One of my main criticisms of Twitter over the years is that the company would rather talk about new functions than actually send them. "The CEO of Twitter continues to replace talking by doing," I say in January, amid an extensive podcast tour for Jack Dorsey in which the CEO acknowledged all possible criticisms of all the company's critics and did little to address them. to grab. The problem has never been that Twitter doesn't know which products to build – it is that there are so many problems building them:
Good ideas languish on Twitter for years. The extension of a tweet from 140 to 280 characters required such bruises in internal battles that the responsible designer exhausted after sending, I said. Other proposed functions are abandoned when product managers realize that shipping requires support from different divisions within the company – with PM & # 39; s having to be purchased by colleagues who are already working on their own priorities and who usually have few have incentives to take detours.
With Twitter, no idea has been wiped out as long as a feature that allows users to track areas of interest in addition to regular accounts. One reason why people have historically left Twitter is the difficulty of finding out which accounts to follow. A feature & # 39; topics & # 39; could, if implemented correctly, eliminate the guessing of a list of such accounts. For example, instead of finding the best accounts that cover the NBA, you can simply follow "NBA" and let Twitter do the work.
It is an idea that dates back to the earliest days of the company and has long been evolving. (“They certainly worked on this idea when I was there in 2016, & # 39; an annoyed ex-Twitter employee said to me today.) Twitter recently invited me to headquarters to let me know that the feature is now ready to be launched and will be available globally on November 13. I wrote about it today The edge:
You can view more than 300 & # 39; topics & # 39; for sports, entertainment and gaming, just as you can currently track individual accounts. In return, you will see tweets of accounts that you do not follow that are credible on these topics.
Twitter managers hope Topics will make the platform more accessible to new and intermittent users and make it easier for heavier users to discover new accounts and conversations.
The story tells my own experience with Topics, in which I accepted an alternative account that I had set up to pro-struggle with the "WWE" topic, to generally positive results. In general, the heavier you use Twitter, the less valuable you can find Topics – power users are usually very good at putting together a perfect list of accounts to follow. But for new, informal and expired users, I expect that Topics are a powerful tool for Twitter that can help the company increase its user base.
It is the newest overdue but welcome feature that Twitter has sent in recent months. Led by product head Kayvon Beykpour, the company began to remove faster tweets faster; has sent a native app for MacOS; added a search function to send messages; changed his lists into sweeping timelines; and started hiding your answers to your tweets. And that is exactly what the company has sent since September.
It seems that there is much more on the horizon. On Monday, Dantley Davis, vice president of Twitter for design and research, raised his eyebrows with a tweet in which he said he "looks forward" to the launch of several new features next year. They include: allowing users to remove themselves from conversations; prevent their tweets from being retweeted if they choose; prevent people from mentioning their usernames without permission; and only send tweets to a specific hashtag, interest or group of friends.
Davis also introduced the company in a follow-up tweet would automatically start labeling multi-tweet threads.
On the one hand, this is classic Twitter: a lot of talk about promotions that can take months, if not more than a year. But thanks to the company's recent track record, I am much more inclined to believe that the conversation will continue. For the first time in many years, the company supports its chat with action. We hope it's a Twitter trend that stays here.
Today in news that can influence the public perception of the major technological platforms.
Popular: Google announced a new acceleration program for startups working on sustainability products. The company is looking for eight to 10 companies from Europe, the Middle East and Africa to participate in a six-month program early next year.
Trending down: Facebook has announced a privacy accident in which app developers inadvertently have access to names and profile pictures of users in certain groups. The company estimates that around 100 & # 39; partners & # 39; have had access to this information.
⭐ A year after the 2020 elections, a stream of fake news is already consuming Facebook, according to a new report from the human rights group Avaaz. But unlike in 2016, this fake news is not from Russia, but from the United States, reports ViceDavid Gilbert:
Although foreign actors are still trying to influence the outcome of the elections with the help of social media, everyone has taken over the mantle for spreading fake news.
The majority of fake news was shared by individuals (39 percent) or unofficial political pages (35 percent). Almost a fifth came from what the researchers & # 39; alternative media accounts & # 39; as Breitbart mentioned, while regular media published 1 percent of the disinformation. Politicians themselves accounted for 6 percent.
The content was a mix of memes, photos & # 39; s that were taken out of context and articles from external websites such as American Herald Tribune, Patriots Unite, Trump Maga Reports and Life News.
⭐ The Ministry of Justice accused two former twitter employees with espionage for Saudi Arabia. The case raises concerns about how technology companies can protect private information about users against repressive governments competent in human intelligence operations, said Ellen Nakashima and Greg Bensinger at The Washington Post:
The case is remarkable because it is aimed at a strategic ally in the Middle East, whose actual leader, Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman, has been associated by the CIA with the murder of Khashoggi at the Saudi Consulate in Istanbul in October 2018.
"The criminal complaint filed today claims that Saudi agents have mined Twitter's internal systems for personal information about well-known Saudi critics and thousands of other Twitter users," said US lawyer David L. Anderson. "We will not allow US companies or US technology to become instruments of foreign repression in violation of US law."
California asked for a court order to force Facebook hand over documents related to Cambridge Analytica. Attorney General Xavier Becerra said the company has refused to comply with subpoenas to provide more information about investigating alleged privacy violations. (Makena Kelly / The edge)
Congress legislators analyze thousands of leaked pages Facebook documents with internal conversations between Mark Zuckerberg and his senior employees. The assessment comes when antitrust investigations heat up to Facebook. (Sebastian Klovig Skelton and Bill Goodwin / ComputerWeekly)
Mark Zuckerberg does not seem to give in to Facebook & # 39; s policy to leave politicians in advertisements. But he might consider limiting microtargeting, as many of his critics have suggested. (Dylan Byers / NBC)
Facebook & # 39; s controversial advertising policy is not just about allowing politicians to lie in advertisements, he argues. It's about giving these ads priority over organic speech. (Tim Wu / The New York Times)
crap executives, including CEO Jeremy Stoppelman, have called Google & # 39; s anti-competitive practices for many years. The accusations finally begin to get a grip as antitrust probes gain steam. (Mat Honan / BuzzFeed)
The Filter Bubble Transparency Act (FBTA) is billed as a law to combat opaque algorithms. But the proposed law does not really do what lawmakers say it will do. (Adi Robertson / The edge)
Democratic legislators proposed legislation to set up a new federal agency to regulate the technology industry. The Online Privacy Act, sponsored by Reps. Anna Eshoo (D-CA) and Zoe Lofgren (D-CA) would set up a new digital privacy agency. (Makena Kelly / The edge)
The Google strike launched a new era of tech worker activism. Some technical employees are now just as concerned with the social impact of the billions of companies they employ as with their own working conditions. About time! (Johana Bhuiyan / The Los Angeles Times)
The photo and stock image site Shutterstock is the newest American company that bows to China's censorship regime, blocking searches that may offend the government of the country. (Sam Biddle / The interception)
⭐ WhatsApp is rolling out the worldwide update so that users can prevent people from automatically adding them to groups. The rollout was first announced in April, but it only reached India. Ingrid Lunden at TechCrunch describes why this is so important:
In its lightest or most harmless way, you are added by tangential work contacts to annoying business chats or groups of overly talkative people gathering around a particular interest. A nuisance, but not really the end of the world.
But in the dark people can be harassed, fake news can be spread and you can be slammed with an offensive, shocking, disturbing image or two (or three). Given that the app is used by minors (as young as 13 in some markets, although I suspect that many younger than these use it), other vulnerable people and billions of others, Groups on WhatsApp need much better basic controls, usable by more then only those who read change logs about app updates or technical blogs.
Use more young teenagers TapTok than Facebook, according to a new Morning Consult report. Instagram and Snapchat TikTok still beat wide margins, but the video app in Chinese hands quickly became popular with Gen Z. (Sara Fischer / Axios)
Facebook & # 39; s Caryn Marooney, vice president of communications, has a new job in venture capital. She is now a general partner at Coatue Ventures, who recently launched a $ 700 million venture capital fund. (Kara Swisher / Recode)
YouTube launched a new product called Super Stickers with which a select number of makers can generate extra income during live streams. The stickers are small cartoon characters that fans can buy to show their support. (Julia Alexander / The Verge)
tumblr launches a new group messaging feature that makes it easier for different fandoms on the site to chat with each other instead of responding to reblogs. The "group chat" is public, but only approved members can send messages. (Julia Alexander / The edge)
Instagram pop-ups such as the Color Factory and the Ice Cream Museum try to conquer the experience economy. (Ashley Carman / The edge)
Most billionaires cannot be related in any meaningful way. But if a billionaire makes a big show of quitting Twitter and returning a little later, they have our full sympathy. This is Marty Johnson The hill:
In a series of tweets on Friday, Musk, who is also the CEO of Tesla, has the & # 39; good of Twitter & # 39; questioned and said that he & # 39; went offline & # 39 ;.
Reuters noted that this is not the first time that Musk, who has nearly 30 million followers on Twitter, has renounced the site to come back later. In June he claimed that he had deleted his Twitter account, although his account remained active.
I'd say more about this, but I'm going offline.