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  • Instagram reveals new user numbers

    January 18, 2013 @ 4:40 pm | by Ciara O'Brien

    Late last year, Instagram did what every social networking company does from time to time: it announced it would update its terms of use. What it hadn’t counted on was the massive backlash that came after some careful reading uncovered a few things that caused some red flags among users. The vague language meant that, in theory, your images could have been used in advertising without you knowing. There were also concerns that the photosharing service planned to sell photos.

    There were thousands of people threatening to leave Instagram as a result. Accounts were made private, people rushed to download their photos before wiping all evidence they ever shared an image through Instagram. But new figures today show that 90 million people still use the service every month, and 40 million photos are uploaded every day. Not bad for a service that most of us thought had signed its own death warrant.

    (Daily active users are down, though, and falling, according to AppStats. It’s not clear if that’s a long-term trend yet.)

    Perhaps it was the reaction that stopped people in their tracks. The company backtracked within days, and has since removed some of the more controversial elements of the terms of use.

    In its defence, Instagram said it merely wanted to experiment with “innovative” advertising that wouldn’t impact negatively on users’ experience of the service. The new terms were also intended to help share data between the service and Facebook.

    “To be clear: it is not our intention to sell your photos,” co-founder Kevin Systrom wrote in a blog post. “We are working on updated language in the terms to make sure this is clear.”

    And Instagram was equally clear on what it meant for users’ privacy; it would respect the settings applied by each user. In other words, private photos would stay private.

    The updated terms, which come into effect from tomorrow, can be found here.



  • It’s not me, Facebook, it’s you

    September 22, 2011 @ 2:59 pm | by Ciara O'Brien

    Dear Facebook,

    I understand you like to keep things fresh. I understand you might want to “spice things up” in a bid to desperately cling on to the people you like to see coming back every day. I understand that you don’t ever feel that the site is quite “done”.  I understand the old saying “A change is as good as a rest”.

    But seriously. Enough already. It’s getting to the point where every time I visit, there’s something new. I almost don’t recognise you any more. And if I’m being really honest, there’s more than a faint whiff of desperation at this point.


  • Facebook revenue doubles to $1.6 billion

    September 8, 2011 @ 11:19 pm | by Ciara O'Brien

    If you ever needed any proof that social networking is big business, just look at Facebook’s leaked results. $1.6 billion in revenue in the first six months of the year. $1.6 billion. That’s double what it earned last year.

  • Identity theft: as easy as one, two, three

    August 16, 2011 @ 12:31 pm | by Ciara O'Brien

    Have you ever wondered how much you share online? You’d be surprised just what you’re inadvertently revealing.


  • About Google+…

    July 8, 2011 @ 11:10 am | by Ciara O'Brien

    Google+ has everyone talking. Mainly because everyone wants to see what all the fuss is about, but Google’s “limited field trial” means that even if you are invited by a friend, it’s hit or miss whether you’ll get in.


  • Facebook ‘Like’ button is a year old. (Like)

    April 25, 2011 @ 11:14 am | by Ciara O'Brien

    Hasn’t time flown? A year ago, Facebook introduced the web ‘Like’ button, and added a new element to social networking: collective back-patting. Web-wide.

    But now, is it it time that they took it one step further, and added a ‘Dislike’ button?


  • The week that…

    February 4, 2011 @ 11:48 am | by Ciara O'Brien

    …Facebook Places became active for Irish users. Another way to stalk and be stalked by your nearest and dearest (3,000+) social network ‘friends’. As if there weren’t enough.

    …Google opened a web store for its Android market. It’s still not quite there yet though, is it?

    …a row broke out between Google and Microsoft over search results on Bing. If you can’t play nicely, kids, don’t play at all.

    …Intel found a flaw in its new chips that could cost it up to $1 billion in missed sales and costs to put it right.

  • Why I am not a cartoon character (and other Facebook related madness)

    December 6, 2010 @ 10:45 am | by Ciara O'Brien

    If you haven’t already shut down your Facebook profile by now, you’ll probably have realised that trends on the site follow a particular pattern. First of all there’s the initial email, imploring people to change their status/profile picture to something obscure “to get people talking”. The hook usually is that it’s for charity, usually a worthy cause that people would feel like a heartless git if they weren’t seen to support it.

    Then it snowballs.

  • The Social Network

    October 20, 2010 @ 11:50 am | by Ciara O'Brien

    So last night I saw The Social Network, the (dramatised) story of Facebook. I’m not sure what I was expecting. Mark Zuckerberg to be portrayed in a bad light, maybe, given the rumours surrounding the script. Backstabbing, betrayal – the tagline “You don’t get to 500 million friends without making a few enemies” suggested something along those lines. And more than a few cringe moments, thanks to its classification as a “comedy drama”.

    What I actually got was a mix of all three, but nowhere near the scale I thought it would be.


  • Terrible things to do to chocolate #575: Carve a film star out of it

    April 4, 2010 @ 10:13 pm | by Ciara O'Brien

    The internet is great for finding weird things. In the spirit of Easter, here’s one of the weirdest today: a competition to win Robert Pattinson’s head in chocolate.

    It reminds me of this:

    Don’t think I could manage it myself

    Happy Easter!

    (Pointed out by @pkellypr on Twitter.)

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