Study finds many black and Latino workers toil in the tech scene's "invisible" workforce of cooks, cleaners and guards
A new report on the diversity of Silicon Valley’s workforce has found a preponderance of black and Latino workers relegated to the bottom rungs of the pay ladder.
Working Partnerships USA released a report on Tuesday that drew attention to an “invisible” legion of contracted workers who cook, clean and guard corporate campuses throughout the Valley.
While black and Latino workers comprise less than 5% of the workforce at prominent companies such as Twitter, Facebook, eBay and Google, their representation balloons to 41% among security guards and 75% among groundskeepers, according to employment data released by the companies and Santa Clara county.
Members of this contracted workforce make an average hourly wage of $11 to $14 an hour, or less than a fifth of the average software developer, the study found.
“These ‘invisible’ workers do not share in the success of the industry which they daily labor to keep running,” the study’s authors wrote. “As contracted workers, their employer of record is not Google or Apple, but a middleman, making them ineligible for most of the benefits and amenities offered on the campuses where they work.”
A growing number of tech companies have voluntarily released employment statistics as part of an effort to address gaps in diversity. “As CEO, I’m not satisfied with the numbers on this page,” Apple CEO Tim Cook wrote in a statement accompanying Apple’s release. ‘We’ve been working hard for quite some time to improve them.”
One very qualified observer weighs in
This post is in partnership with Fortune, which offers the latest business and finance news. Read the article below originally published at Fortune.com.
“The interview is vintage Horace,” writes Jackson. “So much to think about in so few words.”
A few excerpts:
- On sapphire: “I expect Sapphire will become a signature feature across many products. I don’t know if they will have capacity to deploy on iPhone this year but on a watch it’s essential… It’s a significant material because it allows design freedom in new directions, especially curved (concave) touch surfaces that retain a jewel-like feel. This has Jony Ive [written] all over it.”
- On prices: “I think Apple holds a black belt in pricing. They seem to define their position in the market by anchoring certain prices and ‘owning’ them… The average selling price (ASP) I expect to remain constant on a year-long average.”
- On the ‘iWatch’: “I will be shocked to the core if it does not run iOS. It is my opinion that making iOS work on it is the entire reason Apple is sweating this segment. They are in it because they are trying to make a platform product with a novel user experience and all the power of an ecosystem run on a wrist.”
For the rest of the story, please go to Fortune.com.
That’s how it feels sometimes when you find just the right Twitter tool. And there’s a tool for practically every desire or whim.
Tools for productivity, for efficiency, for research, and so much more. With such a generous API, Twitter tools have become legion—and we social sharers are better off for it.
At Buffer, we tend to come across a fair share of social media tools. We’ve collected a great bunch to share with you! Here are all the tools we’ve found helpful and many more that we’re excited to try. If there’s a free Twitter tool out there, you’re likely to find a mention here in our list.
(If we missed any good free Twitter tools, let us know in the comments!)
The big list of 59 free Twitter tools for marketers
Navigate this list fast
Looking for something in particular? Try clicking one of these categories:
Twitter Tools for Analytics
1. My Top Tweet: Your Top 10 list of tweets
Find anyone’s Top 10 tweets, ordered by engagement.
2. Wildfire: Follower growth analysis
Compare your follower growth to your competitors’s follower growth. Simple, helpful, enlightening.
3. SocialBro: Analytics, optimization, and more
A nearly all-in-one platform for all things Twitter. The free plan comes with analytics, best time to tweet, follow/unfollow tools, and community segmentation.
4. Riffle: Data visualizations for any Twitter user
This browser plugin reveals vast insights into any Twitter user you choose. Discover statistics, popular hashtags, most shared links, connected profiles, and much more.
5. Twitonomy: Detailed analytics on users and tweets
A dashboard of analytics for whichever Twitter user you choose (even yours). Analyzes profiles, tweets, engagement, and more.
6. Klout: Twitter scores
Track your influencer score (on a scale of 1-100) and use the Klout dashboard to create and schedule new tweets.
7. SumAll: Email reports for Twitter stats
Sync your Twitter to SumAll, and start seeing daily or weekly emails on how your followers are growing, your mentions, and your engagement.
8. SocialRank: Follower analysis to find your most awesome fans
Receive a sorted list of your best followers, most influential followers, and most engaged followers. Useful to track the important people to engage with on Twitter.
9. Twtrland: A Twitter resume
Plug in your Twitter account to see a snapshot of who you follow, which demographics you fit, who’s in your close network, and more.
10. Bluenod: Community visualization
Type in a user or hashtag and see a detailed map or visualization about the community around the user or the people using the hashtag.
Twitter Tools for Chats
11. Beatstrap: Team liveblogging
Cover live news, sports, and events through Twitter, via hashtags, and collaborate with your team on the coverage. Completed “Beats” come with an embed code.
12. TweetChat: Twitter chat management
Log in to follow a specific hashtag, hang out in a room that collects the hashtagged tweets for you, and reply as you like (with the hashtag added automatically to your tweet).
13. Chat Salad: A calendar of Twitter chats
See upcoming Twitter chats and when they’re scheduled, as well as the hashtags they use (so you can follow along).
14. Twubs: Twitter chat homepages
Register a hashtag for your chat and collect/view the tweets from one location.
15. Nurph: Chat planning and organizing
Nurph channels let you plan and organize your chat, complete with follow-up stats and replays.
16. TwChat: Real-time chat rooms for Twitter chats
Submit your hashtag. Enter your chat room. Have fun!
Twitter Tools for Discovering Fresh Content and Fun Users
17. BuzzSumo: Find influencers, topic-by-topic
Type in a keyword to see which voices get the most shares on Twitter. Find influencers, sniff out headline ideas, and learn what works on Twitter and who’s working it.
18. Nuzzel: Discover what your friends are reading
As described by Twitter’s Joanna Geary, “find out what’s trending among the people the people you follow follow.” Make sense? Translation: Content discovery from friends and friend of friends.
19. Swayy: What your followers are interested in
See the content that your followers recommend plus the topics they most enjoy. View it all via the dashboard or from a daily email digest.
20. Twipho: Searchable Twitter feed of photos
Search by keyword or by location to find photos shared on Twitter.
21. Sonar Solo: Discover keyword-related content
Search any topic to see a visualization of the related topics, trends, and Twitter profiles connected to your search.
22. Topsy: A search engine for social
The most recent and most relevant tweets (and other social updates) based on a keyword search. Also shows keyword volume, sentiment score, and other analytics.
23. Digg Deeper: The best stories from your friends
An algorithmic display of the top articles and links that your Twitter followees have shared. Pair with News.me: a daily email newsletter of what your friends share on Twitter.
24. The Latest: A museum for the day’s best Twitter links
A real-time, constantly updated list of the most interesting links on Twitter, culled from the accounts of interesting people
Twitter Tools for Following & Unfollowing
25. ManageFlitter: Follow/unfollow in bulk
Segment your followers according to a number of factors: last tweet, follower count, location, language and whether or not they follow you back.
26. Tweepi: Tidy up who you follow
Cleanup inactive follows, flush those who don’t follow back, and reciprocate someone else’s follow—all done in bulk and with a few clicks of a checkbox.
27. Unfollowers: In-depth follow/unfollow
Get a complete breakdown of those you follow, and unfollow with ease.
28. DoesFollow: See who follows whom
Does A follow B? Does Bill Gates follow Skrillex? Does Guy Kawasaki follow Jay Baer?
Twitter Tools for Hashtags
29. Hashtagify.me: Complete analytics into any hashtag
Enter a hashtag to discover related tags, recent conversations, usage patterns, and influencers.
30. Rite tag: Hashtag recommender
Plug in a hashtag and see feedback on the tag’s reach and popularity as well as suggestions for some alternatives to try. Complete with pretty colors to see at-a-glance which hashtags are best.
31. Seen: Hashtag-based curation
Collect the media that was shared with a certain hashtag, then rank the results. Share your curation with friends and followers.
Twitter Tools for Mentions & Monitoring
32. Keyhole: LIke Google Alerts for Twitter
Ask Keyhole to notify you whenever a particular keyword, hashtag, or URL is mentioned. Helpful to track mentions of your own name or your company’s blog or campaign.
33. The One Million Tweetmap: Geolocated, real-time tweet monitoring
Track and follow keywords as they’re tweeted in real-time and at real places. Zoom in to a geotargeted area for super fine results.
34. Twilert: Real-time email alerts for keywords
Track keywords on Twitter and receive an email notification every time they’re mentioned. Great for keeping an eye on company names, new products, and branded hashtags.
35. Mention: Monitor your mentions
A listening tool for keeping up with all your mentions on Twitter. Tracks, analyzes, and displays any number of keywords via the Mention dashboard or via email digests.
36. MentionMapp: The web of you and those you mention
Get a visualization map of you and all the people you mention (and they people they mention).
37. Twazzup: Real-time keyword monitoring
Search and track any keyword, username, or hashtag. See a results page full of relevant tweets, user accounts, and influencers.
Twitter Tools for Scheduling Tweets
38. Buffer: Schedule your tweets (plus a whole lot more)
Simple social media management. Fill a queue of tweets, analyze their performance, and find new, hand-picked stories to share.
39. Tweet4me: Scheduled tweets via DM
Send a direct message to the Tweet4me account, use shorthand and prefixes to denote when to share, and let Tweet4me schedule and send the tweet for you.
Twitter Tools for Timing
40. Followerwonk: Search Twitter bios and analyze your followers
Every analysis imaginable for your Twitter feed, your profile, your followers, and your competitors.
41. Tweriod: Find the best times to tweet
Tweriod analyzes the tweets you send and your followers’s tweets to find the optimal time for engagement.
Twitter Tools for Trending Topics
42. Trends24: Detailed breakdowns of trending terms
See trending terms from the last—you guessed it—24 hours, broken out hour-by-hour and country-by-country. Enlightening for social media campaigns and geographic/timing research.
43. Trendsmap: Monitoring for local Twitter trends
A zoomable map that shows popular hashtags and terms from anywhere in the world with easy-click buttons to hone in on My City, My Region, and more.
44. iTrended: Did it trend?
Search the past 15 days to find whether certain keywords trended or not.
Top Twitter Clients
45. Tweetdeck: The king of Twitter clients
Via the app or the web, stay on top of your Twitter stream with Tweetdeck’s organization and tracking tools. Split your stream into segmented columns to stay engaged with what’s important.
46. YoruFukurou – Twitter client
A native Twitter client for Mac OS X. Dashboard views of incoming tweets, lists, and searches, split across multiple tabs. Comes highly recommended from Kottke.org.
47. Happy Friends: Mailbox-type reader
Pick the friends you want to hear from. Never miss their tweets. View all their activity via an inbox-style layout with nested updates.
Miscellaneous Twitter Tools
48. TW Birthday: Dig up the date someone joined Twitter (even if they won’t say)
For those who omit the “date joined” on their profile, there’s still a way to discover it. See how long your new favorite follow has been tweeting or when a new profile officially landed.
49. Bio is Changed: be alerted when someone changes their Twitter bio (good for job moves)
Rather self-descriptive, this tool updates you when someone changes their Twitter bio. Useful if you’d like to track job moves and major news or even to learn from how people craft unique Twitter bios.
50. Like Explorer: See shares per article
Type in a URL. See the share numbers. Simple.
51. Tweet Beat: List management
A powerful tool for managing your Twitter lists—adding, removing, discovering, and sharing.
Connect multiple apps in unique ways to your Twitter account. For example, post your Instagram pictures as native Twitter photos.
54. Be Present: Track how fast you respond on Twitter
Real-time reports on your response time, response rate, and performance based on industry benchmarks. Also, really pretty to look at.
55. SavePublishing: Tweetable snippets on any website
Install the bookmarklet, and you can reveal any tweetable sentences (140 characters or fewer) from any article.
56. Tweekly: Once-a-week email of tweets you care about
Tell Tweekly which Twitter account you want to hear from, Tweekly pulls all their tweets and emails you weekly.
57. GroupTweet: Collaborate with teammates on one account
Let your teammates and coworkers share to the same account automatically with zero password-sharing. GroupTweet can even append usernames on to the end of individual tweets.
58. Storify: Beautiful Twitter storytelling
Grab any number of tweets and media elements, and place them all into a Storify collection that you can embed and share anywhere.
59. Tweet Topic Explorer: A word cloud per user
Discover the most-used words of any user you choose (even you).
- Twitter UK head of news Joanna Geary put together a Twitter collection of tools.
- Tim Carmody at Kottke.org shared a few of his favorite Twitter tools, too.
- A few great suggestions from some Twitter friends of mine.
- Our big list of 61 social media tools for small businesses.
- Our 29 free marketing tools.
What are your go-to Twitter tools?
Which tools are must-haves for you with your Twitter experience?
Which Twitter tools have you already used today?
My mornings always start with a read of News.me (the email version of Digg Deeper) and a dip into Buffer to check some stats. I spend most of my Twitter time replying to others directly from the native web app. In the evenings, I’ll grab some content suggestions from Buffer, Swayy, BuzzSumo, and a couple others and fill the Twitter queue for the next day.
I’d love to hear about your favorite Twitter tools in the comments!
This post originally appeared on Buffer
Google hasn't yet commented on the strange thing happening to its image search function
Updated 2:14 p.m.
People searching Google Images Tuesday morning noticed an apparent glitch in the system: Innocuous searches were resulting in repeated images of a car accident, alongside intermittent pictures of NBA star Kevin Durant.
Here’s what happened as of 9 a.m. when we Googled the word “puppy”:
Numerous social media reports claim that the issue was ongoing for hours:
A Google spokesperson said Tuesday afternoon the issue had been fixed, but did not clarify the root of the problem.
Concerned searchers on Google’s own support forums traced the jarring image of the car accident to a Ukrainian news site reporting on a deadly crash that took the lives of three people (warning: the site features some grislier images of the wreck).
Some users on a related Reddit chain say that images of Kevin Durant have also been thrown in the mix. Canadian Redditor Acrantrad posted the following image that appears after unrelated Google Image searches.
People on Google’s product forum claim that South America has been impacted, as well.
The New York attorney general is seeking those who “flagrantly" misused the online platform
Airbnb has announced that it is handing over the personal information of 124 past and present hosts to the New York attorney general.
The online accommodation company said on Friday that the vast majority of the hosts were no longer on its site and the total is “far less than 1%” of its hosting community in the Big Apple.
“Nothing about these hosting profiles suggests [the attorney general] is after anyone but individuals who may be flagrantly misusing our platform,” said David Hantman, head of global policy for Airbnb, in a blog post on Friday.
The New York City battle for user information began last year. Attorney general Eric Schneiderman sent the first subpoena in October, requesting data on Airbnb’s hosts for the previous three years. Airbnb resisted but also reiterated its commitment to cooperate with authorities and eliminate illegal hotels and guesthouses. The San Francisco–based company then wiped out more than 2,000 listings in April.
The recent release of personal data followed the New York attorney general’s second subpoena for hosts’ information in May. Airbnb agreed to hand over “anonymized data” for about 16,000 hosts in New York. The office of the attorney general would then have a year to review the information and draft a list of individuals who are subject to further investigation. This means it’s possible that additional requests for user information are made in the months to come.
Airbnb says it has already contacted the 124 hosts concerned about the matter.
Amazon VP of games Michael Frazzini and Twitch CEO Emmett Shear talk about Monday's surprise high-price acquisition and what it means for the popular game-streaming service going forward.
The rumor mill got it wrong.
Twitch, an online service that lets people watch other people play video games, was supposed to go into the arms of Google. That was the received wisdom until late Monday afternoon anyway, when Amazon capsized expectations and announced it would pay $970 million for the fledgling company, an amount said to be less than what Google was offering (the rumor mill pegged that amount at around $1 billion, though never backed it up), but an enormous sum by any measure. It also the most Amazon’s paid for any company to date.
Why the heck would the world’s largest e-tailer–in the news more these days for its consumer electronics and apparent hopes to conquer time and space by deploying fleets of personalized delivery drones–buy a games-streaming startup? This is where knowing a little about Twitch helps.
These days everyone has big numbers, but this one’s genuinely impressive: Twitch says it had 55 million unique visitors to its site in July 2014 alone, and all of those visitors eyeballed over 15 billion minutes of games-related content. The number of people generating all that content? One million, says Twitch, comprising an audience of amateur and pro gamers, game publishers and studios, video game news sites and eSports-related events (eSports being the term gamers call video games played in professional matches). All sorts, in other words, from content creators and consumers to critics and video gaming “athletes.”
Here’s another way to look at it: the Wall Street Journal reported in February that Twitch accounted for nearly 2% of peak Internet traffic in the U.S., or fourth overall during peak hours. The only three companies that scored higher were Apple (4.3%), Google (22%) and Netflix (32%). Think about that for a minute: Twitch, a company that arrived in 2011, accounted for more peak U.S. traffic in February than Facebook.
But why Amazon of all companies? When I put the question to Twitch CEO Emmett Shear Monday night, he said it came down to two words: like minds.
“Talking to Mike [Frazzini, VP of Amazon Games] along the way, it really became clear that we have a shared vision for the gaming industry. We see the same trends in the same space,” said Shear. “And it’s also their culture. Amazon thinks about problems and solving those problems in the same way we do at Twitch. They think about how you can build things for customers, and how to do that in the long run.”
That sense of philosophical camaraderie over the course of multiple meetings culminated in formal negotiations, said Shear.
“One of the things I was really impressed by during the deal discussions was Amazon’s commitment to making Twitch a fully-owned subsidiary, which means I get to remain the CEO, we keep our office, we keep our culture, we keep our strategy,” said Shear. “But we get access to all of these resources and products that Amazon has that’ll let us do all of that better and faster.”
Amazon, for its part, looks less like an outlier and more like a natural home for a gaming-centric service like Twitch when you add up its recent moves. Where rivals like Apple and Google still hold gaming at arm’s length, building platforms and ecosystems to lure third party creators in lieu of crafting first-party content, Amazon’s been quietly cultivating its own gaming stable, edging step by step more toward the sort of holistic approach a Sony or Microsoft or Nintendo might take in securing ownership of both the hardware and software ends of the bargain.
When I asked Frazzini if Amazon paying beaucoup bucks for an enthusiast-angled video game operation is further evidence that Amazon intends to square off directly with gaming’s 800-pound gorillas, though, he was quick to couch the move as strictly consumer-driven.
“I was never, like, ‘How does this, that or the other company do it, and maybe we should,'” said Frazzini. “I’ve always thought about it in much simpler terms, through the lens of the customer experience and what we wanted to create, where we thought we could built inventive new experiences that would resonate. That’s been the driving motivation. If you look at Amazon fairly high-level, what you end up with is, we have a commerce business, and games are a very important part of the commerce business.”
Amazon loves people who buy games through Amazon, said Frazzini, because gamers tend to come back and buy all sorts of other things. But it’s also about more than consumers, he said, talking about the importance of catering to the sort of premium content developers the company’s been wooing with its cloud-focused Amazon Web Services model–which is just another way of saying Amazon’s Twitch purchase is (at least in part) about growing its gaming cred.
Consider Amazon’s two most recent games-related acquisitions: Amazon bought developer Double Helix Games in February, a studio known for the survival horror game Silent Hill: Homecoming as well as its work on a revitalized version of Killer Instinct, an arcade-style fighting game for Microsoft’s Xbox One. And in April, Amazon rolled out Fire TV, a $99 set-top box that not only plays high-fidelity games, but supports them with an optional gamepad–one a traditional console- or PC-gamer wouldn’t be embarrassed to wield.
“I think it’s fairly safe to say at this point that on anything with a screen, games are the number one or two activity,” said Frazzini. “Obviously if we’re going to be in the devices business, we have to be thinking hard about games. And at the center of that is the customer experience, which is what’s so interesting about Twitch for us. Twitch has that same point of view. They think long term. They think a lot about invention.”
Frazzini is naturally effusive when talking about Twitch’s accomplishments since the service’s debut in 2011, going on to call it “just the beginning” of a process that’s about anticipating “where games are going.” Clearly Amazon sees that destination as more than another overloaded app store or slew of iterative mobile devices. Put another way, no one spends close to $1 billion on a gaming service whose most vocal proponents identify as core gamers if they aren’t serious about wooing and winning them over.
The acquisition makes even more sense when you think about services like Amazon Instant Video. Amazon’s been in the video-on-demand business since 2006, and with its recent shift to an all-you-can-eat Amazon Prime streaming video model, whereby Prime members gain access to scads of video content (including the company’s coup-of-coups exclusive deal with HBO) for a Netflix-ian flat fee, capturing new eyeballs by adding a service like Twitch fits hand-in-glove with the company’s ostensible goals. And think of what else the purchase buys Amazon in terms of new eyeballs: Twitch is already an entrenched and critical presence on both Sony’s PlayStation 4 and Microsoft’s Xbox One.
And for those worried that Amazon’s purchase could somehow harm or curtail the house Twitch built, it’s not clear yet what the actual relationship between Amazon and Twitch will be, but Twitch’s Shear said the most immediate benefits (for Twitch, and thereby its user base) translate as exponentially greater scalability.
“This year we spent a huge amount of money growing our network footprint, and I hope that next year we can spend three times as much money or just leverage some of the network footprint Amazon already has,” said Shear. “Now we can move into locations Amazon already has servers. And that alone is super exciting to me.”
On Monday, Governor Jerry Brown signed a bill that is the first of its kind in the nation
Updated at 7:15 p.m. ET
California Governor Jerry Brown signed historic legislation Monday, mandating that every smartphone sold in California after July 1, 2015, be equipped by default with a kill switch, a feature that can render the device useless if stolen.
Proposed by state senator Mark Leno and endorsed by a bevy of law-enforcement officials, the new law — the first of its kind in the nation — is designed to curb cell-phone theft in cities like San Francisco, where more than 65% of all robberies involve stolen phones, or Oakland, where it’s 75%.
“California has just put smartphone thieves on notice,” Leno said in a statement. “Starting next year, all smartphones sold in California, and most likely every other state in the union, will come equipped with theft deterrent technology when they purchase new phones. Our efforts will effectively wipe out the incentive to steal smartphones and curb this crime of convenience, which is fueling street crime and violence within our communities.”
Leno, a San Francisco–area Democrat, and other proponents of the kill switch have argued that if manufacturers are obliged to make these changes for the most populous state in the nation, they’re more likely to alter all devices, in anticipation of similar legislation in other states.
Many of the biggest telecommunication companies, such as Apple, Google and Samsung, agreed earlier this year to voluntarily add kill-switch capability on phones after July 1 of next year. However, the companies did not agree to enable the kill switch by default, so much as make it available as a feature. “The bill requires theft-deterrent technology to come standard on all smartphones sold in California, a departure from the status quo where consumers are required to seek out and enable the technology,” Leno’s office said.
The law will apply to all phones sold to consumers online or in physical stores in California, regardless of where the phones are manufactured. The law does not specify exactly how manufacturers must implement the kill switch, though it must allow a phone owner to remotely “brick” their phone and erase data, as well as turn the phone back on if it should be misplaced instead of stolen.
Officials like Leno have said they’re more interested in seeing the system implemented than dictating precisely how it works.
San Francisco district attorney George Gascón, also a proponent of the bill, previously asserted that carriers and manufacturers were reluctant to install the switches because it could encroach on the lucrative $7 billion phone-insurance market. A wireless association that represents major carriers like AT&T and Sprint, known as CTIA, has said hesitance was due to security concerns, like the potential for phones to be killed by hackers.
On Monday, CTIA said in a statement that their members have already gone to great lengths to protect smartphone users, citing actions like the voluntary agreement made earlier this year, as well as education campaigns. And the association insinuated that such mandated changes may yield costs that are passed onto wireless consumers.
“Today’s action was unnecessary given the breadth of action the industry has taken,” said CTIA vice president Jamie Hastings. “Uniformity in the wireless industry created tremendous benefits for wireless consumers, including lower costs and phenomenal innovation. State-by-state technology mandates, such as this one, stifle those benefits and are detrimental to wireless consumers.”
Advocates like Gascón, however, believe that this is a first step toward a new kind of uniformity. “This epidemic has impacted millions across the nation and millions more around the globe,” he said. “But today we turn the page,” he said in a statement. “Seldom can a public safety crisis be addressed by a technological solution, but today wireless consumers everywhere can breathe a sigh of relief.”
Google had been widely expected to acquire Twitch before today's announcement
Amazon has agreed to buy video game live-streaming website Twitch for $970 million, the companies announced Monday.
Twitch has become a popular online destination for video game players, who use the website to stream live gameplay of titles across a variety of consoles and formats. More than 55 million unique visitors viewed content generated by more than 1 million broadcasters on the site in July 2014.
It had been widely reported that Google was in talks to buy Twitch for about $1 billion, until Amazon’s surprise announcement. “We chose Amazon because they believe in our community, they share our values and long-term vision, and they want to help us get there faster,” said Twitch CEO Emmett Shear in a statement. Twitch will continue to operate as an independent brand from Amazon, he said.
The acquisition is the latest sign that Amazon is serious about becoming a big player in the worlds of both gaming and online video. The retail giant snapped up the video game developer Double Helix Games earlier this year, and the company’s new set-top box, the Amazon Fire TV, boasts a bevy of Android-based games and a traditional video game controller as a main selling point.
“Like Twitch, we obsess over customers and like to think differently, and we look forward to learning from them and helping them move even faster to build new services for the gaming community,” Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos said in a statement.
More important than gaming though will be the foothold Twitch grants Amazon in the world of online video. As a rapidly growing video site that has generated more web traffic than Facebook and Hulu in past months, Twitch will give Amazon greater scale to compete for ad dollars with the Google-owned YouTube, the world’s biggest online video destination by far. Amazon has already been experimenting with pre-roll ads for episodes of some of its original shows. Now the company will have access to millions of additional video watchers between the ages of 18 to 34, a highly coveted demographic on Madison Avenue. “This is really interesting addition and a way to bring Amazon’s brand to that community in a way that they really haven’t been able to before,” says Brian Blau, research director at Gartner.
For Twitch, the purchase is proof that courting a niche demographic can pay off. Twitch began in 2011 as an offshoot of Justin.tv, a more broadly focused live-streaming platform. Shear and his colleagues realized that people were using Justin.tv to livestream gameplay of hits like StarCraft 2. “Watching and sharing in that experience is as much a part of video games as playing is,” Shear told TIME earlier this year. He was proven right—Twitch is now one of the biggest sites on the Web and Justin.tv shut down earlier this month.
But Twitch’s ambitions likely extend beyond gaming. This summer the company began experimenting with live streams of music concerts. Amazon’s long-term aim, Blau says, could be to develop Twitch into a “live version of YouTube.” Such an evolution, though, would require buy-in from Twitch’s fickle user base of passionate gamers.
Facebook is making changes to your News Feed to make it less annoying
The era of clickbait may be coming to an end. Facebook says it’s taking steps to keep the hyperbolic headlines—about the unbelievable, amazing, overly-sentimental news that will restore your faith in humanity and leave you literally crying—out of your News Feed.
The problem with these kinds of stories is that they work—they tend to draw a lot of clicks and thus appear prominently in users’ News Feeds—but they rarely deliver meaningful content to live up to the headline in the first place, according to a blog post written by Facebook research scientist Khalid El-Arini and product specialist Joyce Tang. The social networking giant’s own survey says that 80% of users would prefer to have enough information to decide whether they’d read an article before clicking through.
So to identify and weed out clickbait (and to keep users coming back to the site), Facebook is evaluating News Feed content on two criteria. The first is reading time—if users are all clicking on a link and immediately returning back to Facebook, the story probably didn’t deliver on the promise of its headline. The second metric is engagement—if Facebook users are all clicking on a link without commenting, sharing or liking it, the story probably is low on substance.
The site will also prioritize articles that are shared as links, rather than as photos with with URLS tucked into a caption—a method of sharing that lets users and publications to draw clicks with less information and potentially misleading photos that aren’t actually in the story.
These changes will help Facebook turn its News Feed into a more enriching a experience: a place to catch up on well-reported news stories, expand horizons with insightful op-eds, stalk exes and find out which high school classmate is having a baby.