April 2016

Kotaku
If you've never contended with YouTube's copyright system, let me tell you, it's a headache. For certain types of content, they use something known as a 'Content ID' system, in which videos can be tagged by the original owner of content featured within, thus siphoning off some of the money from views to them. For example, if somebody shared a video featuring footage from The Walking Dead, AMC Networks could then tag it.

When such big companies place claims on videos, it's very difficult to dispute, as the issue has to be resolved between the two parties and YouTube can't act as much of a mediator. Gameplay footage usually falls within the fair use guidelines, but it still gets Content ID tagged from time to time, which is obviously unfair on the uploader. Well, earlier this week game critic/commentator Jim Sterling decided he'd had enough, and did something brilliant.


In his video about Star Fox Zero (fair warning, it does contain swearing), the latest installment in the long-running Nintendo franchise, Sterling also very noticeably featured footage from a number of other, markedly non-Nintendo properties - Grand Theft Auto VMetal Gear Solid V and Beyond: Two Souls. Up until the end of the video, it seemed rather confusing, until the end where Sterling explains that the footage is in there to create a copyright schism.

All of those games have featured in his videos in the past, and warranted Content ID tagging as a result. By doing this, Sterling lured several big companies into all trying to tag, creating a melange of copyright claims that basically rendered the whole thing inert. Even if one companies does manage to get an overriding claim, it would thus be too tiny to be worth bothering about. The added benefit is that, because the video can't be monetised, no ads will play before it, which is nice for any supporters who actually fund Sterling on Patreon.

This isn't the first time Jim has done this, as he told Kotaku, "WMG tried to monetize the video for the Erasure music, but couldn’t because Nintendo and Take-Two had set their Content ID in this particular case to Not Monetized.” Well played, Jim, perhaps this kind of thing will start to make YouTube reconsider their draconian copyright approach.

Ars Technica
When YouTube Red was announced, along with some of their most popular stars announcing shows, many fans were excited. YouTube Red, however, has only really had a couple of shows, most of them seeming very similar to what their fans could view online. Now Fullscreen, who started out as a talent agency who helped people get deals on social media, is starting their own digital video package and they're bringing some YouTubers with them.

It's not really surprising that most YouTubers would like to bring their videos to a bigger screen. They can get paid more money for TV and films than most will earn from YouTube. As such, it probably wouldn't be a surprise that they hoped to make more of themselves on YouTube Red, but for some of them, those types of shows might not have been what they were hoping to do. Fullscreen is taking YouTubers and either making brand new content or altering what they already doto create something vaguely new. However, if these videos are something they already do, the Fullscreen versions will be extras with the originals still free.

Fullscreen doesn't  look like a serious subscription service, but it's definitely one aimed at teenagers. As well as these new shows they'll be showing re-runs of old shows like Dawson's Creek and Suburgatory, as well as classic teen movies like Cruel Intentions. The original content featuring YouTube stars includes; a silly superhero show with Grace Helbig and Hannah Hart that does look kind of funny, a spoof show mocking all the other teen shows there have been and then chat shows as well. One of the chat shows is just a videoed version of Shane Dawson's regular podcast, so people can choose to see him holding these interviews, but if they can't pay for Fullscreen they can still listen to the podcasts. YouTube Red might have a few more features like being able to listen to audio without adverts or the ability to watch their videos offline, but is that going to be enough?

Fullscreen also have a channel on YouTube filled with clips of these stars as well as clips and trailers for the service. It's a smart way for them to connect the two together as otherwise their target audience might not even hear about Fullscreen.It's possibly not something YouTube are happy about, but it's nothing they can prevent. This is going to be the sort of thing that Fullscreen know about, working social media to endorse their channel.

YouTube are definitely going to face stiff competition from Fullscreen, especially since Fullscreen only costs $4.99 a month for users worldwide whilst YouTube Red costs $9.99. That's a pretty big difference for teenagers. Fullscreen is still new so in a few months we can see whether they're actually viable competition for YouTube, or destined to fade into obscurity.

Instagram fans, don't worry, your favorite app is being redesigned, but not in a huge way that will majorly affect you. In fact, you kind of have to wonder why they're making these changes at all, but they do make an aesthetic difference.



The redesign makes the app look a lot more minimalist. The colour scheme is black and white rather than blue and orange and the icons are either simpler or more realistic. That's pretty much all that's changed, but it does make the app look a little more professional. This need to be more professional could be why the app is making the change. Even if the theme redesign is completely unrelated, it cannot be denied that Instagram is becoming more of a business platform. Many companies now have accounts and a good proportion of them are willing to pay for ads or for Insta-famous users to endorse their products. While Instagram is already hugely popular and is a great visual way to get your company seen, a slightly sleeker, tighter theme with more white space is going to be more welcoming from a business point of view than their previous design with gaudy blues and oranges. Facebook are trying to encourage more business on all their platforms and yes, this could be one way for them to work it on Instagram without impeding on normal users ability to use it.

The other side is that they could just be trying to make Instagram more like Facebook. The main colour might be blue, but they do use a lot of white space on the app and it is a very clean design. You can easily find what you're looking for and though that wasn't really a worry on Instagram, as they don't need too many options to hunt through, it doesn't hurt to play about with how the ones they have will look.

The opinions I've seen on this possible change are mixed. Some people doubt they'd even notice a change in the theme or colour scheme and other people are excited hoping that this will make their photos pop more. Neither type of user will really be that upset whether it does or doesn't change, but if you do want it to stick, Instagram is after feedback. If you like the new look of Instagram, then make sure they know it, same goes if you don't.

What this possible change does show, however, is that Instagram can be pretty good at implementing changes. They always have a small group of users test them out and at least one of those users always leaks the information. This allows them to see the wider effect and it is the best way to go about it, even with something as basic as how an already simplistic app looks with a few changes.

This new design is still in testing and it might not be rolled out at all, but if you are an Instagram user you should take a few minutes to compare these design pictures to your current Instagram app and let them know what you think.

Girls Who Code
Hopefully before too long we'll reach the point where coding is a taught subject in most, if not all schools. Knowing about coding vastly improves your job prospects, and allows you to gain a more intimidate knowledge of how the internet functions beneath the bonnet.

At present, much like many other computer-based practices, coding is very male-centric. Similarly to gaming programming, or game journalism, many women and girls have decided that the best way to push back against this is to make examples of the female practitioners.

This is the thinking that gave rise to Girls Who Code, a program intended to teach girls how to code, and then use it to find the ideal career path. Now, they've started screening a series on YouTube dedicated to showcasing girls who are already avid coders. In each episode, they discuss different aspects of coding, as well as their day-to-day lives.


There are 10 episodes featured, with the promise of more to come soon. All the girls featured are alumnae of the Girls Who Code program, and markedly very different people, as far from the bedroom coder stereotype as you can get, which is likely by design. Judging from the intro, the show is more aimed at people who don't necessarily know that much about coding, and sets out to foster more interest in it, hopefully thereby bringing more people into the program.

Largely though, the show is planning to fight against the stereotypes levied against girl coders, and coders in general. Stigma can often stand in the way of progress, and the sooner coding's 'nerdy' labels are stripped away, the better it will be for generations currently in school.

Inc

Airtime was a video chat service founded by Sean Parker and released in 2012. The unveiling of the original product was a star-studded event, but the service itself folded pretty quickly. However, the original Airtime was an online only video chatting service like ChatRoulette or Omegle. With big names like that having already been established for a few years, Airtime was never really going to work out that well. Airtime hasn't gone offline forever though and instead Parker has brought it back and it's nothing at all like the app it used to be.

This Airtime 2.0 is a messaging app that will allow you to jump in and out of video chats easily. You'll be able to have multiple groups and rooms and whenever you enter them it'll be an automatic video chat with whoever's there. This does suggest that maybe you should be a little picky about who you choose to talk to on there, but it's an interesting idea. Video chatting isn't the only thing you can do in those rooms either; Airtime also allows users to watch videos together within the app. Of course, there are services that allow users to watch things together online already, but none like this. This should allow you to see friends reactions to what you're all watching though that isn't certain. This is a lot more intimate than other video watching services and it is brand new within the messaging market. Meerkat is reportedly working on something similar, but this has been on the books for Airtime for years so it might be some time before they're competing.



Re/Code

Airtime 2.0 is the result of several different app attempts to test features, but only OkHello back in 2014 really got them any attention.  That app was basically just a re-branded version of Airtime only it was released without all the fuss. OkHello managed to keep a steady user base and Airtime 2.0 should hopefully gain a similarly consistent base. Fortunately, the fact Airtime isn't getting a huge unveiling and is providing something new should help there.

The app will be available on both iOS and Android from the 28th of April, but Android users be warned, your version of the app is still in beta phase so you won't have all the features that the iOS version has just yet.

Rolling Stone
Ah, April 20th, the day where some people like to celebrate all things associated with cannabis. It's not an official holiday and not one you'll find on most calendars, but even Snapchat decided to get in on the action this year with disastrous consequences. For some reason, someone thought it would be a good idea to celebrate the day with a Bob Marley Snapchat filter that not only insulted his legacy but caused the people who used the filter to blackface as well.

The Next Web

You have to wonder who thought this was actually a good idea. Snapchat is usually pretty on the money with what teenagers want, but they've now stepped into a virtual minefield. For one thing, why are they trying to celebrate 4/20 in the first place? Without getting into a whole argument about drugs, when Snapchat try to celebrate this way, they do perpetuate the idea that drugs are cool and legal or not, this isn't a message that should be thrown at teenagers. They already think they're cool due to stereotypes they see in music and on TV, and this doesn't really need any more encouragement. The sad thing is though that this isn't even the worst thing about this filter.

It's unbelievable that in this day and age, even after blackface has been on the news, Snapchat would still think that it's okay to release a filter that transforms your skin colour. People shouldn't make themselves look black for a costume, a picture or anything like that if they aren't black. You have to consider how badly so many black men and women are treated for having their skin be the colour it is and how offensive it is that many people are using this filter for a laugh. It's unsurprising that so many people are mad about this because Snapchat is such a large company and they shouldn't be enforcing such behaviour, let alone giving users the opportunity to do black face themselves.




The other issue is that Bob Marley's name and face has been used to celebrate this day. Bob Marley was an extremely talented musician and is a great symbol for Jamaica. He was a Rastafarian who believed in the use of marijuana for spiritual reasons, but that wasn't all he was. Bob Marley is used as a symbol for many drug users and white people use him as an excuse for why it's okay for them to have dreads and act like that's all he really was. It's incredibly sad and it isn't the way he should be memorialised. The Bob Marley estate was aware of this filter and it was aware of the day that they were going to release it and that just feels a lot like they were selling him out.



Snapchat made a huge mistake on all sides by releasing this filter and there's no possible way to argue otherwise.

TechCrunch

It's hardly news that Twitter consider music to be one of the more more popular aspects of their service. Users love following musicians and in the past artists have tweeted links to free downloads of tracks. The last time Twitter tried to integrate music streaming into their platform they released a separate music app that flopped. This time Twitter are working with Soundcloud to provide tweetable playlists for users.

These tweetable playlists are curated like any other Twitter Moment by editors of other media sites. They can pull together tweets that have Soundcloud tracks embedded into them and make them into a playlist. You can tweet the Moment and send people a link to the playlist so you can share music and encourage social interaction. What would make these social interactions better and more practical would be if users could make the playlists themselves, but for now that isn't possible.

The playlists are viewable on both desktop and mobile but will be displayed differently. If you look up the playlists on the desktop then you'll see a long page with all the tweets on that you can scroll through. If you want to listen to the songs you have to click play on each individual track. However if you look up the playlists on the app then you can see the work they've done on integrating this. The playlist opens up full screen with the first image and the info and from there you can press play and swipe through the tracks. It makes it a lot easier to go through the music and it's pretty neat. You can only listen to the playlist if you have Twitter open though, but I suppose it's no different to YouTube in that aspect.

This whole playlist update is cool but what does let it down is the fact that only editors can make playlists. There really is an opening now for a good playlist building app with 8Tracks being almost useless outside of the US and Noted still being practically an unknown. The reason Twitter's music app failed was because people didn't want to have to follow artists to receive recommendations. This new attempt wouldn't require you to do so because you would be able to grab music from Soundcloud and tweet your own playlists. Of course this has only just rolled out so maybe they'll open playlists up to users in the future, we just have to wait and see.

For now I'd recommend finding a tweeted playlist and giving it a listen on your phone so you can revel in the experience as the playlists are available now.

Tech Crunch
Another Facebook Messenger update has come our way and this time it makes sending files easier as well as making it possible to multi-task whilst video chatting. This might not seem like a big thing but how these updates could improve messaging could definitely be important.
The Dropbox integration brings Facebook Messenger even closer to working like an email program. If you click the more button you'll see the Dropbox option alongside existing options such as Soundcloud. As well as using this for the usual sending of files, you can use it to easily share pictures and videos without having to upload them. The pictures and videos would appear instantly in chat and you can use it to share sensitive files without having to worry about them staying on Facebook's servers. This is pretty useful tool for people who do use Facebook for work or if you're planning something important. Either way it's an improvement over the ability to send files within groups on Facebook.
Of course this does still require you to be sharing your files on Dropbox's cloud software. So you will still be hosting your files online but they should be safer than they would have been if you purely shared them on Facebook. If you send a file that isn't an image or a video then you'll still be sent a download link as you would if you were sending your file over the desktop.
The other update Facebook had added is moving Chat Heads for video. What this means is that you don't have to leave a video call to perform other tasks simultaneously. The chat heads allow you to switch between different conversations without interrupting your video chat, and Android users can switch between different apps all whilst carrying on the conversation. This is pretty useful if you need to check something or you're talking whilst you're planning something. Of course this is a lot more practical for Android users then it is iOS who have the bigger advantage, but it's always a pleasant surprise to see Android users get more of an option for once.

Tech Crunch

These two updates haven't rolled out for everyone yet but they expect to within the next few days.

Social media can be great for spreading news and sharing little interesting factoids you may find, but because of that misinformation is often spread quickly. Fake news has always existed, from satire to bored people just wanting to see how people would react, but Facebook have had enough of it and have been trying to prevent the spread.


Buzzfeed
The problem is that you can't really stop people from sharing what they like on social media. Facebook have some strict policies that get things deleted but often the links and pages have to be reported first. And people aren't going to report a link to a news site if they believe it to be true. Of course there will be people who realise the news links are fake but but they might comment or share anyway. In fact very few people who spy fake news articles will actually report them, they may inform the person who shared the link that it's fake but most people don't believe anything negative is happening. Unfortunately there are still a lot of people who will fall for these fake articles and it's those people that Facebook are trying and failing to protect.

The sad thing is that at first it looked as if Facebook were succeeding in their attempt to block fake news from their site. After their announcement in January 2015 the number of standard engagements fell from 972.7 to 434.78 in December of that year. It was a massive drop and even with fake news stories still going viral on Facebook, it looked as if their war on fake news was having an effect. And then we moved into 2016 when the number jumped back up to 827.8 in January and then up to 1304.7 in February. Fake news is being engaged with now more than ever and it makes it seem like Facebook can't actually do anything to stop this.

When you start looking into the various different fake news sites, you start to notice how these articles appear. Many of them you just read the headline and you just know that it can't be real. It makes you wonder how people can be fooled but it's worse when businesses like radio stations are sharing these articles too. Buzzfeed spoke to a couple of radio DJ's who had been found sharing hoax articles from Huzlers regularly and all they said was that fact checking wasn't important. If an article seemed funny or entertaining then they'd share it. And the thing is people will believe it if something like a radio station shares it because they are expected to report real news. If they're saying that fact checking isn't important then a lot of people won't see it as so either, and this could lead to some issues in the future.


Buzzfeed
No matter what Facebook do though, they aren't going to be able to stop the spread of fake news completely. The best way to go about it would be to have a keyword tracker that would catch the name of the known fake news sites and alert the user sharing it that it's a known hoax site. They could still choose to share it if they wished but they would be encouraged to post somewhere that the story isn't real. Of course I don't know if this is actually possible and it might not stop the flow that much but it could at least keep people informed. If anyone could do something like that then it would be Facebook.

For now though the fake news sites aren't worried and it doesn't look like Facebook can do much about it.

A 24-year-old primary school teacher, identified by local press as Miss Clarissa, was recently forced out of her job after a grainy video showing her twerking as part of a holiday dance competition in Cabo San Lucas went viral.



Miss Clarissa was employed as a teacher at the prestigious Cumbre del Noroeste Institute in Ciudad Obregon, Mexico, when she decided to take a break in Cabo San Lucas. Encouraged by friends to join the light-hearted dance competition, Miss Clarissa obliged and ended up winning the £185 ($260) prize on offer. What she wasn't fully aware of, however, were the smartphone cameras capturing every moment of her seductive dance routine.

As Miss Clarissa soon discovered upon returning home, the video went viral. After viewers identified her as a teacher, she was bombarded with Facebook friend requests from unknown men and almost immediately summoned to a meeting with school head Leticia Valle and a lawyer. The pair strongly suggested that Miss Clarissa resign in order to "cool things down" after they apparently received numerous complaints from concerned parents. Faced with little choice the young woman relented, and left as quickly as possible. This account of events is somewhat contested by Adriana German, deputy director of the Cumbre del Noroeste Institute, who asserts that Miss Clarissa resigned over "personal reasons," but in the wake of the facts on offer this claim holds little merit.

Speaking to Mexican newspaper Reforma, where she identified herself as Carla, Miss Clarissa shared her views on the situation:

"It was a dance competition, something like this doesn't define me as a person, it was my free time and we're in the 21st century. It's not something to be afraid of, I'm not naked, I'm not having sex or taking drugs or disrespecting anyone."


"Someone identified me a teacher as the video reached more and more people and immediately related it to my work and published photos of me with my pupils. They didn't give me any other option at my school than to resign. I felt I was being attacked and put under pressure. I didn't know what else to do apart from leave as quickly as I could."

The important thing to remember here is that Miss Clarissa was not in the classroom, nor were any children under her care at the time; she was on holiday, 400 miles away from the institute. By penalising her for this the school could be setting a dangerous precedent whereby teachers' social lives become non-existent, born out of fear of losing their career. This sentiment seems to be shared by many parents, as the school's decision has prompted severe backlash and a petition has begun to circulate calling for her reinstatement. The petition is accompanied by the following text:

"Parents of children at Cumbres Institute deny demanding her resignation. We are angry at the way she was sacked, using a sexist pretext when she was doing what everyone does on holiday which is dance in a bikini. The children she taught adored Miss Clarissa and were very sad when they found out she wouldn't be taking class anymore."


So take a look at the video below and tell me, were the school correct to fire her for this admittedly raunchy dance? (Hint: The answer is no.)


theaustralian.com.au
It's not entirely fair to dump every issue with online dating on Tinder's doorstep. While it's not the most popular app, it's the most popularised one, the one the media is most keen to point an accusing finger at, partly thanks to Vanity Fair, so now when something does come up, their name is quickly stapled to it. This time, the issues are two fold, one from Australia, the other from here in the UK.

Starting down-under, Australian authorities have been dealing with a new, unsettling and dangerous phenomenon - underage users. You don't have to be over 18 to use Tinder, 13-17 year olds can only see other 13-17 year olds, but saying that such a limitation is strictly enforced is like saying that you have to pay for WinRAR after the trial ends. It's harder to download a pirated movie than to fake your age on Tinder. Studies have shown that Aussie teens as young as 13 have been using the app to look for matches, as if they were adults.

The obvious question is, why? Even if the teens in question were looking to cozy up to some love-lorn twenty-something, the moment they met in person the bubble would burst with a deafening thunderclap, drenching the surrounding area in a deluge of awkward. As it turns out, it's bragging rights. The kids want to compete to see who can get the most matches.

The glaring issue with this is obvious - Tinder is a geolocated, picture-based app, easily accessed by just about anyone, up to and including sexual predators. Sure, the claim is they never have any intention of meeting the people in question, but if they know roughly where you are, and what you look like, well I don't have to explain how dangerous that is.

Even beneath that, it's not exactly healthy for young girls to be competing to see who can attract the most men, let alone doing it by appearance alone. Tinder accounts are linked to Facebook accounts, and you can change your details on one by editing the other. No word yet on any action to prevent this, but judging from the response, it's something which needs to be addressed with action, and soon.

Meanwhile, a little closer to home, we've been seeing something less dangerous, but very upsetting and shameful. Research conducted into Tinder behaviour by Manchester Metropolitan University has revealed that when men end up on dates with women who are less 'conventionally attractive' they feel like they are entitled to something more from them, owing to a "breach of trust".

As circumstantial as that sounds, the research was done through questioning users directly and many of them gave similar variations on this response. It's a logical, if tragic progression, so much of Tinder's basis comes from appearance, and many stories about girls being told flat out they aren't thin or otherwise attractive enough are rife. Referring back to what I said at the beginning of the article, this isn't an issue specific to Tinder, it was just the app which brought this style of dating to the forefront.

With the underage access, it's a bit more murky. On the one hand it's better to have teenagers accessing the app in a regulated way than forcing them all to enter through a back-door, but by the same token, it creates a clause wherein predators could feasibly pose as underage users to lure others in. Once a cultural movement like the one Tinder has ushered in takes hold, it's no longer about any one group taking responsibility for it, it's down the whole community to get better.

The beautiful thing about messenger and video apps having voice and video calling options is that even if someone is on the other side of the world to you, you can still call them for free. However Snapchat users in the United Arab Emirates are finding themselves unable to call other users.


Snapchat-Download
Snapchat isn't the only app that has had it's voice and video calls blocked in the country. If you want to Facetime or call someone using Whatsapp or Skype then you'll find you can't. In fact the only voice and video calls that are allowed in the UAE are calls made on Facebook Messenger. It seems weird that one of Facebook's services seems acceptable but another isn't. Even so it's still good news for Facebook who can then count on more users for their own service. The reason for these services being blocked is that voice and video calls are restricted within the UAE as only service providers Du and Etisalat can control them. Both service providers have said that voice and video calling would be allowed if the companies can coordinate with them to provide a service that they're happy with.
Facebook have obviously sorted everything out down at that end whilst providers like Skype are saying there's nothing they can do. However, what you have to remember is that this law only affects voice and video calling online. Snapchat users can still make rest of the rest of the app's services; it's purely calling that has been blocked. It is a shame that people can't call other users with the app as it was an amazing new feature but it's not the end of the world.

If Snapchat feel that this new feature is important then there is an obvious way around it. However only 7% of Snapchat's users are in the UAE and only 22% of those users are the teenagers who are most likely to use these chat features. Due to this, Snapchat might not see any point in arranging things so they do meet the guidelines that Du and Etisalat put out there.

This block shouldn't have too devastating an effect on Snapchat but it's still kind of disappointing to hear. Not every person is going to want to use Facebook Messenger every time they need to video call someone. Skype is more practical, Snapchat easier if you're on the move and some people just generally prefer Whatsapp. At the moment we don't know whether Snapchat plan to tackle this issue or not but you can only hope they do as users in UAE will otherwise be missing out on a useful feature.

travelblog.org
Even if you've never been a direct victim of online abuse, you can barely use the internet now without at least brushing against it. You might see it in the comments section of a video or article, or a heated exchange on Twitter, but it's always there, like a bad smell. One of the biggest issues with abusive behaviour online is that it's such a vague definition that it can hard to isolate or identify.

This is what FireAnt aims to combat. Fitted to work with any online source code, from Facebook to Google+ and beyond, it can block out millions of messages and posts to ferret out very specific types of content which point to abuse, threat or even terrorist activity. In this sense, the tool could be massively helpful to investigators in the future.

The tool was created collaboratively by groups from Lancaster University in the UK and Waseda University in Japan. It was originally developed to work only with Twitter, but has since been expanded to work with almost anything. It basically allows you to sift through enormous amounts of data in search of very specific parameters, like say tweets which contain the word 'America', sent out at night, from users who post a lot of content about guns.

Through this method, the data can be judged in terms of intent and severity, making it far easier to pinpoint online behaviour when it starts becoming a serious issue. Said information can then easily be presented in a readable, easy-to-understand way. How that data is used is up to the people using the software, but this could lead to big changes in the way online abuse is dealt with, if it takes off.

Creating a good ad to share online is hard enough at the best of times. You have to find the perfect image and phrase the text just so, but now Facebook have made it even harder.


Social Media Today
We all know that ads with only a little text tend to work best online. The image catches our eyes and then we pay just enough attention to read what it's about and decide whether we want to bother with it. As a result of this businesses do need to think carefully about what is pictured in the ads and how much text they use. In the past Facebook used to help businesses work out how much was too much with a helpful grid and it made sense, even if it was a little infuriating. Now Facebook have removed this grid and aren't informing businesses how much text is okay overlaid on an image before they try and upload it.

This doesn't mean that Facebook have removed all help though as they are giving some vague guidelines when you try and upload your ad image. There are now 4 categories of text overlay:
  • Image Text: OK
  • Image Text: Low
  • Image Text: Medium
  • Image Text: High
As you may well guess, OK is the category you want your ad to be classed in. This means that you have little to no text; this might be a watermark or a logo as these both class. If you then try to add more text or an extra logo, watermark or number on the ad then it will count as more words. If for whatever reason you need more words and they can't go into the status above the ad then try and keep your image in the low category.
The problem with these categories is once you move past OK, less people will see your ads. Facebook will not display an ad properly if they think it's something that people won't want to see. This could be a problem and as it is people are having to work out for themselves how much is too much. Until we have strict guidelines then it's probably best to stick to one small piece of text per ad rule.
Of course some types of ad aren't restricted by these rules as otherwise they wouldn't be able to post ads at all. These include; film posters, book covers, album covers, full product images, posters for music/comedy/sporting events, text based businesses, app/game screenshots, legal text and infographics.
There are quite a few types of ad that don't count so if you need to use a lot of text then see if your ads fit into one of those categories. If not then good luck.
Does this new change affect you? Let us know in the comments below.

mbcproject.org
The tragic irony of cancer research is that, in order to advance, it needs people to actually get cancer. Only through thorough examination of symptoms and their development can scientists carry on working towards treatments and, crucially, cures. The trouble is, only a fraction of hospitals and treatment centers play double duty as research centers. So much of the work that needs doing is rooted in genetics, which are obviously almost completely unique to each person, which in turn means that there's an inordinate amount of important evidence which is passing by undocumented.

Apologies if it sounds like I'm singing an overplayed tune, but once again, it looks like social media might have provided a solution, or at least a fragment of one. The Metastatic Breast Cancer Project has been set up by researchers in Cambridge, Massachusetts in order to reach patients over Facebook and Twitter, and have them report on the progression of their condition, stage by stage.

So far, they claim to have reached 1,700 patients with metastatic breast cancer, 900 of which have agreed to share medical records. 95% of them gave at least some information on their condition, and even the most meager amount is useful in some way or another.

The project has only been rolling since October, making the figures seem all the more impressive, and promising good things for its future. The key to their success has been avoiding the blanket approach of using hashtags and waiting for people to approach them. Instead, they seek people out directly, and communicate with them in person as much as they can. They've also built up a solid base of support from other cancer research groups and charities, especially ones with a strong social media presence.

Dealing directly with patients allows the research to constitute a full spectrum, from symptoms to treatment to things like emotional response. In that sense, it could also provide support networks for patients going forward, as well as developments in treatment. Just having a way to bring people suffering the same illness together and allowing them to not only discuss mutual concerns and experiences, but help researchers as well, must be considered a major positive step.


MoviePilot

For the countless superhero fanboys around the world, myself included, the weekend just passed was an exciting one. With the marketing push for Batman V Superman out of the way, DC are now free to up their efforts for the upcoming Suicide Squad movie. A new trailer release quickly started trending on social media, reassuring fans that maybe, just maybe, DC can recover from Zack Snyder & David S. Goyer's mistakes.



The trailer, I must say, looks incredible, with Margot Robbie's interpretation of Harley Quinn in particular attracting a lot of love (I'm sure the scene showing her stripping down in the middle of a crowded military base had nothing to do with that...). We also finally get an idea of the more obscure characters' powers for those unfamiliar with the comics, and some indication of how the team will tie together.

Meanwhile, in the Marvel camp, the early reviews for Captain America: Civil War have appeared online. The overwhelmingly positive response is sure to keep DC trembling in their boots as Marvel look to cement their place at the top of the genre. Critics have praised the film as an "action masterpiece" containing "lots of themes and emotions" and what are apparently the "best action sequences in any superhero film EVER!".







That's certainly high praise, by any standard. The only real danger I can see now for Marvel now is if critics have over-hypedthe film, which, as we've seen with countless promising blockbusters before, could result in some level of disappointment regardless of the movie's actual merits. They will also, in my opinion, need to be careful with their villain, as recent Marvel efforts have failed to properly develop some of the best characters from their collective rogues' galleries, such as the Dark Elf Malekith from Thor: The Dark World or Whiplash from Iron Man 2 (I would mention the Mandarin here, but Trevor Slattery is NOT the Mandarin). In fact, Loki still remains their only truly compelling villain, and there's only so many times they can use him before fans demand something different. Although I do have high hopes for the MCU version of Baron Zemo.

We will see first if Civil War can live up to expectations on April 29th, whilst we will have to wait until August 5th to pass judgement on Suicide Squad. It will be interesting to see how their marketing develops over that time, and whether Marvel's next feature (Doctor Strange, planned for release in late 2016) will continue to challenge the hype of Suicide Squad, and the extended DC universe, directly.


The Verge
Sometimes when you're scrolling through people's Instagram accounts, you can't help but notice their beautifully curated images. Some of these photos wouldn't look out of place on a site like DeviantArt or being sold as a print in a gallery. I think all photographers wish they could do something amazing with their work but many people either don't have the knowledge, the products or just don't have the time. But Hippo is trying to change that.

Hippo is a new, free, third-party app that allows you to browse carefully curated collections and ask for those users help with your own photography. Now this app isn't a case of do this photo for me and then I'll post it and claim it completely as my own. If you're going to post a photo edited by someone else on then you should credit the person who has edited it. It's one thing to want your account to look better but another entirely to steal someone else's hard work. This also goes for photos you submit as they will not work on a stolen photo. Hippo is a great app idea but it's an app that requires a collaborative effort.

If the app still appeals to you then there are some other things you need to know. For instance, Hippo won't work on just any photo and this isn't them being elitist. The best edited photos are going to be the ones that had something to them in the first place. Your selfie isn't going to give anyone much to work with unless you want them to make you look like someone else and there are plenty of unprofessional photo editors who will be willing to do that for you online. It's the same with shots of your dinner or even just quick snaps of your pets. What editors on Hippo are after are good quality pictures that tell a story or have something to work with. A good shot of a city could become better lighted or a picture of a woman could become a beautiful graphic that wouldn't look out of place in an online gallery. Both photographers and editors work hard on Hippo and you can see that in their work. If you want to see how a photo originally looked then you just have to hold down on the edited photo and you'll see the original. If you decide that you don't want to share a photo anymore then it still belongs to you and they'll remove it from their app if you stop sharing it.

 
If you're an editor yourself then you can apply to edit for the app. The more editors available, the more photos people can share and see how people work on them. This app could wind up being a truly amazing service and more people definitely need to give it a try.

Hippo Pics is available worldwide in the iOS store now.

Geekwire
Last month we reported on how both Facebook and Twitter were bidding to stream NFL football online and now we appear to have a winner. People wishing to view Thursday night NFL games online will be able to view them on Twitter. It makes total sense considering the popularity of sports on Twitter. Big games always wind up trending and being talked about a lot and Twitter already has rights to share the NFL highlights. It is a shame for Facebook who are definitely trying to get sports to become a big thing on their service, but it's even better for Twitter who need to grow and strengthen their user base again.

Twitter needed this win and even though they won't start streaming until later this year, it might be enough to keep some of their users around. Twitter have clearly found their niche with sports and they're handling it better then they ever did with music.

So, what else could Twitter do to attract new viewers with this partnership? Advertising is obviously going to be a big thing. They'll need to make it easy to find the streams, but not put it right at the top of everyone's timelines, lest they risk coming across as rather obnoxious. It would also help if the streaming worked a little like Periscope, only rather than comments you could choose to see tweets pop up from experts or the people you follow. That would definitely help the streaming be social and wouldn't stop the games from trending as users could still easily talk about what they're watching. This idea may appear to sound a little like the Facebook Sports stadium but it might be better to keep that all in the stream and not separate. However this is all speculation and we won't know for a while yet exactly how they're going to handle this.

However when Yahoo started streaming NFL games last year for free, they found that people were only watching the beginning of the game. About 2.36 million watched the Yahoo streams online which is well below the average 10-20 million viewers of televised games. This could be because watching on a phone or laptop is still not as good as watching on television. So if Twitter wants to tackle and increase their numbers then they will have to make the stream the more preferable option and making it free isn't the way to magically gain all the viewers.

If they do this right then Twitter have a strong reason to stick around at least until the end of their contract with the NFL.

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