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Investigation finds fake Facebook ‘likes’ and Twitter followers

Investigation finds fake Facebook ‘likes’ and Twitter followers could be misleading consumers

How much do you like courgettes? According to one Facebook page devoted to them, hundreds of people find them delightful enough to click the “like” button — even with dozens of other pages about courgettes to choose from.

There’s just one problem: the liking was fake, done by a team of low-paid workers in Dhaka, Bangladesh, whose boss demanded just $15 per thousand “likes” at his “click farm”. Workers punching the keys might be on a three-shift system, and be paid as little as $120 a year.

The ease with which a humble vegetable could win approval calls into question the basis on which many modern companies measure success online — through Facebook likes, YouTube video views and Twitter followers. Read the rest of this entry

YouTube’s Founders Challenge Vine and Instagram With New Video App

After months of teasing, the wait is over: Chad Hurley and Steve Chen, who brought us the video-sharing site YouTube, are taking the wraps off their newest project, a video creation app called MixBit.

Versions for Apple mobile devices and the Web will be going live on Thursday, and an Android version is due in several weeks.

On the surface, MixBit resembles two other leading video apps, Twitter’s Vine and Facebook’s Instagram. As with those apps, users press and hold the screen of their smartphone to record video. Instagram users can capture up to 15 seconds of video, a bit longer than Vine’s six-second maximum. MixBit allows 16 seconds. Read the rest of this entry

Chrome exposes user passwords in plain-text without additional verification

If you’ve enabled Google Chrome’s ‘Offer to save passwords I enter on the web’ feature and have saved some or all of your passwords through it, you should remember to sign-out of your Google account in Chrome, especially if you use the browser on a shared computer.

Google’s popular Web browser allows you to save your passwords and manage them through a menu in the browser’s Settings page. When you click on ‘Manage saved passwords’ you get a list of your Saved passwords as well as a list of websites where you have instructed the browser to ‘never save’. Interestingly, when you click on one of your saved passwords, Google gives you the option to see the password in plain text by clicking on the ‘Show’ button which is placed along with the listing. It doesn’t ask for a confirmation or any additional verification by, say, prompting for your Google account’s password. Read the rest of this entry

Facebook Adjusts Its News Feed to Bump Up Older Posts

The Facebook news feed is getting slightly less mysterious — and perhaps more relevant, too.

In a blog post on Tuesday, the company explained some of the mysteries of the news feed, which is the flow of status updates and other posts on a user’s home page or screen.

On any given visit to Facebook, the average user could potentially see about 1,500 items, the company said, from wedding photos posted by a close friend to a mundane notice that an acquaintance is now friends with someone else. Read the rest of this entry

OpenTable Begins Testing Mobile Payments

OpenTable, the world’s largest online reservation service, lets users book a restaurant reservation with its smartphone app or Web site. Now the company is getting ready to take the next step and let diners pay for the meal with its app, too.

The payment process, still in testing, will be straightforward, Matthew Roberts, chief executive of OpenTable, said in an interview. At the end of a meal, the diner would open the OpenTable app and pay the check with the tap of a button. The diner can review the check, adjust the tip and finish the payment. Read the rest of this entry

As Work Habits Change, Software Makers Rush to Innovate

Every day, millions of office workers prepare memos and reports using scissors and paste, and store data on floppy disks, though they have plenty of digital memory in their computers and the cloud. Smartphone-toting executives have their mail dumped into in-boxes, one corporate message atop another.

They are not using these objects, of course, but clicking on the pictures of them in popular word-processing programs like Microsoft Word or Google Docs. The icons linger like vestigial organs of an old-style office, 31 years after I.B.M.’s personal computer brought work into the software age. They symbolize an old style of office software, built for the time when the desktop computer was new and unfamiliar. Read the rest of this entry
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