• Half of U.S. Millionaires Are On Facebook
    We all know that the great, unwashed masses love social media and Facebook in particular, as approximately half of Americans now have a Facebook profile. But what about rich folks? Well, it turns out they're not that different from the rest of us (except, you know, the being rich part): the percentage of U.S. millionaires who use Facebook almost doubled from 26% in 2010 to 46% in 2011, according to the latest study of "Social Media and Affluent Households" from Spectrem.
  • Policing Social Media: It's Inevitable
    The civil disorder which recently convulsed Britain served as a stark reminder of the power of social media, which by all accounts played a central role by allowing large, leaderless mobs of miscreants to organize mass violence with a speed which often left London's well-trained, professional police force totally flat-footed. Now Prime Minister David Cameron is proposing a far-reaching extension of government authority in an attempt to surround and contain the power of social media. At the very least, the measures envisioned by Cameron would give the government the right to monitor social media conversations with an eye to heading …
  • Colorado Is Tracking Social Media Movements
    The number of government institutions monitoring social media for security purposes seems to be increasing every day. A few days ago I wrote about the New York Police Department launching a social media division to uncover clues and identify criminal suspects, and yesterday I wrote about a proposal from British Prime Minister David Cameron to track (and possibly block) social media sites being used to organize violence and civil disorder. Now it turns out state governments are getting in on the act.
  • U.K. Considers Social Media Ban
    Amid continuing rioting in multiple cities across the U.K., British Prime Minister David Cameron said in Parliament that legislators should consider laws allowing officials to ban individuals from social media sites like Twitter and Facebook, if there is a chance those individuals intend to use the sites to plot violence. Cameron's proposal, coming as thousands of British police attempt to reestablish order in blighted inner cities, acknowledges the central role played by social media in initiating, organizing, and spreading civil disorder -- but immediately drew criticism as a misguided over-reaction, which does nothing to address the real causes of the …
  • NYPD Forms Social Media Unit
    The largest police department in the U.S. has joined the growing list of law enforcement organizations using social media to track and combat crime, according to the New York Daily News, which reports that the New York Police Department has formed a new unit to sift social media sites like Twitter and Facebook for clues (as well as early warning signs of trouble).
  • Cracking Down on Fake Reviews
    One of the big complaints about the confluence of social media and e-commerce is the potential for companies to try to game the system by stacking business profiles on sites like Yelp with fake reviews -- including unfounded positive reviews for their own companies, and malicious critical reviews of competitors. Inevitably, this has given rise to a whole new branch of online security, aiming to sniff out the fake comments.
  • Social Media Overuse Linked to Unhealthy Behaviors in Teens
    While social media is still too new to gauge its long-term effects on human psychology, a handful of studies suggest seem to confirm conventional wisdom to the effect that social media -- including online gaming -- can has addictive qualities that are harmful to vulnerable people who over-use the new technologies.
  • Why Facial Recognition Really Is Creepy
    While lots of people have been wringing their hands about Facebook's deployment of facial recognition technology, which strikes many as a breach of privacy, I have generally been more sanguine: as long as it all occurred within the social network, and as long as you could disable the facial recognition if you want, it didn't seem like that big a deal to me. But a new study by Alessandro Acquisiti of Carnegie Mellon University points out that facial recognition raises privacy concerns that aren't so easy to dismiss.
  • Virtual Goods Sales Slowing for Social, Casual Games
    One of the largest (and most mystifying) sources of revenue for online casual and social network-based games has been the sale of "virtual goods" -- imaginary "objects" that generally confer some sort of status or special ability in the virtual world of the game. To give some idea of their popularity, virtual goods sales have contributed more than advertising revenue to the bottom line of Zynga, which operates popular games like Farmville and its variants. But virtual goods sales through casual and social games may be slumping, according to a survey of 1,006 gamers by Playspan Inc.
  • Marketers Want More Online WOM Data
    Social media can be a powerful online advertising platform, but you have to know what consumers are saying and thinking to reach them with the right message at the right time, according to a majority of 237 senior level marketers surveyed by Web Liquid and RSW/US. Thus one of the main demands of these marketing execs was more and better information about online word-of-mouth.
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