Football Championship Broke Facebook and Twitter Records

The statistics confirms that Germany’s World Cup win drew 280 million interactions on social network, which is more than 2013 Super Bowl, with peak of 618,725 tweets per minute.

Germany’s final victory over Argentina completely broke global records on Twitter. Facebook also recognized it as the biggest sporting event in history. According to Twitter, Germany’s 1-0 victory peaked at almost 620,000 tweets per minute, which far exceeds the previous record of 580,000 tweets set during the Germany’s 7-1 demolition of Brazil in the semi-final a few days ago. Nevertheless, the total of 32.1 million tweets sent as the game progressed, which have been tracked on a global heat map during the game, couldn’t break the record of 35.6 million set by the Germany/Brazil game. Well, there were more goals, if you can count – maybe this was the reason.

One of the German players, Lukas Podolski, suddenly proved to be something of a one-man Twitter “selfie” phenomenon: his shot of teammate Bastian Schweinsteiger kissing his cheek right after the victory hit the web and was retweeted over 88,620 times in a few hours, while receiving 78,169 favorites. “Selfie number 2” was a follow-up shot with German chancellor Angela Merkel. This one received 25,022 retweets and even more favorites.

Twitter wasn’t the only social network to see its record breaking. Facebook confirmed that 88 million global users made a record 280 million interactions, including publications, likes and comments, during the 2014 World Cup final. Facebook pointed out that this figure easily broke through the previous record held of 245 million interactions, which was set by the 2013 Super Bowl. The social network also claimed that the top 5 countries creating the global “buzz” were the United States, Brazil, Argentina, Germany and Indonesia.

Thanks to ET!


Student Emails No More Scanned by Google

Google will stop scanning the emails of students using their services at schools across the globe, after the tech giant permanently disabled ads in its Apps for Education product. The ads were already disabled by default in a Google service offering the company’s cloud computing applications to schools and universities for free. However, the administrators could turn them on. Now this option has also been removed, and ads are always off.

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The changes follow Google’s involvement in a lawsuit in California which accused the company of breaching a US legislation known as the Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act. The law governs access to student educational records, and the tech giant allegedly breached it with automated scanning of emails to display ads.

The social media lawyers point out that while this is a good first step to protect student privacy, it is unclear why it took Google years to make this change. Perhaps, without multiple lawsuits Google wouldn’t have changed its practices at all. They wonder whether the company will also turn off its scanning and behavioral advertising functions for its other services like YouTube in a school setting. They also wonder whether Google will change its Android and Chromebook policies to better protect student privacy and revise its school contracts to reflect this announcement.

Google had claimed earlier that the automated scanning of emails didn’t just provide mere advertising, and this is why the company continued to do it even for accounts where ads were disabled. Google claimed that scanning also provided spell check, virus and spam protection, and the “priority inbox” feature. The tech giant also claimed that the scanning couldn’t be permanently turned off.

Google pointed out that today over 30 million students, teachers and administrators globally rely on its Apps for Education. Of course, earning and keeping their trust drives Google’s business forward, and the company understands that trust is earned via protecting their privacy and providing the best security measures.

In the meantime, the move also followed an aggressive campaign from Microsoft’s search engine Bing, promoting its own ad-free product for students’ use. The latter allows students to search the web in an ad-free environment, though the product is only available in the United States.

Thanks To ET!

 

Facebook Will Remove Chat to Promote Messenger App

Facebook is going to remove chat from the primary iPhone and Android app, in order to force users to install a standalone Facebook Messenger app.

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Facebook has already notified its users in the United Kingdom, France and other European countries that they will need to install a separate Messenger app if they want to continue using Facebook chat on their smartphones. The company issued a statement, saying that they have created a fast and reliable messaging experience via Messenger, and are now determined to focus on that experience.

The representatives of the company admitted that they plan to eventually require that users all over the world install the Messenger app, but they couldn’t provide a specific timeframe for the change.

The app developers point out that the free, standalone Messenger is faster than the messaging service built into the main Facebook app for smartphones. The users will also be provided more features in the Messenger app, including the ability to make voice phone calls via Wi-Fi in some countries and send texts on Android.

At the moment, Facebook keeps facing increasing competition from new and fast-growing mobile messaging application like Line and WeChat, along with such established brands as Google Hangouts and BlackBerry’s BBM. Fortunately, Facebook managed to acquire one of its biggest messaging competitors, WhatsApp, for $19bn a couple months ago. WhatsApp then announced adding voice calling later in February at Mobile World Congress.

Industry observers believe that Facebook’s decision to encourage users to switch to a separate messaging app on mobiles could either help boost the popularity of its Messenger or cause a backlash if users view the action as heavy-handed. In addition, this standalone app will also directly compete with WhatsApp.

Nevertheless, Facebook is increasingly moving into the mobile space, believing that it is a way to continue expanding its 1.2 billion-strong user base. The company has developed or acquired a catalogue of standalone apps aside from its main application over the past few years. Three months ago, Facebook launched Paper, a photo-heavy news-reading application that has already earned positive reviews. The company also purchased photo-sharing app Instagram a couple years ago, which recently reached 200 million users.

Thanks to ET.


Facebook Planning to Launch e-Money Transfer Service

It seems that the social network is ready to launch a money transfer service in Europe which would allow Facebook to compete with the likes of Western Union, while providing users the option to store money with Facebook or buy items online.

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Facebook is currently seeking regulatory approval in its EU base in Ireland for "e-money" status that would see the company issue digital credits convertible into cash by recipients.

Facebook can make some forms of money transfer in the United States that allow payments within apps, from which the company takes a 30% cut. According to financial reports, Facebook facilitated $2.1bn in transactions in 2013, mostly to games publishers. Approval in Ireland would allow the company to operate an e-money service across Europe using “passporting” – in other words, digital payments can be used across EU member states without approval from each one. Although the company declined to comment on the development, this move highlights the scale of the global money transfer market.

The social network has made mobile platforms the focus of its expansion strategy in developing markets like India – the latter accounts for over 100 million of Facebook’s 1.2 billion users. In addition, mobile broadband subscribers far outrun fixed-line users in developing nations.

In developed nations, the social network competes with established technology platforms like Apple’s iTunes and Amazon, both having millions of customers with credit cards attached to the service. Since payment schemes are the equivalent to credit cards in emerging markets, Facebook can make progress here, particularly in places where banking infrastructure is not as mature as in EU or US. Regulatory approval from Ireland would subject the social network to the same controls as a bank, i.e. the company will be required to segregate funds equivalent to the amount of e-money it issues.

Industry observers confirm that payments and e-money services are currently expanding in financial services and technology market. They also note that Facebook’s rivals are more focused on payment systems than money transfers.

For example, Amazon’s CEO has made payment systems a priority focus, claiming that his company’s payments team should intensify its efforts to be successful in the space.

Thanks to ET.

Book Publishers Accused Hotfile of Copyright Infringement

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Back in December 2013, Hotfile and the Motion Picture Association of America ended their legal dispute with an $80 million settlement. Although this agreement allowed Hotfile to continue its operations after enforcing a filtering mechanism, the service preferred to shut down. But this move doesn’t necessarily mean the trouble is over for Hotfile: now, inspired by Hollywood’s multi-million dollar victory, a number of the book publishers launched a lawsuit against the website. They claimed that Hotfile had built its business off of copyright infringement and their rights were massively violated by the service and its operators.

50 books have been submitted as evidence, and book publishers demand compensation for them. Overall, Hotfile is facing up to $7.5 million in damages. Actually, the complaint itself is nothing new – it just repeats the arguments previously made by the MPAA, for example, that Hotfile was aware that their service was used to infringe copyright. They pointed out that the company received millions of DMCS takedown notices and knew that users were migrating to Hotfile for copyrighted content after RapidShare was sued.

Then the publishers accused file-hosting service of failure to delete infringing files from its servers, and claimed that Hotfile lacked a repeat infringer policy, failing to ban repeat infringers who accounted for a large percentage of the infringing files. Although Hotfile received lots of DMCA notices, it didn’t bother to track whether any of files came from the same user.

In result, a small group of persistent infringers managed to upload millions of infringing files. The plaintiffs claimed that by early 2011, almost 25,000 users got at least 3 DMCA notices, while many had received over 100. They accounted for 50 million uploaded files, which made up to 44% of all files hosted by Hotfile.

If you remember Hotfile’s legal history, this case is quite strong and may in part explain why the book publishers chose Hotfile as a target. The only question is whether the defendant still has money left to compensate for any damages.