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  1. Twitter is building a subscription platform codenamed Gryphon Three years ago, Twitter considered offering subscriptions for its social media dashboard, TweetDeck. That service would have provided news alerts and analytics to customers willing to pay for a monthly fee, but it didn't materialize. Now, the company appears to be carrying on with its subscription push, if a new job listing is any indication (via VentureBeat). Twitter posted a job opening on its career portal in search for a "Senior Full-stack Software Engineer" who will join its new team, codenamed Gryphon. The listing reveals that the group is developing a subscription platform that can be reused by other teams in the future. It consists of web engineers working with both the payments and Twitter.com teams. The full-stack engineer will be responsible for Gryphon's payment and subscription client work. The team will be distributed across different locations including London, San Francisco, Boston, and New York. The subscription model is seen as a part of Twitter's efforts to explore additional revenue streams beyond advertising, which primarily contributes to its income. It's not clear, though, how the micro-blogging site plans to implement the subscription platform and what services it will offer. Twitter is building a subscription platform codenamed Gryphon
  2. Google, Facebook, and Twitter halt government data requests after new Hong Kong security law The companies are reviewing a new security law that gives China power to stifle dissent Illustration by Alex Castro / The Verge Google, Facebook, and Twitter are pausing the processing of data requests from the Hong Kong government as they review a new security law that went into effect on July 1st. Google put its pause into place as soon as the law took effect last Wednesday. “[W]hen the law took effect, we paused production on any new data requests from Hong Kong authorities,” a Google spokesperson told The Verge in an email, “and we’ll continue to review the details of the new law,” the spokesperson said. Twitter also halted its handling of government requests as of July 1st, with Facebook announcing its pause on Monday, The New York Times reported. Social media platforms typically produce private user information in response to valid court orders, depending on the legal process in various countries. But under this new position, all the companies will, at least temporarily, ignore the requests coming from the government of Hong Kong. The new policies are in response to China’s new national security law in Hong Kong, which was first proposed in May. Hong Kong has traditionally enjoyed significant independence from mainland China, but the central Chinese government has tightened restrictions on speech in Hong Kong in recent months, bringing a gradual end to the “one country, two systems” principle. China’s push toward more control has led to widespread protests across Hong Kong, which began last year. In particular, the new security law gives China the power to limit political dissent against the Communist Party, making it unlawful to engage in “secession, subversion, organization and perpetration of terrorist activities, and collusion with a foreign country or with external elements to endanger national security.” Those powers are particularly relevant for social platforms, which may be hosting the now-criminalized subversive activities. Google, Facebook, and Twitter have both been banned in China for several years, part of the so-called “Great Firewall,” under which government censors and monitors track online activity. The new security law has already compelled several political opposition parties in Hong Kong to disband, NPR reported, and is expected to further chill political dissent against Beijing in Hong Kong. “We believe freedom of expression is a fundamental human right and support the right of people to express themselves without fear for their safety or other repercussions,” a Facebook spokesperson said in an email to The Verge. Twitter says it is reviewing the new law to assess the implications, adding many terms of the new law are “vague and without clear definition,” a spokesperson wrote in an email to The Verge. “Like many public interest organizations, civil society leaders and entities, and industry peers, we have grave concerns regarding both the developing process and the full intention of this law.” Facebook has a process for reviewing government requests, which takes into account its own policies and local laws as well as international human rights standards, the spokesperson added. “We are pausing the review of government requests for user data from Hong Kong pending further assessment of the National Security Law, including formal human rights due diligence and consultations with international human rights experts.” Facebook has offices in China and uses Chinese suppliers to manufacture some of its hardware, including its Oculus VR headsets and its Portal video chat devices. Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg has attempted to mend relations with China in the past, meeting with Communist Party leaders while in Beijing for an economic forum in 2016. More recently, he’s pushed concerns about China setting the terms for online engagement. “If another nation’s platform sets the rules,” Zuckerberg said last year, “our nation’s discourse could be defined by a completely different set of values.” Google, Facebook, and Twitter halt government data requests after new Hong Kong security law
  3. Tweetz is an open-source Twitter client for Windows Last week, we told you how to get the old Twitter interface back, using GoodTwitter 2. Before I came across it, I had been looking for extensions and other solutions. One of these was a Twitter client, called Tweetz. It's an an open-source program for windows, that you can use to view your timeline from your desktop. You cannot customize the location where Tweetz gets installed. When the program is run, you will see the following screen. It tells you click on the "Get Pin" button to authorize your account. Hit the button and a new tab should open in your browser. Login to Twitter and authorize the application. Here's the list of permissions it requires. It's pretty much standard for a Twitter client to have such options. Twitter will display a PIN that you'll need to enter in Tweetz. Paste it in the field that's available and click on the sign in button. Tweetz has a minimal interface with a dark theme. You can resize the window to make it larger or smaller. The navigation bar at the top of the window has five buttons. Clicking the Home button takes you to your timeline. The heart icon lists tweets that you've liked. The magnifying glass is the Search shortcut. Oddly, the "@ mentions" are located on the search page, so if you want to see tweets that you've been tagged in (replies from other users), you've to click on the @ button to fetch the mentions. It would've been better if it had its own shortcut on the nav bar. The gear cog icon is used to access the program's settings. You may hide images, profile pictures, extended content, your username in the title bar, tweets that contain sensitive content. Tweetz can be set to stay on top of other programs, start automatically with Windows, minimized to the system tray. Drag the font size slider towards the right to adjust the text size. There are 3 themes in Tweetz: Light, Nord and Dark. The application stores its settings in a text file. The settings page lists a few tips on how to control the program. Right-click (on any page) to scroll to the top, click on a timestamp to open the link in your browser, Ctrl + N to post a new tweet, etc. Speaking of, hit the tweet button in the top right corner to post a tweet. The + button in the tweet compose window can be used to add images (GIF, JPG, PNG, WEBP formats) or videos (MP4). You can use Tweetz to post Tweets, retweet, retweet with comment, reply to tweets, like tweets, and follow users from the timeline. The program automatically pauses the timeline when you scroll down, and allows you to read the currently loaded tweets. Mouse over a link to view the full URL, or over a profile picture or username to view the profile info. Click on an image to view a larger version of it, that opens in a pop-up window. It has 2 buttons that lets you copy the picture's URL or the image to clipboard. To return to your timeline, click on the image again. Tweetz can play twitter videos too, and uses a pop-up player for it. Its controls are similar to the built-in image viewer. No program is perfect. Let's discuss the flaws of the program. There is no way to manage your Twitter account from within the program. Tweetz does not support lists, which may not be a deal breaker for many, but as a user with customized lists I was disappointed. The biggest drawback however is that when you click on a Tweet, a timestamp or a profile, it doesn't open a pop-up window to display the content. Instead, it opens the link in your default browser. The program is written in .NET Core. A portable version of Tweetz is available, it's called the self-contained version. Note: This review is not based on the latest version that was released a few days ago. I used version 2.6.2 from about two weeks ago. The program displays a "Consider donating" Tweet from the developer from time to time. It is displayed even if you aren't following him on Twitter. Tweetz is impressive, but I would've liked it more if it opened Tweets and profile pages in its interface, rather than sending them to the web browser. If I were to rate it in a point system, it definitely gets extra points simply because it. does not use the "modern Twitter interface". Landing Page: https://github.com/mike-ward/tweetz/releases Tweetz is an open-source Twitter client for Windows
  4. Twitter terminates DDoSecrets, falsely claims it may infect visitors Permanent suspension comes for violations of rules against tweeting hacked materials. Enlarge Aurich Lawson / Getty 103 with 73 posters participating, including story author Four days after leak publisher DDoSecrets circulated private documents from more than 200 law enforcement agencies across the United States, Twitter has permanently suspended its account and falsely claimed that the site may infect users with malware. “Your account, DDoSecrets, has been suspended for violating the Twitter rules,” this email, which Twitter sent to the account holders, said. The message cited rules against “distribution of hacked material” and went on to say: We don’t permit the use of our services to directly distribute content obtained through hacking that contains private information, may put people in physical harm or danger, or contains trade secrets. Note that if you attempt to evade a permanent suspension by creating new accounts, we will suspend your new accounts. If you wish to appeal this suspension, please contact our support team. BlueLeaks asks: Why us and not WikiLeaks? DDoSecrets describes itself as a “transparency collective, aimed at enabling the free transmission of data in the public interest.” On Friday, it published BlueLeaks, a 269-gigabyte trove of documents that KrebsOnSecurity reported was obtained through the hack of a Web development company that hosted documents on behalf of police departments. Some of the documents exposed police candidly discussing responses to demonstrations protesting what a Minnesota district attorney has charged was the murder of George Floyd, a Black man who died while handcuffed as a Minneapolis Police Department officer pressed a knee on his neck for nearly nine minutes. As of Tuesday, Derek Chauvin, who has since been fired, had not entered a plea. A Twitter spokesperson confirmed that the company had permanently suspended the DDoSecrets account for violating the social media site’s rules barring hacked materials. The spokesperson said the material (1) contained unredacted information that could put people at risk of real-world harm and (2) ran afoul of a policy that forbids the distribution of material that is obtained through technical breaches and hacks, as publishers of DDoSecrets claimed had been done. DDoSecrets co-founder Emma Best criticized the suspension and noted that the Twitter account for WikiLeaks remains active despite its publishing of vast troves of private information resulting from the 2016 hack of the Democratic National Committee and members of the Hillary Clinton campaign. WikiLeaks has also tweeted links to its Vault 7 series, which published details about closely guarded CIA hacking programs. Other accounts associated with the Anonymous hacking movement have also escaped suspensions. Twitter was also slow to suspend Guccifer 2.0 and the Dark Overlord, the monikers of two purported hackers, both of whom also published extensive amounts of personal information obtained through hacking and tweeted the links. “@DDoSecrets has worked with dozens of major news outlets across the world and published terabytes of data uncovering money laundering schemes, corruption, and more,” Best tweeted. “Now we're being censored for publishing the #BlueLeaks files about law enforcement.” Fearmongering Twitter users who clicked on tweeted links to the DDoSecrets.com site received a message from Twitter warning, with no evidence, that the site may install malware, steal passwords or other sensitive data, or collect personal data for purposes of sending spam. Enlarge This security check from Web security firm Sucuri found no malware on the site, although the firm did note that it was blocked by fellow security firm McAfee. Best said the only malware on the site are binary samples of malware such as the Stuxnet worm that infected Iran about a decade ago and attachments found in emails posted to the site. Best said that DDoSecrets critics have been falsely reporting to security firms that the site is malicious in an attempt to make the site unavailable to users of antivirus products. The Twitter spokesperson didn’t answer questions about the basis for the claims. The spokesperson also didn’t say what distinguished materials published by DDoSecrets from those published by WikiLeaks. McAfee representatives weren’t immediately available for comment. Best told Wired that prior to publishing BlueLeaks, DDoSecrets spent a week scrubbing about 50 gigabytes of material disclosing sensitive details about crime victims, children, unrelated private businesses, health care companies, and retired veterans’ associations. The co-founder conceded, however, that the team “probably missed things.” Critics have increasingly complained that Twitter’s rules for removing tweets and accounts it deems abusive or harmful are inconsistent. The social media site’s permanent suspension of DDoSecrets and its unsubstantiated warnings the site may engage in malicious behavior is only going to further those charges. Twitter terminates DDoSecrets, falsely claims it may infect visitors
  5. Twitter suffered a major data breach - but this is why you're probably safe Business customers' personal information was stored in their web browser's cache (Image credit: Shutterstock) Twitter has emailed its business customers to inform them that their personal information may have been compromised. As reported by The BBC, the social networking giant said that the billing information of some of its customers was stored inside their web browser's cache and that others could have possibly accessed their personal information. The exposed personal data includes email addresses, phone numbers and the last four digits of customers' credit card numbers. However, according to Twitter, there is no evidence that its customers' billing information was compromised. Twitter breach The breach affects Twitter's business customers who use its advertising and analytics platforms. At this time though, it is still unclear as to how many business have been affected. Twitter informed its users that it first became aware of the breach at the end of May after it disclosed a similar bug that led to Firefox storing files sent or received from direct messages and data archive files downloaded from a profile's settings page in its browser's cache. While unfortunate for the social network's business customers, it is not believed that any of Twitter's regular users were affected by the breach. Twitter suffered a major data breach - but this is why you're probably safe
  6. Cricket fans were welcomed with a shocking message a few hours ago when the largest fan-created Cricket video archive on Twitter was targeted. Rob Moody, whose videos generate hundreds of thousands of views every month, was told to remove all copyrighted videos or lose his Twitter account. This threat prompted public outrage and soon after Cricket Australia retracted its claims. Copyright infringement is frequently framed as something horrible, an evil that has to be rooted out. However, it’s also at the source of many creative expressions or just pure entertainment. In these cases, copyright enforcement can do more harm than good. An example of such a clash took place on Twitter yesterday, when superfan Rob Moody informed Twitter followers that his massive library of over 2,000 cricket clips was at risk. Several videos were targeted by takedown requests from Cricket Australia and, if Moody refused to remove all infringing content, his account would be suspended. Needless to say, Moody wasn’t pleased, something he made crystal clear. “So I’m told to delete every cricket video I’ve ever uploaded to Twitter, over the past 11 years….. You have to laugh really! Just suspend my account and be done with it, as if I’m going to go and find all 2000+ videos since 2009 and delete them.” A lot of cricket fans, including various prominent names, were equally shocked by the decision. The archive of cricket videos has been a source of entertainment for many and has amassed millions of views. New Zealand international James Neesham urged those responsible to “sort it out” and TV-personality Piers Morgan jumped in asked people to “rise up” in defense of the video archive. The big problem, of course, is that the copyright claims aren’t entirely unwarranted. Moody doesn’t own the rights to broadcast the clips via Twitter. This is something he’s well aware of. “It’s nice that people like watching the videos but reality is what I’m doing is wrong, and can’t last forever,” Moody replied when someone highlighted this angle. While many people had already started to get used to the idea that their favorite cricket video archive would be lost, Cricket Australia jumped in. The organization was indeed responsible for the looming purge, but it was quick to retract its claims. Apparently, they were sent in error. “Some good news: The copyright claims against @robelinda2 were made in error and have been retracted. The videos should be back up and running soon,” the organization tweeted. “We’ve got no plans to shut down Rob’s old gold and will follow up on the processes around this,” Cricket Australia added. So, after a few hours, the crisis was averted. Rob Moody can continue posting cricket clips and given the events that unfolded today, he doesn’t have to be worried that Cricket Australia will go after him in the near future. This doesn’t mean that others can’t be targeted for posting the same clips of course. However, the whole episode shows that copyright enforcement can sometimes do more harm than good. This is something rightsholders may want to keep in mind. Source
  7. Twitter starts rolling out audio tweets on iOS No word on when the feature will come to Android Twitter is rolling out the ability to record audio snippets and attach them to your tweets. The new feature is available first on iOS and launching today for “a limited group of people,” according to the company. “Sometimes 280 characters aren’t enough and some conversational nuances are lost in translation. So starting today, we’re testing a new feature that will add a more human touch to the way we use Twitter — your very own voice,” Twitter’s Maya Patterson and Rémy Bourgoin wrote in a blog post. If you’ve got access to it, you’ll see a new waveform icon beside the camera icon when composing a tweet. Tap that, and a red record button appears at the bottom of the screen, which you can tap to start recording your message. “Each voice tweet captures up to 140 seconds of audio. Have more to say? Keep talking. Once you reach the time limit for a tweet, a new voice tweet starts automatically to create a thread,” Twitter said. Audio can only be added to original tweets, according to this help page, so you can’t include them in replies or retweets with a comment. Another minor thing to note is that whatever your profile picture is when you record an audio clip will always be attached to that audio tweet. “Your current profile photo will be added as a static image on your audio attachment and will not refresh if you update your profile photo,” Twitter says. You can listen to audio tweets by hitting the play button. On iOS, Twitter says a dock will appear near the bottom of the app so you can listen to audio tweets and continue scrolling through your timeline. They’ll also keep playing in the background if you switch to another app. Audio tweets could pose new moderation challenges for Twitter, and it’s also important to remember the accessibility factor here. The Verge asked Twitter for more details on how it will make it easier for people who are deaf or hard-of-hearing to access these audio tweets. In an emailed response, a spokesperson said “this is an early test of audio for us and we’re still exploring the best ways to meet the needs of people with different abilities.” Update June 17th 2:25PM ET: The original article has been updated to include a comment regarding accessibility from Twitter. Twitter starts rolling out audio tweets on iOS
  8. SAN FRANCISCO (Reuters) - Twitter on Thursday said it removed more than 170,000 accounts tied to a Beijing-backed influence operation that deceptively spread messages favorable to the Chinese government, including some about the coronavirus. The company suspended a core network of 23,750 highly active accounts, as well as a larger network of about 150,000 “amplifier” accounts used to boost the core accounts’ content. Twitter, along with researchers who analyzed the accounts, said the network was largely an echo chamber of fake accounts without much further traction. The company also removed two smaller state-backed operations which it attributed to Russia and Turkey, both focused on domestic audiences. Twitter said the Chinese network had links to an earlier state-backed operation dismantled last year by Twitter, Facebook and Google’s YouTube that had been pushing misleading narratives about political dynamics in Hong Kong. The new operation likewise focused heavily on Hong Kong, but also promoted messages about the coronavirus pandemic, exiled Chinese billionaire Guo Wengui and Taiwan, the researchers said. Renee DiResta, at the Stanford Internet Observatory, said the network’s coronavirus activity ramped up in late January, as the outbreak spread beyond China, and spiked in March. Accounts praised China’s response to the virus, while also using the pandemic to antagonize the United States and Hong Kong activists, she said. Open-source researchers at Graphika and Bellingcat had earlier flagged the re-emergence of the so-called “Spamouflage Dragon” network, after it went dormant following the companies’ takedowns last summer. The U.S. State Department said in May it had found a network of inauthentic Twitter accounts with “highly probable” linkages to China disseminating false coronavirus claims. Twitter pushed back on the assertions at the time, saying the 5,000 accounts the agency identified included legitimate non-governmental organizations and journalists. A Twitter spokeswoman on Thursday said the network it removed was not related to what the State Department had identified. In Beijing, a foreign ministry spokeswoman said there was a need for Chinese voices with objective views as many platforms carried falsehoods about China. “China is the biggest victim of disinformation,” the spokeswoman, Hua Chunying, told a news briefing. “I think if Twitter wants to do something to its credit, then really the accounts that should be shut off are precisely those which organize and coordinate to attack and smear China.” Over the past year, Chinese diplomatic missions and diplomats, including Hua, set up Twitter or Facebook accounts, often using them to attack Beijing’s critics. Last month, Twitter flagged a tweet written in March by a Chinese government spokesman that suggested the U.S. military brought the novel coronavirus to China, as the social media platform ramps up fact-checking of posts. Source
  9. TikTok, meanwhile, is joining the EU's code of conduct. The European Union wants tech giants to do more than they have to counter fake news for users on the continent. EU foreign policy lead Josep Borrell and European Commission values and transparency VP Vera Jourova have said Facebook, Google and Twitter should produce monthly reports on their efforts to stamp out disinformation campaigns. The officials are not only concerned about attempts by Russia and China to influence European politics, but the direct damage to people from COVID-19 misinformation and anti-vaccination myths. “Disinformation does not only harm the health of our democracies, it also harms the health of our citizens,” Jourova said. The hoped-for reports would detail both efforts to limit COVID-19 falsehoods, including ads, as well as steps taken to promote trustworthy material. Internet companies might not need that much prodding, mind you. Jourova added that TikTok was joining the EU’s voluntary Code of Practice on Disinformation (where Facebook, Google, Mozilla and Twitter are already members) to fight fake news. TikTok is promising to foster truth and transparency in ads, enforce policies against false identities and bots, prioritize “authoritative” info when relevant and help researchers looking into disinformation campaigns. This won’t necessarily lead to a significant shift in TikTok’s existing approach, but it reflects the social video service’s attempts to reassure the world that its international content policies aren’t subject to Chinese government influence. Source
  10. Twitter is now letting employees work from home indefinitely CEO Jack Dorsey informed employees of the new policy on Tuesday Illustration by Alex Castro / The Verge Twitter will now let its employees work from home indefinitely, which was first reported by BuzzFeed News. CEO Jack Dorsey reportedly informed employees of the new policy in an email sent on Tuesday. “If our employees are in a role and situation that enables them to work from home and they want to continue to do so forever, we will make that happen,” a Twitter spokesperson said in a statement to The Verge. “If not, our offices will be their warm and welcoming selves, with some additional precautions, when we feel it’s safe to return.” The spokesperson also shared the following information about the company’s reopening plans and how it is thinking about business travel and events this year: Opening offices will be our decision, when and if our employees come back, will be theirs. With very few exceptions, offices won’t open before September. When we do decide to open offices, it also won’t be a snap back to the way it was before. It will be careful, intentional, office by office and gradual. There will also be no business travel before September, with very few exceptions, and no in-person company events for the rest of 2020. We will assess 2021 events later this year. Twitter’s employees have already been working from home since March 12th when the company ordered all employees to work out of their homes due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Source: Twitter is now letting employees work from home indefinitely (The Verge)
  11. Twitter is reportedly rolling out a tweet scheduling feature to more users Tweet but don't send (Image credit: Future) If you're a regular Twitter user, the ability to schedule tweets rather than blast them out all at the same time can be really handy, and there are a variety of third-party plug-ins to help. Now it seems Twitter might be pushing out its own scheduler more widely. As The Next Web reports, some users have already started seeing a schedule option appear on the interface: you can pick a specific date and time for your post, as well as see all the tweets you've currently got scheduled. This is something that Twitter started testing last year, although the feature was never rolled out widely beyond a small trial group. The new functionality looks similar to the experiment we saw in November. Now it appears more people are getting the option – though for the time being at least, it looks as though the feature is only available if you're using Twitter on the desktop through a web browser. The ever-evolving Twitter We haven't heard anything from Twitter itself yet, so it's possible that this is just an extension of the original test: it may disappear as quickly as it arrived, or it may suddenly become available for everyone at once. Besides being able to schedule tweets through various social media management tools, the feature is also available in TweetDeck – the power user web client that's actually owned and run by Twitter itself. That would suggest it's not going to take too much software engineering know-how to switch the scheduler over to the main Twitter clients. Twitter has also been busy experimenting with new ways to show threads in recent days. Being able to schedule tweets is undoubtedly useful – though it can cause a serious amount of social media embarrassment too, if it inadvertently becomes ill-timed, or looks ignorant of what everyone else is talking about on the network (Twitter moves fast, after all). There's still no sign of an edit button though. Source: Twitter is reportedly rolling out a tweet scheduling feature to more users (TechRadar)
  12. Twitter will not be able to reveal surveillance requests it received from the US government after a federal judge accepted government arguments that this was likely to harm national security after a near six-year long legal battle. The social media company had sued the US Department of Justice in 2014 to be allowed to reveal, as part of its "Draft Transparency Report", the surveillance requests it received. It argued its free-speech rights were being violated by not being allowed to reveal the details. US District Judge Yvonne Gonzalez Rogers granted the government's request to dismiss Twitter's lawsuit in an eleven page order filed in the US District Court for Northern California. The judge ruled on Friday that granting Twitter's request "would be likely to lead to grave or imminent harm to the national security." "The Government's motion for summary judgment is GRANTED and Twitter's motion for summary judgment is DENIED", the judge said in her order. Twitter had sued the Justice Department in its battle with federal agencies as the internet industry's self-described champion of free speech seeking the right to reveal the extent of US government surveillance. The lawsuit had followed months of fruitless negotiations with the government and had marked an escalation in the internet industry's battle over government gag orders on the nature and number of requests for private user information. Tech companies were seeking to clarify their relationships with US law enforcement and spying agencies in the wake of revelations by former National Security Agency contractor Edward Snowden that outlined the depth of U.S. spying capabilities. Twitter's legal battle spanned the tenures of four US attorneys general - Eric Holder, Loretta Lynch, Jeff Sessions and William Barr. Through the use of confidential declarations, the Justice Department was able to show that revealing the exact number of national security letters from 2014, as requested by Twitter, posed a risk to national security, Friday's order said. Twitter did not immediately respond to Reuters' request for comment. SOURCE
  13. Firefox may have stored personal Twitter data in its cache Firefox users who use Twitter may get a notification by the service when they connect to the site the next time that informs them that personal data may have been stored inadvertently in the browser's cache. The message states: Important information for Firefox users We recently learned that the way Mozilla Firefox stores cached data from Twitter may have resulted in non-public information being inadvertently stored in the browser's cache. For example, if you downloaded your data using Firefox, the browser may have retained a copy of the download for a period of time. We have made changes to prevent this from happening again. According to Twitter's notification, personal information such as downloaded data from Twitter or direct message, could have been cached by Firefox. While that is not a problem on a device with a single-user, information could have leaked on devices that are used by multiple users, e.g. on public Internet workstations. Other users or administrators could find the data if they browsed the cache of the browser. Firefox's default caching period is set to 7 days but it is possible to change the retention in the browser's settings. Twitter notes that it has made changes so that the data is no longer stored in Firefox's cache. Other browsers, non-Firefox-based browsers, are not affected by the issue according to Twitter. Other Firefox-based browsers may be affected by the issue on the other hand. It is unclear if Firefox's caching may cause the same issue on other services. Betanews colleague Brian Faglioli asked Mozilla about this on Twitter and received a reply stating that the organization was looking into this. It is a good practice to clear caches and other data after using public machines to access content on the Internet or work locally on a device. Some public workstations are configured to erase caches automatically when users sign-out. Firefox users may use the shortcut Ctrl-Shift-Del to clear the history of the browser. Source: Firefox may have stored personal Twitter data in its cache (gHacks - Martin Brinkmann)
  14. Twitter is testing ephemeral tweets in Brazil and calling them ‘fleets’ Snapchat Stories finally arrive on Twitter Since it was founded in March 2006, there has been only one type of post possible on Twitter: a tweet. But starting today, the 280-character post is being joined by an ephemeral South American cousin: the fleet. That’s what Twitter is calling these new, more fleeting tweets — posts that appear in a separate timeline above the main timeline for 24 hours before disappearing. In other words, yes, Twitter is finally doing Snapchat Stories, and the implementation looks nearly identical to Instagram’s version of the feature. “Twitter is for having conversations about what you care about,” Mo Aladham, a Twitter group product manager, said in a blog post. “But, some of you tell us that you’re uncomfortable to tweet because tweets are public, feel permanent, and have public counts (retweets and likes). We want to make it possible for you to have conversations in new ways with less pressure and more control, beyond tweets and direct messages. That’s why starting today in Brazil, we’re testing fleets, a new way to start conversations from your fleeting thoughts.” To create a fleet, you’ll tap a plus button that appears on a new home row of ephemeral posts on top of your home timeline. From there, you can type up to 280 characters of text or add photos, GIFs, or videos. Once you hit post, your fleet will appear in a lightly ranked side-scrolling row of posts. Fleets from people you follow and who follow you back will appear first, with the most recently posted visible first. From there, you’ll see posts from other accounts that you follow. You cannot like or retweet a fleet. You can respond to fleets with reaction emoji similar to those that were recently introduced in direct messages. You can also respond with text, which will open up a DM with the person you’re messaging. Fleets, like stories everywhere, disappear after 24 hours. Twitter has reportedly been working on ephemeral posts for more than a year. In October, the company’s head of product, Kayvon Beykpour, told The Verge that he was interested in exploring the concept: I view that as another dimension that is really important for some customers: for some specific set of circumstances where you want to talk to people, but you’re not quite sure you want it to last forever yet. And so I think as a dimension to focus on, as a specific customer problem, absolutely, I’m very interested in exploring how we might give customers more control. Dorky as the name may be, fleets represent an opportunity for Twitter to gain some of the ground it has lost to Instagram, Snapchat, and other social platforms over the years as ephemeral messaging has become more popular. It’s not just that the tweets will disappear automatically (although that helps); it’s that stories seem to encourage a different kind of sharing — more disposable, more casual, more intimate. The main feed is for polished public performance, and stories are more about idle chitchat. At least, that’s how it has played out elsewhere. Twitter will surely bring its own wrinkles to the format, assuming that fleets roll out more broadly. I assume they will. Fleets are currently being tested internally among employees in addition to the test in Brazil. And last month, Twitter brought Chroma Labs, a seven-person startup founded by former Facebook and Instagram employees that make a tool for creating ephemeral stories. Anyway, fleets! This is real life. Source: Twitter is testing ephemeral tweets in Brazil and calling them ‘fleets’ (The Verge)
  15. How to delete Twitter’s storage cache from your iPhone Because every MB is precious Photo by Amelia Holowaty Krales / The Verge Whether you’ve got an older iPhone with less internal storage or would rather save that space for music, photos, and other content, it’s always good practice to clear the data cache from various apps to make room for what you really need on your phone. Twitter currently lets iOS users do this directly from the app, which helps to prevent your iPhone from becoming bloated with preloaded videos, GIFs, and memes you don’t necessarily need to see immediately. Here’s how to wipe out your data cache and make up some extra storage space. First, open up the Twitter mobile app, and tap your profile’s avatar in the upper-left corner. This will bring out the left-hand drawer. You can also swipe to the right anywhere on your Twitter stream if you do not see your avatar on the top corner. Tap “Settings and privacy” Under the “General” category, tap “Data usage” Beneath the “Storage” subhead, you’ll see how much space your Twitter app has been using to cache web and media data To clear them, tap each one then select “Clear media storage” and / or “Clear web storage” to save some space You can choose to only clear one instead of both if you’re not super pressed for storage or just want to clear the cache that’s taking up a lot more space. To limit data usage by the Twitter app, in general, you can also toggle on “Data saver” from the same “Data usage” menu. This will disable autoplaying videos and display lower-quality images. Instead, to play a video, you’ll have to manually tap the preview image. Even with “Data saver” turned on, it’s still a good idea to clear the cache every so often if you’re worried about the Twitter app taking up precious storage space on your phone. There’s no way to schedule it to automatically clear the caches just yet, so for now, you’ll have to remind yourself to manually empty them regularly. Source: How to delete Twitter’s storage cache from your iPhone (The Verge)
  16. Elon Musk lended public support to Twitter CEO Jack Dorsey who’s being pressured to step down by an activist investor. “Just want to say that I support @Jack as Twitter CEO. He has a good heart,” Musk tweeted, using a heart emoji because that’s how middle-aged billionaires communicate. Jack Dorsey On Friday it was reported that Paul Singer, the billionaire founder of Elliott Management, took a stake in Twitter with the intent of making a number of changes at the micro-blogging platform. Elliott has a more than $1 billion stake in Twitter, according to CNBC, and has nominated four new board members. Bloomberg reports that Twitter executives met with representatives from Elliott Management for the first time last week. Dorsey was absent, even though he was the main topic of conversation. One change Elliott hopes to make is the removal of Dorsey, who’s been accused of being inattentive to Twitter’s earnings potential as he splits his time as CEO of Square where 85 percent of his wealth resides. The Twitter / Square CEO has also been criticized for moving too slowly, with a preference for talking instead of doing. Dorsey hasn’t helped himself by saying he’d like to temporarily move to Africa this year. Dorsey’s return as CEO of Twitter in July 2015 was met with advice from Elon Musk. “I wouldn’t recommend running two companies,” said the CEO of Tesla and SpaceX. Twitter shares have since fallen 6.2 percent, while Facebook’s have gained more than 121 percent, according to Bloomberg. Musk and Dorsey were last seen bromancing each other at a company meeting in January, where Musk was projected onto a giant screen in front of thousands of Twitter employees. “If you were running Twitter,“ Dorsey asked, “what would you do?” Musk’s response was get rid of the bots. Others want to get rid of the CEO, which just might happen. Source
  17. Twitter has announced that employees are encouraged to work from home in an effort to stop the spread of a novel coronavirus that has infected at least 105 people in 15 states and killed six people in the U.S. The San Francisco-based social media company is believed to be the first major U.S. firm to announce a work-from-home policy as companies around the world enact new plans to fight COVID-19. Shelves where disinfectant wipes are usually displayed at a Target store on March 2, 2020 in Novato, California in the Bay Area. “Beginning today, we are strongly encouraging all employees globally to work from home if they’re able. Our goal is to lower the probability of the spread of the COVID-19 coronavirus for us—and the world around us,” Twitter said in a statement posted to the company’s website. “We are operating out of an abundance of caution and the utmost dedication to keeping our Tweeps healthy.” There have been no reports of any Twitter employees contracting the virus, but with over 4,800 employees worldwide, the company clearly doesn’t want to take any chances. As of Tuesday morning, the coronavirus pandemic has reached at least 67 countries, sickened over 91,000 people worldwide, and killed at least 3,118. Twitter cofounder and CEO Jack Dorsey, who has recently come under fire from activist investors who want him to step down, recently cancelled his appearance at this year’s South by Southwest conference in Austin, Texas over concerns about the coronavirus outbreaks. South by Southwest is still scheduled to start on Friday, March 13 and will not be cancelled, despite a petition to do exactly that, according to the Austin American-Statesman. While Twitter is encouraging people to work from home, it’s also allowing employees in some countries to continue traveling into the office if they like. Working from home is already mandatory for Twitter employees in Hong Kong, Japan, and South Korea due to government restrictions. “We are working to make sure internal meetings, all hands, and other important tasks are optimized for remote participation,” Twitter said. “We recognize that working from home is not ideal for some job functions. For those employees who prefer or need to come into the offices, they will remain open for business.” Hong Kong has 100 cases and two deaths, while Japan has 274 cases and 6 deaths, not including the passengers of the Diamond Princess cruise that was, until recently, docked in Yokohama. At least 706 of the roughly 3,700 people on board contracted the virus and six have died. South Korea has also been hit hard by the coronavirus outbreak, with 374 new cases on Tuesday alone, bringing the total number of cases in the country to 5,186. South Korea’s government, which has declared a “war” on the virus, announced on Tuesday that the country has 28 deaths so far, according to Yonhap News. Twitter added that it’s “deep cleaning and sanitizing” its buildings and is installing visual reminders on personal hygiene and food safety. And it’s unlikely that this will be the first U.S.-based company to encourage employees to stay home. “While this is a big change for us, we have already been moving towards a more distributed workforce that’s increasingly remote,” Twitter said in a statement. “We’re a global service and we’re committed to enabling anyone, anywhere to work at Twitter.” Source
  18. Billionaire Paul Singer, founder of Elliott Management, wants to take over. Paul Singer, the billionaire founder of the activist fund Elliott Management, is preparing a plan to try to replace Jack Dorsey as CEO of Twitter, according to a report Friday by Bloomberg. Elliott, based in New York, has nominated four directors to Twitter's board and also seeks to make other changes at the company, Bloomberg said. According to the report, Elliott has a "sizable" stake in Twitter, but the exact size of the stake is unclear. Twitter declined to comment. Elliott Management didn't immediately respond to a request for comment. One reason Elliott is pushing for the takeover is because Dorsey's time is split between running two public companies, Twitter and the payments firm Square, according to CNBC, which also reported the news. Dorsey's desire to spend up to six months in Africa this year is also a concern for Elliott, the report said. The news comes at a challenging time for Twitter, as the social network tries to deal with election disinformation, abuse and other problems with the platform. Twitter's stock rose more than 7% in after-hours trading. Source
  19. How to deactivate your Twitter account You don’t need to keep doing this There’s no questioning the benefits of Twitter. It’s a convenient way to get your memes, world news, and pop culture hot takes all in one place. But being an active Twitter user requires sifting through a daily deluge of toxic characters, including white supremacists, bots, deepfakes, the president of the United States, and more. Plus, there’s no denying the stress and anxiety that the fast pace of Twitter’s news cycle, and the strain of constantly debating reply guys, can bring. Hear me out on this: you don’t actually have to use Twitter. I know it seems like everyone else is using it, but you can be the change you want to see in the world. You can just delete your account. Don’t worry: it doesn’t have to be permanent. If you find yourself feeling empty and directionless after doing this, you can get your account back up to 30 days after the fact. But if it ever gets to be too much again, just come back to this article and follow the steps. There’s a whole world outside of your timeline to explore. Deactivate your Twitter account in a browser If you’re on a computer or in a mobile browser, go to Twitter.com and log in to your account. To deactivate: On the web, click the “More” item on the bottom-left of the screen. On the mobile browser, tap your profile icon. Select “Settings and Privacy” and then “Account” At the bottom of the list, tap “Deactivate your account” You’ll see a screen informing you that doing this will, in fact, deactivate your account. Ignore it, and press “Deactivate” again at the bottom. Deactivate your Twitter account in the Twitter app If you’re using a smartphone, go to the Twitter app and make sure you’re logged in. Tap your profile icon in the top-left corner. A menu will pop out from the side. Tap “Settings and privacy” on the bottom. Tap “Account” at the top. In the account settings page, select “Deactivate your account” at the bottom. A few things to note: To reiterate: your account won’t be permanently gone after this process. Twitter retains your information for 30 days before deleting it permanently. To restore your account, just log back in. If you plan to create a new Twitter account with the same username and email address as the account you’re deactivating, switch the current account to a different username and email address before you deactivate If you want to download your Twitter data, do that before deactivating. Twitter can’t send data from inactive accounts. Google and other search engines cache results, meaning your old profile and tweets may still pop up in response to search queries on occasion. However, anyone who clicks them will get an error message. Deactivating your account can be a hassle, but to Twitter’s credit, it’s much more straightforward than the process of deleting some other services, such as Uber and Lyft. But where will I get my news and memes now? So Twitter is gone from your life. Congratulations! But what will you do now that you don’t have a never-ending barrage of tweets to scroll through? Here are some other things to try with your newfound free time. Mastodon. Mastodon is a decentralized version of Twitter that journalists have praised as “Twitter without Nazis.” Rather than one giant hot mess of a website, you log in to different “instances” of Mastodon, which are communities with varying purposes and themes. Instead of tweets, you post “toots,” and they have a 500-character limit. There’s also a built-in content warning feature. Reddit. There are certainly some toxic places on Reddit, but unlike Twitter, you’re not forced to pay attention to them. You can follow and subscribe to subreddits about anything that strikes your interest, from Star Trek to Furbies. Each subreddit has a clear set of rules, and they’re usually enforced. And if you get tired of a subreddit, you can leave it without leaving the website. Tumblr. Tumblr is similar to Twitter in many ways, but it has a couple of key differences. For one, follower counts aren’t public, so certain members aren’t privileged over others in discussions or debates because of their audience’s size. Replies to other people’s posts don’t show up on your feed, so you don’t have to watch other users’ arguments devolve. And there’s no character limit, so you can add some nuance to the opinions you post. Facebook. Yes, there are a lot of horrible, terrible, no good, very bad things about Facebook. But if you miss the ability to keep up with family and friends with Twitter, you can do that on Facebook, too. You won’t be constrained by the character limit, and you won’t have to worry about anyone outside of your friends list seeing your content. Newspapers. This might shock you, but plenty of media companies still sell physical newspapers and magazines. You can pick them up at newsstands, bookstores, coffee shops, and even have them delivered right to your mailbox if you buy a subscription. Rather than being bombarded all day, you’ll get your news in a digestible chunk each morning. The best part: you’ll look cool and sophisticated to everyone around you. Just go to The Verge. Don’t worry. We’re always here for you. Source: How to deactivate your Twitter account (The Verge)
  20. MOSCOW (AP) — A court in Moscow fined Twitter and Facebook 4 million rubles each Thursday for refusing to store the personal data of Russian citizens on servers in Russia, the largest penalties imposed on Western technology companies under internet use laws. The fines of nearly $63,000 are the first five-figure fines levied on tech companies since Russia adopted a flurry of legislation starting in 2012 designed to tighten the government’s grip on online activity. One provision required tech companies to keep servers in Russia for storing personal information they gather from Russian citizens. Russia’s internet regulator, Roskomnadzor, has tried unsuccessfully for several years to force large companies like Facebook, Twitter and Google to move Russian user data to Russia. Commenting on Thursday’s court rulings, Roskomnadzor said Twitter and Facebook would be fined 18 million rubles ($283,000) each if they don’t comply this year. Last year, Twitter and Facebook were fined the equivalent of $47 each for violating the same personal data regulation. The punishment had no effect on the two companies, so in December Russian authorities increased the fines. The law allows online services that don’t follow the data storage requirement to be banned from Russia. Only the LinkedIn social network has been blocked so far. It is widely understood that blocking Facebook or Google would elicit too much public outrage for authorities to take the step. Source
  21. Facebook's Twitter and Instagram accounts hacked, 'OurMine' claims responsibility Facebook’s Twitter and Instagram handles were compromised earlier today, as tweets and posts began showing up that said: “Well, even Facebook is hackable but at least their security better than Twitter”. A group called OurMine claimed responsibility for the hack, which reportedly was also responsible for the NFL’s Twitter account hack last month. The hackers began posting tweets from Facebook and Messenger accounts, which were constantly being deleted by the company (as seen in Jane Manchun Wong’s tweet here). The accounts were compromised for about 30 minutes, after which they were locked. Twitter confirmed in a statement to some journalists that the accounts were indeed compromised and that it was working with Facebook to restore the accounts: As soon as we were made aware of the issue, we locked the compromised accounts and are working closely with our partners at Facebook to restore them. Facebook later posted in a tweet that it had “secured and restored” access. Interestingly, the hackers seem to have had taken control of Facebook and Messenger Instagram handles (spotted by The Verge). Though the hackers claimed that “Facebook” was hackable, it wasn’t Facebook that was hacked, but its social media accounts alone, such as Twitter and Instagram. The tweets by 'OurMine' were posted from 'Khoros', a third-party service that helps its customers interact with and post on social media – including Instagram and Twitter. From the tweets, it looks like the hackers were promoting their security services and did not seem to have any malicious intent. Source: Facebook's Twitter and Instagram accounts hacked, 'OurMine' claims responsibility (Neowin)
  22. Twitter reports revenue over $1 billion for the first time in Q4 2019 Twitter has released its financials for the fourth quarter of 2019. It reported total revenue to be $1.01 billion in Q4 which was in the high-end region of its guidance range. It said this is the first time that it has delivered $1 billion in quarterly revenues. It said the United States made up $591 million of the revenue, an increase of 17% compared to the year before; this was driven by a 20% growth in U.S. advertising revenue. Commenting on the results, Jack Dorsey, Twitter’s CEO, said: “2019 was a great year for Twitter. Our work to increase relevance and ease of use delivered 21% mDAU [(monetizable Daily Active Usage)] growth in Q4, with more than half of the 26 million mDAU added in 2019 directly driven by product improvements. Entering 2020, we are building on our momentum – learning faster, prioritizing better, shipping more and hiring remarkable talent. All of which put us in a stronger position as we address the challenges and opportunities ahead.” With the fourth-quarter results in, Twitter was able to reveal that the firm’s revenue for the whole year was $3.46 billion which represents a 14% increase year-over-year. While it may seem like a lot, costs and expenses still need factoring in. The yearly costs and expenses totalled $3.09 billion (+19% year-over-year) which left an operating income of $366 million and an 11% operating margin. This year, the company said that it has four main objectives to drive its work, these are: Increasing development velocity and trust Increasing healthy public conversation Increasing revenue durability Enabling anyone, anywhere to work at Twitter To achieve these goals, the firm wants to increase its workforce by 20% or more this year, especially in engineering, product, design, and research roles. This growth, and previous investment decisions, will see costs and expenses grow by 20% in 2020. One such investment will see it build a new data centre this year which will add capacity “to support audience and revenue growth”. On the back of these financials, Twitter's share price rose from the $33 range to around $39. Source: Twitter reports revenue over $1 billion for the first time in Q4 2019 (Neowin)
  23. Twitter discloses security incident involving the abuse of one of its official API features. In a statement published today, Twitter disclosed a security incident during which third-parties exploited the company's official API (Application Programming Interface) to match phone numbers with Twitter usernames. In an email seeking clarifications about the incident, Twitter told ZDNet that they became aware of exploitation attempts against this API feature on December 24, 2019, following a report from tech news site TechCrunch. The report detailed the efforts of a security researcher who abused a Twitter API feature to match 17 million phone numbers to public usernames. Twitter says that following this report it intervened and immediately suspended a large network of fake accounts that had been used to query its API and match phone numbers to Twitter usernames. During its investigation into the report, the social network told ZDNet that it also discovered additional evidence that this API bug had also been exploited by other third-parties, beyond the security researcher at the heart of the TechCrunch report. Twitter did not clarify who these third-parties were, but it did say that some of the IP addresses used in these API exploitation attempts had ties to state-sponsored actors, a term used to described either government intelligence agencies, or third-party hacking groups that benefit from a government's backing. The company said it is disclosing today the findings of its investigation "out of an abundance of caution and as a matter of principle." The Twitter API bug that was abused in the attack According to Twitter, the attackers exploited a legitimate API endpoint that allows new account holders to find people they know on Twitter. The API endpoint allows users to submit phone numbers and matches them to known Twitter accounts. Twitter says the attacks did not impact all Twitter users, but only those who enabled an option in their settings section to allow phone number-based matching. "People who did not have this setting enabled or do not have a phone number associated with their account were not exposed by this vulnerability," Twitter said. The social network said it immediately made a number of changes to this endpoint after it detected the attack "so that it could no longer return specific account names in response to queries." Source
  24. The financial news website came under fire for doxxing a Chinese scientist accused of being behind the virus. ZeroHedge has been permanently suspended from Twitter following a complaint stemming from an article that suggested a Chinese scientist was linked to the creation of the new coronavirus strain as a bioweapon. The financial markets news website was the subject of a recent Buzzfeed report which examined the article -- still online at the time of writing -- which connected a Wuhan-based scientist to the virus. ZeroHedge claimed, without evidence, that the scientist was involved in the development of the "weaponized" coronavirus strain. In addition, the publication doxxed the scientist by publishing his name, photograph, contact details, and the added comment, "Something tells us, if anyone wants to find out what really caused the coronavirus pandemic that has infected thousands of people in China and around the globe, they should probably pay [the scientist] a visit." ZeroHedge received a notification on Friday that the outlet's account would be suspended due to claims of violating Twitter's "rules against abuse and harassment." The microblogging platform confirmed the suspension, telling Reuters that ZeroHedge fell afoul of "platform manipulation policy." It was originally thought the suspension was due to a separate ZeroHedge article on the composition of the virus; however, the ban was due to the doxxing article. Before its suspension, the account catered for over 670,000 followers. Last week, Twitter said there have already been over 15 million tweets related to the coronavirus and while no "significant coordinated attempts to spread disinformation at scale about this issue" has been detected at present, the firm warned publishers that "those who engage in these practices will be removed from our service." Source
  25. You’ll still be able to use GIFs when you feel the need to share your favorite screencaps. Twitter will no longer animate PNG files after trolls hijacked the Epilepsy Foundation's handle and hashtags last month to send potentially seizure-inducing images to epileptic and photo-sensitive individuals. The company says it recently discovered a bug that had allowed people to add multiple animated images to a tweet and bypass Twitter's autoplay protections using the file format. That said, Twitter also says it isn't aware that anyone used APNG to try and trigger seizures; it just wants to avoid the possibility that people do so in the future. "We want everyone to have a safe experience on Twitter," the company said in a tweet. "APNGs were fun, but they don't respect autoplay settings, so we're removing the ability to add them to tweets. This is for the safety of people with sensitivity to motion and flashing imagery, including those with epilepsy." Twitter also said APNGs used up a lot of data, and could in some circumstances cause app crashes. To be clear: you'll still be able to add animated images to your tweets, you'll just need to fall back on GIFs. Since most people already use GIFs as their go-to for sharing clips and reactions, the update is unlikely to change how the majority use the platform. To make up for the loss of the added functionality that comes with APNGs, Twitter says it's working on adding alt-text to GIFs, which will help make them more accessible to people who depend on screen readers to navigate the internet. It's also looking into building a similar feature that's "better for you and your Twitter experience." The move probably won't make Twitter completely safe for photo-sensitive individuals since trolls have used GIFs in the past to try and harm people. However, the fact that APNGs were able to bypass the site's autoplay protections made them particularly susceptible to abuse. Update: This post and its headline have been updated to note Twitter says that it isn't aware of anyone misusing the APNG format to try and trigger seizures; it just wants to make sure no one does so going forward. Source
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