Rapture.”

The mass drop in Instagram followers comes as the platform looks to rid itself of fake accounts, which some users purchase en masse to inflate their apparent follower count.

Instagram’s official profile took the biggest hit in followers, plummeting by 18.9 million accounts in a single day, according to data collected by Zach Allia, a web developer who created a handy graphic of the reckoning. Some of the most followed celebrities on Instagram took the next biggest hits. Justin Bieber, Kim Kardashian and Beyonce lost a following of 3.5 million, 1.3 million and 831,000 respectively. The rapper Mase woke up to find his 1.6 million followers had dwindled to 100,000, prompting him to delete his account for good, Business Insider reports.

An Instagram spokesperson told the New York Times that the company’s recently publicized tally of 300 million active monthly users excluded the fake accounts now being purged.

TIME Social Networking

This is How Mark Zuckerberg Celebrated Instagram’s Crazy Milestone

Facebook CEO is bouncing off the walls

Now that social media site Instagram has more users than Twitter, Mark Zuckerberg has found a shareable way to celebrate.

The co-founder of Facebook, which bought the photo-sharing platform for $1 billion in 2012, posed for a head-scratching photo in Instagram headquarters’ “gravity room” to mark the milestone.

Instagram’s room is not unlike every other room on earth in that, yes, it is subject to the forces of gravity. But in this room, the stuff that would normally be on the ground is attached to the wall — allowing Zuckerberg and Instagram CEO Kevin Systrom to appear to be bouncing off the funky wallpaper. Pretty cool.

TIME Social Networking

Instagram Is Bigger Than Twitter Now

A picture is worth 1000 words

Instagram is officially bigger than Twitter, as far as user numbers are concerned.

The photo-sharing app has reached more than 300 million monthly active users who share over 70 million photos and videos a day, Instagram said Wednesday.

Instagram also said that it will soon be rolling out a “verified badges” feature, similar to the blue checkmark you see on some Twitter and Facebook pages. The company also announced it will start fully deleting accounts it considers “spammy.”

The number of Instagram users has ballooned this year, with 100 million monthly active users added since March, CNBC reported Wednesday. Facebook bought Instagram in a deal that closed in September 2012 at a value of about $715 million.

Twitter, by contrast, has a market cap of about $23 billion and 284 million monthly active users.

“We’re seeing a lot of people coming in the fashion world, a lot of people coming in, in the youthful teens world, and a lot of people internationally as well,” CEO Kevin Systrom told CNBC.

TIME Social Networking

Facebook Video Uploads Reportedly Overtake YouTube

Facebook Annouces A New Product
A Facebook employee demonstrates the new Instagram video option during a press event at Facebook headquarters on June 20, 2013 in Menlo Park, California. Justin Sullivan—Getty Images

New data suggests users are bypassing YouTube and uploading videos directly to social media

Facebook users uploaded more videos directly to their social media feed rather than pull videos from YouTube, according to new data that suggests Facebook is becoming the platform of choice for video sharing.

Social media analysts at Socialbakers tracked data across 20,000 Facebook pages belonging to public figures and companies. They observed a drop in the share of videos coming from YouTube as the number of videos coming directly from users increased, Business Insider reports.

For the first time, user-uploaded videos surpassed YouTube videos in November. The shift comes not long after Facebook tweaked its video playback feature so that scenes would begin playing automatically as the user scrolled through the page.

Read more at Business Insider.

TIME Social Networking

Twitter Will Now Track Which Other Apps You Install

Social Media Site Twitter Debuts On The New York Stock Exchange
In this photo illustration, the Twitter logo and hashtag '#Ring!' is displayed on a mobile device as the company announced its initial public offering and debut on the New York Stock Exchange on November 7, 2013 in London, England. Bethany Clarke—Getty Images

The feature is opt-out, but it's easy to turn it off

Twitter is rolling out a new feature that will track which apps you have installed on your phone, the company revealed Wednesday. The new feature, called “app graph,” is being pitched as a way for Twitter to deliver “more relevant tailored content” to its users.

“To help build a more personal Twitter experience for you, we are collecting and occasionally updating the list of apps installed on your mobile device so we can deliver tailored content that you might be interested in,” Twitter’s app graph page reads.

While Twitter promises it’s not collecting any data from within non-Twitter apps, it’s not hard to see this new feature raising privacy concerns — especially because many users will have to opt out of app graph, rather than being asked to opt in.

If you’d like to disable the app graph feature before it appears, you can turn on “Limit Ad Tracking” in your iPhone Twitter app’s settings or, if you’re an Android user, select “Opt out of interest-based ads.” Once the feature appears in your Twitter app (you’ll be notified when it does), you can follow the instructions on this Twitter page to disable it. Note, however, you’ll still get ads in your Twitter stream — they’ll just be less relevant to you.

The app graph feature comes as Twitter is experimenting with ways to put more relevant content, both organic and commercial, in front of its users.

TIME Social Networking

Facebook Reportedly Planning LinkedIn-Style ‘Facebook at Work’

Dado Ruvic—Reuters

‘Facebook at Work’ would allow users to chat with colleagues, build catalogs of contacts and collaborate on documents –just like LinkedIn and Google Drive

Facebook is planning a new product aimed at professionals, in an effort to compete with Google Drive, LinkedIn and Microsoft Office (and maybe end the stigma of being seen as nothing more than a distraction at the workplace).

Citing people familiar with the matter, The Financial Times said the new ‘Facebook at Work’ would allow users to chat with colleagues, build catalogs of contacts and collaborate on documents–core functions of LinkedIn and Google Drive.

It said Facebook had begun testing the product with companies as its launch approaches, after more than a year of development.

The company will have some headwinds to work against: many employers ban its social network at the workplace due to concerns about lost productivity. It will also have to persuade corporate customers that it can be trusted with their data, after a series of damaging revelations about its policy towards user data in the past. And it will have to assuage concerns about polluting feeds with ads and other tools aimed at monetizing the service.

However, the rewards have the potential to be big: founder and chief executive Mark Zuckerberg estimated earlier this year that the company’s U.S. users spend a total of nine hours a day on digital media, but only 40 minutes of that on Facebook.

This article originally appeared on Fortune.com

TIME Social Networking

Facebook’s New Privacy Policy Is Way Simpler

Demonstration Held Against Facebook's Privacy Policies
Mary Guedon of the group Raging Grannies holds a sign as she protests outside of the Facebook headquarters June 4, 2010 in Palo Alto, California. Justin Sullivan—Getty Images

Facebook also launched an interactive privacy settings explainer

Facebook unveiled a drastically simplified privacy policy Thursday that explains in plain English who can see your personal information shared through the social network.

The streamlined policy strips out more than two-thirds of the verbiage from the previous policy, which consumer advocates had previously criticized as unnecessarily long and byzantine. “Our hope is that it won’t take long for people to read through this and really get it,” Facebook’s chief privacy officer told the Wall Street Journal.

Facebook also launched an interactive walkthrough of its privacy settings, called “Privacy Basics,” which guides users through drop down menus with options that can restrict viewing rights or delete posts entirely.

The update marks the company’s latest bid to make its privacy settings more user friendly since the company in 2011 settled Federal Trade Commission accusations that it broke its privacy promises. In September, Facebook launched a “Privacy Checkup” in an attempt to give users a greater measure of control over their data.

TIME Social Networking

CIA Twitter Sets Record Straight on Argo

The agency played a round of "reel" or "real" to mark the 35th anniversary of the Iran hostage crisis

If only the C in CIA stood for “clever.” To mark the 35th anniversary of the start of the Iran hostage crisis, the surprisingly social media-savvy Central Intelligence Agency used Twitter to point out how the Oscar-winning film Argo took creative license with history.

“Today we tell you what’s ‘reel’ vs. ‘real,'” the CIA tweeted Friday before going on a fact-checking spree about what actually happened and what was invented for storytelling’s sake. The differences mostly come down to simplified details (they didn’t go to the Canadian ambassador’s house right away, multiple CIA agents went to Iran) and heightened drama (everything at the airport happened pretty smoothly, actually).

Despite the history lesson, the hashtag-friendly CIA still has lots of love for the film (and isn’t immune to typos): “Real #ARGO: An exciting movie that it kept us on the edge of our seats. Letting @BenAffleck film here? Best bad idea we’ve had. #ThanksBen!”

Check out the whole Twitter stream here.

TIME Social Networking

Facebook Will Make it Easier to Unfollow Boring Friends

The splash page for the social media Internet site Facebook.
The splash page for the social media Internet site Facebook. Karen Bleier—AFP/Getty Images

Users will be able to more easily hide people from their News Feed

Facebook is continuing CEO Mark Zuckerberg’s dream of turning the social networking site into “the perfect, personalized newspaper for everyone in the world” by giving users more control over their News Feed.

The company is adding a new News Feed settings page that will show users which people and pages they interact with most frequently and those they’ve recently unfollowed, Facebook announced Friday. The change will allow users to more easily add and delete people and pages from the News Feed based on user interest. The feature is available on the mobile and desktop versions of the site, and will come to the Facebook app within the coming weeks.

Users can also use the gray arrows that appear in the top right corners of posts to hide stories they’re not interested in reading. Then, they can select whether they’d like to see less from that person or unfollow them altogether.

Earlier this year, Facebook announced it would start cracking down on clickbait and hyperbolic headlines in News Feed links by evaluating how much time users spent reading a link and whether they were liking and sharing it.

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