Social Feed: Fake tweets, more Facebook Stories, and required hashtags

Social media is a fluid technology — nearly every day, the major social media networks are announcing a big change, coming under fire for the latest controversy or moving forward in smaller ways. Social Feed is a collection of those smaller changes that you may have missed with this week’s biggest news — like the shooting at YouTube’s headquarters, Reddit’s redesign, Snaphat’s new tools and Messenger’s 360 photo update (not to mention Facebook’s rough week of data policy changes and third-party app access). Find Social Feed every weekend for the latest social news tidbits.

Twitter responds to fake tweets after YouTube headquarters shooting

Twitter’s short, immediate nature makes breaking news a significant part of the network — but what happens when that news is wrong? After a string of inaccurate and hoax tweets following the shooting at YouTube’s headquarters, Twitter decided to shed some light on just how the platform treats those false tweets. The company stresses that “Twitter should not be the arbiter of truth” — or in other words, Twitter doesn’t want the responsibility of determining what to publish. But while Twitter won’t remove every false tweet, a number of hoaxes violate the company’s policies in other ways. Twitter says that tweets can be removed (and accounts suspended) for tweets that harass, incite fear, misrepresent a person, violate spam rules, or if they come from a user that created another account because theirs was suspended. 

Outside of removing tweets that violate the rules, Twitter says they also work to promote tweets from reputable sources during breaking news events. The company says, however, that it is continuing to explore additional options.

Facebook is pushing for more Stories with three tested features

Facebook won’t say just how many users actually use the Stories feature, but the social giant is determined to make the format grow with three new features, currently in testing. Facebook recently confirmed tests for a handful of new Stories options. One opens up the camera first instead of a text post default when tapping to compose a new post from a smartphone. Another automatically selects the option to share photos to a story, while the third uses large previews instead of the user’s profile picture to entice more views.

Twitter says the decline in account suspensions shows platform is ‘undesirable place for those seeking to promote terrorism’

Twitter is suspending fewer terrorist accounts, according to the network’s latest transparency report. It is the second time those numbers have fallen, and Twitter says it shows the network is becoming a less-desirable spot for terrorists. While the number of suspensions has dropped, Twitter now says 74 percent of the suspended accounts were removed before they even got the change to tweet. Around 93 percent of those users are flagged by Twitter tools, not user flags, the company says.

Snapchat is now facing a lawsuit from Blackberry too

Snapchat is known for the disappearing messages — but Blackberry is claiming that both the ephemeral messaging and Snap Map infringes on its patents. The lawsuit claims Snap Inc. is violating six patents, all from between 2012 and 2014. Blackberry is also suing Facebook, WhatsApp, and Instagram over patent infringement.

Giphy is back — with more moderation

Both Snapchat and Instagram pulled the built-in GIF search powered by Giphy after a user pointed out a racist GIF. Now both platforms have reinstated the GIF library after the platform added more moderation. The company says it went through the GIF library several times and added tools to watch for new uploads for GIFs that violate Giphy’s terms that prohibit vulgar content.

Facebook aims for more realistic virtual reality

Users inside Facebook Spaces, the VR platform, can now create avatars that don’t like quite so much like a ’90s cartoon. Avatars inside Facebook got a makeover this week, with more customizations and characters designed to be more three-dimensional. The avatars different features can be adjusted to look more like you than the standard, including a new option to adjust body shape.

LinkedIn test makes hashtags a requirement

You either love hashtags or hate them — but LinkedIn appears to be testing an update that would require a hashtag on posts inside the professionally focused social network. After users that are part of the test shared screenshots, LinkedIn Help confirmed that the feature is a small test “to help members discover and join relevant conversations.”


Think iPhones can’t get viruses? Our expert explains why it could happen

If your iPhone has been acting strangely, then you may be concerned about the possibility it is infected with a virus or some malware. We take a look at just how likely that is and explain why iOS is considered relatively safe.
Social Media

Facebook Messenger adds quoted replies to better organize group chats

Facebook is rolling out a feature that should help make group chats a whole lot more organized. The feature allows you to reply to specific messages within a group chat, so others will be able to tell what you're replying to.
Social Media

New Zealand attack shows that as A.I. filters get smarter, so do violators

The shootings in Christchurch, New Zealand were livestreamed to social media, and while stats show networks are improving at removing offending videos, as the system improves, so do the violators' workarounds.
Emerging Tech

Don’t get burned! How to back crowdfunding projects the smart way

In the world of crowdfunding, there’s no such thing as a sure thing. There's a million reasons why a project might fail. But with this handy guide, you'll be able to spot the signs of a sketchy project and decrease your chances of getting…
Social Media

Twitter takes a cue from Instagram and Snapchat with new quick-swipe camera

Twitter is giving the "what's happening" treatment to photos and video by allowing users to access the in-app camera fast enough to catch and share the moment. The new Twitter camera is now accessible with a swipe.
Social Media

Yep, it’s not just you. Facebook, Instagram, and WhatsApp are down for many

Facebook's family of apps has been suffering issues for much of the day. Instagram, WhatsApp, Facebook Messenger, and Facebook itself have been out of action for users around the world, with the company scrambling to sort it out.
Social Media

Facebook may soon let you watch live TV with friends in Watch Party

Facebook Watch Party is designed to allow friends to watch together, even when they can't be in the same physical space. Now, that feature could be expanding to include live TV. Facebook announced a test of the feature, starting with live…
Social Media

Federal investigation digs into Facebook’s data-sharing deals

Facebook confirmed it is cooperating with a federal criminal investigation. According to a report, the company is under investigation for sharing user data with smartphone and tablet companies.
Social Media

Facebook explains its worst outage as 3 million users head to Telegram

Facebook, if you didn't already know it, suffered a bit of an issue on Wednesday, March 13. An issue that took down not only its social networking site, but also Instagram, WhatsApp, and Messenger. On Thursday it offered an explanation.

Snapchat could soon let you play games in between your selfies

If a new report is accurate, Snapchat will be getting an integrated gaming platform in April. The platform will feature mobile games form third-party developers, and one publisher is already signed on.
Social Media

Twitter is testing a handy subscription feature for following threads

Twitter has recently started testing a feature that lets you subscribe to a thread so that you’ll no longer need to like a comment or post to it yourself in order to receive notifications of new contributions.
Social Media

Your Google+ public content will remain viewable on the web, if you want it to

Google's failed social network — Google+ — will soon be wiped from the internet, but there's a team of volunteers working right now to save its public content for the Internet Archive.

There’s more space on MySpace after ‘accidental’ wipe of 50 million songs

MySpace is no longer a safe refuge for music and media produced in the 2000s. It said that almost any artistic content uploaded to the site between 2003 and 2015 may have been lost as part of a server migration last year.

Intel and Facebook team up to give Cooper Lake an artificial intelligence boost

Intel's upcoming Cooper Lake microarchitecture will be getting a boost when it comes to artificial intelligence processes, thanks to a partnership with Facebook. The results are CPUs that are able to work faster.