We discuss the new EFAIL issue affecting encrypted email; discuss a new class-action suit against Apple; and then explain how you can delete your history on Facebook and Twitter. It’s not easy, but it’s possible.
Your social media accounts are a reflection of your life–at least the part of your digital life that you share with your friends, family members, and perhaps strangers. People post all sorts of things on social media: photos of selfies and vacation pics, links to articles you find interesting, comments about your favorite sports teams, random thoughts about movies, music, politics, and more.
While fun to banter on social media, if you were to take a look back at comments you’ve posted on Facebook and Twitter over the years, you may cringe. There may come a time in your life when you want to clean up what you’ve shared on social media; not that what you’ve posted is necessarily wrong, but this unfiltered content, often composed in the spur of the moment, may not be flattering when taken out of context years later.
In this article, I’ll show you how to use free tools to easily delete old tweets and clean out your Facebook content.
Have you always wanted a blue Twitter verification badge? You’ll (eventually) be able to get one, according to CEO Jack Dorsey.
In a very casual Periscope livestream on Thursday, Dorsey said that he wants to verify everyone on Twitter, a continuation of the plan Twitter laid out a few years ago when it asked users to apply for verification online.
That program as been suspended since the fall, when Twitter got major backlash for verifying a few white supremacists. But it appears that Dorsey is open to relaunching some version of it once Twitter figures out how it should work.
“The intention is to open verification to everyone,” Dorsey said from a conference room at Twitter’s San Francisco headquarters. “And to do it in a way that is scalable [so] we’re not in the way and people can verify more facts about themselves and we don’t have to be the judge and imply any bias on our part.”
Indeed, while regular Twitter users probably understand what this means, most don’t. I’m verified on Twitter; when they opened it up, I requested verification as a journalist, and was accepted in less than 24 hours. But I know other journalists who have much higher profiles, and more followers than me, who were refused.
It would make sense if everyone had to be verified, but I find it hard to imagine that they’ll be able to do this. This requires checking information about millions of people’s, and it can’t be done by an algorithm.
It seems the New York Times has just discovered that you can buy followers on social media networks. This isn’t news; this has been the case for years. I get spam on Twitter offering followers all the time; almost every time I post a photo on Instagram, I get followed by an account whose profile offers to sell me followers.
Celebrities and brands have been doing this for years. Why did it take so long for the mainstream media to find out about this.
If you use Twitter, you know that abuse is rampant. Mindless trolls and bots reply to your tweets and insult you, even threaten you. Twitter has been very slow to come up with procedures for dealing with this, and lots of people just give up on Twitter because they have bad experiences.
Fortunately, the company has rolled out new ways to report tweets and direct messages, and presumably has a team that will examine these reports and suspend or remove accounts guilty of abuse or harassment. Here’s how you can let Twitter know when you or someone else has been a victim of abuse.
In this recent article, we looked at how you can protect your children’s social media accounts, making sure that only their friends can see what they post and interact with them. We covered a number of major social media apps, such as Facebook, Instagram, WhatsApp, and more.
Twitter is a bit different, and its security and privacy settings go beyond what many of the other companies offer. Twitter recently rolled out new options to help prevent abuse and to protect its users, as well as new options telling Twitter how the company can use your personal data.
In this article, I’m going to take a close look at Twitter’s privacy and safety settings, and explain how you can protect your kids from bullying on Twitter, how you can limit the use of personal data, and how you can adjust other privacy and safety settings.
Twitter has rolled out a new set of options designed to allow users to more easily avoid bots and trolls. In your Notifications settings, you can block notifications from people whose profiles meet certain conditions:
You don’t follow them
They have a default profile photo (an egg)
They haven’t confirmed their email addresses
They haven’t confirmed their phone number
This means that you can avoid seeing notifications from many accounts that are temporary. If you’re using Twitter’s own app or their web interface, you won’t see these users on your Notifications timeline. I’m not sure how this will play out in third-party Twitter clients, such as those that have a unified timeline.
But it’s a step in the right direction to cut down on trolls.
Donald Trump likes to brag about how many followers he has on social media. But a good number of these followers are fakes: bots, spam accounts, and more. In fact, anyone on Twitter who has a lot of followers has a considerable number of fakes.
There are websites where you can check accounts to find how many fake followers there are. I tried one, Twitter Audit, and it shows the following:
Only 59% of Trump’s followers are real people, and it’s possible that a large percentage of those don’t even check Twitter very often. It’s important to keep this in mind, that these social media numbers are always inflated. (I checked my account, and about 9% of my followers are fake.)
So don’t despair too much; there aren’t really 22 million people following Donald Trump on social media, as he recently trumpeted. (See what I did there?) He conflates all his followers, assuming that none of them follow him on more than one service (Twitter, Facebook, and Instagram), and so many of the accounts are bogus that the number is far lower than he claims. Which isn’t a surprise, right?
Apple has launched an Apple News Twitter account, which lets you:
Follow us here for top stories & great reads from your favorite publishers, curated by our U.S. editors.
At first, I wondered if the links would only be readable in Apple News, which is, of course, only available on iOS. But you can read the links in web browsers. It’s not clear how many stories Apple will highlight with this account, which was created sometime last year, and has only seen three tweets. But if you want to see some hand-picked articles from Apple News, and from a variety of sources, check out the account: @AppleNews.
Twitter has a problem. It’s extremely well known, with politicians and celebrities tweeting all the time, and news organizations using their tweets as official comments. (It’s a lot cheaper than having “journalists” call people for comments…) But Twitter’s user base is stagnant; it’s hard to learn how to use the service effectively, and it’s easy to be overloaded.
I follow a number of friends, colleagues, and businesses. Some of the latter are publishers and record labels. And most of these companies do the very thing that scares users away. For example, one publisher that is heavily promoting a new non-fiction book has probably tweeted about it 100 times. They’ve retweeted reviews, reader comments, and every single event the author is attending. This is overkill; I’ve had to mute that author’s name, and the book’s hashtag. (You can do this with many third-party Twitter apps, but not with Twitter’s own app.) Because of this, I’ll avoid that author in the future: over-tweeting is counter-productive.
My mute list is very long. It includes musicians or authors that I have no interest in, every single #NationalWhateverDay that businesses think will help them sell products, and a ton of hashtags for Netflix shows. I do want to follow Netflix, for example, to learn what’s new, but there are shows I simply don’t care about. Seeing hundreds of tweets about something that doesn’t interest you will make you hate Twitter, very quickly.
I wrote an article in 2014, explaining what businesses get wrong on Twitter. Some of these mistakes also apply to individuals’ accounts; do you really need to tweet “Good morning” every day, or every few days? Do you need that much attention?
The problem with Twitter is that it’s easy to abuse. People who try out Twitter are likely to be overwhelmed if they don’t have strategies for filtering out the chaff. Twitter needs to add a feature that Facebook has: the ability to hide a post, and indicate that you want to see fewer posts like it.
Here’s how it looks on Facebook. My friend John shared a post by Robert Reich. I can click the caret at the top right of the post and choose to hide the post, unfollow John (I’m not doing that; you’re just an example, John), or hide all posts by Robert Reich that John or others share. It’s an easy – though somewhat time-consuming – way to get rid of the stuff you’re not interested in.
Twitter needs to add a similar feature so users don’t get overwhelmed; at least if Twitter wants to grow its user base. Otherwise, new Twitter users quickly find a timeline of tweets they don’t care about, and they don’t come back.