Posted on January 11, 2019
Another year has passed, and with it, so many new trends and changes in search marketing. In the search field, every week is a lifetime, and as search marketers, we never stop learning. We must stay up-to-date, follow the latest tweets, keep up to speed on search conference recaps, watch the In-Office Hours Hangouts by Google, the list goes on an on. Case studies, research, surveys; we are constantly surrounded by amazing insights.
We can never get enough, and it is hard to keep up! One of my favorite activities is combining a great business trip with the opportunity to learn and see real-life influencers in action, on stage! It is a chance to meet great people, plan co-marketing activities for our brand, and try out new tools and platforms.
Last year, I had the pleasure of speaking at one of the great SEO conferences in the UK — Brighton SEO. I got to meet some of the industry’s best experts and was given the opportunity to share my knowledge. A recommendation: after attending some conferences, consider speaking to increase your industry connections.
Just like last year, I am going to help you decide which search conferences you must attend in 2019, from all the great conferences out there. Read on to discover the top 9 search conferences you shouldn’t miss. And, start writing a memo to your boss, and get that flight booked!
#1 SMX West
When? January 30-31, 2019
Where? San Jose
Rates: $1695 and up
What you will take away: You will get both SEO and SEM insights from industry experts, focusing on voice and visual search, local search optimization, Google Ads and Bing audiences, a/b testing in a multi-format world, and how to optimize for the mobile-first world in 2019. There is an option for boot camp and workshop registration only. Best value for money, IMO; this is one of the best conferences for search marketers.
#2 YoastCon 2019
Do you use the Yoast SEO plugin for your WordPress SEO efforts? Of course, you do!
There is a reason why this plugin has reached more than 5 million active installs, and now Yoast is coming to share their best practices with all of us.
When? February 7-8, 2019
Where? Nijmegen, Netherlands
What you will take away: This first-time-ever YoastCon will be focusing on SEO and WordPress challenges, tips for bloggers, AI in search, knowledge graph, Progressive WordPress, AMP and more. There are a terrific speakers list and actionable workshops, panel discussions, and in-depth analysis from Yoast experts.
#3 SearchLove San Diego
When? March 4-5, 2019
Where? San Diego, California
Rates: $999 and up
What you will take away: As always, SearchLove is bringing great speakers with insightful tips to boost your search marketing. Rand Fishkin will open the event by showing us how to break the outreach barriers we are all facing — SEO A/B testing study, technical SEO and machine learning. SearchLove always maintains the highest quality at their conferences, so no doubt you won’t regret traveling to sunny Calif for this one.
When? March 5-7, 2019
Where? Florida, USA
Rates: $699 and up
What you will take away: If there is anything I can say for sure, it’s that Pubcon is one of my favorite conferences in the world. At Pubcon, you will hear Gary Illyes and Ben Morss from Google, learn actionable strategies for SEO, PPC, social advertising, audits, Amazon, etc., and join in on an AMA panel with industry experts from all around the world. When I visited Pubcon, my laptop keyboard was on fire from all my frantic note-taking!
When? June 20, 2019
Where? Leeds, UK
What you will take away: Now here is a conference that had the entire industry talking last year; with such great feedback, you can’t go wrong! SearchLeeds focuses on the less-common side of things, so last year, we got to hear about Amazon SEO, e-commerce SEO, Google Shopping, Google Tag Manager and more. SearchLeeds is new in town, but definitely promising!
When? April 11-12, 2019
Where? Breckenridge, Colorado
Rates: $349 – $739
What you will take away: SearchCon is an exciting search and digital conference where you can enjoy winter sports, skiing, brewery tours, shopping, or the Beaver Run Resort Spa during your downtime. Networking is the name of the game here, and if you decide to attend, you will definitely get the opportunity to meet loads of search industry professionals and agencies.
When? April 11-12, 2019
Where? Brighton, UK
Rates: Early Bird £500
What you will take away: This conference began with a bunch of marketers in a bar talking about SEO and search marketing. Today, it is one of the largest SEO conferences in the UK and Europe. Attendees will hear inspirational talks and attend hard-core training lessons. There are always exciting and surprising guests, and John Muller’s Q&A session will be one of the most interesting moments at this conference.
When? July 15-17, 2018
Where? Seattle, WA
Rates: $799 and up
What you will take away: Think of it as a 3-day training session for all kinds of search marketers, featuring actionable SEO and search insights, search-driven content strategy, an agency focused session, and an opportunity to expand your knowledge of BI and SEO, and proper reporting. Oh, and what would you do in a world without any traffic? Moz will focus on voice search, knowledge graph, and more.
#9 3XE Digital
When? October 17, 2019
Rates: Early Bird starts at €195
What you will take away: This conference is dedicated to the world of search, UX and conversion optimization. These three can’t really exist without each other, so at 3XE Digital you will have the chance to learn about them all in one day, with 20 speakers and six workshops. The conference covers all things digital, from email lists, PPC ads, analytics, and reporting, to SEM and SEO.
Yes, there are so many great conferences out there, and 2019 will be a busy year for search marketers who want to stay up to date. I hope my 2 cents has been helpful for you in deciding which conferences are worth traveling to. Whatever you do, always keep up with the latest schedules and changes, and be sure to follow the recaps that pop up after the conferences, especially if you couldn’t attend for any reason.
Have I missed an important conference on the list? Write to me in the comments section!
Posted on January 10, 2019
Instagram (also known as IG) is a photo and video-sharing social networking service owned by Facebook, Inc. It was created by Kevin Systrom and Mike Krieger, and launched in October 2010 exclusively on iOS. A version for Android devices was released a year and half later, in April 2012, followed by a feature-limited website interface in November 2012, and apps for Windows 10 Mobile and Windows 10 in April 2016 and October 2016 respectively.
The app allows users to upload photos and videos to the service, which can be edited with various filters, and organized with tags and location information. An account’s posts can be shared publicly or with pre-approved followers. Users can browse other users’ content by tags and locations, and view trending content. Users can “like” photos, and follow other users to add their content to a feed.
The service was originally distinguished by only allowing content to be framed in a square (1:1) aspect ratio, but these restrictions were eased in 2015. The service also added messaging features, the ability to include multiple images or videos in a single post, as well as “Stories”—similar to its main competitor Snapchat—which allows users to post photos and videos to a sequential feed, with each post accessible by others for 24 hours each.
After its launch in 2010, Instagram rapidly gained popularity, with one million registered users in two months, 10 million in a year, and 800 million as of September 2017. In April 2012, Facebook acquired the service for approximately US$1 billion in cash and stock. As of October 2015, over 40 billion photos had been uploaded to the service. Although praised for its influence, Instagram has been the subject of criticism, most notably for policy and interface changes, allegations of censorship, and illegal or improper content uploaded by users.
Instagram began development in San Francisco, when Kevin Systrom and Mike Krieger chose to focus their multi-featured HTML5 check-in project, Burbn, on mobile photography. As Krieger reasoned, Burbn became too similar to Foursquare, and both realized that it had gone too far. Burbn was then pivoted to become more focused on photo-sharing. The word Instagram is a portmanteau of instant camera and telegram.
On March 5, 2010, Systrom closed a $500,000 seed funding round with Baseline Ventures and Andreessen Horowitz while working on Burbn. Josh Riedel joined the company in October as Community Manager, Shayne Sweeney joined in November as an engineer, and Jessica Zollman joined as a Community Evangelist in August 2011.
Kevin Systrom posted the first photo to Instagram on July 16, 2010. The photo shows a dog in Mexico and Systrom’s girlfriend’s foot; the photo has been enhanced using Instagram’s X-PRO2 filter.
In February 2011, it was reported that Instagram had raised $7 million in Series A funding from a variety of investors, including Benchmark Capital, Jack Dorsey, Chris Sacca (through Capital fund), and Adam D’Angelo. The deal valued Instagram at around $20 million.
In March 2012, The Wall Street Journal reported that Instagram was raising a new round of financing that would value the company at $500 million, details that were confirmed the following month, when Instagram raised $50 million from venture capitalists with a $500 million valuation. The same month, Facebook bought Instagram for $1 billion in cash and stock, with a plan to keep the company independently managed. Britain’s Office of Fair Trading approved the deal on August 14, 2012, and on August 22, 2012, the Federal Trade Commission in the U.S. closed its investigation, allowing the deal to proceed. On September 6, 2012, the deal between Instagram and Facebook was officially closed.
The deal, which was made just prior to Facebook’s scheduled IPO, cost about a quarter of Facebook’s cash-on-hand, according to figures documented at the end of 2011. The deal was for a company characterized as having “lots of buzz but no business model“, and the price was contrasted with the $35 million Yahoo! paid for Flickr in 2005. Mark Zuckerberg noted that Facebook was “committed to building and growing Instagram independently”, in contrast to its past practices. According to Wired, the deal netted Systrom $400 million based on his ownership stake in the business. The exact purchase price was $300 million in cash and 23 million shares of stock.
In November 2012, Instagram launched website profiles, allowing anyone to see users’ feeds from their web browsers. However, the website interface was limited in functionality, with notable omissions including the lack of a search bar, a news feed, and the ability to upload photos. In February 2013, the website was updated to offer a news feed, and in June 2015, the website was redesigned to offer bigger photos.
On October 22, 2013, during the Nokia World event held in Abu Dhabi, Systrom confirmed the upcoming release of the official Instagram app for Windows Phone, after pressure from Nokia and the public to develop an app for the platform. The app was released as a beta version on November 21, 2013, and was lacking the ability to record and upload video, though an Instagram spokesperson stated that “We’re not finished, and our team will continue developing the Windows Phone app to keep releasing features and bringing you the best Instagram possible”. In April 2016, Instagram upgraded the app to Windows 10 Mobile, adding support for video and direct messages, followed by later updates in October 2016 that extended the app to Windows 10 personal computers and tablets.
The Android app has received two major exclusive updates. The first, introduced in March 2014, cut the size of the app by half and added significant improvements to performance and responsiveness on a wide variety of Android devices. The Verge wrote that the development team had tested the app on devices not for sale in the United States, particularly low-end models like Samsung Galaxy Y, in an effort to improve the app for its userbase located outside the U.S. Engineering manager Philip McAllister told The Verge that “More than 60 percent of our users are outside the US, and Android covers roughly half of total Instagram users”. The second update, introduced in April 2017, added an offline mode, in which content previously loaded in the news feed is available without an Internet connection, and users can comment, like, save media, and unfollow users, all of which will take effect once the user goes back online. At the time of the announcement, it was reported that 80% of Instagram’s 600 million users are located outside the U.S., and while the aforementioned functionality was live at announcement, Instagram also announced its intention to make more features available offline “in the following months”, and that they were “exploring an iOS version”.
Announced in March 2016 and taking place in June, Instagram switched from a strictly chronological oldest-to-newest news feed to a new, algorithm-based feed. The change received “widespread outcry” following Instagram’s March announcement, but Instagram stated that the feature would help users discover lost posts, writing that “You may be surprised to learn that people miss on average 70 percent of their feeds. As Instagram has grown, it’s become harder to keep up with all the photos and videos people share. This means you often don’t see the posts you might care about the most. To improve your experience, your feed will soon be ordered to show the moments we believe you will care about the most.”
On May 11, 2016, Instagram revamped its design, adding a black-and-white theme for the app and a more abstract, “modern” and colorful icon. Rumors of a redesign first started circulating in April, when The Verge received a screenshot from a tipster, but at the time, an Instagram spokesperson simply told the publication that “This is a design test only”.
On September 24, 2018, Krieger and Systrom announced in a statement they would be stepping down from Instagram. On October 1, 2018, it was announced that Adam Mosseri would be the new head of Instagram.
Instagram adds alternative text features to photo posts allowing visual impaired user to listen to descriptions of each photo which has alternative text, either automatic generated text or user-input text.
Features and tools
Users can upload photographs and short videos, follow other users’ feeds, and geotag images with the name of a location. Users can set their account as “private”, thereby requiring that they approve any new follower requests. Users can connect their Instagram account to other social networking sites, enabling them to share uploaded photos to those sites. In January 2011, Instagram introduced hashtags to help users discover both photos and each other. Instagram encourages users to make tags both specific and relevant, rather than tagging generic words like “photo”, to make photographs stand out and to attract like-minded Instagram users. In September 2011, a new version of the app included new and live filters, instant tilt–shift, high-resolution photographs, optional borders, one-click rotation, and an updated icon. In August 2015, Instagram started allowing users to upload full-size landscape and portrait photos and videos onto the service, dropping the previous requirement of a square frame. In August 2016, Instagram added a zoom feature that allows users to pinch-to-zoom the screen to virtually zoom in on photos and videos. In September 2016, Instagram removed Photo Maps, which previously allowed users to see a map of their geotagged photos. An Instagram spokesperson stated that “Photo Map was not widely used, so we’ve decided to remove the feature and focus on other priorities”. In December 2016, Instagram introduced a feature letting users save photos for later viewing. Bookmarked posts get added to a private page in the app. The feature was updated in April 2017 to let users organize saved posts into different collections.
In February 2017, Instagram announced that users would be able to upload up to ten pictures or videos to one post, with the content appearing as a swipeable carousel. The feature originally limited photos to the square format, but received an update in August to enable portrait and landscape photos instead. In May, Instagram updated its mobile website to allow users to upload photos, and to add a “lightweight” version of the Explore tab. Later in May, Instagram added an “Archive” feature, letting users hide posts in a private storage area, out of visibility for the public and other users. The move was seen as a way to prevent users from deleting photos that don’t garner a desired number of “likes” or are deemed boring, but also as a way to limit the “emergent behavior” of deleting photos, which deprives the service of content. In August, Instagram announced that it would start organizing comments into threads, letting users more easily interact with replies. In April 2018, Instagram launched its version of a portrait mode called “focus mode,” which gently blurs the background of a photo or video while keeping the subject in focus when selected.
Instagram shopping allows users to tap on a product they like in Stories and Feed and click a tag that takes them to the company’s product list. Users can also build a shopping list inside the platform by tapping on a tag and saving it.
In June 2012, Instagram introduced “Explore”, a tab inside the app that displays popular photos, photos taken at nearby locations, and search. The tab was updated in June 2015 to feature trending tags and places, curated content, and the ability to search for locations. In April 2016, Instagram added a “Videos You Might Like” channel to the tab, followed by an “Events” channel in August, featuring videos from concerts, sports games, and other live events, followed by the addition of Instagram Stories in October. The tab was later expanded again in November 2016 after Instagram Live launched to display an algorithmically-curated page of the “best” Instagram Live videos currently airing. In May 2017, Instagram once again updated the Explore tab to promote public Stories content from nearby places.
Instagram offers a number of photographic filters that users can apply to their images:
In December 2014, Slumber, Crema, Ludwig, Aden, and Perpetua were five new filters to be added to the Instagram filter family.
Initially a purely photo-sharing service, Instagram incorporated 15-second video sharing in June 2013. The addition was seen by some in the technology media as Facebook’s attempt at competing with then-popular video-sharing application Vine. In August 2015, Instagram added support for widescreen videos. In March 2016, Instagram increased the 15-second video limit to 60 seconds. Albums were introduced in February 2017, which allow up to 10 minutes of video to be shared in one post.
IGTV is a vertical video application launched by Instagram in June 2018. Basic functionality is also available within the Instagram app and website. IGTV allows uploads of up to 10 minutes in length with a file size of up to 650 MB, with verified and popular users allowed to upload videos of up to 60 minutes in length with a file size of up to 5.4 GB. The app automatically begins playing videos as soon as it is launched, which CEO Kevin Systrom contrasted to video hosts where one must first locate a video.
In December 2013, Instagram announced Instagram Direct, a feature that lets users interact through private messaging. Users who follow each other can send private messages with photos and videos, in contrast to the public-only requirement that was previously in place. When users receive a private message from someone they don’t follow, the message is marked as pending and the user must accept to see it. Users can send a photo to a maximum of 15 people. The feature received a major update in September 2015, adding conversation threading and making it possible for users to share locations, hashtag pages, and profiles through private messages directly from the news feed. Additionally, users can now reply to private messages with text, emoji or by clicking on a heart icon. A camera inside Direct lets users take a photo and send it to the recipient without leaving the conversation. A new update in November 2016 let users make their private messages “disappear” after being viewed by the recipient, with the sender receiving a notification if the recipient takes a screenshot. In April 2017, Instagram redesigned Direct to combine all private messages, both permanent and ephemeral, into the same message threads. In May, Instagram made it possible to send website links in messages, and also added support for sending photos in their original portrait or landscape orientation without cropping.
In August 2016, Instagram launched Instagram Stories, a feature that allows users to take photos, add effects and layers, and add them to their Instagram story. Images uploaded to a user’s story expire after 24 hours. The media noted the feature’s similarities to Snapchat. In November, Instagram added live video functionality to Instagram Stories, allowing users to broadcast themselves live, with the video disappearing immediately after ending. In January 2017, Instagram launched skippable ads, where five-second photo and 15-second video ads appear in-between different stories. In April 2017, Instagram Stories incorporated augmented reality stickers, a “clone” of Snapchat’s functionality. In May 2017, Instagram expanded the augmented reality sticker feature to support face filters, letting users add specific visual features onto their faces. Later in May, TechCrunch reported about tests of a Location Stories feature in Instagram Stories, where public Stories content at a certain location are compiled and displayed on a business, landmark or place’s Instagram page. A few days later, Instagram announced “Story Search”, in which users can search for geographic locations or hashtags and the app displays relevant public Stories content featuring the search term. In June 2017, Instagram revised its live-video functionality to allow users to add their live broadcast to their story for availability in the next 24 hours, or discard the broadcast immediately. In July, Instagram started allowing users to respond to Stories content by sending photos and videos, complete with Instagram effects such as filters, stickers, and hashtags. Stories were made available for viewing on Instagram’s mobile and desktop websites in late August 2017.
In response to criticism that it copied functionality from Snapchat, CEO Kevin Systrom told Recode that “Day One: Instagram was a combination of Hipstamatic, Twitter [and] some stuff from Facebook like the ‘Like’ button. You can trace the roots of every feature anyone has in their app, somewhere in the history of technology”. Although Systrom acknowledged the criticism as “fair”, Recode wrote that “he likened the two social apps’ common features to the auto industry: Multiple car companies can coexist, with enough differences among them that they serve different consumer audiences”. Systrom further stated that “When we adopted [Stories], we decided that one of the really annoying things about the format is that it just kept going and you couldn’t pause it to look at something, you couldn’t rewind. We did all that, we implemented that.” He also told the publication that Snapchat “didn’t have filters, originally. They adopted filters because Instagram had filters and a lot of others were trying to adopt filters as well.”
Following Emily White‘s appointment to the position of Director of Business Operations in April 2013, she stated in an interview with The Wall Street Journal in September 2013 that the company should be ready to begin selling advertising by September 2014 as a way to generate business from a popular entity that had not yet created profit for its parent company. White left Instagram, however, in December 2013, to join Snapchat. In August 2014, James Quarles was hired as Instagram’s Global Head of Business and Brand Development, a new position within the company focused on overseeing advertisement and sales efforts while developing new “monetization products”, according to a spokesperson.
In October 2013, Instagram began its monetization efforts, announcing that, “over the next couple of months”, video and image ads would start appearing in between users’ photos in the news feed for users in the United States. A sample ad from Instagram, featuring the text “Sponsored” at the top right of the image, was the first to be released, with a limited number of brands being allowed to advertise in the early stages. Image advertisements officially started appearing in feeds starting November 1, 2013, followed by video ads on October 30, 2014. In June 2014, Instagram announced the then-upcoming rollout of ads in the United Kingdom, Canada and Australia, planned for “later this year”. The same sample ad from Instagram’s launch in the U.S. was shown to users in the United Kingdom in September 2014, with ads rolling out “over the coming weeks”.
In March 2015, it announced that it would allow advertisers to buy “carousel ads”, a way for brands to upload up to five images that users can swipe through, with options at the end for additional content or a visit to the brand’s website. Following strong performance of the ad format, Instagram opened up a self-service feature for brands to buy carousel ads the following October, and in March 2016, it started allowing video in carousel ads.
In May 2016, Instagram announced the launch of new tools for business accounts, including new business profiles, Insights analytics and the ability to turn posts into ads directly from the Instagram app itself. However, to be eligible for the tools, businesses had to have a Facebook Page, with Quarles stating: “In doing that, it gives us the payment credentials, as well as if they want to prepopulate some of the information like their street address, the phone number, and the website”. The Instagram Insights panel, which lets businesses see their top posts, reach, impressions and engagement surrounding their posts as well as user demographics, was rolled out first to the United States, Australia, and New Zealand, with the rest of the world “by the end of the year”.
In February 2016, Instagram announced that it had 200,000 advertisers on the platform. This increased to 500,000 active advertisers in September 2016, and one million in March 2017.
Instagram has developed and released three stand-alone apps with specialized functionality. In July 2014, it released Bolt, a messaging app where users click on a friend’s profile photo to quickly send an image, with the content disappearing after being seen. It was followed by the release of Hyperlapse in August, an iOS-exclusive app that uses “clever algorithm processing” to create tracking shots and fast time-lapse videos. Microsoft launched a Hyperlapse app for Android and Windows in May 2015, but there has been no official Hyperlapse app from Instagram for either of these platforms to date. In October 2015, it released Boomerang, a video app that combines photos into short, one-second videos that play back-and-forth in a loop.
The popularity of Instagram has led to a variety of third-party services using its functionality and adopting it into formats not officially supported. Examples include services for getting an overview of user statistics, printing photos at social events, turning a large number of photos into thumbnails for a physical book or a large poster, and dedicated apps for viewing Instagram on Mac personal computers.
User characteristics and behavior
Following the release in October, Instagram had one million registered users in December 2010. In June 2011, it announced that it had 5 million users, which increased to 10 million in September. This growth continued to 30 million users in April 2012, 80 million in July 2012, 100 million in February 2013, 130 million in June 2013, 150 million in September 2013, 300 million in December 2014, 400 million in September 2015, 500 million in June 2016, 600 million in December 2016, 700 million in April 2017, and 800 million in September 2017.
In October 2016, Instagram Stories reached 100 million active users, two months after launch. This increased to 150 million in January 2017, 200 million in April, surpassing Snapchat’s user growth, and 250 million active users in June 2017.
In June 2011, Instagram passed 100 million photos uploaded to the service. This grew to 150 million in August 2011, and by June 2013, there were over 16 billion photos on the service. In October 2015, there existed over 40 billion photos.
On August 9, 2012, English musician Ellie Goulding released a new music video for her song “Anything Could Happen.” The video only contained fan-submitted Instagram photographs that used various filters to represent words or lyrics from the song, and over 1,200 different photographs were submitted.
Instagram’s users are divided equally with 50% iPhone owners and 50% Android owners. While Instagram has a neutral gender-bias format, 68% of Instagram users are female while 32% are male. Instagram’s geographical use is shown to favor urban areas as 17% of US adults who live in urban areas use Instagram while only 11% of adults in suburban and rural areas do so. While Instagram may appear to be one of the most widely used sites for photo sharing, only 7% of daily photo uploads, among the top four photo-sharing platforms, come from Instagram. Instagram has been proven to attract the younger generation with 90% of the 150 million users under the age of 35. From June 2012 to June 2013, Instagram approximately doubled their number of users. As regards income, 15% of US Internet users who make less than $30,000 per year use Instagram, while 14% of those making $30,000 to $50,000, and 12% of users who make more than $50,000 per year do so. With respect to the education demographic, respondents with some college education proved to be the most active on Instagram with 23%. Following behind, college graduates consist of 18% and users with a high school diploma or less make up 15%. Among these Instagram users, 24% say they use the app several times a day.
Ongoing research continues to explore how media content on the platform affects user engagement. Past research has found that media which show peoples’ faces receive more ‘likes’ and comments and that using filters that increase warmth, exposure, and contrast also boosts engagement. Users are more likely to engage with images that depict fewer individuals compared to groups and also are more likely to engage with content that has not been watermarked, as they view this content as less original and reliable compared to user-generated content.
Users on Instagram have created “trends” through hashtags, which are specific keywords combined with a hash symbol that lets them share content with other Instagram users. The trends deemed the most popular on the platform often highlight a specific day of the week to post the material on. Examples of popular trends include #SelfieSunday, in which users post a photo of their faces on Sundays; #MotivationMonday, in which users post motivational photos on Mondays; #TransformationTuesday, in which users post photos highlighting differences from the past to the present; #WomanCrushWednesday, in which users post photos of women they have a romantic interest in or view favorably, as well as its #ManCrushMonday counterpart centered on men; and #ThrowbackThursday, in which users post a photo from their past, highlighting a particular moment.
On December 17, 2012, Instagram announced a change to its Terms of Service policy, adding the following sentence:
There was no option for users to opt out of the changed Terms of Service without deleting their accounts before the new policy went into effect on January 16, 2013. The move garnered severe criticism from users, prompting Instagram CEO Kevin Systrom to write a blog post one day later, announcing that they would “remove” the offending language from the policy. Citing misinterpretations about its intention to “communicate that we’d like to experiment with innovative advertising that feels appropriate on Instagram”, Systrom also stated that it was “our mistake that this language is confusing” and that “it is not our intention to sell your photos”. Furthermore, he wrote that they would work on “updated language in the terms to make sure this is clear”.
The policy change and its backlash caused competing photo services to use the opportunity to “try to lure users away” by advertising their privacy-friendly services, and some services experienced substantial gains in momentum and user growth following the news. On December 20, Instagram announced that the advertising section of the policy would be reverted to its original October 2010 version. The Verge wrote about that policy as well, however, noting that the original policy gives the company right to “place such advertising and promotions on the Instagram Services or on, about, or in conjunction with your Content”, meaning that “Instagram has always had the right to use your photos in ads, almost any way it wants. We could have had the exact same freakout last week, or a year ago, or the day Instagram launched”.
The policy update also introduced an arbitration clause, which remained even after the language pertaining to advertising and user content had been modified.
Instagram has been the subject of criticism due to users publishing images of drugs they are selling on the platform. In 2013, the BBC discovered that users, mostly located in the United States, were posting images of drugs they were selling, attaching specific hashtags, and then completing transactions via instant messaging applications such as WhatsApp. Corresponding hashtags have been blocked as part of the company’s response and a spokesperson engaged with the BBC explained:
However, new incidents of illegal drug trade have occurred in the aftermath of the 2013 revelation, with Facebook, Instagram’s parent company, asking users who come across such content to report the material, at which time a “dedicated team” reviews the information.
Allegations of censorship
Similar incidents occurred in January 2015, when Instagram deleted Australian fashion agency Sticks and Stones Agency’s account because of a photograph including pubic hair sticking out of bikini bottoms, and March 2015, when artist and poet Rupi Kaur‘s photos of menstrual blood on clothing were removed, prompting a rallying post on her Facebook and Tumblr accounts with the text “We will not be censored”, gaining over 11,000 shares.
The incidents have led to a #FreetheNipple campaign, aimed at challenging Instagram’s removal of photos displaying women’s nipples. Although Instagram has not made many comments on the campaign, an October 2015 explanation from CEO Kevin Systrom highlighted Apple‘s content guidelines for apps published through its App Store, including Instagram, in which apps must designate the appropriate age ranking for users, with the app’s current rating being 12+ years of age. However, this statement has also been called into question due to other apps with more explicit content allowed on the store, the lack of consequences for men exposing their bodies on Instagram, and for inconsistent treatment of what constitutes inappropriate exposure of the female body.
In April 2016, Instagram began rolling out a change to the order of photos visible in a user’s timeline, shifting from a strictly chronological order to one determined by an algorithm. Instagram said the algorithm was designed so that users would see more of the photos by users that they liked, but there was significant negative feedback, with many users asking their followers to turn on post notifications in order to make sure they see updates. The company wrote a tweet to users upset at the prospect of the change, but did not back down, nor provide a way to change it back.
In response to abusive and negative comments on users’ photos, Instagram has made efforts to give users more control over their posts and accompanying comments field. In July 2016, it announced that users would be able to turn off comments for their posts, as well as control the language used in comments by inputting words they consider offensive, which will ban applicable comments from showing up. After the July 2016 announcement, the ability to ban specific words began rolling out early August to celebrities, followed by regular users in September. In December, the company began rolling out the abilities for users to turn off the comments and, for private accounts, remove followers.
In September 2017, the company announced that public users would be able to limit who can comment on their content, such as only their followers or people they follow. At the same time, it updated its automated comment filter to support additional languages.
In June 2017, Instagram announced that it had introduced a new comment moderation system, that will automatically attempt to filter offensive, harassing, and “spammy” comments by default. The system is built using a Facebook-developed deep learning algorithm known as DeepText (first implemented on the social network to detect spam comments), which utilizes natural-language processing techniques, and can also filter by user-specified keywords.
In May 2017, a survey conducted by United Kingdom’s Royal Society for Public Health, featuring 1,479 people aged 14–24, asking them to rate social media platforms depending on anxiety, depression, loneliness, bullying and body image, concluded that Instagram was “worst for young mental health”. Some have suggested it may contribute to digital dependence, whist this same survey noticed its positive effects, including self expression, self identity, and community building. In response to the survey, Instagram stated that “Keeping Instagram a safe and supportive place for young people was a top priority”.
In 2017, researchers from Harvard University and University of Vermont demonstrated a machine-learning tool that successfully outperformed general practitioners’ diagnostic success rate for depression. The tool used color analysis, metadata components, and face-detection of users’ feeds.
In mid-2017, reports surfaced that Instagram had begun efforts to reduce the prominence of accounts using many irrelevant hashtags to increase their respective reach on the social network and users who pay money to a service in order to receive a high amount of post engagement. Known as “shadowbanning”, the effort hides applicable accounts from appearing in search results and in the app’s Explore section. In a now-deleted Facebook post, Instagram wrote that “When developing content, we recommend focusing on your business objective or goal rather than hashtags”.
Algorithmic advertisement with rape threat
In 2016, Olivia Solon, a reporter for The Guardian, posted a screenshot to her Instagram profile of an email she had received containing threats of rape and murder towards her. The photo post had received three likes and countless comments, and in September 2017, the company’s algorithms turned the photo into an advertisement visible to Solon’s sister. An Instagram spokesperson apologized and told The Guardian that “We are sorry this happened – it’s not the experience we want someone to have. This notification post was surfaced as part of an effort to encourage engagement on Instagram. Posts are generally received by a small percentage of a person’s Facebook friends”. As noted by the technology media, the incident occurred at the same time parent company Facebook was under scrutiny for its algorithms and advertising campaigns being used for offensive and negative purposes.
August 2017 hack
In August 2017, reports surfaced that a bug in Instagram’s developer tools had allowed “one or more individuals” to gain access to the contact information, specifically email addresses and phone numbers, of several high-profile verified accounts, including its most followed user, Selena Gomez. The company said in a statement that it had “fixed the bug swiftly” and was running an investigation. However, the following month, more details emerged, with a group of hackers selling contact information online, with the affected number of accounts in the “millions” rather than the previously-assumed limitation on verified accounts. Hours after the hack, a searchable database was posted online, charging $10 per search. The Daily Beast was provided with a sample of the affected accounts, and could confirm that, while many of the email addresses could be found with a Google search in public sources, some did not return relevant Google search results and thus were from private sources. The Verge wrote that cybersecurity firm RepKnight had found contact information for multiple actors, musicians, and athletes, and singer Selena Gomez’s account was used by the hackers to post naked photos of her ex-boyfriend Justin Bieber. The company admitted that “we cannot determine which specific accounts may have been impacted”, but believed that “it was a low percentage of Instagram accounts”, though TechCrunch stated in its report that six million accounts were affected by the hack, and that “Instagram services more than 700 million accounts; six million is not a small number”.
Instagram users’ passwords were exposed accidentally. According to Instagram, the plaintext passwords for some users who had used the “Download Your Data” feature were included in the URL and also stored on Facebook’s servers due to a security bug that was discovered by the Instagram internal team.
Update December 2018
Instagram caused quite a kerfuffle, even outrage, with their latest app update. An attempt to alter the flow of the feed from the traditional vertical scroll to emulate and piggy-back the popularity of their Instagram Stories with a horizontal scroll, swiping left. Various backtracking statements were released explaining it as a bug, or as a test release that had been accidentally deployed to too large an audience.
Censorship of Instagram has occurred in several different countries.
Instagram has been blocked by China following the 2014 Hong Kong protests because a lot of videos and photos are posted. Hong Kong and Macau were not affected as they are special administrative regions of China.
Turkey is also known for its strict Internet censorship and periodically blocks social media including Instagram.
Instagram was the runner-up for “Best Mobile App” at the 2010 TechCrunch Crunchies in January 2011. In May 2011, Fast Company listed CEO Kevin Systrom at number 66 in “The 100 Most Creative People in Business in 2011”. In June 2011, Inc. included co-founders Systrom and Krieger in its 2011 “30 Under 30” list.
Instagram won “Best Locally Made App” in the SF Weekly Web Awards in September 2011. 7x7Magazine‘s September 2011 issue featured Systrom and Krieger on the cover of their “The Hot 20 2011” issue. In December 2011, Apple Inc. named Instagram the “App of the Year” for 2011. In 2015, Instagram was named No. 1 by Mashable on its list of “The 100 best iPhone apps of all time,” noting Instagram as “one of the most influential social networks in the world.”
In popular culture
Posted on January 10, 2019
Woow! Playing online car racing games is really turning the gaming scene up a notch. Back in the day, with the proper old school computers, such as the commodore 64 (now the age is showing), to get multi-player you had to more or less, have a cable guy connect the computers together to be able to play in multi-player mode. Like 2 players.
Look at what you can do now when you’re playing online car racing games. You’ve got all sorts of options: tuning your car, racing head to head or competing in all sorts of street races.
Street races which are actually based on maps as well.
… Not just designed specifically for a racing game.
It’s not even just your desktop PC you can play the games on. Gaming consoles like the Xbox 360, lets you go online through your console and race against any player, anywhere in the world.
Wireless steering wheels are available as well for some consoles, so you can sit and play online car racing games, without the hassles of getting wires all tangled up. Avoiding losing your concentration and ending up losing the racing games, when you used to have to sort the wires out and end up going head on into a wall. Off the cliff edges and all sorts of crazy stuff that make the awesomeness of racing games.
With various challenges, race options and customization jobs, it’s no wonder there’s so may games to choose from.
Not just racing either.
Posted on January 9, 2019
witter (/ˈtwɪtər/) is an American online news and social networking service on which users post and interact with messages known as “tweets”. Tweets were originally restricted to 140 characters, but on November 7, 2017, this limit was doubled for all languages except Chinese, Japanese, and Korean. Registered users can post, like, and retweet tweets, but unregistered users can only read them. Users access Twitter through its website interface, through Short Message Service (SMS) or its mobile-device application software (“app”). Twitter, Inc. is based in San Francisco, California, and has more than 25 offices around the world.
Twitter was created in March 2006 by Jack Dorsey, Noah Glass, Biz Stone, and Evan Williams and launched in July of that year. The service rapidly gained worldwide popularity. In 2012, more than 100 million users posted 340 million tweets a day, and the service handled an average of 1.6 billion search queries per day. In 2013, it was one of the ten most-visited websites and has been described as “the SMS of the Internet”. As of 2016, Twitter had more than 319 million monthly active users. Since 2015, and continuing into 2016 and future years, Twitter has also been the home of debates, and news covering Politics of the United States, especially during the 2016 U.S. presidential election, Brett Kavanaugh Supreme Court Nomination, and 2018 United States Midterms, with Twitter proved to be the largest source of breaking news on the day of the 2016 election, with 40 million election-related tweets sent by 10:00 p.m. (Eastern Time) that day.
- 1 History
- 2 Leadership
- 3 Appearance and features
- 4 Usage
- 5 Finances
- 6 Technology
- 7 Developers
- 8 Society
- 9 Television
- 10 Statistics
- 11 See also
- 12 References
- 13 Further reading
- 14 External links
Creation and initial reaction
Twitter’s origins lie in a “daylong brainstorming session” held by board members of the podcasting company Odeo. Jack Dorsey, then an undergraduate student at New York University, introduced the idea of an individual using an SMS service to communicate with a small group. The original project code name for the service was twttr, an idea that Williams later ascribed to Noah Glass, inspired by Flickr and the five-character length of American SMS short codes. The decision was also partly due to the fact that the domain twitter.com was already in use, and it was six months after the launch of twttr that the crew purchased the domain and changed the name of the service to Twitter. The developers initially considered “10958” as a short code, but later changed it to “40404” for “ease of use and memorability”. Work on the project started on March 21, 2006, when Dorsey published the first Twitter message at 9:50 p.m. Pacific Standard Time (PST): “just setting up my twttr”. Dorsey has explained the origin of the “Twitter” title:
The first Twitter prototype, developed by Dorsey and contractor Florian Weber, was used as an internal service for Odeo employees and the full version was introduced publicly on July 15, 2006. In October 2006, Biz Stone, Evan Williams, Dorsey, and other members of Odeo formed Obvious Corporation and acquired Odeo, together with its assets — including Odeo.com and Twitter.com — from the investors and shareholders. Williams fired Glass, who was silent about his part in Twitter’s startup until 2011. Twitter spun off into its own company in April 2007. Williams provided insight into the ambiguity that defined this early period in a 2013 interview:
The tipping point for Twitter’s popularity was the 2007 South by Southwest Interactive (SXSWi) conference. During the event, Twitter usage increased from 20,000 tweets per day to 60,000. “The Twitter people cleverly placed two 60-inch plasma screens in the conference hallways, exclusively streaming Twitter messages,” remarked Newsweek‘s Steven Levy. “Hundreds of conference-goers kept tabs on each other via constant twitters. Panelists and speakers mentioned the service, and the bloggers in attendance touted it.” Reaction at the conference was highly positive. Blogger Scott Beale said that Twitter was “absolutely ruling” SXSWi. Social software researcher danah boyd said Twitter was “owning” the conference. Twitter staff received the festival’s Web Award prize with the remark “we’d like to thank you in 140 characters or less. And we just did!”
The first unassisted off-Earth Twitter message was posted from the International Space Station by NASA astronaut T. J. Creamer on January 22, 2010. By late November 2010, an average of a dozen updates per day were posted on the astronauts’ communal account, @NASA_Astronauts. NASA has also hosted over 25 “tweetups”, events that provide guests with VIP access to NASA facilities and speakers with the goal of leveraging participants’ social networks to further the outreach goals of NASA. In August 2010, the company appointed Adam Bain from News Corp.‘s Fox Audience Network as president of revenue.
The company experienced rapid initial growth. It had 400,000 tweets posted per quarter in 2007. This grew to 100 million tweets posted per quarter in 2008. In February 2010, Twitter users were sending 50 million tweets per day. By March 2010, the company recorded over 70,000 registered applications. As of June 2010, about 65 million tweets were posted each day, equaling about 750 tweets sent each second, according to Twitter. As of March 2011, that was about 140 million tweets posted daily. As noted on Compete.com, Twitter moved up to the third-highest-ranking social networking site in January 2009 from its previous rank of twenty-second.
Twitter’s usage spikes during prominent events. For example, a record was set during the 2010 FIFA World Cup when fans wrote 2,940 tweets per second in the thirty-second period after Japan scored against Cameroon on June 14. The record was broken again when 3,085 tweets per second were posted after the Los Angeles Lakers‘ victory in the 2010 NBA Finals on June 17, and then again at the close of Japan’s victory over Denmark in the World Cup when users published 3,283 tweets per second. The record was set again during the 2011 FIFA Women’s World Cup Final between Japan and the United States, when 7,196 tweets per second were published. When American singer Michael Jackson died on June 25, 2009, Twitter servers crashed after users were updating their status to include the words “Michael Jackson” at a rate of 100,000 tweets per hour. The current record as of August 3, 2013 was set in Japan, with 143,199 tweets per second during a television screening of the movie Castle in the Sky (beating the previous record of 33,388, also set by Japan for the television screening of the same movie).
Twitter acquired application developer Atebits on April 11, 2010. Atebits had developed the Apple Design Award-winning Twitter client Tweetie for the Mac and iPhone. The application, now called “Twitter” and distributed free of charge, is the official Twitter client for the iPhone, iPad and Mac.
From September through October 2010, the company began rolling out “New Twitter”, an entirely revamped edition of twitter.com. Changes included the ability to see pictures and videos without leaving Twitter itself by clicking on individual tweets which contain links to images and clips from a variety of supported websites including YouTube and Flickr, and a complete overhaul of the interface, which shifted links such as ‘@mentions’ and ‘Retweets’ above the Twitter stream, while ‘Messages’ and ‘Log Out’ became accessible via a black bar at the very top of twitter.com. As of November 1, 2010, the company confirmed that the “New Twitter experience” had been rolled out to all users.
On April 5, 2011, Twitter tested a new homepage and phased out the “Old Twitter”. However, a glitch came about after the page was launched, so the previous “retro” homepage was still in use until the issues were resolved; the new homepage was reintroduced on April 20. On December 8, 2011, Twitter overhauled its website once more to feature the “Fly” design, which the service says is easier for new users to follow and promotes advertising. In addition to the Home tab, the Connect and Discover tabs were introduced along with a redesigned profile and timeline of Tweets. The site’s layout has been compared to that of Facebook. On February 21, 2012, it was announced that Twitter and Yandex agreed to a partnership. Yandex, a Russian search engine, finds value within the partnership due to Twitter’s real time news feeds. Twitter’s director of business development explained that it is important to have Twitter content where Twitter users go. On March 21, 2012, Twitter celebrated its sixth birthday while also announcing that it had 140 million users and 340 million tweets per day. The number of users was up 40% from their September 2011 number, which was said to have been at 100 million at the time.
In April 2012, Twitter announced that it was opening an office in Detroit, with the aim of working with automotive brands and advertising agencies. Twitter also expanded its office in Dublin. On June 5, 2012, a modified logo was unveiled through the company blog, removing the text to showcase the slightly redesigned bird as the sole symbol of Twitter. On October 5, 2012, Twitter acquired a video clip company called Vine that launched in January 2013. Twitter released Vine as a standalone app that allows users to create and share six-second looping video clips on January 24, 2013. Vine videos shared on Twitter are visible directly in users’ Twitter feeds. Due to an influx of inappropriate content, it is now rated 17+ in Apple’s app store. On December 18, 2012, Twitter announced it had surpassed 200 million monthly active users. Twitter hit 100 million monthly active users in September 2011.
On April 18, 2013, Twitter launched a music app called Twitter Music for the iPhone. On August 28, 2013, Twitter acquired Trendrr, followed by the acquisition of MoPub on September 9, 2013. As of September 2013, the company’s data showed that 200 million users send over 400 million tweets daily, with nearly 60% of tweets sent from mobile devices. On June 4, 2014, Twitter announced that it will acquire Namo Media, a technology firm specializing in “native advertising” for mobile devices. On June 19, 2014, Twitter announced that it has reached an undisclosed deal to buy SnappyTV, a service that helps edit and share video from television broadcasts. The company was helping broadcasters and rights holders to share video content both organically across social and via Twitter’s Amplify program. In July 2014, Twitter announced that it intends to buy a young company called CardSpring for an undisclosed sum. CardSpring enables retailers to offer online shoppers coupons that they can automatically sync to their credit cards in order to receive discounts when they shop in physical stores. On July 31, 2014, Twitter announced that it has acquired a small password-security startup called Mitro. On October 29, 2014, Twitter announced a new partnership with IBM. The partnership is intended to help businesses use Twitter data to understand their customers, businesses and other trends.
2015 and slow growth
On February 11, 2015, Twitter announced that it had acquired Niche, an advertising network for social media stars, founded by Rob Fishman and Darren Lachtman. The acquisition price was reportedly $50 million. On March 13, 2015, Twitter announced its acquisition of Periscope, an app that allows live streaming of video. In April 2015, the Twitter.com desktop homepage changed. Twitter announced that it has acquired TellApart, a commerce ads tech firm, with $532 million stock. Later in the year it became apparent that growth had slowed, according to Fortune, Business Insider, Marketing Land and other news websites including Quartz (in 2016). In June 2016, Twitter acquired an artificial intelligence startup called Magic Pony for $150 million.
Initial public offering (IPO)
On September 12, 2013, Twitter announced that it had filed papers with the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) ahead of a planned stock market listing. It revealed its prospectus in an 800-page filing. Twitter planned to raise US$1 billion as the basis for its stock market debut. The IPO filing states that “200,000,000+ monthly active users” access Twitter and “500,000,000+ tweets per day” are posted. In an October 15, 2013 amendment to their SEC S-1 filing, Twitter declared that they would list on the New York Stock Exchange (NYSE), quashing speculation that their stock would trade on the NASDAQ exchange. This decision was widely viewed to be a reaction to the botched initial public offering of Facebook. On November 6, 2013, 70 million shares were priced at US$26 and issued by lead underwriter Goldman Sachs.
On November 7, 2013, the first day of trading on the NYSE, Twitter shares opened at $26.00 and closed at US$44.90, giving the company a valuation of around US$31 billion. The paperwork from show of November 7 that among the founders, Williams received a sum of US$2.56 billion and Dorsey received US$1.05 billion, while Costolo‘s payment was US$345 million. On February 5, 2014, Twitter published its first results as a public company, showing a net loss of $511 million in the fourth quarter of 2013. On January 5, 2016, CEO Jack Dorsey commented on a report that Twitter planned to expand its character limit to 10,000 (private messages already had the longer limit as of July), requiring users to click to see anything beyond 140 characters. He said while Twitter would “never lose that feeling” of speed, users could do more with the text.
In September 2016, Twitter shares rose 20% after a report that it had received takeover approaches. Potential buyers were Alphabet (parent company of Google), Microsoft, Salesforce.com, Verizon, and The Walt Disney Company. Twitter’s board of directors were open to a deal, which could have come by the end of 2016. However, no deal was made, with reports in October stating that all the potential buyers dropped out partly due to concerns over abuse and harassment on the service. In June 2017, Twitter revamped its dashboard to improve the new user experience.
As chief executive officer, Dorsey saw the startup through two rounds of capital funding by the venture capitalists who backed the company. On October 16, 2008, Williams took over the role of CEO, and Dorsey became chairman of the board. On October 4, 2010, Williams announced that he was stepping down as CEO. Dick Costolo, formerly Twitter’s chief operating officer, became CEO. On October 4, 2010, Williams made an announcement saying that he will stay with the company and “be completely focused on product strategy”.
According to The New York Times, “Mr. Dorsey and Mr. Costolo forged a close relationship” when Williams was away. According to PC Magazine, Williams was “no longer involved in the day-to-day goings on at the company”. He was focused on developing a new startup, and became a member of Twitter’s board of directors, and promised to “help in any way I can”. In 2011, Stone was still with Twitter but was working with AOL as an “advisor on volunteer efforts and philanthropy”. In January 2014 Stone announced the release of Jelly, a ‘social Q&A network for mobile’. Dorsey rejoined Twitter in March 2011, as executive chairman focusing on product development. At that time he split his schedule with Square (where he is CEO), whose offices are within walking distance of Twitter’s in San Francisco.
In September 2011, board members and investors Fred Wilson and Bijan Sabet resigned from Twitter’s board of directors. In October 2012, Twitter announced it had hired former Google executive Matt Derella to become their new director of business agency development. Twitter named former Goldman Sachs executive Anthony Noto as the company’s CFO in July 2014, with an “annual salary of $250,000 and one-time restricted stock options of 1.5 million shares … valued at $61.5 million”. On June 10, 2015, Twitter announced its CEO Dick Costolo would resign on July 1, 2015. Noto was said to be considered a potential replacement for outgoing CEO Costolo. On October 14, 2015, former Google chief business officer Omid Kordestani became executive chairman, replacing Dorsey who remains CEO. On January 26, 2016, Leslie Berland, former executive vice president of global advertising, marketing, and digital partnerships at American Express, was named chief marketing officer. In November 2016, COO Adam Bain announced his resignation and CFO Anthony Noto took over Bain’s role. A month later, on December 20, 2016, CTO Adam Messinger announced that he too was leaving.
Appearance and features
Twitter has become internationally identifiable by its signature bird logo, or the Twitter Bird. The original logo, which was simply the word “Twitter”, was in use from its launch in March 2006 until September 2010. It was accompanied by an image of a bird which was a piece of clip art created by the British graphic designer Simon Oxley. A slightly modified version with “Larry the Bird” next to the old logo succeeded the first style when the website underwent its first redesign. A tweet from an employee that works on the company’s platform and API discussed the evolution of the “Larry the Bird” logo with Twitter’s creative director and it was revealed that it was named after Larry Bird of the NBA’s Boston Celtics fame. This detail had been confirmed when the Boston Celtics’ director of interactive media asked Twitter co-founder Biz Stone about it in August 2011.
In 2012, Twitter unveiled its third logo redesign, replacing Larry the Bird with an updated icon simply named as the “Twitter Bird,” as seen to the right. As of this logo revision, the word “Twitter” and the lowercase letter “t” are no longer used, with the bird becoming the sole symbol for the company’s branding. According to Douglas Bowman, designer of Twitter, the new logo resembles a mountain bluebird.
Tweets are publicly visible by default, but senders can restrict message delivery to only their followers. Users can tweet via the Twitter website, compatible external applications (such as for smartphones), or by Short Message Service (SMS) available in certain countries. Users may subscribe to other users’ tweets—this is known as “following” and subscribers are known as “followers” or “tweeps”, a portmanteau of Twitter and peeps. Individual tweets can be forwarded by other users to their own feed, a process known as a “retweet”. Users can also “like” (formerly “favorite”) individual tweets. Twitter allows users to update their profile via their mobile phone either by text messaging or by apps released for certain smartphones and tablets. Twitter has been compared to a web-based Internet Relay Chat (IRC) client. In a 2009 Time magazine essay, technology author Steven Johnson described the basic mechanics of Twitter as “remarkably simple”:
According to research published in April 2014, around 44% of user accounts have never tweeted.
The first tweet was posted by Jack Dorsey (creator) at 12:50 PM PST on March 21, 2006 and read “just setting up my twttr”. In 2009, the first tweet was sent from space. US astronauts Nicola Stott and Jeff Williams took part in a live ‘tweetup’ from the International Space Station with around 35 members of the public at NASA Headquarters, Washington, DC, USA.
San Antonio-based market-research firm Pear Analytics analyzed 2,000 tweets (originating from the United States and in English) over a two-week period in August 2009 from 11:00 am to 5:00 pm (CST) and separated them into six categories. Pointless babble made up 40%, with 38% being conversational. Pass-along value had 9%, self-promotion 6% with spam and news each making 4%.
Despite Jack Dorsey’s own open contention that a message on Twitter is “a short burst of inconsequential information”, social networking researcher danah boyd responded to the Pear Analytics survey by arguing that what the Pear researchers labelled “pointless babble” is better characterized as “social grooming” and/or “peripheral awareness” (which she justifies as persons “want[ing] to know what the people around them are thinking and doing and feeling, even when co-presence isn’t viable”). Similarly, a survey of Twitter users found that a more specific social role of passing along messages that include a hyperlink is an expectation of reciprocal linking by followers.
Users can group posts together by topic or type by use of hashtags – words or phrases prefixed with a
"#" sign. Similarly, the
"@" sign followed by a username is used for mentioning or replying to other users. To repost a message from another Twitter user and share it with one’s own followers, a user can click the retweet button within the Tweet.
Through SMS, users can communicate with Twitter through five gateway numbers: short codes for the United States, Canada, India, New Zealand, and an Isle of Man-based number for international use. There is also a short code in the United Kingdom which is only accessible to those on the Vodafone, O2 and Orange networks. In India, since Twitter only supports tweets from Bharti Airtel, an alternative platform called smsTweet was set up by a user to work on all networks. A similar platform called GladlyCast exists for mobile phone users in Singapore and Malaysia.
The tweets were set to a largely constrictive 140-character limit for compatibility with SMS messaging, introducing the shorthand notation and slang commonly used in SMS messages. The 140-character limit also increased the usage of URL shortening services such as bit.ly, goo.gl, tinyurl.com, tr.im, and other content-hosting services such as TwitPic, memozu.com and NotePub to accommodate multimedia content and text longer than 140 characters. Since June 2011, Twitter has used its own t.co domain for automatic shortening of all URLs posted on its site, making other link shorteners unnecessary for staying within Twitter’s 140 character limit.
In 2016, Twitter announced that media such as photos, videos, and the person’s handle, would not count against the already constrictive 140 character limit. A user photo post used to count for a large chunk of a Tweet, about 24 characters. Attachments and links would also no longer be part of the character limit. In 2017, Twitter increased to 280-character limit tweets. Under the new limit, glyphs are counted as a variable number of characters, depending upon the script they are from: most European letters and punctuation forms count as one character, while each CJK glyph counts as two, so that only 140 such glyphs can be used in a tweet.
A word, phrase, or topic that is mentioned at a greater rate than others is said to be a “trending topic”. Trending topics become popular either through a concerted effort by users or because of an event that prompts people to talk about a specific topic. These topics help Twitter and their users to understand what is happening in the world and what people’s opinions are about it.
Trending topics are sometimes the result of concerted efforts and manipulations by preteen and teenaged fans of certain celebrities or cultural phenomena, particularly musicians like Lady Gaga (known as Little Monsters), Justin Bieber (Beliebers), Rihanna (Rih Navy) and One Direction (Directioners), and novel series Twilight (Twihards) and Harry Potter (Potterheads). Twitter has altered the trend algorithm in the past to prevent manipulation of this type with limited success.
The Twitter web interface displays a list of trending topics on a sidebar on the home page, along with sponsored content (see image).
Twitter often censors trending hashtags that are claimed to be abusive or offensive. Twitter censored the #Thatsafrican and #thingsdarkiessay hashtags after users complained that they found the hashtags offensive. There are allegations that Twitter removed #NaMOinHyd from the trending list and added an Indian National Congress-sponsored hashtag.
Adding and following content
There are numerous tools for adding content, monitoring content and conversations including Twitter’s own TweetDeck, Salesforce.com, HootSuite, and Twitterfeed.com. As of 2009, fewer than half of tweets posted were posted using the web user interface with most users using third-party applications (based on an analysis of 500 million tweets by Sysomos).
In June 2009, after being criticized by Kanye West and sued by Tony La Russa over unauthorized accounts run by impersonators, Twitter launched their ‘Verified Accounts’ program. Twitter stated that an account with a verification badge indicates “we’ve been in contact with the person or entity the account is representing and verified that it is approved.” After the beta period, Twitter stated in their FAQ that the company “proactively verifies accounts on an ongoing basis to make it easier for users to find who they’re looking for” and that they “do not accept requests for verification from the general public.”
In July 2016, Twitter announced a public application process to grant verified status to an account “if it is determined to be of public interest” and that verification “does not imply an endorsement.” As of November 2017, Twitter continued to deny verification of Julian Assange despite his requests. In November 2017, the company suspended the verification process and announced plans to refine it in response to backlash after white nationalist Jason Kessler had his account verified on Twitter.
Verified status allows access to some features unavailable to other users, such as only seeing mentions from other verified accounts.
In a March 8, 2018 live-stream on Twitter’s Periscope, Dorsey discussed the idea of allowing any user to get a verified account. “The intention is to open verification to everyone, and to do it in a way that is scalable where [Twitter is] not in the way,” Dorsey said. “And people can verify more facts about themselves, and we don’t have to be the judge or imply any bias on our part.”
Twitter has mobile apps for iPhone, iPad, Android, Windows 10, Windows Phone, BlackBerry, and Nokia S40. Users can also tweet by sending SMS. In April 2017, Twitter introduced Twitter Lite, a progressive web app designed for regions with unreliable and slow Internet connections, with a size of less than one megabyte, designed for devices with limited storage capacity.
This has been released in countries with slow internet connection such as the Philippines.
For many years, Twitter has limited the use of third-party applications accessing the service by implementing a 100,000 user limit per application. Since August 2010, third-party Twitter applications have been required to use OAuth, an authentication method that does not require users to enter their password into the authenticating application. This was done to increase security and improve the user experience.
Related headlines feature
This feature adds websites to the bottom of a tweet’s permalink page. If a website embedded a tweet onto one of their stories, the tweet will show the websites that mentioned the tweet. This feature was added onto Twitter so if the viewer doesn’t understand what the tweet means, they can click on the sites to read more about what the person is talking about.
In 2015, Twitter began to roll out the ability to attach poll questions to tweets. Polls are open for up to 7 days, and voters are not personally identified.
In 2016, Twitter began to place a larger focus on live streaming video programming, hosting various events including streams of the Republican and Democratic conventions during the U.S. presidential campaign as part of a partnership with CBS News, Dreamhack and ESL eSports events, and winning a bid for non-exclusive streaming rights to ten NFL Thursday Night Football games in the 2016 season.
During an event in New York in May 2017, Twitter announced that it planned to construct a 24-hour streaming video channel hosted within the service, featuring content from various partners. CEO Jack Dorsey stated that the digital video strategy was part of a goal for Twitter to be “the first place that anyone hears of anything going on that matters to them”; as of the first quarter of 2017, Twitter had over 200 content partners, who streamed over 800 hours of video over 450 events.
Twitter announced a number of new and expanded partnerships for its streaming video services at the event, including Bloomberg, BuzzFeed, Cheddar (Opening Bell and Closing Bell shows; the latter was introduced in October 2016) IMG Fashion (coverage of fashion events), Live Nation Entertainment (streaming concert events), Major League Baseball (weekly online game stream, plus a weekly program with live look-ins and coverage of trending stories), MTV and BET (red carpet coverage for their MTV Video Music Awards, MTV Movie & TV Awards, and BET Awards), NFL Network (the Monday-Thursday news program NFL Blitz Live, and Sunday Fantasy Gameday), the PGA Tour (PGA Tour Live coverage of early tournament rounds preceding television coverage), The Players’ Tribune, Ben Silverman and Howard T. Owens‘ Propagate (daily entertainment show #WhatsHappening), The Verge (weekly technology show Circuit Breaker: The Verge’s Gadget Show), Stadium (a new digital sports network being formed by Silver Chalice and Sinclair Broadcast Group) and the WNBA (weekly game).
In March 2018, Twitter is ranked the twelfth most visited website by Alexa’s web traffic analysis. Daily user estimates vary as the company does not publish statistics on active accounts. A February 2009 Compete.com blog entry ranked Twitter as the third most used social network based on their count of 6 million unique monthly visitors and 55 million monthly visits. In 2009, Twitter had a monthly user retention rate of forty percent. Twitter had annual growth of 1,382 percent, increasing from 475,000 unique visitors in February 2008 to 7 million in February 2009. Twitter’s annual growth rate decreased from 7.8 percent in 2015 to 3.4 percent in 2017. An April 2017 a statista.com blog entry ranked Twitter as the tenth most used social network based on their count of 319 million monthly visitors. Its global user base in 2017 was 328 million. As per August 2018, Twitter light (data saving app) is available in 45 countries.
|Twitter.com Top5 Global Markets by Reach (%)|
|Note: Visitor age 15+, home and work locations. Excludes visitation from public computers such as Internet cafes or access from mobile phones or PDAs.|
In 2009, Twitter was mainly used by older adults who might not have used other social sites before Twitter, said Jeremiah Owyang, an industry analyst studying social media. “Adults are just catching up to what teens have been doing for years,” he said. According to comScore only eleven percent of Twitter’s users are aged twelve to seventeen. comScore attributed this to Twitter’s “early adopter period” when the social network first gained popularity in business settings and news outlets attracting primarily older users. However, comScore also stated in 2009 that Twitter had begun to “filter more into the mainstream”, and “along with it came a culture of celebrity as Shaq, Britney Spears and Ashton Kutcher joined the ranks of the Twitterati”.
According to a study by Sysomos in June 2009, women make up a slightly larger Twitter demographic than men—fifty-three percent over forty-seven percent. It also stated that five percent of users accounted for seventy-five percent of all activity, and that New York City has more Twitter users than other cities.
According to Quancast, twenty-seven million people in the US used Twitter as of September 3, 2009. Sixty-three percent of Twitter users are under thirty-five years old; sixty percent of Twitter users are Caucasian, but a higher than average (compared to other Internet properties) are African American/black (sixteen percent) and Hispanic (eleven percent); fifty-eight percent of Twitter users have a total household income of at least US$60,000. The prevalence of African American Twitter usage and in many popular hashtags has been the subject of research studies.
On September 7, 2011, Twitter announced that it had 100 million active users logging in at least once a month and 50 million active users every day.
In an article published on January 6, 2012, Twitter was confirmed to be the biggest social media network in Japan, with Facebook following closely in second. comScore confirmed this, stating that Japan was the only country in the world where Twitter leads Facebook.
On March 31, 2014, Twitter announced there were 255 million monthly active users (MAUs) and 198 million mobile MAUs. In 2013, there were over 100 million users actively using Twitter daily and about 500 million Tweets every day, with about 29% of users checking Twitter multiple times a day.
In 2012, the country with the most active users on Twitter was the United States. A 2016 Pew research poll found that Twitter is used by 24% of all online US adults. It was equally popular with men and women (24% and 25% of online Americans respectively), but more popular with younger (36% of 18-29 year olds) generations.
For the fiscal year 2017, Twitter reported losses of US$108 million, with an annual revenue of $2.443 billion, a decrease of 3.9% over the previous fiscal cycle. Twitter’s shares traded at over $17 per share, and its market capitalization was valued at over US$25.6 billion in October 2018.
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Twitter raised over US$57 million from venture capitalist growth funding, although exact figures are not publicly disclosed. Twitter’s first A round of funding was for an undisclosed amount that is rumored to have been between US$1 million and US$5 million. Its second B round of funding in 2008 was for US$22 million and its third C round of funding in 2009 was for US$35 million from Institutional Venture Partners and Benchmark Capital along with an undisclosed amount from other investors including Union Square Ventures, Spark Capital, and Insight Venture Partners. Twitter is backed by Union Square Ventures, Digital Garage, Spark Capital, and Bezos Expeditions.
In May 2008, The Industry Standard remarked that Twitter’s long-term viability is limited by a lack of revenue. Twitter board member Todd Chaffee forecast that the company could profit from e-commerce, noting that users may want to buy items directly from Twitter since it already provides product recommendations and promotions.
By March 2009 communications consultant Bill Douglass predicted in an interview that Twitter would be worth $1 billion within six months, which came to pass when the company closed a financing round valuing it at $1 billion in September of that year.
The company raised US$200 million in new venture capital in December 2010, at a valuation of approximately US$3.7 billion. In March 2011, 35,000 Twitter shares sold for US$34.50 each on Sharespost, an implied valuation of US$7.8 billion. In August 2010 Twitter announced a “significant” investment led by Digital Sky Technologies that, at US$800 million, was reported to be the largest venture round in history.
In December 2011, the Saudi prince Alwaleed bin Talal invested US$300 million in Twitter. The company was valued at US$8.4 billion at the time. In 2016, Twitter was valued by Forbes at US$15.7 billion.
In July 2009, some of Twitter’s revenue and user growth documents were published on TechCrunch after being illegally obtained by Hacker Croll. The documents projected 2009 revenues of US$400,000 in the third quarter and US$4 million in the fourth quarter along with 25 million users by the end of the year. The projections for the end of 2013 were US$1.54 billion in revenue, US$111 million in net earnings, and one billion users. No information about how Twitter planned to achieve those numbers was published. In response, Twitter co-founder Biz Stone published a blog post suggesting the possibility of legal action against the hacker.
On April 13, 2010, Twitter announced plans to offer paid advertising for companies that would be able to purchase “promoted tweets” to appear in selective search results on the Twitter website, similar to Google Adwords’ advertising model. As of April 13, Twitter announced it had already signed up a number of companies wishing to advertise, including Sony Pictures, Red Bull, Best Buy, and Starbucks.
The company generated US$45 million in annual revenue in 2010, after beginning sales midway through that year; the company operated at a loss through most of 2010.
Users’ photos can generate royalty-free revenue for Twitter, and an agreement with World Entertainment News Network (WENN) was announced in May 2011. In June 2011, Twitter announced that it would offer small businesses a self-service advertising system. Twitter generated US$139.5 million in advertising sales during 2011.
The self-service advertising platform was launched in March 2012 to American Express card members and merchants in the U.S. on an invite-only basis. Twitter later reported that numerous small businesses and people who used the self-service tool provided feedback that indicated they were impressed by the feature. To continue their advertising campaign, Twitter announced on March 20, 2012, that promoted tweets would be introduced to mobile devices. In April 2013, Twitter announced that its Twitter Ads self-service platform, consisting of promoted tweets and promoted accounts, was available to all U.S. users without an invite.
Twitter’s financial revenue statistics for the first quarter of 2014 was reported as US$250 million.
On August 3, 2016, Twitter launched Instant Unlock Card, a new feature that encourages people to tweet about a brand in order to earn rewards and utilize the social media network’s conversational ads. The format itself consists of images or videos with call-to-action buttons and a customizable hashtag.
Twitter places great reliance on open-source software. The Twitter Web interface uses the Ruby on Rails framework, deployed on a performance enhanced Ruby Enterprise Edition implementation of Ruby.
In the early days of Twitter, tweets were stored in MySQL databases that were temporally sharded (large databases were split based on time of posting). After the huge volume of tweets coming in caused problems reading from and writing to these databases, the company decided that the system needed re-engineering.
From Spring 2007 to 2008, the messages were handled by a Ruby persistent queue server called Starling. Since 2009, implementation has been gradually replaced with software written in Scala. The switch from Ruby to Scala and the JVM has given Twitter a performance boost from 200–300 requests per second per host to around 10,000–20,000 requests per second per host. This boost was greater than the 10x improvement that Twitter’s engineers envisioned when starting the switch. The continued development of Twitter has also involved a switch from monolithic development of a single app to an architecture where different services are built independently and joined through remote procedure calls.
Individual tweets are registered under unique IDs using software called snowflake, and geolocation data is added using ‘Rockdove’. The URL shortner t.co then checks for a spam link and shortens the URL. Next, the tweets are stored in a MySQL database using Gizzard, and the user receives acknowledgement that the tweets were sent. Tweets are then sent to search engines via the Firehose API. The process is managed by FlockDB and takes an average of 350 ms.
On August 16, 2013, Raffi Krikorian, Twitter’s vice president of platform engineering, shared in a blog post that the company’s infrastructure handled almost 143,000 tweets per second during that week, setting a new record. Krikorian explained that Twitter achieved this record by blending its homegrown and open source technologies.
On April 30, 2009, Twitter adjusted its Web interface, adding a search bar and a sidebar of “trending topics“—the most common phrases appearing in messages. Biz Stone explains that all messages are instantly indexed and that “with this newly launched feature, Twitter has become something unexpectedly important – a discovery engine for finding out what is happening right now.”
In March 2012, Twitter became available in Arabic, Farsi, Hebrew and Urdu, the first right-to-left language versions of the site. About 13,000 volunteers helped with translating the menu options. In August 2012, beta support for Basque, Czech and Greek was added, making the site available in 33 different languages.
During an outage, Twitter users were at one time shown the “fail whale” error message image created by Yiying Lu, illustrating eight orange birds using a net to hoist a whale from the ocean captioned “Too many tweets! Please wait a moment and try again.” In a November 2013 WIRED interview Chris Fry, VP of Engineering at that time, noted that the company had taken the “fail whale” out of production as the platform was now more stable.
Twitter had approximately ninety-eight percent uptime in 2007 (or about six full days of downtime). The downtime was particularly noticeable during events popular with the technology industry such as the 2008 Macworld Conference & Expo keynote address.
Privacy, security, and harassment
A security vulnerability was reported on April 7, 2007, by Nitesh Dhanjani and Rujith. Since Twitter used the phone number of the sender of an SMS message as authentication, malicious users could update someone else’s status page by using SMS spoofing. The vulnerability could be used if the spoofer knew the phone number registered to their victim’s account. Within a few weeks of this discovery, Twitter introduced an optional personal identification number (PIN) that its users could use to authenticate their SMS-originating messages.
On January 5, 2009, 33 high-profile Twitter accounts were compromised after a Twitter administrator’s password was guessed by a dictionary attack. Falsified tweets—including sexually explicit and drug-related messages—were sent from these accounts.
Twitter launched the beta version of their “Verified Accounts” service on June 11, 2009, allowing people with public profiles to announce their account name. The home pages of these accounts display a badge indicating their status.
In May 2010, a bug was discovered by İnci Sözlük that could allow a Twitter user to force others to follow them without the other users’ consent or knowledge. For example, comedian Conan O’Brien‘s account, which had been set to follow only one person, was changed to receive nearly 200 malicious subscriptions.
In response to Twitter’s security breaches, the United States Federal Trade Commission (FTC) brought charges against the service; the charges were settled on June 24, 2010. This was the first time the FTC had taken action against a social network for security lapses. The settlement requires Twitter to take a number of steps to secure users’ private information, including maintenance of a “comprehensive information security program” to be independently audited biannually.
On December 14, 2010, the United States Department of Justice issued a subpoena directing Twitter to provide information for accounts registered to or associated with WikiLeaks. Twitter decided to notify its users and said in a statement, “… it’s our policy to notify users about law enforcement and governmental requests for their information, unless we are prevented by law from doing so.”
In May 2011, a claimant known as “CTB” in the case of CTB v Twitter Inc., Persons Unknown took action against Twitter at the High Court of Justice of England and Wales, requesting that the company release details of account holders. This followed gossip posted on Twitter about Giggs’s private life. This led to the 2011 British privacy injunctions controversy and the “super-injunction”. Tony Wang, the head of Twitter in Europe, said that people who do “bad things” on the site would need to defend themselves under the laws of their own jurisdiction in the event of controversy, and that the site would hand over information about users to the authorities when it was legally required to do so. He also suggested that Twitter would accede to a UK court order to divulge names of users responsible for “illegal activity” on the site.
Twitter acquired Dasient, a startup that offers malware protection for businesses, in January 2012. Twitter announced plans to use Dasient to help remove hateful advertisers on the website. Twitter also offered a feature which would allow tweets to be removed selectively by country, before deleted tweets used to be removed in all countries. The first use of the policy was to block the account of German neo-Nazi group Besseres Hannover on October 18, 2012. The policy was used again the following day to remove anti-Semitic French tweets with the hashtag #unbonjuif (“a good Jew”). In February 2012, a third-party public-key encryption app (written in Python and partially funded by a grant from the Shuttleworth Foundation) for private messaging in Twitter, CrypTweet, was released. A month later Twitter announced it would implement the “Do Not Track” privacy option, a cookie-blocking feature found in Mozilla‘s Firefox browser. The “Do Not Track” feature works only on sites that have agreed to the service.
In August 2012, it was reported that there is a market in fake Twitter followers that are used to increase politicians’ and celebrities’ apparent popularity. The black market for the fake followers, known as “bots”, has been linked to “nearly every politically linked account from the White House to Congress to the 2016 campaign trail”. In June 2014, POLITICO analyzed Twitter handles with the highest rates of fake followers: US President Barack Obama with 46.8 percent, Democratic National Committee Chairwoman Debbie Wasserman Schultz with 35.1 percent, and Senator John McCain with 23.6 percent. The culprits working to generate the fake followers, or “bots”, include campaign workers or friends of political candidates. One site offers 1,000 fake followers for $20. The people creating the “bots” are often from Eastern Europe and Asia. In 2013, two Italian researchers calculated 10 percent of total accounts on Twitter are “bots” however, other estimates have placed the figure even higher.
After a number of high-profile hacks of official accounts, including those of the Associated Press and The Guardian, in April 2013, Twitter announced a two-factor login verification as an added measure against hacking. In August Twitter announced plans to introduce a “report abuse” button for all versions of the site following uproar, including a petition with 100,000 signatures, over Tweets that included rape and death threats to historian Mary Beard, feminist campaigner Caroline Criado-Perez and the member of parliament Stella Creasy. Followed the sharing of images showing the killing of American journalist James Foley in 2014, Twitter said that in certain cases it would delete pictures of people who had died after requests from family members and “authorized individuals”.
Twitter announced new reporting and blocking policies in December 2014, including a blocking mechanism devised by Randi Harper, a target of GamerGate. In February 2015, CEO Dick Costolo said he was ‘frankly ashamed’ at how poorly Twitter handled trolling and abuse, and admitted Twitter had lost users as a result.
In 2016, Twitter announced the creation of the Twitter Trust & Safety Council to help “ensure that people feel safe expressing themselves on Twitter.” The council’s inaugural members included 50 organizations and individuals.
On May 5, 2018, Twitter sent out an update/mail to every customer regarding a bug that stored passwords unmasked in an internal log. According to them the investigation showed no indications of breach or misuse but recommended everyone to change their password anyway.
Twitter has a history of both using and releasing open source software while overcoming technical challenges of their service. A page in their developer documentation thanks dozens of open source projects which they have used, from revision control software like Git to programming languages such as Ruby and Scala. Software released as open source by the company includes the Gizzard Scala framework for creating distributed datastores, the distributed graph database FlockDB, the Finagle library for building asynchronous RPC servers and clients, the TwUI user interface framework for iOS, and the Bower client-side package manager. The popular Twitter Bootstrap web design library was also started at Twitter and is the second most popular repository on GitHub.
Innovators patent agreement
On April 17, 2012, Twitter announced it would implement an “Innovators Patent Agreement” which would obligate Twitter to only use its patents for defensive purposes. The agreement went into effect in 2012.
t.co is a URL shortening service created by Twitter. It is only available for links posted to Twitter and not available for general use. All links posted to Twitter use a t.co wrapper. Twitter hopes that the service will be able to protect users from malicious sites, and will use it to track clicks on links within tweets.
Having used the services of third parties TinyURL and bit.ly, Twitter began experimenting with its own URL shortening service for private messages in March 2010 using the twt.tl domain, before it purchased the t.co domain. The service was tested on the main site using the accounts @TwitterAPI, @rsarver and @raffi. On September 2, 2010, an email from Twitter to users said they would be expanding the roll-out of the service to users. On June 7, 2011, Twitter announced that it was rolling out the feature.
Integrated photo-sharing service
On June 1, 2011, Twitter announced its own integrated photo-sharing service that enables users to upload a photo and attach it to a Tweet right from Twitter.com. Users now also have the ability to add pictures to Twitter’s search by adding hashtags to the tweet. Twitter also plans to provide photo galleries designed to gather and syndicate all photos that a user has uploaded on Twitter and third-party services such as TwitPic.
A Twitterbot is a computer program that automatically posts on Twitter, they are programmed to tweet, retweet, and follow other accounts. According to a recent report, there were 20 million, fewer than 5%, of accounts on Twitter that were fraudulent in 2013. These fake accounts are often used to build large follower populations quickly for advertisers, while others respond to tweets that include a certain word or phrase. Twitter’s wide-open application programming interface and cloud servers make it possible for twitterbots’ existence within the social networking site.
Twitter is recognized for having one of the most open and powerful developer APIs of any major technology company. Developer interest in Twitter began immediately following its launch, prompting the company to release the first version of its public API in September 2006. The API quickly became iconic as a reference implementation for public REST APIs and is widely cited in programming tutorials.
From 2006 until 2010, Twitter’s developer platform experienced strong growth and a highly favorable reputation. Developers built upon the public API to create the first Twitter mobile phone clients as well as the first URL shortener. Between 2010 and 2012, however, Twitter made a number of decisions that were received unfavorably by the developer community. In 2010, Twitter mandated that all developers adopt OAuth authentication with just 9 weeks of notice. Later that year, Twitter launched its own URL shortener, in direct competition with some of its most well-known 3rd-party developers. And in 2012, Twitter introduced strict usage limits for its API, “completely crippling” some developers. While these moves successfully increased the stability and security of the service, they were broadly perceived as hostile to developers, causing them to lose trust in the platform.
In an effort to reset its relationship with developers, Twitter acquired Crashlytics on January 28, 2013 for over US$100 million, its largest acquisition to date. Founded by Jeff Seibert and Wayne Chang, Crashlytics had rapidly gained popularity as a tool to help mobile developers identify and fix bugs in their apps. Twitter committed to continue supporting and expanding the service.
In October 2014, Twitter announced Fabric, a suite of mobile developer tools built around Crashlytics. Fabric brought together Crashlytics, Answers (mobile app analytics), Beta (mobile app distribution), Digits (mobile app identity and authentication services), MoPub, and TwitterKit (login with Twitter and Tweet display functionality) into a single, modular SDK, allowing developers to pick and choose which features they needed while guaranteeing ease of installation and compatibility. By building Fabric on top of Crashlytics, Twitter was able to take advantage of Crashlytics’ large adoption and device footprint to rapidly scale usage of MoPub and TwitterKit. Fabric reached active distribution across 1 billion mobile devices just 8 months after its launch.
In early 2016, Twitter announced that Fabric was installed on more than 2 billion active devices and used by more than 225,000 developers. Fabric is recognized as the #1 most popular crash reporting and also the #1 mobile analytics solution among the top 200 iOS apps, beating out Google Analytics, Flurry, and MixPanel.
Issues and controversies
Twitter has been used for a variety of purposes in many industries and scenarios. For example, it has been used to organize protests, sometimes referred to as “Twitter Revolutions”, which include April 2009 Moldovan parliamentary election protests, 2009 student protests in Austria, 2009 Gaza–Israel conflict, 2009 Iran green revolution, 2009 Toronto G20, 2010 Bolivarian Revolution, 2010 Germany Stuttgart21, 2011 Egypt Revolution, 2011 England riots, 2011 United States Occupy movement, 2011 Anti-austerity movement in Spain, 2011 Greece Aganaktismenoi movements, 2011 Italy Rome demonstration, 2011 Wisconsin labor protests, 2012 Gaza–Israel conflict, 2013 protests in Brazil, 2013 Gezi Park protests. A result of the Iranian election protests saw the government of Iran block Twitter in censorship.
The service is also used as a form of civil disobedience: In 2010, users expressed outrage over the Twitter Joke Trial by copying a controversial joke about bombing an airport and attaching the hashtag #IAmSpartacus, a reference to the Spartacus film and a sign of solidarity and support to a man controversially prosecuted after posting a tweet joking about bombing an airport if they cancelled his flight. #IAmSpartacus became the number one trending topic on Twitter worldwide. Another case of civil disobedience happened in the 2011 British privacy injunction debate, where several celebrities who had taken out anonymized injunctions were identified by thousands of users in protest to traditional journalism being censored.
During the Arab Spring in early 2011, the number of hashtags mentioning the uprisings in Tunisia and Egypt increased. A study by the Dubai School of Government found that only 0.26% of the Egyptian population, 0.1% of the Tunisian population and 0.04% of the Syrian population are active on Twitter.
In January 2016, Twitter was sued by the widow of a U.S. man killed in the 2015 Amman shooting attack, claiming that allowing the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL) to continually use the platform, including direct messages in particular, constituted the provision of material support to a terrorist organization, which is illegal under U.S. federal law. Twitter disputed the claim, stating that “violent threats and the promotion of terrorism deserve no place on Twitter and, like other social networks, our rules make that clear.” The lawsuit was dismissed by the United States District Court for the Northern District of California, upholding the Section 230 safe harbor, which dictates that the operators of an interactive computer service are not liable for the content published by its users. The lawsuit was revised in August 2016, providing comparisons to other telecommunications devices.
Twitter suspended multiple parody accounts that satirized Russian politics in May 2016, sparking protests and raising questions about where the company stands on freedom of speech. Following public outcry, Twitter restored the accounts the next day without explaining why the accounts had been suspended. The same day, Twitter, along with Facebook, Google, and Microsoft, jointly agreed to a European Union code of conduct obligating them to review “[the] majority of valid notifications for removal of illegal hate speech” posted on their services within 24 hours. In August 2016, Twitter stated that it had banned 235,000 accounts over the past six months, bringing the overall number of suspended accounts to 360,000 accounts in the past year, for violating policies banning use of the platform to promote extremism.
In November 2017, the Paradise Papers, a set of confidential electronic documents relating to offshore investment, revealed that Twitter is among the corporations that avoided paying taxes using offshore companies. Later The New York Times reported that Russian-American billionaire Yuri Milner had strong Kremlin backing for his investments in Facebook and Twitter.
In May 2018, in response to scrutiny over the misuse of Twitter by those seeking to maliciously influence elections, Twitter announced that it would partner with the nonprofit organization Ballotpedia to add special labels verifying the authenticity of political candidates running for election in the U.S.
Twitter is banned completely in Iran, China and North Korea, and has been intermittently blocked in numerous countries including Egypt, Iraq, Turkey and Venezuela on different bases. In 2016, Twitter cooperated with the Israeli government to remove certain content originating outside Israel from tweets seen in Israel. In the 11th biannual transparency report published on September 19, 2017, Twitter said that Turkey was the first among countries where about 90 percent of removal requests came from, followed by Russia, France and Germany. As part of evidence to a US Senate Enquiry, the company admitted that their systems “detected and hid” several hundred thousand tweets relating to the 2016 Democratic National Committee email leak.
After claims in the media that the hashtags #wikileaks and #occupywallstreet were being censored because they did not show up on the site’s list of trending topics, Twitter responded by stating that it does not censor hashtags unless they contain obscenities.
In 2016, at the same time as Twitter executives paid to attend a political fundraiser by Hillary Clinton, the Twitter platform banned a pro-Bernie Sanders account that had started a hashtag critical of Clinton’s fundraising from wealthy donors.
Trust & Safety Council
The announcement of Twitter’s “Trust & Safety Council” was met with objection from parts of its userbase. Critics accused the member organizations of being heavily skewed towards “the restriction of hate speech” and a Reason article expressed concern that “there’s not a single uncompromising anti-censorship figure or group on the list”.
Instant, short, and frequent communication
In May 2008, The Wall Street Journal wrote that social networking services such as Twitter “elicit mixed feelings in the technology-savvy people who have been their early adopters. Fans say they are a good way to keep in touch with busy friends. But some users are starting to feel too connected, as they grapple with check-in messages at odd hours, higher cellphone bills and the need to tell acquaintances to stop announcing what they’re having for dinner.” The following year, John C. Dvorak described Twitter as “the new CB radio“.
A practical use for Twitter’s real-time functionality is as an effective de facto emergency communication system for breaking news. It was neither intended nor designed for high-performance communication, but the idea that it could be used for emergency communication was not lost on the creators, who knew that the service could have wide-reaching effects early on when the company used it to communicate during earthquakes.
Another practical use that is being studied is Twitter’s ability to track epidemics and how they spread.
Twitter has been adopted as a communication and learning tool in educational and research settings mostly in colleges and universities. It has been used as a backchannel to promote student interactions, especially in large-lecture courses. Research has found that using Twitter in college courses helps students communicate with each other and faculty, promotes informal learning, allows shy students a forum for increased participation, increases student engagement, and improves overall course grades.
Twitter has been an increasingly growing in the field of education, as an effective tool that can be used to encourage learning and idea, or knowledge sharing, in and outside the classroom. By using or creating hashtags, students and educators are able to communicate under specific categories of their choice, to enhance and promote education. A broad example of a hashtag used in education is “edchat”, to communicate with other teachers, and people using that hashtag. Once teachers find someone they want to talk to, they can either direct message the person, or narrow down the hashtag to make the topic of the conversation more specific using hashtags for scichat (science), engchat (English), sschat (social studies).
In a 2011 study, researchers found that young peoples use of Twitter helped to improve relationships with teachers, encourage interactive learning, and ultimately lead to high grades. In the same study it was found that out of a group of 158 educators, 92% agreed that the reason they use Twitter is because of how user friendly it is, another 86% agreed that they started and continue using Twitter because of how easy it is to learn, and finally, 93% said they use Twitter because it is free. People found that sifting through large amounts of data is challenging, however, with the simple nature of Twitter large amount of information became easily accessible. Much of this simplicity comes from the use of the hashtag, and the intuitive nature of how Twitter as a microblogging site operates. These features help to promote education outside the classroom on a global setting where students and educators are easily able create, connect, and share knowledge. This ultimately promotes growth and learning among students and educators, not just in the class room, but virtually and around the world.
Tech writer Bruce Sterling commented in 2007 that using Twitter for “literate communication” is “about as likely as firing up a CB radio and hearing some guy recite the Iliad“. In September 2008, the journalist Clive Thompson mused in a New York Times Magazine editorial that the service had expanded narcissism into “a new, supermetabolic extreme—the ultimate expression of a generation of celebrity-addled youths who believe their every utterance is fascinating and ought to be shared with the world”. One of the earliest documented forms of celebrity-related Twitter-like disclosures dates from 1980, when real estate mogul William Desmond Ryan made round-the-clock press releases about his relationship with comedian Phyllis Diller, even revealing what she was making him for dinner on a nightly basis. Conversely, Vancouver Sun columnist Steve Dotto opined that part of Twitter’s appeal is the challenge of trying to publish such messages in tight constraints, and Jonathan Zittrain, professor of Internet law at Harvard Law School, said that “the qualities that make Twitter seem inane and half-baked are what makes it so powerful.”
In 2009, Nielsen Online reported that Twitter had a user-retention rate of forty percent. Many people stop using the service after a month; therefore the site may potentially reach only about ten percent of all Internet users. In 2009, Twitter won the “Breakout of the Year” Webby Award. During a February 2009 discussion on National Public Radio‘s Weekend Edition, the journalist Daniel Schorr stated that Twitter accounts of events lacked rigorous fact-checking and other editorial improvements. In response, Andy Carvin gave Schorr two examples of breaking news stories that played out on Twitter and said users wanted first-hand accounts and sometimes debunked stories. On November 29, 2009, Twitter was named the Word of the Year by the Global Language Monitor, declaring it “a new form of social interaction”. Time magazine acknowledged its growing level of influence in its 2010 Time 100; to determine the influence of people, it used a formula based on famous social networking sites, Twitter and Facebook. The list ranges from Barack Obama and Oprah Winfrey to Lady Gaga and Ashton Kutcher. The U.S. government, seeing social media’s role in the 2010 Arab Spring revolts, covertly developed a Cuban alternative to Twitter called ZunZuneo as part of a long-term strategy to “stir unrest”. The service was active from 2010 to 2012.
During the 2012 Summer Olympics opening ceremony, in which he appeared at the London Olympic Stadium in person, Sir Tim Berners-Lee, the founder of the World Wide Web, tweeted “This is for everyone”, which was instantly spelled out in LCD lights attached to the chairs of the 80,000 people in the audience.
World leaders and their diplomats have taken note of Twitter’s rapid expansion and have been increasingly utilizing Twitter diplomacy, the use of Twitter to engage with foreign publics and their own citizens. US Ambassador to Russia, Michael A. McFaul has been attributed as a pioneer of international Twitter diplomacy. He used Twitter after becoming ambassador in 2011, posting in English and Russian. On October 24, 2014, Queen Elizabeth II sent her first tweet to mark the opening of the London Science Museum‘s Information Age exhibition. A 2013 study by website Twiplomacy found that 153 of the 193 countries represented at the United Nations had established government Twitter accounts. The same study also found that those accounts amounted to 505 Twitter handles used by world leaders and their foreign ministers, with their tweets able to reach a combined audience of over 106 million followers.
According to an analysis of accounts, the heads of state of 125 countries and 139 other leading politicians have Twitter accounts that have between them sent more than 350,000 tweets and have almost 52 million followers. However, only 30 of these do their own tweeting, more than 80 do not subscribe to other politicians and many do not follow any accounts.
Donald Trump has used Twitter as a method of providing ideas and information during his presidential campaign in 2016, the transitional period and as US President. A study performed at Rose-Hulman Institute of Technology showed his tweets from these different time periods and through analysis of his tweets, the professors found that President Trump uses a mode called “forensic mode” the most often in his tweets. This is described as a quick reactive usage, as they found he often used Twitter to show his judgement of the events that occurred regarding both his allies and his enemies. After his election to the presidency he tweeted this “forensic-style” tweet, “Just had a very open and successful election. Now professional protesters, incited by the media, are protesting. Very Unfair!”.
In a study done at New York University in 2015, an analysis and comparison of the Twitter accounts of Donald Trump, Jeb Bush, Bernie Sanders, and Hillary Clinton, found observations showing the goals of each candidate’s Twitter during their respective primary elections. Some comparisons that were made were the use of Aristotle’s theory of Rhetoric. The research found that Donald Trump used pathos, the appeal to emotion, in his rhetoric; Bernie Sanders tended to use ethos and logos for his Twitter; Hillary Clinton tended to use logos and pathos to try to convey her values, and Jeb Bush shows that he uses a mix of all three on his account. The study also looked at the media response to the tweets during the election. The study found that the tweets became more persuasive for the candidates if the media put the tweets in front of more viewers, versus less powerful if they were only visible to those already on Twitter. In that way, presidential candidates who had their tweets covered more in the news were able to get their message to more potential voters.
More than twenty Roman Catholic cardinals manage active Twitter accounts, nine of whom were cardinal electors for the 2013 Papal conclave. Pope Benedict XVI‘s Twitter account was set up in 2012. As of April 2016, his successor, Pope Francis, has 9.06 million followers of his Twitter account (@Pontifex).
In a 2015 European Foundation for Democracy–European Policy Centre policy dialogue panel in Brussels, Mark Wallace, CEO of the “CounterExtremism Project” and former U.S ambassador to the United Nations, said: “Twitter is currently the ´gateway drug´ for those seeking to recruit fighters for Islamic terrorism and this must be stopped.”
Twitterbots are capable of influencing public opinion about culture, products and political agendas by automatically generating mass amounts of tweets through imitating human communication. The New York Times states, “They have sleep-wake cycles so their fakery is more convincing, making them less prone to repetitive patterns that flag them as mere programs.” The tweets generated vary anywhere from a simple automated response to content creation and information sharing, all of which depends on the intention of the person purchasing or creating the bot. The social implications these Twitterbots potentially have on human perception are sizeable according to a study published by the ScienceDirect Journal. Looking at the Computers as Social Actors (CASA) paradigm, the journal notes, “people exhibit remarkable social reactions to computers and other media, treating them as if they were real people or real places.” The study concluded that Twitterbots were viewed as credible and competent in communication and interaction making them suitable for transmitting information in the social media sphere. While the technological advances have enabled the ability of successful Human-Computer Interaction, the implications are questioned due to the appearance of both benign and malicious bots in the Twitter realm. Benign Twitterbots may generate creative content and relevant product updates whereas malicious bots can make unpopular people seem popular, push irrelevant products on users and spread misinformation, spam and/or slander.
In addition to content-generating bots, users can purchase followers, favorites, retweets and comments on various websites that cater to expanding a user’s image through accumulation of followers. With more followers, users’ profiles gain more attention, thus increasing their popularity. Generating Web traffic is a valuable commodity for both individuals and businesses because it indicates notability. With Twitterbots, users are able to create the illusion of “buzz” on their site by obtaining followers from services such as Swenzy and underground suppliers who operate bot farms or click farms. The companies that facilitate this service create fake Twitter accounts that follow a number of people, some of these Twitter accounts may even post fake tweets to make it seem like they are real. This practice of obtaining mass amounts of twitterbots as followers is not permitted on Twitter. The emphasis on followers and likes as a measure of social capital has urged people to extend their circle to weak and latent ties to promote the idea of popularity for celebrities, politicians, musicians, public figures, and companies alike. According to The New York Times, bots amass significant influence and have been noted to sway elections, influence the stock market, public appeal, and attack governments.
According to documents leaked by Edward Snowden and published in July 2014, the United Kingdom’s GCHQ has a tool named BIRDSONG for “automated posting of Twitter updates”, and a tool named BIRDSTRIKE for “Twitter monitoring and profile collection”.
Twitter is also increasingly used for making TV more interactive and social. This effect is sometimes referred to as the second screen, “virtual watercooler” or social television—the practice has been called “chatterboxing”. Twitter has been successfully used to encourage people to watch live TV events, such as the Oscars, the Super Bowl and the MTV Video Music Awards; however this strategy has proven less effective with regularly scheduled TV shows. Such direct cross-promotions have been banned from French television due to regulations against secret advertising.
In December 2012, Twitter and Nielsen entered a multi-year agreement to produce social TV ratings, which are expected to be commercially available for the fall 2013 season as the Nielsen Twitter TV Rating. Advertising Age said Twitter had become the new TV Guide. Then in February 2013, Twitter acquired Bluefin Labs for an estimated US$50 million to $100 million. Founded in 2008 at the MIT Media Lab, Bluefin is a data miner whose analysis tells which brands (e.g., TV shows and companies) are chatted about the most in social media. MIT Technology Review said that Bluefin gives Twitter part of the US$72 billion television advertising market.
In May 2013, it launched Twitter Amplify—an advertising product for media and consumer brands. With Amplify, Twitter runs video highlights from major live broadcasts, with advertisers’ names and messages playing before the clip. In October 2013, Comcast announced that it had partnered with Twitter to implement its “See It” feature within the service, allowing posts promoting programs on selected NBCUniversal channels to contain direct links to TV Everywhere streaming to the program. On launch, the concept was limited to NBCUniversal channels and Xfinity cable television subscribers.
In an attempt to compete with Twitter’s leadership in TV, Facebook introduced a number of features in 2013 to drive conversation about TV including hashtags, verified profiles and embeddable posts. It also opened up new data visualization APIs for TV news and other media outlets, enabling them to search for a word and see a firehose of public posts that mention it as well as show how many people mentioned a word in both public and private posts during a set time frame, with a demographic breakdown of the age, gender, and location of these people. In January 2014, Facebook announced a partnership with UK-based social TV analytics company SecondSync which saw the social network make its social TV available outside the company for the first time. Facebook struck the partnership to help marketers understand how people are using the social network to talk about topics such as TV. However, Twitter responded by acquiring SecondSync and Parisian social TV firm Mesagraph three months later. These acquisitions, as well as a partnership with research company Kantar (which it had been working with to develop a suite of analytics tools for the British TV industry since August 2013) strengthened Twitter’s dominance of the “second screen” – TV viewers using tablets and smartphones to share their TV experience on social media. With the additional analytic tools, Twitter was able to improve the firm’s offering to advertisers, allowing them to, for instance, only promote a tweet onto the timelines of users who were watching a certain programme.
By February 2014, all four major U.S. TV networks had signed up to the Amplify program, bringing a variety of premium TV content onto the social platform in the form of in-tweet real-time video clips. In March 2014, ITV became the first major broadcaster in the UK to sign up to Twitter Amplify and Twitter introduced one-tap video playback across its mobile apps to further enhance the consumer experience.
In June 2014, Twitter acquired its Amplify partner in the U.S., SnappyTV. In Europe, Twitter’s Amplify partner is London-based Grabyo, which has also struck numerous deals with broadcasters and rights holders to share video content across Facebook and Twitter. In July 2017, Twitter announced that it would wind down SnappyTV as a separate company, and integrate its features into the Media Studio suite on Twitter.
User accounts with large follower base
As of December 26, 2018, the ten Twitter accounts with the most followers were:
|3.||@BarackObama||Barack Obama||104||Former U.S. President||USA|
|6.||@ladygaga||Lady Gaga||77||Musician and actress||USA|
|9.||@YouTube||YouTube||71||Online video platform||USA|
|10.||@jtimberlake||Justin Timberlake||65||Musician and actor||USA|
The oldest Twitter accounts are 14 accounts that became active on March 21, 2006, all belonging to Twitter employees at the time and including @jack (Jack Dorsey), @biz (Biz Stone), and @noah (Noah Glass).
A selfie orchestrated by 86th Academy Awards host Ellen DeGeneres during the March 2, 2014 broadcast was at the time the most retweeted image ever. DeGeneres said she wanted to homage Meryl Streep‘s record 17 Oscar nominations by setting a new record with her, and invited other Oscar celebrities to join them. The resulting photo of twelve celebrities broke the previous retweet record within forty minutes, and was retweeted over 1.8 million times in the first hour. By the end of the ceremony it had been retweeted over 2 million times; less than 24 hours later, it had been retweeted over 2.8 million times. As of 18 March 2014, it has been retweeted over 3.4 million times. The group selfie effort was parodied by Lego, and Matt Groening with The Simpsons. It beat the previous record, 778,801, which was held by Barack Obama, following his victory in the 2012 presidential election. On May 9, 2017, Ellen’s record was broken by Carter Wilkerson (@carterjwm) by collecting nearly 3.5 million retweets in a little over a month.
According to Guinness World Records, the fastest pace to a million followers was set by actor Robert Downey Jr. in 23 hours and 22 minutes in April 2014. This record was later broken by Caitlyn Jenner, who joined the site on June 1, 2015 and amassed a million followers in just 4 hours and 3 minutes.
The most tweeted moment in the history of Twitter occurred on August 2, 2013; during a Japanese television airing of the Studio Ghibli film Castle in the Sky, fans simultaneously tweeted the word balse (バルス)—the incantation for a destruction spell used during its climax, after it was uttered in the film. There was a global peak of 143,199 tweets in one second, beating the previous record of 33,388.
The most discussed event in Twitter history occurred on October 24, 2015; the hashtag (“#ALDubEBTamangPanahon”) for Tamang Panahon, a live special episode of the Filipino variety show Eat Bulaga! at the Philippine Arena, centering on its popular on-air couple AlDub, attracted 41 million tweets. The most-discussed sporting event in Twitter history was the 2014 FIFA World Cup semi-final between Brazil and Germany on July 8, 2014.
- Ambient awareness
- Comparison of microblogging services
- List of mergers and acquisitions by Twitter
- List of virtual communities with more than 100 million users
- Twitter usage—How various people and organizations use Twitter
- Timeline of social media
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Posted on January 9, 2019
If you are an avid PS3 gamer, then copying the PS3 games might be the first priority for you and you might be searching for the right ways to do that. There are some effective ways of doing this and it is possible to create the backup copies of your favorite games, this article will guide you through the most simple and effective ways of copying your PS3 games.
The most essential thing required to copy a PS3 game is a software program that is specially designed to do so. The PS3 gaming discs contain copyright protection because of which any other DVD burner is not able to make copies of the PS3 gaming discs. Therefore, the software companies have developed a special software program that can bypass this copyright protection and allow you to create the copies of the PS3 games. If you do not have this software, your PC won’t be able to recognize the PS3 gaming discs and therefore it won’t be possible to copy your PS3 games in your PC.
So download this software from a reputed site and half of your work is done. Now all that you need to do is to create the copies of your favorite games. For this insert, the original gaming disc in your PC and run the software. The software will bypass the copyright protection and create a copy of the contents of that disc. Save it at the desired location and now insert an empty DVD. The contents of the original disc will be easily copied to the new disc and you have a copy of your favorite PS3 game. In this way, you can create as many copies as you want.
Posted on January 7, 2019
Facebook is a social networking service launched on February 4, 2004. It was founded by Mark Zuckerberg with his college roommate and fellow Harvard University student Eduardo Saverin. The website’s membership was initially limited by the founders to Harvard students, but was expanded to other colleges in the Boston area, the Ivy League, and gradually most universities in the United States and Canada, corporations, and by September 2006, to everyone with a valid email address along with an age requirement of being 13 and older.
FaceMash, Facebook’s predecessor, opened in 2004. Developed by Mark Zuckerberg, he wrote the software for the Facemash website when he was in his second year of college. The website was set up as a type of “hot or not” game for Harvard students. The website allowed visitors to compare two female student pictures side-by-side and let them decide who was hot or not.
While writing the software, Mark Zuckerberg wrote the following blog entries:
According to The Harvard Crimson, Facemash used “photos compiled from the online facebooks of nine Houses, placing two next to each other at a time and asking users to choose the “hotter” person”. Facemash attracted 450 visitors and 22,000 photo-views in its first four hours online.
The site was quickly forwarded to several campus group list-servers, but was shut down a few days later by the Harvard administration. Zuckerberg faced expulsion and was charged by the administration with breach of security, violating copyrights, and violating individual privacy. Ultimately, the charges were dropped. Zuckerberg expanded on this initial project that semester by creating a social study tool ahead of an art history final exam. He uploaded all art images to a website, each of which was featured with a corresponding comments section, then shared the site with his classmates, and people started sharing notes.
A “face book” is a student directory featuring photos and basic information. In 2003, there were no universal online facebooks at Harvard, with only paper sheets distributed and private online directories. Zuckerberg told the Crimson that “Everyone’s been talking a lot about a universal face book within Harvard. … I think it’s kind of silly that it would take the University a couple of years to get around to it. I can do it better than they can, and I can do it in a week.” In January 2004, Zuckerberg began writing code for a new website, known as “TheFacebook”, with the inspiration coming from an editorial in the Crimson about Facemash, stating that “It is clear that the technology needed to create a centralized Website is readily available … the benefits are many.” On February 4, 2004, Zuckerberg launched “TheFacebook”, originally located at thefacebook.com.
Zuckerberg also stated his intention to create a universal website that can connect people around the university. According to his roommate, Dustin Moskovitz, “When Mark finished the site, he told a couple of friends … then one of them suggested putting it on the Kirkland House online mailing list, which was … three hundred people.” Moskovitz continued to say that, “By the end of the night, we were … actively watching the registration process. Within twenty-four hours, we had somewhere between twelve hundred and fifteen hundred registrants.”
Just six days after the launch of the site, three Harvard University seniors, Cameron Winklevoss, Tyler Winklevoss, and Divya Narendra, accused Zuckerberg of intentionally misleading them into believing that he would help them build a social network called HarvardConnection.com, but instead using their idea to build a competing product. The three complained to the Crimson, and the newspaper began an investigation. Zuckerberg knew about the investigation so he used TheFacebook.com to find members in the site who identified themselves as members of the Crimson. He examined a history of failed logins to see if any of the Crimson members have ever entered an incorrect password into TheFacebook.com. In the cases in which they had failed to log in, Zuckerberg tried to use them to access the Crimson members’ Harvard email accounts, and he was successful in accessing two of them. In the end, three Crimson members filed a lawsuit against Zuckerberg which was later settled.
Membership was initially restricted to students of Harvard University. Within the first month, more than half the undergraduate population at Harvard was registered on the service. Zuckerberg was soon joined in the promotion of the site by Eduardo Saverin (business aspects), Dustin Moskovitz (programmer), Andrew McCollum (graphic artist), and Chris Hughes. In March 2004, Facebook expanded to Stanford, Columbia, and Yale. This expansion continued when it opened to all Ivy League and Boston-area schools. It gradually reached most universities in the United States and Canada. Facebook was incorporated in the summer of 2004, and the entrepreneur Sean Parker, who had been informally advising Zuckerberg, became the company’s president. In June 2004, Facebook moved its base of operations to Palo Alto, California. The company dropped ‘The’ from its name after purchasing the domain name facebook.com in 2005 for $200,000.
By December 2005, Facebook had 6 million users.
On October 1, 2005, Facebook expanded to twenty-one universities in the United Kingdom and others around the world. Facebook launched a high school version in September 2005, which Zuckerberg called the next logical step. At that time, high school networks required an invitation to join. Facebook later expanded membership eligibility to employees of several companies, including Apple Inc. and Microsoft. On December 11, 2005, universities in Australia and New Zealand were added to the Facebook network, bringing its size to 2,000+ colleges and 25,000 + high schools throughout the United States, Canada, Mexico, the United Kingdom, Australia, New Zealand, and Ireland. Facebook was then opened on September 26, 2006 to everyone aged 13 and older with a valid e-mail address.
Late in 2007, Facebook had 100,000 business pages, allowing companies to attract potential customers and tell about themselves. These started as group pages, but a new concept called company pages was planned.
In 2010, Facebook began to invite users to become beta testers after passing a question-and-answer-based selection process, and a set of Facebook Engineering Puzzles where users would solve computational problems which gave them an opportunity to be hired by Facebook.
As of February 2011, Facebook had become the largest online photo host, being cited by Facebook application and online photo aggregator Pixable as expecting to have 100 billion photos by summer 2011. As of October 2011, over 350 million users accessed Facebook through their mobile phones, accounting for 33% of all Facebook traffic.
On March 12, 2012, Yahoo filed suit in a U.S. federal court against Facebook weeks before the scheduled Facebook initial public offering. In its court filing, Yahoo said that Facebook had infringed on ten of its patents covering advertising, privacy controls and social networking. Yahoo had threatened to sue Facebook a month before the filing, insisting that the social network license its patents. A spokesperson for Facebook issued a statement saying “We’re disappointed that Yahoo, a long-time business partner of Facebook and a company that has substantially benefited from its association with Facebook, has decided to resort to litigation”. The lawsuit claims that Yahoo’s patents cover basic social networking ideas such as customizing website users’ experiences to their needs, adding that the patents cover ways of targeting ads to individual users. In 2012, Facebook App Center, an online mobile store, was rolled out. The store initially had 500 Facebook apps which were mostly games.
On April 24, 2014, Facebook and Storyful announced a new feature called FB Newswire.
Facebook was initially incorporated as a Florida LLC. For the first few months after its launch in February 2004, the costs for the website operations for thefacebook.com were paid for by Mark Zuckerberg and Eduardo Saverin, who had taken equity stakes in the company. The website also ran a few advertisements to meet its operating costs.
First angel investment
In the summer of 2004, venture capitalist Peter Thiel made a $500,000 angel investment in the social network Facebook for 10.2% of the company and joined Facebook’s board. This was the first outside investment in Facebook.
In his book The Facebook Effect, Kirkpatrick outlines the story of how Thiel came to make his investment: Former Napster and Plaxo employee Sean Parker, who at the time had assumed the title of “President” of Facebook, was seeking investors for Facebook. Parker approached Reid Hoffman, the CEO of work-based social network LinkedIn. Hoffman liked Facebook but declined to be the lead investor because of the potential for conflict of interest with his duties as LinkedIn CEO. He redirected Parker to Peter Thiel, whom he knew from their PayPal days (both Hoffman and Thiel are considered members of the PayPal Mafia). Thiel met Parker and Mark Zuckerberg, the Harvard college student who had founded Facebook and controlled it. Thiel and Zuckerberg got along well and Thiel agreed to lead Facebook’s seed round with $500,000 for 10.2% of the company. Hoffman and Mark Pincus also participated in the round, along with Maurice Werdegar who led the investment on behalf of Western Technology Investment. The investment was originally in the form of a convertible note, to be converted to equity if Facebook reached 1.5 million users by the end of 2004. Although Facebook narrowly missed the target, Thiel allowed the loan to be converted to equity anyway. Thiel said of his investment:
Accel investment (Series A)
In April 2005, Accel Partners agreed to make a $12.7 million venture capital investment in a deal that valued Facebook at $98 million. Accel joined Facebook’s board, and the board was expanded to five seats, with Zuckerberg, Thiel, and Breyer in three of the seats, and the other two seats currently being empty but with Zuckerberg free to nominate anybody to those seats.
Greylock investment (Series B)
In April 2006, Facebook closed its Series B funding round. This included $27.5 million from a number of venture capitalists, including Greylock Partners and Meritech Capital, plus additional investments from Peter Thiel and Accel Partners. The valuation for this round was about $500 million.
With the sale of social networking website MySpace to News Corp on July 19, 2005, rumours surfaced about the possible sale of Facebook to a larger media company. Zuckerberg had already stated that he did not want to sell the company, and denied rumors to the contrary. On March 28, 2006, BusinessWeek reported that a potential acquisition of Facebook was under negotiation. Facebook reportedly declined an offer of $750 million from an unknown bidder, and it was rumored the asking price rose as high as $2 billion.
In September 2006, serious talks between Facebook and Yahoo! took place concerning acquisition of Facebook, with prices reaching as high as $1 billion. Thiel, by then a board member of Facebook, indicated that Facebook’s internal valuation was around $8 billion based on their projected revenues of $1 billion by 2015, comparable to Viacom’s MTV brand, a company with a shared target demographic audience.
On July 17, 2007, Zuckerberg said that selling Facebook was unlikely because he wanted to keep it independent, saying “We’re not really looking to sell the company … We’re not looking to IPO anytime soon. It’s just not the core focus of the company.” In September 2007, Microsoft approached Facebook, proposing an investment in return for a 5% stake in the company, offering an estimated $300–500 million. That month, other companies, including Google, expressed interest in buying a portion of Facebook.
Microsoft investment (Series C)
On October 24, 2007, Microsoft announced that it had purchased a 1.6% share of Facebook for $240 million, giving Facebook a total implied value of around $15 billion. However, Microsoft bought preferred stock that carried special rights, such as “liquidation preferences” that meant Microsoft would get paid before common stockholders if the company were sold. Microsoft’s purchase also included the right to place international ads on Facebook. In November 2007, Hong Kong billionaire Li Ka-shing invested $60 million in Facebook.
Switch to profitability
In August 2008, BusinessWeek reported that private sales by employees, as well as purchases by venture capital firms, were being done at share prices that put the company’s total valuation at between $3.75 billion and $5 billion. In October 2008, Zuckerberg said “I don’t think social networks can be monetized in the same way that search did … In three years from now we have to figure out what the optimum model is. But that is not our primary focus today.”
Facebook hired Sheryl Sandberg as its Chief Operating Officer in March 2008. Sandberg is reported to have held a number of brainstorming sessions with Facebook employees on their long-term monetization strategy, which led to the conclusion that advertising would be the main source of monetization. Under Sandberg’s leadership, Facebook made a number of changes to its advertising model with the aim of achieving profitability. In September 2009, Facebook stated that it had turned cash flow positive for the first time.
In early 2012, Facebook disclosed that its profits had jumped 65% to $1 billion in the previous year when its revenue, which is mainly from advertising, had jumped almost 90% to $3.71 billion. Facebook also reported that 56% of its advertising revenue comes from the U.S. alone, and that 12% of its revenue comes from Zynga, the social network game development company. Payments and other fees were $557 million up from $106 million the previous year.
In August 2009, Facebook acquired social media real-time news aggregator FriendFeed, a startup created by Gmail‘s first engineer Paul Buchheit. In February 2010, Facebook acquired Malaysian contact-importing startup Octazen Solutions. On April 2, 2010, Facebook announced acquisition of photo-sharing service called Divvyshot for an undisclosed amount. In June 2010, an online marketplace for trading private Facebook stock reflected a valuation of $11.5 billion. On April 12, 2012, Facebook acquired photo sharing service Instagram for approximately $1 billion in cash and stock. On March 8, 2013, Facebook announced that they acquired the team from Storylane, but not the product itself. On February 19, 2014 Facebook announced its acquisition of WhatsApp Inc., a smartphone instant messaging application for $19 billion in a mix of stock and cash. The acquisition is the most ever paid for a venture-capital backed startup.
Facebook filed for an initial public offering (IPO) on February 1, 2012. The preliminary prospectus stated that the company was seeking to raise $5 billion. The document announced that the company had 845 million active monthly users and its website featured 2.7 billion daily likes and comments. After the IPO, Zuckerberg will retain a 22% ownership share in Facebook and will own 57% of the voting shares.
Underwriters valued the shares at $38 each, pricing the company at $104 billion, the largest valuation to date for a newly public company. On May 16, one day before the IPO, Facebook announced that it would sell 25% more shares than originally planned due to high demand. The IPO raised $16 billion, making it the third largest in U.S. history (just ahead of AT&T Wireless and behind only General Motors and Visa Inc.). The stock price left the company with a higher market capitalization than all but a few U.S. corporations – surpassing heavyweights such as Amazon.com, McDonald’s, Disney, and Kraft Foods – and made Zuckerberg’s stock worth $19 billion. The New York Times stated that the offering overcame questions about Facebook’s difficulties in attracting advertisers to transform the company into a “must-own stock”. Jimmy Lee of JPMorgan Chase described it as “the next great blue-chip”. Writers at TechCrunch, on the other hand, expressed skepticism, stating, “That’s a big multiple to live up to, and [Facebook] will likely need to add bold new revenue streams to justify the mammoth valuation”.
Trading in the stock, which began on May 18, was delayed that day due to technical problems with the NASDAQ exchange. The stock struggled to stay above the IPO price for most of the day, forcing underwriters to buy back shares to support the price. At closing bell, shares were valued at $38.23, only $0.23 above the IPO price and down $3.82 from the opening bell value. The opening was widely described by the financial press as a disappointment. The stock nonetheless set a new record for trading volume of an IPO. On May 25, 2012, the stock ended its first full week of trading at $31.91, a 16.5% decline.
On 22 May, regulators from Wall Street‘s Financial Industry Regulatory Authority announced that they had begun to investigate whether banks underwriting Facebook had improperly shared information only with select clients, rather than the general public. Massachusetts Secretary of State William Galvin subpeonaed Morgan Stanley over the same issue. The allegations sparked “fury” among some investors and led to the immediate filing of several lawsuits, one of them a class action suit claiming more than $2.5 billion in losses due to the IPO. Bloomberg estimated that retail investors may have lost approximately $630 million on Facebook stock since its debut.
Posted on January 7, 2019
Facebook, American company offering online social networking services. Facebook was founded in 2004 by Mark Zuckerberg, Eduardo Saverin, Dustin Moskovitz, and Chris Hughes, all of whom were students at Harvard University. Facebook became the largest social network in the world, with more than one billion users as of 2012, and about half that number were using Facebook every day. The company’s headquarters are in Menlo Park, California.
Access to Facebook is free of charge, and the company earns most of its money from advertisements on the Web site. New users can create profiles, upload photos, join a preexisting group, and start new groups. The site has many components, including Timeline, a space on each user’s profile page where users can post their content and friends can post messages; Status, which enables users to alert friends to their current location or situation; and News Feed, which informs users of changes to their friends’ profiles and status. Users can chat with each other and send each other private messages. Users can signal their approval of content on Facebook with the Like button, a feature that also appears on many other Web sites.
The attractiveness of Facebook stems in part from cofounder Zuckerberg’s insistence from the very beginning that members be transparent about who they are; users are forbidden from adopting false identities. The company’s management argued that transparency is necessary for forming personal relationships, sharing ideas and information, and building up society as a whole. It also noted that the bottom-up, peer-to-peer connectivity among Facebook users makes it easier for businesses to connect their products with consumers.
The company has a complicated early history. It began at Harvard University in 2003 as Facemash, an online service for students to judge the attractiveness of their fellow students. Because the primary developer, Zuckerberg, violated university policy in acquiring resources for the service, it was shut down after two days. Despite its mayflylike existence, 450 people (who voted 22,000 times) flocked to Facemash. That success prompted Zuckerberg to register the URL http://www.facebook.com in January 2004. He then created a new social network at that address with fellow students Saverin, Moskovitz, and Hughes.
The social network TheFacebook.com launched in February 2004. Harvard students who signed up for the service could post photographs of themselves and personal information about their lives, such as their class schedules and clubs they belonged to. Its popularity increased, and soon students from other prestigious schools, such as Yale and Stanford universities, were allowed to join. By June 2004 more than 250,000 students from 34 schools had signed up, and that same year major corporations such as the credit-card company MasterCard started paying for exposure on the site.
In September 2004 TheFacebook added the Wall to a member’s online profile. This widely used feature let a user’s friends post information on their Wall and became a key element in the social aspect of the network. By the end of 2004, TheFacebook had reached one million active users. However, the company still trailed the then-leading online social network, Myspace, which boasted five million members.
The year 2005 proved to be pivotal for the company. It became simply Facebook and introduced the idea of “tagging” people in photos that were posted to the site. With tags, people identified themselves and others in images that could be seen by other Facebook friends. Facebook also allowed users to upload an unlimited number of photos. In 2005 high-school students and students at universities outside the United States were allowed to join the service. By year’s end it had six million monthly active users.
In 2006 Facebook opened its membership beyond students to anyone over the age of 13. As Zuckerberg had predicted, advertisers were able to create new and effective customer relationships. For example, that year, household product manufacturer Procter & Gamble attracted 14,000 people to a promotional effort by “expressing affinity” with a teeth-whitening product. This kind of direct consumer engagement on such a large scale had not been possible before Facebook, and more companies began using the social network for marketing and advertising.
Privacy remains an ongoing problem for Facebook. It first became a serious issue for the company in 2006, when it introduced News Feed, which consisted of every change that a user’s friends had made to their pages. After an outcry from users, Facebook swiftly implemented privacy controls in which users could control what content appeared in News Feed. In 2007 Facebook launched a short-lived service called Beacon that let members’ friends see what products they had purchased from participating companies. It failed because members felt that it encroached on their privacy. Indeed, a survey of consumers in 2010 put Facebook in the bottom 5 percent of companies in customer satisfaction largely because of privacy concerns, and the company continues to be criticized for the complexity of its user privacy controls and for the frequent changes it makes to them.
In 2008 Facebook surpassed Myspace as the most-visited social media Web site. With the introduction of Live Feed, the company also took a competitive swing at the growing popularity of Twitter, a social network that runs a live feed of news service-like posts from members whom a user follows. Similar to Twitter’s ongoing stream of user posts, Live Feed pushed posts from friends automatically to a member’s homepage. (Live Feed has since been incorporated into News Feed.)
Facebook has become a powerful tool for political movements, beginning with the U.S. presidential election of 2008, when more than 1,000 Facebook groups were formed in support of either Democratic candidate Barack Obama or Republican candidate John McCain. In Colombia the service was used to rally hundreds of thousands in protests against the antigovernment FARC guerrilla rebellion. In Egypt, activists protesting the government of Pres. Hosni Mubarak during the uprising of 2011 often organized themselves by forming groups on Facebook.
Facebook encourages third-party software developers to use the service. In 2006 it released its application programming interface (API) so that programmers could write software that Facebook members could use directly through the service. By 2009 developers generated about $500 million in revenue for themselves through Facebook. The company also earns revenues from developers through payments for virtual or digital products sold through third-party applications. By 2011 payments from one such company, Zynga Inc., an online game developer, accounted for 12 percent of the company’s revenues.
In February 2012 Facebook filed to become a public company. Its initial public offering (IPO) in May raised $16 billion, giving it a market value of $102.4 billion. By contrast, the largest IPO of an Internet company to date was that of the search-engine company Google Inc., which had raised $1.9 billion when it went public in 2004. By the end of the first day of the stock’s trading, Zuckerberg’s holdings were estimated at more than $19 billion.
Posted on January 7, 2019
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