• Illegal Pharmacies Sell Drugs via Social Media
    My curiosity is piqued by any story that involves the words "rogue pharmacist." And in its 2011 Report the International Narcotics Control Board says these amoral apothecaries are using a variety of social media to illegally market prescription drugs to young people online. What's more, the drug hawkers are apparently quite good at their job.
  • Do You Use Google+?
    Either Google+ is growing by leaps and bounds, or it is a deserted "ghost town" -- take your pick. Actually the truth may lie somewhere in between these statements, which form the extremes of opinion about Google's new social media platform.
  • Social Media Drives TV Watching
    Everyone knows that the "screens" (TV, laptop, mobile device, another mobile device) are colliding and overlapping, but how exactly do online behaviors and TV viewing interact? TV Guide took a whack at understanding the relationship between social media buzz and TV watching with a new survey of 3,041 U.S. adults, and found that social media buzz does indeed help drive TV watching.
  • Unfriending on the Increase
    While Microsoft Word seems not to recognize it as a word, unfriending is an increasingly common phenomenon according to new figures from the Pew Internet & American Life Project, which show a significant increase in unfriending and similar activities (deleting comments and removing tags from photos) over the last couple years.
  • Social Media Increases Risk of ID Theft
    It probably doesn't come as much of a surprise, but a new study from Javelin Strategy & Research confirms that social media puts users at increased risk of identity theft, which Javelin finds is increasing -- at least in the number of people affected.
  • Social Media Metrics Flourish, but ROI Is Still Up for Grabs
    Social media week has drawn a lot of attention to both the strengths and weaknesses of social media as a marketing tool -- and it's clear that measurement continues to be one of the main areas of weakness. Sometimes it seems like marketers are no closer to defining what constitutes social media return on investment, let alone how it should be measured. But it's not for lack of suggestions, as highlighted by the proliferation of social media measurement services, guides, handbooks, and so on, including multiple announcements this week alone.
  • Mobile Providers Losing Billions to Social Messaging
    Social networks have the potential to disrupt any number of established industries, and indeed are already doing so, with big negative impacts already being felt by mobile network operators, according to research outfit Ovum. Specifically, free social media message services that compete with short message services (SMS) cost mobile network operators some $13.9 billion in lost SMS revenue in 2011 alone, Ovum estimates. The list of rivals includes Facebook chat, Blackberry Messenger, and Whatsapp. And the continuing proliferation of smartphones means that this threat to SMS revenues will only become more pervasive.
  • Half of UK Social Media Users Don't Like Ads Targeted with Profile Info
    While the wealth of personal information provided by users is one of the main selling points for advertisers, promising to allow them to deliver more targeted online ads, the users themselves may not be so thrilled with the idea, judging by the results of a YouGov survey of social media users in the UK.
  • Want Startup Funding? Just Get Lady Gaga On Board
    Backplane, the tech startup which counts Lady Gaga as an investor, has raised $4.5 million in its first round of funding from backers including Sequoia Capital, Greylock Discovery Fund, Battery Ventures, Formation 8, Advance/Newhouse Investment Partnership, and Founders Fund, according to the Wall Street Journal. All of which just goes to show that to make it in the world of tech startups all you need is a little ingenuity, some healthy ambition, and the backing of the world's most famous celebrity. Easy!
  • Social Networks Don't Have to Install Filters for Pirated Material, EU Court Rules
    Anti-piracy lobbyists received another setback (and social network sites another victory) in the form of a European Union court ruling that social networks aren't obliged to install filters to prevent users from illegally sharing pirated music and media content. The ruling by the top EU Court of Justice in Luxembourg read in part: "The owner of an online social network cannot be obliged to install a general filtering system, covering all its users, in order to prevent the unlawful use of musical and audio-visual work."
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