Twitter users are reporting everywhere that their accounts have been compromised, reports TechCrunch. The tech blog says many users have received emails telling them to change their passwords because their accounts might have been hacked. Although the source of the widespread account hacks is unknown, NPR reports that “several China-based foreign journalists and analysts are reporting an attempted hacking of their Twitter accounts, as China’s Communist Party begins a sensitive meeting that will set in motion a once-a-decade leadership transition.” While it might be a stretch to make a connection to China’s political transition, Twitter hasn’t provided any formal statement as to what caused the widespread Twitter breaches. As a safety precaution, it may be wise to change your Twitter account password. More →
President Barack Obama was re-elected on Tuesday evening after defeating republican candidate Gov. Mitt Romney 303 to 206 and winning an estimated 50% of the popular vote. Shortly after the president’s win was secured, an image was posted from his Twitter account along with the text “Four more years.” According to a report from BuzzFeed, that tweet became the most popular tweet in history after just 22 minutes, amassing a record 226,249 retweets. The post had more than 300,000 retweets after just 45 minutes and more than 635,000 retweets at the time of this writing. Obama’s personal thank you message has been retweeted more than 150,000 times, and The Atlantic reports that his celebration photo is the most liked photo of all time on Facebook with more than 3.1 million likes. More →
Who needs exit polls when you have Twitter and Facebook (FB)? Pew Internet has found that an estimated 22% of all registered voters in the United States have already spilled the beans about whom they supported in the 2012 presidential election. Pew says that roughly 25% of Obama supporters and 20% of Romney supporters have used either Twitter or Facebook to tell others about their votes. Broken down by age group, 29% of registered voters under the age of 50 used social media to broadcast their votes while just 17% of voters 50 years or older did the same. People desperate for Election Day predictions shouldn’t read too much into this result, however, as Pew says that its findings in this case are statistically insignificant for projecting final vote counts.
Twitter seems set to directly take on Instagram. The New York Times is reporting that the social network with over 500 million active users will soon be targeting Facebook’s (FB) Instagram with photo filters of its own. The report states Twitter plans to update its mobile apps to allow users to bypass Instagram and get straight to editing photos before they share them with their followers. More →
Twitter is reportedly mulling over creating its own video hosting service, unnamed sources have told AllThingsD. The addition of a home-grown video hosting solution would further cement Twitter as a content company as opposed to a channel for quick-fire communication. The social network has already moved to allowing photos to be immediately uploaded on its own servers, so allowing videos next would be a logical next step. The only difference between hosting photos and video is that the latter would require much more bandwidth, which could prove challenging if Twitter doesn’t have the proper infrastructure to support it.
Facebook’s (FB) newly acquired Instagram is growing like crazy. According the latest comScore research, Instagram pulled in 7.3 million active users per day on mobile compared to Twitter’s 6.9 million during the month of August. Not only that, but comScore found that Instagram users were actually engaging with photos longer than they were doing so with tweets. The research shows that the average Instagram user spent about 257 minutes browsing and using the service versus the 170 minutes spent on Twitter last month. More →
In a panel held at Buzzfeed’s headquarters, Twitter co-founder Evan Williams shared his view about how the follower count might not be all that important after all. As the social network sees more accounts attempt to buy their Twitter influence, Williams says that it’s possible the social network service might move away from measuring how many followers a user has and replacing it with metrics based on how many views a tweet receives. ”The thing I think would be more interesting than followers is… retweets,” says Williams. The Twitter board member went on to say that follower counts “don’t capture your distribution. Not only would an emphasis on how many times a tweet’s been read provide greater accuracy for influence outreach, but it would also stifle all the high percentage of spam accounts that Twitter sees.
Charlie Miller, the security expert who made his name exposing major security flaws in Apple’s (AAPL) iOS mobile operating system, has been hired by Twitter to make sure his fellow hackers don’t uncover similar gaping flaws in its own social networking site. Miller told Forbes in a phone interview that “he couldn’t offer any information on exactly what he’ll be doing at Twitter,” although the publication speculates that he will be a “full-time penetration tester to probe the service for hackable vulnerabilities and help fix them.” Miller was last seen over the summer giving Google (GOOG) software engineers ulcers when he successfully used NFC connectivity to push malicious code onto Android devices. More →
MacBook Pro with Retina display owners might want to start looking for a new Twitter client because word on the block is that the company is ending development for its official Mac app. “Twitter for Mac is done. They won’t kill it outright, but no further updates,” according to confirmations from TechCrunch and its columnist MG Sielger. Last updated in June 2011, the official Mac Twitter app has been in dire need of an update to support new Retina-equipped MacBook Pro notebooks. In recent months, Twitter has been criticized for instating new API restrictions that prevent third-party apps from syndicating Twitter data — Wired has an excellent write-up on the ramifications of Twitter’s new API changes. With Twitter’s new restrictions and the possible end to its clean and minimalist Mac app, what will take its place? More →
Companies desperate to raise their social media profiles and lonely shut-ins looking to have more connections online can now pay just $18 to get 1,000 fake accounts to follow their musings on Twitter. Network World reports on a new study from Barracuda Labs showing that the average Twitter “dealer” has around 150,000 individual fake accounts at their disposal that they can use to quickly boost a person or company’s social media status. Obviously, Twitter doesn’t want to see its social network overrun with bots and is always vigilant about trying to take fake accounts down. But given that fake accounts are incredibly easy to set up and automate, Twitter may have a difficult time keeping bots off its platform for the foreseeable future. More →
Facebook is a fantastic tool for keeping in touch with friends and family, and Twitter lets users share all kinds of information with their followers. These giant social networks are also packed full of information that advertisers trip over themselves to take advantage of, but another group is looking to make use of the social sites and others. The U.S. Department of State issued a procurement request earlier this month seeking tools that can provide “deep analysis of topics, conversations, networks, and influencers of the global social web,” New Scientist reported. The government agency will accept bids from interested companies that can build such tools, and they will be used to monitor conversations in at least seven different languages in an effort to identify potential security threats. New Scientist notes that the military can already monitor sites like Facebook and Twitter with a Lockheed Martin-built tool called the Web Information Spread Data Operations Module, or WISDOM. More →
A number of politicians have found themselves in hot water over the years following inappropriate or even vulgar messages posted to Twitter. Now, thanks to a new service called Poliwoops, politicians in the U.S. will find it even more difficult to hide from their tweets. Created by the Sunlight Foundation, Politweets follows a number of government officials and exposes any tweet they post and then delete, whether it is deleted immediately or even days after being posted. More →
Social networks like Facebook and Twitter are become focal points of our digital lives, and just as they did with email and other popular digital technologies, spammers are looking to capitalize. According to Mark Risher, chief executive officer of anti-spam software company Impermium, spammers are responsible for creating as much as 40% of the accounts on popular social media sites like Facebook and Twitter. “Social spam can be a lot more effective than e-mail spam,” Risher told Bloomberg Businessweek in a recent interview. “The bad guys are taking to this with great abandon.” Roughly 8% of messages sent on social networks are spam according to Risher, and that figure has doubled in the past six months, the spam expert estimates. Businessweek notes that companies like Twitter and Facebook are beginning to increase their efforts to quell spam, having recently sued several perpetrators and increased their respective investments in anti-spam personnel and resources. More →