TIME celebrities

Sarah Silverman Edits Her Graphic Bill Cosby Rape Joke

Comic replaces colourful tweet

Comedian Sarah Silverman came under fire Wednesday night after she tweeted a joke about being raped by Bill Cosby, leading her rewrite the joke in a tamer tweet she posted an hour later.

She initially tweeted:

The tweet elicited scores of angry responses.

An hour later, Silverman said she wanted to “edit” her joke, though she did not delete the original from Twitter.

These Twitter exchanges come amid a growing scandal of sexual assault allegations against Cosby.

TIME Social Media

You Asked: Can I Delete All My Old, Embarrassing Tweets?

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

Twitter just made it easier than ever for anyone to find all your tweets

Twitter just made its search tool more powerful than ever. The social network has now made it easy to search any of the 500 billion public tweets that have been sent in Twitter’s eight-year history. Yes, that includes your tweets—even the drunk ones.

If you’re nervous about what an Internet sleuth might uncover if they searched for all your references to “weed” or a comprehensive listing of your embarrassing unanswered pleas directly to a celebrity, you might want to review your old tweets and delete the bad apples. And remember, if you ever become famous, someone will inevitably dig up all those racist tweets you sent in 2010.

Here’s how to head off your future PR nightmare at the pass:

Option 1: Request Your Twitter Archive

Before today, the best way to take stock of your Twitter past was to request your personal archive from the social network. Twitter will email you a zip file that includes all your tweets in an easily searchable database that mimics the Twitter.com interface. Just type in any questionable words you might have used in your younger days (“drunk,” “high,” “hella” ) and delete anything you wouldn’t want your Mom to read or embed on a public web page for the whole Internet to see.

To get the archive, go to your Settings and click “Request your archive.”

Option 2: Use Advanced Search

If you don’t want to wait around for Twitter to send you your archive, you can use the Advanced Search option (here) to quickly parse through your tweets. In the “From These Accounts” field, enter your username, and in the “Words” fields, enter whatever terms you’re trying to find that you previously tweeted.

Retweet the ones where you accurately predicted the future. Delete the incriminating ones.

Option 3: Scorch the Earth

You were a different person when you joined Twitter. If you were below the age of 20, it’s possible that you said so many cruel, vapid and ignorant things that there is simply no salvaging your younger digital self. You can wipe this person from Twitter’s record with a few clicks. Tweet Delete lets you automatically delete tweets more than a year old on an ongoing basis. Tweet Eraser allows you to delete everything you wrote before any given date. For more dire situations, you can download Tweeticide and erase your entire Twitter history.

Not sure whether you should delete or tweet? Consider this: Every public tweet is being archived for future generations to make judgments about our culture in the Library of Congress. Don’t make us look bad.

TIME Companies

You Can Now Search Every Tweet Ever

The Twitter logo and hashtag '#Ring!' is displayed on a mobile device.
The Twitter logo and hashtag '#Ring!' is displayed on a mobile device. Bethany Clarke—Getty Images

Archive of 500 billion tweets are now searchable

Time to start deleting your embarrassing old tweets—Twitter just made it easy to search every public tweet ever sent.

The social network announced Tuesday that it has completed indexing of every public tweet since 2006, which amounts to about half a trillion messages. A new, more powerful search function will let users search for specific words used by specific users, hashtags used between a set of given dates and other variables. In the past, these types of searches only yielded a portion of the tweets that fit the criteria.

“Our search engine excelled at surfacing breaking news and events in real time, and our search index infrastructure reflected this strong emphasis on recency,” Twitter wrote in a blog post that explains the indexing process for tweets in extreme detail. “But our long-standing goal has been to let people search through every Tweet ever published.”

The more robust archive will eventually affect the basic searches that Twitter users conduct from the site’s homepage. While basic searches currently surface tweets from the last several hours or days as “Top” tweets, the company will soon begin showing older tweets that may also be relevant. Getting people conducting Twitter searches more regularly could boost the company’s revenue, as Twitter already sells ads against keyword searches.

TIME Social Media

5 Trends That Will Change How You Use Social Media in 2015

Dado Ruvic—Reuters

Big changes are afoot for the likes of Twitter, Facebook and others

This year started with a death sentence for Facebook. In January, a research company called Global Web Index published a study showing that Facebook had lost nearly one-third of its U.S. teen users in the last year. Headlines pronounced the network “dead and buried.”

Fast forward to the present and Facebook is reporting record growth. The company earned $2.96 billion in ad revenue in the third quarter of 2013, up 64 percent from just a year ago. More impressively, the network has added more than 100 million monthly active users in the last year.

All of which goes to show how difficult it can be to predict the future of social media. With that caveat in mind, here’s a look into the crystal ball at five ways social media will (likely) evolve in 2015.

Your social network wants to be your wallet

Hacks released in October show a hidden payment feature deep inside Facebook’s popular Messenger app. If activated by the company, it will allow the app’s 200 million users to send money to each other using just debit card information, free of charge. Meanwhile, the network has also already rolled out a new Autofill feature (a kind of Facebook Connect for credit cards), which allows users who save their credit card info on Facebook to check out with 450,000 e-commerce merchants across the web.

So why does Facebook want to handle your money in 2015? Right now, some of tech’s biggest players are battling it out in the mobile payments space, including Apple with its new Apple Pay app, upstarts like Square and Stripe and even online payments veterans like PayPal. The endgame at this stage isn’t exactly clear. Facebook may eventually charge for its money transfer services, leverage customer purchasing data to pull in more advertisers or even try to rival traditional credit cards like Visa and Mastercard (which make billions on fees). One thing’s for sure: You can expect to see major social networks jockeying more aggressively to handle your transactions in 2015.

New networks proliferate, but will they last?

2014 saw the rise of a number of niche social networks, many built specifically in response to the perceived failings of the big boys: the lack of privacy, the collection of demographic and psychographic data, the increasingly pervasive advertising. Newcomers range from Ello, which launched in March with promises to never sell user data, to Yik Yak, which allows users to exchange fully anonymous posts with people who are physically nearby, and tsu, which has promised to share ad revenue with users based on the popularity of their posts.

Will these networks grow and stick around? New social platforms that try to replicate the Facebook experience while promising, for instance, fewer ads or more privacy, have the odds seriously stacked against them. The biggest challenge – one that even Google+ has struggled with – is attracting a sufficient userbase so the network doesn’t feel like a ghost town compared to Facebook’s thriving 1.3-billion-user global community.

On the other hand, new networks that map onto strong existing communities or interests (interest-based networks, as opposed to Facebook-style people-based networks) have a much better chance. In fact, thousands of these networks are already thriving below the radar, from dedicated sites for cooks and chefs like Foodie to sites for fitness junkies like Fitocracy.

Shopping finally comes to social media

Earlier this year, both Twitter and Facebook began beta-testing “buy” buttons, which appear alongside certain tweets and posts and allows users to make purchases with just a click or two, without ever leaving the network. Expect e-commerce and social media integrations to deepen in 2015. In fact, it’s a little surprising it’s taken so long.

For starters, this approach eliminates one key dilemma all merchants face – how to get customers in the door (or to your website). On Facebook and Twitter, you’ve already got a receptive audience, happily chatting with friends, browsing the latest trends, sharing photos and videos, etc. Once their payment details are on file, purchases are a tap or two away. Then it’s back to cat GIFs and updates on weekend plans.

In addition, since Facebook and especially Twitter are real-time media, they’re perfect for short-term deals tied in with fleeting trends. With time-sensitive offers literally streaming by, consumers may well be inclined to act quickly and seal the deal, forgoing the obsessive comparison shopping that characterizes lots of Internet transactions.

Finally, there are major benefits to advertisers. Connecting individual Tweets and Facebook posts with actual purchases has thus far proved a huge analytical challenge. But with the advent of buy buttons, concrete revenue figures can be attached to specific social media messages in a way that hasn’t been possible until now.

Smart devices get more social

Cheap sensors have led to an explosion of smart devices. Everything from home appliances like thermostats, bathroom scales and refrigerators to wearables like fitness bracelets and smart watches are now collecting data and zapping it off wirelessly to the Internet. Lots of these devices are also pushing notifications to Facebook, Twitter and other networks, a trend that will continue in 2015. The question is: Is that a good thing? The prospect of growing legions of washing machines, smoke alarms and Nike FuelBands spitting out Facebook posts isn’t exactly something to get excited about.

The challenge in 2015 becomes how to more intelligently integrate the fast-growing Internet of Things with social media. In short, smart devices need to improve their social intelligence. This might start with tapping users’ social graph – their unique network of friends and followers – in better ways. A very simple example: a smart fridge that tracks your Facebook Events, sees you’re planning a party and how many people have RSVP’d and alerts you to make a beer run. By listening to social media in more sophisticated ways – tracking users’ activities and interactions with friends and followers, then responding accordingly – smart devices stand to get even smarter in the year ahead.

The illusion of social media privacy gives way to the real thing

2014 saw a number of anonymous and ephemeral social networks – Snapchat, Secret, Whisper, Yik Yak and Telegram, to name a few – surge in popularity. Not everyone wants every conversation over social media broadcast to the world, after all. At the same time, savvy users are increasingly aware – and concerned – about ways personal data is being collected and later sold to advertisers, manipulated in tests or accessed by government agencies.

The problem is that few of these “private” networks fulfill their mandates. Snapchat has been hacked, repeatedly, with hundreds of thousands of sensitive – supposedly disappearing – user photos posted on the Internet. And in October, it was revealed that the anonymous network Whisper was actually saving users’ posts and locations and compiling this information in a searchable database. As Venture Beat points out, real anonymity and privacy on the Internet is extremely difficult to achieve. While it’s easy to make promises, it’s nearly impossible to deliver.

But demand for anonymous social media will only get bigger in 2015. In fact, there are signs that even the major players are beginning to acknowledge the issue. In October, Facebook rolled out its new chat app Rooms, which allows users to create chat rooms around shared interests, with no requirement to reveal name or location. Meanwhile in November, Facebook became the first Silicon Valley tech giant to provide official support for Tor, the powerful, open-source anonymizing service – popular among journalists, political dissidents and law enforcement – that allows users to conceal their identity, location and browsing history.

Ryan Holmes is CEO of Hootsuite. Follow him @invoker

Read next: 9 Super Simple Ways to Make Facebook Less Annoying

TIME Music

The 5 Weirdest Things Willow and Jaden Smith Said In That T Interview

Willow Smith, Jaden Smith
From Left: Willow Smith and her brother Jaden Smith arrive at the Roc Nation 2014 Pre-Grammy Brunch Celebration on Jan. 25, 2014 in Los Angeles. Jordan Strauss—Invision/AP

Willow does not believe in time, while Jaden is alarmed by the state of drivers' ed

Willow and Jaden Smith, the progeny of Will and Jada Pinkett Smith, recently sat down with the New York TimesT magazine to talk about their new albums. Mostly, though, they spouted the kind of over-the-top philosophical wisdom that’s recently made Jaden’s Twitter account an endless source of Internet amusement. But, not one to let her brother do all the navel-gazing, Willow — she of “Whip My Hair” fame — also got a little metaphysical. Below are the highlights — read the full interview here.

They make formidable book club members: When asked what they’ve been reading lately, Willow says “quantum physics,” while Jaden says “ancient texts [that] can’t be pre-dated.” Maybe pass on inviting them to your Jonathan Franzen discussion group, then.

Willow is a magical being who can control time even though time is not actually real to her: “I mean, time for me, I can make it go slow or fast, however I please,” she says. “That’s how I know it doesn’t exist.”

Jaden really likes Apple products and also maybe should be kept away from electrical outlets: “Something that’s worth buying to me is like Final Cut Pro or Logic … Anything that you can shock somebody with. The only way to change something is to shock it. If you want your muscles to grow, you have to shock them. If you want society to change, you have to shock them.”

Willow is allegedly 14 in human years but already mourns her infancy: “When they’re in the stomach, [babies are] so aware, putting all their bones together, putting all their ligaments together. But they’re shocked by this harsh world … As they grow up, they start losing.”

Jaden, 16, is very concerned with the state of drivers’ ed: “Think about how many car accidents happen every day,” he says. “Driver’s ed? What’s up? I still haven’t been to driver’s ed because if everybody I know has been in an accident, I can’t see how driver’s ed is really helping them out.”


Read next:

TIME space

Watch Twitter Explode During the Comet Landing

Christopher Nolan’s Interstellar isn’t the only thing getting people excited about space.

On Wednesday, the European Space Agency’s Philae lander made a news breaking touchdown on a comet. The event was unprecedented, and a thrilling result to a $1.3 billion for a 10-year mission.

You can see how Twitter reacted to the mission below.

TIME Companies

Twitter Just Revealed its Big Plans For Next Year

A photo taken in the western French city of Rennes on November 7, 2013 shows an official Twitter account on a smartphone. Damien Meyer—AFP/Getty Images

The social network is working hard to retain new users

Under intense media and investor scrutiny amid slowing user growth, Twitter on Wednesday gave the public a look at its roadmap for the next year, using its first-ever Analyst Day to explain how it intends to add more users who both tweet and consume content on the service.

For new users, Twitter touted recent changes to its onboarding process that make it easier to sign up. Through an upcoming feature called “Instant Timeline,” for example, first-time tweeters will be able to initially pick from categories like sports, television and technology to be automatically shown a feed of interesting tweets and users. Twitter will also better educate new users on the site’s quirky parlance, which is currently complicated enough to necessitate a glossary.

The company also plans to roll out new features to get current users visiting more often. A new “Timeline Highlights” section will display popular tweets that were sent while a user was not on the site and live above Twitter’s traditional chronological list of tweets. Users will also be able to send public tweets to other users in direct messages to discuss privately. Twitter is also planning to introduce more event landing pages, similar to ones used during the World Cup and for NFL football games. Finally, Twitter will soon let users shoot and upload videos from directly within the Twitter app.

In addition to these changes to Twitter proper, the company said it plans to launch more independent apps similar to the microvideo sharing service Vine that Twitter acquired in 2012. Twitter didn’t specify what its standalone apps might do, but rival Facebook has released single-purpose apps for private messaging and group chats, among other features.

To address ongoing criticism of its slowing growth rate, Twitter emphasized its opportunity to better engage with the massive number of people who visit the social network every month without logging in—500 million people in total. The company is offering its top 50,000 hashtags each day to be indexed in search engines, thus enabling all Internet users to peruse Twitter when viewing search results. It will also present more content recommendations to logged-out users who visit the site — someone who stumbles upon Katy Perry’s page, for example, might see links to other pop stars’ profile pages.

The scope and specificity of Twitter’s presentation seemed to please Wall Street, as the company’s stock climbed more than 7% in midday trading Wednesday.

TIME Opinion

Rapper Redfoo Defends Super-Sexist Song

Redfoo poses at Marquee Nightclub on Aug. 12, 2014 in Sydney.
Redfoo poses at Marquee Nightclub on Aug. 12, 2014 in Sydney. Don Arnold—WireImage

Calls it "satire"

Rapper Redfoo, better known as one half of LMFAO, is making waves this week for his involvement in Play-N-Skillz’s new video for “Literally I Can’t.” The Twitter backlash was swift, probably because the music video is one of the most unabashedly sexist videos in recent memory — it’s about mocking a group of (unbelievably stereotyped) sorority girls who show up at a frat house and refuse to do what the frat brothers tell them to do. Redfoo tweeted his response to the entirely predictable anger Monday night, calling the song “satire.”

So why are people so annoyed? Let’s start with the song, which features these lines of timeless beauty:

“While I’m at my motherf*cking table and I’m trying to dance, don’t f*cking talk to me”

“You got a big o’l butt, I can tell from the way you’re walking / but you annoy me, because you’re talking”

“Shhh.. don’t talk about it be about it / work it, and twerk it, and maybe I’ll tweet about it.”

These all occur amid the charming, melodious refrain of “Shut the f*ck up.”

But it gets worse. The whole “plot” of the music video is mocking preppy girls who refuse to drink or do “girl on girl” stuff at a frat party. Every time they’re asked to do something degrading they say “I Literally Can’t,” and that refusal is the central “joke” of the video. Nice one, considering the ongoing conversation about sexual assaults at campus fraternities. You can watch the full video here.

The song is by Play-N-Skillz, but features Redfoo, Lil Jon and Enertia McFly — none of the other associated artists have made public statements about the controversy on Twitter, but Play-N-Skill and Enertia McFly retweeted Redfoo’s attempted justification. But the backlash is building steadily — there’s already a Change.org petition demanding that Australian Channel 7 (home of Australia’s talent show, X Factor, which Redfoo helps to judge) sever ties with Redfoo, and it’s gotten almost 5,000 signatures. And listeners are taking to Twitter to voice their outrage:

Redfoo at first appeared a little defensive on Twitter:

But then attempted to justify the song:

Not buying it, because literally, I can’t.

Read next: Nicki Minaj Apologizes for Video With Nazi Imagery

TIME celebrities

Why Jennifer Lawrence Says She’ll Never Use Twitter

The idea is “unthinkable” to her

Jennifer Lawrence is one of the biggest movie stars in the age of social media, but she’s not a big fan of Facebook or Twitter.

In an interview with BBC Radio One, the actress said she’ll never get a Twitter account. Lawrence said she wasn’t good with phones and struggles to keep up with email, so the idea of Twitter is “unthinkable” to her. She called the social network “a weird enigma that people talk about.”

“If you ever see a Facebook, Instagram or Twitter [account] that says it’s me, it most certainly is not,” Lawrence said, though she does have a verified Facebook Page. Overall, she doesn’t seem to be a big fan of Internet culture: “The Internet has scorned me.”

Earlier this year, nude photos of Lawrence and several other celebrities were stolen and posted online. Following the incident, she told Vanity Fair in September: “It is not a scandal. It is a sex crime. It is a sexual violation. It’s disgusting.”


TIME Innovation

Five Best Ideas of the Day: November 10

The Aspen Institute is an educational and policy studies organization based in Washington, D.C.

1. Food touches everything in our lives. Yet we have no national food policy. That must change.

By Mark Bittman, Michael Pollan, Ricardo Salvador and Olivier De Schutter in the Washington Post

2. Electronic Medical Records should focus more on patient care and less on meeting the needs of insurance companies and billing departments.

By Scott Hensley at National Public Radio

3. Anonymous social media often hosts vicious harassment targeting women and minorities. A new plan to monitor threats online is working for a solution.

By Barbara Herman in International Business Times

4. “You can’t wear a Band-Aid for long, particularly when the wound keeps bleeding.” Two years after Hurricane Sandy, New York is far from stormproof.

By Lilah Raptopoulos in the Guardian

5. China and the U.S. should take aim at a new “grand bargain” to head off tensions and mistrust in their relationship.

By Wei Zongyou in the Diplomat

The Aspen Institute is an educational and policy studies organization based in Washington, D.C.

TIME Ideas hosts the world's leading voices, providing commentary and expertise on the most compelling events in news, society, and culture. We welcome outside contributions. To submit a piece, email ideas@time.com.

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