Meltwater has acquired DataSift to double down on social media analytics

In a week when all eyes are on Facebook and the subject ofย how data about us on social media platforms gets used without us knowing, there’s been some consolidation afoot in the world of media-based big data services. DataSift, the London-based company that pulls data from conversations across social, news and blog platforms, anonymises it, and then parses it for insights for third party organizations, is being acquired by Meltwater, the company originally out of Norway but now based in San Francisco that provides business intelligence services such as media monitoring and AI analytics on internal business communications. Financial terms are not being disclosed for the deal but it includes technology, employees and DataSift’s customer base. DataSift had raised about $72 million in funding from investors that include Insight Venture Partners, Scale Ventures and Upfront Ventures and the company had never disclosed its valuation. Meltwater is bootstrapped and
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Facebook builds Patreon, Niche clones to lure creators with cash

Facebook is eager to displace YouTube and Patreon in order to become the home of online content creators, so it’s testing a bunch of new ways for them to earn money and connect with fans. Facebook’sย dedicated Creator app that launched in November on iOS will come to Android soon, and it’s also starting a closed beta program where social media stars can work with it to build new features. It’s already cooked up new ones like a leaderboard for each creator’s most engaged fans who earn a special badge next to their comments, as well as a version of its Rights Manager tool for removing or taking over monetization of unofficial copies of their videos. But most interesting are the new monetization options Facebook is trying out. It will let some users sign-up for a monthly subscription patronage payment to their favorite creators in exchange for exclusive content and
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Facebook lets all PC games Live stream and reward viewers

Facebook is challenging Twitch and YouTube for video game live streaming supremacy with the release of its new Games SDK for PC. After testing Live streaming from games like Overwatch from developers like Blizzard since 2016, today Live broadcasting from PC games to the News Feed opens to all developers. And Facebook will let them reward fans who watch by providing in-game items or bonuses. For example, beneath the comments reel, users might see a promotion like “Watch Paladins streams for a chance to earn random loot to use in-game.” The potential for viral growth and sales could convince tons of game developers to bake in Facebook’s new SDK, while players could use the simple broadcasting feature to reach a big audience — though one not as dedicated to gaming as on other platforms. Viewers might choose to watch on Facebook because they get rewarded there. Facebook meanwhile
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Pinterest is slowly rolling out its automated shopping ads to more marketers

Pinterest is looking to continue to increase its portfolio of ads, though sometimes that can take a little while to see the light of day โ€” and that includes a new-ish tool called Shopping Ads that’s slowly getting opened to more marketers and advertisers. Getting new ad formats is important for a smaller company looking to build out an advertising business, as it has to show potential advertisers it can offer an array of tools to play with as they experiment with that service. The company said today that it’s expanding those shopping ad tools to hundreds of additional advertisers after launching a pilot program last year as it looks to continue to ramp up that tool. Pinterest has to be able to convince marketers that it should be a mainstay advertising purchase alongside Facebook and Google, which are able to routinely show returns in value for their advertising spend.
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Facebook is using us. It is actively giving away our information. It is creating an echo chamber in the name of connection. It surfaces the divisive and destroys the real reason we began using social media in the first place – human connection. It is a cancer. I’ve begun the slow process of weaning myself off of the platform by methodically running a script that will delete my old content. And there’s a lot. There are likes and shares. There are long posts I wrote to impress my friends. There are thousands of WordPress notifications that tell the world what I’m doing. In fact, I would wager I use Facebook more to broadcast my ego than interact with real humans. And I suspect that most of us are in a similar situation.
There is a method to my madness. I like Facebook Messenger and I like that Facebook is now
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Facebook and the endless string of worst-case scenarios

Facebook has naively put its faith in humanity and repeatedly been abused, exploited, and proven either negligent or complicit. The company routinely ignores or downplays the worst-case scenarios, idealistically building products without the necessary safeguards, and then drags its feet to admit the extent of the problems. This approach, willful or not, has led to its latest scandal, where a previously available API for app developers was harnessed by Trump and Brexit Leave campaign technology provider Cambridge Analytica to pull not just the profile data of 270,000 app users who gave express permission, but of 50 million of those people’s unwitting friends. Facebook famously changed its motto in 2014 from “Move fast and break things” to “Move fast with stable infra” aka ‘infrastructure’. But all that’s meant is that Facebook’s products function as coded even at enormous scale, not that they’re built any slower or with more caution for how
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Suspicious likes lead to researcher lighting up a 22,000-strong botnet on Twitter

Botnets are fascinating to me. Who creates them? What are they for? And why doesn’t someone delete them? The answers are probably less interesting than I hope, but in the meantime I like to cheer when large populations of bots are exposed. That’s what security outfit F-Secure’s Andy Patel did this week after having his curiosity piqued by a handful of strange likes on Twitter . Curious about the origin of this little cluster of random likes, which he just happened to see roll in one after another, he noticed that the accounts in question all looked… pretty fake. Cute girl avatar, weird truncated bio (“Waiting you”; “You love it harshly”), and a shortened URL which, on inspection, led to “adult dating” sites. So it was a couple bots designed to lure users to scammy sites. Simple enough. But after seeing that there were a few more of the same type
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